Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Church in Riverside, Calif., has shared his thoughts on the controversial question: "Who is the antichrist?"
In a recent sermon, Laurie explained that Satan is "the ultimate imitator," and has this "cheap imitation of all things that are true," the Christian Post reports.
Thus, just like God has His Son, Jesus, Satan will one day have his own son, an "imitation of Jesus."
"We have Jesus Christ, and Satan will have antichrist," Laurie said. While the antichrist will be "history's vilest embodiment of sin and rebellion," on the surface, he will be charming and charismatic.
"He [the antichrist] will do what no other man has been able to do. There will be global peace. He will solve the Middle East peace puzzle. He will rid the world of terrorism... He will be hailed as the greatest peace-maker... But behind that will be a satanic superman... the most evil man who has ever walked on the earth."
The coming of the antichrist is getting closer every day, Laurie said, and Hitler, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, all were "forerunners of who is to come, who will harness the economic and technological power of this world and bring about a one-world economy, a one-world government and a one-world religion."
Laurie said the antichrist will be a "fake Jesus," and many will believe in him. The antichrist is coming to deify Satan, to take the place of Jesus, and to kill Christians, Laurie warned.
Unfortunately, the antichrist is not alone, as he has with him the false prophet. This, Laurie said, makes an unholy trinity, as Satan is in God's place, the antichrist in Jesus' place, and the false prophet in place of the Holy Spirit.
Still, Laurie admitted he has "no idea who the antichrist will be, and nor does anyone else."
"The antichrist cannot even emerge until we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air," the pastor said. "We won't be around to find out who he is. Our job is not to be looking for antichrist; our job is to be looking for Jesus Christ."
Laurie urged Christians to ask themselves, "Am I an antichrist?" - not "the" antichrist.
He explained that there's a choice between believing in Jesus or in Satan, as Jesus said, "You are either for Me or against Me."
Those who are with Jesus have their names written in "the book on life," the pastor said, quoting Revelation 13:8, "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain."
About half (49 percent) of Protestant pastors surveyed by Lifeway Research believe the antichrist is a figure who will arise in the future. According to the survey, others say (12 percent) there is no individual antichrist, while about 14 percent believe that he is a personification of evil or an institution (7 percent). Six percent of pastors think the antichrist has already been here.
Previously, famed evangelist Billy Graham cautioned those who believe the antichrist is just a symbol or a figure of speech to remember that the Bible says he is very real - and that shortly before Christ's return, he will come in a final, desperate attempt by Satan to destroy God's work.
"The Bible calls him 'the man of lawlessness ... (who) will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God,'" he said. "At the same time, the Bible warns us against jumping to conclusions about the identity of the antichrist, or trying to predict when he will come-just as it cautions us against trying to predict when Christ will come again."
It's important for Christians to be "spiritually prepared" to resist Satan's attempts to deceive them and turn them against Christ, Graham asserted.
"Make the Bible and prayer part of your daily life, and seek the fellowship of other believers," he advised. "The Bible says, 'Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you' (James 4:7-8)."