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(LifeSiteNews) — In his book The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation, Fr. Denis Fahey gives an overview of what is certain, probable and undecided about the Antichrist. 

A real human person 

It is certain that the Antichrist will be a single man, a single human person. 

St. John the Apostle writes that anyone who denies that “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” is an antichrist. In this sense, there have been many antichrists, some greater than others. The ones that have been greater have been types of foreshadowing of what the Antichrist will be like. 

Some have suggested that “The Antichrist” will be “a sect, or a collection of impious men, an atheistic environment, or a period of persecution.”[1] This is not so, although these others may again serve as types, foreshadowings, or signs that his coming is imminent. He will certainly be an individual man. 

15th century Spanish theologian Francisco Suárez teaches that he will be a mere man, in the sense that he will not be Satan in human form.[2] Nonetheless, he will be endowed with great powers and personal qualities of seduction.[3] St. Paul writes of this: 

[His] coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power and signs and lying wonders: And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish. (2 Thess. 2.9-10)  

His reign 

It is generally agreed, based on the biblical texts, that the beginnings of his career “will be lowly and obscure.”[4] However, as a result of his powers of seduction, his power, conquests and influence will grow until it results in a worldwide rule.[5] The Apocalypse says: 

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And power was given him over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. (Apoc. 13.7) 

As the above suggests, he will persecute the Church, and thereby wage war on God. The Prophet Daniel also writes:  

[H]e shall speak words against the High One, and shall crush the saints of the most High: and he shall think himself able to change times and laws. (Dan. 7.25)  

This “will be a trial for the good, and a chastisement for the impious and apostates.”[6] The sin of the latter is punished by their being allowed to believe his lies and become hardened in sin: 

[His] coming is […] to them that perish: because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth but have consented to iniquity. (2 Thess. 2.10-11). 

The nature of his persecution 

In his book on the Antichrist, the Jewish convert Fr. Lémann states that two key measures of this persecution will be: 

  • The outlawing of Christian teaching 
  • The obligation to teach error.

This will be enforced with great thoroughness and cruelty. 

In addition, he will claim to be God and demand to be worshipped “in the Temple of God” – which will be addressed in due course. He will succeed in convincing many of this claim through the “power, and signs, and lying wonders” mentioned above.   

The time of his persecution 

However, this reign will be temporary – even if it will no doubt feel like eternity for those suffering under it. It will probably last three and a half years, as is taught by both Daniel and the Apocalypse:  

A time, and times, and half a time. (Dan. 7.25) 

And power was given him to do two and forty months. (Apoc. 13.5) 

At the end of the time allotted to him, the Antichrist will be destroyed: 

[A] judgment shall sit, that his power may be taken away, and be broken in pieces, and perish even to the end. (Dan. 7.26) 

[T]he Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming. (2 Thess. 2.8) 

And the beast [the Antichrist] was taken, and with him the false prophet who wrought signs before him, wherewith he seduced them who received the character of the beast and who adored his image. These two were cast alive into the pool of fire burning with brimstone. (Apoc. 19.20)  

Now that we have addressed what is certain about the Antichrist, we are now stepping into the realms of probabilities and opinions.  

Relationship with the Jews 

Many fathers and theologians believe that the Antichrist will initially present himself as benevolent and “ethical,” and will deceive the Jewish people, who (they say) will acclaim him as their long-awaited Moshiach and assist him in establishing his reign. This is often based on the words of Christ himself in the Gospel of John:

I am come in the name of my Father, and you receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him you will receive. (John 5.42). 

For example, St. Jerome explains this passage: 

The Jews, after having despised the truth in the Person of Jesus Christ, will welcome falsehood by acclaiming Antichrist.[7]  

Fr. Lémann states that the same view is held by many others, and gives some examples from: 

  • St. Ambrose 
  • St. Gregory the Great 
  • St. Ephraim 
  • St. John Chrysostom. 

There have been many false messiahs acclaimed by some representatives of the Jewish people, including Bar Kokhba and even Napoléon. The theologian Suarez notes: 

[S]ince the time of Christ, several on their own authority have pretended to be the Messiah and have been welcome by the Jews, as is evident from Josephus […] And we read in Acts VIII, that Simon the Magician pretended to be the Messiah and that many Jews believed in him. The words of Christ can be applied not to one alone but to all those false messiahs.[8]

However, he also states the following: 

The former explanation [of St. Jerome, etc.] however, as I have said, is better, for there is one whom the Jews expect and one whom they will all welcome. The others who pretended to be the Messiah were not received by all the Jews, but only by a certain few.[9] 

For what it is worth, some mystics have held to this opinion as well. Bartholomew Holzhauser (d. 1658) stated:  

The Jews, knowing from the Bible that Jerusalem will be the seat of the Messiah, will come from everywhere, and accept Antichrist as the Messiah.[10]

Similarly, Mary of Agreda also states:  

[T]he delegates of certain nations, the Jews, Turks and Tartars will beg him to personally free them from their unbearable yoke. He will now declare himself ready to fulfil their wishes, while at the same time he will arouse the neighboring nations to revolution.  

The Jews will finally bring him a costly crown and a kingly garment, as well as a scepter, and declare him as their freely elected king. […]  

Many Jews will then stream to Babylon. Then the Antichrist will seek to enlarge his kingdom. […]  

Thereupon he will march into the promised land and occupy Jerusalem. Now, at last the kings of the world will become frightened; they will recognize that they are dealing with the Antichrist, especially since the Jews of the whole world will make known the great talents and deeds of the Antichrist, so that his praise shall resound throughout the world.[11]

As we shall see, a very significant factor for thinking this is that are important similarities between what Catholics expect from the Antichrist, and what some representatives of the Jewish religion openly state is to be expected from its supposed Moshiach. 

His nationality 

It is a popular idea that the Antichrist will himself be Jewish, and a member of the tribe of Dan. St Irenaeus held to this opinion, as did St Robert Bellarmine.[12]

However, Fr. Lémann holds that the arguments mounted in favor of this idea are inconclusive. Against the idea that the Jews would not accept a non-Jew as their Moshiach, Fr Lémann replies: 

Down the centuries, the Jews have welcomed all the enemies of Jesus Christ and His Church and have constituted themselves as their auxiliaries.  

In the Great Sanhedrin, held at Paris in 1807, they applied the Biblical titles, exclusively reserved to the Messias, to Napoleon, though Napoleon was not of Jewish blood. They even welcomed the principles of the French Revolution as their Messias.[13]

He summarizes:  

It is neither certain, nor probable. It is merely possible, nothing more.[14]

The seat of his empire  

There are two main opinions about from where the Antichrist will reign over his global kingdom. It will be either in Jerusalem, or Rome. 

Writing around 180 AD, St. Irenaeus taught: 

At the time of his reign, Antichrist will transfer the seat of his empire to the earthly Jerusalem.[15]

He was followed by several of the Fathers and others, including St. Hippolytus, St. Robert Bellarmine, Cornelius a Lapide and more.  

Suarez writes (endorsing the opinion above on his nationality): 

From what we have said about Antichrist being a Jew by race and finding his chief support amongst the Jews, it follows immediately that he will restore the city of their ancestors and its temple, in which they have always taken a special pride.[16]

While Fr. Lémann dismisses the idea that being acclaimed as the Moshiach depends on his having Jewish blood, he does argue as follows: 

[I]f Antichrist were to act otherwise, how could he get himself accepted as the Messias by the Jews who dream of earthly glory for Jerusalem and imagine that that city will become the capital of the future Messianic kingdom.  

This last argument seems to become stronger in our times thanks to the rise and growth of Zionism.[17]

The other opinion is that he will reign from the city of Rome. St. Robert Bellarmine argues strongly against this idea.  

A reconciliation of the two opinions is taught by the theologian Fr E. Sylvester Berry. In his work on the Apocalypse of St John, he teaches that the Antichrist will indeed reign from Jerusalem, and that the Antichrist’s “False Prophet” will reign from Rome during a long vacancy of the Holy See:  

Our divine Saviour has a representative on earth in the person of the Pope upon whom He has conferred full powers to teach and govern. Likewise Antichrist will have his representative in the false prophet who will be endowed with the plenitude of satanic powers to deceive the nations. […]

[T]he prophet will probably set himself up in Rome as a sort of antipope during the vacancy of the papal throne mentioned above.[18]

But in what will the Antichrist’s reign consist? 

We have already seen that it will involve the persecution of the Church, the suppression of the Mass and the exercise of the Catholic religion. This will be at the expense of an alternative and global (“one world”) religious system.   

In the next parts, we will see that Catholic theologians and mystics have taught that it will probably be based around the Temple of Jerusalem, and a naturalistic religion and code of morality. 

We will also see that what Catholic theologians expect of the Antichrist coincides uncomfortably closely with what some influential Jewish writers expect of their Moshiach, and with the “light” and religion which they think that his coming will bring to the gentiles. 


1 Fr LémannL’Antéchrist, p 24. In Fr Denis Fahey, The Kingship of Christ and the Conversion of the Jewish Nation, p 182. Christian Book Club of America, Palmdale CA., 1953.
2 Suarez, De AntichristioSect. 1, n. 4 and 5.
3 Fahey 182
4 Ibid.
5, 6 Ibid.
7 Epist. 151, ad Algariamquaest. II, in Fahey 184.
8 Suarez, De Antichristo, Disp. 54, Sect. 1, n. 7. Quoted in Fahey, p 185.
9 Ibid.
10 Rev. R. Gerald Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist,  p 148. TAN Books, Rockford Illinois, 1974.
11 In Culleton, 149
12 “Indeed that Antichrist will be a Jew, and circumcised, is certain, and is deduced first of all from what has been said. For, Jews would never accept a non-Jewish man, or someone uncircumcised as their Messiah. Another reason is that the Jews are expecting a Messiah from the family of David, and from the tribe of Judah. Without doubt although Antichrist truly is from the tribe of Dan, he will claim and pretend to be from the family of David. Then all the old authors clearly teach that Antichrist will be a Jew, like the twelve authors just cited above, who say he will be from the tribe of Dan. Moreover, the following say he will be a Jew: Ambrose, who on 2 Thess. 2 says he will be circumcised, and Jerome, who on Dan. 11 says he will be bom of the people of the Jews, and St. Martin in Sulpitius on book 2 of the Dialogues, who says that Antichrist will command that all be circumcised according to the law, and Cyril, who says in Catechism 15 that he will be very zealous for the temple in Jerusalem in order to show that he is from the race of David; finally, also Gregory, who in book 11 in letter 3 says that Antichrist will be a promoter of the Sabbath observance and of other Jewish ceremonies.” St. Robert Bellarmine, in Controversies of the Christian Religion, p 891. From the Third General Controversy On the Sovereign Pontiff, Book III, On the Antichrist, Ch. 12. Trans. Fr Kenneth Baker, Keep the Faith Press, 2016.
13 In Fahey 187.
14 Ibid.
15 Irenaeus, Adv. Haereses, lib. V, c. 25. Translated by Alexander Roberts and William Rambaut. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1885.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103525.htm>. 
16 Suarez, de Antichristo, sect. V, n. 7.
17 In Fahey 188
18 Fr E. Sylvester Berry, The Apocalypse of St John, p 135. First Edition, The Catholic Church Supply House, Coloumbus Ohio, 1921.