Not according to the Bible.
Antichrist is the translation of the Greek word ‘antichristos’ literally meaning ‘opposite to or instead of Christ (Christ means anointed).
The word is used in the Bible just 5 times only, by John:
- 1John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come,
- even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
- 1John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
- 1John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
- 2John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
From (2) we see that there are many antichrists not just one.
From (3) we see that anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah or anointed one) or denies the existence of both God and his son is antichrist.
From (4) and (5) we see that anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh (ie was born as a human being) is antichrist.
The doctrine of a latter-day antichrist promoted by some churches is somewhat of a distortion of scripture based on the assumption that the ‘man of sin’ that Paul speaks has not yet made his appearance:
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
The temple of God is not a building but the Christian church itself.
Ephesians 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
The man of sin is not a single person; it is a position of authority in the church filled by a succession of men, which will continue until Christ returns.
The most likely candidate for the position is the Papacy which has been in existence for centuries and is still exalting itself above all that is called God.
Paul says that the man of sin will be revealed after a ‘falling away’ within the church.
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
The apostasy was already at work in Paul’s day but kept in check. Over the next three centuries the church fell away from the apostles’ gospel and doctrine. It invented a priesthood, was divided into ‘clergy’ and ‘laity’, became the state church of the Roman Empire. It invented the doctrines of the trinity, immortality of the soul, heaven-going etc.
The doctrine of the Trinity effectively fulfils (4) and (5) in denying that Christ came in the flesh. He cannot be at the same time ‘one substance’ with his Father and made ‘in the flesh’, ‘in all points tempted like as we are’; it is nonsense.
History bears witness to the Godless acts of this institution.
2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (prevents) will let (prevent), until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This institution promotes the signs and lying wonders of the miracle working properties of relics of the martyrs, bits of the true cross, places of pilgrimage, prayers to dead saints, particularly Mary, etc.
This institution teaches that the souls of the saints are alive and well in heaven.
The Bible teaches that souls die.
Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
The dead know nothing.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing...
This institution pretends to ‘canonise’ dead men and women after investigating ‘proofs’ of their ‘miracle working’.
It pretends that the priest has the power to turn the bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ.
This institution is based on signs and lying wonders.
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
This institution forbids its clergy to marry.
This institution requires its adherents to abstain from meat Friday.
The antichrist has been in existence since the fourth century.
This institution is the woman spoken of in Revelation.
Revelation 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH...18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
This institution reigned over the kings of the earth until the reformation.
Its influence is on the rise again today.
It will be destroyed at the coming of Christ.
Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
This anti-Christ is the head of apostate Christianity.
When you ask ‘Does the anti-christ go in hiding for two years then re-appear’, I think you may be confusing the anti-Christ with the eighth head of the beast in Revelation.
Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The ‘bottomless pit’ is a figure for none existence – ‘is not’.
Revelation 17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
The ‘sixth head’ of the beast was Rome in John’s day.
Revelation 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
The Government of the Roman Empire was moved to Constantinople. This became the ‘seventh head’ which continued until 1453.
Since then there has been no successor. The countries that formed the Roman Empire are all independent Sovereign States represented in Revelation as ‘ten horns’.
The Bible makes clear that in the last days a State power will arise to which the ‘ten horn’ Sovereign States will voluntarily give their power. This will be then the eighth head, and the countries will operate like a re-formed Empire.
Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
The Bible makes a distinction between the anti-Christ which is a religious leader, which has existed for centuries, and the eighth head of the beast of Revelation which is a political power and has not yet made its appearance (i.e. it is still in ‘the bottomless pit’). The anti-Christ is represented in Revelation by the ‘harlot’ in her hey-day; reduced to the ‘false prophet’ (Revelation 19:20) in the last days.
If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free Bible study course on www.thisisyourbible.com? You may take this course either online or by regular mail.
This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort. You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.
To sign up for the course, go to www.thisisyourbible.com and click on the "Students" tab on the left of the screen. Then scroll down and click on the blue bar which says "Sign up as a student today!" Fill in the registration form and submit it. If you sign up for the free online Bible course, you will be able to start immediately.
I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,