How can we know who is the Antichrist? Could he be an American?
The Antichrist is a human who is already alive or is yet to be born. There is also a spirit of antichrist that exists in the world. So scripture calls those who are like him, antichrists. This is the message of 1 John 2:18.
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. (NASB) 1 John 2:18
The antichrist will actually be a person who appears at the beginning of a seven year period according to Daniel 9:25-27. We call this period the tribulation. The tribulation starts with peace between Israel and its neighbors. The study entitled the Rapture & Prophecy further discusses the future timeline including the Daniel 9:25-27 passage.
And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. (NASB) Daniel 9:27
The expression “one week” refers to a seven year period (see Rapture & Prophecy). This is the tribulation period. It starts with peace. Later in the middle of the tribulation (3.5 years), peace ends and trouble starts for Israel. What follows is a time called “Jacob’s Trouble.” It is a horrible period of struggle, war and suffering. The tribulation period ends with Jesus’ second coming.
The Antichrist appears to be a politican because he effects a peace treaty between Israel and her enemies at the beginning of the seven year tribulation. This individual will become obvious to all who are alive in the middle of the tribulation when he stops the sacrifice and grain offerings (Daniel 9:27) and declares himself to be God in the Jewish temple in Jeruselam (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), even seating himself there.
“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (NASB) 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 says the middle of the tribulation (3.5 years) is the time when he is finally revealed. Someone could successfully bring about peace between Israel and her enemies for a while and not be the antichrist. The real antichrist will eventually declare himself to be God.
And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (NASB) 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10
He will be controlled by and receive power from Satan. His power will be awesome. Satan gives him power. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 calls him the “son of destruction” and the “lawless one.” His major sin, however, is that he denies the Father and Jesus Christ. He will deny that Jesus, who is God, became a human and lived among us. This individual will deny that Jesus is equally God and man (2 John 7).
Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (NASB) 1 John 2:22
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist . . . (NASB) 1 John 4:2-3
Scripture tells us the old Roman Empire will return to power (see the study Rapture & Prophecy). The leader of this revived Roman Empire is the Antichrist. Revelation 13:1-10 calls him the beast (see the study Rapture & Prophecy).
And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; and they worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” And there was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies; and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. (NASB) Revelation 13:3-7
Notice the dragon or Satan (Rev. 20:2) gives him power. This agrees with 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10. Revelation 13:3-7 says that he speaks “arrogant words and blasphemies and authority to act for forty-two months.” The forty-two months refers to the last half of the tribulation which is 3.5 years. The phrase “arrogant words and blasphemies” describes his attitude and includes his actions in the temple. Scripture teaches us that the Roman Empire will return to existence in a different form just before Jesus’ second coming. When scripture refers to a nation, it is almost always referring to its people. Israel refers not just to the land, but to the descendants of Abraham. When scripture spoke of the Babylonians, it referred to the people who lived in the area. When scripture mentions Assyria, it oftens names people.
When scripture refers to the revived Roman Empire, it could be referring to European ancestors. Europe was the area the old Roman Empire occupied. Since many of the American population are of European ancestry, America could be part of the revived Roman Empire and the Antichrist an American. Scripture does not give us this answer. This is only a possiblity.
Just before the tribulation, all Christians will be removed from the earth and will not see the suffering that follows. So those Christians may never know the identity of the antichrist. To escape suffering in the tribulation is a gift of mercy from our Lord Jesus. Not only has He forgiven us, but He will keep us from this time of suffering. The only christians who will experience this time of suffering are those who come to Christ during the tribulation. Sometimes when life becomes difficult, we think God does not care if we suffer. But that is not the heart of our God! He does not enjoy seeing us suffer. We can thank Him for His mercy and grace!