Billy Graham has said the "most important thing" to remember about the Antichrist is that he will not win, because like his master, Satan, he is already a defeated foe through Christ's death and resurrection.
The 98-year-old Baptist pastor shared his thoughts on the Antichrist in a recent "My Answers" segment published on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website.
Asked the reader: "Is the Antichrist alive today? I'm not sure I know what the Antichrist is, but the world is in such a mess that I sometimes wonder if we're already living in the last days."
According to the Bible, the Antichrist is "an evil person of great spiritual power who will appear at the end of the present age (just before Christ returns to establish His Kingdom, as He promised)", Graham first explains, referencing 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
"As the name 'Antichrist' implies, he will be completely and utterly opposed to Christ and His people," continues Graham. "He even will try to get people to worship him by claiming to be God, and both by his words and his actions he will do everything he can to fight against everything God is doing in the world."
"Just as Satan tried to tempt Jesus and stop Him from following God's will for His life, so Satan and his demonic forces will attempt to overpower Christ as the end of the present age draws near," he says.
So, is the Antichrist alive today? Graham says that on one hand, the Bible urges us not to speculate about this or become overly anxious about it. However, the Bible also warns us to be alert-because Satan and his servants are always active (1 John 2:18).
The pastor concludes: "The most important fact about the Antichrist, however, is that he will not win! Like his master, Satan, he is already a defeated foe-because by Christ's death and resurrection He has gained the victory over all the forces of evil. Is your faith and hope in Him?"
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.
Earlier, the famed evangelist 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)."