'and even as ye heard that the antichrist doth come...'
If I testify concerning myself, my testimony is not true; another there is who is testifying concerning me, and I have known that the testimony that he doth testify concerning me is true; ye have sent unto John, and he hath testified to the truth. But I do not receive testimony from man, but these things I say that ye may be saved; he was the burning and shining lamp, and ye did will to be glad, for an hour, in his light.
But I have the testimony greater than John's, for the works that the Father gave me, that I might finish them, the works themselves that I do, they testify concerning me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father who sent me Himself hath testified concerning me; ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor His appearance have ye seen; and His word ye have not remaining in you, because whom He sent, him ye do not believe.
Ye search the Writings, because ye think in them to have life age-during, and these are they that are testifying concerning me; and ye do not will to come unto me, that ye may have life; glory from man I do not receive, but I have known you, that the love of God ye have not in yourselves.
I have come in the name of my Father, and ye do not receive me; if another may come in his own name, him ye will receive; how are ye able -- ye -- to believe, glory from one another receiving, and the glory that [is] from God alone ye seek not? - John 5:31-44
Love not ye the world, nor the things in the world; if any one doth love the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that [is] in the world -- the desire of the flesh, and the desire of the eyes, and the ostentation of the life -- is not of the Father, but of the world, and the world doth pass away, and the desire of it, and he who is doing the will of God, he doth remain -- to the age.
Little youths, it is the last hour; and even as ye heard that the antichrist doth come, even now antichrists have become many -- whence we know that it is the last hour; out of us they went forth, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but -- that they might be manifested that they are not all of us.
And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and have known all things; I did not write to you because ye have not known the truth, but because ye have known it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar, except he who is denying that Jesus is the Christ? this one is the antichrist who is denying the Father and the Son; every one who is denying the Son, neither hath he the Father, [he who is confessing the Son hath the Father also.]
Ye, then, that which ye heard from the beginning, in you let it remain; if in you may remain that which from the beginning ye did hear, ye also in the Son and in the Father shall remain, and this is the promise that He did promise us -- the life the age-during.
These things I did write to you concerning those leading you astray; and you, the anointing that ye did receive from him, in you it doth remain, and ye have no need that any one may teach you, but as the same anointing doth teach you concerning all, and is true, and is not a lie, and even as was taught you, ye shall remain in him. - 1John 2:15-27
The final events to conclude the dispensation of law for Israel are the doings of a single man, an individual person. He will be a political figure who will arise within the Revived Roman Empire--among it's ten leaders--subduing three of them and consolidating their power to elevate himself to the highest level. This man will allow Israel to resume her observance of Mosaic Law at the temple--an agreement of seven years--"strengthening the covenant":
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. - Daniel 9:26-27 (KJV)
And after the sixty and two weeks, cut off is Messiah, and the city and the holy place are not his, the Leader who hath come doth destroy the people; and its end [is] with a flood, and till the end [is] war, determined [are] desolations. And he hath strengthened a covenant with many -- one week, and [in] the midst of the week he causeth sacrifice and present to cease, and by the wing of abominations he is making desolate, even till the consummation, and that which is determined is poured on the desolate one. - Daniel 9:26-27 (YLT)
Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 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. - Daniel 9:26-27 (NASB)
After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. - Daniel 9:26-27 (NIV)
One of the best descriptions of this man is found in Daniel 7, as follows:
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. . . . I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. . . . Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. - Daniel 7:7-11, 19-27 (KJV)
The Antichrist will be an individual person. A man. He does not "represent" a long succession of Roman popes. He is a person who will be a political leader of the Roman Empire in it's final form.
And we ask you, brethren, in regard to the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him, that ye be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of Christ hath arrived; let not any one deceive you in any manner, because -- if the falling away may not come first, and the man of sin be revealed -- the son of the destruction, who is opposing and is raising himself up above all called God or worshipped, so that he in the sanctuary of God as God hath sat down, shewing himself off that he is God -- [the day doth not come].
Do ye not remember that, being yet with you, these things I said to you? and now, what is keeping down ye have known, for his being revealed in his own time, for the secret of the lawlessness doth already work, only he who is keeping down now [will hinder] -- till he may be out of the way, and then shall be revealed the Lawless One, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the manifestation of his presence, [him,] whose presence is according to the working of the Adversary, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all deceitfulness of the unrighteousness in those perishing, because the love of the truth they did not receive for their being saved, and because of this shall God send to them a working of delusion, for their believing the lie, that they may be judged -- all who did not believe the truth, but were well pleased in the unrighteousness. - 2Thessalonians 2:1-12
The apostle John, in the Apocalypse says:
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and I saw out of the sea a beast coming up, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon its horns ten diadems, and upon its heads a name of evil speaking, and the beast that I saw was like to a leopard, and its feet as of a bear, and its mouth as the mouth of a lion, and the dragon did give to it his power, and his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of its heads as slain to death, and its deadly stroke was healed, and all the earth did wonder after the beast, and they did bow before the dragon who did give authority to the beast, and they did bow before the beast, saying, 'Who [is] like to the beast? who is able to war with it?' And there was given to it a mouth speaking great things, and evil-speakings, and there was given to it authority to make war forty-two months, and it did open its mouth for evil-speaking toward God, to speak evil of His name, and of His tabernacle, and of those who in the heaven tabernacle, and there was given to it to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and there was given to it authority over every tribe, and tongue, and nation. And bow before it shall all who are dwelling upon the land, whose names have not been written in the scroll of the life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; if any one hath an ear -- let him hear: if any one a captivity doth gather, into captivity he doth go away; if any one by sword doth kill, it behoveth him by sword to be killed; here is the endurance and the faith of the saints.
And I saw another beast coming up out of the land, and it had two horns, like a lamb, and it was speaking as a dragon, and all the authority of the first beast doth it do before it, and it maketh the land and those dwelling in it that they shall bow before the first beast, whose deadly stroke was healed, and it doth great signs, that fire also it may make to come down from the heaven to the earth before men, and it leadeth astray those dwelling on the land, because of the signs that were given it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling upon the land to make an image to the beast that hath the stroke of the sword and did live, and there was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, that also the image of the beast may speak, and [that] it may cause as many as shall not bow before the image of the beast, that they may be killed. And it maketh all, the small, and the great, and the rich, and the poor, and the freemen, and the servants, that it may give to them a mark upon their right hand or upon their foreheads, and that no one may be able to buy, or to sell, except he who is having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is the wisdom! He who is having the understanding, let him count the number of the beast, for the number of a man it is, and its number [is] 666. - Revelation 13
Irenaeus describes this future tyrant as follows:
And not only by the particulars already mentioned, but also by means of the events which shall occur in the time of Antichrist is it shown that he, being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be adored as God; and that, although a mere slave, he wishes himself to be proclaimed as a king. For he (Antichrist) being endued with all the power of the devil, shall come, not as a righteous king, nor as a legitimate king, [i.e., one] in subjection to God, but an impious, unjust, and lawless one; as an apostate, iniquitous and murderous; as a robber, concentrating in himself [all] satanic apostasy, and setting aside idols to persuade [men] that he himself is God, raising up himself as the only idol, having in himself the multifarious errors of the other idols. This he does, in order that they who do [now] worship the devil by means of many abominations, may serve himself by this one idol, of whom the apostle thus speaks in the second Epistle to the Thessalonians: “Unless there shall come a failing away first, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God.' The apostle therefore clearly points out his apostasy, and that he is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped—that is, above every idol —for these are indeed so called by men, but are not [really] gods; and that he will endeavour in a tyrannical manner to set himself forth as God.
Moreover, he (the apostle) has also pointed out this which I have shown in many ways, that the temple in Jerusalem was made by the direction of the true God. For the apostle himself, speaking in his own person, distinctly called it the temple of God. Now I have shown in the third book, that no one is termed God by the apostles when speaking for themselves, except Him who truly is God, the Father of our Lord, by whose directions the temple which is at Jerusalem was constructed for those purposes which I have already mentioned; in which [temple] the enemy shall sit, endeavouring to show himself as Christ, as the Lord also declares: 'But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which has been spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand), then let those who are in Judea flee into the mountains; and he who is upon the house-top, let him not come down to take anything out of his house: for there shall then be great hardship, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall be.'
Daniel too, looking forward to the end of the last kingdom, i.e., the ten last kings, amongst whom the kingdom of those men shall be partitioned, and upon whom the son of perdition shall come, declares that ten horns shall spring from the beast, and that another little horn shall arise in the midst of them, and that three of the former shall be rooted up before his face. He says: 'And, behold, eyes were in this horn as the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things, and his look was more stout than his fellows. I was looking, and this horn made war against the saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of days came and gave judgment to the saints of the most high God, and the time came, and the saints obtained the kingdom.' Then, further on, in the interpretation of the vision, there was said to him: 'The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall excel all other kingdoms, and devour the whole earth, and tread it down, and cut it in pieces. And its ten horns are ten kings which shall arise; and after them shall arise another, who shall surpass in evil deeds all that were before him, and shall overthrow three kings; and he shall speak words against the most high God, and wear out the saints of the most high God, and shall purpose to change times and laws; and [everything] shall be given into his hand until a time of times and a half time,' that is, for three years and six months, during which time, when he comes, he shall reign over the earth. Of whom also the Apostle Paul again, speaking in the second [Epistle] to the Thessalonians, and at the same time proclaiming the cause of his advent, thus says: 'And then shall the wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the spirit of His mouth, and destroy by the presence of His coming; whose coming [i.e., the wicked one’s] is after the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and portents of lies, and with all deceivableness of wickedness for those who perish; because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And therefore God will send them the working of error, that they may believe a lie; that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but gave consent to iniquity.'
The Lord also spoke as follows to those who did not believe in Him: 'I have come in my Father’s name, and ye have not received Me: when another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive,' calling Antichrist 'the other,' because he is alienated from the Lord. This is also the unjust judge, whom the Lord mentioned as one 'who feared not God, neither regarded man,' to whom the widow fled in her forgetfulness of God,—that is, the earthly Jerusalem,—to be avenged of her adversary. Which also he shall do in the time of his kingdom: he shall remove his kingdom into that [city], and shall sit in the temple of God, leading astray those who worship him, as if he were Christ. To this purpose Daniel says again: 'And he shall desolate the holy place; and sin has been given for a sacrifice, and righteousness been cast away in the earth, and he has been active, and gone on prosperously. And the angel Gabriel, when explaining his vision, states with regard to this person: 'And towards the end of their kingdom a king of a most fierce countenance shall arise, one understanding [dark] questions, and exceedingly powerful, full of wonders; and he shall corrupt, direct, influence (faciet), and put strong men down, the holy people likewise; and his yoke shall be directed as a wreath [round their neck]; deceit shall be in his hand, and he shall be lifted up in his heart: he shall also ruin many by deceit, and lead many to perdition, bruising them in his hand like eggs.' And then he points out the time that his tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight, they who offer a pure sacrifice unto God: 'And in the midst of the week,' he says, 'the sacrifice and the libation shall be taken away, and the abomination of desolation [shall be brought] into the temple: even unto the consummation of the time shall the desolation be complete.' Now three years and six months constitute the half-week.
From all these passages are revealed to us, not merely the particulars of the apostasy, and [the doings] of him who concentrates in himself every satanic error, but also, that there is one and the same God the Father, who was declared by the prophets, but made manifest by Christ. For if what Daniel prophesied concerning the end has been confirmed by the Lord, when He said, 'When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, which has been spoken of by Daniel the prophet' (and the angel Gabriel gave the interpretation of the visions to Daniel, and he is the archangel of the Creator, who also proclaimed to Mary the visible coming and the incarnation of Christ), then one and the same God is most manifestly pointed out, who sent the prophets, and made promise of the Son, and called us into His knowledge." - Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5, ch.25 (here)
Such, then, being the state of the case, and this number being found in all the most approved and ancient copies [of the Apocalypse], and those men who saw John face to face bearing their testimony [to it]; while reason also leads us to conclude that the number of the name of the beast, [if reckoned] according to the Greek mode of calculation by the [value of] the letters contained in it, will amount to six hundred and sixty and six; that is, the number of tens shall be equal to that of the hundreds, and the number of hundreds equal to that of the units (for that number which [expresses] the digit six being adhered to throughout, indicates the recapitulations of that apostasy, taken in its full extent, which occurred at the beginning, during the intermediate periods, and which shall take place at the end),—I do not know how it is that some have erred following the ordinary mode of speech, and have vitiated the middle number in the name, deducting the amount of fifty from it, so that instead of six decads they will have it that there is but one. [I am inclined to think that this occurred through the fault of the copyists, as is wont to happen, since numbers also are expressed by letters; so that the Greek letter which expresses the number sixty was easily expanded into the letter Iota of the Greeks.] Others then received this reading without examination; some in their simplicity, and upon their own responsibility, making use of this number expressing one decad; while some, in their inexperience, have ventured to seek out a name which should contain the erroneous and spurious number. Now, as regards those who have done this in simplicity, and without evil intent, we are at liberty to assume that pardon will be granted them by God. But as for those who, for the sake of vainglory, lay it down for certain that names containing the spurious number are to be accepted, and affirm that this name, hit upon by themselves, is that of him who is to come; such persons shall not come forth without loss, because they have led into error both themselves and those who confided in them. Now, in the first place, it is loss to wander from the truth, and to imagine that as being the case which is not; then again, as there shall be no light punishment [inflicted] upon him who either adds or subtracts anything from the Scripture, under that such a person must necessarily fall. Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one [number], when this [Antichrist] shall come having another, they will be easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against.
These men, therefore, ought to learn [what really is the state of the case], and go back to the true number of the name, that they be not reckoned among false prophets. But, knowing the sure number declared by Scripture, that is, six hundred sixty and six, let them await, in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning, and beginning to set their affairs in order, and advance their kingdom, [let them learn] to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, having a name containing the aforesaid number, is truly the abomination of desolation. This, too, the apostle affirms: 'When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them.' And Jeremiah does not merely point out his sudden coming, but he even indicates the tribe from which he shall come, where he says, 'We shall hear the voice of his swift horses from Dan; the whole earth shall be moved by the voice of the neighing of his galloping horses: he shall also come and devour the earth, and the fulness thereof, the city also, and they that dwell therein.' This, too, is the reason that this tribe is not reckoned in the Apocalypse along with those which are saved.
It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfilment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. For if there are many names found possessing this number, it will be asked which among them shall the coming man bear. It is not through a want of names containing the number of that name that I say this, but on account of the fear of God, and zeal for the truth: for the name Evanthas contains the required number, but I make no allegation regarding it. Then also Lateinos has the number six hundred and sixty-six; and it is a very probable [solution], this being the name of the last kingdom [of the four seen by Daniel]. For the Latins are they who at present bear rule: I will not, however, make any boast over this [coincidence]. Teitan too, the first syllable being written with the two Greek vowels, among all the names which are found among us, is rather worthy of credit. For it has in itself the predicted number, and is composed of six letters, each syllable containing three letters; and [the word itself] is ancient, and removed from ordinary use; for among our kings we find none bearing this name Titan, nor have any of the idols which are worshipped in public among the Greeks and barbarians this appellation. Among many persons, too, this name is accounted divine, so that even the sun is termed 'Titan' by those who do now possess [the rule]. This word, too, contains a certain outward appearance of vengeance, and of one inflicting merited punishment because he (Antichrist) pretends that he vindicates the oppressed. And besides this, it is an ancient name, one worthy of credit, of royal dignity, and still further, a name belonging to a tyrant. Inasmuch, then, as this name 'Titan' has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called 'Titan.' We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.
But he indicates the number of the name now, that when this man comes we may avoid him, being aware who he is: the name, however, is suppressed, because it is not worthy of being proclaimed by the Holy Spirit. For if it had been declared by Him, he (Antichrist) might perhaps continue for a long period. But now as 'he was, and is not, and shall ascend out of the abyss, and goes into perdition,' as one who has no existence; so neither has his name been declared, for the name of that which does not exist is not proclaimed. But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that 'many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.'" - Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Book 5, ch.30 (here)
This man is known by many designations: the Antichrist (1John 2:18), the little horn (Daniel 7:8), the Man of Sin (2Thessalonians 2:3), among others. These terms all refer to the same individual, and this was the interpretation of the early Church. As you can see from the above quote, the term "Antichrist" had been selected as the common way of referring to this individual at a very early time in Church history, and it continues to be the common way of referring to him today. For further early non-canonical Christian commentary about this man, see here. For early Christian testimony identifying this man's actions against Israel with the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27, see here.
Here is a presentation by Chris White, showing a possible scenerio allowing the rise of this man to power:
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