Don't apply what I'm getting ready to say here to Loquat. Even though we have much in common when it comes to our eschatological view, there still could be some differences in our understanding of some of it, and I don't want to misrepresent his view. I am still learning and putting pieces together, hopefully for a better overall understanding eventually. And I would not be upset at all if he disagreed with me on some of these ideas. I am not opposed to him or anyone else showing me where I may have some misunderstandings according to what the scriptures are saying. In other words, I'm all for iron sharpening iron and that is what this forum can be really good for at times.
Okay, so according to my understanding at this time, I don't believe there will be just one future antichrist we will visibly see. I believe Satan is "the antichrist" and his spirit is at work manifesting in many antichrists as it has been in the past, is now in the present, and will be in future.
So for that reason, I do not believe we should be waiting or looking for "the antichrist", which again I believe is Satan himself, but that we should be aware of all the antichrists, who have the spirit of Satan, who we see already now, and warn about them.
For some examples:
The Pope is an antichrist. The Pope sets himself up to be in the place of Christ, the vicar of Christ, the one to forgive sins, etc. The RCC in general, is filled with antichrists.
The NAR leaders are antichrists. They speak for Christ, and say "Thus saith the Lord" when the Lord did not send them. They are putting themselves in place of Christ and His word. Their teachings are designed to deify themselves in place of Christ.
Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. are all antichrist religions, filled with antichrists.
All of these I have mentioned, and countless more, all have the spirit of the Antichrist himself, Satan. They are doing his bidding and none of it is new. But I do believe according to Rev. 20 and so many other passages, it will all come together in one final battle so to speak in which Satan will deceive the whole world to come against the saints in unison.
As for the antichrist setting himself up in the temple: well again, because I believe Satan is "the antichrist" ruling all the human antichrists to do his bidding, and I believe the New Covenant "temple" is the body of Christ, the Church (see Eph. 2:19-22), then "the antichrist" setting himself up in the temple I believe is Satan positioning all the humans antichrists into the church, which are masquerading as angels of light, and deceiving the people with a false gospel and a false Jesus. Satan, the antichrist, embodies all that activity and all the rest of the deception of the world and will bring it to final culmination as he is released to do so (Rev. 20:7-10).
In Rev. 13:2 it says Satan (the dragon) will give the beast his power, throne and authority and I believe as Sam Storms says here:
The beast, then, is a trans-cultural, trans-temporal symbol for all individual and collective, Satanically-inspired, opposition to Jesus and his people. It is anything and everything (whether a principle, a person, or a power) utilized by the enemy to deceive and destroy the influence and advance of the kingdom of God.
This beast, the total antichrist system of the world, possibly a one world religion that has unified together under Satan's deception, will be worshiped by the unbelievers. (Rev.13:4)
And I agree with this quote here:
We discern the antichrist by carefully comparing scripture with scripture. So who is antichrist? He is Satan, and he is the professing Christian with his spirit of disobedience, who is in opposition to Christ and in works deny Him. He is not the body of Christ, but a substitute or false christ. There were many antichrists throughout the last days of the New Testament so his origin is not solely a present day phenomenon. He is Satan who comes as an angel or messenger of light, and he is Satan's army, those whom he commands, who come as ministers of righteousness (2nd Cor. 11:14-15).
Anyway, this is the view that makes most sense to me at this time, and again, I welcome any criticism, even though I may be really slow in answering back since I have a ton of other stuff I need to be doing, as always.