"Little children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming..." - 1 John 2:18.
Biblical prophecy reveals a mysterious figure Sacred Scripture calls the Anti-Christ. He is to emerge in the last days, and will be a man of charisma, international influence, and of unparalleled evil. There are many theories and ideas tossed around in the church today regarding his identity and what he might do, but few ever bother to approach the earliest Christian witness outside scripture for answers- the Church Fathers. What did they have to say about this personality who will violently persecute the church?
"For he is endowed with all the power of the devil. He will come- not as a righteous king, nor as a legitimate king in subjection to God- but as an unholy, unjust, and lawless one...He will set aside idols to persuade men that he himself is God..."- Irenaeus
""When he comes, he will reign over the earth for three years and six months."- Irenaeus
"Jeremiah does not merely point out the Antichrist's sudden coming (Jer. 8:16), but he even indicates the tribe from which he will come, when he says, "We will hear the voice of his swift horses from Dan". - Irenaeus
"The deceiver seeks to liken himself in all things to the Son of God....Christ is a king, so the Antichrist is also a king. The Savior appeared as a lamb. So he, too, in like manner, will appear as a lamb, though within he is a wolf. The Savior came into the world in the circumcision, and the Antichrist will come in the same manner. The Lord sent apostles among all the nations, and he, in like manner, will send false apostles. The Savior gathered together the sheep that were scattered abroad. And he, in like manner, will bring together a people who are scattered abroad...The Savior raised up and showed His holy flesh like a temple, and he will raise a temple of stone in Jerusalem." - Hippolytus
"He says, "Dan is a lion's whelp" (Deut. 33:22). And in naming the tribe of Dan, he clearly declared the tribe from which the Antichrist is destined to spring. Just as Christ comes from the tribe of Judah, so the Antichrist is to come from the tribe of Dan."- Hippolytus
"And he will cause all those who will not worship the image of the beast to be put to death...Being full of guile and exalting himself against the servants of God, he desires to afflict them and persecute them out of the world, for they did not give glory to him. He will order censers to be set up by everyone, everywhere, so that none of the saints may be able to buy or sell without first sacrificing. For this is what is meant by the mark received upon the right hand."- Hippolytus
"Let us look also to his actions. He will call together all the people to himself, out of every country of the Dispersion, making them his own, as though they were his own children. He will promise to restore their country and reestablish their kingdom and nation, in order that he may be worshiped by them as God."- Hippolytus
"...he will build the city of Jerusalem, and restore the sanctuary." - Hippolytus
"And in the middle of it, the abomination of desolation will be manifested. Then, there will remain only one week...in which Elijah and Enoch will appear."- Hippolytus
"He will divide the globe into three ruling powers, when Nero will be raised up from Hades. Elijah will first come to seal the beloved ones. At these things, the region of Africa and the northern nation, the whole earth on all sides, will tremble for seven years. But Elijah will occupy the half of the time; and Nero will occupy the other half. Then the embers of the whore Babylon, being reduced to ashes, will advance to Jerusalem. And the Latin conqueror will then say, "I am Christ, whom you always pray to."....He does many wonders, since the false prophet is his."- Commodianus
"By this name (666), we understand the Antichrist. Although he is cut off from the divine light and deprived of it, he nevertheless transforms himself into an angel of light, daring to call himself light."- Victorinus