Is there any validity to the idea of a supreme Antichrist who will come during a seven year period of Tribulation?
No, there is no validity to this theory. This idea is the result of the imagination of those who have a commitment to false ideas about end times. Many preachers have a tendency to "itch the ears" of their audience with exciting stories about current events, the end of the world and the supposed "rapture" of the saints which are without legitimate basis in the scripture. This serves as a distraction from preaching the gospel.
Let me illustrate my claim by discussing the case you bring up. First of all, we hear volumes about the antichrist. One might thing with hundreds of books and millions of sermons about the antichrist that this would be a major topic in the scriptures. It is not. How many passages mention the Antichrist, and what do they actually say? Let us see. There is 1 John 2:18-22, 4:3 and 2 John 7. That is it. The Antichrist is not mentioned in the book of Revelation at all, nor was he mentioned by Jesus, as far as we know, nor anywhere in the Old Testament. So, who is the Antichrist? 1 John 2:18-22 describes him as any person who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Does this sound like some world figure? No, it does not! 1 John 4:3 describes the Antichrist as anyone who denies Jesus Christ came in the flesh. This is clearly a condemnation of the Gnostic teaching which had spread in the first century church. The last passage to look at is 2 John 7 describes the Antichrist as any deceiver who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ.
So, where do all these popular preachers get their ideas about the Antichrist being some sort of political figure or a specific influential leader of an anti-Christian group? It seems that these ideas are the result of an overly active imagination. There is not even the slightest hint that
"The Antichrist" will rise up and claim the world anywhere in the Bible. How can people believe in this nonsense? They do so because they hear dozens of sermons which use passages out of context. If one hears an idea often enough, it tends to take on a life of its own. People cut their teeth spiritually on all this "Left Behind" inspired teaching. It is fun and entertaining, but it does not bring people to confront their own sins. Satan is happy if the churches spend all their time considering unbiblical teaching about end times.
Next, let us look at the supposed seven year period of tribulation. There is not a single passage in scripture which even hints at such a "week" of Tribulation at the end of time which endures for seven years. The only passage which even mentions a seven year period that I know of us Daniel 9:24-27. Here, Daniel prophesies the coming of Jesus to Jerusalem in AD 30 and the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. This passage is definitely NOT discussing the second coming of Jesus. There is not a hint of a seven year long period of tribulation at the end of time. That is it as far as I know. This is the only passage which mentions a "week" of troubles and it is talking about AD 70. If you are not convinced, consider Matthew 24:15 where Jesus tells us that the prophecy of Daniel is about the destruction of Jerusalem and the abomination of desolation which Titus performed on the site of the destroyed temple in Jerusalem after he destroyed it, as Jesus had prophesied.
My suggestion is to not waste your time or spiritual energy listening to or reading material by the so-called Futurists. This is a lot of nonsense which will not help you to be closer to God or to bring people to Jesus Christ. By the way, there is an appendix on this subject which goes into greater detail in my book Daniel, Prophet to the Nations, which is available at www.ipibooks.com.
John Oakes, PhD