The Antichrist: Who And When?

Since the early days of Christianity, scholars and layfolk have been on the alert for the Antichrist. The Antichrist is, according to most theological prognosticators, an individual who takes over the world in the End Times, the exact antithesis of God. Some have suggested that it will be Satan himself indwelling a human being and wielding incredible, almost godlike powers. Some believe that he is represented by the beast in Revelation.

Just as in the case of the Rapture and other related topics, so much confusion, myth, and assumption has evolved around the subject of the Antichrist that the far simpler truth has been obscured. This is another case in which we must fall back to the Scripture and find out what God has to say on the matter, tossing aside the conjectures of men.

First, the most basic thing to do is examine the Scripture that specifically mention the Antichrist. Notice as you look at these references that the only place where the Antichrist is mentioned is in the Epistles of John. One of the first things to realize about the epistles of John is that they are not prophetic. They are purely instructional, written to edify and encourage believers in the tenets of the Way.  Keep this in mind as you read.

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. — I John 2:18

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. — I John 2:22

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. — I John 4:3

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. — 2 John 1:7

These are the only passages in Scripture in which the antichrist is mentioned. There is absolutely no reference to the Antichrist in the prophetic book of Revelation, or any other book of prophecy. These are the only direct references to the antichrist. Therefore we should take these verses as a starting point.

First, let’s look at the word “antichrist” itself. It is a transliteration of the Greek “antichristos”, which is a compound word consisting of “anti” and “christos”.

Christos” is the word from which we derive the term “Christ”, and means “anointed one”. “Christos”, of course, in Scriptural terms, is a reference to Jesus.

Anti” means “opposite to, opposing, instead of, or against”. It implies being on the opposite end of the pole or spectrum from the person or thing to which “anti” refers.

Thus it is that “antichrist” means “opposing or opposite to the Anointed One” — or, “against Christ”.

WHEN WILL THE ANTICHRIST ARRIVE?

Refer to my previous post regarding the Last Days. The Last Days began with the ascent of Christ to Heaven and the advent of Christianity (Acts 2:17). John only confirms this when he says,

Little children, IT IS THE LAST TIME: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, EVEN NOW there are many antichrists; whereby we know that IT IS THE LAST TIME. — I John 2:18

John wrote his First Epistle sometime around 100 or 110 AD. The Last Days had begun. He adds, “EVEN NOW there are many antichrists.” He goes on to say that the appearance of these antichrists was a sign that the Last Days had come.

We know from this that (1) The Last Days have begun, (2) The appearance of the antichrist is a sign of the arrival of the Last Days, and (3) there are MANY antichrists!

Whoa. Even now this is starting to sound a LOT different from Tim LaHaye’s ideas of what or who or when the antichrist is or will be. Let’s keep going.

In I John 4:3 he says,

. . . this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

The early followers of Jesus had heard that the spirit of the antichrist would come — and John is saying, in the first century AD, that IT HAD ALREADY ARRIVED! They sit around, wondering when it would show up. IT WAS ALREADY HERE!

In 2 John 1:7 he says,

For many deceivers ARE ENTERED INTO THE WORLD, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

The antichrist has been around for 2000 years. And yet people even now point to some future day when the antichrist will show up. It’s like trying to warn people that a flood is coming, even while water swirls through the neighborhood and everyone clings to their rooftops.

WHO IS THE ANTICHRIST?

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. — I John 2:22

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. — I John 4:3

John is very clear as to who the antichrist is: The liar who denies that Jesus in the Christ and that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. Where have you heard this lie propagated? You’ve heard professors, authors, celebrities, television, radio, comedians, public speakers, and even average folks deny that Jesus came in the flesh and that he is the Son of God. This isn’t a specific individual — it’s a specific TYPE of individual.

HOW MANY ANTICHRISTS ARE THERE?

“. . . there are many antichrists. . .” — I John 2:18
“. . . every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. . .” — I John 4:3
“. . . many deceivers are entered into the world. . .” — 2 John 1:7

Tim LaHaye and others of his ilk would have you watch for a single individual who takes over the world singlehandedly, is possessed by Satan, and has incredible miraculous abilities. But John was already warning in his day that MANY — PLURAL! — antichrists had come into the world. Is there only one person on the planet who does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh? Of course not! There are at least millions of people who do not confess Jesus, if not billions!

SO WHO EXACTLY IS THE ANTICHRIST?

First of all, there is no “the” antichrist. There is no “arch antichrist”.

Anyone who is against Christ, who denies his authority and sonship, is antichrist. Do you remember the literal meaning of “antichrist”? It literally means “against the anointed one”.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and AGAINST HIS ANOINTED, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. — Psalm 2:1-3

In short, anyone who is opposed to God and His Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is an antichrist. There are many antichrists, and they have been around for a long, long time.

So if anyone tells you they’re waiting for Nicolae Carpathia to take control of the UN, just keep these passages in mind. It may save you from the confusion of the dispensationalist, premillennialist fallacy!

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