The identity of the Antichrist is a subject of great and growing interest among both religious and non-religious people. So much has been said about the Antichrist that people are seeking answers to identify this horrendous being and to learn what to expect from his devilish devices.
The Bible is the only reliable source for a study of the Antichrist. You will soon see that the Biblical account of Antichrist is greatly different from what the popular religious press and the entertainment industry present. In fact, religious groups have wrested the entire concept of Antichrist from its Biblical moorings and created a cartoon-like character which has little to do with the real Antichrist.
Antichrist in the New Testament
The term “Antichrist” occurs only 5 times in all of Scripture. The occurrences are found only in John’s writings in 4 Scriptures (it occurs twice in one passage). The word is a simple Greek compound word which, in its simplest form, means against, or in opposition to, Christ (1)All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995.
Antichrist in 1 John 2:18
“Children, it is the last hour; and just as you have heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know it is the last hour.”
This passage was penned long after the establishment of the church and after the destruction of Jerusalem. the Christians had previously been told of Antichrist although he has nowhere been mentioned in Scripture. These believers to whom John writes knew details of Antichrist which we do not.
Significant here is the repeated phrase ““it is the last hour.” Although John was writing near the end of the 1st century, he declared this period the last hour. When joined with Hebrews 1:2 we may understand that the Christian age is synonymous with the last days or last hour.
Perhaps more significant to our attempt to identify the AntiChrist, we note that “many antichrists” had already appeared. The reader is pointed to both the plural nature of the AntiChrist and to the fact that AntiChrist was already present in John’s day.
The one spoken of here by John is not the same fictional character found in so many end times stories and books.
Antichrist in 1 John 2:22
“Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.”
Here we have new definition of exactly who the Antichrist really is. First, he is a liar. He is one who knows the truth but hides or obfuscates the truth. Second, the nature of his lie concerns the reality of the Father and the Son. At this point, our definition potentially includes many thousands in our present world for there are many who deny the reality of God the Father and His son Jesus Christ.
This definition is still too broad and we will narrow a tad with our next verse. Remember that we must consult all Bible verses bearing on a given subject before we can be assured of our own understanding. So let us move on to the third verse in which the subject appears.
Please read our next article in this series as we continue to probe one of the most interesting questions on the minds of Christians.
|All Scripture references are taken from the New American Standard Bible, 1995