Scripture Revealed

A Revelation of Jesus Christ – Revelation 1:1

The Antichrist

I John 2:18 (KJV) –  “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.”

devil
This guy needs to be a bit more subtle

We hear a lot today about “The Antichrist.” In recent years, there have been hundreds of books, movies and videos that have developed the image of a soon-coming evil world leader called “The Antichrist.”

You will be shocked to learn that there is no mention of the phrase “The Antichrist” in the entire Bible. By that, I mean that you won’t find the term “The Antichrist” anywhere in the King James Version of the Bible.

In fact, there are only four verses in the King James Bible that speak of “Antichrist.” There are three references in I John chapter 2 and one verse in II John chapter 2. The words “antichrist” and “antichrists” are only found five times in the King James Bible.

Here are the only verses that speak of “antichrist(s):”

I John 2:18 (KJV) – ” 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 2:22 (KJV) –  “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 4:3 (KJV)  – “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.”

II John 1:7 (KJV) –  “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.”

So in the scriptures we read of:
• “Antichrist.”
• “Many antichrists.”
• “That spirit of antichrist.”
• “An antichrist.”

But we never read of “The Antichrist” as though there is a figure in the Bible who is more “antichrist” than any other “antichrist.”

Whenever we study the Word of God, we should start by asking several fundamental questions:

1. Who is the writer?
2. Who is the intended audience?
3. When were the verses we are studying written? The date is sometimes important.
4. Why were the verses we are studying written? In other words, what’s the purpose?

1. Who is the writer? The writer of I and II John is accepted to be John the Apostle, who was also believed to be the author of the Gospel of John, as well as the book of Revelation and III John. John was a fisherman and part of the inner circle of Jesus. According to history, he was the only apostle not martyred.

2. Who is the intended audience? John was writing to Christian believers residing in the province of Asia – probably near the city of Ephesus.

The second Epistle of John is very specific: “The elder unto the elect lady and her children” (II John 1:1). As is the third Epistle “The elder unto the well beloved Gaius..” (II John 1:1).

3. When were the verses we are studying written? It is reasonable to date the epistles of 1st and 2nd John somewhere between AD 85 and 95, after the writing of the Gospel, which may have been written AD 85.

4. Why were the verses we are studying written? 1st and 2nd John were written because John’s readers were being confronted with false teaching. Deceivers and false teachers had infiltrated the church—people who taught falsehoods about the person of Jesus, teaching that He was not truly a man but only appeared to be one. This early heresy, called Gnosticism, required the strongest possible response from John. So the apostle warned the true believers away from these false teachers. John’s encouragement, then, was not simply to love but to love others within the limits that truth allows.

Gnosticism’s central teaching was that spirit is entirely good, and matter is entirely evil. Gnosticism denied the true humanity of Jesus. This heresy was also libertine, throwing off all moral restraints. Consequently, John wrote this letter with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teachers and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation.  With his intention to combat Gnostic teachers, John specifically struck at their total lack of morality. And by giving eyewitness testimony to the incarnation, he sought to confirm his readers’ belief in the incarnate Christ. By the year, AB 150, one-third of all Christians were under the influence of Gnosticism – a huge cult & a major concern of the Church fathers. When we learn about the historical setting that John ministered, we can more easily understand his writings.

For example – John 1:1 & 14: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

How profound a statement – because Gnostics thought of the natural world as evil, they couldn’t believe that Jesus could have been God and at the same time have taken on human flesh!

Now let’s discuss the word “Antichrist”. It is a Greek word that simply means “opposed to Christ”. It’s similar to terms like “anti-smoking”, “anti-abortion”, “anti-drinking”, etc.

Let’s look at the 1st verse where the word “antichrist” appears:

I John 2:18-19 (KJV) –  “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists;. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt] have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

In this verse John doesn’t give us a description or a definition of “antichrist” but he does tell us that there are many antichrists, not just one. John did not distinguish these many antichrists from some great antichrist, worse than them all, who would come in the future.

Further, he tells us that they already have come – that is in John’s lifetime (around 85 AD.) John spoke of those who were part of the church but later left it. He revealed that they never were part of the church. There departure is connected, undoubtedly, with the fact that they had rejected the belief that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. They had turned to Gnosticism.

Now the 2nd verse mentioning “antichrist:”

I John 2:22 (KJV) –  “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

He said that “antichrist” was the influence of deception in his day denying the Father and the Son. What John was saying here is that anyone that denies the Jesus was the Christ (Christ being the anointed body) that the Spirit of God would dwell in is a liar.

The Bible says that in Jesus dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Jesus said that when you see him you see the Father. Jesus said “I and my Father are one.”

An Antichrist is simply a person or spirit that denies the Father and the Son. It is a spirit that does not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh. Here’s the 3rd verse:

I John 4:1- 3 (KJV) – “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 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.”

Knowing that John, addressing his letter to 1st century Christians, who were being influenced by Gnostic thought and culture, we can understand his warning to judge various teachers. And the most important basis for judging was what they taught about Jesus Christ.

True prophets/teachers will confess “that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” False prophets/teachers will deny this or that Jesus is from God. This is the spirit that John referred to as “Antichrist.” John is saying that every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. John is coming against the Gnostic heresy here.

John said that the spirit of antichrist was foretold to come. John said that this antichrist spirit was already in the world – this was not 2014 AD but around 85 AD! (Jesus was crucified between 30 – 36 AD.)

And John never said anything about a man that would be called “the antichrist” who would come long after the spirit of antichrist was in the world.

Now here is the 4th and final verse mentioning “an antichrist”:

II John 1:7 (KJV) –  “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.”

Now we are in II John. John is saying that many deceivers had entered into the world – and he defines these deceivers as anyone that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Again, here John is fighting the 1st century heretical teaching of Gnosticism. John was speaking of a deceiver that was active in his lifetime!

That’s it! There are no other passages in the Bible that uses the word “antichrist” or “antichrists”!  Now that we have studied the historical setting of John’s writings it is obvious that he is speaking of Gnostic teachers he was battling in the 1st century.

In three of the four passages, John refers to Antichrist as those who deny Jesus as coming from God or deny that Jesus came in the flesh.  In three of the four passages, John tells us that Antichrist was active during his lifetime in the 1st century. This can be disturbing to those who were taught that “the Antichrist” is some future political or religious leader who Satan will inhabit.

Now it’s interesting to note that John also wrote the book of Revelation. Why didn’t he use the term “antichrist” in that book? When we talk about “the antichrist” and the “Beast” mentioned in Revelation chapter 13, a lot of people wonder, “Are they the same?”  Now remember the word “antichrist” does not appear in the book of Revelation. That surprised me when I first heard that. Some people think the book of Revelation is all about “the antichrist,” yet the term does not even appear there. The only mention of “antichrist(s)” is in the books of I John and II John.  And as a matter of fact, John back in his day said, “There are even now many antichrists.” That’s not to say that the Beast in Revelation is not “an antichrist” but the Beast is not “the Antichrist.”

The Beast of Revelation can more accurately associated with the Roman Empire. This is how I see it because John’s description or definition of the Antichrist in 1st and 2nd John is very different from the description of the Beast of Revelation chapter 13.

Many also like to associate “the Antichrist” with the person mentioned in Daniel 9:27, who put an end to sacrifice and grain offering. Again “the Antichrist” is never mentioned in Daniel Chapter 9.

The other Bible passage that is typically used to teach about “the Antichrist” is II Thessalonians 2:3-10. Here Paul talks about the man of lawlessness (also called the man of sin or son of perdition). Again, the way I see it is that this passage also has nothing to do with the future antichrist.  Again I’m sure “the man of sin” and “son of perdition” is “an antichrist” because this person would almost certainly deny Jesus Christ.

In summary we can see that active imaginations are at work  building one idea upon another until a myth has taken hold of the minds of millions of modern-day Christians.  Much of this myth was built on the mistake of equating “Antichrist” of 1st and 2nd John, the Beast of Revelation and the man of lawlessness of II Thessalonians. There is no biblical basis for equating these. Certainly they are all evil but that’s no reason to equate them any more than a person today would equate Hitler, Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden as the same person.

Furthermore, the biblical descriptions of “antichrist,” the Beast and man of lawlessness are very different. “Antichrist” of John’s letters is a spirit that denied that Jesus came in the flesh. The Beast of Revelation was a leader of the Roman Empire and most likely Emperor Nero, although this is a topic that deserves a separate article. The “man of lawlessness” in II Thessalonians could be one of several entities. History tells us there were 100s of evil leaders during the 1st century just like there are today.

Now of course you can imagine that “The Antichrist” is coming in the future. People can imagine whatever they want. But it’s clearly wrong to say that there is any biblical evidence telling us that “The Antichrist” is coming in our future. We need to let the scriptures interpret the scriptures!  Every day we all are confronted with the spirit of antichrist. Think about all the groups and individual people that deny that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.  Can you think of a few? If you have a job or attend school chances are you know “an Antichrist.”

You might even have a member of your family that would meet John’s definition of “Antichrist.” I pray that you don’t!

Related articles include Mark of the Beast    Mystery Babylon

Ron

Managing Editor at Scripture Revealed
I’ve studied and taught the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom since 1985. My goal is to reveal the biblical truths I’ve come to see through prayer and study. I believe that the scriptures are revealed to those that study and rightly divide the "Word of Truth.”
Ron

Latest posts by Ron (see all)

Ron

I’ve studied and taught the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom since 1985. My goal is to reveal the biblical truths I’ve come to see through prayer and study. I believe that the scriptures are revealed to those that study and rightly divide the "Word of Truth.”

1
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Scripture RevealedAntichrist And The Man Of Sin - Scripture Revealed Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

newest oldest most voted
trackback

[…] Articles: The Antichrist Deception    The […]

Back to top