Yes it is true, in this article I will reveal the identity of the antichrist once and for all. Of course this mysterious character has been confusing people for years, Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler, President Roosevelt and even Barack Obama have been put forward as candidates. Antichrist has been the subject of endless books, the star of numerous films and the lead character in any number of novels. But, now it is time to pull the wraps off and let everyone know just who or what we are dealing with. By studying the ancient manuscripts preserved in the Scriptures, the secret that was hidden for centuries can be discerned and revealed once and for all.
Okay, that’s enough of the Dan Brown rubbish, I have always enjoyed a good story and am a fan of fiction; but when it comes to the truth of Scripture we have to be careful as numerous members of God’s family are confused and scared by this mythical being, and I want to help put a stop to that.
Firstly we need to separate ‘the man of sin’ in (2 Thessalonians 2:3) from antichrist. Antichrist only appears in two of Johns letters; it is also worth noting that in the Greek, anti doesn’t mean against but substitute or counterfeit. Let’s see what John has to say about antichrist:
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 2:18 NAS
John wrote this letter sometime after Jesus rose again but before AD70, and he tells us it is the last hour; does that mean that today we are in the last second? Not necessarily, the clock John was reading was the countdown to the destruction of Jerusalem that Jesus had prophesied would happen within forty years of His prophecy. The early believers understood from Jesus’ prophesy (Matthew 24:34) that many confusing teachings and false messiahs would appear in the run up to the fall of Jerusalem; that is why John was able to say “many antichrists (counterfeit messiahs) have appeared”. The sad thing is, so many are waiting for just one, when John says that there was already a whole load of them nearly two thousand years ago. What gives? Read on…
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. 1 John 2:22 NAS
In this verse John starts to explain how we identify antichrist; antichrist will deny that Jesus is the promised Messiah and in so doing deny both the Father and the son. One of the spiritual battles that were raging at that time was over the souls of the Jewish people; thousands had accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah, however thousands opposed Him and taught the lie that Jesus did not come from God, in so doing they tragically denied both the Father and the Son and qualified themselves for the wrath that was to come in AD70.
…and every spirit that does not confess Jesus, is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 1 John 4:3 NAS
Now we are in John 4 and he gives us another piece of the picture; antichrist is a spirit or mindset that refuses to accept that Jesus was sent by God, and what is more he reminds us that antichrist had already arrived and was at work in the world two thousand years ago.
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John 1:7 NAS
In his final reference John homes in on a vital key to recognising the operation of any antichrist, not only in the hardening of the hearts of the Jewish people, but this time attempting to deceive the Church of God. Just as today there were many deceptive teachings doing the rounds among the early churches, and just as today Gnosticism was trying to get its claws into God’s children. Gnosticism is against grace and teaches that the spiritual is good and that the physical is evil, a teaching in total opposition to the truth of Scripture. In Genesis God declares the physical creation to be good, and once there was a man and a woman with physical bodies He announced the physical world to be “Very good”; one of the key realities of the Gospel is that God became flesh (physical) in the person of Jesus Christ, an anathema to the Gnostic teachers, the idea of the Supreme Being taking on a physical body was disgusting to them. Everything these deceivers taught relied on an escape from the evil of the body (sadly echoed in many Christian teachings today), whilst all along the Gospel promised the resurrection of the body and the restoration of all creation. It is probably worth noting that when Jesus said, “The flesh counts for nothing” he wasn’t devaluing the material world, but saying that mankind’s efforts at salvation were useless.
How does all this apply to us in the 21st Century? Firstly, antichrist (either spirits or people) is still at work, looking to deceive and harden hearts against the truth of Jesus being the promised Messiah, working to make Christians put their hope in a spiritual ‘Never Never Land’ instead of the resurrection of the body as promised in Scripture, and attempting to make people deny the reality of Jesus coming in a physical body.
Secondly, in the light of what John says we can stop trying to work out who ‘The’ antichrist will be; antichrist has been at work for two thousand years trying to deceive and will continue to do so until Jesus appears; but providing we hold onto the reality that Jesus is the promised Messiah and that He was born with a physical body (He is the last Adam after all), we have nothing to worry about. In fact as believers we are part of the answer, because we walk with Jesus, tell others that He is the promised Messiah and that He came in the flesh; we could say we have become, anti-antichrists. More seriously, we can get on with the business of living as Kingdom people in the world without worrying about when the antichrist will turn up. Ultimately, behind every antichrist is the satan, and he was stripped, humiliated and defeated by our Messiah at the cross, to make things worse for him, Jesus arose from the dead and is continuing with His plan to redeem all of creation and anyone who will believe until the day of His glorious appearing.
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Go well my friends 😀