ANTICHRIST: Who Is It?

There are many well-meaning religious people who talk about a coming world ruler called “The Antichrist.” They believe this man will appear sometime before the second coming of Christ and that he will rule the world with evil and cruel vengeance.

A careful study of the Bible, however, will reveal something very different about “antichrist.”

The word “antichrist” is only found in four passages in the Bible.

1 John 2:18

Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”

1 John 2:22

“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, who denies the Father and the Son.”

1 John 4:3

“And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

2 John 1:7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

“Anti” simply means to be against something or someone. The phrase “antichrist” then means “against” the Christ. The New Testament does not teach that there is a single person who is THE antichrist as many teach today. Instead, it teaches that there are many antichrists. That is precisely what John taught in the first passage offered above (1 John 2:18). John taught that the time had already come in his day when there would be many opposed to Christ. In 1 John 2:22, John taught that anyone who denied that Jesus is the Christ is antichrist. Further, John taught in 1 John 4:3 that a person was antichrist who refused to confess that Jesus had come in the flesh. This is a reference to the Gnostics who taught that Jesus had only come to earth as a spirit and had no fleshly body. And finally, John taught in 2 John 1:7 that a person who refuses to confess Christ is not THE antichrist, but is AN antichrist, which implies that there were many! As an answer to the false doctrine of the Gnostics, to deny that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh is to be against Christ, therefore an antichrist.

A lot of people are surprised to learn that there are no passages in the Book of Revelation that speak of “The Antichrist.” Check for yourself. The word “antichrist” is never found in Revelation, though it is assumed by many to be all over that book! It’s just not there. Many confuse the beast in Revelation with what they believe to be “the” antichrist. The “beast” mentioned in Revelation 13:2 is the same symbol that is used in Daniel 7:23 as a reference to the Roman Empire. Daniel prophesied that it would be during the time of that empire that the Messiah would come. John, in Revelation, discussed how the Roman Empire was guilty of being used by Satan to persecute the Christians. But nowhere in the book of Revelation is the beast called antichrist.

 So, who then is “The Antichrist”? Actually, there is no single person in the Bible who is ever called by that term! The Bible does, however, use the general phrase “antichrist,” and that is a reference to anyone who is against Christ or who refuses to confess that Jesus had come in the flesh.

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