1 John 2:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 Little children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; whereby we know that it is the last hour.
If we were sitting by the radio, and the newscaster came on to warn us about an escaped murderer from the county jail, we would listen intently as they described what he looked like. We would be very cautious until we heard he had been captured.
As Christians, we have received a very similar warning about the Antichrist being on the loose, and we want to listen intently as the Bible tells us about how we can identify him, her, or it. John writes, “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 in the world already.” (UASV) Was the Antichrist in the world only in the tomb of the apostle John, or is the Antichrist present now, or is the Antichrist coming at a future time?
In chapter 1, we discovered that it is John alone, who uses the term “Antichrist,” which he does five times. From those five times, we gather this entity is “against” (i.e. denies Christ) or “instead of” (i.e., false Christs) Jesus Christ. The Bible gives us clear insight into the Antichrist, but as we saw in the introduction, interpreters have run amuck into speculation.
Misidentifying the Antichrist
The greatest misidentification has been the interpretation that the Antichrist is just one particular person. Moreover, there have been many who have been suggested as contenders. Early on, it was thought that Roman Emperor Nero was the Antichrist. He was definitely antichristian, which is, in essence, an antichrist. Jesus said, “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20) More recently, it was suggested that Adolf Hitler was the Antichrist. Again, Hitler was certainly antichristian. Many have pointed to Revelation 13 in reference to the Antichrist, but they are not so in the sense that many might think. Yes, these beasts or governmental powers of Revelation 13 are against Christ. Consequently, they are antichrists, as we saw in chapter 1. However, some suggest that the mark of the beat, 666, will be the mark of the Antichrist. Yes, while chapter 1 helped us appreciate what 666 might stand for, it does not fit the misidentification of the Antichrist being but one person. It does fit the biblical truth that there are many antichrists, i.e., many humans in opposition to Christ, by way of their gross human imperfection.
Who Make Up the Antichrist?
When Jesus came to the earth, he had to face many enemies; Herod, who tried to have Jesus killed as a child, Satan who followed him into the wilderness to tempt him, the Jewish religious leaders, and eventually the Roman government by way of Pontius Pilate. Even though Jesus returned to heaven, and is now untouchable, he still has many enemies. The apostle John stated,
1 John 2:22 Updated American Standard Version (ASV)
22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even the one who denies the Father and the Son.
The Bible speaks of apostasy, which is one who stands off from what is true. Thus, we would refer to one of these as an apostate. Michael Fink writes, “In 2 Thess. 2:3 Paul addressed those who had been deceived into believing that the day of the Lord had already come. He taught that an apostasy would precede the day of the Lord. The Spirit had explicitly revealed this falling away from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1). Such apostasy in the latter times will involve doctrinal deception, moral insensitivity, and ethical departures from God’s truth.” (Brand, Draper and Archie 2003, 87) These are ones come in many shades of doctrinal deceit. They reject clear teachings of Scripture and spread false teachings about the Father and the Son. Therefore, they are a part of the antichrist. Jesus forewarned his disciples, and by implication us,
Luke 21:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you, delivering you to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake.
“All these things” is referring to the events of 21:7-11, which is a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Thus, “Before international warfare and natural chaos come, the church will face persecution, Jesus continued. Belief in Christ and his name will be cause enough for you to be put in jail and punished by the government. Jewish religious leaders will join forces with the government to make this happen.” (Buter 2000, 351) This happened to the first century Christians, but by implication, if the world hated them because of bearing the name of Christ, how much more so would this not be the case in end times. Are Christians not suffering persecution in this liberal-progressive world that is not emerging? Yes, listen to the principle as Paul laid it out,
2 Timothy 3:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
Those ones that are of gross human imperfection, 666, because they are alienated from God by heart and mind, are the cause of such mistreatment. In other words, they are working “against” Christ, making them a part of the antichrist. Jesus himself said, “He who is not with me is against me.” Those who are antichrists have one outcome in the end.
The Destruction of Antichrist
Psalm 5:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
6 You destroy those who speak lies;
Jehovah abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
The apostle John wrote,
2 John 1:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, even those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Those who are lying and deceiving, the antichrists, the Father by way of the Son will bring destruction upon them. As we move through these last days, true Christians should be well prepared not to allow anti-Christian trickery treachery, and pressure to cause them to have a spiritual shipwreck. The apostle John warns us,
2 John 1:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who remains in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
There is always the danger of being turned aside from the truth to apostasy. On this David Walls and Max Anders write, “To heed the teachings of these antichrists results not in the loss of salvation but in the loss of spiritual reward. God would not forget what they had done for him: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people” (Heb. 6:10). Yet, to depart from the rewardable path is to lose the full reward coming to those who do not follow such false teachers (1 Cor. 3:8, 11–15). The antichrists—the false teachers and false prophets talked about more thoroughly in 1 John—were running ahead, and were not continuing in the teaching of Christ. Runs ahead is also translated “goes too far” (NASB) or “transgresses” (NKJV). These give a more complete understanding of the danger. The teaching of Christ may refer to the teachings of Jesus or to teachings about Jesus. In either case, it refers to orthodox truth established and accepted in the church. The text seems to center on defection from the truth by those who had once held to the truth. Some teachers believe this refers to Christians who depart from the faith. If this is the case, to deviate from the truth would be to leave God behind. In the sense of fellowship and blessing, the person who defects from the faith does not have God. According to this position, it does not suggest loss of salvation, but points to doctrinal deviation and disobedience. Other Bible teachers believe the one who runs ahead is not a true Christian. He may have given every appearance of being a true Christian, but his defection from the faith proves he never was a true believer. This seems more in keeping with the teaching of 1 John. Scripture seeks those who learn and practice the true teachings, those who have a full understanding of who Jesus is. Jesus is equal with God the Father. To have Jesus is to have the Father, and to have the Father is to have Jesus (see commentary on 1 John 5:20).”
 See Acts 5:36; 21:38
 David Walls and Max Anders, I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude, vol. 11, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 237–238.
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