What Does the Bible Really Teach About the Antichrist?

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last Things Identifying the AntiChrist second coming Cover What Is Hell
Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Jesus was quite clear as to how the world would treat Christians,

Matthew 24:9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. 10 And then many will fall away,[1] will betray[2] one another, and will hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and will lead many astray.

Christians are hated because of Jesus’ name, which makes any such ones antichrists, “against” Christ. Some of these false prophets were actually former Christians. However, these Christians John says, “went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” –1 John 2:18, 19.

As we have seen from the beginning of this publication, there is no one antichrist, but many individuals from the time of Jesus first coming in the first century, up unto his return in the future. Being that some of these antichrists are also false prophets, they are in the business of deceiving true Christians. How do they go about this business of deceiving?

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The Antichrist and False Teachings

As we have learned apostasy is standing off from the truth, and any engaging in such are antichrists. The apostle Paul warned Timothy,

2 Timothy 2:15-18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling[3] the word of truth. 16 But avoid empty speeches that violate what is holy, for they will lead to more and more ungodliness, 17 and their word will spread like gangrene; Hymenaeus and Philetus are among them. 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

On these verses, Knute Larson writes,

2:15. Timothy, by contrast, must do his best to present [himself] to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed. Timothy, and all who follow Christ, are to consecrate themselves to God, working diligently for his approval. The teacher whom God approves has no need of shame in his presence.

God bestows his approval on the one who exhibits truth, love, and godliness in daily living, and who correctly handles the word of truth. The false teachers were mishandling God’s words, using them for their own benefit. Timothy was commissioned to handle the words of God correctly. All preaching should present the truth clearly, cutting through erroneous ideas or inaccurate opinions.

The pastor or teacher must acquaint himself thoroughly with Scripture. He should familiarize himself with historical information and the context of the passage, especially when trying to reach back through the centuries to gain an accurate understanding of God’s revelation.

2:16. Paul again issued a warning: Avoid godless chatter. Paul was not referring to backyard chats or little conversation groups that met over tea. The phrase “godless chatter” describes the empty babbling of false teachers. Their doctrines may have been quite organized and intricate, but Paul labeled them “chatter” because they were without substance.

In addition, their teachings did not promote the life and practices which God approves. Paul declared that those who indulged in such chatter would become more and more ungodly. In vivid contrast to God’s truth, which results in godliness, the false teachings degenerate into greater ungodliness.

2:17–18. But these false teachers and their philosophies were not pitiful little people to be ignored. They were causing great harm to those whom they influenced: Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Just as the teaching they followed was rotten, so its foul and corrupt nature infected more aid more people. In contrast, truth is always life producing, creating wholeness and health. Paul gave two examples of leaders who abandoned the faith and whose spurious teachings brought destructive results: Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth.

Other than this mention by Paul, these two men pass unknown in history. But because their names were known to Timothy, they were probably leaders within the Ephesian church. Yet, they wandered away. This describes a slow drifting from the truth. These men did not make a dramatic break from the Christian faith and run after strange philosophies. They slowly shifted their thinking, toyed with new ideas, held to what they liked and discarded what was unappealing. After a time, they had denied the faith.

Paul highlighted one main point of their false teaching: they say that the resurrection has already taken place. This supposition, rampant among the false teachers, taught that the fullness of salvation had come. Consequently, there was no future bodily resurrection, for the true resurrection was spiritual. This led to the practice of discounting anything connected with physical life making daily obligations and concerns for holy living irrelevant. Spiritualizing the resurrection diminished the sacrifice of Christ, removed the necessity of enduring hardship, and promoted immoral living. In this way, they destroy the faith of some. (Larson 2000, 287)

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Deceptively, Hymenaeus and Philetus taught that the resurrection had already come, and it was merely a symbolic one, meaning that Christians had only been resurrected in a spiritual sense. This is somewhat true on two fronts: (1) When one becomes a Christian; he moves over from death to life (John 5:24; 1 John 3:14), and (2) it is the Christian God made alive even though he was dead in trespasses and sins. (1 Pet 4:3-6; Eph. 2:1-5, See ASV) In these verses what is meant? Christians were one dead spiritually, but after accepting Christ, and having forsaken the practice of sin; they have passed over from death to life in that the condemnation to death that all humans face is lifted, and they have the hope of eternal life. Nevertheless, what Hymenaeus and Philetus taught went beyond this truth, into their denying Jesus promise of a literal resurrection of the dead under the kingdom of God. – John 5:28-29.

Less than one hundred years after Hymenaeus and Philetus, we have a group called the Gnostics,[4] who developed the idea of a purely symbolic resurrection. They believed that one could acquire knowledge Greek, gnosis) in a mystical way. Gnostics fused biblical truths with Greek philosophy and Oriental mysticism. For example, they taught that all physical matter was evil, which, would mean that Jesus did not come in the flesh; otherwise, he would have been evil. Thus, they claimed that it only appeared as though Jesus came in the flesh. In other words, it only seemed as though he had a human body, which is known as Docetism, an early heresy that claimed that Jesus Christ was not a real person. As we have repeatedly shown, in the above, this is one of the most direct signs that the apostle John warned against, which made one who professed such an antichrist. – 1 John 4:2-3; 2 John 7.

The Antichrist Rejects God’s Kingdom

The antichrist has another issue, and it is with Jesus’ role as the king of God’s kingdom, which will rule over the earth. (Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14; Rev. 5:10; 11:15) There are some, who do not take this literally any more than they take the Antichrist literally. For some, the kingdom is in the mind or heart.―Luke 17:21, See KJV, ASV, and TEV[5]

The Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) said under “Kingdom of God”:

The ‘kingdom’ means not so much a goal to be attained or a place . . . it is rather a tone of mind (Luke, xviii,20-21), it stands for an influence which must permeate men’s minds if they would be one with Him and attain to His ideals.[6]

The Southern Baptist Convention of 1925 put it this way:

The Kingdom of God is the reign of God in the heart and life of the individual in every human relationship, and in every form and institution of organized human society. The chief means for promoting the Kingdom of God on earth are preaching the gospel of Christ, and teaching the principles of righteousness contained therein. The Kingdom of God will be complete when every thought and will of man shall be brought into captivity to the will of Christ. And it is the duty of all Christ’s people to pray and labor continually that his Kingdom may come and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.[7]

The Southern Baptist Convention of 1963 and 2000 put it this way:

The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

What does Jesus and the Bible say about the kingdom of God? Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”[8] (John 18:36) Jesus also said, “The ruler of this world [Satan] is coming. He has no claim on me” (John 14:30) Indeed, Paul tells us, at present, “The god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Now, we can appreciate why Jesus will be removing all present day governments, becoming the sole ruler over the earth. (Ps. 2:2, 6-9; Rev. 19:11-21) When Christians recite the Lord’s Prayer, this is what they are actually praying for, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth.” – Matthew 6:10, KJV.

Should the kingdom of God be viewed as a real government? Isaiah 9:6-7 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end …” (ASV, RSV, ESV, NASB, and HCSB) It does have a king, Jesus Christ. (Dan 7:13-14; Mark 14:61-62) Jesus will have co-rulers under him, and they will rule over the earth. (Rev 5:9-10; 20:4; 22:5; Matt 19:28) The word “government” means “a group of people who have the power to make and enforce laws for a country or area.” Well, will not Jesus and his co-rulers have power and authority (Matt 28:18), to enforce the will and purposes of the Father over the earth? Whether one sees it as a government or a kingdom, these are synonymous as to its purpose.

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The Antichrist Misleads

The Antichrist not only misleads Christians into rejecting biblical truths as to doctrine but also in the case of morality as well. Paul warned, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.”[9] (2 Tim. 4:3) To the Corinthians, Paul writes,

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not a great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Peter writes,

2 Peter 2:1-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their acts of shameless conduct,[10] and because of them the way of the truth will be spoken of abusively; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

He also went on to write,

2 Peter 2:12-14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile glorious ones,[11] 11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12 But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, in their destruction will also be destroyed, 13 suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14 having eyes[12] full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children;

False religious leaders, antichrists, abandon Bible principles,

Leviticus 18:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 You shall not lie with a male as you lie down with a woman; it is an abomination.

Romans 1:26-27 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged natural relations[13] for those that are contrary to nature, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males committing the shameless deed, and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men of passive homosexual acts, nor men of active homosexual acts,[14] 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Hebrews 13:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Let marriage be honorable among all, and let the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge sexually immoral people[15] and adulterers.

Jude 1:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross sexual immorality and having gone after other flesh,[16] are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

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Christians Must Exercise Discernment

Based on all that we have covered in this publication, it is best that we heed the advice of the apostle John, the one who tells us of the Antichrist. He writes, “My dear friends, do not believe all who claim to have the Spirit but test them to find out if the spirit they have comes from God. For many false prophets have gone out everywhere.”―1 John 4:1, GNT

We should follow the example set by the Bereans,

Acts 17:10-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue.11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

We pray with Paul,

Philippians 1:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,

It is as Jesus said,

John 8:32 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

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What the Bible Really Says About the Antichrist

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.

1 John 2:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

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.

1 John 4:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist,[17] of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is in the world already.

2 John 1:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

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.

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A Deceiver Who Deceives

Lastly, simply know that the antichrist is anyone, group or organization that denies the Father and the Son, Jesus came in the flesh, who oppose Jesus or his kingdom, and his disciples. Also, it is any that deny God’s Word as being inspired and fully inerrant, waters down biblical truths, to appease man. It is any that claim they alone speak for Christ, are his representation here on earth, or that they are Christ.

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[1] Lit be caused to stumble

[2] Or hand over

[3] Or accurately handling the word of truth; correctly teaching the word of truth

[4] Gnosticism was an early Christian religious movement teaching that salvation comes by learning esoteric spiritual truths that free humanity from the material world, believed in this movement to be evil.

[5] A poor rendering, “the kingdom of God is within you,” should rather be rendered, “the kingdom of God is in your midst.” See NASB, ESV, RSV, HCSB, and LEB The context is Jesus speaking to the unrighteous Pharisees (vs 20), so he would not be saying the Kingdom was in them, but rather that because the king himself was talking to them, it was in their midst.

[6] http://www.catholic.com/encyclopedia/kingdom-of-god

[7] http://www.sbc.net/bfm2000/bfmcomparison.asp

[8] 18:36 My kingdom is not of this world. By this phrase, Jesus meant that His kingdom is not connected to earthly political and national entities, nor does it have its origin in the evil world system that is in rebellion against God. If His kingdom was of this world, He would have fought. The kingships of this world preserve themselves by fighting with force. Messiah’s kingdom does not originate in the efforts of man but with the Son of Man forcefully and decisively conquering sin in the lives of His people and, some day, conquering the evil world system at His Second Coming when He establishes the earthly form of His kingdom. His kingdom was no threat to the national identity of Israel or the political and military identity of Rome. It exists in the spiritual dimension until the end of the age (Rev. 11:15). MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 48413-48415). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[9] Professing Christians and nominal believers in the church follow their own desires and flock to preachers who offer them God’s blessings apart from His forgiveness, and His salvation apart from their repentance. They have an itch to be entertained by teachings that will produce pleasant sensations and leave them with good feelings about themselves. Their goal is that men preach “according to their own desires.” Under those conditions, people will dictate what men preach, rather than God dictating it by His Word. MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 60857-60860). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[10] Or their sensuality; their licentious ways; their brazen conduct

[11] Or angelic majesties

[12] Eye: (Heb. ʿǎ·yin; Gr. ophthalmos) Both the Hebrew and the Greek can refer to the organ of sight. (Matt. 9:29; 20:34) Illustratively, the eye is an important way of communicating with the mind, which influences our emotion and actions. When Satan tempted Eve, he motivated her through what she saw with her eyes. Eve had seen this tree many times now “it was a delight to the eyes.” (Gen 3:6) Satan also tempted Jesus with the things seen by the eyes. (Lu 4:5-7) The apostle John spoke of “the lust of the eyes” as being “from the world.”(1 John 2:16-17) The Bible uses the “eyes” to express emotions, like “haughty eyes” (Pro. 6:17), “alluring eyes” (Pro. 6:25) “eyes full of adultery” (2 Pet. 2:14), “whose eye is evil [a selfish man]” (Pro. 23:6) or “an evil eye [a greedy man]” (Pro. 28:22). It can also refer to understanding.–Lu 19:42; Eph. 1:18.

[13] Or natural sexual relations; Lit natural use

[14] The two Greek terms refer to passive men partners and active men partners in consensual homosexual acts

[15] Sexual Immorality: (Heb. zanah; Gr. porneia) A general term for immoral sexual acts of any kind: such as adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between people not married to each other, homosexuality, and bestiality.–Num. 25:1; Deut. 22:21; Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 5:1

[16] Gr sarkos heteras; Lit went after different or other flesh; i.e., pursued unnatural fleshly desires

[17] Antichrist: (Gr. antichristos) The term “Antichrist,” occurs in the NT 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. There are many antichrists that began back in the apostle John’s day and will continue up unto Jesus’ second coming. (1 John 2:18) The antichrist is referred to as a number of individuals taken together, i.e., collectively. (2 John 1;7) Persons who deny Jesus Christ are the antichrist. (1 John 2:22) All who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ as the One and Only Son of God is the antichrist. (1 John 2:22; John 10:36; Lu 9:35) Some antichrists are apostates, one who left the faith and are now in opposition to the truth. (1 John 2:18-19) Those who oppose the true followers of Jesus are the antichrist. (John 15:20-21) Individuals or nations that oppose Jesus or try to supplant his kingly authority are antichrists.–Ps. 2:2; Matt. 24:24; Rev. 17:3, 12-14; 19:11-21.

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