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About Doctrines

Antichrist



With the popularity of novels about the End Times, most people understand the general idea behind the "anti-christ."  He is the evil foe of Christians and Christianity.  The task of the antichrist is to destroy man's faith in God and demand worship for himself.  The question is, How does this view compare with the teachings of Scripture?

Surprisingly, the term antichrist only appears in the letters of John (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7), although many of the modern translations do not use the term. The first passage mentioned suggests the term was well known in the early Christian community.

1 John 2:18 (NCV)
My dear children, these are the last days. You have heard that the enemy of Christ is coming, and now many enemies of Christ are already here. This is how we know that these are the last days.

This translation supports the meaning of opposition rather than falseness.  The antichrist opposes Jesus rather than attempting to be a false Christ.  When viewed in this light, there are many other passages of Scripture which support the nature and concept of the antichrist.  These include Deut. 7 and 2 Thess 2:1-10, although the Old Testament passages are less clear since the Person of Jesus is much less developed in the Old Testament.

In John's letters, the antichrist is as much a concept as a person.  The antichrist is the one who denies Jesus.

2 John 7 (HCSB)
Many deceivers have gone out into the world; they do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Paul develops a fuller picture of the antichrist, the man of deception and lawlessness, in 2 Thessalonians.  Here, we find the antichrist is the tool of Satan.  He opposes every god and object of worship, demanding the same for himself.  This passage sees the world becoming more and more evil as Satan attempts to make his final stand.  The antichrist or man of lawlessness is a specific person here, not just a concept. 

2 Thessalonians 2:1-10 (HCSB)
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him: we ask you, brothers,2 not to be easily upset in mind or troubled, either by a spirit or by a message or by a letter as if from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has come. 3 Donít let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he sits in Godís sanctuary, publicizing that he himself is God. 5 Donít you remember that when I was still with you I told you about this? 6 And you know what currently restrains him, so that he will be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way, 8 and then the lawless one will be revealed. The Lord Jesus will destroy him with the breath of His mouth and will bring him to nothing with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satanís working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved.

With this description in hand, it becomes clear that the Beast from the Sea in Revelation 13:1 is the antichrist, the man opposed to Jesus incarnate.  The Beast from the earth in Rev 13:11 is the false prophet or false priest who directs the worship toward the antichrist.  The beast of Rev 11:7 is also probably the antichrist. 

With all of these descriptions it is clear the antichrist is the final earthly enemy of the Church, believers, and Jesus Christ. The descriptions of popular fiction may not be as far from the Bible as many think.  He is the final enemy.

 

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