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Jewish Awareness Ministries
P.O. BOX 1808
ANGIER, NC 27501
by Rev. Stan Rosenthal
Fixation on the identity of the Antichrist has become a major pastime for many Christians who delve into end day prophecy. Many hypothesize who this evil, satanically empowered or possibly even Satan possessed individual might be. Does he perchance come out of the United States, European Union or perhaps one of the Middle-East Moslem countries? This attraction or fascination is somewhat understandable since he is the most visible and egregious role player during the worst time in all of earth’s history, past, present or future, known as the Tribulation or Daniel’s seventieth week.
However intriguing this line of attentiveness could become, it is even more important to concentrate and understand the more significant features of the entire landscape. It’s not his personal identity or from whence he hails from, but what is his purpose and real origin. And there is one more thing we need to know. How are the disciples of Messiah Jesus, the true children of God the Father and co-heirs with Christ, to respond during this age of Christianity?
There are only five definitive places in the Bible that the term “Antichrist” appears and they are all in the first two epistles of the Apostle John (I John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). But there are many more biblical passages that provide considerable insight concerning the who, what, where, when, how, and why of this one we refer to as the Antichrist. These shed much more detail relating to the dastardly deeds he will perform, as well as his very nature, character and the allegiances he establishes.
The Apostle John’s Insight into Antichrist
Under divine inspiration, John provided a marquee, a term or brand that identifies the features of any one person or group of persons who live between the first century (his day) and the glorious return of Jesus the Christ to establish the Messianic Kingdom upon earth (Revelation 19:11-20:6). The term Antichrist is a compound word which provides an earmark easy to recognize. The two words, one a preposition, “anti”, and the other a noun, “Christ”, are united to reveal the true nature of the children of Satan. While it is true that all human beings are categorized as children of Satan until they are born again due to their inherited sin nature embedded from inception, by no means do they all have this specific stigma attached to them (Ephesians 2:1-4; I John 2:18-23). Within this enormously large group of humanity which is separated from God, there is a subdivision that is the target of John’s attack.
“Christ” or “Messiah” means anointed. In the context of the whole Bible, encompassing the Hebrew Scriptures as well as the Greek New Covenant, this term refers to the promised redeemer and savior of Jews and Gentiles alike. He is none other than deity, the incarnate Son of the living God. The remainder of the composite word Antichrist reveals the complete story. The Greek preposition “anti,” means to stand against, oppose, and can include the idea of replacing. According to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, it is simply “the adversary of the Messiah” (Christ).
John’s First Aspect of Antichrist
John’s warning of the dangers emanating from the lies, deceitfulness, heretical teachings, aspirations and all of the evil forthcoming from Antichrist is first cited as a future end day prophetic occurrence.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come…” (I John 2:18a).
There are three points to take from John’s initial introduction to Antichrist. First it should be noted that he has set the stage to be in the “last time”. While John considered his day as the beginning of the last time, the context surrounding this verse demands that here he is fully aware of a specific individual who will come to the forefront to fulfill the many prophecies scheduled to occur during the seventieth week of Daniel. To further underscore this event taking place during the end day Tribulation period, review Jesus’ teaching confirming Daniel’s prophecies leading up to Christ’s second coming in His Olivet Discourse. Secondly, John used the term in his first mention of Antichrist as a proper name. He was speaking of an individual person who would appear sometime in the future. And third, John understood that his readers were already aware of this truth. Compare the many scriptural passages that unambiguously direct us to recognize that John is referring to the worldwide dictator that comes on the scene performing Satan’s bidding, who empowers Antichrist to oppose and seek to replace Christ Jesus (Daniel 7:23-25; 8:9-11; 9:26-27; 11:36-45; Matthew 24:15, 29-31; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12; Revelation 11:7; 13:1–5; 14:9-10; 17:12, 13, 14, 17; 19:20; 20:10).
John’s Second Aspect of Antichrist
John’s second aspect of antichrist does not refer to a specific dictatorial personal Antichrist empowered by Satan in the future Tribulation period. But, rather he is speaking about a growing, sizeable and very dangerous group. Here referred to as many antichrists.
“…even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (I John 2:b).
John’s emphasis, which surfaces in his warnings to the church, is mainly about a group of spiritually menacing children of Satan. These do not represent all who are spiritually dead and living in the world ruled over by Satan. But rather, they embody an elite army within this group and have become active enemies of God and His Christ during the Christian era. They are performing the bidding of their ruler, even if in an unconscious state of mind. As mentioned earlier, generally speaking, “the last time” began in John’s day. The term “Even now” in the overall context of John’s Epistles refers to the day in which he was living, and continues into at least the middle of the Tribulation Period. It is at this point that the personal dictatorial Antichrist is able to wield his power. In essence the many antichrists are busy preparing the way for the Antichrist’s rule.
It All Revolves Around Jesus
A more concise and scathing description of these “many antichrists” is forthcoming from John in the following divinely inspired statements sited in his first two epistles written to Christians throughout Asia Minor and ultimately to all of Christ’s disciples in general. At the time the Apostle John penned these epistles (ca. AD 90), the heretical doctrines of Gnosticism and Docetism were seeping into the Church. Among the list of their many major erroneous teachings, Christology would have surfaced to the top of the heap. Undoubtedly, John was moved to confront this issue head on. And he did so as God’s spokesman, sparing no harsh words, they were indeed antichrists.
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:18-19).
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father” (1 John 2:22-23).
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:3).
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7).
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 10).
Below are the highlights of John’s reproach to all antichrists no matter whether in the first century or the twenty first century for they all contain the same spirit of Antichrist. That is the nature of, the character of that one worldwide dictatorial personal Satan empowered future end day Antichrist. He will come on the scene to oppose and seek to replace the Messiah/Christ who is Jesus, the fully human son of Miriam, and at the same time totally deity for He is the incarnate Son of the one and only true living God. He is the one who voluntarily gave His life to die on the cross and to shed His blood in order to purchase sinners from the slave market of sin and escape the wrath of God’s damnation. He is the one who victoriously rose from the grave on the third day in His physical human but glorified body. He will return to earth in His glorified human body to reign and rule over the world from Jerusalem, Israel. In the meantime He is interceding in His followers behalf as He sits on the right hand of the Father in His glorified human body (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 1:1, 16; 16:16; John 1:1, 14, 17-18; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19; John 3:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; Matthew 24:3, 30; 25:31; Revelation 19:11-16; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 7:25; Revelation 12:10-11).
* They apparently at some point claimed or professed falsely to be part of the Christian belief system.
* They are liars and deceivers.
* They deny that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah.
* By denying the Son they by default have no relationship with the Father.
* They deny that Jesus Christ has literally come in the flesh.
* They have transgressed (crossed the boundaries) and do not embrace the doctrine of Christ.
* They are not to be afforded any credibility.
The Apostle John dogmatically stated the truth concerning Jesus in his Gospel by his name.
”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father,) full of grace and truth…No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:14, 18).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name“ (John 20:31).
Beware! John’s warning is very applicable today. There are indeed many deceiving teachers among us who are antichrists dressed in sheep’s clothing. And they are multiplying rapidly.
We are advancing closer and closer to the day when the final end day Antichrist will appear on the scene. With this in mind, can you state unequivocally that you are ready for the Rapture?
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