There is much confusion these days in Christianity about the Antichrist. Much of evangelical Christianity is looking is looking for a future Antichrist. The thinking is that the Antichrist has been predicted to appear at the end of time just as the church is raptured to be with Jesus. Most evangelical pastors teach that he is going to make a pact with the Jews for three and a half years and so forth.
What does the Bible have to say about the Antichrist?
With all the teaching out there on end time events that mention the Antichrist very little is mentioned in the Bible. The term Antichrist comes from the Greek word ‘anticristos’. Only two book sin the whole Bible specifically mentions the term Antichrist. Both of them were written by the same person. We find the term Antichrist in 1 John 2:18,22, 1 John 4:3 and 2 John 1:7.
Here is 1 John 2 18-22 in context:
“18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”
Here we find John telling us that the antichrist denies that Jesus is the Christ. The title of Christ was another way for the Jews to say Messiah. So here we find John saying that a person is the antichrist if they deny that Jesus is the Messiah. John goes on to say in verse 23 that if we deny Jesus we are also denying God the Father.
Let’s look at 1 John 4:1-3:
“1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that[a] Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
In this chapter we find John warning about many false prophets. He tells his followers to test the prophets. He tells them that if the spirit comes from God it will confess that Jesus came in the flesh. If it can’t make that confession it is not from God. Now notice a key part of this text at the end of verse 3. John tells us that the spirit of the Antichrist “is now already in the world.” In other words, this denial of Jesus coming in the flesh was already being taught in John’s day. In a future article we will discuss this business of Jesus’ flesh. For now let’s continue to the last instance of the word antichrist in the Bible.
2 John 1:7 reads as follows:
“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.”
John once again warns that anyone who denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is an antichrist. This was clearly an important issue that John was dealing with in his followers’ churches.
What can we learn about the Antichrist?
John teaches us that there have been many antichrists in history. The main error that the antichrist teaches was already being taught during the time the books of 1 and 2 John were being written. This error is a key part of Satan’s deception of God’s people at the end of time. Learning to identify this false error is the difference between being on God’s side or simply thinking we are on God’s side.