Identity of the Antichrist (2)
In a [cref identity-of-the-antichrist prior post about the Antichrist] we have discussed the identity of the Antichrist by looking at the Bible passages that specifically mention him. We continue here with a look at two more passages on the subject.
Antichrist in 1 John 4:3
“…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 is already in the world.”
We are now introduced to a more specific definition of the Antichrist and we learn that his appearance is no longer in the future. It is in the present. According to most scholars, 1 John was written in the last decade of the first century (1)Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, 1970, pg. 989-899. This means that this “spirit of Antichrist” has been with us for just over 1900 years! This is a stunning blow to those who teach the still future coming of this awful one.
This passage also sharpens our definition of the identification of the Antichrist. We learn that the Antichrist is one who does not accept (confess) that Jesus is from God. Of course, there is a sense in which all men are from God so the writer must have more in view here. Clearly, he speaks of one who rejects the “specialness” of Jesus. The Antichrist rejects the idea that Jesus is the “only begotten” (2)John 3:16 of God who was sent by God for our salvation.
Nevertheless, our definition still remains broad. At this point, every faith group that rejects Jesus as the Son of God is included in our definition. However, John does give us some contextual help in our quest to discover the correct identify. But the definition will still remain broad. In 1 John 4:1-2 John is warning the Christians of false teachers. He specifically has in mind those who deny that “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (vs. 2). Who were these people and what do we know about them?
John likely is thinking of an arising false teaching that we know as Docetic Gnostism. These people sought to combine aspects of Christianity with the doctrines of paganism. The gnostics faltly denied the very idea of the incarnation. The Docetics knew this was difficult for Christians to accept so they argued for two Christs: An earthly Christ and a heavenly Christ. The net effect was the same as they also denied the incarnation as taught in Scripture. It is quiet likely that John has this group of people in mind as he warns of the presence of the AntiChrist.
Antichrist in 2 John 7
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist.”
Like the preceeding verse, the Antichrist is already present in the world. There is no one Antichrist but rather many who have already gone out into the world. The firm identification here is between those who reject the fleshly coming of Jesus Christ and the Antichrist.
Such a rejection of his incarnation strikes at the very core of Christian teaching and doctrine and thus truely is anti-Christ.
Antichrist in Popular Culture
Probably one of the most influential proponents of Dispensational Premillenialism is Hal Lindsey. He burst onto the publishing scene in 1970 with The Late Great Planet Earth. In this book he promotes his view of the end of times. In doing so he leads many away into false teachings.
In Chapter 9 of his book Lindsey speaks of “The Future Fuehrer.” This person is synonymous with the Antichrist according to Lindsey. He writes of his future coming:
“His conquest will be rapid, he will be very strong and powerful, and there will be an air about him which is self assured and proud” (3)Lindsey, The Late Great Plant Earth, 1970, pg. 106.
He continues by predicting that he will be given an earthly throne upon which he will rule. Lindsey obviously fails to note the Scriptures we have referenced. In fact, Lindsey does not include even one Scripture reference directly mentioning the Antichrist – not even one in the entire chapter! Why? Perhaps because Scripture would stand in the way of his best selling book.
Antichrist is an interesting, fascinating subject terribly misunderstood by most. Let is read and study the truth and avoid the errors made by those like Lindsey.
References ↑1 Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, 1970, pg. 989-899 ↑2 John 3:16 ↑3 Lindsey, The Late Great Plant Earth, 1970, pg. 106