The word antichrist evokes imagery of the end times, particularly of the book of Revelation. In Revelation, we learn about the end game of Satan along with his unholy Trinity, the false teacher, the antichrist, and Satan himself. John the Apostle in 1 John wants to help his readers understand that there isn’t only an Antichrist in the future, but also antichrist’s now.
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What Does the Bible Say about the Antichrist?
The antichrists John speaks of in 1 John 2:22 are those that deny Jesus is the Christ. These false teachers deny the Son and thus the Father because of the full identity of life and purpose shared by the Father and the Son (1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:23). The shared life by the Father and the Son is the life manifested to the people of God in Christ (1 John 1:2), proclaimed to them in the gospel (1 John 1:3), and promised to all who believe in Christ (1 John 2:25). Since Jesus is the Christ, our eternal life is sure in Him (John 3:36; 5:24; 1 John 5:11-12).
In 2 John 7, John says, “for many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 1 John 4:2-3 helps us understand that only those who confess the Son Jesus and the Incarnation are those who come from God. Those who do not confess Jesus is the Christ has come in the Incarnation are antichrists.
1 John 2:22 says, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” In 1 John 2:18, we read, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore, we know that it is the last hour.”
There are only four references to the word antichrist in the Bible, and I’ve just quoted all of them. The infrequency of the references does not mean that it is insignificant. Nor does it mean that these antichrists will represent the diabolical Antichrist in Revelation 13:1-10, or of the man of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
From Cerinthus in the 2nd Century to Joseph Smith in the 19th century and from the earliest Arians to Jehovah's Witnesses, today Christians face challenges to the deity of Jesus from all sides. Christians should not be offended to see these significant religions under the antichrist category or say that the fight is with them. Our real spiritual battle is not with flesh and blood, and people are not opponents to be won. Instead, we preach the gospel faithfully from the Word and make disciples of all the nations. We also contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
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