Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Who Is The Antichrist?

Over the years there has been a proliferation of statements from various religious leaders warning men of the coming of the antichrist and the end of time.  A popular description of the antichrist suggests that Christ’s return to the earth will be immediately preceded by the appearance of some powerful political personality who will make a dramatic appearance in history.  One advocate said, “Overnight, he will become the by-word of the world.  He is going to be distinguished as supernatural…He will have a magnetic personality, be personally attractive, and a powerful speaker.”  Through the years the antichrist has been variously identified as Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Kruschev, Castro, Kissinger, and Hussein, among others.  There has never been agreement among proponents as to his identity.
However, the Bible plainly identifies the antichrist and he doesn’t fit the description commonly attributed to him by various religious leaders of today.  The term antichrist is found only five times in scripture and they are all in the epistles of 1st and 2nd John (1 Jn. 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn. 7).  Note the description found on the pages of divinely inspired literature.
First, we learn that the antichrist is a contemporary with the apostle John.  John says that “even now many antichrists have arisen” (1 Jn. 2:18).  He further states, “and now it is already in the world” (1 Jn. 4:3).  John did not speak of him in terms of a person or organization that would exist in some remote future.
Second, we learn that there were many antichrists who lived in John’s day (1 Jn. 2:18; 2 Jn. 7).  Present-day proponents try to attach a single mysterious figure, political ruler, or dictator of our modern era to the identity of the antichrist.  Such attempts are in error.
Third, we learn that the antichrists are former Christians who left the faith.  John mentioned that the antichrists “went out from us…” (1 Jn. 2:19).  In other words, they were individuals who had at one time been of God’s spiritual family, but were no longer so.  They had renounced the gospel by which they were saved.  Thus, the antichrist is not some world political leader who is yet to come.  They were people who were alive in John’s day and had turned away from the Lord’s church.
Fourth, we learn that the antichrist was one who denied the deity of Jesus.  John asks, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?  This is the antichrist…” (1 Jn. 2:22).  Any person, then or now, who denies Christ’s deity is against Him.
Fifth, we learn that the antichrist was one who denied the incarnation of Christ.  John said the person who did not confess that Jesus is come in the flesh is the antichrist (1 Jn. 4:2-3; 2 Jn. 7).  One of the most amazing facts of the redemption story is that the divine Son of God was born of the virgin Mary, lived as a human and died as a human (Phil. 2:5-8).  To deny the humanity of Christ is to be at odds with divine revelation.
Christians need not fear the political, economic, or military developments of the present day.  The Bible does not speak of a world political figure that will suddenly appear on the scene in advance of the second coming of Jesus.  In fact, there will be no “early warning system” in advance of Christ’s coming.  We are urged by Christ to “be ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:44).  Just live each day as if it were the last.  By so doing, we prepare ourselves for the end of time.