Only in the epistles of John the term ‘antichrist’ is used. There we read: “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come… Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist–he denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:18,22).
In these verses we already learn a lot about antichrist. The antichrist denies God the Father and the Son. He does this by opposing them (anti means ‘against’), and he does this by trying to take the place of Christ (anti also means ‘in place of’). So the antichrist drives us away from the true worship of God.
The spirit of the antichrist
Another important thing that we read here, is that the antichrist is both one and more persons. Every person who denies Jesus displays the spirit of the antichrist. In that sense there are many antichrists. And especially every person who tries to take the place of Jesus and get the honour that Jesus deserves, displays the spirit of the antichrist. Every Christian in every age has to fight against this spirit, by believing what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ.
But John also warns about the one antichrist who will be coming. At the end of the world, before Jesus comes back, there will be one person in whom the spirit of the antichrist will be most clearly present. He is THE antichrist.
The antichrist announced in the Bible
In 2 Thessalonians 2 Paul is writing about this antichrist. He writes that he will be ‘lawless’, that he will do ‘counterfeit miracles’, and that he will be involved in ‘every sort of evil’. Through that, he will deceive many. This will include many people who are members of a church, but never personally embraced Jesus as their Saviour. Jesus Himself calls us not to be deceived by ‘false christs and false prophets’ (Matthew 24:24).
In Revelation 13 we read more about the antichrist in visionary language. From this chapter we learn that the antichrist will have both political and religious power. He will have great power, and he will persecute God’s children and put them to death.
We do not need to be afraid
What are the lessons for us from the Bible’s teaching about the antichrist? First, we are called to suffer for our faith in ‘patient endurance and faithfulness’ (Revelation 13:10). Second, when we are God’s children, we have believed in the truth, and we do not need to be afraid that we will be deceived (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Third, we do not need to be overly concerned about who the antichrist will be. History will make it clear. But we do need to be on our guard against the spirit of antichrist- everything that opposes Christ or wants to take His place in our live.
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