Alpha & Omega - The Beginning and The End of The Revelation of John

Antichrist

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The word antichrist occurs five times in the Bible, none of which are in the Revelation of John. The idea of the antichrist however is found throughout the Bible in several books, gospels, and epistles.

Greek Definition

Greek: antichristos, an-tee'-khris-tos.
Definition: an opponent of the Messiah.
Translated: antichrist.

Occurrences

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. (1 John 2)
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4)
7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2 John 1)

In the Amplified Bible there are three additional (albeit parenthetical) mentions:

8 And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming.
9 The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels—[all of them] lying wonders—(2 Thessalonians 2)
4 Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world. (1 John 4)

There are zero mentions in either the New Century or the Good News editions.

Idea References

The idea of the antichrist can be found in other passages, including the following:

  • Daniel 7:24, 25; 8:23-25
  • Matthew 24:5, 23, 24
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 8-10
  • Revevelation 13:1; 17:1-18

Commentaries

Thayer's Lexicon

The author of the Apocalypse discovers the power of Antichrist in the sway of imperial Rome, and his person in the Emperor of Rome, soon to return: Rev. 13 and 17.[1]

Easton's Bible Dictionary

Antichrist Against Christ, or an opposition Christ, a rival Christ. The word is used only by the apostle John. Referring to false teachers, he says (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7), "Even now are there many antichrists."
(1) This name has been applied to the "little horn" of the "king of fierce countenance" (Dan. 7:24, 25; 8:23-25).
(2) It has been applied also to the "false Christs" spoken of by our Lord (Matt. 24:5, 23, 24).
(3) To the "man of sin" described by Paul (2 Thess. 2:3, 4, 8-10).
(4) And to the "beast from the sea" (Rev. 13:1; 17:1-18).[2]

Smith's Bible Dictionary

An'tichrist This term is employed by the apostle John alone, and is defined by him in a manner which leaves no doubt as to its intrinsic meaning. With regard to its application there is less certainty. In the first passage—1 John 2:18;—in which it occurs, the apostle makes direct reference to the false Christs whose coming, it had been foretold, should mark the last days. In v. 22 we find, "he is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son;" and still more positively, "every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of antichrist." Comp. 2 John 1:7; From these emphatic and repeated definitions it has been supposed that the object of the apostle in his first epistle was to combat the errors of Cerinthus, the Docetae and the Gnostics on the subject of the Incarnation. (They denied the union of the divine and human in Christ.) The coming of Antichrist was (believed to be foretold in the "vile person" of Daniel's prophecy, Daniel 11:21; which received its first accomplishment in Antiochus Epiphanes but of which the complete fulfillment was reserved for the last times. He is identified with "the man of sin, the son of perdition." 2 Thessalonians 2:3; This interpretation brings Antichrist into close connection with the gigantic power of evil, symbolized by the "beast," Revelation 13:1;... who received his power from the dragon (i.e. the devil, the serpent of Genesis), continued for forty and two months, and was invested with the kingdom of the ten kings who destroyed the harlot Babylon, Revelation 17:12, 17; the city of seven hills. The destruction of Babylon is to be followed by the rule of Antichrist for a short period, Revelation 17:10; to be in his turn overthrown in "the battle of that great day of God Almighty," Revelation 16:14; with the false prophet and all his followers. Rev. 19. The personality of Antichrist is to be inferred as well from the personality of his historical precursor as from that of him to whom he stands opposed. Such an interpretation is to be preferred to that which regards Antichrist as the embodiment and personification of all powers and agencies inimical to Christ, or of the Antichristian might of the world.[3]

Matthew Henry

1Jo 2:18-19 Here is, I. A moral prognostication of the time; the end is coming: Little children, it is the last time, v. 18. Some may suppose that the apostle here addresses the first rank of Christians again; the juniors are most apt to be seduced, and therefore, "Little children, you that are young in religion, take heed to yourselves that you be not corrupted.’’ But it may be, as elsewhere, a universal appellation, introductive of an alarm to all Christians: "Little children, it is the last time; our Jewish polity in church and state is hastening to an end; the Mosaic institution and discipline are just upon vanishing away; Daniel’s weeks are now expiring; the destruction of the Hebrew city and sanctuary is approaching, the end whereof must be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined,’’ Dan. 9:26. It is meet that the disciples should be warned of the haste and end of time, and apprised as much as may be of the prophetic periods of time. II. The sign of this last time: Even now there are many antichrists (v. 18), many that oppose the person, doctrine, and kingdom of Christ. It is a mysterious portion of providence that antichrists should be permitted; but, when they have come, it is good and safe that the disciples should be informed of them; ministers should be watchmen to the house of Israel. Now it should be no great offence nor prejudice to the disciples that there are such antichrists: 1. One great one has been foretold: As you have heard that antichrist shall come, v. 18. The generality of the church have been informed by divine revelation that there must be a long and fatal adversary to Christ and his church, 2 Th. 2:8–10. No wonder then that there are many harbingers and forerunners of the great one: Even now there are many antichrists, the mystery of iniquity already worketh. 2. They were foretold also as the sign of this last time. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect, Mt. 24:24. And these were the forerunners of the dissolution of the Jewish state, nation, and religion: Whereby we know it is the last time, v. 18. Let the prediction that we see there has been of seducers arising in the Christian world fortify us against their seduction. III. Some account of these seducers or antichrists. 1. More positively. They were once entertainers or professors of apostolical doctrine: "They went out from us (v. 19), from our company and communion;’’ possibly from the church of Jerusalem, or some of the churches of Judea, as Acts 15:1, Certain men came down from Judea, and taught the brethren, etc. The purest churches may have their apostates and revolters; the apostolic doctrine did not convert all whom it convinced of its truth. 2. More privately. "They were not inwardly such as we are: But they were not of us; they had not from the heart obeyed the form of sound doctrine delivered to them; they were not of our union with Christ the head.’’ Then here is, (1.) The reason upon which it is concluded that they were not of us, were not what they pretended, or what we are, and that is their actual defection: "For, if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us (v. 19); had the sacred truth been rooted in their hearts it would have held them with us; had they had the anointing from above, by which they had been made true and real Christians, they would not have turned antichrists.’’ Those that apostatize from religion sufficiently indicate that, before, they were hypocrites in religion: those who have imbibed the spirit of gospel truth have a good preservative against destructive error. (2.) The reason why they are permitted thus to depart from apostolical doctrine and communion—that their insincerity may be detected: But this was done (or they went out) that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us, v. 19. The church knows not well who are its vital members and who are not; and therefore the church, considered as internally sanctified, may well be styled invisible. Some of the hypocritical must be manifested here, and that for their own shame and benefit too, in their reduction to the truth, if they have not sinned unto death, and for the terror and caution of others. You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, etc., 2 Pt. 3:17, 18.[4]

Misunderstandings

Prophecy writers in modern times have jumped to some conclusions of who the antichrist is by wrongly joining two prophecies - Daniel 9:24-27 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. The reason this is important to understand is because such a conjoining of prophecies requires a temple to yet be built in Jerusalem before Jesus can come. The differences in mindset are significant.

The one allows believers to look up now for the coming of Jesus (i.e. his coming is imminent) while the other does not. The other first puts the focus on the antichrist and him taking possession of a yet to be built temple.

Here are the conjoined verses:

Daniel 9:24-27

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the weekhe shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9)

2 Thessalonians 2

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2)

An earlier mindset (commentators before modern times) suggested that the prophecy of Daniel was fulfilled in Christ and that it was the Messiah who "confirmed" or "fulfilled" the "covenant" i.e. the Law of Moses; and that it was the Roman soldiers under Titus (70 A.D.) who caused the sacrifices and oblations to cease when they destroyed the temple and everything inside.

The fires that raged in the temple melted the gold which ran down between the cracks causing the soldiers to overturne every stone (as prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24:2) to get to the gold. 

Purpose

Paul was the author of the Man of Sin prophecy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4. The word "temple" used there by Paul is different from the Old Testament temples. On the Church and Temples pages we show how Paul used the word temple to represent our bodies (2 Cor. 6:16) and the body of believers (Eph.2:21).

The purpose of the antichrist is to do more than break a treaty with the Jews. He will oppose Christians and will oppose them at their center, i.e. The Church. When the Man of Sin prophecy is read in full, it is better understood:

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2)  

Who

The Man of Sin prophecy is geared toward believers, for only a believer could "fall away." 

When

Since the Man of Sin will be destroyed at the coming of Jesus and because he will reign for 3.5 years (according to John), we can deduce that he will arrive 3.5 years before the coming of Jesus and after The Rapture.

Why

The purpose of the Man of Sin is to sift the true believers from the fakes.

How

The way the Man of Sin will persuade will be through power, signs, and lies. The lies will be against God and Christ and his power will be enough to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Mat.24:24)

Notes

  1. Thayer's Lexicon, 1889.
  2. M.G. Easton, Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
  3. William Smith, An Dictionary of the Bible.
  4. Matthew Henry, "Commentary on 1 John 2", Blue Letter Bible, 1 Mar 1996.