Who, or What is the Anti-Christ?
by Peter Salemi
PDF Version Here
Millions of People, students of the Bible are expecting a great personage called "the Anti-Christ." A great world leader to burst on the world scene to solve the problems of the world today, but secretly is a Satanic leader that the Devil has possessed. Is this true? What does your Bible say?
It is amazing how from Genesis all the way to 1&2 John, that the word "Anti-Christ" nowhere appears in the Bible! Not even in the book of Revelation does this word appear, yet millions of people believe that this so-called leader will hold the world in its grasp, and bring about total anarchy on the earth in the very near future.
Four Times in the Bible
The word "Anti-Christ" is only mentioned four times in the Bible, in 1st & 2nd John, that's it! So to understand what John is speaking of, these are the only letters we must go to understand what he is speaking of. There are no other places in the Bible, with this word, or else we can use the "line upon line" principle the Bible tells us to use, to understand scripture. Yet, it's amazing how people have taken these 4 passages in the Bible and have expanded it, with their interpretations of what it’s supposed to mean.
Weird religious and Satanic imagery people have used to prove their position of the Anti-Christ that you see on many websites and videos, showing Satanic symbolism. Even Hollywood has gotten into the act with movies like "The Omen," showing this Anti-Christ being born of Jackals, having evil powers, being brought up and groomed to rule the world. But, these are MAN'S INTERPRETATIONS OF THE BIBLE!
What Does the Bible Say?
What is the true meaning of "Anti-Christ"? The answer may shock and surprise you!
First, "John never uses the word ψευδόχριστος false Christ (Mat 24:24; Mar 13:22). While the false Christ is merely a pretender to the Messianic office, the Antichrist 'assails Christ by proposing to do or to preserve what he did, while denying Him.' Antichrist, then, is one who opposes Christ in the guise of Christ. Westcott's remark is very important, that John's sense of Antichrist is determined by the full Christian conception of Christ, and not by the Jewish conception of the promised Savior." (Vincent’s Word Studies, emphasis added). So to try and compare this scripture with what Christ said in the Olivet prophecy about false Christ's is baseless.
"Anti" means "opposed" to, or "against" "contrary" to Christ (ibid). Not one who stands instead of Christ; As we shall see in the scripture this is true. The Pulpit Commentary concurs, “The predominant idea is that of opposition to Christ, and rivalry of Christ, rather than merely of counterfeiting Christ. If ἀντίχριστος were formed on the analogy of ἀντιβασιλεύς and ἀνθύπατος, it would mean ‘vice-Christ, vicar of Christ.’ It is, however, analogous to ἀντίθεος ἀντιφιλόσοφος and the Greek for a counterfeit Christ is ψευδόχριστος (Mat 24:24).” (Emphasis theirs).
But notice, the above source says, “the Antichrist ‘assails Christ by proposing to do or to preserve what he did, while denying Him.’’’ The Anti-Christ is Christian, but in name only but denies Christ! How does anti-Christ do this? The Bible shows us!
John says, "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.
"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us" (1 John 2:18-19). Why is it, that the many tracts and books never quote John when he says that there are "many antichrist's" in the world? Not one ultimate leader called Anti-Christ!
Notice the term “antichrist.” The word is “ἀντίχριστος antichristos” (Strong’s #500) This word, “It seems, however, that the Scriptures employ the term both with a general and limited signification. In the general sense, with which Bishop Hurd's idea mainly agrees, every person who is hostile to the authority of Christ, as Lord or head of the Church, and to the spirit of his religion, is called Antichrist; as when the Apostle John, referring to certain false teachers who corrupted the truth from its simplicity, says, “Even now are there many Antichrists” (1Jn 2:18; 1Jn 4:3), many who corrupt the doctrine and blaspheme the name of Christ, i.e. Jewish sectaries (Lucke, Comment. in loc.).” (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, under article: Antichrist” emphasis added) So this word is applied in a general sense of the word to anyone, or to “false teachers” plural, as a group of people who are called “antichrists” An example would be seeing on television a group of people holding a prayer vigil outside of a church people would say those people are “Catholics” or “Baptists.” The same sense is applied to this word. John calls people who preach and teach certain doctrines are called in a general sense of the word “antichrist.”
Notice that John used it in a broad, general sense and these were in the true church of God! They attended church services with them and fellowshipped. But these left the church, why? He is saying they were hostile to Christ, contrary to Christ, “against” Christ and His teaching, yet they still called themselves Christian!
There were many like that. Simon Magus is one. He wanted the power of God, but for his own gain (see Acts 8:9-25). The Apostle Paul said that there were grievous wolves in the church that would not spare the flock but to draw away "disciples after them" (Acts 20:28-30). Jesus also warned of people who think that if they kill you, they do God a service (John 16:2-3). Jesus also said many would come "in my name" saying "I am the Christ" that Jesus IS the Christ, and “deceive many” (Matthew 24:5). They were Christian in name but were against the true teachings of Christ and the apostles!
The next verse where the word "antichrist" is found is in verse 22 of the same chapter, and clarifies, “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 2:22). A person who denies Christ is an antichrist. Notice it is used again in a general sense, meaning this can be anyone. Those who deny the Son of God are an antichrist. He is against Christ.
What is this denial? Not obeying Christ, and believing in his teachings, but rejecting them. Paul says, “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
“Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (Titus 1:13-16).
How do we “know” God? “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1 John 2:3). They profess to know God, so they call themselves CHRISTIAN, but in works they deny him; they don’t obey and keep his commandments!
John then continues, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4). John said he that denies the Father and the Son, is a liar, and is ANTICHRIST! People who refuse to keep his commandment are an ANTICHRIST!
What “commandments”? “ethically used of the commandments in the Mosaic law...” (Thayers). The Law of God in the Old Testament, written on our hearts in the renewed Covenant Hebrews 8:10: Jer 31:31. Mounce says, “an injunction; a precept, commandment, law, Mat 5:19; Mat 15:3; Mat 15:6;[all scriptures using this word refer to the commandments in the Old Testament]” (English Dictionary of the NT, Emphasis added).
Jesus also said that many would do many "works" in "his name" and Jesus says to them, "depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:23). Christian, in name, but not in obedience. One who denies him rejects what Christ taught, about his divinity, obedience to God's law etc...is an antichrist!
Interesting how many churches profess to do the works of God, yet say God's law is done away. Jesus never said that, but the opposite (Matthew 5:17). Many churches do the exact opposite of what Jesus taught. So rings true when Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
"And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23).
Or, "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). Who calls him "Lord"? Buddhists? Muslims? Atheists? No, Christians! People calling themselves Christian, yet work iniquity, which is sin and sin is breaking God's laws (1 John 3:4). Teaching the law is done away! Whoever does this is AN ANTICHRIST!
Now let's move on to the next two verses about Antichrist, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
"Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
"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.
"'Ye are of God. little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:1-4; 2 John 5:7 says the same and calls them "deceivers").
The word "false prophet" doesn't necessarily mean one who predicts the future. But can also mean "false teacher." Peter says, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." (2 Peter 2:1).
Now John says we must "try" or "test" the spirits to see whether they are from God. These "teachers" must be tested to see if they are from God. Like the Bereans in Acts the 17th chapter, that "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (v.11). Comparing scripture with scripture. Isaiah wrote, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (8:20). The word of God is how we test the spirits.
Then John says, "Hereby" meaning "by this" "Know ye the spirit of God." This person when tested if he passes, we know he has the spirit of God, because the truth of the Bible is revealed only by the spirit of Almighty God, "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). Anyone can read the Bible. But it's the spirit of God that gives him understanding! This how we know truth from error as John said, we know who has the spirit of God!
Then John says, "Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:" The word "come" is erchomai. Strong's says, "er'-khom-ahee Middle voice of a primary verb (used only in the present and imperfect tenses, the others being supplied by a kindred [middle voice] word..."(#2064).
It is used in the "present progressive'' sense; that is, in the "aorist,'' The JFB Commentary says, "a twofold truth confessed, that Jesus is the Christ, and that He is come (the Greek perfect tense implies not a mere past historical fact, as the aorist would, but also the present continuance of the fact and its blessed effects) in the flesh ('clothed with flesh')" (emphasis theirs and mine).
The word "aorist" comes from Ancient Greek ahóristos "indefinite" (Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon ). It is "an inflectional form of a verb typically denoting simple occurrence of an action without reference to its completeness, duration, or repetition" (Aorist - Merriam-Webster Dictionary). It's a continual action. The word "come" here strongly implies "is coming'' in the flesh. It's a continual action. What does this mean?
Paul wrote, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). How does Christ dwell in us? By the Holy Spirit, "And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us...Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit" (1 John 3:24; 4:13). This is Christ continually coming in the flesh, by Christ dwelling in US, by the Holy Spirit. This is all important, for it goes to the very heart of the way to salvation!
The miracle of the indwelling presence of Christ is mentioned very often in God's word.
Paul wrote, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:9-11).
Jesus Christ is the FIRSTborn among “many BRETHREN"! Paul wrote, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). He is called the “first fruits” from the dead:
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:22, 23).
Jesus Christ is ALIVE today. Through the power of the spirit, He is able to enliven, ennoble, vivify the repentant Christian; to DWELL within the minds and hearts of those who repent of sin, are baptized, and receive the laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).
Listen to the words of Paul to the Ephesian church; “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
“Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself;
"That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" (Ephesians 1:7-10).
The entire plan of salvation is encompassed in Christ; in His gospel, his example, his miracles, his sacrifice, and His life. Paul writes, "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
"May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
"And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3: 1619).
Paul wrote to the church at Colossae: "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
“Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians l :25-27).
There are dozens of scriptures which refer to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit; to the fact that Christ, by the power of the Spirit, can "live His life over again'' within us! Therefore, Christ IS NOW COMING IN THE FLESH in the sense that he is LIVING within converted Christians, who are to be remade in His image! This is what the Bible calls, the "begotten" process of the Holy Spirit in us. We are begotten of God, and to eventually be "born again" by the resurrection to eternal life. Those that confess this vital truth have the spirit of God!
Then John says, "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." Here John refers to antichrist as an "it" not a leader. Those who DENY this miracle; of the process of begotten and then born into the family of God, the very PURPOSE of human life, are of the spirit of "Antichrist." (Read our booklet the Purpose of Human life for more details).
The whole plan of salvation can be summed up in the fact that God is recreating after His own kind! At creation, Elohim (in the person of the one who became Christ in the flesh: John 1; Hebrews 1) said "Let us make man in our image" (Genesis 1:26).
Few, if any, of the nominal "Christian" churches understand this simple, yet almost incomprehensible truth. Most are angered by it
Jesus Christ was accused by the Jews of "making Himself EQUAL WITH GOD.'' He told them, "Verily verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). They were so furious! "Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by" (John 8:59).
Today, the majority of the nominal Christian churches REJECT the priceless truth that man can be BORN OF GOD and become a member of the FAMILY OF ELOHIM! This truth INFURIATES them!
They reject it completely! Yet, your Bible says, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God [Christ was the Son of God; the FIRSTborn among MANY BRETHREN who are also sons of God!].
"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption [Greek: "sonship" implying more than legal adoption; actual sons] whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God!
"And if childless then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8: 14-17).
Why should these plain scriptures make many nominal Christians FURIOUS? To them, it is blasphemy to say that God is recreating after His own kind', that Christians can become co-heirs with Christ; that we can be BORN OF GOD by a resurrection, or an instantaneous change (1 Corinthians 15:50-52). And of what spirit are those who DENY that Christ IS PRESENTLY COMING IN THE FLESH? THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST!
John concludes, "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he [the Devil] that is in the world.
"They [False Teachers] are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
"We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (vv.4-6).
Those that know the truth are the children of God, and Jesus dwells in us, and we understand error from truth. Those who reject these truths are not of God but of the world. The worldly Christians churches that deny these things are antichrist, in which John says are "many." Nearly 2 billion worldly Christians are out there under this spirit of denying Jesus Christ. Count yourself blessed if you have the spirit of God!
If you wish to donate to the BICOG Please click here