Who is the Antichrist?

Modern day prophets are not only seeing signs of the impending (and I might add imaginary) Battle of Armageddon, they also claim to know that the Antichrist is about to be revealed. But, listen carefully, dear friend -- there is no such person. Don’t be misled -- the Bible does not specify a person as the Antichrist. Do you doubt it? Read further, please. “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many Antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us ... Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:18, 19, 22).

Advocates of the premillennial dispensationalism are quite vocal about the Antichrist. One might not be able to explain what a “premillennial dispensationalist” believes, but can certainly identify him by the way he describes the “Antichrist.” Dispensationalists believe that the “Antichrist” is a man, now living, who will soon rise to the position of world-dictator. He is supposed to be produced by a ten national confederacy, commonly thought of as the European Common Market, although some do not know for sure about that.

This world dictator is called “The Future Fuehrer” in the book, The Late Great Planet Earth, authored by Hal Lindsey. Lindsey says, the “Antichrist” will “come to power just before the return of Christ” (page 140), and that “according to all the signs, we are in the general time of his coming” (page 133). According to Lindsey, “The time is ripe, and getting riper for the Great Dictator, the one we call the ‘Future Fuehrer.’ This is the one who is predicted in the Scriptures very clearly and called the ‘Antichrist’.” (page 92). Mr. Lindsey suggests that he believes all of this will take place within a forty-year period from 1948. That is the year in which the state of Israel was established (page 43). This means this imaginary “Antichrist” should appear by the end of 1988! Lindsey’s speculations have proved (or at least should prove) embarrassing to all who have been influenced by his baseless speculations. His case for his entire doctrine of the “Antichrist” is founded on a gross misinterpretation of plain Scriptures.

The dispensational view of the “Antichrist” has absolutely no basis in Scripture. The Greek word antichrists appears five times in the New Testament, all in the letters of John (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). These are the only instances where the “Antichrist” is discussed in Scripture, yet in Lindsey’s chapter on “The Future Fuehrer” (pages 87-102) he does not make reference to a single one of these passages in First John! Is this not significant? We suggest that his failure to use the information in First John is because his theory and plain Scripture do not agree.

Another speculator who holds this unscriptural view of the “Antichrist” is Mr. Tim LaHaye. His book, “The Coming Peace in the Middle East,” page 144 contains this unfounded guess.

“Gog comes from the North, the Antichrist from Europe. Gog the prince and Magog the country are predicted to come from the ‘north parts’ (Ezekiel 38:15). According to Daniel 7:8, 24, and 26, the Antichrist comes out of Rome, a mixed blood of Romans, Greeks, and possibly Jews.”

When you simply turn and read the references LaHaye cites you will quickly question just how he extracted such ideas from these passages. There is only one basis for such forced speculations -- a biased mind that is intent on making the news media a guide for Bible study. Furthermore, books such as Daniel and Revelation, highly symbolic in nature, cannot be regarded as oracles of future political and military developments. But, sadly that is precisely what the millennialists and dispensationalists do. Here are some plain facts about the biblical doctrine of the antichrist.

1. John does not designate one specific person; as the “Antichrist.” In fact, 1 John 2:18 says that “many antichrists have come.” See also 2 John 7. Yet, Lindsey insists that the “Antichrist” is one specific person.

2. John does not describe an “Antichrist” as some diabolical character who will make his appearance in the 1980’s, as does Lindsey. Instead, John affirms that there were “Antichrists” in the first century! “Even now many antichrists have come...” (1 John 4:3).

3. John’s usage of the term “Antichrist” is a general term which suggests a disposition of unbelief and rebellion toward God. In this vein, there are several ideas in the world, both past and present, which are “Antichrist.”

Atheism is Antichrist in its denial of the Father (1 John 2:22). Anyone who denies that the Son became flesh and dwelt among men is Antichrist (1 John 4:2,3). Persons who deny the divinity of Jesus Christ (as do the “Jehovah’s Witnesses”) are Antichrist (John 1:1; 20:28). “Oneness” Pentecostal groups who refuse to distinguish between the Father and the Son, as separate persons within the Godhead possess the spirit of Antichrist (1 John 2:22). The Roman Catholic Pope in usurping the role of Christ, actually claiming to be the representative of Christ on earth -- is Antichrist by claiming authority which is not his own (Matthew 28:18). Finally, any person who rejects the authority of God’s Son is anti- (against) Christ.

Fanciful theories of men are often exploded by honest investigation of simple Bible teaching. Such is the case with the premillennial dispensationalist’s view of “Antichrist.” Do not be duped by such ungodly rhetoric. Adolf Hitler, Charles Manson, John F. Kennedy, Mikhial Gorbachev, Saddam Hussein, and a host of others throughout history have been called The Antichrist. Men have written books, Hollywood has made movies, and preachers have preached sermons about The Antichrist. Before we go further, let me flatly state, the Bible says absolutely nothing about a man called The Antichrist!

There are four passages which speak of antichrists, an Antichrist, but never The Antichrist. In 1 John 2:18 John says at the “last time” there are to be antichrists, but he identifies the era of which he is speaking by saying, “even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.” Clearly the expression, “last time” cannot refer to the end of time because John said, it is “now” and that was about 2,000 years ago!

The writer of Hebrews said that ever since the first century we have been living in the “last days” (Hebrews 1:1,2). The expression last days or last time, then, does not refer to the end of time, but rather the last or final dispensation of time, that is, the gospel age (John 1:17). Now what is an Antichrist? According to 1 John 2:22, it is anyone who “denieth that Jesus is the Christ” (verse 22). This would include first century Gnostics, atheists of our generation and all infidels between.

No singular world figure will arise and be called The Antichrist. John says, “every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God and this is that spirit of Antichrist (1 John 4:3). There are many deceivers in the world who confess not that Jesus is the Christ. They are called antichrists (I1 John 7). The word literally means “against Christ.” We know men have been against Christ since He came in the flesh and will continue to be against Him even until the end of time. They are all antichrists.

The idea that some charismatic figure will arise, deceive the whole world, come to worldwide dominance, and be called The Antichrist is nothing other than contemporary mythology resulting from poor Bible exegesis.

Here are the words of the late and respected E.G. Sewell.

“The word Antichrist means against Christ, opposed to him. A man that in any way opposes Christ is an Antichrist. Denying that Christ is divine, denying the existence of such a being, is one way of opposing Him. But there are people all over the land that do deny Christ, that utterly refuse to believe on Him. Then many who are the pretended friends of Christ are in their teaching and practice opposed to Him and are among the very worst enemies He has. They pervert and hide the truth and put the doctrines and commandments of men in the front. Whenever you see any of these things, you see Antichrist.” Questions Answered, page 21.

The Antichrist is the personification of ageless evil. He is not identifiable with one nation, institution, or person. As long as Satan struggles against Christ through his agents, the Antichrist is at work. Only when Christ shall have put down all rule and authority and delivered the kingdom back to the Father will the struggle end. Please don’t be misled by those who oppose Christ by false speculations relative to Armageddon, Antichrist, and the end of time. They really are blind leaders and if you follow them you are a blind follower and Jesus said they are headed for the ditch.

Back to Religious Issues