I know, I know… Red flags are going up. You Drudge Report readers see the police siren and CNN regulars see the big red breaking news box. Anytime we get to that A-word, the antichrist, there’s questions, intrigue and sadly, too often very little hermeneutics and contextualization which leads to crazy beliefs.
There are 2 different antichrists in the Bible.
- The Anti-Christ in the End Times.
Scripture teaches that during a great tribulation period one man will emerge as an ultimate Anti-Christ. Through the centuries, there’s been speculation and studies by both scholars and people who were really paranoid, predicting numerous historical dictators and figures as this anti-christ. From Nero to Muhammad to various popes, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler and the last two presidents of the United States.
People have gone a little crazy with these antichrist and end times beliefs and that’s why those red flags go up. It even happens to me!
This is not what John is speaking about in these passages and in the book of 1 John. Instead, it’s:
- Anything that goes “against” or “in place of” Christ.
Anyone or thing that opposes Christ or seeks to supplant Him.
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 1 John 4:3
That’s what this is… a hostile spirit in this world but not just people: attitudes, mindsets, philosophies that supplant or oppose Christ and His teachings.
So what do we know about these antichrists that have been around since this was written and in the world around us right now according to verses 18-19?
- We are living in END TIMES where many around us will be opposed to Jesus. Almost every generation has predicted that we’re living in End Times but we don’t know exactly when that will be.
What we do know is that in the history of the world that God created and the story that He’s writing. Satan and people He has used have opposed God and God has been saving and reconciling people back to Him in the midst of it.
When Christ came to this earth, this upped the ante for Satan. The prophecied Messiah was finally here and it shook Satan. Christ’s arrival aroused Satan’s opposition to an intensity not seen before or since, resulting in the rise of many antichrists. After Jesus started his public ministry at 30, he was relentlessly opposed until his enemies finally nailed him to that cross and that same antichrist spirit continues to flourish to this day.
- These antichrists can be found both out in the world and departing from within the church.
19 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us.
He’s talking about false teachers and heretics that started out within the church. Those who are opposing Christ or taking his place are coming from within the church and we know that has happened throughout history. Some of the Religions that oppose and persecute Christians the most came from within a Judeo-Christian tradition and beginning.
For Christ and His church’s sake and witness, this does not mean that it’s wise to start calling everyone and anyone the anti-christ. But you need to know, many things around us will oppose not only what you believe, but what you love and hold dear to, Christ.
How important is this is in a day and age of antichrists (a culture that is antagonistic toward Jesus and Christianity)? You can have knowledge and discernment of who is against Christ and that you know Truth in the midst of those who deceive.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor