Question: Do we know who the “antichrist” is/are that is mentioned in the Bible?
Answer: The apostle John is the only one in the Bible to use the label “antichrist.” And this may very well be an important clue as to who he was talking about. In human societies various and different men have been called “the antichrist.” If John was talking about one person, that lived at a given time, being “the antichrist” then we know that mankind has misinterpreted and misunderstood time and again who and what an antichrist is, and thus have no clue as to what John is talking about. So with this in mind and doing a little history research let’s see who John was calling the “antichrist.
Under every law that God has given man there have always been those with their theories (false doctrines) that opposed God’s way. Under the Patriarchal and Mosaic systems of law idolatry was the huge problem that led people astray from God’s pure teaching. Under the gospel and in the infant New Testament Church there arose an enormous system of false teaching called Gnosticism (meaning knowledge) that was leading Christians away from the truth. This could very well be the false teaching that John addressed with the truth. We’ll understand more as we go further along.
Gnosticism (Gr. Gnosis) was paraded around in the early churches as a system of knowledge regarding which we are as Christians, how we develop in this life and how to properly worship God the Father. By the beginning of the second century early church fathers were in a large way writing against it as a major heresy troubling the churches of Christ. Yes they claimed belief in the Almighty God, but then they believed in and taught that there were other god’s also. They believed and taught that one god was responsible for creation and yet another god was responsible for heaven and earth. They also believed and practiced that the human race was made up of both spiritual and fleshly Christians; with spiritual Christians having the right to do whatever without having to answer for it. This led to the philosophy then that that the fleshly Christian was the result of an intellectual process and the spiritual Christian did not really belong to this world leading then to asceticism or a withdrawing from this fleshly world to the heavenly world.
In light of all this of this false doctrine, there are a few other features of Gnosticism that is worthy of consideration. 1. It is grounded in Greek philosophy thus it is heresy and predated Christianity. 2. Its attraction was a result of its design: a way of understanding early Christianity, but this only resulted in division. 3. That the creation was by a demiurge or subordinate god. 4. That Jesus did not come in the flesh. 5. It rejected physical baptism; physical elements of the Lord’s Supper, and the resurrection.
Now let’s see what the Bible says the truth of the matter is.
Out of a loving heart John addressed issues that wars against the souls of his spiritual family here on earth. He did not address problems from a personal point of view. This is the clue I was talking about earlier. In 1 John 2:18 we read; “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.” Here we hear John clearly say that that in the last dispensation of law (gospel) there will be many that opposes the gospel of Christ. Not one, a particular person, but many! Then in 1 John 2:22 John states; “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” Now, we learn from John that people that lie, and denying the Messiahship of Jesus is a way of lying, is antichrist! Also in 1 John 4:3 we understand that: “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 the context bears out that John is talking about the spiritual gifts that God bestowed upon the infant churches and their misuse and abuse of the wonderful gifts that were intended to help them grow spiritually. This is also antichrist! The point is this; we just simply cannot be true Christians while denying the authority of Christ (the gospel) in any way in our lives! And, last but not least, in 2 John 7 we find; “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.” Listen closely, any person that fails to believe the bible doctrine that Jesus was born of a fleshly woman is deceiving not only themselves, but others also. This is antichrist!
These teachings of John’s indicate a strong conviction of the truth on his part, do we have that same conviction?
Do you have a Bible question or comment you would like to have answered? Please call Marshall Stubblefield at 423-272-2404.