by Kent Heaton
Few words bring to mind such fear as those who look for an “Antichrist” to lead the forces of Satan against the Son of God in a great apocalyptic conflagration in the final days. The dramatists of the left behind religions of our day predict the terrible end of the world in a horrific battle of the “Antichrist” seeking to destroy the people of God. Pews fill with trembling hearts at the sound of him who is called the “Antichrist”. Minds are void of what the true nature and teaching of the antichrist really mean in the Bible.
The apostle John is the only writer to use the term “antichrist” and he never mentions him in Revelation. In his first epistle, he refers to the antichrist four times. “Little children, it is the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour” (I John 2:18). “Who is the liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denieth the Father and the Son” (I John 2:22). “And every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already” (I John 4:3). John writes about the antichrist again in his second epistle. “For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (II John 1:7).
Was John writing about a single individual who bore the mark of 666 on his forehead? Was he the incarnate image of Satan who would take humanity into a world of destruction and fear? An examination of the Bible will quickly dispel any accepted wisdom of the modern-day prophets as nothing more than human philosophy and deceit.
John introduces the reader to the antichrist in I John 2:18 when he warns of the “last hour.” The disciples of the early church believed the Lord would return at any time (see I Thessalonians 4:13-18). John exhorts the saints to be faithful in the face of the trials faced by those who did not believe that Jesus had come in the flesh as the Son of God. John recognizes that MANY antichrists were in the world. In I John 2:22, John defines the character of the antichrist – anyone that denies that Jesus is the Christ. Again in I John 4:3 he declares that any who would deny that Jesus is not of God is antichrist. The final reference to the antichrist is found in John’s second epistle when he again affirms that those who deny that Jesus did not come in the flesh are antichrist or deceivers.
Jesus told the Jews in John 8 that He was the son of God. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for except ye believe that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). They rejected Jesus as the Messiah and killed Him. The foundation of salvation is stated by John in his gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1-2,14; see also I John 1:1-3).
The antichrist is the majority of the world that even today do not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. There is no single person who is the antichrist. The antichrist is every person who refuses to believe Jesus was with God, was God and came in the flesh. If you do not believe Jesus is God’s Son and refuse to obey him, you are “against-Christ”, hence, “antichrist.” The only means of salvation is to believe Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life (John 14:6). There are no other means of salvation.