The most chilling mysterious figure of Bible prophecy is the Antichrist. Would you recognize this personality? How will this powerful, evil enemy of Christ appear on the world scene?
Scripture also describes the Beast and another called the False Prophet. Do they have anything to do with the Antichrist?
End time prophecies show that religious people will be deceived into accepting a counterfeit Christianity. Could this happen to you? You need to know the Bible and what it really says about the Antichrist.
Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we examine what could involve your future and the incredible truth regarding "Who is the Antichrist?"
Almost everyone has heard the term antichrist , but very few know what the Bible really says about it. Would you recognize the Antichrist? Does it only refer to some future evil archenemy of Jesus Christ at the end of the age?
It's important to read the Bible for what it actually says and believe the truth. Does antichrist apply to a specific prophesied figure or not?
Did you know that in the Bible, the word antichrist is mentioned in only four places? And they are all in the apostle John's letters.
The word anti means against, or adversary of, or in place of. So, the Antichrist means against Christ or adversary of Christ or in place of Jesus Christ. In 1 John:2:18, it says, "it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come."
In other words, many antichrists have already come. So, should the meaning of the term antichrist be limited to just the end time? Just the future? We see that passage says, no! The age of false teachers, the age of counterfeit Christianity, was already well under way by the time John wrote this.
We're told that there are more than one, and that they had been on the scene already when John wrote this almost 2000 years ago.
Did you notice something else about that passage? John also talks of one Antichrist. "You have heard that Antichrist is coming." You see, he uses the singular word--antichrist. It's interesting to note that when the word antichrist is singular, the original Greek doesn't indicate whether or not, in English, we should capitalize it. So, it's possible for antichrist to represent an individual person.
Now, John gives no indication of how this idea got started. In fact he says, "You have heard." Well, how did they hear it? Was it just a rumor? Did one or more apostles teach it? You see, we're not told exactly what they had heard.
So, some have speculated that Antichrist had become the popular terminology for what this prophesy was talking about. In fact an interesting prophecy over in of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 talks about this. It says, "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day"--talking about the Day of Christ's return--"that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God."
That's interesting because the word translated "opposes" literally means to be against, to be contrary to, or anti. No wonder this is why the man of sin that's mentioned here, is most often associated with the Antichrist. This end time False Prophet is a deceiver. He's a liar, a fraud, masquerading as a true minister! Revelation:13:5 describes this very same False Prophet. It says, "…he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority." No wonder the word antichrist itself became more like a proper name, representing all that was opposed to and contrary to Christ.
Now if we go to the second occurrence of the word antichrist in the Bible, it's found over in 1 John:2:22. It says, "Who is a liar but [the one] who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son."
You see here we find a general statement about this opposer. This passage teaches us that any liar, anyone who denies the crucial truth that Jesus was and is the Christ, the prophesied Messiah and Savior of the world, if anyone denies that, he is an antichrist. If anyone rejects and renounces Jesus, they are an enemy of both the Father and the Son.
Now when we turn over to the third occurrence of the word "antichrist," it's over in 1 John:4:3. It tells us that Antichrist is already in the world. Imagine--it's here right now! He says, "every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."
You see it's of another spirit; an ungodly spirit, an attitude against, an attitude contrary, an attitude that's an adversary of Jesus Christ. So if it opposes Jesus, where does it come from? It originates from Satan, the same spirit that is in the False Prophet, mentioned back here in verse one. It says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." You see it's evil to deny either Jesus being fully God or fully man.
It's interesting how this ties into that fourth occurrence of the word "antichrist." It's in 2 John:1:7. Let's notice what it says, "…many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
Would you recognize that kind of an attitude? Would you recognize that kind of an approach? God makes it perfectly clear that any teaching that contradicts Christ's identity, any teaching that denies the fact that He came as Immanuel, God in the flesh, God with us, any teaching that rejects Him as Savior of all mankind, is antichrist. And it says, the false teachers themselves are antichrists. They're opponents. They're enemies. They are adversaries of Jesus Christ.
It's no wonder that the Bible says that there is a past. There's a present aspect as well to this topic of the Antichrist. But did you know that's not the whole story. There is a threefold part to this prophecy--the future aspect, is what we'll discuss in just a moment.
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Now in a prophecy that's mentioned for the end time, for the time that lies just ahead, Jesus Christ warned us in Matthew:24:24. Here's Christ's own words, He said, "False christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect".
That's an amazing thing to think about. Would you recognize the ones that are antichrist? The Bible doesn't tell us exactly, it doesn't tell us specifically who the Antichrist is, but it does point to those corrupt teachings and their effect on you.
Back in 2 Thessalonians 2, we're told, "Let no one deceive you by any means…The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power…" It's with "signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved."
You see, that connects with what Jesus Christ Himself said. It shows that religious people, they will oppose many of the teachings of Christ. That includes professing Christians. Can you imagine that? Professing Christians will be deceived into accepting a counterfeit Christianity. Now, could you be fooled? Do you realize that even today many professing Christians have already been misled by a spirit of antichrist?
We're told, that there is one thing that can save you from being deceived; one thing that can protect you from being taken in. One thing can keep you from being fooled by this lawless one. What did it tell us? It said it takes a love of the truth! Now that means knowing the Bible and understanding what God's Word says and obeying the law of God. If you're going to avoid being deceived by this man of sin, this lawless one, you'd better know the law.
In fact that warning is expanded back in the book of Revelation 13. The chapter starts out by talking about a beast that represents a great empire that's just ahead--a government that will rule much of the earth. And then down in verse 11, it talks about another beast--describing a great religious leader at the time of the end. It says: "He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon."
Now that's interesting symbolism. It's really amazing when you think about it, because it shows that this specific religious leader takes on the image of Jesus Christ. He appears like Christ. He imitates the Lamb of God, but he speaks like a dragon. In other words, his power is from Satan the devil. Now this is the same one who is called the False Prophet in Revelation 19--a great false religious leader. This is a counterfeit leader! A counterfeit appearance who brings a counterfeit version of Christianity. Could you be taken in by it?
Verse 13 says: "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast."
Now, one day, just ahead of us, in the not-too-distant future, amazing miracles will come about. They'll occur so that everyone with hear about. It will convince even those skeptical people. Now can you imagine that? Can you imagine supernatural fire that will come down and destroy? I mean, it will be phenomenal! Other spectacular miracles will occur too. But many, many will wrongly believe that these miracles are from God. So here's the question: Will they convince you to follow the ones who perform them? Will you recognize the real power behind these lying wonders?
You see, the ultimate Antichrist is what's bringing these things about. The ultimate Antichrist is Satan the devil. This is a warning. This is a warning to you and it's a warning to me that Satan will work supernatural wonders from what will appear to be a reliable source. But the Bible says: "…no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." So we've got to be on guard. We've got to be careful. We've got to know what's going on because the adversary's handiwork, Satan's handiwork, it will appear godly.
He's the one who deceives the whole world. That's what it tells us in Revelation:12:9, he deceives the entire world! He tried to tempt Jesus Christ to sin. He's tried so many schemes to destroy Christ and to thwart God's plan for mankind. So it will be Satan behind these false miracles. He is the father of lies. He's the dragon. He's the great deceiver. He is the one that will influence the Beast and the False Prophet at the end of the age and he will lure the world's great armies actually to fight against Jesus Christ Himself! (Rev:13:4; 16:13-14).
So what do we do? What is the antidote to lying wonders? What's the remedy to deception? Know what your Bible teaches and be prepared! Remember, those who fall for the deception of the Antichrist are described as those who did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thess 2:9-10). Did you know the truth? Do you know it? Do you really know it? Do you love the truth? Does your life show that you are living the truth?
Remember Revelation:12:17. It describes God's true people, the ones loving and living the truth. Those are the ones, it says here, that "keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Are you one of those?
Pay close attention. Open your eyes. Scrutinize what's going on. Examine it! You see these so called miracles that will come about, they're done by those false teachers. Do they keep God's laws? Are they doing His commandments? Are they fulfilling His will? Or are they using those miracles as a hoax to trick people and cause them to follow a false religion that's opposed to God and His plan? Don't buy into it! Be on guard.
Remember, it's not only a future event. Even now Satan has corrupted the true teachings of God. So get to know your Creator. Follow Jesus Christ and study God's Word, then you won't deceived!
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Now, most recognize that we live in a dangerous world. There is so much religious deception all around us. We're going to talk about that for a moment with fellow host, Darris McNeely.
Darris, as we begin to think about getting into more specifically for our audience, the Antichrist. Can you explain more specifically what it is that we are talking about here? Maybe in simple terms?
Well I think you did a good job from the Scriptures Steve. But the idea of a spirit of the antichrist is anything that essentially will remove the centrality of the focus on the gospel, on Jesus Christ. This is something that when you look into scriptures, was around from the very beginning that Christ entered history as the Son of Man. He continually fought attacks against who He was. His legitimacy was attacked. His status as the Messiah was continually criticized and attacked. After His death, there was doubt as to whether or not He even was resurrected. As the Church developed a few hundred years into the story of the Church, the very nature of Jesus Christ was challenged; whether or not He really was God in the flesh.
So all of those things point of opposition to the truth…
Opposition to the true mission, purpose and focus of Jesus Christ as the Bible from the Old Testament and New Testament reveal His centrality, His central focus, His central place within the plan of God, and within the focus of God. Any teaching, any effort to remove that or to deny that, would fall under the idea of the Antichrist or the spirit of the Antichrist. And John was already addressing that whenever he addressed it there, in his letters there, in the epistles to John.
So we have got to make sure that when we think of this topic of the Antichrist, that we don't only think about it in terms of the future but all the way back in time there were these forces working against God and His way,
While He was on the earth and in the days, months and years following His death as well. Now in the future, Christ Himself even spoke to that. In Matthew 24, He said, as one of the very first signs of the end of the age, He said beware of false christs, those who come in My name claiming to represent Me and saying I am the Christ. This was the concern that He pointed to, reaching down into history, as a problem that would erupt at the time of the end. And really what we are talking about, is, many, deception at many different levels. A mass spiritual deception that Jesus was talking about, that removes people again from the truth, of God's purpose and plan, focuses upon wrong concepts, wrong ideas, as well as even wrong, false teachings that claim to represent the teachings of Jesus Christ and his as the Kingdom of God, but He warned were completely false.
Now when we put that in terms of what is coming down the line. There is deception right now--religious deception. Deception of people who consider themselves to be Christians!
Now how does that tie in then with the future and this Antichrist that is just over the horizon?
Well Revelation 13, you covered that scripture there, that talks about a False Prophet along with this individual named as the Beast. This concept that Revelation 13 talks about, of the False Prophet is this appearance of a charismatic religious leader in the time of the end who begins to create signs and wonders. He's actually talking about, it's actually talking about miracles by which he deceives the world, getting people to worship the Beast and this whole concept of this political religious combine that arises. That is a personification, this False Prophet.
So we are talking about an Antichrist in that sense?
At that stage in the history and in Bible prophecy, this spirit of deception is personified.
And we see these miracles happening…
And those miracles are probably the means by which there will be this mass deception because people want a miracle. A whole religious…
Seeing is believing?
Yes. Whole religious faiths are based upon miracles. People would love to see a miracle to strengthen their faith and it is the one thing that I think Revelation 13 identifies for all of us to understand, is a miracle does not and should not be the sign or the soul strengthener of our faith. In fact, Jesus himself would not get caught in that trap laid by the devil for Him.
In Matthew 4, when Christ was tempted by Satan, he said if you are the Son of Man, command that these stones be made bread. In other words, do a miracle to show who you are! Christ wouldn't do it. Then he took Him up on the pinnacle of the temple, and he said if you are the Son of Man, throw yourself off! Angels will come and gather You up in their arms. Again, another miracle to prove who you are--Jesus would not do it!
Now we find then, at the time of the end, there is this charismatic religious figure who deceives the world by lying wonders and by miracles. Don't get caught in the trap of looking for a miracle to be a sign of faith, to be a sign of truth, or to strengthen your faith, belief in God or anything about that relationship. That by itself, will not do it and is a sure sign from the Scriptures of this deception at the time of the end that again will turn people away from Christ and against His teachings.
So as we being to understand these things, it comes to a personal level as well. That, watch out that you're not deceived. That word keeps coming up over and over again through almost all of those passages. So, when we think about those in terms of this great deception, what can we do? How should that affect our lives right now?
One wants to be very sure that they don't get caught into this deception. Probably one of the best things that you've already quoted from 2 Thessalonians 2 where again it talks about this man of sin, this whole concept of end time deception, and in that scripture in 2 Thessalonians, it talks about having a love for the truth--seeking out the truth of the Bible, the truth of the Scriptures, the truth about Jesus Christ and His role in the plan of God--all of that which is the truth. And Christ said Thy Word is truth! That is, having that love to find the truth, to seek the truth, and once it's found to hold onto the truth, is one of the best anecdotes to this deception at the time of the end.
One of the interesting things that I think about right near all those passages we quoted that talked about the Antichrist, used that word, right near those passages are those quotes where John said, you know, the love of God is keeping His commandments. If you love God, keep My commandments. There is a law that we need to be doing that's showing proof of what we really love, what we really believe is true.
The commandments, the ten commandments, are certainly God's basic, eternal, spiritual, immutable law that help to define a true way of life in relating to God, relating to our fellow man, certainly our beginning point, and in fact it's one of the things at this time of the end time deception, Revelation 12 shows is going to be a sign or a marker of the people who Satan, the dragon, goes after--those who keep the commandments of God! So there is, there is a very real part that the commandments play in walking in and holding to a way of life that is the truth and loving the truth that defines God.
And that's a challenge. To be able to sort out all of those various prophecies and then apply them to yourself, apply them to me, so that we do the truth! Not just know the truth, but we've got to do the truth. In fact, we hope that you'll remember our free offers today, because it helps you to understand what the Bible says. We've got The Book of Revelation Unveiled will help you grasp the truth about future prophecy and what you need to do about it. It doesn't have to be a mystery.
And then of course we also have The Good News magazine. You can get it. You can call us. Online; go to BeyondToday.tv or try that toll free number. It's 1-888-886-8632. You can get that booklet. You can order the magazine. Get your hard copy. It's a unique magazine that will absolutely help you understand God's purpose and why it matters to your life.
So when Christ returns, all antichrists will be removed! And the ultimate Antichrist, Satan the devil, will also be bound and put away (Rev:20:1-3). So finally, mankind's governments will be replaced by the wonderful Kingdom of God that will be established right here on earth. We have so much to look forward to, when Jesus Himself will reign and rule forever! (Rev:11:15).
Thanks for joining me today. Now if you missed some of today's program, you can go online and catch the entire program at BeyondToday.tv a nd don't forget our free offers. Be sure and tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week, at this same time, for another edition of Beyond Today .
I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.