by Mike Ratliff
18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 1 John 18-24 NASB)
The doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church says that it is the only true church while all others are false. At the same time most solid evangelical Christians I know hold to the truth that the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is an “antichrist.” The word that is translated from the Greek that is rendered as “antichrist” in the New Testament is ἀντίχριστος (antichristos). It is made up of two words, ἀντί(anti), which means “instead of or against,” and χριστος(christos), which means “anointed one.” The ἀντί prefix may be reference to “substitution or opposition.” The word ἀντίχριστος is found only in 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 1:7. Paul refers to a man whom he calls “the man of sin, the son of perdition, and wicked one” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8. He refers to “the one opposing” in 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Most believe that John’s ἀντίχριστος is the same man that Paul is referring to. This man will attempt to assert the fulfillment of God’s Word in himself and will attempt to set up his own throne.
“Antichrist is the pope and the Turk together. A beast full of life must have a body and soul; the spirit or soul of antichrist is the pope, his flesh or body the Turk. The latter wastes and assails and persecutes God’s church corporally; the former spiritually and corporally too, with hanging, burning, murdering, etc. But, as in the apostles’ time, the church had the victory over the Jews and Romans, so now will she keep the field firm and solid against the hypocrisy and idolatry of the pope, and the tyranny and devastations of the Turk and her other enemies. – from Tabletalk by Martin Luther”
In the passage I placed at the top of this post from 1 John 2:18-20, we see that this age we are in now is the time of the antichrist. He says that many antichrists have come. To be sure, since John’s time hundreds or even thousands more have come. Look at v19. John says that these “antichrists” went out from the church, but they were not of the church. Interesting! If they had been of the church they would have remained or continued. John insinuates in the latter part of v19 that the fact that they were exposed as antichrists was God’s doing so that it would be made plain that they were not real believers.
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
25 This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. 1 John 2:20-27 (NASB)
What does one who is an antichrist do? He is a liar. He denies that Jesus is the Christ. He denies the Father and the Son. They will claim to be able to come to the Father outside of the Son. They say that Jesus Christ is not God. They attempt to suppliant Jesus as the Christ. On the other hand John tells us that all who confesses the Son has the Father also.
1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:1-6 (NASB)
Christians must be wary of any person claiming to have special revelation from God. The LDS folks now claim to have solidified the truth – It has now come together. What was it before then? They claim that Jesus is a created being, an angel, not God. So then, are the Mormons of the spirit of the antichrist? What about the Jehovah Witnesses? Don’t they claim that Jesus isn’t God as well? Are they then of the spirit of the antichrist? I say that any teaching that dilutes the real purpose and person of our Lord Jesus Christ is of the spirit of the antichrist. If people teach that Jesus just wants His people to be healthy, wealthy and prosperous then that is a different Jesus. Is that of the spirit of the antichrist as well? What about a Jesus that simply wants people to pray a sinner’s prayer, but live any way they want? Is that Biblical? Wouldn’t that be teaching a different Jesus as well? Any presentation of Jesus other than the one He gave us of Himself in scripture is false and is of the spirit of the antichrist.
All of these are examples of people who are of the spirit of the antichrist. However, there will be a final antichrist that is also the man of sin. Is he the Pope? The antichrist attempts to take Christ’s identity. He tries to take his place. Without a doubt, the office of Pope is an example of an antichrist. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that each Pope in infallible and speaks for God. They hold that His words actually take precedence over the Word of God. The Roman Catholic Church also teaches that salvation comes only through it whereas the Bible says that salvation comes only to those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
I don’t’ know who the antichrist is. I can point to many who are of the spirit of the antichrist, but until he is revealed we do not know. We must be wary and watchful and obedient to all Jesus told us to do until He returns. After all, God is Sovereign and His children are in His hands. No matter what happens to them physically, they are spiritually and eternally safe in His almighty protection.
Soli Deo Gloria!