This was a question recently posed to me. When I answered “Yes!” you should have seen the eyes of the questioner.
You know the next question – don’t you? “WHO is it?”
This has been a question that has plagued not only our generation but also every generation since the first century. We have head all kinds of answers to this question. During the first century the Emperor Nero was thought to be the antichrist. Martin Luther believed that the Pope of his day was the antichrist. Back in the 1940s there were people who thought it was Hitler. During my lifetime here are some of the more popular names that have been bandied about Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or Pope Benedict XVI. Even leaders from America have been on the lists. I bet you can guess who some of them are. They include a couple of our former presidents – Bill Clinton & George Bush. Even our current president Barack Obama has not escaped this title.
What does the Bible have to say about this?
Well 1 John 2 teaches that there are many antichrists in the world today not just one.
The term Antichrist is never used in Scripture to identify a particular person. Rather Paul uses a number of titles to describe this person. Terms like “man of sin” and “son of perdition” the come from 2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV. Other translations call him the “man of lawlessness” and the “son of destruction.”
John in his book Revelation refers to two people (the false prophet and the beast) who scholars have identified as the ultimate Antichrist.
So what do I believe on the subject of the antichrist?
There are a number of facts that come from my study.
The only Biblical writer to us e this term is John in his epistles (think letters) to individual churches. You can check them out - 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7
In the Greek the term “anti” carries two meanings “against” and “instead of”
This spirit of antichrist has been present in the world since Satan declared war on God and helped bring about the fall of mankind (see Genesis 3). This person opposes and attempts to substitute for God.
There have been and will be many antichrists who embody this spirit and teach false doctrine. Anyone who denies Jesus Christ is the Son of God and has come in the flesh is an antichrist, regardless of how good of a speaker or teacher they might be!
And finally there will be a single person who will head up the ultimate rebellion against God and His Son in the last days and he could certainly be called the antichrist since he will attempt to replace Christ in the eyes and hearts of his followers.
Test the spirits and the teaching of those who come to you with Biblical teaching. If they are not teaching the truth of Christ the Apostle John calls them antichrists!
Teaching the truth