Church of God, New World Ministries

Who Is The Antichrist? - Part 1

For nearly two thousand years, theologians and laymen have speculated about “the Antichrist.” Dozens of political, military and religious leaders have been dubbed “the Antichrist.” Usually, he is seen as the embodiment of all evil; a satanic, devious, plotting conspirator who seek the overthrow of God’s Church, and along with it the overthrow of democracy and freedom, if not the destruction of all mankind. Is there such a person? Is he alive NOW, and will he become prominent in world affairs in the future? Just WHO, or WHAT, is the infamous “Antichrist”?

Hundreds of books, tracts, articles and booklets have been written by hundreds of authors purporting to reveal the truth about the Satanic “Antichrist.”

Down through history, according to alarmists would-be theologians and cult leaders, he was Caligula, Nero, Diocletian, or any number of Roman Emperors; he was Pope Leo, Gregory, Pius, Sixtus, or he was Attila the Hun, Bismarck, the Kaiser, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, or Josef Stalin.

In more recent history he has been Pope John II, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, George H. W. Bush, Prince Charles, or has been identified with the “Illuminati,” the Masons, The Trilateral Convention, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Chase Manhattan Bank, David Rockefeller, or a group of Jewish multibillionaires who control the diamond trade. He has even been identified as the U. S. government.

He has also been any religious leader or cultic guru who falls in disfavor with his followers or rival religious organizations.

Almost any individual, organization, church or government which is feared or viewed with suspicion and hatred has been dubbed “Antichrist” by detractors.

Hundreds of tracts, pamphlets, articles, booklets and books have been written purporting to identity the “Antichrist” as one of the those above, or some other individual or church under suspicion. All such writings invariably attack the organization or individual with a combination of facts and suppositions; insignia, heraldry, badges of office, crowns, edicts, encyclicals, genealogies, religious connections and beliefs, and supposed hidden agendas.

In each case, once the unsuspecting reader has carefully viewed all the supposed “evidence” which charges that the one being “exposed” is indeed “the Antichrist,” many are convinced. To them, they have found the mysterious undercover person who will suddenly be thrust upon the world scene in the last days, to work horrible mischief against God and His people.

All such works are based upon (and this is axiomatic) a false assumption, carelessly taken for granted. Once the false assumption becomes not an assumption, but “fact” in the mind of the writer, all the dozens of “proofs” seem to take on substance. Working from this preconceived bias researchers “find” all kinds of seemingly cogent evidence in support of their assumption. Even the numbers of bars on a shield of heraldry (especially the number 6 or any multiples thereof), the kinds of animals (unicorns, lions, bears, eagles, oxen) displayed on state seals or badges; the dates of birth, dates of significant actions all become part of an elaborate, many-pronged structure of straws, which, taken together, (once the underlying false assumption becomes “fact”) seem to offer convincing proof, yet remains merely a strawman.

Numerology is especially important to those who pretend to have uncovered the “Antichrist.” Believe it or not, the Bible says nothing about a specific individual called “the Antichrist.”

For centuries, theologians have assumed that there is a direct connection between the “man of sin” mentioned by Paul in II Thessalonians and the “spirit of Antichrist” mentioned by the apostle John. While there may be some reason to connect the so-called “Antichrist” with the “man of sin” or the great false prophet of prophecy, such connection is indirect, perhaps merely implied, and not based upon a specific “Thus saith the Lord.”

Notice the description of “Antichrist” by the apostle John: “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.

“They went out from us; but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out; that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (I John 2:18-22).

“They” are obviously former members of God’s true church, who became apostate. Notice there were “many antichrists.” This is fatal to the dozens of books mentioned above, who specify some one individual, church, government, or organization. Each insists upon having found that one person or group who represents “the Antichrist.”

However, John uses the term in a broad general sense, applying it to defectors who were once in fellowship with the true church, but who became apostate. He is saying they were hostile to Christ, contrary to Christ, “against” Christ and His teaching. To encompass this thought, he chose his own newly coined expression “Antichrist.” But he said there are many antichrists!

Never did he say the so-called “Antichrist” was just one man! Certainly, he never applied it to a system, a church, a belief, a conspiracy, or a government!

Later, he warned, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

“And every spirit that confesses 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!

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I john 4:1-4). Here, John calls the “Antichrist” an it.” Not “he.”

His reference to “he that is in the world” seems obvious - Satan the devil. “He that is in you” refers to the indwelling presence of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Since the “spirit of Antichrist” was already in the world during the time of John, and since the passages in John’s epistles are not applied to one specific person, then it is obvious it could not apply to any of those who have been labeled “the Antichrist “down through history.

Clearly, John is saying that any “spirit” which is hostile to Jesus Christ of Nazareth and His gospel is contrary to Christ; is against Christ; therefore is “anti-Christ.” He does not identify any one specific person, nor does he attempt to do so. Rather, he characterizes his newly-coined term “Antichrist” as a contrary, adversarial Spirit, meaning attitude of mind, as well as an evil spirit from Satan, or Satan himself, but does not identify any one single individual.

Notice another important example: “And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, that, ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. 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” (II John 6 -7).

Here is the key to understanding what John meant. The “spirit of antichrist” is that of one who refuses to “confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh!” Did the popes of antiquity, or U.S. Presidents, or the Prince of Wales go about denying that Christ came in the flesh, or that He is capable of coming in the flesh today?

The expression “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh,” according to the apostle John, is the identifying sign of who is “a deceiver and an antichrist.” Therefore, it is of primary importance to understand what John meant.

The original Greek, transliterated, says, “Because many deceivers entered into the world, who not confessing Jesus anointed coming in flesh; this is the deceiver and the antichrist.”

The Greek word for “coming” is erehomai of which Strong’s says, er-khom-ahee; mid. Of a prin. Verb (used only in the pres. And impef. Tense, the others being supplied by a kindred (mid.).” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, p. 32, Greek Dictionary).

It is used in the “present progressive” sense; that is, in the “aorist,” and strongly implies “is coming” in the flesh, meaning that one who denies that Christ, through the power of the Spirit, can now dwell in us is one who is of the “spirit of antichrist.”

This is all important, for it goes to the very heart of the way to salvation! The miracle of the indwelling presence of Christ is mentioned very often in God’s Word.

Paul wrote, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

“And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you” (Rom. 8:9-11).

Jesus Christ is the firstborn among “many brethren”! Paul wrote,” ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). He is called the “firstfruits” from the dead:

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order. Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (I Cor. 15:22-23).

Jesus Christ is alive today. Through the power of the spirit, He is able to enliven, ennoble, vivify the repentant Christians; to dwell within the minds and hearts of those who repent of sin, are baptized, and receive the laying on of hands for the Holy Spirit (Acts. 2:38).

Listen to the beautiful words of Paul to the Ephesian church: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.

“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him” (Eph. 1:7-10).

The entire plan of salvation (To learn more about God’s Plan of Salvation, enroll in our Mini-Series “God’s Master Plan”) is encompassed in Christ; in His gospel, his example, his miracles, his sacrifice, and His life. Paul writes, “That he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love. May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).

Paul wrote to the church at Colossae: “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God. Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of his mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:25-27).

There are dozens of scriptures which refer to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit; to the fact that Christ, by the power of the Spirit, can “live His life over again” within us! Therefore, Christ is now coming in the flesh in the sense that he is living within converted Christians who are to be remade in His image! Those who deny this miracle; the very purpose of human life, are of the spirit of “antichrist.”

Paul said, “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ” (I Cor. 2:16).

Paul urged the Philippians to allow Christ to dwell more fully within them: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

The whole plan of salvation can be summed up in the fact that God is recreating after His own kind! At creation, Elohim (in the person of the one who became Christ in the flesh: John 1; Heb. 1) said “Let us make man in our image” (Gen. 1:26)!

Few, if any of the nominal “Christian” churches understand this simple, yet almost incomprehensible truth. Most are angered by it! Jesus Christ was accused by the Jews of “making Himself equal with God.” He told them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was I AM” (John 8:58). They were so furious! “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59).

Today, the majority of the nominal Christian churches reject the priceless truth that man can be born of God and become a member of the Family of Elohim! This truth infuriates them! They reject it completely! Yet, your Bible says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Christ was the Son of God; the firstborn among many brethren, who are also sons of God!).

“For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption (Greek: “Sonship,” implying more than legal adoption; actual sons), whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. 8:14-17).

Why should these plain scriptures make many nominal Christians furious? To them, it is blasphemy to say that God is recreating after His own kind; that Christians can become co-heirs with Christ; that we can be born of God by a resurrection, or an instantaneous change (I Cor. 15:50-52). And of what spirit are those who deny that Christ is presently coming in the flesh? The spirit of antichrist!

You and I have a human spirit. Paul wrote, “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). That spirit, only conscious when it is attached to the brain, is what gives man his humanity. It is where conscience, will, capacity, for love and emotion reside; where our decision-making ability dwells.

It is only because of the human spirit that we are superior to the animals. While evolutionists may call mankind the “hairless ape,” man is not an animal. There is a vast difference between the human mind with the human spirit, and mere animal brain.

Most have been deceived into believing the human spirit is a “soul” which has both consciousness and immortality. This is a lie. The words “immortal soul,” or “immortality of the soul” are nowhere in the Bible.

The human spirit gives us the ability to think, reason, feel a vast range of emotions, from hatred to love, from vindictiveness to compassion. It is the innermost psyche; it is what gives us our personality. Notice, “there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding” (Job 32:8).

The life of our father witnesses with the life of your mother that you are the child of them both. It took those two lives to produce your one life. When Paul explains that the Spirit of God witnesses with our human spirit that we are the children of God, he meant what he said.

But most think “children of God” is merely a smarmy “spiritual” title; an honorary, gratuitous appellation. They do not think of it as literal. When a smiling young wife tells her husband they are expecting, he does not think of it as a nebulous, “spiritual” something. No, he understands that their two lives have combined in her womb to produce human child!

When God’s word says we become a child of God, it means what it says! Paul put it this way: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).

God has “begotten” them by implanting His Spirit within them; connecting His Spirit with their human spirit, and so creating a new spiritual creature! Look again as what you just read about becoming God’s sons:

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption (literally: “Sonship”), whereby we cry Abba Father” (ibid. V. 15).

You refer to your human father as “father” because that is what he is. When we address our heavenly Father as “Father” we do so because that is what He is! He is quite literally our Father who has begotten us!

Notice again, what Paul said: “The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. 8:14-17).

What has Christ inherited? Why, the whole universe the power of God eternal life! If you and I are “joint-heirs” with Christ, we are to share, equally, in His inheritance!

Notice a little-read yet vitally important scripture: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).

When you were conceived in your mother’s womb, you became a new creature. Yet, your father and mother gave you, through the incredible, miraculous power of creation itself, the pattern, called DNA by science, which would determine your general physiognomy; your color and texture of skin, hair, and eyes; your stature; even inherited gifts and talents, such as a penchant for music or athletics.

So, it is in the creation of “new creature in Christ.” Through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, called the “mind of Christ” each newly-forming spirit takes on the characteristics of the Father; of the Family from which it came.

You became a partaker of the very nature of your parents. Do you have an older brother? You share very similar characteristics those of the family from which you both were created.

God says to us, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:3-4). Just as you are a partaker of the very nature of your human parents, so you can become a partaker of the very divine nature of the Family of God.

Watch for the next part of this intriguing subject.

 
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