Text: I John 2:18-29
I. A good mystery thrills many people. It stirs the imagination. It gives puzzles to work on.
A. Mysteries within the Bible are popular with false teachers because they can use them as the launching point of all sorts of fanciful ideas.
B. “Scripture teaches Antichrist to be a political, religious individual, yet to come in the future (as of this writing), who is opposed to God and God's Christ and God's church.” Barry Gritters, “The Antichrist”, 2000
C. “The appearing of the Antichrist is a most appalling and momentous subject, and in the past, many well-meaning writers have deprived this impending event of much of its terror and meaning, by confusing some of the antichrists that have already appeared at various intervals on the stage of human history, with that mysterious being who will tower high above all the sons of Belial, being no less than Satan’’s counterfeit and opposer of the Christ of God, who is infinitely exalted above all the sons of God. It promotes the interests of Satan to keep the world in ignorance of the coming Super-man, and there can be no doubt that he is the one who is responsible for the general neglect in the study of this subject, and the author, too, of the conflicting testimony which is being given out by those who speak and write concerning it.” - Arthur W. Pink, “The Antichrist”, 1999
II. Who is the antichrist?
A. The word antichrist comes from a Greek word that means either “against Christ” or “substitute Christ”.
1. One dictionary describes it as a person who either claims to be Christ or is opposed to Christ.
2. Jesus used a similar word which is translated as “false Christs” in Mark 13:21-23 in discussing the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem.
B. I John 2:18 shows it is not a single individual, but a classification of many individuals.
C. I John 2:18 also shows that the antichrists were already arriving, which matches Jesus warning about the rise of false Christs before the destruction of Jerusalem.
D. Any person who is not with Christ is against Him - Matthew 12:30
1. The apostles represent Christ - Luke 10:16
2. One test is whether the person listens to the teachings of Christ - I John 4:1, 6
3. Only by keeping the commandments can we know Christ - I John 2:3-6
E. Anyone who loves this world is against God - James 4:4
III. Spotting the antichrist
A. Denies that Jesus is the Christ - I John 2:22-23
1. It is a sure fact that God made Jesus the Christ - Acts 2:36
2. Salvation in no other name - Acts 4:12
3. Unless we believe, we will die in our sins - John 8:24
B. Denies that Jesus is the Son of God (Deity) - I John 2:22-23
1. Jesus was born of God - Luke 1:31-35
2. Many testified to this fact - Matthew 16:16-17; 27:54; John 1:49; 20:28
3. One day everyone will acknowledge this fact - Philippians 2:8-11
C. Denies that Jesus came in the flesh - I John 4:1-3; II John 7
1. Philippians 2:5-8 - God took on the form of man to die for man
2. John 1:14 - God dwelt among us.
3. It was denied because some thought that anything connected with this world was sinful and God could not take on the aspect of sin.
4. But it was necessary for the rescue of mankind - Hebrews 2:14-18
IV. Where do these people get such fanciful ideas about this evil superhuman?
A. Daniel 7:7-8, 11-12
1. The fourth beast is the Roman empire – not some yet to be future empire. - Daniel 7:23
2. Horns represent rulers and here we have a small ruler who gains the appearance of greatness by its great boasts.- Daniel 7:24
3. This king will persecute the church, but will eventually be destroyed - Daniel 7:25-27
4. Basically this is a prophecy about the fall of the Roman Empire which would occur after it persecuted the church.
5. While you can say that the king is an antichrist, we are talking about a past event, not a future one.
B. II Thessalonians 2:3-10
1. A religious leader who exalts himself above every idol - II Thessalonians 2:4
2. Sits in the temple of God, pretending to be God
3. It had already started - II Thessalonians 2:7
4. Many see this fulfilled in the Catholic popes, but I know of nothing that calls the Vatican the temple of God.
5. The Roman emperors set themselves up as gods and demanded the people worship them.
6. The signs of the persecution was already beginning in Paul’s day. In fact, Paul died in the first wave of persecution conducted by Nero.
7. It was the Roman emperors who defiled the temple and destroyed Jerusalem.
8. Again, these men would be antichrists, but we are talking about a past event.
C. Revelation 13
1. Actually two beasts are described.
a. One is the political arm of the Roman Empire
b. The other is the religious arm that supported the politics of Rome.
2. Revelation was something that would soon happen - Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6-7
V. What does it mean for us?
A. There have been antichrists since the foundation of Christianity.
B. They will remain until Christ returns to put an end to all lawlessness
C. Will you be persuaded by such men? Do you love the truth?