52 years ago
For me, this topic started on this thread
). But because it started veering a bit off-topic there, I wanted to give it its own thread. This topic is also related (to some extent) to the king of the north thread (here
). But again, to keep that thread from moving into a non-topic direction I wanted to create a new thread for the subject of "AntiChrist."
There is an interesting dichotomy
between the WT view of "AntiChrist" and how it is viewed in non-WT circles. For the WT, the AntiChrist is more or less a religious entity, represented by a class of persons. For those of non-WT persuasion, "AntiChrist" seems to be more of an end times politico-religious world leader. An individual who takes over rulership of the world and leads it into the great tribulation at Christ's return.
I hope, in this starting post, to lay out what the Bible specifically says about this subject, as well as possibly related - or mistakenly related - ideas on this topic.
What the Word Antichrist Means
Antichrist is Strong's # 500
and is a compound of anti
(Strong's # 473
) and Christos
(Strong's # 5547
). AMG's The Complete Word Study Dictionary - NT
defines it as, "literally an opposer of Christ or one who usurps the place of Christ, found only in John's epistles and collectively meaning all who deny that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Messiah is come in the flesh (1Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2Jn 1:7).
I think some feel it must mean "in place of" rather than "against" or "opposing." But Jesus' words at Lu 11:23 make the difference somewhat moot. Someone trying to 'replace' the real Christ would be acting 'against' the real Messiah's interests. And John's description of "antichrist" and "many antichrists" does not emphasize the idea of 'replacing' so much as 'denying' the real Christ and 'deceiving' Jesus' followers. (1Jn 2:19, 22; 4:3; 2Jn 1:7) The discussion in 1Jn 2:18-27 may also be seen as describing the "many antichrists" as false anointed ones. In those verses, being anointed is put in contrast with those who "went out from us." And the 'anointing' teaches truth, whereas, the antichrists spread lies about the Christ.
What John Had to Say
The apostle John is the only Bible writer who specifically mentions the term "antichrist." So it would be interesting to see what he actually says about the topic. The following verses are the only ones that actually use the term antichrist:
18 Young children, it is the last hour, and just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared, from which fact we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of our sort; for if they had been of our sort, they would have remained with us. But they went out so that it might be shown that not all are of our sort. (1Jn 2:18-19 NWT)
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. . . 26 I write you these things about those who are trying to mislead you. (1Jn 2:22, 26 NWT)
But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world. (1Jn 4:3 NWT)
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those not acknowledging Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2Jn 1:7 NWT)
Those are all the specific Biblical statements about "antichrist." Although acknowledging that there are related verses on this topic, what can we pick out about "antichrist" from just these verses? Several things can be derived:
1. "You have heard that [the] antichrist is coming."
Although, Biblically speaking, John's readers only first saw the term "antichrist" in John's letters, they obviously had heard the topic discussed before John wrote. So this lends itself to the idea that earlier NT writings were considered to have discussed this idea. We'll come back to that later. (Incidentally, "antichrist" in 1Jn 2:18 is anarthrous. This is why I put brackets around "the." Here
are a number of renderings that render it both ways. The older NWT does not have "the." The newer one does.)
2. "Even now many antichrists have appeared."
This phrase shows that what they heard was "coming" had, by then, already begun to arrive. This also touches on the definite article that I bracketed in point "1." "The antichrist" might suggest or allow for an individual who was expected to fulfill this role. But John leaves off the article, suggesting, or at least allowing for, "antichrist" to be a collective term under which many individuals would operate in that role. 1Jn 4:3 also carries the idea that they knew antichrist was coming, and was already in the world.
3. "From which fact we know that it is the last hour."
This phrase shows that the appearance of these many "antichrists" was indicative of a particular era or time frame. Regarding "the last hour," Constable's Notes
Throughout the New Testament the writers regarded the present inter-advent age, after the Incarnation and before the Lord’s return, as the last hour or the last days. This is the final period before the Lord Himself breaks into history again.
On John's use of the term "hour," Robertson's Word Pictures
points out that this is a "common idiom in John's Gospel (Jn 2:4; 4:21, 23; 5:25, 28; 7:30 etc.)" (Vol VI, p. 411) In all these places the term "hour" has a similar meaning to how we would use the word "time." Thus, John's "the last hour" would be equivalent to Jude's "the last time" (Jude 1:18), which also equates with Peter's "the last days." (2Pe 3:3)
The upshot of all this is that John was expecting the appearance of "antichrists" to be a significant development of the inter-advent era. An era that now stretches across nearly 20 centuries.
4. "They went out from us."
"They," agreeing with "many antichrists," would again suggest that John understood, not some particular individual, but many individuals that would be a part of an 'antichrist class,' as it were, just going by what John has written so far. The fact that "they went out from us," that is from Christianity, would also locate this phenomenon as an inter-advent development. It would also mean that John saw this development as an apostasy from what he considered to be the true Christian faith.
5. "They went out so that it might be shown that not all are of our sort."
This phrase shows that there was some divine purpose in allowing this situation to develop. Not only was the situation foreseen, but God and Christ foresaw something useful that would come out of it. (Compare 2Th 2:10-12)
6. "Those who are trying to mislead you."
(1Jn 2:26) And, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world."
(2Jn 7) These two phrases help show that this apostasy was not simply disaffected people leaving John's religion, but that there was an intelligent purpose behind the operation of "antichrist." It suggests that there was a mastermind, and a master plan, behind this development. And that it was intended to adversely affect the main body of true Christians.
All these factors should help us to identify other scriptures that form the prophetic description of this development.
Before concluding this post, it seemed appropriate to mention that there is at least one other individual that rightly deserves the term "antichrist." In fact, he could correctly be seen as "The AntiChrist." And yet, based on the verses quoted from 1 John, this person would not be included among the "antichrists" that John talks about. Who would this be?
It would be none other than Satan the Devil. From the very beginning of his rebellion he was foretold to be a staunch opponent of "the seed of the woman." (Gen 3:15) He is described as having been continually bent on eliminating that seed. (Rev 12:3-4) And when he failed in that endeavor (Rev 12:5), he went after those who became the 'seed of the woman' via their faith in the Christ. (Rev 12:13, 15, 17)
I mention this because this leaves open the possibility for some to confuse the activities of the foretold "antichrist" and "many antichrists" that John speaks of, with some of the foretold activities of this spirit 'antichrist.' Indeed, the two are very much related. (Compare 2Th 2:9)
I find many points of similarity in my speculation on the identity of the AntiChrist. Something that GK Beale turned me on to is the use of the Greek word for hour (ὥρα) and John’s use of it in his epistles and Revelation and its connection with the “man of lawlessness”.
John picks this word up from the end times prophecies in Daniel in speaking about the king of the north’s activities against God (Daniel 12:36) and Daniel’s people (Daniel 12:1-3)! I give some context for the use of ὥρα but note especially 11:45 where it say “and the hour of his end will come and there will be no one to help him” and 12:1 where it speaks of the attack of the king of the north on holy mountain of decoration and refers back to “that hour” when Michael stands up in protection of Daniel’s people!
And you’ll remember that it is for one hour that the wild beast (UN?) is given authority to act against Babylon and Christ’s followers!
And note that the “man of lawlessness” is described in the terms of what the “king of the north” does in elevating himself above every god, seating himself on God’s throne.
καὶ ἀκοὴ ταράξει αὐτὸν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ βορρᾶ, καὶ ἐξελεύσεται ἐν θυμῷ ἰσχυρῷ καὶ ῥομφαίᾳ ἀφανίσαι καὶ ἀποκτεῖναι πολλούς.
(Dan. 11:44 LXX1)
καὶ στήσει αὐτοῦ τὴν σκηνὴν τότε ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν θαλασσῶν καὶ τοῦ ὄρους τῆς θελήσεως τοῦ ἁγίου· καὶ ἥξει ὥρα τῆς συντελείας αὐτοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἔσται ὁ βοηθῶν αὐτῷ.
(Dan. 11:45 LXX1)
καὶ κατὰ τὴν ὥραν ἐκείνην παρελεύσεται Μιχαηλ ὁ ἄγγελος ὁ μέγας ὁ ἑστηκὼς ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ λαοῦ σου· ἐκείνη ἡ ἡμέρα θλίψεως, οἵα οὐκ ἐγενήθη ἀφ᾿ οὗ ἐγενήθησαν ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης· καὶ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ὑψωθήσεται πᾶς ὁ λαός, ὃς ἂν εὑρεθῇ ἐγγεγραμμένος ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ.
(Dan. 12:1 LXX1)
καὶ σὺ βάδισον ἀναπαύου· ἔτι γάρ εἰσιν ἡμέραι καὶ ὧραι εἰς ἀναπλήρωσιν συντελείας, καὶ ἀναπαύσῃ καὶ ἀναστήσῃ ἐπὶ τὴν δόξαν σου εἰς συντέλειαν ἡμερῶν.
(Dan. 12:13 LXX1)
Here’s something I wrote that discusses the connection of Daniel 11:44-12:3 with Jesus’ Great Prophecy especially Matt 24:15-31 that I believe proves Jesus was drawing from these verses:
I believe that at Matthew 24:15-31 Jesus is drawing from Daniel’s prophecy at Daniel 11:44 - 12:3 and is applying it to the eschaton. His role in it are point for point found at Daniel 11:44-12:3. Also these same events are spoken of at Revelation 6:9 - 7:13 including the event of a celestial phenomena as in Matthew.
At Revelation 6:9 - 7:13 we find a celestial phenomena, a great earthquake/tribulation a resurrection, an evident attack on the fellow slaves of those who have been resurrected and given white robes. This attack is strongly implied in that they cry out urgently for God to act on behalf of their brothers who are about to be killed. This same motif appears in Rev 16-17. So unless Revelation was written at an early date (this view is held by preterists) before the destruction of Jerusalem then these events depicted in Daniel 11:44-12:3, Matthew 24: 15-31 and the book of Revelation had their fulfillment in the 1st century they point to a future fulfillment.
A comparison of the prophesied events at Daniel 11:44-12:3 which are connected with Michael and Jesus’ application of those same events to himself at Matt 24:21-31 strongly hint that Jesus is Michael and that these events, though having a minor fulfillment in the 1st century they have their complete fulfillment in the future.
I believe that the below comparison of Daniel 11:44-12:3 with Matthew 24:15-31
shows that this is the where Jesus is drawing from in for his explanation of the events at the consummation of the last days, also called the the eschaton.
Matt 24:15-31 describes these events:
1.) A desolating military force will take a menacing position in the “holy place”.
2.) A time of great tribulation.
3.) A saving of God’s chosen ones. (therefore by implication an attack upon these very ones)
4.) A coming of the Son of man with great power and glory.
5.) The gathering of the chosen ones to heaven.
At Daniel 11:44-12:1 the prophet describes these four events:
1.) The king of the north will bring forth his military force to annihilate “many” planting his military force between the grand sea and the holy mountain of decoration.
2.) A time of distress the likes of which has never occurred before.
3.) All who are written down in the God’s book will escape.
4.) Michael the great prince of Israel will stand up in a new and glorious sense.
5.) A change from humans to glorious spirit beings.
Jesus speaks of a “gathering” the chosen ones from the four winds to heaven. Daniel describes it as “shining brightly as the expanse of the heavens” and “like stars forever”. The Jews viewed shining beings as divine and the stars in some contexts as spirit beings.
Shining brightly in the expanse of heaven and like the stars forever and ever is clear language of a heavenly resurrection and glorification of these ones to heavenly life. Jesus makes this clear in his kingdom parable of the sower of fine seed as recorded by Matthew. We both see this as an event that takes place at the yet to be fulfilled parousia of Christ with his angels. Obviously then when the parousia occurs is important to pinpointing the resurrection of the holy ones to heaven.
Note that at Matthew 13:43 Jesus draws from Daniel 12:3 when describing the reward of his faithful disciples.
At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their
Daniel’s “people” are those who escape the attack of the “king of the north” and who are written down in the book. They are the ones who are bringing many to righteousness. The events in 66-70 CE is minor fulfillment of the “disgusting thing” standing in a “holy place” but the Christians who escaped from Jerusalem weren’t gathered to heaven by the angels as Jesus descendants nor caught away in clouds in the air to Jesus as Paul wrote.
Note how Daniel 12:1-3 can be seen as the text from which both Jesus and Paul drew from at 1 Thess 4:13-16 and Matthew 24: 29-31:
And during that time (the great tribulation) your people will escape (the GT is cut short for the sake of Christians), everyone who is found written down in the book. 2 And many of those asleep in the dust (those sleeping in union with Christ - 1 Thess 4:13-16) of the earth will wake up, some to everlasting life and others to reproach and to everlasting contempt. 3 “And those having insight will shine as brightly as the expanse of heaven, and those bringing the many to righteousness like the stars, forever and ever.
This begs the questions:
1.) If Jesus came in the complete fulfillment of Matt 24:15-31 at 70 CE then when did the heavenly resurrection take place?
2.) If Revelation was written after the destruction of Jerusalem then wouldn’t Matt 24:15-31 would have both a minor and major fulfillment.
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