Lesson #4 - Antichrist(s)Series: One Word
LESSON #4 – ANITCHRIST(S)
Intro: In the field of study known as eschatology (study of last things), attempts to identify the antichrist can be challenging.
The New Testament usage of this term (both singular and plural) is only employed by the apostle John.
However, there are other colorful references that seem to parallel John’s descriptive term.
1) Does John speak of ?
The answer is that John speaks of both!
1Jn.2:18, John uses both the singular (antichrist) and the plural (antichrists).
1Jn.2:22 / This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
1Jn.4:3 / This is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming…
2Jn.7 / Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge
Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
2) Was the antichrist ?
John alludes to the antichrist(s) with a variety of expressions:
antichrist is coming (1Jn.2:18b) … many antichrists have arisen (1Jn.2:18c) … this is the deceiver and the antichrist (2Jn.7) …
this is the antichrist, the one who denies (1Jn.2:22) … the spirit of the antichrist…It is coming (1Jn.4:3)
We can deduce that the antichrists were a movement of false teachers who sought to undermine the gospel of Christ.
It was not a monster. Neither was it a single person. It was a group of false teachers - - “anti” means against.
In his Olivet discourse concerning the end of the Jewish age (Mt.24:24), Jesus prophesied of false christs and false prophets seeking to mislead even God’s elect. While the antichrists may not have claimed to be Christ they were denouncing Christ.
3) What was the for the arrival of the antichrist(s)?
The antichrist(s) was contemporary with the life of John.
1Jn.2:18 / it is the last hour…even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour.
1Jn.4:3b / Now it (antichrists) is already in the world
John’s declaration appears to be predicated upon the words of Jesus in Mt.24 and Mt.13.
Of course, Jesus also promised that the Holy Spirit guide the apostles in disclosing things to come (Jn.16:13).
The book of Acts contains a few important citations that related to this topic.
Acts 15:1 / some men come down from Judea and began teaching the brethren,
‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’
Acts 15:24 / we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words.
The above was part of an apostolic letter sent to the Antioch church regarding unauthorized Jewish Christians zealots.
Acts 21:20-21 / you see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they
are all zealous for the Law; and they have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among
the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.
Acts 17:6b / these men who have upset the world have come here also…
cf. Gal.2:12 / prior to the coming of certain men from James (i.e., they falsely claimed to have the endorsement of James).
4) What was the essence of their assertion?
These antichrists were law-zealous Jewish Christians (Philp.3:3 and Titus 1:10/those of the circumcision) who
were bent on derailing Paul and others from teaching that the Law of Moses was not binding on the Gentiles.
They were determined to stop the work of Jesus in bringing “other sheep” into the fold (Jn.10:16).
They were denying that Jesus had come in the flesh. i.e., that Jesus, as Israel’s true Messiah, had been put to death
“in the flesh” (1Pet.3:18) signaling the soon-coming demise of a flesh-oriented ancient Israel (Mt.5:18 & Heb.8:13).