I've changed my views on the antichrist recently. I've decided that there is just so much confusion out there with regard to who or what the antichrist is that I am going to accept only what I can find in scripture. Here is what I have found so far and, by comparison, what I've been told by others who make up fanciful arguments which don't appear to have any scriptural affirmation.
Facts About Antichrist From Scripture
The word antichrist (antichristos, Strong's G500) appears only five (5) times in scripture that I can find using a search engine. It appears once in the plural. All occurrences are in either 1st or 2nd John. The word is used in no other place.
There are many antichrists (1 John 2:18)
They (antichrists) are from the body of Christians. “They went out from us.” (1 John 2:19). The us here is John, who is speaking, and the body of faith, the early church of Christ.
Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is antichrist. (1 John 2:22). No mention is made here of denying the Holy Spirit but it definitely makes a distinction between the Father and the Son-- that belief in both is required and to deny either is antichrist.
There is an antichrist spirit. (1 John 4:3). Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh has the antichrist spirit. (2 John 1:7).
Both antichrists and the spirit of antichrist are already in the world. “Even now [at the time of the writing of 1 John] are there many antichrists.” (1 John 2:18). “Even now already is it [the spirit of antichrist] in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
It is the power of God in the life of the Christian that is to overcome both the antichrist and the spirit of the antichrist. “Ye are of God...and have overcome them. Because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
Antichrists are deceivers. (2 John 1:7).
Comparison to What is Believed Today
Scritpure mentions the word antichrist specifically only in the letters of 1 John. Some modern teachers take great pains to associate The Antichrist with other passages
Scripture teaches there are many antichrists while modern teachers have developed the idea that there is one Antichrist
Scripture teaches that the antichrists come out of the church while modern teachers claim he rises up from secularism
Probably no contrast here
Not sure of their views of the antichrist spirit
Scripture teaches that both the spirit of antichrist and many antichrists are already in the world and were present even in John's day. Modern teachers tell us that The Antichrist is yet to come. How long will they make us wait and how many people must they wrongly pick as the Antichrist before they give up?
Scripture teaches that as Christians we are to overcome the antichrists and the spirit of antichrist through the greater power of God that is in us. Modern teachers would have us believe that we will depart this earth before the Antichrist arrives and only the secular world will have to deal with him (or it).
Does this mean that modern teachers are trying to deceive us and are themselves of the spirit of antichrist? It would seem so!
Anyway, anyone with me? Has anyone else decided not to listen to the voices of our so-called leaders and teachers when they speak so contrary to scripture? I'd like to hear from you! Do you have any other noteworthy contradictions to scripture being taught today that you would like to emphasis and make public? Jot them down here for future reference.
Jeff L, You have just taught me something. I have never been much for end times study (way too much speculation) but this is very interesting!
The case you speak of is built (I think) from assumptions that;
1 John 2:18 "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."
and then that
Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
are all somehow connected. This "the antichrist" person, and this single "false prophet" person SEEM like they could be the same person ...but you are correct. There is no true stated link, only assumptions. Excellent sir!
... and perhaps Daniel 11? That seems to be a very hard chapter to digest. Some of it is obviously history. Perhaps more than I know. It is very time consuming and difficult to research everything. But at least the last part of that chapter could be applied to a very prominent 'antichrist' person, system, or maybe even Satan himself.
Do you see that a temple is built in Jerusalem in those last verses or is it a spiritual temple, one that is built in the minds of the deceived (since believers are known as the temple of God), or something else? Any thoughts?
Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Or, from The Greek Interlinear:
Revelation 1:3 Happyis the one reading and the ones hearing the sayings of the prophecy, and keeping the thingsin her, having been written, for the season isnear.
I have never looked this up in the Interlinear before today, but it pretty much says the same thing (toward my point anyway). I just think we should read it, or listen to it, if we can't read. There is no mention of any "figuring anything out" in The Book of Revelation. The only mention I have ever found is reading or hearing.
You see, everything in prophecy could be; 1.) Something the person was seeing in the spiritual realm. 2.) Something the person was seeing that was technology they didn't understand. 3.) Something the person was seeing that looked exactly like it was described physically, and has never been seen before. 4.) Some unknown combination thereof!
This allows for endless speculation, something I'm terrible at! I said all of that to say, I HAVE NO IDEA!!!
quote: Matthew had written: I just think we should read it, or listen to it, if we can't read. There is no mention of any "figuring anything out" in The Book of Revelation. The only mention I have ever found is reading or hearing.
Perhaps you are right, Matthew. It seems we have certainly caused a tremendous flood of false information through trying to 'figure it out.' But I also believe that the Holy Spirit gives us understanding. So the reading and hearing, aided by the Holy Spirit, could be what is implied by the verses. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned so the application of human wisdom would never 'figure this out' correctly, as is evidenced by observation.
But please allow me to show you another viewpoint. Since we are seperated by the miles I will show you a textual picture to help you understand. Hopefully you will see value in it.
In the book of Daniel the angel Gabriel said to Daniel, "I have come to give you understanding," regarding the vision of the 2300 days. Near the end of that book the angel tells Daniel to close up the book for the vision is for the time of the end.
9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Notice that God closed up the understanding of this prophecy until the time of the end when none of the wicked would understand but the wise would. Certainly the wise are those who are reading/hearing the prophecy and contemplating what it means and perhaps pleading with God for understanding as did Daniel.
Then there are these two interesting scriptures which I believe are related here. This first passage is very interesting. I wonder if it doesn't represent the wicked of which none will understand.
10 For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
11 And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed:
12 And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.
And then there is this passage in Revelation that seems to speak of the book of Daniel, the closed book, being opened and the commission to prophecy again to many peoples, the world.
2 And he had in his hand a little book open:...
8 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go [and] take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel...
10 And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
11 And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.
That was from Revelation 10. Then Revelation 11 proceeds on with the account of the two witnesses, which are said to be the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks. Now an olive tree and a candlestick could witness for God as do the sun, moon, and stars. But I don't believe the witness here is given by the objects themselves but rather by what they produce-- oil and light; fitting symbols of the Holy Spirit and God's word.
So at least one very plausible explanation could be that the two witnesses are the word of God aided by the Holy Spirit and the little book that is open is the word of God. The book is represented as open, not closed or sealed, and the opening of, or the understanding of, spiritual things is possible only by aid of the Holy Spirit by which it was originally inspired.
The book of Revelation, which could very well be represented by the open book, the very name, implies 'to reveal.' And, indeed, the opening words are, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass."
The phrase 'to shew' or 'show', carries with it the meaning 'to reveal'. When someone takes time to show you something it is usually for the purpose of making it clearer; whether by example, by picture, or through carefully chosen words. Dictionary.com gives this definition as the 5th variant: "5. to explain or make clear; make known: He showed what he meant."
Much of the symbolism employed in Revelation, especially that dealing with the beast, is first introduced in Daniel. The book of Daniel, then, helps us understand the book of Revelation. And, vice versa.
So why did I say all of this? Only to convey the idea that through reading and/or hearing God's word our hearts are transformed. But it cannot be simply the hearing that transforms the heart because we are called to do as well as hear. Many have heard but not all have exercise faith. Living faith has legs and arms, so to speak. So I contend that the hearing that is to occur is to work upon our hearts so that we may do, or 'keep', "those things which are written therein." Isn't this the whole purpose of God's word? Yet, a person cannot do if he doesn't understand. That, I offer, is the true purpose of the verb 'to show.' (Though we understand that the doing is not a natural response to hearing, but rather the outworking of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. A work carried out through a love, respect and appreciation, of God. But we won't get into that here.)
But as you say, we are admonished to read and/or hear. And,... and!, "keep those things which are written therein." 'Keep' could mean 'retain' as well as 'do'. Retention, in the contest of the gospel, would seem to imply assimilation, as in, making God's word part and parcel with our character-- the outward manifestation of which becomes, or defines, our life.
Did I build a solid case for treasuring understanding of God's word?
Hearing God's word implies understanding what is heard. It is not simply an entering into one ear and out the other. It is not simply the tingling in the ear caused by the vibrations of speech. Apparently, it isn't even the understanding of the words themselves, but rather the spiritual meaning those words carry. Something, of course, only possible aided by the Holy Spirit.
I cite just one example here.
Jn 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.
Again, Jesus expects us to not only hear and read His word, but to understand it, as implied by His words to the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews?
AV Jn 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
And, yet again, Jesus asked his disciples this question?
And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
What are disciples but followers. And we are followers of Christ. We are His modern-day disciples. This question could also be asked of us. It would seem that Jesus not only appears disappointed in their lack of understanding but also expected them to understand-- he explained the parables to them in private.
Please don't misunderstand me. I don't think it is difficult to build a really good case. A really good case can be built to support the supposition that "the beast" mentioned in Revelation is the Antichrist. However, there is no statement (as you pointed out) that links the two. I just think in order to hold to a belief, we need a statement of fact.
There is a book called "The Bible Code" that an American Jerenalist has written about three men who uncovered a hidden code mathematically encrypted in many of the books of The Old Testament. Daniel is one of the books that is so encrypted. They believes that "the book that is sealed" are these Old Testament books that are encrypted, and that can only be decrypted by using a computer (the program is even for sale). http://www.research-systems.com/codes/codefind.html?ad=biblecode
Their belief is that the book has now been opened (to some degree) and they have the scientific peer reviewed math to prove it... but they may be wrong.
Again, your speculation is that we are supposed to understand what we read, but another could be ...we are to read and hear, so that when the things written about start to happen, we will know what is going on ...and nothing more. See how this can go?