Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been studying about Satan and his various aspects. I believe all of these traits can be summed up in one way: Satan counterfeits God. Whatever God does, he tries to copy. One of the ways he does is through the work of antichrists to carry out his many schemes and plans.
“Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” 2 John 7
According to The Complete Word Study New Testament by Spiros Zodhiates, the term, antichrist, is from the Greek, antichristos. Anti carries the meanings of equivalence and exchange, in our stead, instead of, against, and may also mean substitution or opposition. The Greek christos means to anoint as well as a name applied to those who act as redeemers, and finally to Christ Himself. “The term antichristos is peculiar to Johns Epistles [and] occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. Paul’s references to the same person include the man of sin, son of perdition, wicked one, [and] the one opposing… He will attempt to assert the fulfillment of God’s Word in himself and will seek to establish his own throne.”
Some versions of the Bible translate the word as the lawless one. Paul used the term in his second letter to the Thessalonians in a way that implies a singular being.
“The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,” 2 Thessalonians 2:9
In this passage, Paul clearly distinguishes that this man of lawlessness, the antichrist, is not Satan but a separate entity connected with him. This same person is also called the Beast by John in Revelation 13:1-10. I shared about Satan being called the dragon in Lesson 7.
“…The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority… He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” Revelation 13:2,6,7
The term, pseudochristos translated false christ is found in Matthew 24:24 and in Mark 13:22. According to Zodhiates, “The false Christ does not deny the being of Christ. On the contrary, he builds on the world’s expectations of such a person, but he blasphemously appropriates these to himself and affirms that he is the foretold One in whom God’s promises and men’s expectations are fulfilled. While the antichristos, antichrist, denies that there is a Christ, the pseudochristos affirms himself to be the Christ. Both are against the Christ of God. The final antichrist will be a pseudochrist as well. He will usurp to himself Christ’s offices, presenting himself to the world as the true center of its hopes, the satisfier of all its needs and the healer of all its ills. He will be a pseudochrist and antichrist in one.”
Jesus Himself warns believers that false Christs will come and try to seduce them. He says that they will serve as signs to the end of the age.
“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles, to deceive the elect- if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.” Mark 13:22,23
The Apostle John in his letter states,
“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.” 1 John 2:18,19
When John wrote this letter, the early church was experiencing growing pains. Some early believers were distorting the truth of the message of Jesus. These followers were early Gnostics. John’s letter is addressing this philosophy called gnosticism. This movement focused on the search for a higher and special knowledge of truth. They believed in the separation of spirit and matter since all matter was considered evil and the spirit was good. For instance, the Docetic Gnostics denied the humanity of Jesus. They believed he didn’t have a real flesh-and-blood body. These Gnostics believed Jesus only seemed to have a body. Another Gnostic belief denied the deity of Jesus and denied that he came to bring redemption and salvation to all.
“This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” 1 John 4:2-3
Throughout the Apostle John’s epistles, he states that many antichrists will come prior to the one enemy. He says we will recognize them by their works and behavior. These persons will deny the incarnation and deity of Jesus, they will deny God, they will be liars and deceivers, and they will leave the church because they don’t fit in with believers.
We need to be believers who are equipped and ready, who can recognize truth from falsehood, and who are able to resist the seductive temptations that come our way. May we be found faithfully waiting for Jesus.
“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert, ‘ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms; ‘ do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:26,27
The Week 10 Lesson Plan contains study on fallen angels and demons, you can find the lesson by clicking here.