Antichrist/s

Discussion in 'Bible Prophecy' started by Abdiel7, Jun 22, 2018.

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    Abdiel7

    Abdiel7 New Member

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    When i used the search function I found the topic of antichrists is seldom mentioned so it seemed as good a time as any to start a discussion. It seems to me the initial antichrists of the first century were the Gnostics Paul and John both seemed to reference them.
     
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    Joshuastone7

    Joshuastone7 Administrator Staff Member

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    Antichrist is a generic term encompassing anyone who denies the Christ. Unlike a lot of Evangelicals believe, the Bible doesn't teach a man will be an Antichrist to come. John tells us there are "many Antichrists."

    (Watchtower Library)

    "Antichrist: The Greek term has a twofold meaning. It refers to that which is anti, or opposed to, Christ. It may also refer to a false Christ, one in the place of Christ. All people, organizations, or groups that falsely claim to represent Christ or claim to be the Messiah or that oppose Christ and his disciples can properly be called Antichrists.—1Jo 2:22."

    Any Atheist can be considered an Antichrist, but the main theme of this term in Scripture is a prevailing attitude. As time progressed, John was seeing more and more individuals moving away from the faith, believing teachings of demons.

    In the end there will be a force of nations that will come against Gods people, as we find in Rev 13. These nations carry the spirit of Antichrist as they produce lies and denunciations toward the Holy covenant, and it will be this opposition in the time of the end that will be the Antichrist that will war against Jehovah, leading up to the day of our Lord.
     
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    Tsaphah

    Tsaphah Experienced Member

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    Here, here! Right On Josh. There are 4 places where John uses the term “antichrist”. (1 Jo 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Joh 1:7)
     
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    RR144

    RR144 New Member

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    With all the use of the word in popular culture, you’d think that the Bible would be just littered with the word “Antichrist”… but instead it’s only found in two books… 1 John and 2 John, and even there the description of the Antichrist is limited and not very detailed. The relevant verses are 1 John 2:18, 22, 4:3, and 2 John 7.

    Interestingly, these passages can easily be read as being fulfilled by something more than a single individual. For example, in 1 John 2:18-19 we read “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many Antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have
    remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us.”

    Somehow, those leaving the church are directly connected with the Antichrist. The “many Antichrists” are a sign of the coming of “the Antichrist”. This is made even clearer in the passage in 2 John 7 “For many deceivers have gone out into the world… this is the deceiver and the Antichrist.” (2 John 1:7 NASB) Here the many deceivers are identified as the one deceiver – the Antichrist. It suggests that the Antichrist is not a single individual, but that instead the word describes a much larger reality.

    Three of the four passages on the Antichrist in John’s letters also give the Antichrist an immediacy of development. The Antichrist’s beginnings can be traced to John’s day by his own description. This would seem to run counter to the idea of Antichrist
    representing one man who is yet to come.

    Of course it could be argued that John was simply giving signs of the coming of a personal Antichrist, but if that is what he was doing he is already 2000 years early, and the use of expressions like “just as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, even now
    many Antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour”
    do not lend themselves to an extended period of time. And it leaves open the question of how the Antichrist’s beginnings that John is writing about in his day could be connected to
    our day… if not through the agency of a much lengthier existence.

    Now let's talk about the Man of Sin. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8 we have our second description of the Antichrist… “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it [the day of the Lord] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness [or “sin” – some older mss] is revealed; the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming…”

    Notice the parallel with 1 and 2 John – in each passage the beginnings of Antichrist can already be traced to that day. “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…” Again it seems difficult to connect this language to one single individual. Remember that the term John uses – Antichrist – can mean “in place of Christ”, and that seems to have an echo here in the words of Paul, when he writes that “he [Antichrist] takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

    The expression “takes his seat in the temple of God” is particularly interesting in this context. Many Christians interpret this expression as referring to a literal temple in Jerusalem (perhaps the never constructed Ezekiel’s temple?). This is surprising since over and over the apostles use “temple” in figurative language to describe the church. [See: Eph. 2:19-22, 1 Cor. 3:9-17, 1 Peter 2:4-8, and Rev. 3:12.] However, someone taking the place of Christ in the church fits the description in 2 Thessalonians very well while preserving the common apostolic use of “temple”.

    Of course, the use of the term “man of lawlessness” lends itself to the idea of a single individual, but given the descriptive nature of the language and the other difficulties in the passage even this is suspect. Does the “man of sin” represent a man, or is it figurative of something much larger in the same way that the body of Christ is much bigger than Jesus alone? [See: 1 Cor.12, Eph. 4:15-16, Gal. 3:16, 29).4

    One last expression of note in this passage is the phrase “and you know what restrains him now… for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.” Something is restraining this “man of lawlessness” and “mystery of lawlessness” from complete development, and “until he is taken out of the way”, the Antichrist cannot be revealed in power.

    RR
     
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