February 24, 2010
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
Some look at the writings of the Apostle John and assume that since he wrote, Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, that he meant that the antichrist rather than being an actual individual who would come is in reality a spirit that through the years has denied the deity of Christ. However, it is important to note that even in John’s writings he distinguished the spirit of the antichrist from the person of the Antichrist.
In 1 John 2:22, The Greek interlinear New Testament reads, “Who is the liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is the antichrist…”. The phrase, “the Antichrist” in Greek is ho antichristos, or “the Antichrist” alluding to a specific person. While some suggest that the Greek definite article (ho), translated the, should not be translated as “the Antichrist”, but simply a general term, “antichrist”, this does not change the fact Daniel and John saw a man and not some spirit ruling the world!
Certainly the spirit (or the attitude) of antichrist was working in John’s day. Even in his day there were heretics denying Christ’s deity. But the Antichrist, the man of End Time prophecy, is yet to come. It was this man whom Daniel identified as the “little horn” rising among ten kings and to whom John refers as the apocalyptic beast. In the book of Revelation, he is identified as the symbol of a “beast” (13:1). Interestingly, the word beast is also found in the King James Version of Revelation 4:6, used to identify the living creatures around God’s throne who continually worship God. The Greek word used to describe these angelic creatures is zoa, the word for living creatures. The word used to describe the beast system of the Antichrist is therion, alluding to a “wild beast, or a dangerous animal.” The character of this wild man is thus compared by John to a wild beast that tramples, devours, and kills.
For many centuries now Bible scholars have pored over the scriptures to identify numerous passages that speak to the final world leader. The following scriptures reveal the nature and character of the world’s final dictator:
- The “little horn” (Daniel 7:8)
- A “king of fierce countenance” (Dan. 8:23)
- The “prince who is to come” (Dan. 9:26)
- The “one who makes desolate” (Dan. 9:27)
- The “King” who “shall do according to his own will (Dan. 11:36)
- The “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:3)
- The “son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3)
- The “lawless one” (2 Thess. 2:8)
- The “antichrist” (1 John 2:22)
- The “beast” (Rev. 11:7)
Not only do we see all of these names by which this one who will come in the scriptures is known by, but the Church Fathers had much to say about him as well. When mentioning the writings of the early church fathers, they were categorized in three groups, as follows: 1) The apostolic fathers, 2) the ante-Nicene fathers, and 3) the post-Nicene fathers. The apostolic fathers were bishops and ministers who were taught and instructed directly under the tutorship of the apostles or under men who were trained by the early leaders in the first-century church. The anti-Nicene fathers are identified as the bishops and leaders after the apostolic fathers and until the time of the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.
Some noted anti-Nicene fathers were Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Ignatius. The post-Nicene fathers were bishops and leaders after the 325 council, such as Augustine of Hippo (who wrote on Church doctrine), Chyrsotom, and Eusebius. They took several positions on the identity of the Antichrist, among them being that the Roman Emperor Nero was this one who would come. Some of their writings even led certain Greek scholars to conclude that Judas Iscariot would arise from the pit in the last days as this man of sin.
I would encourage you to seek out the writings of the early church fathers. There are several web sites that have their writings translated for the English reader. One such site is http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/. I also have a wonderful volume in my library entitled, A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs. David W. Bercot is the editor, and it is published by Hendrickson Publishers. I want to include some quotations here from some of the more notable of the fathers.
“He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, will venture to do unlawful deeds against us Christians.” [Justin Martyr (c. 160 E), 1. 253, 254)
“By means of the events that will occur in the time of the Antichrist, it is shown that he, being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be worshipped as God…For he is endowed with all of the power of the devil. He will come – not as a righteous king, nor as a legitimate king in subjection to God – but as an unholy, unjust, and lawless one…He will set aside idols to persuade men that he himself is God…Daniel, foresaw the end of the last kingdom (of the ten last kings), among whom the kingdom of those men will be partitioned and upon whom the son of perdition will come.” [Irenaeus, (c. 180, E/W), 1. 533]
“When he comes, he will reign over the earth for three years and six months.” [Ireneaus (c. 180, E/W), 1. 554]
There are several more I could share. However, suffice it to say that the early church fathers certainly believed that the Antichrist, even though the spirit or attitude of antichrist was certainly at work in their day, was indeed a real person, a man, who would come in the end of days and have a limited time reign over the earth. I personally believe that this one is alive and on the earth today, waiting in the wings if you will, to be introduced onto the world stage.
As believers we are to be looking for the Christ. The time of the catching away, the rapture of the Church is near at hand. May we who believe what the prophetic scriptures declare sound the alarm and take from the enemies camp as many as we can before that day.
The Weekly Word is found in Daniel 8:24. Here the Bible says,
His power shall be great–but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. [Daniel 8:24 ESV]
Until next time, this is the WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson