What is the Antichrist?
© 2017 Phil Spence
Recently throughout Christian circles there has been another round of conspiracies regarding the anti-Christ. It seems that every time there is a particular set of world events involving certain types of politicians or power brokers, the idea of the anti-Christ emerges and confuses the real issues of the day.
Even in the first century church there was conjecture about the anti-Christ. The Apostle John mentions that the people he was writing to had heard that the antichrist was coming, just as we hear from time to time today (1 JOHN 2:18-22 and 1 JOHN 4:1-3). The Apostle John then goes on to say that many antichrists had already been manifested in that time. The rise and fall of the antichrists have been part of the global church experience since the inception of the church. This is nothing new and yet the theologies and conspiracies concerning the anti-Christ still abound.
So, if the idea of the anti-Christ persists, perhaps we should investigate exactly what is anti-Christ. Is the anti-Christ a person as we have been led to believe? Is the anti-Christ a philosophy or movement? Is the anti-Christ Satan himself or the manifestation of a demonic principality?
In the Bible, the concept of anti-Christ is only mentioned in the two epistles written by the Apostle John. No other writer in the New Testament mentions the concept. The idea of anti-Christ is therefore not central to the teaching of the original church, so we need to be careful that it doesn't become a distraction to us.
The concept of the anti-Christ is very simple. The word ‘anti-Christ’ simply means ‘opposite of the anointed one,’ or being ‘against the anointed one’. This definition is formed from ‘anti’ meaning ‘opposite’ or ‘against’, and ‘Christ’ meaning ‘anointed one’.
This clear definition of anti-Christ seems quite broad but is the starting point for understanding what the Apostle John was talking about. So, let's pursue a more thorough understanding of the anti-Christ as John goes further in identifying and describing this phenomenon.
FIRSTLY, he says that people who deny that Jesus is the anointed one are anti-Christ. Jesus, the Christ, said that if we deny Him, He will deny us before our Father in heaven (MATTHEW 10:32-33). There are eternal consequences for those who are anti-Christ and deny that Jesus is the one anointed by the Father for His purposes.
SECONDLY, John also made it clear that those who deny the Father and the Son, are anti-Christ. This is a step beyond denying that Jesus is the Christ, and it actually means those who speak against the Father and the Son. This is obviously anti-Christ behaviour.
THIRDLY, John tells us that those who do not confess that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh are anti-Christ. According to John, this includes people and spirits. Of course, the anti-Christ spirits will manifest through people who deny that Jesus came in the flesh, and also deny that He is the one anointed by the Father to do His will (1 JOHN 4:1-3, and 2 JOHN 1:7). People who are anti-Christ are all around us in every generation and culture.
However, there is a far more important revelation that the church and the world need than knowing the anti-Christ. We, the church of Jesus the Christ, are not called to be fixated on the forces that are opposite to the Christ, or against Him. We need a life-altering revelation of the Christ Himself!
More than ever we should be focused on Jesus, who He is, what He came to earth to accomplish, and how we can effectively continue and complete what He started. The antidote to the anti-Christ is to be a living representation of the Christ, and to proclaim Him throughout the earth!
Phil Spence was commissioned as an apostle in 2010 as a recognition of the grace, function, and fruit of his life and ministry over many years. He leads Jabez International Mission, a relational network spanning many nations, and is based in Kingdom Life Church, Brisbane, Australia. Phil may be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.