Thursday, April 11, 2013

Was Adolf Hitler the Antichrist? What about Joseph Stalin, the Pope, Rush Limbaugh or President Barack Obama? Is there one real “Antichrist” or are there many “antichrists”? What does the Bible teach?


The term “antichrist” is one that catches your attention. Throughout history many people have labeled different historical figures as “the antichrist” without ever once examining what the Bible teaches. Some of these ideas range from the Pope to Marilyn Manson, or Adolf Hitler to Barack Obama. The world’s idea of “the antichrist” or “antichrists” is very different from what the Bible actually teaches.

The Text(s)
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; 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, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. (1 John 2:18-24)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 1:7).

The time of the Antichrist(s)
John introduces this section in 1st John by informing the reader that we are in the ”last hour”. The last hour is a metaphorical expression referring to the last period of time for earthly existence. This would be the time leading up to the 2nd coming. This would be anytime after the ascension of Jesus. In summation, anytime until Jesus comes again should be viewed as “the last hour” or “last days”. It is in these last days that one will observe the activities of antichrists. 

Who is “the” Antichrist?
The word used here is the compound Greek word ‘antichristos’ which is defined as  “opposed to Christ”. There is no article (ie. “the”) in front of the word in the original Greek. The word is just “antichrist”. An “antichrist” is simply one who is anti/against Jesus. The Bible informs us that anyone can be an “antichrist” if they “deny Jesus”. Notice how these antichrists are defined in the following passages.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 1:7).

This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (1 John 1:22)

How many Antichrists are there?
Although many people throughout history have tried to label different individuals “the antichrist”, the text makes it clear there are “many antichrists” (1 John 2:18). With this in mind, there is no possible way for just one person to be predicted in this passage. Anyone who “denies the Father and the Son” is an “antichrist”!

What is the origin of the antichrist(s)?
At one time these individuals were in the church! John says, “they went out from us..” (1 John 1:19). They have separated themselves due to their false beliefs about Christ. They are “against/anti Christ”. It may be that these people were never actually for Christ to begin with, John continues to note “they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us (1 John 1:19). If a person is “anti Christ” they cannot enjoy spiritual fellowship with God or the church.

Conclusion:
There is not just one historical or future figure who can be labeled as being the true antichrist. Many people are antichrists. Anyone who denies Jesus is anti Christ. Antichrists are simply those who are opposed to Christ.

Cliff Sabroe
Quotes from NASB95 Bible