The Biblical teaching concerning Antichrist has always been of interest, not the least because he is pictured in Scripture as one of the great enemies of God’s people. There is much disagreement, however, as to who he is and when he comes.
The name “Antichrist” is explained in II Thess. 2:4 where the Antichrist is described as one “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.” He is anti-Christ, then, because he is “against” Christ, and because he puts himself in Christ’s place (“exalted himself above all that is called God;” cf. Matt. 24:24).
The word “Antichrist” is used only in I and II John (I Jn. 2:18, 22; 4:3, II Jn., 7) and is not used in II Thess. 2. Nevertheless, the correspondence between the name used in John and the description given in II Thess. leads to the conclusion that both are speaking of the same person or persons.
Notice, too, that while John speaks of many antichrists, Thessalonians leads us to believe that he is especially one man. This is best explained by the picture that is drawn in Rev. 13. There, too, the word “Antichrist” is not used, but a comparison of the passage with II Thess. 2:4-10 will show that the subject is the same in both.
Rev. 13, which describes “the Beast,” shows us that this beast is revealed throughout history (we believe that the different heads of the beast represent different kingdoms – Dan. 7:1-8, 15-28). Yet, all these kingdoms represent one power which is fully revealed in one man, who is called in II Thess. 2, “the man of sin,” and “that Wicked one.”
His other names, too, are revealing. The names used in II Thess. 2 show us that it is in this man and in his kingdom that the sins of the human race and their rebellion against God come to their fullest manifestation. He is the one in whom the lie of Satan, “ye shall be as God,” comes closest to being realized. That he is described in Rev. 12 as the Beast, associates him with Satan (Rev. 12) and reveals his true character as our enemy.
The argument about when he comes and who he is and whether the Pope is Antichrist, is to some extent defused by what is said in I John 2:18. The final realization of the Antichristian kingdom and power may be future, as we believe they are, but we may never forget that kingdom and power are always present: “now are there many antichrists!”
By the same token, while there can be no doubt about it that the Pope and the Papacy at the present time must clearly fit the description given of the man of sin in Scripture, yet we may not forget that there are always many antichrists. The leaders of the cults and of the charismatic movement also fit the description given. Indeed, all false prophets (Matt. 24:24) are antichrists of whom we must beware!
Most comforting for God’s people, however, is the fact that the Antichrist is only a man. For all his enmity and hatred and persecution of the church throughout the ages, he is only a man, while the One he imitates and opposes is the only begotten Son of God. There can be no doubt, therefore, who will overcome in the end, and whose kingdom shall endure forever (Rev. 19:11-16).
- Volume: 8
- Issue: 12
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address13823 Clear Lake Rd.
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