What you believe does matter. The eschatological view known as “dispensationalism” believes that the world will someday be led by a despotic leader that they call “the Antichrist.” The New York Times article, Why the Antichrist Matters in Politics, explains how this belief does influence policy making in Washington DC. There is nothing wrong with the Bible being used as the basis for law-making. In fact, such influence would bring blessings to any country. However, any laws influenced by false doctrine will never receive the blessings of God. If this is true for a nation, how much more important should it be for a church and its teachings to be founded on God’s Word?
Dispensationalism began in the early 1800s. Since its inception, dispensational teachers have made many claims as to the identity of their supposed one-world leader. Time has proven each of these guesses to be wrong. However, there really is no mystery as to the true identity of the “antichrist,” for the Bible contains a clear description of who, or maybe I should say “what” this character is prophesied to be. To show that this is true, please consider the following biblical evidence.
The Antichrist’s Beginnings
One of the first hurdles faced by Jesus’ apostles was the various teachings of the First Century Gnostics. These gnostic groups not only believed they had a higher, more enlightened view of all things, but most also believed that sin was innately found within a man’s flesh. Consequently they taught that anything a man or woman did for their flesh was sinful. Some even took this to the extreme where even eating the food necessary for survival was sinful. This may have been the reason for Paul writing against those who, for religious reasons, taught against marriage and the eating of certain meats (see 1 Tim 4:3). Such extremism led those Gnostics that believed Jesus to be their savior to conclude that His flesh could not have been human. They concluded this because they believed human flesh would have made Jesus sinful. As a result they thought He was either a spirit being, or that His flesh had no human origin and was thus completely of a heavenly origin. Such Gnostic interpretation is most likely what’s behind John describing the “spirit of antichrist” as being those who denied that Jesus “came in the flesh” (1 John 4:3).
Though the Bible is very clear in what the antichrist is, there are many in churches today that believe the antichrist refers to a tyrannical dictator that will someday wage war against Jesus Christ and His believers. Those who believe such things are known as “dispensationalists.” The problem with their belief is that there is no such teaching about the antichrist in the entire Bible.
Defining the Antichrist
The term antichrist is not found in the Book of Revelation. This comes as a surprise to many dispensationalists since they teach that the Book of Revelation is a description of the antichrist’s activities in the “end time.” Instead what we find is that Revelation itself says that it’s focus is on the “revelation of Jesus Christ.” “Revelation” is the same as “unveiling,” which means the Book of Revelation’s purpose is to reveal Jesus Christ, not an antichrist.
The term “antichrist” is found only 1 John and 2 John (1 John 2:18; 1 John 2:22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7). Not one of these passages mention anything about the antichrist being a future one-world leader, even though that is the meaning typically given by dispensational teachers today.
The word “antichrist” comes from the Greek “antichristos” (Strong’s G500). This term does not refer to a person who is Christ’s archenemy, but rather to a spirit that stands opposed to Christ. Remember, the term is not ‘antijesus,’ but “antichrist.” Webster’s Dictionary defines “anti” as: “a preposition signifying against, opposite, contrary, or in place of.” The word “Christ” means “anointed” or the “anointed one.” By adding “anti” to “christ” you have a term that means “opposite, contrary, or in place of the anointing.”
The Identity of the Antichrist
John wrote that the antichrist is a “spirit” (1 John 4:3). From this we see that the “antichrist” is not a physical man who persecutes Jesus’ believers, but is instead a spirit that affects the physical man, dissuading him from enjoying the anointing (“christ”) of God. John said there were many such instances of that “spirit” in his day. He then indicated that its presence was an indicator that his generation was living in “the last time.” This would agree with the many verses where Jesus and the Apostles warned those of their generation that because they crucified Jesus, persecuted His church, and rejected the New Covenant, they would suffer the coming prophesied judgment of God (Mat 12:41,42; Mat 21:33-45; Mat 23:34-36; Mat 24:34; Mark 12:1-12; Mark 13:30; Luke 11:48-51; Luke 20:9-19; Luke 21:32). This judgment did come 40 years later—a biblical generation—to that same generation in 70 AD.
From these biblical sources we find that the “spirit of antichrist,” is any doctrine, tradition, superstition, or belief that hinders a man or woman from enjoying the anointing of God. More so, it is any belief that leads a man or woman to believe they are able to secure their “own way” or “salvation” outside the teachings and anointing of Jesus Christ. This same type of persuasion led Eve to believe that if she ate the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, she could be her own god (see Gen 3:5-6). So “antichrist” is not a future evil one-world dictator, or even one who is the opponent of God. Instead the antichrist is a spirit or doctrine that denies the truths of Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 2011 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.