Bible Prophecy

Will Antichrist be a charming deceiver who leads the world astray just before the return of Jesus Christ? Or has Antichrist been around since the time of the Apostles? Will there be only one Antichrist, or has there already been many?

The Meaning of the Word ‘Antichrist’

If we search the Bible for the word ‘antichrist’ using PowerBible (a computer Bible program) we will discover 5 occurrences, and all are in the Epistles of John. 

While antichrist is referred to by other terms in the Bible, it makes sense to begin looking at this subject starting with the actual word. The Greek word ‘antichrist’, is broken down into ‘anti’, meaning ‘opposite, instead or because of, in the room of’, and ‘christos’, meaning ‘annointed one, i.e. the Messiah, or Christ’. So, ‘antichrist’ can mean someone opposite, or instead of Messiah’, or someone ‘in the place of Messiah’.

One Antichrist, or Many?

Looking at the very first place the word ‘antichrist’ occurs in 1 John 2:18, we read,

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

This first occurrence of the word, tells us that ‘antichrist’ was ALREADY in the world, while John was writing his first Epistle. It also tells us that there is more than ONE antichrist, as in John’s day, he could already say that there were MANY antichrists.

Also, John says that they had heard that ‘antichrist shall come’, so this tells us that must be previous Bible prophecies of ‘antichrist’ using other terms.

The Origin of Antichrist

Looking at the next few verses in 1 John 2, we read in verse 19, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.From this we learn that the ‘antichrists’ initially associated with the Christians in John’s day. Antichrist broke away from the true Christian church and is therefore related to Christianity. Antichrist has a Christian, religious origin; this is very important to keep in mind.

The Lie

A little further down in 1 John 2, we read in verse 21, I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. From this, we learn that antichrist is associated with at least one lie. This lie has something to do with the relationship between the Father and the Son. This lie in some way denies that Jesus is the Messiah, or Christ.

So from just this one chapter in 1 John, we discovered that antichrist can mean someone who is ‘opposite or instead of Christ’, or someone ‘in the place of Christ’. We found out that the believers, in John’s day, had been warned that antichrist was to come, and there were already many antichrists. We are told that antichrist left the true Christian believers and began to teach lies, denying that Jesus is Christ and rejecting something about the relationship between the Father and the Son.

Test Case for Antichrist

1 John 4:1-3 is the next passage where we find the word ‘antichrist’. Here we read, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

John has given us a way in which we can determine truth from error! John warns us in the passage above that we need to carefully examine what we are told by others, even religious leaders, as there are ‘many false prophets’. John’s test case for truth vs. error is to examine what others tell us about Jesus Christ. Do they teach that Jesus came ‘in the flesh’?

‘In the Flesh’

Any religious leaders who respect the Bible, surely know about this important test-case passage, and realize the significance of ensuring their teachings are in agreement with 1 John. However, examine what you hear carefully. The meaning of the word ‘confesseth’ is ‘assent, concede, not to deny’. To come ‘in the flesh’ refers to Jesus’ humanity. The Greek word ‘flesh’ is ‘sarx’ and it means flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specially), a human being (as such):–carnal(-ly, + -ly minded), flesh(-ly).”

The Greek word ‘sarx’ is used of our mortal bodies, our human nature, and our susceptibility to be tempted to sin. (For instance Matthew 26:41; Romans 1:3; 7:18; 8:3-13; Galatians 5:19-24) Jesus came ‘in the flesh’.

Was Jesus Tempted to Sin?

In the New Testament book of Hebrews, there is much discussion on the nature of Jesus and how his priesthood surpasses the priesthood under the Law of Moses. The following passages give us insight into the struggle Jesus had against his nature, before he was crucified, resurrected and made immortal.

Hebrews 4:14-15 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Hebrews 5:7 “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”

Hebrews 2:17-18 “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”

It isn’t Sin to be Tempted

Keep in mind that temptation is not sin. We ‘sin’ when we give into temptation, as outlined in James 1:13-15:

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

We are tempted by our desires. However, many of our desires are simply part of human survival. To desire to eat, to sleep, to drink, to be with friends, even to have intimate relations with our spouse, is not sinful, but needful for survival. If we choose to cheat, lie, steal, disobey God’s commands, or selfishly use talents or powers God has given us, in order to satisfy those desires – then sin occurs.

Unlike us, Jesus never sinned, not even when he hadn’t eaten for 40 days and considered using God’s Holy Spirit power to make a stone into bread for himself (Luke 4:1-4). Jesus didn’t sin in the Garden of Gethsemane even when he struggled to commit himself to God’s will that he should die in such a painful way. He struggled so hard in the Garden, that his sweat was like ‘drops of blood’, and an angel was sent to strengthen him (Luke 22:39-46). The struggle wasn’t sinful. To refuse to submit to death on the cross would have been… but Jesus overcame!

Other References to ‘Antichrist’

While the Epistles of John are the only place in the Bible where the word ‘antichrist’ appears, the concept is referred to in many other passages. The Old Testament book of Daniel has a detailed prophecy concerning antichrist, which is likely the prophecy John refers to, when he said, “ye have heard that antichrist shall come.

2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation also add to the fuller picture of who and what antichrist is. In order to study this topic further, all of these important passages are referred to in the Discovery Lesson on Antichrist. 

A Departure From the Faith

In the New Testament there are also many warnings that there will be a Departure from the Faith. If you click on this link and look at these passages, you will find that many correlate to the prophecies concerning Antichrist.

The Old Testament proves that Jesus is the Messiah

While the topic of Antichrist is a fascinating study, we will digress in our upcoming blogs to look at the prophecies given about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. When Jesus wished to prove his own Messiahship, he went to the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets. (Luke 24: 13-27). How did Jesus prove that he was the very Messiah from the Old Testament? Where are his death and resurrection mentioned? What promises were given that refer specifically to him? What promises are still waiting to be fulfilled? Are there promises that indicate he will physically return to this earth in the near future?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Of all the nations that God has prophesied about in the Bible, Israel is mentioned the most often with a vast amount of detail. It’s very exciting to consider the prophecies and the way in which God has brought all of this to pass. This is a modern-day miracle which we are privileged to witness!

Warnings to Israel
As far back as the time of Moses, the nation was warned that if they failed to keep God’s commands, they would receive many curses and be scattered to all ends of the earth (Deuteronomy 28:15, 63-68). Dismayed at the lack of faith he found in Israel, Jesus pronounced, “Behold, your house is forsaken.” (Luke 13:35) After Israel crucified their Messiah, the Gospel began to be preached to the Gentiles and by 70 AD the nation of Israel ceased to exist; they were scattered to the ends of the earth just as Jesus and the prophecies foretold. Jerusalem was taken by the Romans and given the name Aelia Capitolina. Thus began the ‘times of the Gentiles”, as it says in Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Bible Students were convinced of the Restoration Centuries Ago
However, in the last century, we have witnessed the prophecies of restoration taking place! The prophecies are so clear and detailed that hundreds of years before Israel became a nation, Bible students were able to ascertain the Jews would be restored. I have attached a few examples from the writings of various Bible students in the 1700 and 1800’s who fervently believed that this restoration of the Jews had to occur before Jesus Christ returned to earth! One such Bible student was the famous scientist Isaac Newton, whose religious writings have only been recently released to the public (note that ‘ye’ is ‘the’):

“For they understand not that ye final return of ye Jews captivity & their conquering the nations & setting up a peaceable righteous & flourishing Kingdom at ye day of judgment is this mystery. Did they understand this they would find it in all ye old Prophets who write of ye last times as in ye last chapters of Isaiah where the Prophet conjoyns the new heaven & new earth wth ye ruin of ye wicked nations, the end of weeping & of all troubles, the return of ye Jews captivity & their setting up a flourishing & everlasting Kingdom.”
ISAAC NEWTON on The Mystery of this Restitution of all Things, by Stephen Snobelen.

Another Bible student, John Thomas, wrote in the 1800’s:

“There is, then, a partial and primary restoration of Jews before the manifestation, which is to serve as the…basis, of future operations in the restoration of the rest of the tribes after he has appeared in the kingdom. The pre-adventual colonization of Palestine will be on purely political principles; and the Jewish colonists will return in unbelief of the Messiahship of Jesus, and of the truth as it is in him. They will emigrate thither as agriculturists and traders, in the hope of ultimately establishing their commonwealth, but more immediately of getting rich in silver and gold by commerce with India, and in cattle and goods by their industry at home under the efficient protection of the British power. And this their expectation will not be deceived; for, before Gog invades their country, it is described by the prophet, as “a land of unwalled villages, whose inhabitants are at rest, and dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars not gates: and possessed of silver and gold, cattle and goods, dwelling in the midst of the land.” (Ezek. 38:11,12,13). Now any person acquainted with the present insecure condition of Palestine under the Ottoman dominion must be satisfied from the testimony, that some other power friendly to Israel must then have become paramount over the land, which is able to guarantee protection to the, and to put the surrounding tribes in fear. This is all that is needed, namely, security for life and property, and Palestine would be as eligible for Jewish emigration as the United States have proved for the Gentiles.”
John Thomas in Elpis Israel, page 395.

Where Are These Bible Prophecies?
So where are these amazing Bible prophecies found that led Bible students to fervently believe the Jews would return? Most are scattered throughout the Old Testament books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel. Ezekiel 36 to 39 are the most detailed. For example, this is what God says in Ezekiel 36:

“I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came. Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came… I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land...You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God… On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. And they will say, ‘This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.’”

Not everything in these prophecies has yet been fulfilled. God also speaks of how He will change the Jewish people to believe in Him, trust Him and obey Him. He speaks in Ezekiel 37 of setting a king over them. We are in the middle of the fulfillment of these prophecies and there are lots of exciting things still to happen!

If you want to consider more of the restoration prophecies, have a look at Isaiah 60; Jeremiah 3:17-18; 23:5; 31:8-10; Ezekiel chapters 35-39; Daniel 8:9-15; 12:3,11; Joel 3; Zechariah 12-14.

If you are at all in doubt that God still has a purpose with the Jewish people, then read through Romans 11, especially verses 25 to 28:

“Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins. As regards the gospel, they are enemies for your sake. But as regards election, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers.

What we have seen happen with the nation of Israel in 1948 and 1967, and even the pending battle for Jerusalem today (Zechariah 14) is all a modern-day miracle God has given to demonstrate His Word is living and powerful, even in 2018!

Also check out THOMAS NEWTON in 1754 in Dissertations on the Prophecies Which Have Remarkably Been Fulfillled, Volume 2, page 77. Google Books.

For more on this topic, see these excellent You Tube videos:

The MOST important video about Israel you’ll ever see.
By thelandofisrael.

Six Days of Miracles by World Mizrachi