Good evening and welcome to eBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of 2nd John. Tonight is study number 12 and we will be reading, once again, from 2 John 1:7:
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Since we hear quite a bit about the word “antichrist,” there have been many doctrines taught, especially today, concerning the end times where that term “antichrist” plays a major role. Theologians have many ideas about the antichrist. Many think he will be some person who rises up and is against Christ. They look for him as a political ruler of some kind. Some look for him in the church. There are all sorts of ideas floating around, so I think it would be good for us to examine this word more closely, and what the Bible has to say about the antichrist.
First of all, the word itself in the Greek, if we were to pronounce it, would be “antichristos,” and so it is very close. “christos” is christ, so “antichrist,” and is almost a transliteration of the word itself. We know that this is a compound word, that is, two words put together. Christ is the one word and we are very familiar with that word. We know that this is pointing to the Lord Jesus as the Messiah.
But it is the other word we want to look at a little bit closer in order to more properly understand what this phrase, the “antichrist,” actually means.
The Greek word “anti” is Strong’s #G473 and it is translated one time as “in the room of,” and we find this in Matthew 2:22. Let me turn there and this is where this Greek word by itself “anti,” is found. And it says in Matthew 2:22:
But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
That is referring to Joseph. “He heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod.” And so, we can see that this phrase here “in the room of,” which is a translation of the little Greek word “anti,” actually means “instead of” or “in place of,” that Archelaus now is reigning instead of his father Herod, for His father Herod. The Greek word “anti” is only translated here “in the room of.”
Normally, and most often, it is translated as “for.” We find this translation in Matthew 20:28:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
That word “for” is the Greek word “anti.” Christ (the Son of man) came “to give his life a ransom for many.” We tend to think that “anti” means “against” or “opposed to.” In essence, when we find this word, coupled together with Christ (christos), the “antichrist” does carry that meaning. But however, here, the Greek word “anti” would not make any sense, that Christ came to give his life a ransom against many. No; “for” many. The translators did a correct job. And what is meant by this? “Instead of” many or “in the place of” many, just as we saw earlier, “in the room of” his father Herod or “instead of” his father. It is a substitution. Christ is the one who died on behalf of his elect, and so He gave His life a ransom “instead of” many (that great multitude that God saved).
We also find in 1 Corinthians 11, that it is translated as “for.” 1 Corinthians 11 is the chapter, where we read about a head covering. It says in 1 Corinthians 11:15:
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
The second “for,” in that verse, is the Greek word “anti.” Again, how could we understand that? A woman who has long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given her “instead of” a covering.
This is why churches and congregations that insist that their women members wear a doily or some sort of a physical covering, like a hat, are mistaken. They are incorrect. No; God says that a woman’s hair is given her “instead of” a covering or “in place of” a covering. There is no need for anything additional (like a hat) for a woman at all. Again, we see the Greek word “anti” is more properly translated, not as “opposed,” necessarily, (even though that can be applied in some instances), but rather as a substitution: in place of, instead of, or in the room of. This is a good understanding and translation of that word.
That really is telling us something because, once again, the word “antichrist” may make us immediately think of someone who is set against Christ—in anger, in wrath. And we picture Satan (which is correct) and he is opposed to Christ, and all those things are true. But the word itself really carries more of an understanding, or more of a meaning that the “antichrist” will be that which is “instead of” Christ or “in place of” Christ.
Let us look at the few places in the Bible where this word “antichrist” or “anticristos” is found. They are all found either in 1st John or in 2nd John. We will turn to 1 John 2:18-22:
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. 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. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 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.
I will stop reading there.
We find “antichrist,” singular, back in verse 18 and also in the plural: “there are many antichrists.” We can learn from this that Satan is identified as the “antichrist.” It could be understood to be a name for him, just as the “man of sin” is a title or a name for him as the “abomination of desolation” is a title or a name for Satan. He can be called the antichrist.
So here, in 1st John, God is speaking through John to His elect, referred to as the little children, saying, “it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come.” This is true. The Bible foretells, in its pages, in many places that at the end of time, Satan will be raised up and he will take his seat in the temple as the man of sin, or he will stand in the Holy Place, as the abomination of desolation. God will loose him, after binding him throughout the church age and he will be loosed at the end of the church age, and set free, to wreak havoc in the churches and congregations to bring about their spiritual destruction, as God begins the judgment on the house of God.
All of this has happened. It is already done and finished and Satan has already experienced that period of time and now actually, has been deposed (put down) from that rule, as he has come under the judgment of God, when Judgment Day began on May 21, 2011. So, “as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists.” Who are these many antichrists? 1 John 2:19 explains:
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.
This is speaking of those that had identification with the Gospel. They heard the truth of the Gospel, and they left that truth. They departed from it and changed the truth of the Gospel, the grace of God, into another gospel. They changed the teaching of the Bible into their own teaching and instead of the doctrine of Christ, they developed the doctrine of men (their own selves or others), and these are the “antichrists,” plural.
Again, do not think of some scary image that theologians want to paint of the “antichrist” and those that would follow him (antichrists). But just consider the meaning of the word, “anti,” (“instead of” or “in the place of”) Christ.
And Christ is sometimes used in the Bible, as a synonym for the Gospel itself, or for the truth of the Word of God and, therefore, there are many antichrists, even in that time of the first century when the Bible was still being written. And, certainly, there are many antichrists today at the end of time, when the conclusion of everything the Bible has written about is taking place.
The antichrists are those that have developed gospels and teachings that are contrary to what Jesus Himself taught and these teachings though, are set up “in the place of” Christ. They are portrayed and pictured by the churches and congregations as being the true Word of God: “This is Christ.” Just as Israel set up the golden calf and said, “This is your God, O Israel, that delivered you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”
The church sets up its saviour, its deliverer, its idol, another kind of a gospel. It does this by adding to the Word of God, subtracting from the Word of God, perverting the Word of God, and changing grace to works. A slight little twinge, a slight little addition, a slight little subtraction to the faithful Word. “This is all you have to do to be saved, Israel or churches and congregation members. This is all you must do: just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” With that little statement, they have completely turned about the grace of God, as the true Gospel declares that God does all the work and man can do nothing. They have added the least bit of their own work, true. They are not saying that you must keep the whole law, no; just keep one point: “Keep the commandment to believe.” But that is part of the law of God, and that is part of God’s commandments, and if you are going to keep one point, you had better keep it all.
And so, it is as the man who picked up just a few sticks. He did not pick up whole logs. He did not pick up a whole bunch of wood. He picked up just a few little sticks to start his fire on the Sabbath, and God condemned him because he transgressed the Sabbath. He thought that he could do the littlest work on the day of rest, just as God had given that day to teach that when it comes to salvation, you must completely, entirely and without fail in every point of the law, rest in Christ and His finished work that He accomplished before the foundation of the world and do absolutely no work of your own, thinking that you have done anything, trusting that you have done anything, or else you will be condemned and come under the wrath of God.
These are the antichrists that are set up and established in every church of the world today. What a sorrowful thing it is. What a tragedy it is, for man to live in these days when they turn a corner and there is another church of the antichrist. No matter which town they are in and no matter in which direction they go in, there is another church of the antichrist. Oh, who could escape such a thing?
God, of course, sent forth his Gospel outside of the churches and congregations during the glorious period of the Latter Rain and He found His elect and He saved them all. But pity the rest of man. Pity all those within these churches, that they are in the church where the man of sin reigned during the 23 year great tribulation and where the image of the Beast was set up to be worshiped. And there the man of sin was showing himself that he is God, that he might be worshiped as God.
This is the only other place we find “antichrist,” outside of 2 John in our verse. It also says in 1 John 4:1-3:
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.
Again, this is singular, the “spirit of antichrist,” and therefore, it is referring to the devil, Satan, the Serpent, the Dragon—all these names are speaking of that one and same, and the same spirit being who was created a good angel and fell into sin at the very beginning. He is the devil and he is known as “antichrist,” the spirit of “antichrist,” that which is “instead of” Christ. And it again says, “Whereof ye have heard that it should come.”
The Bible, in many places, speaks of the end times: Matthew 24 which says that there will be many “false christs” and there will be an abomination of desolation in the Holy Place and 2 Thessalonians 2 refers to it. In historical parable, Nebuchadnezzar coming against Judea and Jerusalem is referring to the antichrist, who rises in the last days, at the end of the world, when God judges His church.
And yet God also says, “even now already is it in the world.” With that statement, we have proof positive that the antichrist cannot be a man, a normal man that is born of the flesh. He cannot be someone, who would be like Hitler, or the pope, or anyone like that. It cannot be an individual because there is no individual who was alive about 2,000 years ago and is alive now. No man, but there is a spirit being, Satan the fallen angel, who was in existence 2,000 years ago, in the first century A.D. and is presently in existence. He was around in the 20th and the 21st century, as he began to rule when God loosed him out of the bottomless pit (that figurative language that Revelation 20 describes Satan’s loosing).
And, where does he go once he is loosed? Revelation 20:7-9 says:
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city:…
Satan is loosed and he is not interested, all that much really, in haunted houses. He is not interested in spooky places of the earth, that man share scary stories about. He is interested in Christ. He is the antichrist. And so, he goes after the camp of the saints, the Holy City, the Beloved City. He goes after the churches and congregations where Christ is found, through the Bible where Christ is spoken of and taught and where the truth is found. He is the antichrist, and so he enters into the churches and he does not make himself known as a devil, all in red with a pitchfork.
How does he come? The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Look at this language: “apostles,” the “angel of light,” “ministers of righteousness.” What if God did not tell us “false apostles,” and transformed himself “into an angel of light” and his emissaries as “ministers of righteousness.” Those in the churches do not let us know that. They do not tell us directly, as God does. They do not say, “By the way, I am actually an emissary of Satan who has been transformed into a minister of righteousness. I have no relationship with Christ whatsoever. I have a relationship with the antichrist, and that is why what I am going to teach you all is a doctrine instead of the true doctrine of the Bible. It is another kind of a gospel.”
They do not tell us that because that would be speaking the truth and they know nothing of the truth. They are convinced that they are true apostles and that they are followers of Christ, that the light of wisdom that they see is the true light, and that they are serving righteousness. And yet, they are absolutely “deceitful workers,” God says, because they still have hearts that are “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked,” and able to fool themselves into thinking that they have an upright relationship with God, when they are still in their sin, and when they have dug a pit in hell, because hell is the grave, and they are causing many others to fall into the same pit.
These are the elders and the deacons and the pastors that remain in all churches and congregations of the world today. They come looking like the true servants of Christ, because Satan comes as an angel of light. He comes instead of Christ, very close to Christ, but another christ, another gospel, and a gospel in which there is no salvation and no hope.
It is just a horrible tragedy that this is come upon the world of our day in the churches and congregations, where Christ cannot be found in any of them.