What We Know About the Antichrist
By: Gordon Dasher
These are perilous times, for sure. I am tempted to allow worry and dread to overtake me, I truly am. I hate conflict. I detest seeing one person pitted against another. And from what I read in scripture, our heavenly Father isn’t all that pleased with it either. Unfortunately, what is going on around us in the world is creeping into the church. It’s truly a sad thing to see.
But I want to be honest as I compare what the scriptures say with what is going on in culture. I want to respond to it in the same way that Jesus and the apostles did.
So guess what I found out when I looked at the Bible! I found out that it was in a world at least as corrupt as ours that Jesus chose to make his entrance. The Romans were in control with the Jewish leaders tagging along like lap dogs begging for morsels of power. They were all brutal to an extreme. The Romans had perfected the art of execution in such a way as to exact the greatest amount of suffering. And they made sure that it lasted for a while.
Into that world, Jesus made his entrance. What was his purpose? What was his message? We covered this a few weeks ago, but let’s recap.
Because of our wickedness, mankind has been marked for death since the Garden of Eden. We rebelled against God, and the result is that we had a death sentence pronounced over us. There was no way we could work it out by doing better or correcting our mistakes. What was done, was done. But Jesus came, fully God and fully human, and he lived the life we were supposed to live. He did not sin. And because he was sinless, he was qualified to be the sacrifice for us. In other words, he died the death that we were supposed to die. He died in our place. Then, by God’s power, he was raised from the dead, ascended in a cloud back to the Father, and there he sits interceding for us. He’s pleading our case when Satan accuses us.
At least that’s what he’s doing for those who have admitted their sin, repented of it (agreed that we would pursue God instead of our desires), and believed that the sacrifice of Christ was more than enough to cleanse us and keep us clean.
However, we have an adversary who wants to muddy the waters. He wants to pervert the message. He wants to distract us so that we look at something or someone other than Jesus.
In 1 John, the apostle talked about the coming of the antichrist (1 John 2:18-29). A lot of people have tried to find out who the antichrist is. Some say this world leader, others say another. But as we read the passage (and I encourage you to read it), you will find that there is not one antichrist but several.
The Bible doesn’t tell us who the antichrist is, so I’m not going to go there either. But what I will tell you is that as I read that passage over and over, it occurred to me that perhaps the antichrist isn’t a specific person but anyone who tries to change the message of who God is — of who Christ is — and what his purpose was in coming.
Specifically, John was apparently talking about people who said that Jesus was not the son of God, that the son of God did not come in the flesh. They said that the physical Jesus wasn’t physical at all but that he was sort of like an apparition or a hologram.
But anything that takes away from the finished work of Christ is antichrist. Anti means “against” or “in place of.” It can also mean “the opposite of.” Usually, an antichrist message takes the focus off of what Jesus did on the cross and puts it on what we (mankind) can do. It focuses on my performance. It focuses on my ability to keep some kind of law or code.
The problem with that is that I can’t pull it off, and neither can you. No matter how hard we try, there’s that little voice that says, “You have gone too far for God to save. You are a loser! You’ll never make it.”
So we become what that little voice tells us we are. We become entrapped in our sinful ways. We become filled with despair and hopelessness. We make our own fig leaf clothing out of alcohol or drugs or materialism or sexual pleasure. We give up on our marriages or our other relationships. We become filled with bitterness, rage, gossip, slander, and hatred (Galatians 5:19-21). These are the behaviors that characterize someone who’s embraced an antichrist message. It’s a deadly philosophy, for sure.
But what happens when we fix our eyes and thoughts on Jesus and the work he completed in his death and resurrection (Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 12:2)? What happens to us when we give all our attention to what Jesus did on the cross? Well, we begin to look the exact opposite of what we looked like when we embraced an antichrist message. We become filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness (Galatians 5:22-23).
In other words, we begin to look more like Jesus and less like the father of all lies. We begin to seek truth. We begin to search for what pleases God and then we dive all in.
You can search far and wide for a gimmick that will get your life “back on track,” but you won’t find it anywhere else. Money won’t save you, and neither will pleasure. Politics won’t save you, and neither will fame. Only Jesus is capable of bringing us peace and fulfillment — you will find it nowhere and in no one else.
Yes, the world is full of wickedness. And I for one would like to see a whole less of it, but my joy doesn’t depend on what is going on around me, even if everyone else is following the teachings of the antichrist, I’m going to keep my eyes focused on the one who died for me and was raised from the dead.
The way I see it, I can’t go wrong.