Who is Antichrist?

Of course, the short answer is that the antichrist is the Jews, because the Jews deny that the Jewish Messiah has come in the flesh. However, the Jews are not who the author of the epistles of John is writing about. The author is writing about people who have left the Christian faith.

“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.” (1 John 2:18-19).

Evidently the folks leaving the faith were calling the faithful a bunch of liars because the author says that what he is teaching “is no lie” (verse 27) but the real liar is the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah (verse 22).
Now, why were these former believers denying that Jesus was the Messiah? Because, just as above, they had been taught that it was “the last time” and that Jesus would return in their generation.

They went out saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Pet. 3:4).

So, the dissenters had finally realized that the generation Jesus was talking about in Mark 13, Matt. 24 and Luke 21 was past, “since the fathers fell asleep”, and they were the next generation and the end still had not come and Jesus still had not returned. However, the author of the epistles of Peter still wanted them to believe that the time of the end was at hand.

“But the end of all things is at hand:” (1 Pet. 4:7).

The New Testament is full of passages that say that “the time is short” and it is “the last days” and the time is at hand etc.

What conclusion could those Christian dissenters have come to except that they had been deceived and Jesus was not the Messiah? Therefore, it was Christian dissenters who the author of the epistles of John is calling the antichrist and are the same ones who the author of 2 Peter calls “scoffers” and this also makes him declare that it was “the last days”, 2,000 years ago (2 Pet. 3:3).

No! Obama is not the antichrist.

4 comments:

  1. No, Obama is not the antichrist. He's just a mere mortal, trying his best to deal with a number of very large problems.

    The Skeptic

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  2. Corky,

    interesting piece.

    A couple of other things you might have mentioned.

    1) the early 'church' was very divided and the range of belief was very wide. The idea of a pure 1st century faith is false. With a little examination one can see that the NT characters are in conflict for their version of the gospel. It is for this reason that John rejects Thomas and defines himself as superior to Peter - who in the other gospels was described as the one on which Christ would build his church. (Remember, John rewrites the resurrection account with himself going into the tomb and finding it empty, while Peter waits outside).

    2) Not all of these early Christian groups believed in a resurrection, nor in a return of Christ to the earth. This is why the letters of John that you quote talk about 'those who went out from us'. Again, the writer is trying to define his gospel as distinct from several other gospels.

    It is for these reasons that the early church fathers strove to create an orthodox 'set' of books and to define standard Christian belief. It is on that set of beliefs that protestant (Christadelphian and other) belief stands today.

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  3. Off Topic:
    I remember the Christadelphians in Brisbane, Australia. Their 'golden age' was the late 60's to early 70's.

    They were popular in Australia - a country which embraces 19th century 'New World' alternative Christian cults (mainly American - but also British in the case of Christadelphians which was really an American style British cult).

    They existed as an interesting apocalyptic-cult counterpoint to the similar WCG who's prophet - GTA - was also belting out on commercial radio in those troubled years of the sixties.

    While the WCG was secretive & authoritarian, the Christo's were open, democratic, divided (different Ecclesias across town - there were about four! - seemed to have doctrinal squabbles). And different groups ("Ecclesias") printed confrontational tracts - many aimed at their competition SDA,WCG,JW - and would conclude the tract with an offer to openly debate their doctrinal position. This democratic mudslinging would be a big no no in the tightly controlled WCG.

    The Christo's other outreach included a large urban billboard with a garish prophecy theme (feet-of-clay-man from Daniel standing on map of Europe & Russia). They also had a soapbox speaker/debater in the park on Sundays.

    Eventually the internal squabbles took their toll on this decentralized, realitively democratic cult. By contrast, the rigidly controlled WCG would last right into the early 1990's!

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  4. AC,

    Thanks for sharing that - a really interesting perspective. History of group behavior is very useful.

    The use of the Daniel image continues. Despite the strong Christadelphian emphasis on Daniel, I think it's correct to say that the NT itself only refers to one brief item in the book of Daniel.

    Fred

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