Light for the Last Days

Many antichrists have already come

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Good evening friends. If you’ve been coming to my prophecy talks, the ‘This Month in Prophecy’ talks, one of the questions I raise is: Where is it all leading to? What’s the end in sight?

And, if you believe what I believe, the ‘end in sight’, ultimately, is the Second Coming of Jesus the Messiah. That’s the great hope we have: that the Lord is going to return, this time, NOT as the ‘suffering servant’, but as the ‘King of kings and Lord of lords’, with all the power of God at His disposal to put right the mess which this world is in.

That’s the good news!

There is some bad news too. That is, before He comes, there’s one coming who is known as the Antichrist.

I’m going to talk tonight about the coming of the Antichrist and the Second Coming of the Messiah.

Therefore, there is ‘bad news’, but there’s also ‘good news’. So, as I give the bad news, remember that its climax will be the ‘good news’ of Jesus’ return.

Let’s just have a word of prayer as we come to this subject.

Lord, we thank you for Your Word. We thank you for the help we have in Jesus. We thank you for Your Word is truth.

And we pray Lord that You guide me as I speak and those who hear, and that we may know the truth and that the truth will set us free.

I pray that we won’t be fearful of the future but rather, we’ll look up, lift up our heads, and have hope in You because our Redemption is drawing near.

We thank you for this in Jesus’ name, amen.

1 john chapter 2 verse 18 says,

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many Antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

1 John 2.18

The last hour. John was writing at the end of the first century and he speaks of the last hour. People might think: ‘well, he’s got it wrong there because we’re nearly 2,000 years later and it still hasn’t happened.

Yet, he was saying something which does relate to his time and to our time.

In fact, if you look up the original Greek, the word for ‘last hour’ is ἐσχάτη (eschatē)ὥρα (hora)which has no word ‘the’ in it.

So, just says: “it is last hour”. In one sense, technically, as far as biblical dispensations are concerned, we have been in the last days since the day of Pentecost.

Therefore, this refers to the time leading up to the last of the last days which will be the day when Jesus returns.

But John was saying that something is in the process that is going to lead up to this event which he’s talking about here: the coming of the Antichrist. And that “many Antichrists have already come”. Therefore, the topic is ‘the Antichrist’.

John was living at the end of the 1st century, in the Roman Empire. He was the longest living of all the disciples of Jesus.

He lived in Ephesus for a while, he was a bishop there. And, I believe, he also wrote the Book of Revelation.

John ended up in Patmos, on the isle of Patmos, where he received the Book of Revelation.

At the time when he received the Book of Revelation, there was a Roman emperor called Domitian – one of the worst of the Roman emperors – who persecuted the church. He persecuted Christians.

What impact did Domitian have on Christian history? | GotQuestions.org

He was the one who put people into exile if he didn’t like what they were doing. And one of the features of this man was that he wanted people to worship him as a God, to burn a little bit incense and say that ‘Caesar is Lord’. If you didn’t do that, and said that ‘Jesus is Lord’ you were in trouble.

biblearchaeology.org

This was akin to ‘worshipping a man as God’ which is relevant to what we’re going to go on to later.

Emperor Domitian was a man who wanted to be worshipped as God. That was part of the spirit of Antichrist.

John also saw that, at the time, there were several false prophets and false teachers going out, teaching things which were not in line with what Christian doctrine taught.

Some were called Gnostics. They came with a false form of Christianity which came out of Christianity but denied certain fundamental truths of the Gospel, particularly, about the nature of Jesus Christ: who He is, Son of God and Son of man.

If you look on in the verses which follow, he gives some clues about the spirit which will be behind the spirit of Antichrist. In chapter 2, verse 22 it says:

22 Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

1 John 2.22-23

There’s something about denying the relationship between the Father and the Son.

What do you believe about the relationship between the Father and the Son? Is the Father God and the Son somewhere underneath as ‘not God’? Which is what a lot of religions will teach you.

Or are the Father and Son equal? Which is what I believe and hopefully, you believe too: Father, Son, Holy Spirit, one God in three Persons.

The spirit of Antichrist is always going to deny something about the nature of Jesus, it’s going to put Him below what he really is, the Son of God.

Chapter 4 verse 2 of 1 John says,

2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

1 John 4.2-3

The spirit of the Antichrist will always bring up something about the nature of Jesus as a man.

Jesus came in the flesh. He is fully God and He’s also fully man.

He was a real man; He wasn’t just a fake spirit being. He was fully man. He could experience what you and I experience and He was fully Son of man.

Therefore, the second big issue is the nature of Jesus as Son of God and Son of man.

There was a man called Cerinthus. He had one of the heretical beliefs and said that Jesus was like a spirit being, sometimes you put out your hand and you can touch Him, and sometimes you put out your hand and your hand goes straight through Him because He’s not really there.

biblehub.com

That was false teaching, but these are the kind of things which were coming in at the time in the in the early church, teachings which were taking away from the divinity of Jesus and the humanity of Jesus.

https://www.challies.com/articles/7-false-teachers-in-the-church-today/

If you believe what is orthodox Christianity, what is biblical Christianity, you should believe that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. And the spirit of Antichrist is always going to contest this, it’s always going to deny it, and it’s going to be the spirit which will come through the many antichrists who John could see coming as well as through the final Antichrist who would be one who would demand to be worshipped as a God.

There’s an end in the process: the coming Antichrist. And two issues really:

  1. the worship of man as God with the persecution of Christians, and
  2. the false messiahs, the false prophets leading to the false messiah or Antichrist of Revelation 13.

The Bible does say in many places there will be this ‘super bad man’ who comes at the end of time, who is known as the Antichrist.

Interestingly, the only reference to the Antichrist by name is here in 1 John. Also, in 2 John he’s mentioned by name (‘an antichrist’) but in this epistle he’s called ‘the Antichrist’, that is the most common name which people use for this man. The name ‘The Antichrist’ is only used here though he is mentioned by other names in several other places in the Bible too.

In the Old Testament, particularly in the Book of Daniel, there are several references to him. He’s called ‘the little horn’ who comes out of the fourth beast (Daniel 7.8 & 8.9).

A ‘horn’ in the Bible speaks of power. He’s also called the ‘prince … to come’ in Daniel 9.26 (I’ll say a bit more about that in a moment).

In 2 Thessalonians 2.3, he is called ‘the man of sin’ or ‘the lawless one’ (2 Thessalonians 2.8 & 2.9), and in Revelation, he’s given the name which is also well known: ‘the beast’.

You have then all these names given to him, but it is the same person. And the Bible says he’s going to come at the end of days.

Throughout history, the church has had different views about the nature of this one: is he a system, is he a religious system? Someone said that Roman Catholicism is the system which is the fulfilment of this.

Is he a person? Is he a past person? One of the views of some Christians is called ‘the preterist view’ which says that the Antichrist was a Roman emperor, specifically, the Roman Emperor Nero and that it’s in the past, so he won’t come again, the prophecy is already fulfilled.

Also, you have what we call ‘the historicist view’ which says that he (the Antichrist) is a person who is present right through history. Particularly, the protestant view was that the Pope is the Antichrist. Luther and Calvin said that the Pope is Antichrist.

You may have heard of the reverend Ian Paisley, a major figure in recent history. He’s gone to be with the Lord now. I believe he was a born-again Christian, but he held the view that the Pope was the Antichrist and when the Pope John Paul II went to speak at the European Union, Paisley went along and held up a placard saying, ‘I denounce you Antichrist’. And he was hauled out rather dramatically by the European Union who didn’t think this was a good thing to do.

Sermons of Dr. Ian Paisley | SermonAudio

But it is a view which is held by protestant Christians, particularly, that the Pope is the Antichrist or that he is one of the bad leaders in history like Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, and other leaders who come with their agenda to rule, to reign, and to oppress people.

Interestingly, Hitler (if you remember) had people saying to him ‘Heil Hitler’ while raising their which is like an expression of worship to the man, taking the man as a being to be worshipped.

Before I became a Christian, I was into Communism and Marxism and used to get booklets from the Chinese Embassy. One of them was ‘China Reconstructs’.

CHINA RECONSTRUCTS magazine. (bannedthought.net)

This was at the time of Mao Zedong, and I remember reading one of these magazines which had a poem by somebody saying,

I pass by chairman Mao’s image day by day and I draw from him strength and help because he is with us and he is even if I’m not with him in his presence, he is with us and he’s giving me strength and help. I pass by his image, his image gives me help and strength.

Mao worship

This is akin to worshiping a god. Mao was the god who came and gave that man through an image.

All these guys always want to put their images up, erect statues.

After I became a Christian, I went to Moscow, Saint Petersburg and did some evangelism there. Going around places like Saint Petersburg, Leningrad, and others you see pictures and statues of Lenin (the communist revolutionary leader) everywhere, his image. And people worshiped him.

I remember reading that in the times when Communism was strong in Russia, they used to say, ‘Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin shall live’.

Jesus lived, Jesus lives, Jesus shall live’. It’s the same kind of spirit: this man who becomes the god who gives you strength and power. It’s a spirit of antichrist and it ties up with what the Bible says about the last days and the coming of the Antichrist.

I believe what we call ‘the futurist view’ of Antichrist which, although there is truth in the fact that the Roman emperors were types of Antichrist, that the Pope is a type of Antichrist, that all of these bad leaders guys were types of Antichrist, is the view that there is a future Antichrist who has not yet come. He may be alive in the earth because I believe we’re close to the event, but he’s not yet here.

He is not yet in power certainly, but he’s coming at the end of days.

One of the reasons I believe the Antichrist must be future is that, when you look at all the scriptures concerning him in the Bible, you’ll find that when Jesus Christ returns, he defeats and throws the Antichrist straight into hell.

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Revelation 19.19-21

Therefore, one of the things which happens at the Second Coming of Jesus is that he destroys the power of the Antichrist, which tells me that the Antichrist must be around at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus or just before the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth.

John was writing this letter towards the end of the 1st century and if John saw this as ‘last hour’, I would say we’re in ‘the last few minutes’ because these things are happening now, and so many things are happening in the world which are pushing us towards this event which will take place.

Notice also that John says in the verse we started off with that ‘many antichrists have come’.

Therefore, there is ‘the Antichrist’ and there are many antichrists who have come. We’re preparing the way for him to come.

Tony Pearce

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