Who Is the Antichrist?
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WhoIs the Antichrist?
“YOU HAVE HEARD THATANTICHRIST IS COMING.”—1 JOHN 2:18.
IF YOU were warned that adangerous criminal was seen heading toward your neighborhood, whatwould you do? You would likely search out accurate details about hisappearance and methods. You would be on the alert.
A similar situationexists today. We have been warned by the apostle John’s words:“Every inspired expression that does not confess Jesus does notoriginate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspiredexpression which you have heard was coming, and now it is already inthe world.” (1 John 4:3) Is there such an antichrist, an enemyof God and deceiver of men, now threatening the well-being of allhumanity?
John used the term“antichrist” five times in two of his epistles. It refers to anentity that opposes what the Bible teaches about Jesus Christ andincludes impostors who present themselves as Christ or as sent byhim. The Bible gives reliable information about the antichrist. Butas sometimes happens with felons, unfounded reports regarding thisenigmatic entity have received more notice than the truth.
ACase of Mistaken Identity
Since the days of theapostle John, men have claimed that John’s words about anantichrist designate one specific individual. People have proposedvarious candidates. Centuries ago many thought that RomanEmperor Nero was the antichrist. Later, the flood of hatred andterror let loose by Adolf Hitler convinced many that he was theantichrist. The term was even applied to German philosopher FriedrichNietzsche. Yet others believe that the antichrist is still to comeand that he will appear as a shrewd, ruthless politician who is outto rule the world. They believe that the wild beast of Revelationchapter 13 is a specific reference to the antichrist mentioned byJohn. They say that its mark of 666 will somehow identify this futurechampion of wickedness.
Those promoting theseideas assume that John pointed to just one antichrist. But what dohis words show? Consider 1 John 2:18: “Just as you have heardthat antichrist is coming, even now there have come to be manyantichrists.” Yes, “many antichrists,” not one, wereresponsible for the spiritually troubled situation back in the firstcentury. Today there are, not one, but many antichrists who form theantichrist class. Collectively, they have heaped spiritual ruin uponmankind. (2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13) Who make up the antichrist?
Let us look at the wildbeast of Revelation chapter 13 as a possibility. The apostle Johnwrote: “The wild beast that I saw was like a leopard, butits feet were as those of a bear, and its mouth was as alion’s mouth.” (Revelation 13:2) What do these elementssignify?
Bible scholars have noteda connection between Revelation chapter 13 and Daniel chapter 7.God gave Daniel a vision of figurative beasts, including a leopard, abear, and a lion. (Daniel 7:2-6) What meaning did God’s prophetassign to them? He wrote that those wild animals symbolized earthlykings, or governments. (Daniel 7:17) So we can logically concludethat the wild beast of Revelation represents human governments. Sincethese governments oppose God’s Kingdom, they constitute a part ofthe antichrist.