01 January 2011

For God's Sake, Think! - Antichrist(s)

"Hermeneutics” is a fancy word to describe the process by which someone interprets the Bible. Every so often I blog about contexts behind certain biblical passages so that we can better understand God’s Word. I invite you to think critically about what the biblical writers are trying to communicate as I explain a passage’s background material.


When people think about "antichrist" they typically add a definite article to it and correspond it with end times, catastrophic events, and Nicholae from the Left Behind series. The problem with this association is that it is completely unbiblical. Nowhere in Revelation is the term "antichrist" even used, much less described in our present day's expectations. In fact, the only place where "antichrist" is used is in I John. The description of an antichrist is alarming. Not only can there be more than one antichrist, but you and I can possess such an office.
I John 2:18
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
John is certainly not foreseeing an incarnation of Satan in this passage. Here's John, 2000 years ago, writing that an antichrist is coming and that there are already many antichrists present.
John continues to describe just who an antichrist is:
I John 2:22
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist - he denies the Father and the Son.
This is a pretty broad definition. An antichrist, then, is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Messiah. This may be an explicit or implicit denial. Some people verbally disbelieve in Jesus; others implicitly disbelieve Christ by their actions.
Each one of us possesses the possibility of being either for or against Christ. We can be like Peter, who opposed Jesus' plan to suffer and die and was commanded to "get behind" Jesus (Matt. 16:21-23). Or we can be full supporters of Christ's kingdom plan and "get behind" its implications for our lives.

The choice is ours. We must make a decision, for there is no middle ground. Either we accept Christ's message and plan for humankind entirely or we "get in front of" Christ and assume that our plans are better than his. May this New Year challenge you to reevaluate your lifestyle and surrender all of it to the control of Jesus. By aligning ourselves under the direction of God's kingdom we can be for Christ instead of anti-Christ.


Randy White said...

While you are correct in what you have said, you imply something that is incorrect, namely that there is not a distinct individual of the last days who is "The Antichrist.". Though this term is not used, such an individual is described under various terms, including the "man of lawlessness," "the Beast," "the Prince who is to come" and more. Christians have used the generic term to describe this all-but-generic individual.

Randy White, author "The Antichrist: What you can know, what you should know"

Christina said...

Thank you for your comment. There is more than one way to approach Revelation. I view it from a historical view (vs. futuristic) where many of the symbolic images directly relate to the time period when it was written. I think that this is in many ways faithful to the Jewish apocalyptic nature of the text.