4 Myths about the Antichrist

No end times’ sermon is complete without a reference to that eschatological bogeyman, the antichrist. For those who came in late, the antichrist is evil incarnate. He’s in league with the devil, and he is your worst nightmare. According to some, he will be responsible for the deaths of two out of every three people in these terrifying last days.

Who is he? The antichrist is widely believed to be a charismatic figure who will take control of the one world government before persecuting Christians in a great tribulation.

When I was a kid, everybody knew the antichrist was Henry Kissinger. It was obvious. But then Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols said he was the antichrist. So did Marilyn Manson.

Some say the antichrist is Harry Potter or that freaky kid from The Omen. But those are fictional figures. The real antichrist is the pope. At least that’s what Protestants have been saying ever since the Reformation.

And who do the Catholics think it is? Obama, apparently, although I imagine his stock has fallen since he left office. I guess now it could be Trump. Or Putin. Or that new Austrian leader.

According to one movie I saw, the antichrist is a smooth-talking blond and blue-eyed political maestro. At first, he seemed like a nice guy. But in the end, his true colors were revealed as he unleashed hell on an unsuspecting world.

One thing these antichrist candidates all have in common, is they all sound like generic Bond villains!

The antichrist in popular culture

The antichrist has a huge grip on our imagination, both inside and outside the church. I did a search for products related to the antichrist on Amazon, and this is what I found:

Number of books about the antichrist: 4,893

You could fill a school library with books about the antichrist. Indeed, there are more books about the antichrist than there are on the Apostle Paul. And there are more books on the antichrist than the gospel of grace!

What’s wrong with that picture?

I also searched the top three Christian magazines to see how often they mentioned the antichrist:

  • Christianity Today: 452
  • National Catholic Register: 5,520
  • Charisma Magazine: 7,440

In online news sites such as CharismaNews, there are literally hundreds of articles about the Antichrist. (And they always describe him with a capital A even though the vast majority of Bibles do not. I follow Biblical practice here.) The articles deal with questions such as, Who is the antichrist? What is his agenda? How do we avoid worshipping the antichrist? How can we fight the antichrist? How is the antichrist spirit active in global politics?

Read these magazines and you will conclude that the antichrist is about to be revealed and that the great tribulation is about to begin. But what if you read the Bible instead? How would that shape your views of the antichrist?

The antichrist in scripture

I’ve given you some numbers to show how the antichrist figures prominently in the modern mind. Now I want to give you some numbers to show how often he appears in the Bible:

Number of times Jesus spoke about the antichrist: 0

If you’re a red-letter Christians who only preaches what Jesus preached, you’ll never mention him.

Number of times the Apostle Paul mentions the antichrist: 0

Number of times Peter, James, and Jude mention the antichrist: 0

Number of times the antichrist appears in the Book of Revelation: 0

Isn’t that interesting? The antichrist casts a huge shadow over the modern church, yet he barely rates a mention in scripture. Altogether, the label “antichrist” appears in just four verses. Four verses!

Is it possible that we have blown things out of proportion (4,000 books for 4 verses)? Have we mythologized someone who barely rates a mention?

Four things the Bible doesn’t say about the antichrist

Myth #1: The antichrist is someone we need to talk about. He’s hugely influential.
Fact: The Bible says little about him. There are 31,102 verses in the Bible and 99.99% of them say nothing about the antichrist.

If the antichrist was so important, don’t you think Jesus would’ve mentioned him? And don’t you think the man who wrote most of the New Testament would’ve said something?

Myth #2: The antichrist is a world leader, probably with nukes.
Fact: According to the only person who wrote about him, an antichrist is someone who denies Jesus is the Christ come in the flesh from God (1 John 2:22, 2 John 1:7).

Given the context, John was most likely addressing the demonic spirit behind Gnosticism, a false teaching that infiltrated the first-century church. It takes a huge leap to connect the antichrist of scripture with the bogeyman of modern eschatology.

Myth #3: The antichrist will play a major role in these last days.
Fact: John said the antichrist, or many antichrists, were at work in his generation: “Even now many antichrists have appeared… (and are) now already in the world” (1 John 2:18, 4:3).

If you think the antichrist is a uniquely 21st century personality, your thinking doesn’t align with scripture.

Myth #4: The antichrist is the little horn of Daniel 7 and the prince of Daniel 9. He’s the lawless man Paul spoke of and he will bring about a great tribulation that kills many.
Fact: The great tribulation is past, not future.

Space precludes me dealing with the little horn of Daniel and the lawless man of 2 Thessalonians. (I cover them in my book.) But according to Jesus, you have as much to fear from a great tribulation as a great flood. They have both happened; they will never happen again.

There are many other traditions about the antichrist – he will make peace with Israel, he will rebuild the temple, etc. – but such a figure is so far removed from scripture, I am reluctant to spend any more time on him. In this article I have already written more words about him than the entire Bible. Time to move on.

But I will leave you with this: even if the antichrist turned out to be all the things the Bible said he isn’t, I fail to see why we should fear him. (Will there be a world leader who opposes Jesus and his church before the Second Coming? I suppose so. There have been many such leaders throughout history.) Greater is he that is in you, than he that is a figment of an over-excited eschatological imagination.

If you have been living in fear of the antichrist and what he might do, renew your mind and be set free by the truth of God’s Word.

___________

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48 Comments on 4 Myths about the Antichrist

  1. Thanks. After reading AD70, this is not even worth talking about Paul.

  2. Moses Kawuma // November 30, 2017 at 1:05 am // Reply

    Brilliant as always.

  3. Davina Chike-Okoro // November 30, 2017 at 2:16 am // Reply

    I enjoyed this thank you! A real eye opener. I love how this is solely based on facts from the bible, not just mere assumptions. May God continue to speak through you! God bless you 💓

  4. Another homerun as far as i see it, this antichrist fear overshadows the grace and glory of Christ to some believers.. its a shame..

  5. You never fail to both enlighten and amaze me with your post. Good word!!

  6. I’m surprised you think the great tribulation is passed? It says clearly after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, I supposed you would say this happened also?

    • Yes I would, because the Bible does – on more than one occasion – and I don’t like to disagree with scripture. For more on this subject, please see the Archives > Scripture Index. Jesus provided ten detailed prophetic signs in connection with the GT. Since all have come to pass, I conclude the GT is past.

      • Which ten signs are you referring to that Jesus spoke and are fulfilled

      • And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Matthew 24:3 KJV

        So what’s this end of the world he’s referring to. If the signs were fulfilled then end of world would have happened if you say all signs are fulfilled.

      • The antichrist is not mentioned in the Olivet Discourse. For articles on that passage, please refer to the Archives > Scripture Index.

      • I’m not talking about the Antichrist here, you mentioned all the signs were fulfilled and hence GT was passed, but the disciples are asking signs of the end of the world. If end of world has already happened, according to your assumptions that GT is passed,then how are we living in this world. Disciples clearly asked what are the signs of your coming and of the end of the world. What’s this abomination of desolation Jesus is speaking of reference to Daniel.

      • Please note I do not normally publish comments unrelated to the article. This one’s about the antichrist. For my take on other scriptures, please check out the Scripture Index. Thanks.

  7. creativegirl7 // November 30, 2017 at 3:39 am // Reply

    Great, article Paul. Keep up the good work! I will be getting a couple copies of your book after reading this! My father used to belong to SDA church who focus on end times, but he no longer is involved with them. He would greatly benefit from your book. Thanks.

  8. Anthony Campbell // November 30, 2017 at 4:34 am // Reply

    Often wondered about this.

  9. Thanks Paul I couldn’t agree more. It’s time for believers to walk in the the authority Jesus has given to us and rule and reign in life.

  10. Thank you Paul, now who is this 666,Where without his mark, people will not be allowed to sell or buy? Is this in the past or in the future? Or there is an interpretation we are missing here?

  11. Well for all of those who spend their time in the Tree of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life, Paul you might have been the antichrist. But with great joy, you again proclaim the name of Jesus and put all the glory on Him. Your mind must be at rest now huh? Love your site and love being a regular supporter each month Paul. For those that are reading each post, please consider making this site a monthly commitment. I hope this is taken tongue in cheek like I wrote it, because we love Dr. Ellis and his family as well. As an entrepreneur, I know all too well that it takes both my wife and children to be called or it does not work. Thank you Jesus!

  12. Does this mean we should quit looking for new ways to calculate the number 666?

    • Haha. Has there ever been a number on which more time and energy have been wasted? John’s readers probably knew exactly who he was referring to (Nero?), but because we don’t understand the significance of Jewish numerology we have chased our tails finding triple-sixes everywhere. I think John would have shaken his head at the effect his number has had on believers 20 centuries after he wrote it.

  13. Such a deceiving and misleading article. I will pray for you Paul.

    • Speaking of deceptive and misleading, how is it that your name is sometimes Rupert, Freddy, Steve, Richard, Jack, Dude, Jason, or, my personal favorite, Watchman? Why not pick a fake name and stick with it?

      • Well, I can’t send anyone to hell by using a fake name. Figured I would get banned if you had the same ol dude disagreeing with you all the time. Turns out you are a pretty good sport. Didn’t think you would see the same IP address. What I’m doing, is for the Glory of God and for the stand of the truth. I don’t decieve tens of thousands to hell. Come out of your error Paul.

      • Greetings so Busted!…. very funny stuff. Thank you

      • nathanbeckrules // November 30, 2017 at 4:32 pm //

        I wish I was as level headed as you Paul. This response has me laughing.

      • William MacDonald // December 1, 2017 at 9:34 am //

        Thank you Paul and Rupert (or whatever your name is) brilliant! My wife and I were in stiches reading this. What are people like!!

      • Some people lie for the Glory of God and some people preach Grace (Jesus) for the Glory of God . . . keep up the good work Paul !!!!

  14. I agree with all you have said Paul, the same goes for the devil, he has everyone believing he’s bigger and greater than he really is, kind regards.

  15. If one holds to a preterism or a majority of prophesies or end times passages are to be viewed in the past tense then your view is “Scriptural”. But what if one holds to a futurist View? Oh they are all wrong and we are right. I’ll agree to disagree. But our salvation our relationship with God our fellowship with fellow believers (which is based on Jesus and the new birth) is not rooted in our eschatology. When I was in Bible College we studied end times and I never once saw it as a harsh judgment God is mad at everyone. I follow Hilton Sutton and his teachings based upon Scripture and not one time was his teaching doom and gloom and taught a victorious end times and taught a future tense eschatology. The truth is right now our job is to reach a lost dying world with the message of Grace that Jesus loves the world He died for them and brings salvation and new life. This is what’s most important. Preaching the gospel of peace. 😊

    • Framing the debate as preterist vs futurist is unhelpful in this case, since John is not prophesying. He is describing what he is seeing. “Even now many antichrists have appeared… (and are) now already in the world” (1 John 2:18, 4:3). For sure, we have antichrists today, but John wasn’t writing about our day. His focus was on his day.

      • William MacDonald // November 30, 2017 at 10:55 pm //

        I wholeheartedly agree we make to much of the ‘antichrist’, but wasn’t John prophesying in the verse prior when he said ‘we know that the anti-christ is coming’?

      • John doesn’t say the antichrist is coming, but “you heard that antichrist is coming.” And when is he coming? “Even now many antichrists have appeared” (1 John 2:18). John repeats this two chapters later: “The spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:3). So if there ever was a prophecy about a coming antichrist that his readers had heard, John is saying the prophecy is fulfilled “even now.” Now means now. There can be no doubt that John was referring to something happening in his day.

      • I do believe it is because I see revelation 13 speaking of the anti christ. But again salvation isn’t dependent upon this. So peace. 😊

      • The antichrist is mentioned nowhere by name in Revelation. Rev 13 refers to the beast which some infer is the antichrist. However, that is an inference and like all inferences it’s validity rests on the strength of the claim. I hesitate to make such an inference as there are several differences between the many antichrists of John’s letters and the singular beast of his apocalypse. The antichrists have come; the beast is coming. If the beast was Nero, as some claim, then it’s fair to say he had an antichrist spirit. But even if the beast was not Nero, this changes none of the 4 facts above.

  16. Philip Waller // November 30, 2017 at 10:41 am // Reply

    Right On Paul! Funny how scripture has the answers and history makes it so clear i.e. AD 70.

  17. Excellent! As always !!! Grace and peace bro !!!

  18. Grace tionson // November 30, 2017 at 12:06 pm // Reply

    Another eye opener to those who cannot move on on their own theory. Nice job Paul.

  19. Thank you Paul for the clarifications and explanations! Why worry?…Jesus is Lord!

  20. Sandy Williamson // December 1, 2017 at 10:34 am // Reply

    Interesting!

  21. Great post! Love it! Thank you Paul 😇

  22. Erick Garing // December 1, 2017 at 1:15 pm // Reply

    Thanks Paul for this revelation of God about the antichrist! Great article and always refreshing reading your blog. Grace be with you brother

  23. Andre Alexander // December 2, 2017 at 12:48 am // Reply

    I’m amazed at some of the above comments and backslapping of Paul. When exactly did this great tribulation happened. When were the threat of all flesh being wiped out but for The Lord’s intervention. Paul you are writing absolutely heretical rubbish…

    • You are welcome to disagree with my views on the antichrist, but if you wish to comment on the great tribulation, please do so under one of the articles on that subject. A link to one such article is provided above.

  24. I find this very confirming what Lord Spirit has led me think. BEST WORDS —— “FEAR NOT”

  25. I always thought the idea of a mega human anti-christ never meshed with the plain description of anti-christs in 1 John. Too much guessing at inferences with tradition passing those guesses off as scriptural fact. My apologies for the folks who think disagreement on end times things makes you some kind of heretic on the fast train to hell. Last time I knew salvation and eternity have nothing to do with a person’s opinion about the end times or preterism.

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