I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. John 5:43 (KJV)
The Scripture, in several portions, is devoted to revealing the persons of both the true Christ and the false Christ. A great deal of attempts are made by the apostles to paint a true portrait of these two very important personalities as far as human history is concerned. Even though, on the surface, the above-mentioned Scripture doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Antichrist, the preceding Scripture is Jesus’ first prediction of the coming of the Antichrist.
Sadly, one of the subjects that is little understood and mostly misunderstood in large sections of the Church in our contemporary culture is the subject of “Antichrist”. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit, this particular discourse will shed some light on this mysterious personality and help paint a scriptural but skeletal portrait of the Antichrist. This is because the subject is so vast that it can’t be covered in just one discourse.
What does the Scripture have to say about the person of Antichrist? How important is an accurate understanding of the subject to the Church in our culture? How does an accurate understanding of this very important personality affect our discernment of the times that we live in?
Giving Scriptural answers to these pertinent questions is the objective of this discourse!
The apostle John, the disciple who describes himself as “the disciple whom the Lord loves”, gives us some insight into the subject in his writing in the book of John. Therein, we see Jesus chiding the Jews who sought to kill Him. He remarks, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you receive me not, but if another shall come in his name, him you will receive”. This remark from the very lips of Jesus Christ is coded with profound revelations about the “true Christ and the false Christ”.
Jesus uses the phrase “if another shall come in His name”. There are indeed two words that are translated as “another” in the Greek language in which the New Testament was written. The first Greek word translated as “another” means “another of the same kind” which is the “Holy Spirit”, and the other means “one of another kind” which is the “Antichrist”. In this verse of Scripture, Jesus reveals the true Christ and the false Christ as well as their hallmarks.
The mark of the true Christ is that “He did not come in His own name to represent Himself, but He came in His Father’s name to represent Him”. But the false Christ “comes in his own name to represent himself”. In his first epistle, Apostle John further reveals “Antichrist” in its three distinct forms, namely: “many Antichrists’, “the Antichrist,” and “the spirit of the Antichrist” (1 John 2:18; 1 John 4:3).
1 John 2:18 (KJV)
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.
1 John 4:3 (KJV)
…and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now it is already in the world.
It is crucial to point out that the word “Antichrist” is derived from two Greek compound prepositions, namely “anti” and “Christos”. The word “anti” means “to be against,” but it’s meaning goes far deeper than just being against; it also means “in place of’. And the word “Christos” means “the anointed One” or “Messiah”. The word “Messiah” in Hebrew is the word “Mashiach” which means “Savior.” The meaning of the name of the Antichrist is coded with his evil objectives and his nature, as he is not only against Christ, “the true Messiah”, but he is also all out to “replace Him with a “false Christ”. And the apostle John remarked that he was already in the world at the time the epistle was written several centuries ago.
John, the apostle, also points out that the Antichrist will only operate in the last days, the end times. This is because God has designed that the Antichrist will only be able to operate after the true Christ has come and revealed Himself to humanity. Thus, his aim is to erode the name of the true Christ wherever the gospel has been preached and replace Him with a false Christ. This is the ultimate tactic of Satan to entrench the reign of that historical figure “the Antichrist”. His evil shadow has already been cast on the stage of human history, but he’s yet to be revealed.
In his three distinct forms, firstly, “many Antichrists”, refer to various personalities throughout human history who have deceived multitudes of people, particularly the Jews, that they’re “the messiah” (saviour) who, like Moses, will lead them back to the promised land. The Jewish encyclopedia names “forty false messiahs” that have been revealed since the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The most prominent ones are, namely, “Moses of Crete, Simon Bar-Kokhba, and Sabbetai Zvi”.
Secondly, “the Antichrist” (the person) refers to that human personality that is yet to be revealed in human history. But he will manifest himself in this hour, and he will declare himself to be God, and he will seek to receive worship from the entire human race. Thirdly, “the spirit of the Antichrist” is the spirit that operates in all Antichrists (i.e., many Antichrists and the Antichrist).
Instructively, Satan operated in so many places and territories and kept them in darkness and bondage before the first coming of Jesus Christ. However, everywhere he operated or operates where the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ has never been preached, it is the “spirit of “paganism” that is at work there, not “the spirit of the Antichrist”. This is because the spirit of the Antichrist can only operate where the gospel has been previously preached.
Beloved brothers and sisters, we are already in the season of the fulfilment of these great prophecies of Scripture, as the shadow of the Antichrist has already been cast on the stage of human history. And the spirit of the Antichrist is already at work, even in many churches.
I trust that the Holy Spirit will give us more insight as we study further in the coming days.
You should ponder these solemn thoughts and search the Scriptures like the Berean believers to see if these things are so.