[Steve] The Antichrist: the most mysterious figure of Bible prophecy. Who will it be? How will this powerful, evil enemy of Christ appear on the world scene? Could it be soon?
End-time prophecy shows that most people will be deceived into accepting a counterfeit Christianity. In fact, it's already happening. Could a powerful, convincing, yet fraudulent figure deceive you?
You need to know what the Bible really says about the Antichrist. Could it be more than just a person?
Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we examine what lies ahead and the incredible truth about "Who is the Antichrist?"
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[Steve] Almost everyone has heard the term "antichrist." The word may bring to mind images of a future, evil, archenemy of Jesus Christ at the end of the age.
Yet very few know what the Bible really has to say about it. Would you recognize the antichrist?
It's important to read the Bible to learn what it actually says and then to believe the truth. Does "antichrist" apply to a specific prophesied figure or not?
Well did you know that the word "antichrist" is mentioned only four times, in four places in the Bible? And they are all in the apostle John's letters.
Now what does it mean? The word "anti" means "against" or the "adversary of" or "in place of." So we put those words together, antichrist means the adversary of Christ or in place of Christ.
And so as we begin, it's important to notice 1 John:2:18. It says, "it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come."
Now in other words, "many antichrists have already come." And that's important. Should the meaning of the term " antichrist" be limited to just the end time? See, is that just a future thing? No, that passage says: The age of false teachers and counterfeit Christianity was already well under way just a few short years after the crucifixion of Jesus.
So John tells us that there are more than one antichrist and that they had been, in fact, continued to be on the scene as he wrote almost 2000 years ago.
Now did you notice something else about that passage? John also talks about one specific antichrist. He wrote: "You have heard that Antichrist is coming." He uses the singular word--"antichrist." Now it's important to note that when the word antichrist is singular, it seems to point to the fact that this antichrist represents an individual person--one specific individual. Now we'll talk about that more in just a moment.
Some have speculated that "antichrist" had become the popular terminology for what this Bible prophecy talks about. Let's notice it: "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [of Christ's return] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition …who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God" (2 Thessalonians:2:3-4)
The word translated "opposes" literally means to "be against" or "contrary to," or "anti." So no wonder this man of sin is mentioned here, now most often, he is the one associated with the Antichrist.
This end time False Prophet, this son of destruction, is a deceiver. He's a liar--a fraud and get this: He masquerades as a true minister! Seems good, seems right, seems religious. But it's all deception.
Revelation:13:5 adds more detail to the description of this False Prophet: "And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority." You see it's no coincidence that the word antichrist has become more like a proper name--representing a person who seems religious but is completely opposed and contrary to Christ.
Even more about the Antichrist can be discovered by looking at another occurrence in Scripture. 1 John:2:22 states: "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son."
Now here is a general statement about opposers. God's Word teaches us that any liar, anyone who denies the crucial truth that Jesus was and is the Christ, the prophesied Messiah and the Savior of the world--is "antichrist." That includes anyone that rejects His true teachings; anyone who doesn't obey His commands; anyone who will not follow the teachings of Jesus. They deny Him and they make themselves an enemy of both the Father and the Son.
Well let's dig in just a little bit deeper: The third occurrence of the word antichrist is found in 1 John:4:3. It tells us that antichrist is "already in the world." Now imagine that. Right now, here! And it says "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."
This refers to an ungodly spirit. A wrong attitude, a compromising approach that's opposite of the Spirit of God. That's an attitude "against" or an "adversary" of Christ.
Ask yourself: If it opposes Jesus--where does that come from? It originates from Satan, the same wrong spirit found in "false prophets" mentioned in verse 1. Let's notice it: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." It's blatant evil to deny Jesus' full deity, deny His humanity and the true Gospel that He taught.
Now this brings us to the fourth occurrence of the word antichrist that's found in 2 John:1:7. It says, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
Would you recognize that kind of an attitude and approach? God makes it perfectly clear that any teaching that contradicts Jesus' identity, any teaching that denies the fact that He literally came as God in the flesh, Immanuel; or any teaching rejecting Him as Savior of all mankind is "antichrist." It also reminds us that the false teachers themselves are "antichrists." They are opponents. They are enemies and adversaries of Christ.
The Bible clearly reveals there is a past and a present aspect to the topic of the antichrist. But that's not the whole story. There's more to the prophecy--the future, which we'll discuss in just a moment.
Now how will these future events affect you and your family? Is there a way to know what lies ahead? To help you discover much more about this important subject, I'd like to offer you a free copy of our Bible study aid: Who is the Antichrist? This vital publication will help you grasp the truth about this serious and fascinating subject. To order your free copy of: Who is the Antichrist? call us toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632, or go online to BeyondToday.tv .
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God doesn't want us to be caught off guard. The Bible gives us a prophecy for the time just ahead. Jesus Himself warned us in Matthew:24:24, "False christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."
Would you recognize an antichrist? We begin to see that the Bible doesn't reveal specifically who the Antichrist is, but it does point to his corrupt, false teachings and how they could affect you.
"Let no one deceive you by any means… The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thessalonians:2:3; 2 Thessalonians:2:9-10)
This passage reveals that even religious people will oppose the teachings of Christ. Now, it may be hard to believe--but this includes professing Christians. They will be deceived into accepting a counterfeit Christianity.
Here's the hard part: Could you be fooled? Now don't be too sure of the answer. Do you realize that even today many professing Christians have already been misled by a spirit of antichrist? That includes those who don't follow the example and teachings of Jesus. They fall into that category. Christ said that they don't keep the commandments and when they don't do that, they fall into that category. In fact, He also said that those that don't honor Him as "Lord of the Sabbath" fall into that category.
What should you do? We're told there's one thing that can save you from being deceived--one thing that can protect you from being taken in--one vital thing that can keep you from being fooled by this lawless one.
What is it? The love of the truth! That means knowing the Bible and understanding what it says and obeying the law of God--loving it. Now if you're going to avoid being deceived by this man of sin, this lawless one, you'd better know the law--and do it!
That warning is expanded in Revelation 13. The chapter begins by talking about a great empire ahead--a government that will rule much of the earth like a wild beast. Then in verse 11, it talks about another beast--symbolizing a great religious leader at the end time: "He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon" (Revelation:13:11).
The symbolism here is amazing! It shows that this religious leader takes on the image of Jesus Christ. In other words, he talks like Christ, sounds religious, seems good--he imitates the Lamb of God. But in reality, he's like a dragon. In other words, he receives his power from Satan the devil.
This is the same one who is called the False Prophet in Revelation 19--a great false religious leader. This is a counterfeit leader with a counterfeit appearance bringing a counterfeit version of Christianity. Now unfortunately--most will be fooled by it.
Verse 13 says: "He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on [the] earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast" (Revelation:13:13-14).
One day, one day just ahead amazing miracles will occur that everyone with hear about. Even skeptical people will be convinced.
Now imagine supernatural fire that will destroy! Other spectacular events--miracles--they'll occur too. And many will wrongly believe that these are miracles of God, but they are not. But so many will be convinced to follow those that perform them.
Will you recognize the real power behind these wonders?
That power is the ultimate Antichrist: Satan the devil. God gives us all a warning. Don't be fooled by appearances. Satan will work supernatural wonders that will look religious. The Word of God though says: "...For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians:11:14). So we must be on guard because the adversary's work will appear godly.
What an important lesson for all of us--Never underestimate evil. He's the one who "deceives the whole world." He's the one that tried to tempt Jesus to sin. He has tried many schemes to destroy Christ and to thwart God's plan for mankind. It will be Satan behind those false miracles. He's the father of lies, he's the dragon, he's the great deceiver--the one that will continue to influence politics and religion and finally will lure the world's armies to fight against Christ Himself!
Satan is a master deceiver. He knows all the tricks to undermine the truths of God. The surprising part is that Satan's actions don't always look evil. He deceives by making things look right. The Bible says he masquerades as an angel of light.
We don't have to fall for that deception. There is a remedy! What is it? Know your Bible. Know what it teaches. Be prepared. And remember--those who fall for the deception of the antichrist are described as those who "did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thessalonians:2:10). Do you know the truth? Do you love the truth? Does your life show that you are living the truth?
Remember Revelation:12:17? It describes God's true people, the ones loving and living the truth. It's those "who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation:12:17).
God's Word tells us to pay close attention, to open our eyes--to scrutinize our religion. Does it match with the authentic Christianity that Jesus Himself taught?
Does your church teach the value of God's laws--the value of His commandments and the value of His plan for all mankind? There are so many counterfeits out there. They trick people into supporting a false religion that's opposed to biblical truth--and the true God. Don't buy into it.
Remember, antichrist is not something just restricted to the future. Even now Satan has corrupted the true teachings of God. So now is the time to really get to know your Creator. Follow Jesus Christ, study and know God's true Word--so you won't ever be deceived!
I'd like to remind you to request your free copy of our valuable study aid: Who is the Antichrist? This important publication will give you vital keys to understand what the Bible says about this critical and captivating subject.
Remember, we only have a limited number of copies available in print. So once we run out, Who is the Antichrist? will only be available online . So request your copy now--so you can have this limited-edition booklet in print.
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Now most of us recognize that we live in a dangerous world. Religious deception is all around us. We are going to talk about this a little bit further with our fellow hosts of the program, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty.
You know, as we think about the future, we think about this coming Antichrist. What do you think is important to recognize about that?
[Darris] Well, obviously as you've described, Steve, it's a time of great deception. And what's important about it is really to begin with the story that Jesus told in Matthew 24, where when He was asked by His disciples what would be the signs of the end of the age and of Your coming, He said the number one first thing that He talked about was deception.
He said, many will come in My name saying I am the Christ and deceive many. And so He predicted an age of deception that would take place. Now there has been deception--religious confusion for generations for a very long time, even in Christ's own day. But He was showing that it was going to come to a peak at the time of the end of the age that would involve people portraying themselves as Christian, speaking the words of Christ, acting in His name and deceives many thinking that this was the work of God, this was the church that represented Jesus Christ on earth. And it would appear to be so, but it's going to be something that is so upending in terms of the ultimate outcome for the world that people are going to be caught in a trap and not understand it.
[Gary] I think what's important, you know you tie then what Jesus said with what you mentioned in Revelation 13, and when you have this great false prophet that comes at the end time, remember he looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. So he looks like Christ--Christ is the Lamb of God--but he speaks and is inspired by Satan. So this great deception is going to be a false Christianity. People look around for some false religion or pagan religion or other religion that's going come along. This is going to appear to be some form of Christianity but actually be used by Satan to deceive people.
[Darris] And it's going to be probably done in such a way that as people are wanting to have some type of the spiritual experience or to believe in something, these miracles that Revelation 13 talk about being done, will be the very recipe by which people will be deceived into something that is global in nature.
[Gary] Well, when you think about it, all of us, we desire to have a relationship with God. It's designed into us. We want to have a connection with God and if someone came along and did great miracles that produced good things--I mean these miracles are going to produce what seem to be bad things but good results, people are going to latch onto that and think that God is touching their lives, and actually it is going to be a deception.
[Steve] That's the interesting part. It will look good. It will look right. And often times we think well if I am religious, I'll recognize that, but I think often times as the Bible points out, you may think you're religious already but you've already been deceived. There's already this counterfeit that's in the world now.
[Darris] There is. And as it says, it is going to get a lot worse, but it's going to be mascaraing in a Christian name. That's what Jesus said.
You know, a few years ago when Pope John Paul II died, they had his mass broadcast live on television from the Vatican and St. Peter's Square, and tens of thousands of people filled that up and some of the accounts I was reading about it, as they had the body lying in a casket, they talked about it as if they expected some kind of--it was miraculous occasion and they were looking for certain signs.
I remember one commentator talking about the sun came out and the blessing was given, and you look at a sight of mass experience like that in a religious setting, and we see a lot of this before our eyes, it's not hard to image how people could be deceived on a mass scale by some very real miracles that are generated to deceive as Revelation 13 shows. Our world today is being set up for it and people are going to be seeking some type of a spiritual experience, a deeper religious experience to make them see that things are alright in the world. And, that's happening now. The groundwork is being laid in many ways.
[Gary] People need to be in that Book you have right there. They need to be in the Bible, studying the Bible and they need to have a relationship with God and Christ now so they can't be fooled by those events that happen.
[Steve] I think we have to remember these are very, very concerning warnings. Christ gave these warnings for a specific reason--that it's going to happen, it's already happening, it's going to get much worse and yet we better be aware of it so we do something about it.
[Darris] Absolutely. And you know, sometimes people say well--they look at religion and they don't care perhaps how it's cloaked. They don't care what the origins are, whether it comes from pagan ideas or from the Bible and they say, what difference does it make? And that's a thought process that is leading up to this type of deception, which is why we do programs on Christmas and Easter and other customs and practices to show people their pagan origins.
We know that in our world today a lot of people just don't care about that, but they should care. You should care, because God cares. We can't worship God as we see fit. We have to worship God on the pattern of the Scriptures. And unless and until we do that and love the truth, we are going to be among those that could be deceived, and it's a very precarious position to be in and it matters right now how we live. We should be seeking truth and growing to love the truth.
[Gary] You know Darris, one thing people need to realize is, the Christianity of today it's not just something that popped up out of nowhere. There is 2000 years of history and that history is sometimes dramatically different than what Jesus and the disciples actually did, and professed and lived by.
You talked about Christmas and Easter--well you know the early church never kept Christmas and Easter. Most people would be shocked to find out they didn't keep Sunday either, they actually worshipped on the seventh-day Sabbath. And, there's a lot of things that were taught by the early Church that just people today don't realize, they don't know. It is vital for people to get back in that Bible and find out what Jesus and the disciples actually taught and believed and get back to that Christianity.
I encourage people to read the last part of the Sermon on the Mount--Jesus' most famous sermon. And in the last part of that sermon He warns people that when He comes, many of His followers will come to Him and He'll say I don't know you. That's a frightening statement and that ties into what you are talking about today.
[Steve] It certainly means we have to be aware. We have to watch out right now and be sure that we are practicing authentic Christianity, the Christianity that Christ Himself taught.
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Bible prophecy reveals there is a past, present and future aspect to the Antichrist. I hope you'll take the time to discover the deception and fraud that surrounds most religion today.
Scripture tells us that the future will bring fearful, false teachers that can be convincing in undermining God's truth. But you don't have to be deceived. You don't have to fear--no Antichrist can possibly succeed. Instead, the ultimate punishment awaits them. We're told they will be "cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelaton 19:20).
Your Bible reveals that when Christ returns, all who oppose Jesus will be removed! And the ultimate Antichrist, Satan the devil, will also be put away.
Now that's when mankind's governments will finally be replaced by the wonderful Kingdom of God--established right here on earth. So let's look forward to that time of unity and peace--and remember to learn the truth, love it and live it.
Thanks for joining me today. If you missed some of today's program, you can go online and catch the entire program at BeyondToday.tv . Don't forget our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week, at this same time, for another edition of Beyond Today . I'm Steve Myers--Thanks for watching.
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