This is the sixth post in a series I am writing about end times prophecies in the Bible. If you have not read the previous five posts, STOP! DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER! It is imperative that, before you read any further in this post, you go back to the first post and start reading — for your own sake, not mine.
OK, for most believers, this is going to be a difficult post. None the less, this series is about studying what Scripture actually says and not the things that men teach. So, with that said, let me say this as clearly as I can:
Scripture never talks about a single figure known as “THE” Antichrist, nor does it ever say that Satan will ever manifest himself incarnate!
Now, before the reader leaves me, allow me to use Scripture to prove that I am correct — because understanding what antichrist actually is changes everything!
OK, again, let me make myself very clear:
I am not saying that the Scriptures do not speak of a real life human being who will lead an army against Israel in the end times. It does! I know this! But it does not ever call this leader ‘The Antichrist!’
So, what is antichrist and how do we know it is not a single person? Well, we read the Scriptures. When we do that, we will find the term ‘antichrist’ appears only four times, and in all four cases, it appears only in the letters of the Apostle, John (who Christ loved). Here they are (please read them carefully, because these are the only mentions of ‘antichrist’ in the entire Bible):
Now, what does John say about ‘antichrist?’
1 — That there will be many, and that many had already appeared by the time he wrote this in the first century.
2 — That we can know it is the last hour [last days; the last epoch in God’s plan/timeline] because the ‘antichrist’ had already appeared in his day.
3 — That the ‘antichrist’ is the one [i.e. anyone to whom this applies] who denies the Father and Son.
[Note: #3 does not include the Jew because, as Paul tells us in Romans 11, the Jew has been intentionally blinded by God for the sake of the Gentiles, and because they have been blinded for this purpose, there can be no transgression. However, Paul also tells us in Romans 1 & 2 that this does not apply to the Gentile as we were born with God’s Laws written on our hearts.]
4 — Every spirit that does not confess Jesus [as the Son of God] is ‘antichrist’ [hence, ‘antichrist’ is a spirit]. Furthermore, this spirit of ‘antichrist’ has been in the world since Paul wrote his letter.
5 — Anyone [i.e. any and every person] who does not acknowledge that Jesus is God in human form [i.e. in the flesh] is ‘antichrist.’
So what has John told us about ‘antichrist?’ He has told us that ‘antichrist’ is a spirit, and that anyone who is controlled by this spirit is of the spirit of ‘antichrist.’ We can know who they are because they will not confess that Christ is the Son of God, and is God in human form.
[Note: again, the Jew is exempted from this. They are part of one of God’s mysteries, but as the domestic olive tree, they are of God’s people. The Gentile, being the wild olive tree, becomes one with God’s people by being ‘grafted’ in to the domestic olive tree through Christ.]
Now, let’s make sure we understand a few finer points of Scripture. A person can be possessed by an evil spirit. The Scriptures mention this many times. Therefore, a person possessed or under the influence of this spirit of ‘antichrist’ can be of that spirit, but this does not mean they are Satan incarnate. It simply means they are possessed. These are different things, and Scripture clearly separates them.
To be ‘incarnate,’ Satan would actually have to become man. To do this, Satan would have to possess the power to change his form, or essence. To do that, he would have to possess the power to create. However, nowhere in Scripture are we told anyone other than God and man has the power to create (and even then, man’s ability to create is limited, and comes from being made in the image of God). Now, God can become man because, not only does He have the ability to create, but He is also unlimited. So, in order to change himself into a man, Satan would have to have the power to create, but he does not. Satan is still a created being and, therefore, limited to the authority God assigned him when God created him. Scripture never tells us angels have such power, therefore, we cannot assume it. Hence, Satan can never become a man, he can only possess a man. One is to actually be human, the other is merely to control a human. As I said, they are very different things, and nowhere does Scripture even hint that Satan will ever become a man (the idea that Scripture actually teaches this is one of Satan’s many lies).
It is important that believers understand the ramifications of this matter. First, this is why so many people have been correctly identified as ‘antichrist’ through the years — because they were! But there have been many of them, just as John said. Anyone can be of the spirit of ‘antichrist,’ and believers should be wary of them. Once identified as being of the spirit of ‘antichrist,’ believers should call that spirit by name, and treat the person under its influence as an enemy of God. Mind you, this does not mean believers should persecute or harm that person. When confronting Satan, the Lord’s angel would not condemn him. Instead, the angel prayed that the Lord would rebuke Satan. Believers should have as much respect for God’s creations — even the fallen ones — as God’s angels have. But, again, God’s faithful angels still recognize and treat Satan as an enemy, and believers should do the same with the spirit of ‘antichrist.’ When we do not do so, we make Satan much more powerful than he otherwise would be.
Lastly, we must understand how a misunderstanding of ‘antichrist’ can harm our faith, as well as that of other believers. Every time we point to a single person and claim they are ‘THE’ antichrist, we provide aid and comfort to all the other ‘antichrists’ in this world. If people believe there is only one, and they are convinced it is a specific person, then all the other ‘antichrists’ are free to do whatever harm they will without fear of being called out by name. On top of this, when the person who is supposedly identified as ‘THE’ antichrist does not fulfill all the things misguided believers expect of that person, their faith and the faith of all those who were fooled along with them is shaken. To them, it becomes an unfulfilled prophecy, and an unfulfilled prophecy provides reason not to believe. This is exactly what Satan wants! And it is why believers must understand the true nature of ‘antichrist.’
ADDITIONAL READING ON THIS SUBJECT: