The many Antichrists in 1st John

A few years ago, I listened to an Audio Book titled “The Sociopath Next Door”.  A startling statistic was quoted which estimates 4% of the population are Sociopaths! This statistic is not on the radar of most people, likewise many are unaware of the number of Antichrists in the world! The book of 1st John in the Bible tells us there are “many Antichrists” … 1st John 2:18

The Traditional view of the Antichrist is embodied in just one person so we overlook the Antichrists that live everywhere!

Strong’s Concordance defines the “Antichrist” as “one who puts himself in the place of, or the enemy (opponent) of the Messiah”. Essentially it means one who assumes Christ role!

John warns the Antichrists came out from among his own, as a precaution he defines who is of God and who is not. He says, “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” …  1st John 4:2-3

When I ask Christians if they believe every person in the entire world who confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, their answer is always no!

How could John make such a bold statement to define who is of God and who is not based on a confession that Jesus Christ came in the flesh?

The assumption is, this passage is about the “flesh of Jesus”, but it could take on another meaning. Notice what Paul the apostle says to the church at Corinth:

“For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” … 2nd Corinthians 4:11

He also writes to the Church at Galatia about “travailing in birth” until Christ is formed in themGalatians 4:19.

The assumption the flesh here is Jesus flesh may have caused translators to use the phrase “has come in the flesh” which is past tense.  The Greek word for “come” is “erchomai” which can also mean “coming” (future tense). It is the same Greek word used for “Coming in the clouds of Heaven” (Matt 26:64).

If we look at this passage in the future tense, it would read like this:

“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is coming in [their] flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is coming in [their] 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 makes more since! The one who confesses Jesus Christ is coming in their flesh, embraces and declares Christ is being formed in them. When Christ rules in our heart he becomes our life and we become the living embodiment of truth!

Who are these Antichrists?

John takes the focus off one person being the Antichrist and reveals the broader scope of many Antichrists.

Two criminals who were crucified next to Jesus may give some insight into the early development of an Antichrist:

One of the criminals said: “If you are the Christ save yourself and us”, he was willing to align himself with Christ, providing Jesus granted his request to remove him from the cross.

The other criminal said: “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom”, this criminal did not seek relief from the cross and looked toward the Kingdom of God!

These two criminals provide a contrast between the will of man and the will of God. Only the one who does the will of God can enter the Kingdom of heaven … Matt 7:21.

God gives us a choice between two lives, we can keep our old life and be lost or we can exchange it for the life of Christ and be saved. This new life comes at a great price; “the death of the old life”. If we confess Jesus Christ is coming in our flesh and embrace his life, our old life will begin to die, but it will not go down without a fight (Galatians 5:17, Romans 7:22; 8:7).

Herein lies the making of an Antichrist; they avoid the death of their old life in exchange for Christ’s life, they wish to be removed from the cross … Matt 16:25,  2nd Cor 4:11. Their old life continues to rule under the guise of Christianity.

Antichrists seek to be like Christ by their own effort; they rely on knowledge, charisma, enthusiasm, ambition, creativity and talent.

The true children of God eventually give way to their own effort of being like Christ and let him be formed in them. We are constantly coming to the end of ourselves so his life can prevail!

 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” … Galatians 2:20

“My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” … Philippians 3:10

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