Monday, August 10, 2015

Know The Antichrist??? Are We Ready?



            We love to speculate. When we see the famous performing controversial deeds or uttering controversial words, we love to implicate them into controversial predicaments.

            Many Christians love to speculate on future events such as the rapture, four blood moons, antichrist etc. The “four blood moons” event that was speculated so vividly could die a dull death [1], but the rapture and antichrist speculation will uninhibitedly continue.  

            “Antichrist” is the “man of lawlessness” who will appear prior to Christ’s second coming and who will cause great pain and persecution. This antichrist will be annihilated by Christ Jesus upon HIS second coming (2 Thessalonians 2: 8).

            Those who deny Christ’s deity are generically termed “antichrist” as well. These antichrists are the precursors of the final antichrist.

            Many popular figures have been speculated as antichrist. These are the leading contenders speculated as antichrist [2]:

            1. The Pope [3]

            2. The American President

            3. Hitler, Stalin

            4. Mikhail Gorbachev

            5. Napoleon

            6. Emperor Nero Caesar [4] & Domitian

            Why is antichrist a theme of interest to Christians?

            A. The Bible says that Christ will return again. No one knows when Christ will return, but Christ’s bodily return will be sudden, personal, and visible. 

            B. Christians subscribing to Historic Christianity will hope and desire for the second coming of Christ. This anticipation is fuelled by preachers preaching that “we are in the last days,” wherein “last days” refers to the imminence of Christ’s second coming.

            C. The Bible also says that the antichrist would appear before Christ’s second coming. 

            D. Hence it is reasonable to expect Christ’s presence any time and the unraveling of the antichrist - the precursor of Christ’s second coming.

            But is it reasonable to speculate the identity of antichrist with the popular figures? Yes, it would be reasonable to speculate as long as the speculation is based on a strong premise.

            Prior to speculating, we should be aware of the characteristics that define the antichrist, which are:

            (a) The beast (antichrist) will claim to be God and demand worship from all. He will deny Christ’s deity, incarnation and messianic role.

            (b) He will perform impressive and successfully deceptive signs.

            (c) He will persecute God’s people.

            (d) He will rule the world.

            (e) He will not allow people to buy or sell without his mark (666).

            Thus the four hallmark characters of the antichrist are:

            1. Claim to divinity & worship (or denial of Christ).

            2. Persecution of God’s people.

            3. Governance of the World.

            4. Performance of signs and wonders.

            If we superimpose these characters of the antichrist upon the Pope or the American President, then neither the present Pope nor the present American president fit the identity of the final antichrist. They may fit in part but not in full.

            Those who deny that Jesus is God are antichrists (1 John 2: 22). Anyone, be it the Pope or the American president, if they deny Christ as God, then they are antichrists. But in order for them to fit the bill as the final antichrist, they need to minimally fit the four hallmark characteristics of the final antichrist.

            But then, the antichrist need not reveal all the four characteristics at the same time. He could progress from one to another or may merely fade away after exhibiting one or more but not all.

            Consider Hitler.

            Although Hitler persecuted the Jews, he was vanquished by the allied forces. This defeat prevented him from governing the whole world. So he failed short of governing the world, claiming divinity and performing signs and wonders. Such was the case with all the other candidates speculated to be the final antichrist.

            Consider the American President or the Pope.

            They own the necessary platform to govern the world through a series of manipulative political moves. If either of them are the final antichrist, as they continue to gain that control over the world, they could persecute Christians in a smaller scale and progress to a full blown persecution. Performance of signs and wonders and claim to divinity could be their final revelations, if they are the antichrist.

            Therefore, speculations could be reasonable as and when we observe people exhibiting one or more of these characteristics that reveal the antichrist. But a rushed conclusion that the American President or the Pope is the antichrist is not a wise speculation.

            How are we to be prepared for the antichrist?

            1. Our relationship with the Lord Jesus should grow from strength to strength (Ephesians 6: 10ff; John 15). Unless we know Christ, we cannot withstand the oppression of the antichrist, if he were to arrive in our lifetime.

            2. Pray:

                        …for strength and wisdom to stand firm amidst trials.

                        …that we would not doubt or reject Christ during persecution.

                        …that our spiritual eyes would be constantly open to recognize false teachings and antichrists.   

            3. Do not doubt the antichrist’s coming.

            4. Do not be alarmed or unsettled and do not let anyone deceive you (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-5; 1 Peter 3: 14).

            5. Suffer patiently upon persecution (James 5: 7-11; Romans 5: 3; 1 Peter 2: 20)

            The antichrist will come. The Lord Jesus will then arrive to annihilate him and evil forever. While we yearn for the second coming of the Lord, we ought to be prepared for the rule of evil upon our lives through the antichrist.

            May the Lord’s grace and peace be upon us as we await HIS glorious second coming. Come Lord Jesus come and deliver us from evil. Amen.



Endnotes:

[1] http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.in/2014/03/four-blood-moons-in-2014-15-christs.html

[2] http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-7-most-popular-contenders-for-the-antichrist

[3] Protestant leaders Martin Luther, John Calvin, William Tyndale have considered the Pope to be the antichrist.


[4] Many theologians speculated that “666” the number of the beast said in Revelation 13: 18 refers to Emperor Nero, whose name in Greek when transliterated into Hebrew holds the value 666.

2 comments:

Charles Abraham said...

How can the anti-christ come prior to Jesus' second coming? Won't he come after the rapture? Coz I learned in church school that he would come only after Jesus' second coming. Pls give me a reference which says that he will come before the second coming

Raj Richard said...

Dear Charles,

Thanks for your question, and forgive me for the delayed response. Here is the reference you asked for (please note that the man of lawlessness is the antichrist):

2 Thessalonians 2: "1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness[a] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God."