Who is the antichrist? We can answer this in sort of two different ways: “What does the Antichrist like?” and “Who specifically is it?” These are questions that have plagued the church for a long time and they continue to be a source of division within it.He deceives and he persecutes. He’s here already.
The Old Testament talks about a troubler and an antagonist. We see this specifically in Ezekiel and in Daniel. The most exposition we have on it is really the book of Daniel. The Bible is not entirely clear, even in Daniel, if there is going to be one or many. They are all really connected to each other. What does seem to be clear is that towards the end of Israel’s history, in the latter days, Daniel talks about how there will come one who will intensely persecute God’s people.
Then we start to march our way through the New Testament. We get texts, for example, from 1 John 2 and 2 Thessalonians 2, where they also talk about antichrist coming in the latter days. Paul even says that it’s happening right now. He even calls that “the mystery of the antichrist.” It’s already in their midst. So, then, interpreters ask, “What’s going on there?”, “What’s happening?” Well, the idea is that the spirit of the antichrist is already at work in a corporate way. There is a corporate antichrist. Yes, this corporate antichrist is active but it will culminate in an end time figure who will come in bodily form and who will deceive at the very end of history.
What does the antichrist do? He deceives and he persecutes. He’s here already. His spirit sounds bizarre, but his influence extends right now into the present. It began in the first century and extends right now through a group of false teachers who are infiltrating the church. Either they have infiltrated churches or they are knocking on the door. They are right there. They will then culminate in the bodily figure of the antichrist.We have to remain vigilant and be ready to engage these corporate antichrists who are already knocking at the door.
So, who is he specifically? I don’t know but I can tell you that he inspires people right now. He inspires false teachers to deceive and to persecute. The reaction of the church should be to bear up under difficult times. It is exceedingly difficult for Christians at this time and in certain portions of the world.
Secondly, Christians—this is primarily the case in the West, too—we have a flood of false teaching. We have to actively combat it by reading our Bibles and by standing guard. Even in the New Testament, there is this whole theme of being sober. That’s in the context of false teaching. We have to remain vigilant and be ready to engage these corporate antichrists who are already knocking at the door.
It is the last days; in fact, John says that is how we know it is the last hour because there are antichrists in our midst. We have to be on guard and be ready, but it’s just a fulfilment of what Christ said would happen.