Saturday, June 11, 2016

Let None Scare You: Antichrist was just an Auntie Christ, and NOT Nero, the Pope or the POTUS.

Dear in Christ,

For aeons we have been listening to the the paeans sung by preachers and scholars on the might of the Antichrist.
  • Antichrist will change the calendar.
  • Antichrist seek people worshiping him.
  • Antichrist will come back to life, even he/she is dead.
  • Antichrist will control economy, religion and politics.
  • The president of the United States is the Antichrist.
  • The Pope is the Antichrist.
  • Saddam Hussein / Hitler / Osama Bin Laden / Gaddafi ... is /was the Antichrist.
  • Antichrist will come from a Muslim nation.
  • Bar code, RFID, QR code ... are marks of the beast / Antichrist.
  • ... and many more.
While all these heated debates on the identity of the Antichrist has been going on for centuries, the most important thing that has been ignored is: the SCRIPTURAL CONTEXT. Studying the four scriptures in which the term antichrist appears, in their context, leaves no scope for identifying any political or religious leader or institution as the antichrist.

Let me state this upfront, the antichrist mentioned by John were men and women, just like you and me. Can't believe? Please read the scriptures in their contexts, if you please, with me. Fear mongers have created their antichrist by totally ignoring John's specifications. They took the word "antichrist" from John's epistles and added to it the symbols (that they hardly understand) from Daniel and Revelation in making their scary monster.

John's definition of the Antichrist.

1Jn 2:18 Little children, it is [as John was writing, not as you are reading] the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now [in the first century, as John was writing] are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
It is as simple as this: while you say 'it's raining' you mean it is raining as you are talking, not that it will rain in some point in the future. The passage doesn't say, 'whenever you see the antichrist, realize that it is the last time'. John makes it clear that as there were many antichrists present as he was writing and hence it was the last time.

While eschatological soothsayers talk of a single person or entity as the antichrist which has to appear in some future date, whereas, John talks about many antichrists who were present in his days.
1Jn 2:19 They [who? Antichrists] went out from us [believers], but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Antichrists did not proceed from Washington DC or Vatican or Rome or Libya or Iraq. They proceeded from among the first century believers! This disqualifies everyone other than former believers as antichrists.

They were common men and women, just like the rest of the believers. They went out, because they didn't fit in with the believers, though they were among them. There was a salient difference between them and the believers which will become evident as we read the rest of the passage.
1Jn 2:20 But ye [remaining believers] have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
The remaining believers have an unction [anointing] from God, and the anointing makes them to know everything. The anointing from God was the difference between those who left (the antichrists) and the believers.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

The Greek word translated as unction is χρίσμα (anointing, khris'-mah, G5545). This word is a derivative of χρίω (anoint, smear. khree'-o, G5548). The Greek word translated as Christ also is a derivative of the same word - Χριστός (anointed, Christ, khris-tos', G5547). The Greek word translated as antichrist - ἀντίχριστος (antichrist, an-tee'-khris-tos. G500) - is formed by the Greek word for Christ prefixed with another Greek word - ἀντί (instead/for, an-tee', G473). This word can be found in expressions like "an eye for an eye" and "a tooth for a tooth" (Matt 5:38). Since the Greek word sounds like the English prefix "anti", it is used forming the word "antichrist". If the one who has anointment is anointed, the one who has no anointment has to be unanointed.
1Jn 2:21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1Jn 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
The definition of the antichrist is pretty clear: whoever denies the father and son is the antichrist. Such a person is an antichrist not because he has political power or because he controls religions.

It is mean to accuse any Christian group (be it Roman Catholics or Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons) to be the antichrist, because none of them denies that Jesus is the Christ. Almost every Christian group believes in the father and the son.
1Jn 2:23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
Though the term "last time" is mentioned once in this chapter, the topic of this chapter is not end time prophecy, it is about the faith in the father and the son. The point that John tries to drive home is: you cannot have a faith in the Father, bypassing Jesus Christ. The failure of those whom John terms as antichrists was that they didn't want to believe Jesus. (Without the spirit of God none can believe that Jesus is the Lord - 1Cor 12:3). The were unanointed.
1Jn 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.
1Jn 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
This scripture is vital in the understanding of the chapter - here John is cautioning his readers against some people who are attempting to draw them away from the true faith. Obviously, these are some people who had contacts with the believers and not Hitler or Osama Bin Laden or Nero Caesar.

The Antichrist whom the first century Christians overcame.

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
There are no spiritual microscopes to identify whether a spirit is from God. In the context of John's epistles, if a teaching does not involve a faith in Jesus Christ, it is not from God. Whoever doesn't testify for Jesus is a false prophet.
1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now [as John was writing these words] already is it in the world.
John is persistent in his definition of the antichrist. All that he says is that those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ are the antichrist. Unlike end time soothsayers, he doesn't say that antichrist has horns or claws. He doesn't say that the antichrist will exercise political or religious authority!
1Jn 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome [present perfect tense] them: [whom? false prophets and antichrists] because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Unlike the descriptions of the fear mongers, antichrist is someone who could be defeated by ordinary men and women. Antichrists and false prophets were teachers who do not confess Jesus Christ came in the flesh. If the entity identified as antichrist were as powerful as Nero or Hitler, could ordinary believers have overcome them?
1Jn 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
This is not about the worldliness of those who left. We will come back to this topic, later.

An Antichrist that has to be shunned.

2Jn 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
John has not deviated from his pet theme anywhere. He has nothing in common with fear mongers.
2Jn 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
After having stated several times that one cannot have God without Jesus Christ, he established it as the doctrine of Christ.
2Jn 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
John is not talking about the Pope or the President of the United States (whom fear mongers term as antichrists) coming to your homes. Here the discussion is about your own brethren, who have left the faith in Christ, coming to your homes. They should be coming to entice ("seduce" in 1Jn 2:26) you into their ways. Believers are asked not to entertain those who have left the faith in Jesus Christ.
We have covered every single verse where the term antichrist appears. Have we seen anything scary? Have we seen anything that is even remotely similar to the claims of doomsday prophets?

Does John mention anywhere that the antichrist would:
  • control world economy?
  • vanquish many nations?
  • desecrate God's temple?
  • destroy Israel?
  • wage war against saints?
  • rule anywhere?
One may ask whether the beasts of Revelation and Daniel are not antichrists? Unfortunately, they don't match the specifications laid out by John. The beasts of Daniel and Revelation are political leadership (kings or emperors).

They are of the world. (1Jn 4:5)

Worldliness, as understood by many, was not the issue with those who are termed as antichrists. The first century church had many Jewish converts to Christian faith. Perhaps, they joined the budding new faith seeing the signs and wonders and being carried away by the passionate speeches of the apostles. Once they are in Christian faith, they are told that they cannot have a faith in God without a faith in Jesus Christ. As Jews, they have been taught that there is none beside God. For them it is quite unthinkable for God to have a son.
Joh 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

It is not easy for anyone who has been taught for many decades that there is none beside God to accept Christ as the means to approach God. Some of these new converts may reevaluate their faith and may develop some doubts in their mind, like:
  • What if Christian faith is wrong and hence destined to perish, like many sects which came before it? (Act 5:36, 37)
  • Does their teaching that we need to believe Jesus Christ as well imply that there are more than one God?
  • How is it possible that Jewish religion that has been in existence for 4,000+ years be wrong and Christianity that has come into existence very recently be right?
  • How is it possible that the Jewish religion, which has more than a million followers, be wrong, and this new religion, which has only a few thousand followers, be right?
  • What if Jesus Christ was another false teacher?
If you were to go back to the Christian group that you have left recently and express a few doubts, won't they attempt to convince you that your new beliefs are completely wrong? Similarly, these doubting (unanointed) Jewish converts would have gone back to their favorite Jewish Rabbis and expressed their doubts and the latter dutifully confused them. On coming back to the Christian congregation they would attempt to draw away many more fence-sitters. This is the reason John told the addressees of his epistles:
1Jn 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
2Jn 1:10  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, (the doctrine of Christ), receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
While John said:
1Jn 4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
It was not about worldliness. It was about those who are addicted or attached to Jewish teachings, and those who were having doubt about the doctrine of Christ.

If we study the scriptures in their proper context, we will realize that many of the scary stuff that fear mongers propagate have no basis in the scriptures.
In Christ,
Tomsan Kattackal

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