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Is This Anti-Christ Thing Blown Completely Out of Proportion?

Mark Virkler's picture

I mean, it is a big topic in the Bible, right? Why, the whole book of Revelation talks about the antichrist and the terrifying things he is going to do to the Church at the end of the age! But wait. Would you believe me if I told you the word “antichrist” does not appear even ONCE in the book of Revelation?

How do I know that? I have the free Bible software e-Sword downloaded to my computer, and I can do a search of any word I want to. So I put the word “antichrist” in the search bar, hit "search," and presto, no occurrences of the word antichrist anywhere in the book of Revelation.

I wonder how that is possible since I have been taught that the entire book is about his destructive ways. So what is Revelation really about? Surprisingly, Revelation 1:1 tells us exactly what the focus of the book is:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel. (NKJV)

Ok, that is crystal clear. This book reveals Jesus Christ (NOT the antichrist), and it does it through symbolic language. So I need to go to the Old Testament to discover what these symbols meant there, then apply them through the revelation of the Holy Spirit to discover the message of the glory of Christ as He overcomes sin in our lives (our beastly nature) and makes us victorious in Him.

Well, that may be true, but what about the rest of the Bible? That talks a lot about the antichrist, right?

Every verse in the Bible with antichrist in it

Since it is so simple to do a word search for antichrist using e-Sword, I did it and below is EVERY verse in the Bible that has the word antichrist in it. Read them carefully and prayerfully, and jot down what you discover about the antichrist.

  1. Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. (1 Jn. 2:18) 
  2. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. (1 Jn. 2:22)
  3. Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (1 Jn. 4:3)
  4. For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 Jn. 1:7)

There are ONLY four verses in the entire Bible with the word antichrist in them! Yet I have been taught to live in fear and terror of the coming antichrist. Totally unbelievable!!!

So what do the four verses of Scripture teach us about antichrist?

  1. There were many antichrists around when John wrote his letters to the Church.
  2. The spirit of the antichrist is in those who do not acknowledge that Jesus is God’s Son and He came to earth in the flesh.

Well, that is also crystal clear. Everyone who refuses to believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that He offered salvation to the world through His death and resurrection contains the spirit of the antichrist. That means there are quite a few people who are antichrists running around today. Some “pastors” would even fall into this category. Yikes!

OK, this is totally different than what I find in the multitude of books about the antichrist. They teach me to fear the coming antichrist. But remember, it is satan who wants us to fear. God teaches us to have faith and believe that He is Almighty God Who is watching over us as our Shepherd and Provider and Sustainer, and He is working all things out for good for us (Rom. 8:28).

What I am going to do

Since the Bible has so little to say about the antichrist, and the Bible clearly says that God’s government is continually increasing, I am going to believe that and get excited about that and join God’s team in bringing that forth in my world.

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (Isa. 9:7)

Not that I haven’t tried fear in the past. I have and I find it disgusting. I especially can’t stand it when non-believers have a brighter view of the future than I do as a Christian. That is so upside down I just want to scream. STOP IT, CHURCH! Stop feeding on fear and believing for evil to overtake the world!

I am not going to leave it to non-believers and New Agers to believe for an increase of peace while I believe for an increase in evil. I repent for living in fear and false theology and overlaying the Bible with the doctrines of men so that I would even think the whole book of Revelation was about the antichrist when it clearly states it is the revealing of the risen Christ.

From this point on I am going to read the Bible under the illumination of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 24:32), and walk in the light as a world-changer who is active in discipling all nations (Matt. 28:18-20).

I invite you to join me!

Question: What about the beast in Revelation 13?

When it comes to Revelation, we know that it was communicated in signs and symbols ("And He sent and signified it by His angel" - Rev. 1:1 NKJV). The book is obviously symbolic and we need to search Scripture to discover what these symbols might mean. If we are viewing the book of Revelation symbolically, which verse one tells us to do, then what might Scripture indicate that the “beast” could symbolize?

In Revelation 13:1 we find a beast appearing. The Greek word that is translated as "beast" is "thērion."

Here is what Thayer’s Greek Definitions, says about thērion (G2342 θηρίον).

  1. an animal
  2. a wild animal, wild beast, beast
  3. metaphorically a brutal, bestial man, savage, ferocious

Well, the first two definitions are literal, and since we know Revelation is signified ("communicated through signs and symbols") we will need to go with the third definition above, "a brutal, bestial man, savage, ferocious." So we want to go back in Scripture to see if we can find a clue there, especially a clue which might confirm the idea of the beast being a bestial man. In the verses below, the word “beast” in Scripture refers to a man overcome by sinfulness and, of course, satan the serpent is behind such sinfulness, and his goal is to attack and destroy Christians, and this is all pictured in Revelation 13.

  • I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts." (Eccl. 3:18) 
  • When my heart was embittered And I was pierced within, Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. (Ps. 73:21-22)
  • If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus (1 Cor. 15:32) ...  And in Acts 19:21-41 you find the description of that fight at Ephesus and the wild beasts he was fighting were actually evil men.

Thērion is found extensively in classical Greek describing wicked or pathetic people. Plato (Phaedrus, 204b) applies it to people: “A flatterer is a horrid creature (thērion) who does great harm.” See also Aristophanes, Clouds, 184.

John was probably giving us a code word for Emperor Nero, who wreaked havoc on the church in 67 AD. If Revelation was written between 64-68 as many scholars believe, then the book was about things to soon come to pass, so soon could have been 3 years later, 67 AD (Rev. 1:1).

John was also pointing us to the sin of man that turned Nebuchadnezzar into a beast (Dan. 4).

"All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. The king reflected and said, 'Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?' While the word was in the king's mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, 'King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.'" (Dan. 4:28-32)

So the above is a possible interpretation and I am surely open to people interpreting symbolism in different ways. We can honor differing interpretations (1 Pet. 2:17) without needing to call a person a heretic or label what they say as "misinformation." Humility is a virtue and is commanded by God, while pride puts one on the list of people whom God opposes (1 Pet. 5:5). 

The book of Revelation gives a blessing to the one who reads and hears the book and heeds what is in it. Interesting that it doesn’t say understands it, which it surely could have mentioned. Maybe John knew there would be multiple interpretations, and those who had read his book would understand it when the time occurred. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near (Rev. 1:3).

I encourage people to read the Bible through and through, so they are fully acquainted with all of Scripture. We have four distinctly different views of Revelation that have come down through the ages from Bible-believing Christians. These four main perspectives are described in many books, one being the Rose Guide to End-Times Prophecy. This excellent book is available on our website. We think it is well worth reading, so a person sees the Scriptural support for all four views. In college, I backed up all four views with enough Scripture to satisfy me. So in my mind, each can be supported biblically.

My main point is that we must believe and see the reality that God’s Kingdom is ever increasing, which means satan’s is ever decreasing (Isa. 9:7). So let’s get excited about the future and believe and envision this clear promise of Scripture - which doesn't have four possible interpretations! Let's celebrate when we see righteousness advancing, understanding it as the fulfillment of Isaiah 9:7! 

Let's leave the job of believing in evil to take over the world, to the church of satan. How about if the believers in Jesus Christ believe we are seated with Him in heavenly places, ruling and discipling all nations.

An interview for the adventuresome to watch

A TED Talk with Elon Musk - A future worth getting excited about (You don't need to agree with everything Elon says; I don't. But this is inspirational!)

Related Resources: 

How to Hear God's Voice!   Spiritual Transformations   
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Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

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9 Books | 10 CDs | 10 DVDs | Save $35+

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