The Real Christ and the Antichrist
The Antichrist in the First Century
Paul's letters to Galatia and Corinth both refer to the existence of "other Gospels". In the letter to Corinth, Paul also refers to a "different spirit" and "another Jesus".
These terms find parallels in John's letters to the church of the late first century, where he is the only New Testament writer to use the term, "Antichrist", (and then only four times). John wrote these letters to deliver a strong warning to the church about some false Christians who, he says, are a fulfilment of the prophecy they have heard, about the coming of Antichrist. These false Christians spoke of a Jesus who bore the right name, but, in other ways, was quite different to the real one. Their Jesus was so different that he was, in fact, a false Christ. This is why John calls them "Antichrist"
Firstly, he says, "you have heard that Antichrist is coming". (1 John 2:18). This, of course, is a reference to the prophecy, spoken by Jesus himself, which was discussed in the previous section.
John also says, "many Antichrists have come" (1 John 2:18). The prophecy was not for some distant future. It was already being fulfilled.
Then John describes clearly the difference between real Christianity and the false teaching of the Antichrists so that those early Christians and their spiritual descendants will be equipped to "test the spirits".
1. Their false Jesus was neither the Son of God nor the prophesied Christ (1 John 2:22).
2. Their false Jesus was not really a man (1 John 4:2 & 2 John 7).
3. They did not abide in the teaching of Christ (2 John 9).
4. They loved the world and were of the world and what they said was of the world (1 John 2:15 & 4:3-5).
5. They were deceivers (1 John 3:7).
6. Their false Christ condoned sin and they continued in sin. (1 John 1:6, 2:4 & 3:10).
7. They were haters and murderers. (1 John 2:10-11 & 3:11-18).
8. They refused to listen to the real Christians. (1 John 4:6)
In denying Jesus as the Christ, they also rejected God as their Father, losing all access to faith and the love of God (1 John 5:1-2).
In denying Jesus as the Son of God, they lost the key to victory over sin (1 John 5:3-5).
In denying his humanity, they rejected his call for all other humans to mould their own human obedience to conform to his perfect human example (2 John 7-9, Matt. 5:48, 1 Peter 1:15-16).
In their failure to abide in his teaching, they became unfruitful, fit only to be thrown into the fire and be burned (John 15:6).
In their love for this world, they lost sight of the eternal values of the world to come (1 John 2:15-17).
As deceivers, they identified themselves as children of the Devil, the father of lies.(John 8:44)
Condoning sin and continuing in sin, they lived in willful disobedience. They claimed to love God, but their disobedience revealed the truth that, actually, they hated both the real Jesus and also the Father who sent him. (John 14:24 & 15:22-23 & 1 John 4:20 & 5:2)
As haters and murderers they lived in darkness, shut off from the light of truth and eternal life (1 John 3:15).
In refusing to listen to the real Christians, they revealed that they were not of God, but still of the world (1 John 4:5-6).
Next: The Spirit of Antichrist