BEHOLD THE BEAST
Pasted with permission of the author Ellis Skolfield. You can open the
printer frinedly PDF at the link here:
The Antichrist Myth
OUT of the Seven-Year Tribulation position came a host of other
imaginative doctrines. Some were contrived whole-cloth, while
others were modifications of prior beliefs. Among those ideas was the
doctrine of a coming end-time Antichrist who was supposed to do a
lot of wicked things at the end of the Christian Era. Unbelievable as
it may sound, we are all looking for a mythical end-time ruler who
has no biblical support.
Mythical? Impossible. We all know that Antichrist is coming, don't
we? Not really. Most of what we hear about him is one theologian's
theory built upon anther's supposition, and those suppositions go
all the way back to the 1st Century. Who and where is he? Isn't this
how we will know the second coming of Jesus is near, when some
fiendish creature in human form takes control of the world?
Despite what some people are saying, the appearance of an
Antichrist is not a biblical sign of the return of Jesus. To prove it, let's
first look at all we have heard about THE Antichrist. Among other
things, Antichrist is supposed to . . .
1. Appear at the end of the age.
2. Rule the world for . . .
3½ years as a good leader.
3½ years as a monstrously evil leader.
3. Have the temple rebuilt.
4. Reinstate temple sacrifices for the first 3½ years.
5. Turn against the Jews for the second 3½ years.
6. Stop temple sacrifices in the middle of the 7 years.
7. Cause all to worship him.
8. Start the battle of Armageddon.
9. Persecute the "Great Tribulation" saints and anyone else he
can get his hands on.
10. Misc. other legends (depending on school of thought)
including that as 666, he is Satan incarnate.
Believe it or not, not one of the above ideas can be directly
supported by Scripture. Some came from John Darby who thought
the 70th week of Daniel 9:27 was about a Seven Year Tribulation,
while others were fabricated out of thin air.
The word "antichrist" does appear in the Bible four times; so who,
when, and where is he? Let's look at every verse that mentions him
by name, and don't worry, you won't do a lot of reading. If you think
there are other verses, please get out your concordance and find
them. Though the author has searched the Scripture diligently for
over 40 years, he has yet to find another single verse.
Now to get the exact sense of what these verses mean, we need
a literal word-for-word translation of the Greek text. The Textus
Receptus is best, so the quotations below are from that text:1
1Jo 2:18 (Green's Interlinear) Young ones, a last hour it is,
and as you heard that the antichrist is coming, even now
antichrists many have arisen; from which you know that a last
hour it is.
1Jo 2:22 (Green's Interlinear) Who is the liar except the one
denying that Jesus not is the Christ? This is the antichrist the
one denying the Father and the Son.
1Jo 4:3 (Green's Interlinear) And every spirit which not
confesses Jesus Christ in the flesh having come, of God not is;
and this is the antichrist which you heard that it is coming,
and now in the world is already.
2Jo 1:7 (Green's Interlinear) Because many deceivers went
out into the world, those not confessing Jesus Christ coming
in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.2
1 The Textus Receptus (the received text) is the Greek manuscript from which
the King James Version was translated.
2 The definite article J0, "the," appears in the Greek text before Antichrist, and
it is so translated in the NAS. All who deny Jesus are identified not just as "an"
Antichrist, but as THE Antichrist. Some students of Greek believe J0 to be an
indefinite article, but the translators of the KJV, NAS, and NIV, with a full
knowledge of the English language, have all translated J0 as definite, so this is
a reasonable assertion.
Difficult as it may be to believe, that's every verse. Only four
verses in the entire Bible mention Antichrist by name. That doesn't
agree with all we have heard about THE Antichrist, does it? Maybe
not, but those are still all the references to him in the Bible.
Everything else we have heard is what people have conjectured from
other scriptures. Read those verses in 1st John again, paying
particular attention to the last two. Do they say that a special
personage, "THE Antichrist," is going to appear in the future? If they
do, I fail to see it.
Who do these verses tell us the Antichrist is going to be? They
declare that Antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus Christ has
come in the flesh, or that Jesus is the Christ. "You have heard . . .
you have heard." The Holy Spirit, through the Apostle John, is not
stating that a specific Antichrist is coming. He only said that you
"have heard" that one is coming. To put that in today's language, you
"have heard" that warts come from toads and that the moon is made
of green cheese. Your having "heard" it doesn't make it so, nor does
your saying that you have heard it mean that you believe it. You are
not declaring that warts come from toads.
In the same way the Lord isn't saying that Antichrist is coming at
some time in the future. He's only saying that "you have heard" one
was coming. Then He tells you what Antichrist really is. The Holy
Spirit is using a figure of speech to straighten out a false 1st Century
church belief: "Church, you are sitting there with an imaginary
doctrine. The truth is this: .He that denies that Jesus is the Christ, or
that denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is the Antichrist,
and he is already in the world."
One has to ask why John wrote his Gospel and three epistles so
late in life? What was his special mission? Well, by 100AD, John has
seen what has happened to sound doctrine during his own lifetime.
Just as Paul warned, wolves have come in among the sheep and are
rending the flock. John has seen the heresies of the Marcianites,
Gnostics, Nicolaitans and others with his own eyes. The purpose of
John's Gospel and three epistles is the debunking of these false
doctrines. A future Antichrist is one of them. John says very plainly
that anyone who denies the basic truths about the Lord Jesus is THE
Antichrist, and the Christian Era has been full of them.
But has the Church really heard John? It doesn't seem so. For
centuries, numerous pseudo-prophets have pontifically announced
which conqueror, potentate, pope, or guru had to be the one and
only, genuine, bona fide, and authentic real life Antichrist. Every one
of them has been wrong. Satan's generals are not out there planning
massive military campaigns. They are not driving around in staff cars,
or directing battles from front line bunkers. Satan is battling for our
hearts and minds. Satan is a spirit, and he is fighting a spiritual battle
for the souls of men (Rev 18:8-13).
His real generals and high priests are in our high schools,
churches and college campuses, even Christian ones. Since we are
not tuned in to the kind of battle we are supposed to be fighting, we
don't even know who Satan's real generals are: Professor So-and-so,
Pastor what's-his-name, Theologian Big-name. Do I sound way too
critical? Well, this is what the Bible says:
2 Cor 11:14-15 For Satan himself is transformed into an angel
of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be
transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall
be according to their works.
Any who holds or teach a doctrine that reject Jesus as the Savior of
the world is THE Antichrist: biggies like Kant, Spinose, Freud, Jung,
Spengler, Hume, Voltaire, Sagan, Moon, the New Age, the ACLU and
the National Education Association and the man next door. God sees
the rebellion in each fallen man's heart individually, so every person
who turns from His Son is the Antichrist.
THE MAN OF SIN
Many try to attribute .Man of Sin. of 2 Th:2 to the Antichrist, but
that.s not what those verses mean at all. To get it in context, Paul
was addressing doctrinal issues of importance to believers in
Thessalonika. It seems that they were just sitting around on some
mountain top, waiting for Jesus to return and since that time, this
passage of Scripture has been totally misunderstood. For instance,
haven.t we heard there will be a great revival before Jesus returns?
Guess what? That is exactly the opposite of what 2Th 2:3 teaches:
2Th 2:2-3 "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be
troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from
us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you
by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come
a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of
So a departure from the faith precedes the return of Jesus, not a
revival. But, who is this "man of sin . . . the son of perdition?" The
verse is usually thought to be about the Antichrist, but maybe we
should look at the passage in a different light:
2Th 2:4 "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is
called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in
the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
What temple do you suppose the Lord was speaking of in that
verse? In Old Testament times, God's temple was in Jerusalem, but
where is the temple of God in the New Testament?:
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that
the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with
idols? for ye are the temple of the living God.
Eph 2:22 In whom all the building fitly framed together
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are
builded together for an habitation of God.
A physical temple in Jerusalem might be applicable for a Jew
sovereignly blinded, but it is heresy for the Church to think of its
temple as a building on Mount Moriah. Furthermore, 1Th 2:16
implies that the books to this church were written after the temple
was destroyed in 70AD, and Paul makes no mention of building a
new one.3 If Paul in 2Th 2 is speaking of a physical temple in
Jerusalem, then he departed from the Holy Spirit's revelation to him
3 1Th 2:16 "Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to
fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost." Some
scholars would like to early-date this epistle, but the "wrath" Paul speaks of here
is most likely the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd temple.
of where God's temple is now located. That is most unlikely.
2Th 2:3 "a falling away first": It is almost impossible to believe
how different the Church is today from what it was just 60 years ago.
In this short a time, there has been worldwide a falling away from
the Lord unprecedented in church history. Europe was the cradle of
the Reformation, yet less than 3% of today's Europeans still cling
solidly to the faith. In our own land, it is estimated that the true
followers of the Lord do not exceed 10% of the total population;
some very conservative groups hold that no more than 5% of
Americans are really Christians.
Neglected are the very precepts that lead us to kneel at the foot
of the cross in broken-hearted repentance. The word Gospel means
good news, and the good news is that Jesus died to save us from our
sins. We have adopted a materialistic and self-serving theology.4
Despite a population explosion in the third world, there are fewer
missionaries in foreign lands than there were just a generation ago.
Thousands of retiring missionaries are returning home with only a
handful sent out to replace them. Access to many foreign fields is
restricted by their local leaders or by frightfully dangerous local
conditions. In so-called New Testament churches here at home, the
Bible is treated with a carelessness that would have horrified our
forefathers. Scripture is ignored or culturally interpreted to fit the
lifestyle of the congregation. TV ministries, many of them openly
heretical, have corrupted the Word of God with false doctrine, but
are still looked up to by many as trustworthy servants of God.
1Ti 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter
times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy;
having their conscience seared with a hot iron.
4 Here are three of many verses which invalidate today's prosperity doctrines: Joh
16:2 .the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God
service;. Joh 16:33 .In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world;. 2TI 3:12 .Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ
Jesus shall suffer persecution..
The everyday Christian has been programmed to accept denom-
inational dogma, regardless of whether or not that dogma is in line
with Scripture. As a result, modernistic seminaries now have a death
grip on most local evangelical churches. Churches cannot last long
if their leaders do not believe the Bible they have been commissioned
to defend. Current events are showing this to be true. Major
denominations are on the verge of collapse. Few are in sufficient
obedience to Scripture to recognize the demonic origin of the
doctrines now being taught. Along with the great apostasy, from the
above we can see that the man of sin is already in the Church, Just
as Jesus asked, "Will faith be on the earth" when He returns? Luk
2Th 2:3 "the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition": Since the
second world war, there have been an ever-increasing number of
atheists, agnostics, and other cultists in the lawless state of total
rebellion against God. 1Jo 3:4 tells us that sin is lawlessness. The
rebellious unredeemed, still in their sins, are men of lawlessness, and
doomed to destruction. At no other time in the Christian Era has
there been such an open disregard for the Bible. Compare with Joh
17:12, Heb 10:3-9.
2Th 2:4 "who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god
or object of worship": Secular humanists state that man is a god, their
manifesto declaring (and I hate to write it): "Man made God in His
own image." By these declarations they exalt themselves above every
god. They replace God in their hearts with scientific formula, trading
a knowledge of the Giver of Life for a limited understanding of what
He has made.
v.4 (cont.) "so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying
himself as being God." That phrase, by itself, shows us that the .man
of sin. is not a human being, but a spirit. Our bodies are the temple
of the Holy Spirit. Only a spirit being could take his seat in the
human heart. In some of the charismatic churches, demons are
invading people, giving false gifts and claiming to be the Holy Spirit.5
Hindu guru or charismatic, the doctrines are the same. The wrappings
have been changed to trap the simple.
Leaders of numberless cults declare: "Look to the god within your-
self," or "Get in touch with your inner self" or "Channel with a
master." This is supposed to be an inner god-like voice
communicating with an ascended spirit (translate that a demon). All
this suggests that a god-like power is within man himself. This
places man's ego in the temple of the Holy Spirit, claiming an
authority there, which is God's alone:
2 Th 2:5-7 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you,
I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth
that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of
iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let,
[more accurately restrains] until he be taken out of the way.
2:8-10 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord
shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy
with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is
after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying
wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in
them that perish; because they received not the love of the
truth, that they might be saved.
v.7 "only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of
the way": Throughout the Christian Era, the Holy Spirit has
quickened the heart of man to his need for a Savior. However, in Gen
6:3, the Lord tells us that He would restrain His Spirit from doing so
at some future time. Though the Holy Spirit will never leave the
heart of the believer, the Lord makes no such promise to those who
remain in rebellion to Him. One godly old pastor said, "I don't see
the Holy Spirit working in the hearts of the unsaved like I used to."
5 The enemy's intellect should not be underestimated. This satanic attack is
brilliant. Satan has brought false doctrine and false spiritual manifestations into
the Church under the guise of being the Holy Spirit of God. Many are afraid to
speak against these sins for fear of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. If we don't
know our Bibles, we get caught in this trap. This was the subject of Demons in the
Church, Ellis Skolfield (Fort Myers, FL, Fish House Publishing) 1993.
v.9 "with all power and signs and lying wonders": We now have
guided missiles and hydrogen bombs (bringing fire down out of
Heaven), nuclear submarines and interstellar probes, movie special
effects, and TV wizards. TV is a wonder, indeed, showing an .image.
of the world system, and many people worship it several hours a day
(Rev 13:15). It shows mostly ungodliness and lies. If these are not
false wonders, what does it take to qualify?
2:11-12 For this cause God shall send them strong delusion,
that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned
who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
Psychologists deny the existence of sin, ignoring that Jesus is the
only solution for the death sentence of which we are all worthy.
Paleontologists deny the very existence of God with their
multibillion-year calendars. Medical science can keep bodies alive
long after God has taken the soul. So the man of sin is all around us.
The spirit of Antichrist is in the worldly, the disbelieving, the
liberal scholar who tries to disprove the Bible. Unrepentant men,
even "disguising themselves as servants of righteousness" (2Co
11:15). The man of sin isn't some superhuman tyrant just waiting for
the right time to take over the world. The spirit of Antichrist is in the
unmerciful landlord, the drug pusher, the dishonest businessman,
the occultist, the Satan worshiper with his hidden rites and the
crooked judge who steals from widows for a price. Today, he is
everyone's neighbor, from the racketeer in our own home town, to
the Islamic terrorist in some hidden safe-house.