Where does the word "Antichrist" come from?
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2009 October 26
Antichrist will be a man who loves to have the preeminence among his fellow men, who wants to be first, and when there is such a person and when this person even openly declares that the wants to be first, that he loveth to have preeminence, and when he is even already very much on the way of achieving this aim, on a worldwide scale, to become the world leader, then we would be foolish to ignore such signs. Read more:
Today, on the 26th of October 2009, I was thinking of the three letters John wrote and which are part of the Bible and of the fact that the word Antichrist comes from these letters and that they are the only part of the Bible where the word Antichrist is used.
So John is the person who uses the word Antichrist and so it is worth to have a look at his letters to get a better idea what it is all about.
John does not use the word Antichrist in his Gospel and also not in Revelation, his other books in the Bible which are much longer books than these relatively small books - the three letters. The first time that he mentions Antichrist, and that is also the first time it is used in the Bible, is in 1 John 2:18:
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
So in this verse he uses the word two times, the second time in plural. The second verse where he uses the word is 1 John 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 third verse is 1 John 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 already is it in the world.
And the fourth verse is 2 John 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.
These are the four verses in the three letters of John that mention Antichrist and they are also the only verses in the whole Bible where this word is used.
Now I suggest that the details given here about this man Antichrist will be the main characteristics to watch out for when one wants to recognize this man. I further suggest that all three letters of John are dealing with one and the same subject and that this subject is exactly this word we are investigating here. The word Antichrist is only used in the first two letters, not in the third one, but I suggest that most of the details about Antichrist are to be found in the third letter, even so the word does not appear in it.
In the third letter of John the word Antichrist does not appear, but a man is there described, who is a very type of Antichrist, but is not designated there as such and so we want to have a look at this man.
The man's name is given there and therefore we have a distinct person with a name and so we want to see what we find there.
The verse is 3 John 9:
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
So Diotrephes loves to have the preeminence among them, the church, and he does not receive "us" which are the people to which John belongs.
And more details we find in the next verse, in 3 John 10:
Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
Now these details given in these two verses apply to Diotrephes. And as he is a type of Antichrist, they will also apply to the other type we are going to have a look at, the special type of Antichrist that will appear at the end of times.
Now John mentions here the church and we do not know which church this is, but I am going to speculate later on which church this may be, but for the time being we just want to assume that this church could also be the universal church, the church with which the Antichrist of the end-times will deal with.
And when we then look at this trait of his that he wants and loves to have the preeminence, then we are already there, where we are very close to the key to understand the aims of this man: he wants to be first.
And to be first means that everything else and everyone else comes after him.
And that excludes no-one - also not God.
So the way he will try to achieve this aim of his, to finally also be above God, will be worth watching, and one further characteristic, that he is prating against us with malicious words, gives us an idea how the fight against everything of a spiritual nature will be fought.
A third item is that he forbiddeth the brethren. They will be outlawed - banned.
A further key to recognize the Antichrist is that he will belong to the church; he is not outside of it.
But the main item will be that he fights against the true believers.
Now I want to come back the question to which church John wrote the three letters.
The Bible says that John "was in the isle that is called Patmos" (Revelation 1:9) and this island is today a Greek island and is quite close to Turkey just west of the Turkish coast and about 60 km away from this coast. Patmos is an island in that part of the Mediterranean that is called the Aegean Sea, which is between the main body of Greece, in the west, and Turkey in the east.
Now on the west coast of what is today Turkey is Miletus, which is mentioned in the Bible in Acts 20:15 and in Acts 20:17, where it says that Paul sent from Miletus to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church: "And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church."
The Bible does not indicate that John had something to do with Ephesus but other information indicates that John's later life had much to do with Ephesus and that he lived there and that even Marie, the mother of Jesus, lived there. From John 19:27 we know that John took Marie unto his own home. So it is very likely that John was an elder in the church in Ephesus and that he wrote to that church, may be while he was away from it, possibly being a prisoner on Patmos. The island of Patmos is less than 100 km to the west of Ephesus and Miletus is close to Ephesus, a harbour town at the coast.
John lived in Ephesus around the end of the first century and Paul's last visit to Ephesus happened a couple of decades earlier. So let us come back to the report about Paul's last visit to Ephesus - or rather to Miletus from where Paul sent to Ephesus to call the elders (Acts 20:17).
Then, from Acts 20:18 to Acts 20:35, follows Paul's speech to the elders of the church in Ephesus. These 18 verses are quite interesting as they are a prophecy describing church history, not only the history of the church in Ephesus, but the histroy of the universal church, and in particular the emergence of Orthodoxy.
The two key verses are Acts 20:29 and Acts 20:30:
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
This describes how Orthodoxy came into being and reminds us of what Johannes wrote about in his letters of a man who loveth to have the preeminence.
But also right at the beginning of his speech Paul points to the difference between a true Christian leader and a wolf by saying that he served the Lord with all humility of mind (Acts 20:19) - so pointing out that he was not that type of person who loveth to have the preeminence - and in verse 26 he says that he is "pure from the blood of all men" thus he as a true servant of Christ does not go around and kills his opponents - like the ones who adhere to Orthodoxy have done for not only centuries but millennia. And in verse 33 he comes to one of the most outstanding differences between the servants of God and the servants of Orthodoxy when he says, "I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel." Now silver and gold is money. In those times money consisted still of valuable material, metals - silver and gold - and not like today of documents that consist of promises but which become worthless when the one who gives the promise ceases to be able to back up what he promises, when the bank notes of a government become worthless when that government caves in, when then such pieces of paper are less worth than the paper on which the promises were once written or printed. And in verse 34 Paul goes into more details of what he is speaking about by saying, "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me." Paul worked to maintain his upkeep and he even worked for the upkeep of others who ministered with him, and they did not ask for money like the gentlemen of Orthodoxy do. And in the last verse of his recorded speech he explains the spiritual reasons for doing that what Orthodoxy does not do: "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
His whole speech deals with Orthodoxy and what is wrong with it and a couple of decades later John also has to deal with this problem and most possibly he had to deal with the same church and probably even with some of the same elders who listened to Paul's speech.
At the time of John the prophecy of Paul had started to materialize. One of these elders had listened to Paul and heard what he said and probably agreed with what he heard but then the things of the world got the better of him and he stopped being humble and stopped serving the Lord with all humility of mind and started to love to have the preeminence among the brothers.
Now Paul's speech was addressed to elders, to the elders of the church in Ephesus, and in John's letters the word elder is quite prominent as he describes himself as an elder. His second and his third letter start with this description: "The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth" and "The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth."
So in Acts 20 as well as in John's letters the main purpose of an elder is explained: an elder has to watch over the flock and that mainly means to keep the wolves out, to prevent orthodoxy to take over, to have an eye for the Diotrephes type personality, to teach the brothers the difference between a true shepherd and a wolf and to support the shepherd and to chase the wolf away.
And today such teachings are much more important because all of Christianity, or most of it, has been taken over by the wolves. And as this situation continuous since a long time it is the most urgent task of the workers to bring this situation to light.
So Paul says that he knows - the spirit has shown him - that after his departing grievous wolves shall enter in among them, not sparing the flock. And that is what happened and John had to deal with this problem.
And after that Paul says that "also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
And one of these "of your own selves" was probably Diotrephes. And Paul probably saw this already in the spirit, he probably saw how this elder Diotrephes would turn into a wolf.
For a true Christian it is quite important to understand the difference between the true church and Orthodoxy, between a humble servant of the Lord and a person who loveth to have preeminence, because if he does not have this ability to differentiate between these two schools of thought then he will have tremendous problems at the times of the end to recognize what is going on, to recognize Antichrist. Because if he is not able to recognize the little Antichrist to whom he runs every Sunday morning and lets himself be indoctrinated then he will also run after the big Antichrist and follow him willingly and do what he is told to do: persecute the brethren.
So when we want to find out if someone, a person we might suspect to be the coming Antichrist, might be this person, might be this embodiment of the adversary of God, then we should look for his main trait: does he love to have preeminence. And when there is such a person and when this person even openly declares that the wants to be first, that he loveth to have preeminece, and when he is even already very much on the way of achieving this aim, on a worldwide scale, to become the world leader, then we would be foolish to ignore such signs.
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