The Antichrist – Who Is He?

Brethren Lipscomb and Sewell: If it would not intrude on your patience, I would like for you to give me some light on the subject of antichrist. 1 John 2:22 says: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” But as I never heard any person say he did not be­lieve in Christ, I am at a loss to ascertain who the liar is. “So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thess. 2:4). “And 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 unrighteousness” (2 Thess. 2:11f).

The word antichrist means against Christ, opposed to him. A man that in any way opposes Christ is an anti­christ. Denying that Christ is divine, denying the existence of such a being, is one way of opposing him. But there are people all over the land that do deny Christ, that utterly refuse to believe on him. Then many who are the pretended friends of Christ are in their teaching and practice opposed to him and are among the very worst enemies he has. They pervert and hide the truth and put the doctrines and commandments of men in the front. Whenever you see any of these things, you see antichrist.

The power spoken of in 2 Thessalonians is the great apostasy from the truth that is foretold in many places in the Bible. It is the “mystery, Babylon the great,” spoken of in Revelation. It is generally understood that Roman Catholicism is the largest development of the man of sin known in our land; but any movement among religious people in the way of creed making or councils, or any other thing that sets aside the word of God, is that much of the man of sin. Any man that says the word of God is insufficient and puts something else in its place exalts himself above God, and his wisdom is greater than the wisdom of God.

When men resist the plain truth of God, will not receive and act upon it, God then sends strong delusion upon such, that they may believe a lie and be damned, because they would not receive the truth in the love of it that they might be saved. But these delusions are only sent to those that will not receive the truth. Those who are satisfied with the plain truth of the word of God can always learn enough of it to be saved by it, and such need not be uneasy. But when men see the truth and then will not receive it, they are in danger of the delusion spoken of.

Elisha G. Sewell

The Spirit of the Antichrist

Please explain, through the Gospel Advocate, 1 John 4:2-3.

This scripture seems to recognize that there is a spirit peculiar to every system of teaching. A class of teachers had arisen in the church, claiming to be inspired or sent of God, who denied that Christ had come in the flesh. He says: “They went out from us, but they were not of us.” It is probable that these teachers exhibited some ability to work wonders, as evil spirits in the days of the Savior possessed such power. John’s letters were written to warn against these false teachers who were guided by these spirits. He urged them to try the spirits. Paul to the Corinthians, warning against the same class, said: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual [inspired], let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” This is a command to test those claiming inspiration by the word of God. This shows that obedience to the word of God even in the days of the apostles was regarded as a higher evidence of acceptance with God than the power to prophesy or do wonders. John tells them that those denying in his day that Christ had come in the flesh were of antichrist. Antichrist was to come “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.” These spirits which worked wonders were all to be tested — proved by the word of God — and one who did not conform to the word of God, even though he should work wonders and signs, was to be rejected. Conforming to the word of God is the only test of acceptance with God. Then the spirit in those persons led them to confess that Christ had come in the flesh. To do this was to recognize him by obeying him as Christ the Lord. “No man can call Jesus Lord, save by the Holy Ghost.” The spirit that prompted others to deny that he was come in the flesh was of antichrist. Antichrist was a spiritual power, but a wicked spirit. These verses recognize there were many spirits gone out into the world. These spirits worked wonders. All were to be tried by the word of God. Only those who acknowledged that Christ had come in the flesh, which is the same as to acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ, were of God. All who denied this, which was a denial that Christ is the Son of God, were of antichrist.