Christians have been warned about the Antichrist who is coming, but sometimes they don’t realize that his message is already here. Since the time of Christ, there have been “anti-Christs” — people similar in attitude to the Antichrist who is coming. People who are against Christ. People who are against God. They appear in every generation. They walk among us, misleading us and stirring conflict within us — and creating doubt.
The Apostle John wrote, “…You have heard about the Anti-Christ who is coming — the one who is against Christ — and already many such persons have appeared… I warn you as those who can discern the difference between true and false. And who is the greatest liar? The one who says that Jesus is not Christ. Such a person is antichrist, for he does not believe in God the Father and in his Son. For a person who doesn’t believe in Christ, God’s Son, can’t have God the Father either. But he who has Christ, God’s Son, has God the Father also.” (1 John 2:18-23)
“Dearly loved friends, don’t always believe everything you hear because someone says it is a message from God: test it first to see if it really is. For there are many false teachers around, and the way to find out if their message is from the Holy Spirit is to ask: Does it really agree that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, actually became a man with a human body? If so, then the message is from God. If not, the message is not from God but from the one who is against Christ, like the ‘Antichrist’ you have heard about who is going to come, and his attitude of enmity against Christ is already abroad in the world.” (1 John 4:1-3)
“Watch out for the false leaders — and there are many of them around — who don’t believe that Jesus Christ came to earth as a human being with a body like ours. Such people are against the truth and against Christ… For if you wander beyond the teaching of Christ, you will leave God behind; while if you are loyal to Christ’s teachings you will have God too. Then you will have both the Father and the Son.” (2 John 1:7-9)
“If anyone comes to teach you, and he doesn’t believe what Christ taught, don’t even invite him into your home. Don’t encourage him in any way. If you do, you will be a partner with him in his wickedness.” (2 John 1:10-11)
There have been many who would lead us to ruin. There will be many more.
Christians will be hated, hunted, and persecuted for their faith until the end of the world as we know it. Sometimes it will be blatantly obvious like the Christian persecutions happening in Nigeria and elsewhere. Sometimes it will be subtle like the worldly temptations that compete for our hearts. Some who hate Christians the most will appear to be Christians themselves: Wolves in sheep’s clothing; soldiers in a Trojan horse. Some may masquerade as religious scholars or holy men and women of God. Others will be quite obvious, using violence and terror where subtler methods failed. And how could it be any different? For these “antichrists” hated God’s Son — and by hating Jesus Christ, hated God.
And if they are God’s enemy, then so too are they enemies of Jesus. So too are they enemies of ours.