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Morrish Bible Dictionary


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The name ἀντίχριστος signifies an opposer of Christ. It is used only by John in his first and second epistles, though those opposed to Christ are referred to by others under different names. It is important to distinguish between an antichrist and the antichrist. John says, "as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists;" whereas "he is the antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son." 1 John 2:18,22 . He is the consummation of the many antichrists. To deny Jesus Christ come in the flesh is the spirit or power of the antichrist, but it eventuates in a departure from the special revelation of Christianity: 'they went out from us.' 1 John 2:19; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 7 . Now this clears the ground at once of much that has obscured the subject. For instance, many have concluded that Popery is the antichrist, and have searched no farther into the question, whereas the above passage refutes this conclusion, for Popery does not deny the Father and the Son; and, in Revelation 17,18 , Popery is pointed out as quite distinct from 'the false prophet,' which is another name for the antichrist. It is fully granted that Popery is anti-christian, and a Christ-dishonouring and soul-deceiving system; but where God has made a distinction we must also do so. Besides Popery there were and there are many antichrists, which, whatever their pretensions, are the enemies of Christ, opposers of the truth, and deceivers of man.

As to the Antichrist, it should be noticed that John makes another distinction between this one and the many. He speaks of the many as being already there, whereas the one was to come; and if we turn to 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 we read of something or some one that hinders that wicked or lawless one being revealed, although the mystery of iniquity was already at work. Now there has been no change of dispensation since this epistle was written, and John wrote much later, from which we learn that the revelation of the antichrist is still future, though doubtless the mystery of iniquity is getting ripe for his appearing; that which hindered and still hinders the manifestation of the antichrist is doubtless the presence of the Holy Spirit on earth. He will leave the earth at the rapture of the saints.

This passage in Thessalonians gives us further particulars as to this MAN OF SIN.His coming is after the working of Satan, that is, he will be a confederate of Satan, and be able to work signs and lying wonders with all deceit of unrighteousness in them that perish. Those that have refused the truth will then receive the lie of this wicked one. We get further particulars in Revelation 13:11-18 , where the anti-christian power or kingdom is described as a beast rising out of the earth, having two horns as a lamb, but speaking as a dragon. Here again we read that he will do great wonders, making fire come down from heaven, with other signs or miracles.

In the description in Thessalonians he opposeth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped, and sits down in the temple of God, and sets forth himself as God. The Jews will receive him as their Messiah, as we read in John 5:43 . In the above passage in the Revelation this counterfeit of Christ's kingdom is openly idolatrous. He directs the dwellers on the earth to make an image of the beast (named in ver. 1, the future head of the resuscitated Roman empire) to which image he gives breath, that it should speak, and persecutes those who will not worship the image. He also causes all to receive a mark on their hand or their forehead that they may be known to be his followers; and that none else should be able to buy or sell. We thus see that in the Revelation the anti-christian power called also 'the false prophet' will work with the political head, and with Satan — a trinity of evil — not only in deceiving mankind, but also, in Revelation 16:13-16 , gathering together by their influence the kings of the earth to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. The three are cast into the lake of fire Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10 .

In the O.T. we get still another character of this wicked one. In Daniel 11:36-39 he is called 'king.' Here he exalts himself and speaks marvellous things against the God of gods. He will not regard the God of his fathers (pointing out that he will be a descendant of Israel, probably from the tribe of Dan, cf. Genesis 49:17 ), nor "the desire of women" (i.e. the Messiah, of whom every Jewess hoped to be the mother): he exalts himself above all. Here again he is an idolater, honouring a god that his fathers knew not. In Zechariah 11:15-17 he is referred to as the foolish and idol shepherd, who cares not for the flock, in opposition to the Lord Jesus the good Shepherd.

This man of sin will 'do according to his own will' — just what the natural man ever seeks to do. In contrast to this the blessed Lord was obedient, and came not to do His own will. May His saints be ever on the watch against the many false prophets in the world, 1 John 4:1 , and be loyal to their absent Lord, behold His beauty in the sanctuary, and reproduce Him more down here in their earthen vessels.

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Antichrist'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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