About the “Anti-Christ”.
Please note the word “antichrist” was only used by John in 1 and 2 John and no where else.
1 John 2:18
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.
1 John 2:22
Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:2-3
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
2 John 1:7
I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Putting the verses together you would realize the antichrist is denying Jesus had a human body.
Few realized context is everything. John was in Ephesus at the time of writing. The challenge there was the teaching of Cerinthus. He stated teaching people Jesus was spirit and not human. Hence denying Jesus came in the flesh.
He says all spirit is good. All flesh is evil. The problem with that is that God made Jesus is likeness of sinful flesh so that your sins are placed on that body and condemned.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
If what Cerinthus says is true, your sins were not condemned and still in you. That’s why 1 John starts off, with “touching seeing and hearing”.
John says that to prove he saw, touched and heard Jesus, not only as Spirit but also as a human being with a body.
1 John 1:1-3
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
That was also what he said in his gospel.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
In Cerinthus’ interpretation, the Christ came to Jesus at baptism, guided him in his ministry, but left him at the crucifixion.
Early Christian tradition describes Cerinthus as a contemporary to and opponent of John the Evangelist, who may have written the First Epistle of John and the Second Epistle of John to warn the less mature in faith and doctrine about the changes he was making to the original gospel.
Let me just share with you an account of how John saw this man as the personification of the antichrist.
According to Irenaeus, Polycarp told the story that John the Apostle, in particular, is said to have so detested Cerinthus that he once fled a bathhouse when he found out Cerinthus was inside, yelling “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
One tradition maintains that John wrote his first two epistles to counter Cerinthus’ heresy.
Therefore. Please note the antichrist is not the beast. He has nothing to do with 666 who is Nero. They are 2 different characters. The beast is described as one who sits on 7 hills which is clearly Rome.
Anyone who says that we should associate the 2 clearly has not taken the trouble to study scriptures understanding that motive of the letters of John.
Revelation 17:10 gives us a way for us to identify the Beast.
They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while (Revelation 17:10).
This passage, gives us the line of rulers in Rome. It makes us the job by telling us exactly how many rulers had already come, which one was currently in power, and that the next one would only last a short while.
Please see below and see how it perfectly fits with Nero and the Roman Empire of the first century. The rule of the first seven Roman Emperor’s are as follows:
“Five have fallen…”
1. Julius Caesar (49-44 BC)
2. Augustus (27 BC-AD 14)
3. Tiberius (AD 14-37)
4. Caligula (AD 37-41)
5. Claudius (AD 41-54)\
6. Nero (AD 54-68)
“the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while.”
7. Galba (June AD 68-January AD 69, a six month ruler-ship)
Of the first seven kings of the Roman Empire, five had come (Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius), one was now in power (Nero), and one had not yet come (Galba), but would only remain a little time (six months).
The vast majority throughout Church history have understood that the beast in Revelation 17 is a reference to Nero.
…And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had…seven heads….One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?” (Revelation 13:1-4).
Based on what we have seen from Revelation 17 that Nero fits the timeline as the sixth of the seven heads and that Galba is the one to come that shall only remain a little while. It is well accepted by historians and scholars that Rome was in a way wounded and faltering as an empire because of Nero.
It is written in records that Nero was a psychopath as he burned down one third of Rome and put the blame on the Christians and persecuted them brutally, but also, when Nero killed himself (in AD 68), the political climate of Rome changed dramatically and was unstable temporarily.
One of the major changes was that Nero was officially the last of the Julio-Claudian line of emperors; thus the line ended, and it would have seemed, symbolically, as if the head of the empire had been wounded to death.
Nero’s sudden death caused an event that has been historically called the “Year of the Four Emperors.”
Because of tumult caused by his suicide, three short-lived emperors followed Nero. Many thought that the Roman Empire would not survive the transition.
Here is the timeline of AD 69, the “Year of the Four Emperors”:
Nero (AD 54-68)
Galba (AD 68-69)
Otho (AD 69)
Vitellius (AD 69)
Vespasian (AD 69-80)
In what appeared to be a miraculous turn around, the Empire was revived under Vespasian and Titus. When they came into power, they established the Flavian dynasty of Caesars. Instead of the beast dying, it resurrected under Vespasian, and he ruled for a solid ten years.
Nero began his reign as emperor in A.D. 54. His imperial persecution of the Christian community was launched in A.D. 64, the same year as the famous fire (which burned 1/3 of Rome) that many believe was set by Nero himself. It is often assumed that the persecution of Christians, whom Nero blamed for the fire, was a diversionary tactic to shift blame for his own actions to others. Nero committed suicide in A.D. 68, when he was but 31 years of age.
Many ancient writers mention the bestial character of Nero, and Gentry summarizes these references:
Tacitus…spoke of Nero’s “cruel nature” that “put to death so many innocent men.” Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder…described Nero as “the destroyer of the human race” and “the poison of the world.” Roman satirist Juvenal…speaks of “Nero’s cruel and bloody tyranny.” …Apollonius of Tyana…specifically mentions that Nero was called a “beast” : “In my travels, which have been wider than ever man yet accomplished, I have seen many many wild beasts of Arabia and India; but this beast, that is commonly called a Tyrant, I know not how many heads it has, nor if it be crooked of claw, and armed with horrible fangs…And of wild beasts you cannot say that they were ever known to eat their own mother, but Nero has gorged himself on this diet.”
The beast is not a coming antichrist or the man of lawlessness. The beast was Nero and the Roman Empire. It is amazing how we take the biblical events and make them fit our own idea and it has shaped our idea of our to live life based on ignorant and unfounded theories that are being down through generations. People are inheriting lies and fears and not making the best of the Kingdom of God.
The kingdom is the only solution in the world today. This apprehension can only stop when truth is resounded from the mountain tops.
Neither is he Obama or Oprah. That’s nonsense. Statements like these just shows hatred and complete ignorance toward one of the most fundamental rules of interpretation. Audience relevance.
So if I were you I won’t go around and call everyone that disagree with your understating of being an antichrist. It was maybe anti-you but not antichrist.
That is simply not grace at all.
Be at peace.