The illustration (below) combined with John’s comments, portray characteristics about anti-Christ that force us to re-evaluate the traditional sense of the word. We often consider “anti-Christ” as a future religious-political dictator forcing all mankind to worship according to his bent will. However, there is no place in the prophecies that directly associate “anti-Christ” to such a person.
John writes “This is the last hour; and as you have heard that the anti-Christ is coming, even now many anti-Christs have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained” (1 John 2:18-19).
It is surprising that according to John, anti-Christ is not a person reaching in to the community of faith from the outside, but rather they are pseudo-believers. These apostates will betray the community of faith into the hands of the enemy. Note how he defines them saying “They (anti-Christ) went out from us”. If they were truly born again “they would have remained with us”.
John “appears” to be the first apostle to use this term in the Bible. I say “appears” because it is clear in his statement that he was not the first. He writes “You have heard that anti-Christ is coming”. But who originally warned John that anti-Christ was coming? We find the answer in the book of Matthew; but not in the Greek versions we commonly read. Historical sources mention that Matthew wrote his account in Hebrew. In his original version Christ warns as well as defines the term “anti-Christ” for us.
First, Jesus outlines how the world will turn against those who observe the Torah as he did. “They will bind you over for tribulation and kill you, and you will become a reproach to all nations for my name” (Hebrew Matthew 24:9). Then the second stage commences, which shakes out the lawless of Israel and awakens in them the spirit of anti-Christ. These are represented as the stars of heaven cast down to the earth (see 8:10 and Revelation 12:4).
You can see where all these things connect in the following passage where Jesus says “When wickedness multiplies, the love of many will grow faint…THIS IS THE ANTI-CHRIST AND THIS IS THE ABMONINATION THAT DESOLATES spoken by Daniel standing in the holy place. Let the one who reads understand” So we find that Jesus was the one who originally warned about anti-Christ!
Note carefully where he states, “when wickedness multiplies”. This statement is directly connected to Daniel 8:23 “when rebels have become completely wicked”. These anti-Christs do not stand with the man of sin because they are afraid. They find common ground with him due to their common hostility towards the spirit sent to draw all mankind deeper into the practice of the Torah. Yet because the people of Israel (who have been gathering since 1843) refused to purge their hostile doctrines, they will believe the cause of Rome is right and those advancing towards the objectives of the holy Covenant are in the wrong.
But it is best to go to the passages of Daniel to gain more insight on this point, remember that Jesus bases the specifics of his anti-Christ statement on Daniel’s prophecies. These are found in Chapters 8, 10, 11 and 12. He was shown that a time will come when “The king of the North (the man of lawlessness) will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country” (Daniel 11:28). This event occurs lead up to the time period we call the “end of days”. The “king of the north” is also called the man of lawlessness and well as Revelation’s “666” man. He is prophesied to take action against the Abrahamic covenant (consolidated in the Law of Moses).
The actions he takes against the holy covenant are calculated to prevent the formation of the Everlasting Kingdom (see Daniel 2:44). His spirit will be like that of Pharaoh when he was commanded to let Israel go into the wilderness. Pharaoh responded by turning the nation of Egypt against the holy people and oppressed them with even greater burdens of labor. But as the story of the exodus goes, Pharaoh and his people were punished for interfering with the timing of the Exodus. And as the plagues fell upon the Egyptians, everyone near and far became keenly aware of the controversy. Consider how this event correlates to that of Christ’s statement about the gospel of the Kingdom being preached to all nations.
The Exodus event that took place 3500 years ago was just a microcosm of a much greater event yet to come. As all citizens of Egypt became keenly aware of the controversy between the Pharaoh and Moses for the release of Israel, so too will all nations witness the controversy between the man of lawlessness and the holy people. Just as Moses was sent by YHWH to negotiate the release of Israel, so too will the messenger coming in the spirit of Elijah contend with the nations for the release of Israel to form the everlasting Kingdom (see Malachi 4).
This deliverer is also referred to in the book of Revelation 12:5 as the “man-child” and should the nations interfere with the heavenly directive for Israel to depart, the man-child will execute his authority to overrule the nations with a rod of iron. The clash of the emerging kingdom of the Beast and the Everlasting Kingdom was described by Daniel when he says, “Ships of the western coastlands (the holy people) will oppose him (the man of sin) and he will lose heart” (Daniel 11:30).
Now that I have laid out these dynamics of the controversy, it time to proceed to the response of the anti-Christs to call for the second exodus. “He (the man of sin) will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to THOSE WHO FORSAKE THE HOLY COVENANT” (Dan 11:30). In the first exodus, the elders of Israel were wise. They knew that it would be unwise to ignore the call to leave Egypt, Therefore, they pled with Pharaoh saying, “Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, OR HE MAY STRIKE US WITH PLAGUES OR WITH THE SWORD” (Exodus 5:3).
But the people of Israel will not act in accordance with the wisdom of their forefathers of the Exodus. They will refuse to enter the Everlasting Kingdom and by doing so, they will heap upon themselves plague and sword. All nations will become a witness to its horror as YHWH betrays the holy people into the hands of the man of sin. Daniel writes, “He (the man of sin) will be successful until the time of wrath (against his chosen people) is completed, for what has been determined must take place” (Daniel 11:36).
Those of Israel who have emerged from 1843 have not understood that they are the intended recipients of the Three Angels messages of Revelation 14. The messenger later declares “Babylon is fallen … come out of her my people!” (Revelation 18:1-4). But the prophets foretell that the Divine threatenings of the third angel will go unheeded as the song of Moses mournfully declares, “How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless YHWH had given them up” (Deuteronomy 32:30).