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The Antichrist Chronicles: Vol. II
Yes, Virginia, there was an Antichrist

By Duncan McKenzie, Ph.D.

Duncan McKenzie Study Archive | The Covenant Judgments of Revelation | The Antichrist Chronicles: vol. II | J.S. Russell's Position on the Millennium, the Neglected Third Way of Preterism | A New Preterist Perspective | Was All The Prophecy in the Bible Fulfilled by A.D.70? | Revelation: The Book of Fulfillment of the Covenant Curses of Leviticus and Deuteronomy | Babylon in Not Jerusalem | Premillennial Preterism | The Serious Error of the Literal Hermeneutic in the Interpretation of the Book of Revelation | A Preterist Book on the Antichrist is Coming | Revelation Chapter 12

 

If you don’t understand the reference contained in my title, go to http://beebo.org/smackerels/yes-virginia.html for a heartwarming piece of Americana. After you have done that come back here and get ready for a bone chilling tale of Antichrist. Please make sure all children and small pets are out of the room before reading this article.

Whether one wants to call him “Antichrist” or not, the Bible clearly shows an opponent of God/Christ that appears at the last hour of the old covenant age and is defeated by the Second Coming. I will not be saying who the Antichrist was here. I will save that for my book (The Antichrist and the Second Coming, forthcoming, probably; self published). Let me say, however, who the Antichrist was not; he was not Nero. Nero fits none of the scriptures traditionally associated with the Antichrist. Now some are no doubt thinking, “Of course Nero wasn’t the Antichrist, there was no individual Antichrist. Nero was the beast however.” I will answer the part about an individual Antichrist in this article. As to Nero being the beast, that is not possible. Most Preterists correctly say that Revelation was written during Nero’s reign. That makes Nero the sixth ruler of Rome (“There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come” Rev. 17:10). Nero was the one that “is” when John wrote (c. AD 65). Notice, however, the beast was to be an eight ruler who was not around when Revelation was written (“The beast that was and is not, is himself also the eighth.”). One can’t say that Nero was both the 6th and 8th ruler. That he was both the one who was reigning and also the one who was not reigning when John wrote (he can’t be both the one who “is” and the one who “is not”). If Revelation was written under Nero (which it was) then Nero was not the beast.

About now the seasoned preterists will be saying something like, “What about 666, the mark of the beast; that is surely a reference to Nero.” There are at least two problems with the Nero solution to 666/616. First it requires a defective spelling of Nero’s name. Second, it is not an early solution; in fact, it is a very late solution. It isn’t even mentioned until the 19 century! Kistemaker wrote the following on this, “When did the writers begin to identify Nero with the number [666] in this particular passage? [Rev. 13:18] There is no reference anywhere in history until the 1830s when four German scholars proposed his name.”[1] One can make a lot of names add up to 666. That is not a sufficient criterion to base one’s interpretation of the beast on. This is especially true if none of the scriptures relating to Antichrist (or the beast) fit Nero. I invite the reader to see if he or she can make any of the scriptures given in this article fit Nero.

 

The Antichrist

It is somewhat surprising that a term as well known as “Antichrist” is only found four times in the entire Bible. These references occur in the books of 1 and 2 John.

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:18-22

By this you know the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:2-3

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John 7

The word antichrist (Gr. antichristos) can either mean “against Christ” or “instead of Christ.” Biederwolf wrote the following on this.

antichrist”—the word may mean either “against Christ” or “instead of Christ”, i.e., a false Christ. The decision cannot rest on philology alone, but the context shows plainly that John used the word in a sense antagonistic to Christ, and this is now commonly recognized… John was acquainted with the Greek for “false Christ’[Gr. pseudochristos], but he chose not to use it. He used “antichrist”, showing plainly that he meant the idea of enmity to be read in the word. Furthermore, in the Greek Fathers we do not find a trace of the idea of “false Christ” in Antichrist but it is always the thought of antagonism that is emphasized.

These antichrists in John’s time were the heretical teachers who had gone out from the Church, who were clothed with the attributes, had the spirit of and were the forerunners of the coming personal Antichrist. Does John in this verse [1 John 2:18] mean that the Antichrist is already here, i.e., in a collective sense, being in fact the aggregate of these many antichrists? In other words, is the Antichrist collective or is he personal?

  1. Since the antichrists are personal so must the Antichrist be.

  2. Christ and Antichrist stand over against each other and if one is personal the law of analogy requires that the other should be personal also.

  3. chap. 4:3 does not say that the spirit then prevalent was Antichrist, but it says that it is the spirit of Antichrist, and in this place the article “the” is used before Antichrist.

  4. The present of fixed certainly (cometh), as referred to Antichrist [in 1 John 2:18] is set over against “have arisen” and “is”, as referred to the antichrists, showing that there is a distinction between the Antichrist who is to come and many antichrists who have already come.[2]

John (c. AD 60-65) was telling his first century readers that the Antichrist was about to appear. [3] He makes a distinction between “Antichrist” and “antichrists” (“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour.” 1 John 2:18). John uses the term “antichrists” to describe those who deny that Jesus was the Christ and that He had come in the flesh (1 John 4:3). It should be noted that John is mostly focusing on these “antichrists” in his epistles; his discussion of the “Antichrist” is not the primary focus in 1 and 2 John. John’s audience was already aware of the Antichrist (probably from the book of Daniel and Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians). John cites the fact that many antichrists had come as an indication that it was the “last hour” and the Antichrist was about to come. Again, however, John’s discussion in 1 and 2 John is mostly focused on the antichrists from his community not the Antichrist.

Some would disagree with me; they would say that there is no such thing as an individual Antichrist, that there are only antichrists. [4] Preterists especially have been attracted to this line of thinking because it allows them to sidestep the fact that they haven’t been able to produce a unified picture of Antichrist in one historical figure. If one can’t unify the Scriptures related to Antichrist, it is a clever defense to maintain that there is no individual Antichrist. One doesn’t have to come up with an answer to a problem that one claims doesn’t exist! This side stepping of the issue does not work however; the problem doesn’t go away. Whether one calls him Antichrist or not, the Bible consistently shows an opponent of God/Christ that is defeated by the Second Coming. To simply say that there is no individual Antichrist does not get around this fact.

Looking at Scripture, one doesn’t have to dig too deep to find this opponent of God/Christ that appears at the last hour (of the old covenant age, cf. 1 Cor. 10:11) and is defeated by the Second Coming. Looking at Daniel 7, the little eleventh horn makes war against the saints and is defeated by the coming of God (Dan. 7:19-22).

I was watching; and the same [little eleventh] horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the “Ancient of Days came and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. Daniel 7:21-22

Notice that the little eleventh horn has three horns pulled out before it (Dan. 7:8); this made him an eighth horn (i.e. ruler). This is what the beast of Revelation is, an eight ruler (Rev. 17:11). Just as with the little horn of Dan. 7, the beast of Revelation is defeated by the coming of God. Revelation reveals this as the coming of the Word of God.

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war…He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God…Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword….And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured…Rev. 19:11, 13, 15, 19-20

Consider some of the connections between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation.

  1. The little horn/beast is an eighth ruler (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 17:11).

  2. The little horn/beast speaks great blasphemies against God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Rev. 13:5-6).

  3. The little horn/beast wages war against the saints and overcomes them (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7).

  4. The little horn/beast has a three and a half year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; 13:5).

  5. The little horn/beast is defeated at AD 70 by the Second Coming (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-13, 19-20).

  6. The little horn/beast is thrown into the lake of fire at the time of the Second Coming (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19-20).

  7. The kingdom of God is established (what the NT shows as the beginning of the millennium) at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn/beast (Dan. 7:7-11, 21-27; Rev. 19:11-20:4). For more on these connections see my article, “The Antichrist Chronicles, vol. one: The Connections between the Little Horn of Daniel 7 and the Individual Beast of Revelation” http://planetpreterist.com/news-2622.html

These are too many specific connections between the little horn and the beast for these sections of Daniel and Revelation to be talking about different rulers. These links also rule out the suggestion that Revelation is retelling a second-century pseudo prophecy of Antiochus IV (as some would suggest). [5] It is the same individual that is being shown in Daniel and Revelation, not two different people. The little horn/beast is the opponent of God/Christ who overcomes the saints for three and a half years and is defeated by the AD 70 Second Coming and full establishment of God’s kingdom; he is the Antichrist.

In Paul’s discussion of the man of lawlessness this theme of the opponent of Christ who is defeated by the Second Coming is found again.

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

Notice the connection between Revelation 19:15 (“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword”) and 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (the Lord will consume [him] with the breath of His mouth). This opponent of Christ is defeated at the Second Coming by the sword/breath that comes out of Jesus’ mouth. Again, this is talking about the same event, the Second Coming, and the same opponent. Also note that Paul is drawing from Daniel 11:36-12:13 and the king of the North in talking about the man of lawlessness. This is the opponent of God/Christ that would seek to exalt himself above God

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that the sits as God in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Daniel 11:36

Then the king will do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.

The king of the North of Daniel 11:36-45 would prosper until God’s wrath against Israel had been accomplished (v. 36; cf. 1 Thess. 5:9). He is defeated at the end of the old covenant age (cf. Dan. 11:40), at the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7). While the Second Coming is not explicitly shown in Daniel 12, the events associated with the Second Coming (the great tribulation, Dan. 12:1; cf. Matt. 24:21; the abomination of desolation, Dan. 12:11; cf. Matt. 24:15; and the resurrection and judgment Dan. 12:2-3 cf. Matt. 25:31-32) are shown as happening at this time, at the end of the age defeat of the king of the North (Dan. 11:45-12:3, 11). In the king of the North we again we have the opponent of God and his people who is defeated after a three and a half year reign of terror (Dan. 12:7; cf. Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5) at AD 70, at the time of the Second Coming. Whether one wants to call him “Antichrist” or not, the Bible clearly shows an opponent of God/Christ that appears at the last hour of the old covenant age and is defeated by the Second Coming. To say, “there is no individual Antichrist just antichrists” is hiding one’s head in the sand; it does not get around the facts of Scripture.

The Second Coming was about to happen when John wrote his epistles. The presence of antichrists (those who deny Jesus as the Christ) was an indication of this fact and meant that the Antichrist was about to come. Again, the Antichrist was the opponent who would be defeated by the coming of God/Christ (Dan. 7:21-22), what Revelation reveals as the coming of the Word of God, the Second Coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:11-21; cf. 2 Thess. 2:8). The Antichrist would be thrown into the lake of fire at this time (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:20). John is clearly communicating (in the first century) that the Second Coming, the time when Jesus would come and destroy the Antichrist, was very near “Little children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming…”

Yes, Virginia, there was an Antichrist. Don’t let your little friends tell you differently.


1. Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Book of Revelation, New Testament Commentary vol. 14 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 394-395.

2. William Biederwolf, The Millennium Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1964) 535. Reprinted from original printing in 1924.

3. I shall be discussing the date of the epistles of John and the rest of the NT later. My position is similar to that of John A.T. Robinson (Redating the New Testament) that the entire NT was written before AD 70.

4. Kim Riddlebarger, The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006). 80-87. Riddlebarger discusses B.B. Warfield and his disagreement with a composite picture of the man of lawlessness and the beast fused into an individual Antichrist. Riddlebarger takes a more moderate view. Whatever one wants to label this individual, Scripture show an opponent of God/Christ that appears at the last hour and is defeated by the Second Coming. Whether one calls this opponent “the Antichrist” or “the opponent of Christ” is really just semantics, the concept is the same. Scripture shows a specific individual who opposes God/Christ that is defeated by the Second Coming.

5. Some say that the little horn of Daniel 7 and the little horn of Daniel 8 are the same ruler. Most agree (myself included) that the little horn of Daniel 8 is referring to Antiochus IV and the second century BC. With this as a point of reference, notice some of the differences between the two little horns and the events that happen at their respective defeats. The one in Daniel 7 is said to be an eleventh horn, it comes out of the fourth empire in Daniel 7 (Dan. 7:7-8). The one in Daniel 8 is simply said to come out of the four horns that arose out of Greece (Dan. 8:8-9, 21). Greece is the third of the four empires in Daniel 7. In Daniel 8 Greece is shown as a goat with four heads (symbolic of the four divisions of the Greek empire after the death of Alexander the Great). In Daniel 7:6; the four heads of the third beast correspond to these four horns (the four divisions of Greece after the death of Alexander). It was out of these four divisions that the little horn of Daniel 8 emerged (Dan. 8:8-9). Antiochus IV would arise out of one of these four divisions of Greece. Rome is the fourth beast of ch. 7; this is the empire that the little eleventh horn is part of. The little eleventh horn is defeated by the coming of God and the establishment of the kingdom of God (Dan. 7:19-27). In contrast to this, all that happens at the defeat of the little horn of Dan. 8 is the second century BC cleansing of the Temple (Dan. 8:8-14, 21-25). The final end point of Daniel is not the second-century BC cleansing of the Temple, it is the full establishment of God’s kingdom at the first century AD destruction of the Temple (Dan. 9:26-27) and Jewish nation ( 12:7). This was the time of the Second Coming, the defeat little eleventh horn and the establishment of the kingdom of God (Dan. 7:21-22). It was AD 70, not the second century BC, that was the time of the great tribulation and resurrection (Dan. 12:1-2).

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