There are some Christians who are so focused on the end times that they almost talk about the Antichrist more than Jesus Christ.
Not only is my focus absolutely not on the Antichrist, but I'm not even worried about him.
It is true that the Bible paints a dreadful picture of this individual whom Paul calls "the man of sin ... the son of destruction." (2 Thess. 2:3). He writes: "even him [the lawless one], whose coming is in accordance with the working of Satan with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all deception of unrighteousness among those who perish, because they did not receive the love for the truth that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:9-10).
In the book of Revelation, this same figure is described even more vividly, albeit in symbolic terms: "And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on his horns, and blasphemous names on his heads. The beast which I saw was like a leopard. His feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. I saw one of his heads as if it was mortally wounded, but his deadly wound was healed, and the whole world marveled and followed the beast" (Rev. 13:1-3).
With descriptions like this, it's easy to understand why some Christians talk so much about the Antichrist, speculating about his identity and discussing which biblical texts are relevant.
Yet there are many good reasons why my focus is not on the Antichrist, and why I'm not worried about what may lie ahead for us.
Let me explain.
1. The Bible everywhere tells us to keep our eyes on the true Christ, not the false christ.
The death, resurrection and return of Jesus are the foundation of our faith and the center of our spiritual lives. By focusing on Him, everything else falls into place. That's why the author of Hebrews tells us that the key to persevering in our faith is found in "looking to Jesus" (Heb. 12:2).
This holds true for the future as well as the present, which is why the New Testament authors described the Lord's return as His "appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 9:28; 1 John 3:2).
So I'm not focused on the appearing of the Antichrist; I'm focused on the appearing of the true Christ.
2) John tells us we have had many antichrists among us for 2,000 years now.
The apostle John, who was certainly privy to information beyond anything written in the New Testament, had this to say about the Antichrist: "Little children, it is the last hour. As you have heard that the antichrist will come, even now there are many antichrists. By this we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18).
Notice that he did not say, "Well you've heard about this Antichrist figure, so let me tell you more about him."
Rather he said, "You've heard about him, but there are actually plenty just like him right now—a sure sign of the times. They are all anti-Christ—deniers of the Son of God."
In practical terms, this means that I should be more concerned with the many who oppose Jesus today than with the one who will oppose Him in the future.
3) The coming of the Antichrist means that the coming of Jesus Christ is imminent.
I do not hold to a pre-trib rapture (which teaches that Christians will be "raptured" from the Earth before the Antichrist is revealed), and so, for me, the revealing of the Antichrist indicates that coming of Jesus the Messiah is right at the door.
Although those will be terribly treacherous days, they will also be wonderfully glorious days, days in which the Lord's return will be so real that we'll almost be able to reach out and touch it.
So the bad news of the Antichrist and tribulation is also the good news that the end is right around the corner, and that, in a very short period of time, we will see the Lord face to face.
4) Jesus already told us that we would have trials and tests—tribulation—in this world.
While many speak of a unique period called the "Great Tribulation"—something that may well be prophesied in the Scriptures—Jesus already guaranteed that in this age, we would have tribulation. But He also said this: "But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Believers around the world have suffered great tribulation for centuries, being turned into human torches by Nero, being sold into sex slavery by ISIS, suffering every type of degradation and torture and punishment and death known to man. Yet Paul writes that in all these things "we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37).
That same spirit of faith and that same victory of Jesus will prevail in our lives from now until the end of this age, be it a time of tribulation or great tribulation.
5) Only the last generation will have to deal with the Antichrist.
I do not object in the least to believers discussing the identity of the Antichrist and to studying what appear to be the relevant Scriptures. If it's in the Word, it's for us to explore and study and investigate and understand. Let the debate continue.
But every previous generation that has focused on the Antichrist has died without seeing him. And so, to be practical, I want to devote my energies to doing whatever I can to please God and make a difference in people's lives today, living in readiness for whatever may come my way tomorrow, Antichrist or no.
Does this make sense to you?
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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