An Antichrist in Every Generation
My son is doing a study in Revelation and he shared with me something I had never heard before. I was so taken with the obviousness and the impact of it that I had to share it.
His point was that since only the Father knows the day and the hour of Jesus’ return, not only are we waiting for that day but Satan is also.
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. – Matthew 24:36
Jesus’ point is that if the angels of heaven and the Son don’t know something, then no one knows it. “But the Father alone” completes the understanding that there are things that are unknown to all creation.
This includes Satan, regardless of how long he has existed and how much he has experienced.
In Every Generation
Since the Early Church, Christians have looked to heaven for Jesus’ return. Every generation of Christian since then has also waited expectantly for the Parousia – the coming of Christ.
Since Satan also doesn’t know, he has prepared someone as his Antichrist in every generation since 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10 was written:
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. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
The Church in Thessalonica was concerned that the coming of Christ and the gathering together of His church to Him had passed and that they had missed it (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2). Paul responded that two things had to happen before that day came: the Apostasy and the Man of Lawlessness is revealed.
The Man of Lawlessness is the Antichrist. He will be revealed at the start of Daniel’s 70th week (Daniel 9:27). However, that 70th week cannot begin until “he who now restrains…is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed…” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 NASB). In other words, the Antichrist cannot begin his work of deception and destruction until that which restrains him is removed.
Satan is Prepared
Satan cannot develop his Antichrist after the restraint is removed. This is illogical. Therefore, Satan must develop his Antichrist before the restraint is removed. Yet, he does not know when this will be. Therefore, he must always have someone ready to take on this role. John tells us this is happening:
Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. – 1 John 2:18
John writes that there were already antichrists at the time of his letter. He defines an antichrist as someone who denies the Father and the Son, denies that the Son is the Christ, denies that He came from the Father and denies He was born in the flesh. He is Satan’s right-hand man, doing his work in the world, acting as his son.
Antichrist Looks Like What?!
Yet the Antichrist does not come appearing as a hater of men. He is the greatest of con artists, schmoozing his way into the consciousness of the people. Paul writes about these antichrists in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
Antichrists look like their father: angels of light. They appear as apostles of Christ. They look like servants of righteousness. However, they are false apostles and workers of deceit.
What This Means
So, we can conclude: Satan has no idea when the Return of Christ will be. Therefore, he must have an antichrist ready to go for the moment the restraint is lifted. He has been preparing for this since the time of the Apostles and has continued to do this in every generation since.
- Every generation has had at least one person who would have become the Antichrist had the Rapture occurred in their time.
- That person would come as an angel of light, speaking peace, doing works of righteousness, even as a part of the Church, in the midst of Christians.
- In order for Antichrist to be effective, he must enter into a world of chaos and war. Therefore, in every generation, Satan has worked to provoke such an environment.
This might help to explain much:
- Why every generation sees someone who fits the bill of Antichrist.
- Why chaos has ruled the world for the past 2,000 years.
- Why so many people are deceived by false religions and sects.
- Why people like Napoleon and Hitler seemed to have so many followers.
It would seem to me, the only way to avoid being deceived by Antichrist is to hold fast to the Bible and wait for Christ to meet us in the air (2 Thessalonians 4:13-18), a sign that will be as obvious to all as lightning in the sky. Otherwise, we might hear the call of the Antichrist and follow.
They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. – Luke 17:23-24
Meanwhile, we have the Great Commandments and the Great Commission. Let’s do them well.
Do you think Satan has had an Antichrist prepared for every generation? What other impact might that have made over the course of history? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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