The word anti-Christ probably conjures up some images and thoughts. You might start to think of the book of Revelation – full of other imagery including beasts, dragons, horses, and a host of other creatures.
Maybe you think of specific people of history. Nero was often referred to as an anti-Christ figure. But he wasn’t the only one.
Some of this gets confusing when we start to throw “the” at the beginning of anti-Christ. All of a sudden we go from thinking about an array of figures to a specific figure at some point in the future. And the debate about this flows.
But what is an anti-Christ? Simply put, an anti-Christ is someone or something that is in opposition to Christ – the opposite of Christ. While the term may cause us to think of sneaky individuals who are fooling many people, the reality is that anti-Christ figures often aren’t hidden. They aren’t sly. They aren’t even sneaky. They are pretty obvious actually.
I don’t think it’s all that controversial to say that an anti-Christ figure will be obvious to anyone who is truly faithful and really knows Jesus, what he is about, and what he’s up to in the world.
An anti-Christ quite simply takes what Jesus says and does the opposite. When Jesus talks about loving your enemies, an anti-Christ tells us to hate and kill our enemies. When Jesus talks about praying for those who persecute the faithful, an anti-Christ tells us to hit back on those who persecute. When Jesus talks about feeding the hungry, an anti-Christ withholds food. When Jesus talks about welcoming the stranger, an anti-Christ talks about pushing the stranger away. When Jesus talks about caring for the sick, an anti-Christ talks about only the strong surviving and the weak and sick dying off. When Jesus talks about setting the captive free, an anti-Christ talks about imprisoning more people. When Jesus talks about knowing the truth and the truth setting us free, an anti-Christ asks what truth even is. And the list goes on.
Our concern, as followers of Jesus, shouldn’t be about “the” anti-Christ. We should be on the look out for anti-Christs – both big and small. We should pay attention to those things and people who attempt to pull us away from Jesus. Not through trickery, but rather blatantly.
And most important – do not fear! Jesus says this phrase over an over again. While Jesus brings peace, an anti-Christ brings fear. Let those who have eyes see.