I would like to clarify a couple of things about the meaning of ‘Antichrist’.
Before we look at the antichrist, I want to look at the real Christ. Who is He? Let us go to the scriptures to find out what and Who He claimed to be.
Matthew 12:6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
The temple, the priesthood, and the religious system of the Jewish nation go hand in hand. It was the mainstay and focal point of the life of Israel. Yet Jesus claimed to be greater. Greater even than the very High priest who no doubt would take great interest in hearing a report of these words. Greater even than the very law of God enshrined within. (Or at least it used to be). Only one person can be greater than any law of God, and that is the lawgiver.
38 ¶ Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
Jonah was the most powerful and successful of all OT prophets. In all 40 odd chapters of Jeremiah, there is no record of anyone at anytime taking the slightest bit of notice of anything Jeremiah said. Yet Jonah, on the strength of just one or two sermons, converted an entire city of the children of Ishmael totaling maybe 60,000 people. Nineveh. By any standards, that has got to be recorded as a very successful evangelistic campaign. Yet Jesus claimed to be greater than Jonah.
42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest and most successful of any ruler of the ancient world. Yet Jesus claimed to be greater even than Solomon.
In the three startling claims as shown above, we have before us the threefold ministry of Jesus. Priest, prophet, and King.
It has been said, and I think wisely, that the Bible must be understood grammatically before it can be understood theologically. Anti– as in antichrist, according to Strong’s concordance, and like other words having the prefix ‘anti’, means at it’s most basic form “in the room of”, “instead of”, or “in the place of”.
In other words, ‘antichrist’ stands as a substitute. We all know that Satan works by deception. Yet many would claim the ‘antichrist’ will be one who will charge in on a black horse guns blazing with fury and hatred directed at all things Christian and opposing with great force the church. Pray tell me, how will the world be deceived by such a tactic as this?
In 2 Thess. 2:1 we are told that there was to be a falling away first, which will reveal the antichrist, or as Paul describes him, the man of sin or son of perdition. Now falling away in this instance is a falling into apostasy; divorce.
Any divorce necessitates a prior favourable relationship. The only other example of a ‘son of perdition’ is Judas Iscariot. Did Judas openly and with force oppose Christ? Did he attack His teachings and disagree with Jesus claims to divinity? Did he argue and debate everything Jesus stood for and seek the destruction of His followers? No. Not by any means. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. He betrayed Him with an act of apparent love, fellowship, and friendship. He undermined and betrayed Jesus at the same time as claiming Him to be his friend!! This squares perfectly with the meaning of antichrist. He is not an opposer, but a subtle imposter. A counterfeit. An imposter of Jesus Christ. A false copy, or forgery of the true.
Antichrist is therefore a person or power who impersonates the offices of Priesthood, the Prophet or spokesmanship, and the Kingly rule of Christ. The office that ministers for God, speaks for God, and rules for God.
Satan has many counterfeits. Now counterfeits are almost identical to the true. You do not get counterfeit 99$ notes. You get counterfeit 100$ notes. And unless you get trained and disciplined to know intimately the true 100$ note, you will not recognise the false. It has been estimated that every person in America who has regularly handled 100$ notes, has had pass through their hands a counterfeit at least 4 times a year! And not known it!!!! Unless you are intimately acquainted with the true Jesus, how will you recognise the counterfeit?
So how does Antichrist counterfeit the threefold ministry of the true Christ, as Priest, Prophet and King? Is there an entity in the world today who claims to do just this? Is there one like Judas who is betraying the Master with a kiss, all the while claiming to be a friend? Is there in the world today a religious system or religious ruler who claims to be the earthly representative of Christ as His priest, claiming to be a mediator between God and man? Claiming to forgive sin even?
Does this entity also claim the prerogatives of a prophet? Does it claim to speak for God in spiritual matters? Does it claim to stand as Gods spokesman on earth and claim that only through it’s authority can salvation be found?
And finally, does this entity also claim to be a king? Does it claim authority as a secular power? Does it exercise authority and power within the auspices of a church/state relationship?
I think you all know the answer is yes.There is an entity in the world today who claims all the above Godly prerogatives which belong only to Jesus Christ. Priest, prophet and king.This entity has set itself up as counterfeit and thus can be affirmatively identified as the antichrist, the impostor and impersonator of the true. And this entity can be found in the Roman Catholic church system.
In Roman Catholic theology is also the embedded principle of ‘replacement’ or ‘displacement’ of Jesus.The entire sacramental system is based on the premise that only through participation in the sacraments as administered by Rome, can anyone hope for eternal life. Rome does not recognise any path to eternity apart from that which she has ordained through the priesthood under the headship of the Roman bishop. Thus Rome has implemented a system of works that men must do, or tasks that men must accomplish, be it confession to a priest, penance, participation in mass, partaking of the Eucharist, pilgrimages to shrines or basilicas, recitation of the rosary, or prayers to Mary or the saints and many other ‘religious’ acts, all for the purpose of salvation. The Protestant principle of ‘sola fide’, faith only, is anathema to Rome.