ANTICHRIST. A Christian variant of God’s adversary in the last days, already present in Jewish apocalyptic literature. The antagonist is Satan or the Dragon, either directly or through the human figure of a persecuting tyrant or a false prophet, a corrupter of good people. The word antichrist appears in the NT only in 1 Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 Jn 7. Except in the case of 1 Jn 2:18, the term is always in the singular. It is a creation of the Presbyter, or he takes it from a prior tradition; the term is certainly not used before the late 1st c. in Christian contexts, as it is unknown to the earlier Christian apocalyptic literature. Among the Apostolic Fathers it is found only in Polycarp 7,1, who takes it from 1 2 Jn and applies it to those who deny the incarnation of Christ. The antichrist is distinguished from the the devil and Satan, from whom he comes and to whom he belongs. Satan and the Antichrist are identified in Orac. Sib. 3, 63-74. The expectation of the adversary of God as a human being facilitated the identification of the antichrist with the pla,noi 2 Jn 7, which in turn led to the plural antichrists of 1 Jn 2:18. The figure also ap pears in 2 Th 2:1-12 and Rev 13 and 17, with different characteristics. The antichrist is a political figure. His external power and ability to seduce, which 2 Th presents as united in the same figure, in Rev 13 are divided between the antichrist and the false prophet. In 2 Th, the antichrist is an individual figure; in Rev 13, it is equally the emperor and the Roman Empire. In 1 Jn 2:18-22, the teachers of error are seen as a number of antichrists. Did. 16,3-4 follows the NT, presenting the antichrist as an adversary of the Son of God, a corruptor with a universal dominion. Irenaeus Adv. haer. V, 25-30 tries to deduce the term antichrist from the number 666 of Rev 13:18, describing his apostasy and his claim to be worshiped as God. Hippolytus writes on the antichrist between 197 and 202, probably prompted by the persecution of Septimius Severus, when many Christians thought that the last days had arrived and that the antichrist himself would soon appear see Eus., HE VI, 7; he maintains that the antichrist cannot enter the scene before the fall of the Roman Empire. The antichrist and the afterlife, which in the NT are only marginal elements of the expectation of the parousia, are the two main themes of Christian apocalyptic literature from the mid-2nd c. In various writings Orac. Sib. 3,63-74; 5,28-34.214-27; Ascens. Is. the antichrist, Belial and the resurrected Nero of the legend are combined; this disappears by the 3rd c., however, and with it the identification of the antichrist with a concrete political figure; the antichrist begins to be seen as a figure of the Jewish pseudo-Messiah, corruptor of the world Hipp.; Testam. Dom.; Apoc. Eliae; Commod., Carmen apol.; Lact., Div. inst. 7,14. A Latin apocryphal fragment M.R. James, TS 2,3, Cambridge 1893, 151-158 offers a description of the antichrist identical to that of the Syriac Testam. Dom. and related to that of the Coptic Apoc. Soph., written perhaps late 2nd c. since it was cited by Clement of Alexandria Strom. V, 11, 77. From the 4th c. the antichrist is again put forth as a figure of the fall of the Roman Empire. Ev. Nic. 925 describes the final confrontation of Enoch and Elijah with the antichrist, as described in Rev 11:3-13. W. Bousset, Der Antichrist in der berlieferung des Judentums, des NT und der alten Kirche, Gttingen 1895; A. Jeremias, Der Antichrist in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Gttingen 1930; B. Rigaux, L’Antchrist, Gembloux-Paris 1932; G. Strecker, Der Antichrist. Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Hintergrund von 1 Joh 2,18.22; 4,3 und 2 Joh 7, in T. Baarda et al. eds., Text and Testimony: Essays on New Testament and Apocryphal Literature in Honour of A.F.J. Klijn, Kampen 1988, 247-254; A. Baumgarten, Antichrist among Jews and Gentiles, in Jews in the GraecoRoman World, ed. M. Goodman, Oxford 1998, 113-133.Every Christian Much Watch This! Is Jesus Christ The Antichrist … holidaymapq

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