Apparently someone hacked into the Planet Preterist web site and directed users to Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind web site. The front page of LaHaye’s site informs viewers that a prequel to the Left Behind series–“Before They Were Left Behind–will hit stores on March 1, 2004. The title of the new volume is The Rising: Antichrist is Born. LaHaye and company are milking millions of uninformed Christians of their hard-earned dollars on one of the most ridiculous religious scams of the century.

But before there was LaHaye, there was Lindsey. Hal Lindsey wrote in 1970 that he believed that the antichrist was alive somewhere in the world. He repeated this belief in 1977 when he wrote that it was his “personal opinion” that “he’s alive somewhere now. But he’s not going to become this awesome figure that we nickname the Anti-Christ until Satan possesses him, and I don’t believe that will occur until there is this “mortal wound” from which he’s raised up.”[1] In 1980 he restated this conviction by claiming that “this man [antichrist] is alive today–alive and waiting to come forth.”[2] What was false thirty-four years ago is equally false today.

Not to be outdone, Dave Hunt voiced a similar opinion in 1990: “Somewhere, at this very moment, on planet Earth, the antichrist is almost certainly alive–biding his time, awaiting his cue. Banal sensationalism? Far from it! That likelihood is based upon a sober evaluation of current events in relation to Bible prophecy. Already a mature man, he is probably active in politics, perhaps even an admired world leader whose name is almost daily on everyone’s lips.”[3] Like Lindsey before him and LaHaye after him, Dave Hunt is confused.

Modern antichrist hunters are pursuing a figure who no longer exists. Let’s look at the biblical evidence. The word “antichrist” appears only in John’s epistles (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). “What is taught in these passages constitutes the whole New Testament doctrine of Antichrist.”[4] You will search in vain to find the word anywhere mentioned in Revelation or any part of the Old Testament. John’s antichrist is defined in the following ways, none of which fits the modern definition:

Anyone “who denies that Jesus is the Christ” (1 John 2:22).

Anyone who “denies the Father and Son” (1 John 2:23).

“Every spirit that does not confess Jesus” (1 John 4:3).

“Those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).

Could the Bible be any more clear? According to the Bible, antichrist is not a single individual, a world-wide political manipulator of the religious masses.

John wrote, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). Notice the “when” of antichrist. Whether there was to be only one or many antichrists, John made it clear that “it is the last hour” for those who first read his letters (1 John 2:18). How do we know this? John said, “Even now many antichrists have arisen.” And in case you did not get his point, he repeated it: “From this we know that it is the last hour.” John was not describing a period of time thousands of years in the future. It was the “last hour” for those living in the first century. They had heard that “the spirit of antichrist” was coming. For them, “now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:3). Antichrists had arisen in John’s day.

An antichrist, therefore, is anyone who “denies that Jesus is the Christ” and anyone “who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). “Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3). “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7). The antichrist is a religious figure, probably related to those Jews in the first century who denied that Jesus was the Messiah. John was not far off when he used the phrase “synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9; 3:9).

Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series is a fraud, more fiction than fact. You will do better by writing to Tyndale and asking them to abandon the series and thereby quit deceiving millions of uninformed but eager religious seekers.

The Great Cosmic Countdown: Hal Lindsey on the Future," Eternity (January 1977), 80. [2] Hal Lindsey, The 1980s: Countdown to Armageddon (King of Prussia, PA: Westgate Press, 1980), 15. [3] Dave Hunt, Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1990), 5.**
[4]** Benjamin B. Warfield, “Antichrist,” in Selected Shorter Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, ed. John E. Meeter (Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1970), 1:356.