Pastor and author John Piper says the antichrist is here and not yet here in a blog post on the Desiring God ministry website on Wednesday.
The well-known Minnesota pastor explained that the "spirit of antichrist is already in the world," but the actual antichrist figure is "yet to come." He supported his explanation by referring to the writings of Apostles John and Paul. John is the only one in the Bible who uses the term antichrist, but Paul refers to this figure as "the man of lawlessness."
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6-7, Paul says, "Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day [of Christ's second coming] will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. . . . And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work"
Piper explained, "Paul says that a 'man of lawlessness' is coming. And he says that the 'mystery of lawlessness' is already at work. I take this to mean that a distinct figure of great satanic power (verse 9) is coming, but that his mysterious presence can already be felt in the present time. He is 'already' here, and he is 'not yet' here."
He also referred readers to I John 4:3, where Apostle John says, "Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already."
"So both Paul and John picture a final time just before the second coming when a person of great demonic power will rise up in rebellion against the true Christ and his people," said Piper. "In the meantime, the satanic characteristics of that figure are always manifesting themselves in the world with greater or lesser dominance. The antichrist is coming and he is here already."
The concept of already but not yet is not isolated to the antichrist, but also can be found in what the Bible says about the Kingdom of God, said Piper. "Perhaps most of you are accustomed to saying that the kingdom of God is 'not yet' here and is 'already' here. Not yet here in its consummation, but already here in significant fulfillments," the well-known Minnesota pastor explained.
He cited the scandal of Jesus' ministry as "fulfillment without consummation," referencing Jesus' words in Luke 17:21, which says, "…the kingdom of God is in the midst of you." This, Piper said, was the "secret kingdom" that was revealed to only "a few." Of the secret kingdom, the preacher affirmed that the kingdom "is already present, but yet, not fully come."
In the blog post, the pastor remarked, "But most of us are not accustomed to speaking of the antichrist as already here but not yet here. But consider the way the apostles John and Paul speak of this figure."
In the closing of his blog post, Piper poses the question, "What does this mean for us?" He answers, "It is a call for us to live sober lives of alertness and faithfulness."
He states that the aim of the "mystery of lawlessness" and the "many antichrists" is to "deceive us into the blinding slumbers of indifference and love of sin," referring to Romans 13:11 that says, "The hour has come for you to wake from sleep."
Piper reminds Christians that "we are the children of light. We are not of the night or of the darkness. "So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober," according to 1 Thessalonians 5:4–6, he urged.