Verse 22b: Who Denies the Christ?
Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.
“Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ”: this pronouncement reveals those in whom the spirit of the antichrist operates, specifically, in those who refuse the Lordship of Jesus Christ; they have received the spirit of the antichrist instead of the Holy One’s anointing.
This is the testimony of the Messiah:
John 14:6-7 (CSB) Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Acts 4:12 (CSB) There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”
Luke 9:23 (CSB) Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.
To reject the testimony of the Messiah is to deny that Jesus is the Christ. In other words, to reject that salvation belongs exclusively to Jesus is to deny that Jesus is the exclusive Messiah that he claims to be.
In the same way, to confess that Jesus is the Messiah and reject his Lordship over our life is also to deny that Jesus is our Messiah:
Titus 1:16 (CSB) They claim to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work.
Philippians 3:18 (CSB) For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
The gospel does not make room for disciples who profess the name of Christ but reject his testimony or live in defiance to the nature of his Kingdom. Rather, the gospel calls on hurting, weary, broken, and tired sinners to come sit at the feet of Christ, be refreshed by his grace, and learn to walk in the way; Christ teaches his disciples to walk in the way with grace, but condemns those who think they can enter the kingdom by some other way than through the Gate.
For this reason John is not merely identifying “atheists”, “pagans”, and other religious adherents who deny Christ by name, but also those who reject the testimony and life of Christ.
Here is where the spirit of the antichrist is taking those who follow the antichrist:
Revelation 6:9 (CSB) When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the word of God and the testimony they had given.
The antichrist is going to slaughter those who stay faithful to the word of God and testifying of Christ in truth.