While most evangelical Christians are expecting the antichrist in human form to appear on the scene at any given moment in the latter of the latter days, many of these same people overlook an essential piece to this puzzle that has from the beginning wreaked havoc on families, churches and relationships: the antichrist spirit.
What or Who It Is
To put it simply, the antichrist spirit is everything that isÂ antiÂ Christ. In other words, it is everything that opposes Christ and the Gospel of Christ. Since the great opponent of Christ is the devil, then Satan himselfâ€”and all of the evil he perpetuatesâ€”is the Antichrist (with a capital A).
The wordÂ antichristÂ is mentioned in only four passages of the Bible. All four are found in 1 and 2 John when Jesus warned His disciples of false prophets. Many theologians and futurists, however, believe that the Antichrist is the beast mentioned in the books of Revelation and Daniel. Itâ€™s interesting to note, however, the word â€œantichristâ€ doesnâ€™t appear in Revelation.
The apostle John describes the â€œspirit of antichristâ€ as the one who opposes Christ:
â€œBeloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of errorâ€ (1John 4:1â€“6 NRSV).
Notice several things from this passage: 1) People who will not acknowledge that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh–in the incarnation–are NOT from God – they arenâ€™t Christians (no matter how high sounding their religious rhetoric or title is.) 2) This spirit is already in the world and has been â€œfrom the beginning,â€ or when Satan rebelled against God and took a third of the angels with him. Later he got Adam and Eve to sin, thereby placing himself in the position of prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30). 3) People under the antichrist spirit ultimately listen to the world and worldly wisdom rather the wisdom that comes from God. James says this kind of wisdom is earthly and demonic (James 3:15). 4) Loving God and operating in discerning of spirits assist the true believer to discern between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
Itâ€™s important to point out here that the word Christ means â€œanointed one.â€ Christians then are â€œlittle anointed ones.â€ Sadly, many Christian churches are opposed to the anointing by disallowing the Holy Spirit to have His way in their services. In this respect, these churches are antichrist or anti-anointing, even though they may be Bible believing. They love tradition more than the Presence of God through the Holy Spiritâ€™s precious gifts of the Spirit. These churches in that sense â€œhold to a form of godliness but deny the power thereofâ€ (2 Tim. 3:5). This grieves the heart of God! The truth is these churches donâ€™t have a leg to stand on in denying the power of God in their services, having been convinced their dogma handed down from church authorities carries more authority that the Holy Word!
What It Does
This spirit is the source of rebellion against authority, hate, division, many church splits, family breakups, parent-child separations, lawlessness, malice, pride, self-deception, murder, a critical spirit, religiosity and judgmentalism, to name a few of the tools in its arsenal. Itâ€™s extremely subtle but powerful in that it often hides in woundedness and early hurts caused by authority figures or later at the hands of abusive authority. And unless one is healed from these hurts, he or she may find themselves railing against all authority that establishes any kind of standard, while supposing that isolation and extreme individualism is the only way to handle this dilemma. Or on the other hand, one may find himself or herself constantly battling a critical spirit that finds fault with every church leader, evangelist or fellow Christian who disagrees with their beliefs. Granted, there can always be disagreement, but the Bible gives us the correct means to deal with these things â€“ in a spirit of truth and love.
The antichrist spirit is constantly at war with godly character and the genuine fruit of the Holy Spirit, masking itself in politeness and forced self-control, while this same person under its influence has to sit on anger, possibly rage and pride. Much spiritual warfare is essentially battling the antichrist spirit that sends forth all manner of un-Christ-like conduct, particularly through demons of every description, whose purpose is to work against Christ in you. Do you ever wonder how some people, whom you know are genuine, professing Christians, can say and do the most ungodly things while defending themselves as justified in what they have done? Weâ€™re all guilty at times, but why try to defend ungodly behavior? As a good friend of mine says, â€œIf you want to see the antichrist, look in the mirror!â€
Entry Ways for the Antichrist Spirit
The first order of these manifestations is found in parent-child relationships. Even from the womb children may rebel against parents, making judgments with their spirits or minds about their treatment during the inutero months:
â€œYou have neither heard nor understood; from of old your ears have not been open. Well do I know how treacherous you are; you were called a rebel from birthâ€ (Isa. 48:8 NIV).
â€œThe wicked are estranged from the womb; these go astray from birth, speaking lies [even twisted partial truths] (Psalm 58:3 AMP).
Rejection is the usual emotion that sets off rebellion. Children who are unwanted for various reasons, parental fighting during pregnancy, and lack of nurture in formative months can create hurt and ultimately feelings of abandonment and rejection in a child. Later, physical or emotional neglect or other worse forms of abuse from parents or other authority figures may trigger attitudes of rebellion in children that go unhealed for years until God is allowed to heal them. The end result of this wounding is the creation of a false mental picture of who Father God REALLY is. The mind may be instructed in biblical truth, but the heart doesnâ€™t necessarily believe God is 100 percent good! The child then grows into adulthood having made numerous ungodly judgments against his parents, and one day has little or no light to understand why life is horrible and destructive:
â€œWhoever curses his father or his mother, His lamp [of life] will be extinguished in time of darknessâ€ (Proverbs 20:20 Amp). To curse means to take lightly; to treat as worthless; to treat contemptuously; to curse. Under the Mosaic law, this brought a death penalty (Exod 21:17; Lev 20:9; Deut 27:16). Lamp is an implied comparison (hypocatastasis) meaning his life. For the lamp to go out would mean death and possibly also the removal of posterity (Whybray, Book of Proverbs, p. 115). The lamp, according to Prov. 20:27 is the personâ€™s spirit.
Further, antichrist attitudes can develop over time because of various kinds of mistreatment, deep disappointment with Godâ€™s will and ways, and church membership where things went haywire i.e. misconduct by church leadership, such as sexual failure, misspent funds and prideful use and abuse of authority. Unless we commit ourselves to grace-filled living, offenses (often referred to as â€œstumbling blocksâ€ in Scripture) will cause us to â€œquit on God,â€ or serve Him half-heartedly. Plus the New Age, with its plethora of anti-biblical philosophies and beliefs, has crept into many churches, positioning them against Godâ€™s truth.
Antichrist Spirit and Legalism
Chief among those under the influence of the antichrist spirit in the New Testament were the Pharisees and Sadducees, whom Jesus said were a â€œbrood of vipersâ€ and â€œopen graves,â€ whose real father was Satan himself (John 8:44). These so-called leaders of the people were antichrist to the core, constantly planning to trap Him and ultimately kill Him. They acted righteous but were led by a religious spirit, which is always antichrist. Like the Pharisees and Sadducees, in some Christian homes, legalism is the rule of the day rather than the grace of God. â€œReligionâ€ is forced down kidsâ€™ throats, and as a result, the kids may become rigid in their attitudes toward Father God while attempting to obey their parents. Later when temptation comes, they may find that â€œsin for a seasonâ€ beats their legalistic upbringing hands down. While they may feel justified in their newly found â€œfreedom,â€ ultimately, the Law of Sewing and Reaping (Gal. 6:7), catches up with them, and that which has been sewn (sin and rebellion) to the wind, eventually reaps a whirlwind (Hosea 8:7) of despair and bondage.
Another arena where antichrist attitudes can develop is within secular education. Most instruction in America, in particular, has become so politically correct that references to God are omitted and supplanted with evolutionary, or at least humanistic philosophy. Consider the fact that American students for the most part are deluged with ungodly (without God) training for at least six hours per day or 30 hours per week. If kids are given any godly training at all from parents or their church, theyâ€™re on the low side of the scale â€“ two to four hours a week vs. thirty. Is it any wonder that a recent survey showed 25 percent of Americans no longer believe in God?
Last, we find Hollywood and television programs as essentially godless, except for some â€œoldies in which people prayed or said the blessing, or modern movies that are produced for a Christian audience. These purveyors of entertainment rely on ungodly and even occult themes to keep audiences interested. With rare exception, gone are the Andys, Barneys and Aunt Bees of Mayberry fame.
How to Deal With the Antichrist Spirit
- Realize you may be under the influence of this spirit because of ungodly attitudes toward your parents (living or not) or other authority figures. â€œFearingâ€ godly people who are authorities, especially spiritual authorities when youâ€™re with them, is a dead giveaway. Unreasonable attitudes of hatred or resentment, or even blasphemous thoughts filling your head, may also be a clue.
- Understanding your own or othersâ€™ woundedness and reactions to rejection may send forth an alarm. The desire to hurt or even kill someone who has hurt you should awaken you to the presence the antichrist spirit. For example, you may also find that you refuse to submit to others in the Body of Christ because of the past failures of church leaders.
- Being part of a church split where ungodly attitudes rule the group is antichrist in nature, so donâ€™t be a part of something like this. Churches are full of problems because theyâ€™re full of people!
- Repent for any un-Christ-like attitudes toward people who may have done you wrong. â€œTaking up an offenseâ€™ is often justified by people, but Scripture is clear that God is the avenger not we (Rom. 12:15). In other words, â€œOvercome evil with good.â€ Unforgiveness is always a doorway for oppression from the enemy!
- Confess generational sin (iniquity) and ask Godâ€™s forgiveness for your part of that line in which antichrist attitudes, behavior or oaths were entered into. Large sinful packages are found in such organizations as Freemasonry where ancestors may have participated. Consider that attempting to â€œbindâ€ a spirit without repenting for your own sinful attitudes is essentially useless. True and lasting freedom comes as we are changed into the image of the character of Jesus and not by simply doing spiritual warfare.
If revival is to come againâ€“-and it will comeâ€”simply because people will refuse to yield to ungodliness and division that is perpetrated and perpetuated by the antichrist spirit. Jesus prayed in John 17 that we, His Body, would all be one. Do you think the Father wonâ€™t answer His prayer?
“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the seaâ€ (Habakkuk 2:14 NASB).
Joseph Beckham is the author of Overcoming Bipolar Disorder & Other Mental Difficulties: A Christian Perspective.
Get the print version today at https://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=overcoming+bipolar+disorder+%26+Other+mental+difficulties&type=. Joe is also the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls – http://amzn.com/1493781286