Antichrists

 

 

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world (1 John 4:3).

 

John is talking about the "spirit" of antichrist in this above quote. There is an antichrist to come, specifically the Antichrist, but many antichrists (with a small a) have already come. The small "a" antichrists are not any particular person, but a general name for all false teachers in spirit in every age, those who disseminate doctrines contrary to those taught by Christ and the apostles. Thus the antichrists are in this spirit of what John talks about. By "spirit" I interpret this to mean "in the spirit of". In this case those who speak in the name of God and Jesus Christ. John specifically mentions those who deny Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; especially if these doctrines have a tendency to deviate from Christ’s character and actions as the Saviour of the world by denying his sonship, his offices, and his grace. Obviously this is not open denial or these false prophets/teachers would not attract followers of Christ. "...whereof you have heard that it should come, and even now already is it the world" refers to those false teachers already in the world. The idea is to lead God's own away from the truth and reality of Christ, his message and way, without them knowing they are being led astray.

At the time of Christ's coming most people of Jewish background anticipated a Messiah who would come to the earth as a conquering king to establish the Kingdom of God. Although I believe Christians understand that Jesus was establishing the Kingdom of God, the Jews were looking for an earthly king and kingdom. In Mark 1:15, Jesus announces, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel”. He would first come as a man who would become the sacrifice for the sins of mankind, and thus the many refused to accept Jesus as their Messiah because he did not fit their idea of king and kingdom. The word Messiah is the Hebrew counterpart to the Greek word Christ.

The Beasts of Revelation
While praying to understand what God wants us to know about the Antichrist I opened the Bible to Revelation 13. I read it several times trying to understand why God sent me to that chapter and how it relates to the Antichrist. The chapter describes the first beast who rose up out of the sea and the second beast who rose up out of the land and got the people to worship the image of the first beast. The key was the second beast was more like a lamb, in other words, more like Christ who is the lamb of God. John the Baptist helps us to understand Jesus as the lamb when he sees Jesus and exclaims, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). This second beast had the look of the lamb but he "spake as a dragon".

"He deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles he had power to do in the sight of the beast". The key to understanding the two beasts and their difference is where John sees them arise from. The first beast arises from the sea and the second the land. The sea could represent world nations, but in the preceding chapter John describes the beast that kills the Two Witnesses who arises from the Abyss or bottomless pit, in other words hell.

I went to bed last evening pondering how evil and controlling the Romans were. I began watching a documentary on Jesus' life and the development of Christianity several days ago. It took me several nights as it was four hours long, but the last part I watched began from the Romans destroying Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. to Constantine becoming a quasi Christian. This destruction of Jerusalem was the first Jewish-Roman war that thrust the Jews and Jewish-Christians into a new era. Things only got worse for Christians in the centuries that followed. I had never felt such affinity to what it meant being a Christian in those centuries as I presently do now, even though I learned all these things in the past. Learning of these things in schoolbooks is not quite the same as studying in depth what in part happened, as well as living in life and experiencing and learning how much evil actually invades our lives through the government and power elite.

I deeply pondered the life of Alfie Evans, who is the child suffering today from irreversible brain damage. The hospital and courts have taken away the rights of the parents to make their own choices for their child, even to deny Alfie being given hospital care by those who are willing to give him experimental drugs that might help him, instead removing his life support so that his life will end. Yet he is still living and the hospital and courts still will not let him go but want to hold on to him until he dies. It seems unimaginable that a government can take away the rights of parents to the extent that they cannot attempt to prolong his life or bring resolution to his disease. Yet this has happened over and over again.

It is also unimaginable the extent of persecution against Christians by the Romans. Pliny the Younger would have Christians punished or killed for just having the name "Christian". They committed no crimes except being absent to worship their gods and make sacrifices, as all under the Romans were expected to do. If they were captured and denied worshiping the Roman gods or would not deny Christ, they were punished or martyred. They were believed to be a threat to Roman life.

I life in a country that is founded on the basis of religious freedom. It did not last long. In the last few decades Christians are becoming the outcasts and are persecuted for not adapting to the "Roman" type government and way America has sadly become more like. Two Catholic priests have been murdered in Mexico in the last few days in separate incidences. It seems that not a week goes by where you do not hear of a priest being captured or murdered just for his faith. We think we are far from the likes of Roman's and their rulership, but are we?

Returning to the beasts in Revelation 13, many scholars believe the first beast represents Rome. It is not hard to agree with them after studying and internalizing the way of life at the time Jesus was born and how strong of an empire Romans were in controlling the people. Yet the first beast had seven heads, ten horns and ten crowns, and with the crowns it is more representative of the kings and kingdoms of this world and their political power; yet kings and kingdoms not from Above but from below. These kingdoms have risen and fallen over thousands of years. Each have been in pursuit of acquisition of lands and peoples and control of resources, but eventually each has fallen and been absorbed into another kingdom.

The second beast is best represented in what happened in Rome with the absorption of not a land, but a people, i.e the Christians. Yet not all the Christians, but only those that fit in with the Christianity that Constantine helped form. The second beast thereby represents false prophets and teachers who supposedly teach the word of God but have made God and Jesus into their own images, propagating false doctrines, and teaching lies for sacred truths. The false prophets have a spiritual power, supposedly with the power of knowledge. The first beast is more the things of this world, yet the second beast is as well, but not directly. The second beast represents spirit, but not the Spirit of God, but the spirit that inhabits the world by the dragon that speaks through it. (The first beast giving to the second beast power by bringing more people to it.) Thus the words spoken by the second beast (the false prophets and spiritual teachers) are really in support of the world and not the Spirit of God.

Jesus teaches us that “false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24).  We return back to 1 John and his words preceding the warning on the antichrist, “Beloved, 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” (1 John 4:1).

False Teachers - antichrists
John is admonishing the people not to foolishly believe every teacher who pretends to be inspired with the Holy Spirit, but to try the inspiration by which any preacher professes to speak, whether it was from God or from evil spirits. Each has the right and duty to disregard and reject that which does not pass trial. The way to recognize whether they are being deceived by those who profess to teach the Word of God is whether they hold true to the great and fundamental doctrines of the gospel, which all the teachers who are truly inspired of God will continually maintain. We are to try all spirits by the written word: To the law and to the testimony. If any man speak not according to these, the spirit which actuates him is not of God. "Many false prophets have gone out into the world" with the intention to draw followers either to make themselves grand and more powerful or to fill their coffers.

The false teachers speak of the world according to its maxims and tastes, so as not to offend carnal men. It is an interesting phenomena. Again and again you may hear or read of some religious leader who has committed adultery, or some lewd sexual act and had to step down from their leadership to face criminal charges. Yet many knew and condoned those acts or turned a blind eye, believing their spiritual leader is just fine. Why? Because they themselves commit sins that may or may not be the same as their leader's, but if their spiritual leader commits sin and "has the Word of God" well that means they themselves are find with the sins they commit. Some also will condone anything their leader does as long as they continue to appear wise with all the knowledge of the world because then the followers, by default, are also wise and knowledgeable for understanding their leader's words. Thus they attach themselves to certain teachers to raise themselves up with appearing like them by association.

The world approved them because the world will love its own, and its own will love it. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you (John 15:19). The more pure and holy a teacher leads their life the more likely they are to be leading men from the world to God. Likewise, the more pure and holy any doctrine is, the more likely it is to be of God. Is it any wonder then that people of a worldly spirit should cleave to those who are like themselves and hate those who by their own sinlessness bring to light the sins of others?

When we have the exhortation For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth" (Peter 2:18-23). Yet what do we hear or read today through the spirit of Antichrist, “You cannot take this literally. We are sinners. Jesus was not faultless.“ There is the spirit of Antichrist. I know this to be true because I witnessed this through my former husband who taught this, not while I was married to him, at least not to my knowledge. My former husband professes to speak the word of God, being a messenger for God, and give messages from Jesus but his "Jesus" spoke of getting angry when he overturned the tables of the money changers and his "Joseph" said that Jesus was a difficult child, headstrong and did not want to listen to adults, and responded to his father with a comment one day bordering on arrogance. (Ascended Master Questions, Kim Michaels)

Can you see what the spirit of Antichrist is trying to do? If Jesus had sins certainly none of us can be sinless, or even attempt to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, for what footsteps did he leave for us to follow?  Again I quote from John, “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother(1 John 3:8-10).

He who sins habitually is of the devil but he who resists evil and sin is of God. If we do not attempt to follow in Jesus' footsteps we will not be resisting evil, but we will be in line with the devil. The Antichrist has been in the world long before Jesus was born. There may be one day an "antichrist" figure who will represent the Antichrist, and there may have already been many. Whether there is one, many or a conglomerate of false spirit, we are challenged every day with this spirit of Antichrist by just being in the world.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). If God loves this world then it is our job to make God's kingdom here below as Above. This does not mean that we love the things in the world, it means we must manifest God in the world through His Son. We resist the Antichrist through Jesus Christ, there is no other way.