Tuesday, February 24, 2009



There is a lot of talk and teaching about the coming antichrist. In the first of John's letters he says: Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. (I John 2:18-23)

The antichrist is to be the great counterfeit of Jesus the Christ and therefore the archenemy of Jesus. Whoever the antichrist is or when he might show up is not nearly as important to me as is the spirit of antichrist. John speaks of this later in the letter: And every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. (I John 4:3)

The spirit of antichrist has to do with a mood and attitude that pervades the Jesus movement today. You see, anti can mean "against", but it also has the meaning of "instead of" and therefore is more subtle and dangerous. I am convinced the most effective deception today is not that which is against Jesus, but that which is added on to Jesus in such a way so as to be instead of Jesus. The many "instead of Jesus" add-ons today seem harmless, but displace and replace the name and power of Jesus.

When Jesus warned about the false prophets, He described them as people who did all kinds of things in the name of Jesus yet were not really doing the will of the Father. Jesus said, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"

Note they called Jesus Lord, spoke in the name of Jesus, cast out demons in the name of Jesus and performed many miracles in Jesus' name. However, they will not enter the Kingdom of heaven, because they somehow did not do the will of the Father. We are given some idea what Jesus meant by doing the will of the Father in the next paragraph. Jesus says: "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell-and great was its fall." (Matthew 7:24-27)

So, these false prophets and teachers weren't careful to follow Jesus and His teachings. Jesus says this is hearing His words and practicing them. I believe these were those who were part of the spirit of antichrist-the "instead of" Christ movement.

Jesus warned His disciples about both the Pharisees and the Herodians: And He was giving orders to them, saying, " Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." (Mark 8:15) Both the Pharisees and the Herodians were caught up in the "instead of" movement-piling up add-ons on top of the truth. The Pharisees were into the add-ons of list after list of laws. The Herodians were a political movement who added on the potential of being powerfully influential, which meant more to them than being truly righteous before God. The leaven of each group amounted to the add-ons.

We have our modern day Pharisees today who worship the Bible and hold people to the exact interpretation they have come up with. Your relationship with Jesus-the living Word of God-becomes secondary to whatever doctrine they might hold sacred. The Herodians are still here as well. They are the people today who believe we must get the entire nation to follow the Christian ways of doing things. Sadly, they believe you can legislate values and morality. For so many years, this movement has enjoyed the power-base to operate, yet the net result in our society is woefully falling short of what God might want. If anything, we are going backwards with respect to changing our culture for the Lord.

The spirit of antichrist is the problem-adding on to Jesus so much that the add-ons become the replacement of Jesus and His preeminence! Some see this spirit of antichrist as an intentionally evil movement. I don't see it this way at all. There are those who are propagating antichrist messages on purpose, but for the most part I believe it is well-intentioned. Jesus keeps slipping between the cracks and in reality, in many religious operations, Jesus has left the building. I don't believe many set out to leave Jesus out of their newsletters or messages, but it's just too easy to allow Jesus to be crowded out.

Paul gives a hint of this disposition of evil men and imposters. He says to Timothy: But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (II Timothy 3:13) NOTE they are deceiving and being deceived themselves! There are so many who just don't get it that Jesus wants and requires simply a relationship with Him. It is Jesus plus nothing-and nothing more. Nothing else matters! In the encounters of Jesus in the Gospels, nothing else mattered. It didn't matter enough to add on anything to the Roman official who had greater faith than had ever been expressed in all of Israel. Jesus didn't add anything on to the woman who was healed of her bleeding problem by just touching His robe. He didn't add on anything to the Syrophoenician woman. It has always been and is now a matter of your relationship with Jesus and that you learn to follow Him. That is enough!

The spirit of antichrist is definitely prevalent in the world today. It's just too easy to either replace Jesus with something good or to add on to Jesus and make Him something He is not. Evil rules when you are distracted or deceived into being dependent upon anything other than Jesus. That's the spirit of antichrist.