THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST/Pt. One
1 John 4:3 (NKJV)
and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (emphasis mine)
First, let me begin by stating this is not a message on "who" the Antichrist is, or might be? That, is for others with much more spiritual savvy than I possess to elaborate on. This short admonition, is really a simple reminder to anyone who is familiar with the scriptures, of what "spirit" or manner of operation Lucifer carries out his diabolical schemes within and without the church of Jesus Christ in the earth. Yes, you heard me correctly, I did say "within" and without the church. Sadly, much of what Satan does to oppose God and the kingdom of His son, Jesus Christ - goes on right within the confines of the very church that Jesus Christ has established...
THE GENERAL BLUEPRINT OF THE DEVIL
Before we examine the "acid test" that the apostle John gives us as a way(though not the only way), of knowing whether a spirit/person is or isn't of God, let us first acknowledge that before Jesus Christ came in the flesh, Satan had already been opposing God on all fronts, both in heaven and earth; and was aware that "Christ", or the "Anointed One/The Messiah" was to come... this is all to clear and evident though the pages of the scriptures which Satan most surely was aware of. The exact specifics of how, when, and where the Christ would appear were not clear to Lucifer(though he was aware of the prophecies Jesus would be borne in Bethlehem of Judea - Micah 5:2).
What was clear however, was that God had a son, and this son, Jesus - would be coming to save His people, and establish a kingdom without end. (see, ISAIAH 9:7) From the time of Adam's fall in the garden, up to the time of Jesus birth - Lucifer has been trying to thwart God's plan of redemption for mankind, and even now he is on a ruthless campaign of terror to oppose and stop God's plan for mankind from being fulfilled. You may scoff and poo poo the devil for being defeated and trounced by Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary- and finally when Jesus rose triumphant from the grave; but you can't deny his relentless attempts to kill,destroy, and rob you and me at every opportunity he has. He is persistent, to a fault.( Keep in mind, that before the fall/the rebellion of Lucifer, he was in heaven and had a relationship with Jesus Christ; he knew Christ before he took on human flesh in the earth).
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
John 10:10 (NKJV) The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
The two scriptures above, from the Old and New Testaments puts everything in perspective for us. God has placed "enmity", which is hostile relations between Christ(her seed - which is us now, the "Body of Christ"), and "your seed"(the children and followers of Satan). Put another way, God has allowed there to be an ongoing war between those who follow the Devil/Lucifer, and those who are of Christ, that is to say - those who are born again and citizens of Christ's kingdom.
We can simply say, that today there are two camps in the earth: The Kingdom and followers of Light/those who are submitted to the Lordship and Kingship of Jesus Christ; and those who are rebellious and defiant - who refuse to submit themselves to the Lordship of Christ, and who instead continue in their sins towards hell... Right up to the very end, this saga and battle against good and evil, light and darkness will continue until God has subdued all of Christ's enemies under his feet...
Matthew 22:44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”’?
There are many enemies of Christ, and they have not all been vanquished, or "made into a footstool"; but we do know that all who oppose God, and His son - Jesus Christ are of the "spirit of Antichrist". To understand what the "spirit of Antichrist" is, one must first understand what the "spirit of Christ" is. That is key to understanding how to discern what is and what isn't of God... Now, let's go back to the verse at the top of this admonition/teaching - and look at what John was really saying to us who have ears to hear.
THE GOSPEL/THE "acid test"
1 John 4:3 (NKJV) and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (emphasis mine)
At first glance, this sounds like John is simply saying: Ask someone if Jesus has come in the flesh, and if they say "no" - You'll know that they are not of God, that they are of the "spirit of Antichrist". I know today, many Christians use this as a way of testing to see if a person is "demon possessed" or not. That is not a reliable test, I know because I've used it when casting out demons myself, and this is what I've discovered: DEMONS CAN LIE TO YOU!!! Yes, they can say Jesus has come in the flesh to your face.
They did that to me, and I learned that just stating "Jesus has come in the flesh" is not what John had in mind as the "Acid Test" for determining if a person/spirit is or isn't of Christ. John had more in mind than just having someone quote or say a few words. Demons will lie to you, they will quote scriptures to you all day long, hey- they reminded me that they knew Jesus long before I did, and know the bible better than most Christians will ever know it... One thing I learned in trying to "test whether a person/spirit" is or isn't of Christ - is this:
Don't enter into a conversation, or dialogue with the devil, demons or those under his influence unless you are "being led of the Holy Spirit". The less you say to someone "possessed" or severely oppressed of the devil, the better. You may find to your surprise, that the devil can quote scriptures back to you, and very well I might add(though he is prone to twist them out of context).
The "test" John alludes to in 1 JN. 4:3 is a summation or decree that in essence states this: ANYONE WHO REJECTS OR OPPOSES THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST is not of God! Put more succinctly, John is saying that to know whether anyone is truly of God, just ask them or find out what they believe concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! To reject the idea, or teaching of the early apostles, that Jesus is the Christ, that he is the One that came to fulfill all of the Old Testament scriptures concerning "who" the Messiah would be, as well as "what" he would do upon his coming to the earth.
To reject the gospel message that God sent His only begotten son, to die for all of mankind's sins, and then rise from the dead for our justification - was the "acid test" that would be used to test whether one was or wasn't of God - that is to say: For Christ, or Against Christ/Antichrist. ( *note - The spirit of Antichrist - is many things - but at it's core is this total hostility and enmity towards the "message/gospel of Jesus Christ) Having said all this, it is clear that the "spirit of Christ" is: the message of Christ, or the Gospel of Christ".
Therefore, a message that is contrary to sound doctrine or the Gospel Jesus and Paul preached is "Antichrist", and conversely - a message that agrees with what Jesus and Paul and the apostles preached is the "spirit of Christ". (Jn.6:63)
1 CO.15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 (NKJV) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There are many things the devil opposes, too many to list here, but here are a few: The Bible, the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ/The Body of Christ, and anyone or anything that promotes or witnesses the truth - whether that be music, literature, art, or human beings who are living their lives as witnesses for Christ in the earth.
But, and I say this again, but - of all the things that Satan hates, that he is determined to stop no matter what it costs in terms of money, energy expended - or lives lost in the process; nothing is more in his sights than this: THE GOSPEL MESSAGE of Jesus atoning and redemptive death on the cross for all of mankind's sins, and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as the final triumph over death for all who would dare to believe!!! This dear friends, is the message that John, Paul, Jesus, and countless others have lived and died for - that they have given themselves and all they have to carry to the ends of the earth. Just remember this: it is the message of the cross, and Jesus resurrection that Satan wants to silence!!
DON'T BE SHY ABOUT SHARING THE GOSPEL
To reject the simple message of the cross, and the resurrection is to doom oneself for all eternity to the bowels of hell. That God would choose such a simple and "foolish" message to redeem fallen mankind is the "wisdom of God"; but that is the thing, that is the means that God has chosen to reconcile all things to Himself, and that is the message that Satan knows will defeat him and he will twist, pervert, and hinder the gospel message whenever and wherever he is given a chance or opportunity.
Sharing the message of how God sent His' son to die on a cross for our sins, and that He then was raised from the dead to the right hand of the Father in Heaven - is what the devil is determined to stop. He wants you to keep you mouth shut! The devil doesn't want you to talk about Jesus, about what He did for us at Calvary, what He is still doing even now interceding for us as our advocate before God... The "spirit of Antichrist" is against everything God is for, against everything God loves.
With that in mind, let us go forth and proclaim the Good News that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, that He became flesh, and as a perfect man, as a perfect sacrifice - took all our sins upon Himself and has reconciled us back to the Father through His blood shed for the remission of our sins... 2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
The devil wants you and me to be quiet, to keep our mouths shut, and to leave the preaching and proclamation of the gospel to a few people who are within the confines of the church walls. Let's take the gospel to the streets, let's proclaim the message of Jesus Christ near and far, and let all the world know:
John 3:16 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
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I love God, people, and all of God's creation. For me there is always something or someone to write about...