The Spirit of Antichrist

This post is written mostly for those who claim to belong to the Lord, and who have a Biblical worldview.  Unfortunately, those who neither follow the Lord’s commands or know His word will likely get very little from this post.  In fact, this post is about those who do not know and follow the Lord’s commands.  This post is about the spirit of antichrist.  But I’ll caution those who think the antichrist is an actual person who will rise up in the end times.  I no longer believe this is what Scripture actually teaches us.  I did something that too few of us do anymore: I actually read God’s word and, when I did, I discovered that it says something very different than what I had been told it said.  That revelation has caused me to look at myself and the things I believe and do very differently.  This is why I am writing this post: that you may be lead to read God’s word for yourself, and — hopefully — will understand it the same way I now do, and that it will cause you to look at yourself anew, as well.Many Christians believe that prophecy tells us of a coming ‘Antichrist:’ a single person who will be possessed by Satan.  The problem with this is that Scripture does not say this.  Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us about a single person called ‘the Antichrist.’  Now, don’t misunderstand me: I am well aware that prophecy tells us of the coming of a powerful king or prince who will lead a coalition of nations and peoples against Israel.  I do not deny this.  But the Bible never calls this ‘Prince who is to come’ ‘the Antichrist.’  In fact, Scripture only mentions the word ‘antichrist’ four times, and all four of those passages are found in the letters of the Apostle John, whom Christ loved:

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, people who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Any such person is the deceiver and the Antichrist!

Please read those passages again — carefully — and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in the process.  Do you see that John is telling us that antichrist is a spirit, and that there are many antichrists?  Now, what if we are meant to think of the references to antichrist in terms of the third person?  This would mean that we are not meant to look for a single person as the antichrist in prophecy, but the signs of the spirit of antichrist in the things others say and do.  This would then mean anyone who exhibits the characteristics of antichrist — as defined by John — is possessed by the spirit of antichrist.  OK, now hold on to this line of thinking and read this passage from the Apostle, Paul:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12  New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Man of Lawlessness

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the [a]coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your [b]composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a [c]message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the [d]apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above [e]every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His [f]coming; that is, the one whose [g]coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and [h]signs and false wonders, 10 and with [i]all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God [j]will send upon them [k]a deluding influence so that they will believe [l]what is false, 12 in order that they all may be [m]judged who did not believe the truth, but [n]took pleasure in wickedness.

Now, if you have spent any time researching Bible prophecy, you have probably heard or read about a connection between ‘the man of lawlessness’ and ‘the Antichrist.’  But what if ‘the man of lawlessness’ is also meant to be understood as third person plural: as applying to any and all who reject God’s law?  Does Scripture give us any reason to believe this is the way God actually means for us to understand the term ‘man of lawlessness?’  Well, consider these passages:

I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

Hebrews 1:9

You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

So it would appear that we are not meant to understand ‘the man of lawlessness’ or ‘the son of destruction’ are meant to be understood as terms that apply to any and all who practice sin, which is defined as lawlessness.  In other words, anyone who refuse to turn to God and live by His laws is ‘the man of lawlessness,’ the ‘son of destruction.’
Now, for those who have read the Gospels, you may remember that Christ admonished the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.  He was very harsh on them for perverting the laws.  They had changed them to suit their desires, and had broken from the spirit of the law: the purpose for which God had intended.  This is the very sort of lawlessness Scripture seems to condemn, and it is the very sort of lawlessness that is growing in our society today.  People are doing whatever seems right to them and justifying it in their own hearts.  Well, we live in the Church age, and we are told that the Temple of God is now in the heart of every believer.  So, if a person just does what they want and justifies it in their heart, they are — in effect — lifting themselves to the seat of God — exactly what Paul tells us to watch for in 2 Thess 2:3-4.  There is ‘the antichrist,’ the ‘man of lawlessness:’ it is in the heart of every individual who is seeking to take the place of God, and to make himself or herself as God.  Now, I ask you, how many people can you name who, today, live exactly the way Paul and John told us people would start to behave as we near the end of God’s plan?
Let me end this post by saying I am well aware that I am ‘dead to sin’ (this is another discussion).  Christ has freed me from the second death, the penalty of sin.  But I am still called to obey His commands:
John 14:15  New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

This means that, even though my sins have been forgiven, I have not been given license to sin.  I am commanded to obey out of love instead of fear.  And I am also told that it is not so much the letter of the law but the spirit of God’s law that I am commanded to obey.  When I considered this, I realized just how often I was twisting the letter of the law to justify my sins in my own heart.  I was able to see it in others, but I was blind to the fact that I was doing the same thing.  I was and still am a hypocrite.  But now, I am no longer blind.  I see that I am still nailing Christ to the cross, and that realization opened my heart to the Holy Spirit so that He could change me.  Now, I worry less about the wrongs others do and more about the things I do.

It may be different for you, but — somehow — I can’t help but feel that if we all lived this way, we would have far less trouble in our world today…

[NOTE: I apologize for the formatting issues in this post.  I have tried to correct hem — several times.  But the editor doesn’t seem to want to accept the changes.]


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