The disciples asked Jesus what the signs of the end of the age would be, the first words that come from Jesus are “take heed that no one deceives you” (Matt 24), he goes on to say if it were possible even the elect could be deceived, but God will not let His Elect be deceived (1st John 2:20)!
John the Apostle calls the Antichrist a deceiver, so who is he?
The word Antichrist is only used in two books of the bible, i.e., 1st & 2nd John. It’s meaning is implied in the book of Revelation, but the word does not appear there.
The books of 1st and 2nd John, according to scholars were written by John the apostle, who also wrote the fourth gospel and the book of Revelation. They also believe 1st and 2nd John and the book of Revelation were written close to the same time, between a.d. 85 and a.d. 96.
The Traditional view of the Antichrist is that he is just one person who appears at the end of the World, John sets out to correct this view; “you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come” (1st John 2:18).
He also says…
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)
Notice he combines the “many deceivers” as Antichrist (singular) and declares they have already come!
Strong’s Concordance defines the “Antichrist” as “one who puts himself in the place of, or the enemy (opponent) of the Messiah”. Essentially it means taking Christ place!
Regarding the Antichrist John continues, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us” (1st John 2:19).
John says these Antichrist’s “went out from us”! This should be no surprise; the greatest deceivers are the ones most like the real thing.
John offers a precaution and defines who is of God and who is not. He says, “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” (1st John 4:2-3).
When I ask Christians; “do you believe every person in the entire world who confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God?”, their answer is predominantly no!
How could John make such a bold statement to define who is of God and who is not based on a confession that Jesus Christ came in the flesh?
The assumption is, this passage is about the “flesh of Jesus”, but it could take on another meaning. Notice what Paul the apostle says to the church at Corinth:
“For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2nd Corinthians 4:11).
He also writes to the Church at Galatia about “travailing in birth” until Christ is formed in them (Galatians 4:19).
The assumption the flesh here is that of Jesus may have caused translators to use the phrase “has come in the flesh” which is past tense. The Greek word for “come” is “erchomai” which can also mean “coming” (future tense). It is the same Greek word used for “Coming in the clouds of Heaven” (Matt 26:64).
If we look at this passage in the future tense with the idea it is speaking of the flesh of believers, it will read like this:
“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is coming in [their] flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ is coming in [their] 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”.
This makes more since! The one who confesses Jesus Christ is coming in their flesh, embraces and declares Christ is being formed in them. When Christ rules in our heart he becomes our life and we become the living embodiment of truth!
On the flip side the Antichrist does not confess Jesus Christ is coming in our flesh!
When we first receive God’s spirit our old carnal life is still very much present. As a Spirit lead believer, we have a choice to lay our life down in Christ and let his life be formed in us or we can continue in our old carnal life and try to be like Christ by our own effort (Matt 16:24-25). It is here we see the difference between who is of God and who is not. When Christ is formed in us, we will become like Christ because his actual life has replaced our old carnal life!
Choosing Christ’s life comes at a great price; “the death of our old life”. When we confess Jesus Christ is coming in our flesh and embrace his life, our old life will begin to die, but it will not go down without a fight (Galatians 5:17, Romans 7:22; 8:7).
The Antichrist attempts to prevent this from happening by standing behind the pulpit of spirit filled churches all over the world and lead spirit filled people away from laying down their life for Christ’s sake. These Antichrist use their old carnal life to promote Christianity. The Body (flesh) of a True Christian is the Temple of God (1 Cor 3:16), We are the daily sacrifice (Luke 9:23), these Antichrist have removed the daily sacrifice from the Temple, meaning they don’t lead people to die with Christ daily!
“Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Romans 6:6).
These Antichrist have made their “Mark” on the religious world in these last days, they appear spiritual with the demeanor of a Lamb, but are wolves in sheep’s skin. They attempt to refine their followers by words of knowledge but dismiss leading them to die with Christ, they forgo travailing in birth until Christ is formed in those they lead (Galatians 4:19).
We live at a time where people like to sensationalize! The religious community has played off this and brought to life this mysterious figure who is going to visit everyone in the whole world and put a stamp on their forehead and/or hand. If there is one thing we should know about the book a Revelation it is a figurative book with spiritual symbolism. The same man that said there were “many antichrist” in 1st & 2nd John also penned the words of the book of Revelation.
A Mark is symbolic, much like “he left his Mark on the world”, or “the mark of a true servant”. The number “6” in the Bible represents man and his works. Accepting the number 666 represents the body, soul and spirit of man embracing the knowledge and works of man (forehead/hand) and rejecting the will of God.
We live at the end of time; Christianity at large has been deceived as Jesus foretold. God is awakening his elect; “For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).
Jesus warned the Church at Laodicea which was the last of the seven churches in the book of Revelation;
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked!”
The elect children of God carry their cross daily and die to their own effort of being like Christ and allow him to be formed in them. They are constantly coming to the end of their selves so his life can prevail! We are not saved “by our works” we are saved by “dying to them”, so his works can manifest in us (Eph 2:10; Rev 22:12).
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
“My goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Philippians 3:10).
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible (Matthew 24:24).
Check out other messages http://www.inspiredmessage.com