The Spirit of Antichrist
Basket of Figs
"Hereby known ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses
that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit
that confesses 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 in the world.... "
I John 4:2,3
The gospel statement is clear, "Jesus Christ is come in the flesh." Antichrist
is also straightforward, "Jesus Christ is not come in the flesh." Both cannot
be true, and one of them must be; hence, man cannot escape making a
decision. The Holy Spirit makes it even more emphatic: "Hereby know
we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (verse 6). The spirit of
error contradicts the spirit of truth. God has said that He cannot deny
Himself, that He cannot lie, that He lives forever, that He created the
world, and that salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. Only the devil and
those who carry water for him will say otherwise. In fact the sin against
the Holy Spirit is the ultimate contradiction, to propose that the works of
the Holy Spirit are the works of the devil.
Even Peter, a good man, was rebuked by Christ when he contradicted Christ's
clear statement that He must die and be raised from the dead. Peter probably
thought that he was very generous hearted and full of love, "Be it far from
thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee." But Jesus did not mince words:
"Get thee behind me, Satan....'' Peter should have known better than to deny
the law of contradiction. Christ's words are true; their true contradictory is
false and of the devil.
"What is truth?" Pilate asked. The pagan world tolerated a multiplicity of
contradictory religious ideas, because the prevailing pagan religious
attitude was that there was no certainty in religious propositions. As
long as a man bought into the prevailing attitude of religious toleration,
he could believe as he chose.
The insistence of the early church to the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ
was what brought on the persecution. If they had said that Jesus was just
one way of looking at the truth, or even that Jesus Christ was the best
way of coming to God, they would have had little problem being assimilated
into the Roman religious scene. The pagan attitude was similar to the
attitude of the late Dorothy Parker: "I do not care what they do, as long
as they do not do it in the street and scare the horses."
Against the lie that there is no certain religious truth, the exclusive claims
of Jesus Christ must be maintained against all comers, for Satan knows where
the citadel is. Jesus Christ did really come in the flesh. This basic truth of
Christianity means that several other things are true:
1. The Old Testament presents a system of revelation that culminates in
Jesus Christ. "Christ" is not a word that simply sits alone in the desert.
It means "Messiah." To confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is to
affirm the messianic hopes of the Old Testament that the promises terminate
2. Humanity is a proper receptacle for the truth of God. If Jesus is the
Messiah, the culmination of the Old Testament promises, then what He
said about Himself must be true. "I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No man comes to the Father but by me." "He that has seen me has seen
the Father." "He that is not with me is against me." "Because I live, ye shall
live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me,
and I in you."
Jesus Christ is not a stick figure that in some way resembles God, but God
manifest in the flesh. There can be real ideas of God communicated to men.
The devil has tried to contradict this since the Garden of Eden, when he said
to Eve, "You shall not die." But Eve is dead.
3. If Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, then the Bible is a coherent historical
record that God has given of His Son. Eternal life is in believing this record
(1John 5), for Jesus was "sent" to save sinners.
4. If Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, then God has a loving plan for the
world (John 3:16-19), which is the proper object of God's love and grace and
mercy. If God sent His Son as the Christ to save us, then God has not
5. If Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, then we do not live in a stupid,
senseless, irrational world. Our lives make sense. Jesus is the Word of
God, not the Feeling of God or the Emotion of God. To reduce our response
to Jesus Christ to feeling and emotion is to distort His message, by which
God calls us to the order of faith and truth, which we are to confess with our
mouth and believe in our hearts. Lost men live in the chaos of antichrist
and the chaos of their own making, for the Spirit of God is the Spirit of
order and meaning. "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the
flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by
the gospel is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1:24,25)
We do not overcome antichrist by integrating him into our system, into
some dream of unity. "They overcame by the blood of the lamb, and by
the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death."