If you have never contemplated the possibility that the Antichrist Spirit has gained access to the Church on the earth, then I hope you will let me share my thoughts on this subject. I'd like to explain what I perceive the Antichrist spirit to be, and offer up some characteristics and how to identify it. And then let's examine how this pernicious spirit has gained a way to enter our church buildings.
First, I think it is important to understand that there are many Christians, when one brings up the subject of Antichrist, who picture the devil incarnate; an evil, sinister, giant of an individual who strikes fear in the hearts of all men. I cannot say that he won't eventually become that, but I deliberately used the word "pernicious" to describe his spirit because this is how I believe he will actually be able to insinuate himself into the inner sanctums of our places of worship. The word pernicious means "to have a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way". Which is exactly why the Antichrist spirit has gone so undetected.
We know that Jesus became flesh and blood to do the will of His Father in Heaven. He became a man so He could empathize with all that we, as humans, experience in our everyday lives, and so that He could teach us how to avoid the sin with which this life tempts us. But Jesus was the Christ -- the Anointed One, the Messiah; without sin and undefiled. The name, Antichrist, means exactly what it says; "against Christ". He is Satan's emissary on earth. And since Satan seeks to be like God, He counterfeits everything the True God does. There will soon be a man who makes himself known, who comes to do the will of his father, Satan. And just as Jesus possesses the Spirit of His Father, so will the Antichrist possess a spirit -- although it will be far from the Holy one that is part of our Lord.
If we are going to defeat this spirit, we must come to realize that the Body of Christ is not always cognizant of just how crafty and cunning the Enemy can be! Satan saw, from the beginning of the Christian Church, that God was warning the new Believers to be wary; to test the spirits that entered their meetings and congregations to see if they were of God. Even though it had been just a relatively short time since the witnesses of Jesus's resurrection had begun to give their eyewitness testimonies, there were already spirits influencing men to assert that Jesus was just a man, and not of God. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:2-3, "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of Antichrist, which you've heard is coming, and is now already in the world". Well, folks, that spirit has now had 2000 years to become fully entrenched here on earth, and that includes the institutions of the Church. And he has proven himself a formidable foe when it comes to preparing the Church to be battle-worthy when the Antichrist shows up in person.
Remember that I said that Satan is crafty and cunning? He hasn't been so brazen as to send people into the Church that blatantly deny that the Son of God came in the flesh and was resurrected to eternal life. [That assignment was given to spirits in the secular world]. No, instead Satan has sent spirits of pride and deception into the hearts of many of our church leaders and religious organizations. How does this happen? Again, Satan has accomplished this in a pernicious manner -- it's been gradual and subtle, yet no less harmful. You see, this spirit coaxes the Church to forgive the things God calls sin, without actually ceasing from the sin, allowing the Body of Christ to live comfortably without a guilty conscience.
Take for instance Pastors who have begun preaching that they doubt the existence of hell; or that an eternal hell exists, citing their opinion that what the Bible is really intimating is that this life amounts to separation from God, and is therefore what the Bible intends for us to understand as hell. Another popular teaching is that our God is a loving God, and He would not actually subject someone to eternal torment. But they fail to teach that it is not God who decides to send people to hell -- they choose it by rejecting Jesus. God has made a way for all to receive salvation through faith in Jesus, so there is no excuse. I actually attended a church for 20 years where the Pastor, at the end of his life-long ministry, announced that he no longer believed in hell. What about Revelation 20:14-15, which says, "Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire". The truth of Scripture, whether it makes us uncomfortable or not is that either eternal torment in hell or eternal joy in heaven awaits us all, depending on whether we trust in Christ's payment for our sins on the Cross, or we reject Him and His sacrifice for us.
Then there are those who deny the authority of the Believer and our power in Christ. Jesus clearly says in Luke 10:19, "Now you understand that I have imparted to you My authority to trample over his [Satan's] kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will harm you as you walk in this authority". We are told that only church leaders have authority in the Body of Christ, and we should not venture out from under their covering. These same Pastors will not only deny that spiritual warfare exists, but they will preach it is unnecessary -- leaving their flock unguided and unprotected from the schemes of the Enemy! Jesus taught His Disciples [and modeled for them] how to cast out a demon; how to lay hands on the sick and heal them; how to preach the Good News that it could be "on earth as it is in Heaven". And then He tells us in John 14:12, "I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father".
Jesus taught that we are to be representatives of His Father's Kingdom here on earth. Just as He sought to do His Father's will, so should we. Which is exactly why Satan has worked so diligently to suppress that purpose in the Church. He has sent spirits that whisper "we must keep the people entertained"; "we must protect our finances with the 501(c)3 exemption"; "titles and positions and validation are important in the Church" -- and none of these are requirements established by Jesus. In fact, they go "against Christ" and all that He stood for. And that makes them Antichrist spirits.
I do not write this today to disparage the Church or Church leaders, in general. Instead, I am incredibly encouraged by the number of Pastors, Ministers, and members of the clergy who step out of the box, aren't controlling, and actually disciple their flock to do the work of Jesus. It stirs my spirit to see leaders of faith -- both inside and out of the traditional building -- break old traditions of orthodoxy in order to walk in the footsteps of the Early Church fathers. Those brave men and women were people who "upset the apple cart", so to speak, and embarked on a journey into new territory blazed by Jesus Christ, Himself. The organized religion of today is just as guilty as the Sadducees and Pharisees of "shutting the kingdom of heaven in people's faces". It is just as true today that there are church leaders who "neither enter themselves nor allow those who would enter to go in". That is evidence of an Antichrist spirit.
And now, in this time and age, it is evident that the fruit of all the Antichrist spirits that have been operating in the last two thousand years [to delay the return of our Savior], are readying for a man who will be Satan's representative and counterfeit Savior of the world. So, it is time for the Church and the Body of Believers to rise to their true identity; to throw off any trepidation or doubt that the very Power and Authority of Heaven has been given to us to prepare the way for the return of the Messiah and His heavenly host. No more compromise with the world! No more fear or doubt! Our Enemy is revealing Himself and those who have chosen his side. It is time to pray that they will change their allegiance before it's too late. It is time to pray that all Believers will endure in their faith and be strengthened in their spirits. It is the time for courage, commitment, and stepping into the destiny God has written in our Book of Life. May the True Church be all it was meant to be ... pure from the Antichrist spirit, following Jesus's commandments, and preparing to rule and reign with Him! Get ready! Jesus is about to show us how powerless Satan and his Antichrist really are, and we will soon see Yeshua Ha Mashiach ruling the kingdoms of the world!
1 John 2:18-25 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour... This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son... Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you, too, will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He made to us—eternal life.