“The spirit of antichrist, lawlessness and perdition are all around us, yet we do not see or understand it because we think we are waiting on a mythical ‘Anti-Christ.’ And this is why things are so bad: because the Church is not doing what Christ told it to do.” J Bakanovic
Many of my Christian readers will probably have a difficult time with this post. Most Christians — and many non-believers, as well — have been taught that Bible prophecy foretells the coming of a single world leader known as the ‘Anti-Christ.’ This is not true! In fact, the opposite is true: Scripture specifically tells us not to look for such a figure. How this myth came to be is not important at the moment, but the result of the Church having embraced this lie is. Because the Church — the body of Christ — has accepted this myth, it has missed the spirit that Scripture does tell us will multiply and grow in strength as time comes to an end.
If you think about it, how could such a single world leader ever rise to power? So long as Christ’s followers remain on earth, they would recognize and oppose him. But he has already come! In fact, many have come, many times — and the majority of the Church has failed to recognize and understand. Even today, as this spirit multiplies and grows in power within our society, our government and the majority of our social institutions — even within the Church — God’s people do not see and understand. Now I ask you: if the Church no longer recognizes the spirit of Anti-Christ, what hope does the rest of this world have? Well, personally, I think it is high time that God’s people go back to His word, read what it actually says and what it means for us today.
First, grab your concordance and look up the word ‘antichrist.’ If you do not have a concordance or a study Bible, you can go to Biblegateway.com and search for the word. You will find it occurs only four times in the entire Bible, and all four times are in the writings of the Apostle, John — whom Jesus loved. Let’s look at all four passages:
1 John 2:18 ~ Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.
1 John 2:22 ~ Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 4:3 ~ and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.
2 John 1:7 ~ For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
Those are the only places where ‘Anti-Christ’ is mentioned in the Bible. If you’ll recall, John is also the author of Revelation, so it stands to reason that he is the best human authority on the subject of end times prophecy. Therefore, it stands equally to reason that we can trust what he has to tell us about the spirit of antichrist, and here we see that John is clearly telling us we should not be looking for one person, but many. In fact, John is telling us that anyone who denies that Christ came from God and was born as a real human, suffered, died, was buried and then rose again — that person is the antichrist. So it is possible for many people to be the antichrist. You see, in part, we miss this crucial distinction because we are reading an ancient text written by men from a near Eastern culture as though it were produced from a Western culture. We also misunderstand because we do not look with spiritual eyes. If we did, we would see John is warning us about a spirit. This is how many people can all be the antichrist: because they are all possessed by or are of this single spirit. So there it is: Scripture does not predict the coming of a single ‘Anti-Christ.’ In fact, it tells us there will be many.
Let’s look at another aspect of this myth about a future ‘Anti-Christ.’ The current understanding of Biblical prophecy tends to link this ‘Anti-Christ’ with other warnings in prophecy, such as the coming of the lawless one and the man of perdition. But there is nothing in Scripture telling us these all refer to one person, let alone the same person. In fact, now that we know John tells us there is no single ‘Anti-Christ,’ we can be reasonably sure that these references to the lawless one and the man of perdition do not refer to one single person. But what does that mean for us today, and how can this help us?
Well, among the many things prophecy tells us this lawless one and man of perdition (i.e. destruction) will do are:
They will be prideful and arrogant
They will seek power and control (especially world domination)
They will deny the Trinity, Jesus and the Cross
They will be blasphemous and mock God
They will claim to be the Messiah (anointed one or savior)
They will work false miracle (i.e. what appear to be but actually are not supernatural works)
They will be deceivers
They will use peace as a weapon (i.e. as a deception)
They will break treaties
They will rule with force and cause much destruction and death
They will or will attempt to change the law(s) and the times
They both honor a god of gold and silver (i.e. wealth, trade)
They will distribute great wealth (i.e. sharing booty/spoils of war or wealth redistribution with followers/supporters)
They will hate the Jews and Israel
Now, just for a moment, assume that this lawless one and/or man of perdition refer to anyone who exhibits these predictions — like antichrist refers to anyone who denies Christ. If this is the proper way to understand these Bible prophecies, then we are looking for many people here, as well. In fact, we are looking for anyone who exhibits a spirit embodying these traits or signs. Can you think of anyone in history that might fit this description?
Hitler was proud, arrogant and proclaimed himself the savior of Germany. He eventually attacked Christianity. He sought world domination. He broke the laws to gain power. He spoke of peace, but broke treaties and brought death and destruction to many. He bought the support of his people with the wealth he stole from the Jews and conquered nations. Before he started WW II, many thought he had worked a miracle in restoring Germany’s economy and prestige in the world. In fact, much of what Bible prophecy says about the coming of the lawless one and the man of perdition was true about Hitler, but also of Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Castro… In fact, it is true about most every tyrant in history. But what about today, here in America? What signs do we have of this spirit in our nation today?
Well, do we have proud and/or arrogant leaders? Do they seek power? Do they attack the Judeo/Christian faith? Do they blaspheme or mock God? Do they claim to be the messiah or ‘savior’ of our nation, portraying themselves as having all the answers? Do they work false miracles, like taking credit for a ‘fix’ that seems miraculous but isn’t, or may not even be a ‘fix’ at all? Or do they pull of events that seemed impossible, like election upsets or passing a bill or winning a Supreme Court ruling at the last moment? Do they deceive people? Do they talk about peace when they really seek to use force? Do they use the military to work their will on others? Do they break the laws? Or treaties? Do they covet money? Do they take from others to give to their supporters? Do they hate or work against Israel? If you find a person, Party of organization in this nation today that does the majority of these things, you have found the lawless one and man of perdition of which Bible prophecy speaks.
Now, there is one more reason to believe this is the correct way to understand Biblical prophecy. Scripture tells us that, in the time of Noah, everyone did what they thought was right. Basically, they did what they wanted to do without regard to the law or any moral notion of right and wrong aside from themselves. They were essentially living in a world of moral relativism and lawlessness. So, when Jesus was asked about what it would be like at the time of His return, do you think this is the picture He meant to paint when he said “As in the time of Noah…?” And do you see how quickly our society is moving toward such a reality? We are quickly approaching the times of Noah, only in a period of history where government and international corporations have the ability to track and control every human on earth.
The spirit of antichrist, lawlessness and perdition are all around us, yet we do not see or understand it because we think we are waiting on a mythical ‘Anti-Christ.’ And this is why things are so bad: because the Church is not doing what Christ told it to do. I do not know how much time this world has left, and — personally — I no longer care. All I know, all that matters to me now, is that we believers — the Body of Christ — must get back to the work of telling people about the Gospel and teaching them about God’s ways. If this world does not return to God’s laws soon, then it will be too late for humanity, and that does not bode well for those who have never had the chance to accept Christ.