1 John 4:2-3 (NKJV) By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the 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.(emphasis mine)
First, let me begin by stating this is not a message on "who" the Antichrist is, or might be? That, is for others with much more spiritual savvy than I possess to elaborate on. This short admonition, is really a simple reminder to anyone who is familiar with the scriptures, of what "spirit" or manner of operation Lucifer uses to carry out his diabolical schemes within and without the church of Jesus Christ in the earth. Yes, you heard me correctly, I did say "within" and without the church. Sadly, much of what Satan does to oppose God and the kingdom of His son, Jesus Christ - goes on right within the confines of the very church that Jesus Christ has established... 2 Co.11:14-15
THE GENERAL BLUEPRINT OF THE DEVIL
Gen.3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”
Jn.10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Before we examine the "acid test" that the apostle John gives us as a way(though not the only way), of knowing whether a spirit/person is or isn't of God, let us first acknowledge that before Jesus Christ came in the flesh, Satan had already been opposing God on all fronts, both in heaven and earth; and was aware that "Christ", or the "Anointed One/The Messiah" was to come...
Rev.12:7-9 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Isa.14:12
The exact specifics of how, when, Christ would appear were not clear to Lucifer(though he was aware of the prophecies Jesus would be borne in Bethlehem of Judea - Micah 5:2). One thing is certain - Lucifer wanted to kill Jesus even before He was conceived in Mary's womb. We can thank God that Jesus was able to "finish the works" He was sent to accomplish, and one by one Christ fulfilled every single Old Testament prophecy necessary to secure our deliverance from sin, and our eternal redemption through His shed blood. (though there are still prophecies Christ has yet to fulfill, none are remaining that would prevent anyone from being saved from their sins)
2 Pet.1:3 , Jn.19:30
What was clear however, was that at the predetermined time - God's beloved son, Jesus was born (Gal.4:4) , and this son, Jesus - was coming to save His people, and establish a kingdom without end. (Isa.9:7) From the time of Adam's fall in the garden, up to the time of Jesus birth - Lucifer has been trying to thwart God's plan of redemption for mankind, and even now he is on a ruthless campaign of terror to oppose and stop God's plan for mankind from being fulfilled. I honestly believe, the Devil thinks he can eventually win if he just doesn't give up... Pride will do that.
Rev.12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
STOPPING SCRIPTURES FROM BEING "FULFILLED"
Lk.24:44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (my emphasis)
Mt.1:22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
see also - Mt.4:14, Lk.21:22, Jn.19:36
The principle of Jesus coming so "scripture would be fulfilled" could not be lost on Satan, so it's easy to see Satan's game is to keep scripture from being fulfilled. Thankfully, we know that is not going to happen; but that isn't stopping the devil from trying. He knows if only one prophetic scripture is kept from being fulfilled - the entire "house of cards" figuratively speaking will come crashing to the ground. Because the word of God is true, and cannot be nullified, we know all of the scriptures in the Bible will in fact be fulfilled. Mt.1:22, Mk.14:49, Lk.21:22
It is not presumptuous to think that once a prophecy has been "fulfilled", or successfully accomplished - the Devil would begin to devise his malicious schemes towards stopping any future prophecies from being fulfilled. In a more general sense, Jesus tells us that Satan's three areas of malevolent and evil works are: stealing, killing, and destroying. As we can see from the atrocities and crimes against humanity that fill history's pages, the Devil has not been wasting a moment in his never ending onslaught against God and His creation. Oh - and did I almost forget to mention he is also called the "Father of lies." Jn.8:44
That Satan was trying to kill Christ all during his life here on earth is evident in the scriptures, and we can be sure that while he didn't know all of the plans of God for His son Jesus; he did know that Christ's main objective was to fulfill prophetic scriptures. Which we now know - Christ did, one by one until He uttered the three words that Satan can still hear echoing over and over in his wretched mind: IT IS FINISHED! Jn.19:30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (my emphasis)
So we can conclude Lucifer's main objective is preventing scriptures from being fulfilled, especially those pertaining to Jesus Christ mission to be the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world; the plan of salvation that the Godhead had planned before the earth was even formed. Eph.1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love , (*note - accordingtothescriptures.org estimates that 356 prophecies have already been fulfilled in Jesus Christ)
Much of the death, and destruction through the centuries has been what may best described as "collateral damage," such as when Herod slaughtered all the babies in and around Bethlehem in his attempt to kill the Christ child. Mt.2:16 That the "Seed" who is Jesus Christ could not be prevented from finishing His works and divine mission; has not deterred Satan from continuing his furious attacks on the "Seed of Abraham" which is now the Body of Christ. Gal.3:29 (NIV) If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
So from the time of Jesus ascension into heaven, until the time of His reappearing; Satan's wrath and hatred of God - of Jesus - have been directed at all who are members of the Body of Christ. If you are a Christian, and follow the commandments of Jesus, you are on his "hit list." Seriously, the Devil hates all human beings created in God's image, that's part of his corrupted DNA; but his hatred and loathing of all who love Jesus and live to please God - is immeasurable. We cannot begin to comprehend the degree of hatred the Devil has towards all who call themselves Christians. Satan hates the "Christ who lives in us." Gal.2:20, Rom.8:10
So we can see from the scriptures that the "spirit of Antichrist" is specifically directed at the "Seed" - who is Jesus Christ the Messiah; but now that Christ has left the earth physically - the "Seed" are all who are "in Christ." That is to say, the schemes and devices of Satan are directed now at all who are part of the Body of Christ - or the Church of God in the earth. Since Christians are "the body of Jesus" here on earth, it is no surprise to find that Christians are persecuted, martyred, and maligned in every possible manner by the "spirit of Antichrist" that now works through much of the world today.
This hostile opposition to God, the Bible, Christians, and all that is holy and godly; can be seen in all areas of human endeavor - education, government, all media - whether print or digitally disseminated, the arts and music in particular, and in literature of all kinds, sports, and in every facet of modern culture. The unfortunate truth is that love of God, the scriptures, and everything once considered sacred is crumbling under the relentless attacks by the powers of darkness and the "god" of this age. 2 Co.4:4, 2 Co.11:3
As much as Satan hates Jesus and Christians, there is one thing that the all the hosts of Satan's kingdom have a laser like focus on - something that poses the greatest threat to the kingdom of darkness, and is the key to understanding how to discern what is and what isn't "the spirit of Antichrist."
SATAN'S MAIN TARGET ...
2 Co.4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (my emphasis)
If we were to list all the things Satan is opposed to or against - we would have a lengthy list indeed. Prayer, praise and worship, Bible study, the preaching and ministry of the word of God, Christian fellowship, Gospel music,witnessing, regular church attendance, and these are just some of the things that Satan and the demons of darkness hate. But, at the heart - at the very center of what poses the greatest threat to the kingdom of darkness is the very thing that he will do anything to stop, and I mean anything.
ANYTHING TO STOP THE GOSPEL !
1 Co.15:1-4 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. ... (my emphasis)
Rom.1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (my emphasis)
The Devil can tolerate many things here on earth that he does in fact hate, but out of the myriad of things he is opposed to - nothing is more disturbing and threatening to Satan, then the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel is the very thing - the centerpiece of God's plan to save mankind. For it is the story of Jesus dying on the cross, the shedding of His blood for the remission of our sins; and the message of Christ's burial and resurrection from the grave! All in fulfillment of the prophetic scriptures that Jesus fulfilled one by one!
THE "ACID TEST"
1 John 4:2-3 (NKJV) By this you know the Spirit of God: 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. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (my emphasis)
At first glance, this sounds like John is simply saying: Ask someone if Jesus has come in the flesh, and if they say "no" - You'll know that they are not of God, that they are of the "spirit of Antichrist". I know today, many Christians use this as a way of testing to see if a person is "demon possessed" or not. That is not a reliable test, I know because I've used it when casting out demons myself, and this is what I've discovered: DEMONS CAN LIE TO YOU! Yes, they can say Jesus has come in the flesh to your face.
They(the evil spirits we were attempting to cast out) did that to me, and I learned that just stating "Jesus has come in the flesh" is not what John had in mind as the "Acid Test" for determining if a person/spirit is or isn't of Christ. John had more in mind than just having someone quote or say a few words. Demons will lie to you, they will quote scriptures to you all day long, hey- they reminded me that they knew Jesus long before I did, and know the bible better than most Christians will ever know it... One thing I learned in trying to "test whether a person/spirit" is or isn't of Christ - is this:
Don't enter into a conversation, or dialogue with the devil, demons or those under his influence unless you are "being led of the Holy Spirit". The less you say to someone "possessed" or severely oppressed of the devil, the better. You may find to your surprise, that the devil can quote scriptures back to you, and very well I might add(though he is prone to twist them out of context)
The "test" John alludes to in 1 JN. 4:3 is a summation or decree that in essence states this: Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah - the Son of God - the One who came to fulfill the prophecies concerning his life, death, and resurrection - is "antichrist." In essence - this was another way of saying anyone who was against the Gospel being preached by the Apostles was "not of God." Strong words certainly, but when we consider that denying who Christ is, and what He did - is really to reject the truth. I can assure you Christians at that time knew exactly what John was saying, and there could be no room for compromise when it came to preserving the facts concerning who Christ is, and what He had accomplished. 2 Jn.1:9
To reject Jesus as the Messiah meant a person would "die in their sins", and that would prevent them from going to heaven - being present with God after this life. Jn.8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Gal.1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Paul the apostle speaking...)
WHAT IF NO ONE SHARED THE GOSPEL?
That Jesus Christ would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world, and be raised from the dead - only to have that message never told would certainly be the greatest of all failures and tragedies of all time. The Devil knows that keeping that message from people is his number one priority - and if that fails, his next ploy is to try to twist the Gospel message into something perverted or legalistic, or worse yet - void of any mention of the cross or resurrection at all. Yes indeed - we can be certain that since the time of Jesus ascension into heaven - Lucifer has been furiously working to stop the Gospel message from being preached or shared in the earth. 2 Co.4:4, 11:14
The problem lies in the fact that while Lucifer is defeated - that's an absolute indisputable truth of scripture;(Col..1:13,2:15) he knows that many people are ignorant of what really happened when Jesus died on that cross, when He rose triumphant from the grave. That dear friends, is why the Good News - or the account of what happened over 2000 years ago must be told, not once - but over and over again. This is why Jesus told us that before He would return the gospel would have to be published to the ends of the earth: Mk.13:10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. (Jesus speaking...)
Someone - somewhere shared the gospel message with you - or with me, or someone else; and they were then faced with the choice of believing or disbelieving, agreeing with or disagreeing with the message of the cross and resurrection. So simple - yes; but in the end profound in that what a person does with the Gospel will determine their eternal destiny. Now that's mind boggling to say the least. 2 Thess. 1:7-8 "and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ"
In summary, we can state that while Jesus' life, atoning death, and resurrection are for Christians - historical facts that we believe and trust as the basis for our individual faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and as the Son of God... The reality is that unless those facts about Christ's life, death, burial, and resurrections are shared with people they will die in their sins. When Jesus told his disciples to take the Gospel into all the world - it wasn't just a suggestion or good advice; it was a command! Don't be quiet or shy about sharing the Gospel, ask God to help you and He will.
to be continued... ( Pt.2 will be about "the spirit of Antichrist" in the church)
In Jesus name,
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