What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the antichrist? Are you wondering he might be active in our world today - or even in your church? In his teaching, The Enemies we Face, Derek Prince gives a clear, biblical exposure of the antichrist. These excerpts below will introduce you to a study that is highly relevant in our world today.
Opposing and replacing Christ
Let me try to explain the meaning of that strange phrase “antichrist.” You need to bear in mind, first of all, that the word “Christ” is from a Greek word christos which exactly corresponds to the Hebrew word Mashiach from which we get Messiah. So when we say “antichrist,” that means anti-Messiah.
The preposition “anti” is a Greek preposition. It has two meanings and both of them apply. First of all, it means “against.” So the first operation is against Messiah.
The second meaning is “in place of.” The ultimate purpose is to put a false Messiah in place of the true Messiah.
Satan’s total operation is in two phases, first of all, by excluding Messiah; and secondly, by replacing Him by a false Messiah. When you begin to recognize that, I think you will see that the spirit of antichrist is extremely active almost throughout the whole professing church.”
Three forms of antichrist
In 1 John 2, beginning in verse 18, the Apostle warns us, saying:
“Little children, it is the last hour: and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”
Notice that the advent and the working of the spirit of antichrist is going to intensify the closer we get to the end of the age.
“They [the antichrists] 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.”
A little later, 1 John 4:2-3 , he says:
“By this you know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist which you have heard was coming and now is already in the world.”
If we look at the two passages together, we see there are three forms of antichrist.
- First of all, there are many antichrists and in the course of human history many, many antichrists have appeared and been manifested.
- Secondly, there is the antichrist, just one specific. That, I believe, is the final manifestation, the final product of the spirit of antichrist which has not yet been, as far as I know, revealed in human history. At the end of this age, Scripture makes it clear, there will be one final, supremely evil, supremely powerful ruler, who will dominate the whole human race for a brief period, who will be the antichrist.
- The third form is the spirit of antichrist. The spirit of antichrist is the spirit that operates through every antichrist.
What marks the spirit of antichrist?
John has given us certain marks of the spirit of antichrist which are very important.
- It starts in association with God’s people. Obviously, that cannot be paganism because paganism hasn’t even heard of Jesus, you understand. It can only take place where Jesus has been proclaimed.
- It denies that Jesus is the Messiah. 1 John 2:22 says: “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the [Messiah]? He is antichrist...”
- It denies the Father/Son relationship within the Godhead. Antichrist does not deny the existence of God. In fact, he claims to be God’s representative. What he does deny is the relationship of the Father and the Son within the Godhead.
- It denies that Messiah has come, but very likely teaches that Messiah will come.
The spirit of the antichrist in the Church
Ruth and I have friends in America who belong to a church which would be called in the old-line evangelical stream. One day, they said: “In our church you can talk about Buddha, you can talk about Socrates, you can talk about Plato, you can talk about Martin Luther King, and no one gets upset. But if you talk about Jesus, everybody gets upset.” What is that? It is the spirit of antichrist. It’s in its first phase of getting rid of the true Messiah. But we all need to bear in mind that that is not the end of Satan’s purpose. His purpose is to replace the true Messiah by a false Messiah.
"Once you have eliminated Jesus, you have opened the way for a synthesis of Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
It is my guess, that the spirit of antichrist will succeed in the professing Christian church in eliminating Jesus. We will ultimately have a Christianity without Jesus. It will be a moral system, a legal system, a system full of all sorts of pageants and religion, but without Jesus. You see, once you have eliminated Jesus, you have opened the way for a synthesis of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I am inclined to think that the antichrist will head up such a religion. Its purpose is to eliminate Jesus. He is the stumbling block. The cross is the stumbling block. I personally think we are far on the way toward that. We have to be very cautious in our attitude and our approach to these things, because I think the spirit of deception is at work.
DEEPEN YOUR FAITH
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