Four Lies Of An Antichrist Spirit
- I have a special guest post this week. I'm happy to share the following article from Jonathan Brenneman, missionary to Brazil. I have got to know Jonathan over the last few years and have been impressed with his understanding of healing and the deeper works of God. I hope that you take the time to read this insightful post. —J.D. King *
As much speculation as we hear about “the antichrist,” none of the prophetic books of the Bible contain this term. It is found only in the First and Second epistles of John. And unlike the stories we hear about a single “antichrist” ruler taking over the world, scripture says that there are many antichrists and we have already overcome them. Antichrist fiction easily distracts Christians from understanding valuable truths that the Bible does teach about the antichrist spirit.
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:1-4 NIV).
The name “Christ” means “Anointed One,” and so the antichrist spirit is anti-anointing. I’ve learned that the basis for walking in the anointing is found in the truth that Jesus came in the flesh.
Walking in the anointing should be the normal for every Christian. Jesus said that those who believed in him would do the same works as he did, and even greater works (John 14:12). The antichrist spirit opposes the anointing by denying that Jesus came in the flesh. Even if we mentally acknowledge that Jesus came in the flesh, this spirit tries to deceive us into thinking as if he never did. It is fine with us mentally acknowledging the gospel truth of the incarnation as long as we deny what this truth implies. We find the influence of an antichrist spirit where the church is not doing the works of Jesus.
Can a Christian be influenced by an antichrist spirit? Yes! Not long after Jesus acknowledged Peter’s revelation that he was the Christ, he rebuked him, saying “Get behind me Satan!” Peter’s story shows us that is possible to have a revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit, yet be deceived and speak or think in agreement with an ungodly spirit. Here are some of the primary marks of an antichrist spirit’s teaching, in contrast with the truth that Jesus has come in the flesh:
1. An Antichrist Spirit Promotes A False Dichotomy Between Body and Spirit
Many people believe that John wrote his epistles in response to the Gnostics. The Gnostics were a first century cult that believed the physical world was evil but the spirit was holy and pure. Thus they denied Jesus came in the flesh because they did not believe a holy God could possibly come in an evil human body.
Gnostic thought resulted in two particular views towards sexuality. One was that the body and spirit are separate, so you can have as many sexual orgies as you want and it doesn’t affect your spirit. The other was the idea that since the body is evil, sex itself, even within marriage, is always evil.
Both of these views resulted in sexual immorality. The latter heavily influenced some of the early church fathers, leading even to forbidding marriage, which scripture calls a “doctrine of demons.” The sexual immorality which is the fruit of gnostic doctrines can be linked to every major problem in our societies today.
Here’s the thing: any view of salvation that spiritualizes it as only applicable to the spirit but not the body, embraces the same false body-spirit separation which lead the Gnostics to deny that Christ came in the flesh. It is the same lie that is at the root of sexual immorality and all the major problems of today’s societies. It is a gospel that holds to a form of godliness, but denies the power thereof.
Modern science shows us that the state of our physical body and soul are closely connected through the endocrine system, nervous system, and epigenetics. It is impossible to have a gospel that reveals God’s love, providing freedom from guilt and mental torment, without having a profound affect on the body. Jesus demonstrated his authority to forgive sins with physical healing. And scripture says just as clearly that Jesus carried our pains and sicknesses as it says that he carried our sins.
2. An Antichrist Spirit Distorts People’s Image Of God By Teaching That He Controls Everything
God created man in his image and gave authority on earth to mankind. Scripture teaches that God is an invisible Spirit, but his intention was to be seen through man.
“But someone has said: ‘What is man that you are mindful of him, or the son of man that you take care of him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honour, and set him over the works of your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet’. Notice that the writer puts “all things” under the sovereignty of man: he left nothing outside his control” (Hebrews 2:4-8 PHILLIPS)
If God gave control over everything on earth to man, then God is not controlling everything. Plenty of things that happen on this earth are not a reflection of God’s will or nature, but of man’s sin.
Because all men sinned, mankind reflected a distorted image of God. Since God’s purpose was to reveal his invisible nature through man, we could never see God as He is except through a sinless man. God’s purpose was for his kingdom to reign on earth as sinless man, in perfect communion with him, exercised dominion. So, since all men had sinned, Jesus came as a sinless man.
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Colossians 1:15 NIV).
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18 NIV).
The Gnostics (and the Stoics) taught determinism, or the idea that “everything happens for a reason.” They also taught that there were two gods—a good god and an evil god. If we think that God is controlling everything, thus denying the authority he gave to man, we will see God through everything we experience instead of through Jesus. This gives us a distorted image of God like the Gnostics had, as if he were bi-polar, or both good and evil.
But God is pure good and pure light, and he is invisible unless you look at Jesus. The antichrist spirit wants us to see a distorted image of God by looking at him through fallen man, instead of seeing the perfect image of God as reflected in the sinless man, Jesus Christ.
3. An Antichrist Spirit Says That God’s Will Is A Mystery
Jesus told his disciples “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father” (John 15:15 NRSV).
We just saw that one of the truths of the incarnation is that we can see God exactly as he is, because Jesus came in the flesh. Related to this is the truth that Jesus fully revealed the Father’s will when he came in the flesh.
“For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ” (Ephesians 1:9 RSV).
God’s will is no longer a mystery! But since the antichrist spirit denies that Jesus came in the flesh, it says God’s will is a mystery. This is related to the lie that God controls everything. If God were controlling everything, we could only be really certain of God’s will after circumstances revealed it.
For example, if you think God is controlling everything and you come across a suffering person, you will assume that God is allowing their suffering for a purpose. But if you receive the revelation of God’s will which God has set forth in Christ, you will remember that Jesus healed every single person who came to him.
Unless you are absolutely sure of God’s will, standing firm in faith is impossible. Unless you are sure of God’s character because you are beholding his perfect image as revealed in Christ, faith is also impossible. So the antichrist spirit works against the anointing by persuading the church to think as if Jesus never came in the flesh.
4. An Antichrist Spirit Denies That Jesus Lives In You
Scripture extends the truth that Jesus came in the flesh by teaching that we, both individually and corporately, are the body of Christ. In other words, if you are in Jesus you are not just a mere human! The spirit of God dwells in your human body!
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:15 NIV).
The antichrist spirit would like to convince you that if you have any hope of glory, it’s God somewhere up in the sky far away who might do something if he wants to. The incarnation reveals that God does want to act on our behalf, and he is not far away but with us. Jesus’ name “Immanuel” means “God is with us.”
God has revealed his will to you, and he wants to accomplish it through you!
We have found that unless Christians step out and act in faith, with confidence in God’s will, few miracles will happen. Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to ask the Father to heal the sick. He taught them to heal the sick.
Sometimes I don’t feel like Jesus lives in me. But I learn to take it as a fact. I remind myself “Jesus lives in me, so I have what this person in front of me needs.”
I remember coming across a lady in an electric chair in Walmart. I didn’t feel a great expectation emotionally, but I was practicing acting according to the truth that Jesus’ spirit dwells in me. I told her and her husband that I would never approach them unless I was dead serious, and that Jesus wanted to heal her.
She let me minister to her and rebuke the pain. It all left and she felt tingles flowing through her whole body. 15 minutes later I passed them again and she said she still felt power flowing through her body.
Say yes to Jesus! I call this acting according to the fact that Jesus came in the flesh. Another time I and my sister laid hands on a man who was suffering multiple problems, including severe chronic pain. After rebuking the pain with hearts full of fire, he felt little improvement.
My heart was about to drop with disappointment. It felt like we got his hopes up and not much happened. But then the Holy Spirit made a connection with truth in my heart.
I realized that this voice of disappointment in my heart was denying that Jesus lives in me and I can do what Jesus did, so it was an antichrist spirit! When I saw that something internal happened. I didn’t say anything out loud, but my heart roared “Shut up, you lying antichrist spirit! You’re telling me that Jesus doesn’t live in me and I can’t do what Jesus did! You’re denying that Jesus came in the flesh! But you’re a liar, and this man will be healed, and Jesus will be glorified!”
So I left with my heart firm, refusing to be disappointed, rejoicing in the Lord even though we had not seen any natural difference. By the end of the day, years of constant, excruciating pain was gone. Within four days, the bedsores that covered his body had closed!
Understanding the incarnation and acting according to its truth brings a great manifestation of the anointing, which is simply the Spirit of Christ in you, enabling you to do the works of Jesus! Don’t fall for the lies of an antichrist spirit!
—Jonathan Brenneman lives near Rio de Janeiro with his wife and daughter, healing the sick and sharing the gospel. He has authored a number of books. Find out more at gotoheavennow.com