Many believe the Antichrist will be a literal, global leader but the spirit of Antichrist already permeates the world. We need keen discernment to recognize and resist it. Jesus predicted that deception will be so rampant in the last days that even the elect would be deceived “if it were possible” (Mt. 24:24).
Thankfully, those who live by Biblical truth and heed the Holy Spirit will not be deceived. The more we know the true Christ, the less vulnerable we are to the spell of the Antichrist.
The term “Antichrist” is found five times in Scripture, all in John’s letters — 1 Jn. 2:18, 22; 4:3, 2 Jn. 1:7. It means “an opponent of the Messiah, one who stands against or in opposition to all Christ represents.” While the Antichrist will be a literal person, the Antichrist spirit influences religions, governments, education, literature, and entertainment. It is anti-God, anti-Bible, anti-prayer, anti-morality, anti-biblical marriage, and anti-authority. John explained, “This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 Jn 4:3). Learn to recognize these characteristics of the spirit of Antichrist:
1. A demonic hatred against God and His people: John wrote of the Antichrist, “It was granted to him to make war with the saints” (Rev. 13:7). Because Satan hates God and can’t touch Him, he attacks His people instead. The spirit of Antichrist fuels anti-Semitism and persecution against the church. History is soaked with the blood of martyrs who have been killed for their love for and loyalty to God. The same spirit spurs the racial hatred of the KKK, Neo-Nazis, Antifa, ISIS, jihadists, and other radical groups.
2. Efforts to remove and replace God: Paul described the Antichrist as “The son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped” (2 Th. 2:3-4). It’s the spirit behind the efforts to remove “In God We Trust” from our currency, “one nation under God” from our pledge of allegiance, the Ten Commandments from courtrooms, prayer at public events, nativity scenes from public squares, and anything else that honors God in society.
3. Lawlessness and anarchy: Paul called the Antichrist “the lawless one” twice (2 Th. 2:8-9, NKJV). This spirit drives the anarchy we see erupting worldwide in crime, rioting, looting, violence, and rebellion against authority.
4. Mass deception: Paul wrote, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Th. 2:9-10). The masses have swallowed Satan’s lies hook, link, and sinker. Many will believe the damnable lie that the Antichrist is god and/or that they are demigods which will usher in divine judgment (Rev. 20:10-15).
5. Blasphemy against God and sacred things: “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies . . . Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name” (Rev. 13:5-6). Blasphemy is “the act of cursing or reviling God or irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred.” People who constantly use profanity have a blasphemous spirit. This manifests in movies, music, and shows with frequent cussing and taking God’s name in vain.
6. Idolatry/false worship: There is a global war over worship—God commands our worship and Satan covets our worship. If Satan can’t hold people in bondage to a sinful lifestyle, he’ll get them mixed up in false religion. Paul wrote that the Antichrist will sit “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2:4). He will deceive and coerce the masses to worship him and take his mark or face execution (Rev. 13:15-16).
7. An ugly, beastly nature: In Revelation 13:1-8, the Antichrist is portrayed as a hideous, 7-headed, 10-horned beast that rises out of the sea of humanity. The only way a beast survives is by devouring other things. That is the true nature of man’s kingdoms—fierce, bloodthirsty, cruel, corrupt, power hungry, brutal. Man’s kingdoms are built by conquest, war, and bloodshed. Christ’s kingdom is built on love.
The good news is there’s a restraining force that is preventing the Antichrist and evil from taking over. “And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time . . . He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed” (2 Th. 2:6-8). I believe that restraining force is the Holy Spirit in the church. He is using a righteous remnant whose prayers are delaying judgment and resisting evil. Don’t be too worried about the mark of the beast because we’ve already been marked with the blood of Jesus. We don’t have to fear the Antichrist because we know the one, true Christ. John prophesied our victory, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).