“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)
We are in an age where the spirit of the Antichrist is pervading every sphere of human existence whether it is the financial, political, educational, entertainment, religion, and many other spheres including the church. Therefore we need to understand the operations of this evil spirit or evil spirits.
Now, the Bible says it quite plainly and easily that we can know when the spirit of the Antichrist is at work by simple confession (1 John 4:2-3). This is very easy, plain, and straight forward, but my brethren, it is not as easy as we think. For all these modern day translations of scriptures have, with their letters, defiled these verses and rendered it unintelligible, and by so doing, they’ve made it useless. But let us look at what this passage is really saying.
Before we go on to look at what it is saying, let us look at what modern day translations of the Bible have done to this highly important passage of scriptures. We’d just look at two translations and see the effects they have on the truth of the passage and how this has affected the church over the years. You may also agree that this has affected your mindset as it has mine.
First, the New Living Translation. I wonder why it’s not called the Dead Translation. It reads, “This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God. But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God. Such a person has the spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming into the world and indeed is already here.” (1 John 4:2-3). Here we are told that once a prophet acknowledges the truth about Jesus, he has the Spirit of God and is of God.
On the other hand, The Message Bible claims, “Here’s how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ — the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person — comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God. This is the spirit of antichrist that you heard was coming. Well, here it is, sooner than we thought!” (1 John 4:2-3). So here, we are told that it is by mere confession of a person that we can know that the Antichrist is at work.
Well here is the truth of God as expressed in the King James Bible, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:2 – 3). So we see here that it is not a mere confession of the mouth, writings, etc. of any man that the Bible is speaking about here but the voice of a spirit (that is the working of a spirit). There is a whole world of difference. And that is why I say, it is not easy, for hearing the words of a spirit, as it either acknowledges the truth about Christ or not, requires that we consider carefully its workings as it manifests through people, laws, doctrines, lifestyle, fashion, etc.
To confess that Jesus did not come in the flesh is to say that all the scripture is false. It is to negate the entire truth of scriptures. It is to dishonour Christ. For if he didn’t come in the flesh, you need not obey him, love him, follow him, and allow him into your heart. For this reason, we can say the spirit of the Antichrist has two major objectives, which are, to negate the truth of Christ, and to dishonour him. Every working of a spirit to achieve this end can only be of the Antichrist. That is what apostle John spoke of in his epistle, and not that once a person, whether repentant or not, confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, he is of God.
Before I began to write this article, I, being a member of an editorial team assigned with the responsibility of publishing a Christian magazine, I was opposed to the inclusion of one of the articles submitted to be featured in the magazine. The article was about the life of a so called gospel artiste by the name of Lacrea. The photo submitted for the article had this “gospel artiste” wearing all manner of jewellery, having earrings in his ears, and having tattoo on his hands. I was strongly against the article as such a person did not fit what should be called a Christian, not to mention a Christian icon to be featured in a Christian magazine. Another member of the team said he completely approved of it and we had a brief argument about it. I was angry at such blunt denial of truth. In this state of mind, as I read my Bible, I came across 1 John 4:2-3. Having a wrong picture of what this passage was saying down the years, as I had used many of these modern day translations as a young Christian, I read it but didn’t really see the truth as it is. It bothered me much that this passage seemed to defend what was clearly against other Biblical passages, that is if it were merely a confession of the mouth that determined whether or not a person was approved of God. It bothered me much as I read, for Jesus clearly said that many who called him Lord and even cast out devils in his name would still end up in hell (Matthew 7:21-23). We therefore know that there is something more than confession that makes a Christian. Those things I won’t talk of here, but if 1 John 4:2-3 meant that confession was what we should look out for in testing the spirit at work, it contradicted the clear words of Jesus. When I was through with my reading, I went back to the passage to read it again, and that was when I realised for the first time that it is not referring to the confession of somebody but the operation of a spirit. That is the spirit that does not acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh is not of God but is an evil spirit of the Antichrist. It referred not to a person but spirits contrary to what modern translations seem to be saying.
Now it is very important that we test the spirit at work in every teaching, doctrine, system of belief, lifestyle, and every other sphere. Not just because it will do us a lot of good as a church but because it is also commanded by God. For before we read these things, it says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1). So we are to try them. But in seeking to obey this commandment, the other translations give us a very wrong sign to look for in knowing when these spirits are at work.
If it were just the people that this passage spoke about, the Pope surely confesses that Jesus came in the flesh and yet is a devil counterfeit. So whether he lifts himself above church and scriptures, and makes himself equal to or more than Christ, for the mere fact that he claims that Jesus came in the flesh, he is of God. It is also on this ground of mere confession that a lot of worldly musicians have been accepted as gospel musicians, just because they include the name of Jesus in their song lyrics.
Now when a spirit is at work, it can, through the mouth of men, glorify God to achieve the end of dishonouring him. The pope by bearing the image of the cross as a sign of the acknowledgment of the death and resurrection of our dear Lord, dishonour God, shame the faith, war against the children of God, and wrestle with the truth of God. So the spirit of the Antichrist at work in the Pope though leads the Pope to honour Jesus verbally, to achieve the end of dishonouring him, his father, the scriptures, the Christian brotherhood, and all.
The Bible clearly says in Romans 16:17-19 “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” There are many injunctions here which the modern day Christians ignore at large, however key to note here is the fact that we are clearly told here that people can, by “good words and fair speeches,” do that which is evil. So be warned, the Antichrist also makes use of fair GOOD words. “Shout hallelujah,” “Jesus is Lord,” “God reigns forever,” etc. Very good words, but even with these can much evil be done.
Many gospel musicians would honour Jesus in lyrics, but the spirit of the Antichrist only uses these means to dishonour him in deed. They will live lives that are contrary to scriptures and have an appearance that is satanic with tattoos and all. The women, will scream Jesus, yet put on dresses that reveal the shape of their bodies, make up, put on jewelries, and even worship God with uncovered hair. So they worship and honour Jesus, but the spirit of the Antichrist in them only uses these means to dishonour him. For seeing such people are popular and aired everywhere, they dishonour Christ publicly to the whole world.
Women would mount pulpit and claim to be preaching to the honour of Jesus, but in the mere standing on the pulpit to speak, they have disobeyed the clear commandment of scriptures that a woman ought not to speak in the gathering of saints. They ought not to even ask questions. But they’d stand and teach and the world would see these appalling sight and wonder if the people of Christ have any brain at all. Little do they know that it is not the Spirit of Christ at work but the very Antichrist seeking to shame the gathering of saints (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:11-12). It is a shame for women to speak in our gatherings, but because the Antichrist at work in these people have the ultimate goal of dishonouring God, these people don’t care.
Christ has told those he commissioned to go about his work to do it free of charge, saying, “freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8). But Pastors, Bishops, and other church leaders have made the service of God just another career, profit making venture, franchise, and the very battle ground of greed. Yes, in almost all their sermons, Jesus is honoured, but their essence and the manner with which they go about the so called service to God have dishonoured Christ and disgraced the Christian brotherhood.
The Bible translations we have also write many good things about Jesus, but ultimately dishonour him, confuse the children of God as they seek after God to walk in his ways, create an occasion for blasphemy among the unbelievers, and have been a silent source of division in the church. So though they acknowledge that he came in the flesh, thus honouring him and his truth, but they greatly dishonour him, wrestle against his will, wreck havoc on the assembly of the brethren, and much more. So where is the honour. These are the workings of the spirit of the Antichrist.
It is a welcome development to see that after every Christian broadcast we hear “Jesus is Lord,” but, my brethren, let that not cause you to conclude that the Antichrist is not at work. We must still test the spirit at work. Even Nollywood that broadcast things that are inimical to living a consistent Christian life would have at the end of all their movies, “To God Be The Glory.” It doesn’t mean that God is glorified. In fact, one of their actresses who allegedly became a born again Christian opted out of it. So we must be wary of the spirits at work and we must resist the devil in every sphere we may find him and he has no choice but to flee.
As we didn’t understand 1 John4:2-3 to mean the spirit of the Antichrist but thought it refers to people, all these devils have settled down in our gathering making a public mockery of Christ and the Christian church, and we have welcomed them totally. We must change our perspective now and begin to see the workings of the Antichrist and begin to resist them in all spheres we may encounter them. “Resist the devil,” says the Lord.
It is too bad that we as Christians have allowed ourselves to be sheepish in our approach to things. I’ve seen many people say things like we should leave these things unchecked and hand them over to God that God will judge them. But I assure you that God will judge you who keep silent as equally as they who do wrong and dishonour Christ for you partake in this act of dishonouring Christ if you don’t defend him before the onlooking world.
The Heavenly call to live a godly Christian life is not a call to simplicity. Throughout the Bible, the nature of a simple person is spoken against and is likened to the life of a fool. How people who follow the only wise God choose a foolish path baffles me. Hear what the Bible says, “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” (Romans 16:19). Our simplicity should only be towards that which is evil. That’s to say, we shouldn’t be crafty in evil. In fact we should be so simple in that regards as not to know how to do them. We shouldn’t merely lie, but we shouldn’t know how to lie. But we are to be wise in discerning these evils that have risen in our ranks. We are to question everything and be so inquisitive about everything. Even things we perceive to be direct revelation from God until we find the Bible in complete agreement with it. My brethren, we ought to be wise.
It is also appalling that we have allowed ourselves to be gullible contrary to the injunction of scriptures. In fact, we have attached spirituality to gullibility. We accept everything that comes to us from the pulpit untested thinking that by this we honour God without “doubting.” My brethren, that is foolishness. Test the spirit is what we are told. Jesus says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). So we must hold everything in complete suspicion no matter what we think of the person speaking and only accept it when we are sure it is in full agreement with scriptures. Everything must be suspected before acceptance. And acceptance must be based on scriptures.
So when the Bible says we should test every spirit, it is not as easy as paying close attention so as to know whether or not a person called the name of Jesus or praised him, but you have to consider the ultimate thing achieved. Does it honour God or dishonour him. It does not matter the intentions of the person in question, whether it be good or evil. The antichrist can still work through good motives to dishonour God.
So let us test every spirit. The spirit of the Antichrist is even in much of our modern day churches, much of our books and productions, much of the lifestyle we’ve accepted, and in ALL your modern day Bible translations. They seem to honour God, but ultimately dishonour him. Let us throw these things out of our homes and lives. I pray that we will not heed this sheepish method of judgment any more where we think that it is just a matter of whether a person say Jesus is come in the flesh or not. Let us be wise enough to start considering the workings of a spirit and not the mere confessions of a man’s lips. Amen.
God bless you for making out time to read.
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