Jesus was approached by His disciples about the end of the world: And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you (Matthew 24:3-4).
We need to take heed today that no man deceives us, because the devil’s lies have covered the entire earth. Never before has the global population been more conditioned to easily accept the Antichrist. People are gullible and as we have seen in recent history, will swallow up the devil’s deceit in droves and without question. Great fundamental change has shaken America to its core, and within a few short years, this country is now unrecognizable. The man of sin will have no trouble convincing our nation to bow to him.
But the Bible gave us ample warning that this day was coming. Matthew 24:6-8 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows (verses 6-8). It also warns us how to protect ourselves from being deceived like the rest of the world.
1 John 4:1 tells us we will encounter many spirits in this last hour. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. The world is filled with false prophets, and they are preaching a vast array of false doctrines, but every single one of them has one major thing in common: they are preparing the way for the Antichrist. And it’s more than just theology; anyone who spouts lies is a false prophet. This scripture wasn’t just warning of people who spew unbiblical doctrine, but those who spread any lies. Cult leaders are false prophets, but so are late night comedians who mock Christians. Every church that now allows gay marriage or homosexual clergy to serve in their midst is run by the false prophets. News reporters and media with biased stories that slander anyone daring to stand up for the truth are false prophets, and the Bible warned us to not let them deceive us.
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: (verse 2). Many people are claiming to represent Christ in this last hour, but very few preach His entire message. If they claim to be Christians but deny any of the Word of God, they are liars. One cannot be a Christian and not believe every exact word of the Bible. Too many in the church are trying to compromise with the world; they allow their members, staff, and even preachers to live any way they want.
Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:13: Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Many strange answers were given. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets (verse 14). Some believed that Jesus was a reincarnation of John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah, but few believed He could actually be the Son of God. Today, the world hasn’t changed; people have many bizarre ideas of who Jesus is; some will claim He was a prophet, or a teacher, or a philosopher, or a great pacifist in the same vein as Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. But few will actually confess Him as the Messiah.
Verses 15-16: He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. When Jesus asked this question, it penetrated the day and age, and breaks the fourth wall of the Bible. The words leap off the page and penetrate into our hearts and souls; Jesus wasn’t just asking His disciples, but is asking all of His followers today who He is. Like Peter, we must confess that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
We can test any doctrine in this last hour by seeing if it lines up with the Word of God. 1 John 4:3: 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. Since we have established that confessing Jesus as the Son of God coincides with believing every word of the Bible, we can conclude that if anyone says or does anything remotely contradictory to the Word, they are of the Antichrist and cannot be trusted. We must protect our children, our families, and our churches from them.
But this is increasingly difficult to do in the information age, when the godless media and government institutions are bombarding us 24/7 with their lies.
But the Bible doesn’t just warn us of any single Antichrist; it tells us that there will be many. Several scriptures reference the Antichrist in a plural form. 2 John 1:7 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. Even Jesus warned us For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24). They are the “little antichrists,” the ones who may not actually be him, but are doing everything they can to pave the way for him. After all, even Jesus couldn’t do what He did alone; He needed a John the Baptist to go before Him and disciples to follow Him. The Antichrist has many John the Baptists around the world preparing for his arrival and will have an entire globe of disciples after his rise to power.
But 1 John 2:18-19 gives us our most convicting warning of all, that when examining the spirit of the Antichrist, we should not just look at the world around us, but at ourselves. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. Verse 19 confirms our worst fears that the spirit of the Antichrist isn’t just in the world around us, but is coming from within the churches
If we in the church are not living our lives by the Word of God, then we aren’t just being sinful; we are literally helping the Antichrist rise to power. His spirit aims to tear down the churches and destroy God’s people. We are doing a fantastic job of helping him through gossip and infighting. While the world stands united in defeating us on every issue, we stand divided over nonsense like the color of our carpets or how to efficiently fix our air conditioners.
James 3:6: And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. The tongue doesn’t just have the power to destroy the body; it has the power to destroy the church. We rip apart the body of Christ by tearing each other down and backbiting. Gossip will destroy the church faster than any gay activist or Supreme Court judge. We condemn others for their sin but think the law of God doesn’t apply to us. The devil doesn’t need to destroy us, when we are doing such a great job of destroying ourselves.
1 John 2:19 drives the point home that even Christians have that spirit if all they can do is gossip and tear apart their brothers and sisters in Christ. That kind of negative talk will have no place in Heaven. When we engage in it, the Word says that we are doing as much damage to the kingdom of God as the man who will have all Christians put to death for refusing to take his mark. We are as guilty as him, and will suffer his same fate, being cast into the lake of fire for all eternity. This is cannot be taken lightly; what great damage idle talk will do! Ephesians 4:22: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.