Back in the 1940s, people believed Adolf Hitler was the Antichrist because he murdered more than 6 million Jews. A couple of decades later, Americans spread the rumor that Communist leader Leonid Brezhnev was the true Antichrist. Then in 1976, the popular movie The Omen fueled the idea that the Antichrist might emerge from the United States.
Today the Antichrist mantle has been awarded to a wide range of politicians, entrepreneurs and celebrities. Conspiracy theorists have labeled Bill Gates, George Soros and even Dr. Anthony Fauci the Antichrist since the COVID-19 pandemic began. And almost every American president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has been accused of being the devilish "beast" described in the book of Revelation—including Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
I've never believed the Antichrist is just one man. That's partly because I know from history that Christians have suffered under evil dictators since the first century. In fact, early Christians believed the Roman emperor Nero was the Antichrist.
It's no surprise that Nero still wins in the "beast" category. He had his own mother killed; he beheaded his first wife and murdered his stepbrother. He kicked his second wife to death while she was pregnant, and then he married a boy. And in his infamous efforts to wipe out all Christianity, he covered Christians in wax and lit them on fire to provide torches during his parties.
But one verse in the Bible gives us a clue that the Antichrist shouldn't be viewed as one individual. The apostle John wrote: "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18, NASB).
This verse indicates there is a spirit of antichrist that has been working in the world from the beginning, manifesting in various eras. And throughout the book of Revelation we see that this Antichrist figure works in tandem with the devil and the false prophet to wage war on God and His people. The Antichrist is part of a demonic trinity—a counterfeit of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The spirit of antichrist works inside certain people to carry out Satan's mission.
I don't know about you, but I've never been more aware of this spirit operating in our nation than I have today. The devil is working overtime because he's furious that his days are numbered. He is mustering all his forces because he knows heaven is about to unleash the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in all of history.
We shouldn't focus our attention on the devil, but the Bible says clearly that we should not be ignorant of his crafty schemes (see 2 Cor. 2:11). The fingerprints of the Antichrist are everywhere around us today, and if you aren't aware of his strategies, you could come under his influence. Here are six ways to identify the antichrist spirit:
- The antichrist spirit hates God. The devil wants the attention that only God deserves. He hates all righteousness and goodness. He wants evil to triumph. This is why people who hate God celebrate sin. And this is why we see in our own educational system a systematic attempt to replace Christian values with atheism.
- The antichrist spirit hates life. The devil doesn't have the power to create because he himself was created. Jesus called Satan a "thief," and He said his goal is "to steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10b). No wonder the devil loves it when people abuse alcohol and drugs; he fuels hatred in people so they will kill others. The devil is the author of racism. And isn't it obvious that only Satan would convince people that killing an unborn child, even up until the moment of birth, is acceptable?
- The antichrist spirit hates the family. Not long ago, secular psychologists would have all agreed that children thrive when they have a mother and a father. You can't suggest that these days without being scorned or even "canceled" by social media censors. Our universities have become breeding grounds for hostility to anything traditional, including the simple scientific fact that there are only two genders. The antichrist spirit twists and perverts what is normal.
- The antichrist spirit hates authority. In Romans 1:30 the apostle Paul refers to hardened sinners as "insolent"—which means, "showing a rude or arrogant lack of respect." In Paul's description of the deeds of the flesh, he also mentions "revilers" (1 Cor. 6:10). A reviler is "one who uses abusive or contemptuous speech." I've heard people use crude language all my life, but never to such an extent as we hear today. When you see hordes of people marching through our streets vandalizing property, spray-painting crude words on walls and screaming curse words, you can be sure the antichrist spirit is near.
- The antichrist spirit hates the prophetic word of God. When Elijah called down fire from heaven, and God proved He was real to the whole nation of Israel, Jezebel got very angry. She was hell-bent on killing the prophet before he could preach again. This is why we must pray for all ministers in this challenging hour. We need the courage to speak, especially when God asks us to step on toes and break the rules of political correctness.
- The antichrist spirit hates the church. Americans have enjoyed more than two centuries of religious freedom. But I have friends overseas who live in fear, either because their own government is closing churches or terrorists are killing Christians. Just this week I heard from a man in Nigeria whose wife and two children were killed by Muslim militants. I pray we never see such violence in the United States, but the spirit that is slaughtering Christians in Africa is already lurking in our midst.
I'm not saying these things to scare anybody. I'm not afraid. I've read the book of Revelation, and I know how it ends. The beast and the false prophet will be thrown "into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone" (Rev. 19:20c), and the devil will follow them—"and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Rev. 20:10b).
Jesus will rule forever as King of all kings. But until that time, we have some praying and preaching to do. We can't sit back and let the spirit of antichrist gain ground. Let's get serious about pushing back the darkness.
J. Lee Grady was editor of Charisma for 11 years before he launched into full-time ministry in 2010. Today he directs The Mordecai Project, a Christian charitable organization that is taking the healing of Jesus to women and girls who suffer abuse and cultural oppression. Author of several books including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, he has just released his newest book, Set My Heart on Fire, from Charisma House. You can follow him on Twitter at @LeeGrady or go to his website, themordecaiproject.org.
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