Pulpit Today Sermon
Unmasking the Spirit of Antichrist
by Robert D Pace
My topic today is entitled, Unmasking the Spirit of Antichrist. As I seek to expose this spirit, I have some questions to ask: What is the spirit of antichrist? If someone asked you to list its traits could you identify them? Could you provide examples of where this sinister presence resides in the world and what its affects are? Whatever this demonic force is, the Bible wants Christians to know its escalating presence is a chief indicator that we have arrived at the “last hour” (1 John 2:18). With that said, let’s read our text.
1 John 4:3
The Bible shows mankind confronting a two-headed monster at the Endtime. First, there is the actual person the Bible calls the Antichrist, and he will embody everything the world thinks it needs. He will be a political prodigy, a financial wizard, and an international peace-broker. But shortly after his rise to power, his charm will fade and his malice will appear. The Bible says he will morph into a war-mongering monster and ravage the world with destruction. He will turn on Israel, seek to eradicate Christianity, and even command people to worship him. That’s the Antichrist and we will discuss him later.
But for now, I want to discuss the “spirit of Antichrist” that will precede this beast. What we must understand is, according to John, “the spirit of antichrist is already in the world.” Since that’s the case, we need to know how to recognize it, because it’s not going to jump up and introduce itself. That’s not what spirits of darkness do. (Cloaked & veiled)
(Transition) I want to begin by defining what is meant by the phrase “spirit of Antichrist.”
I. Exposing the “Spirit of Antichrist”
(Definition) When you hear the word Antichrist you know the preposition anti means “against Christ.” It opposes and undermines all that Christ represents. But it doesn’t just oppose Christ, the preposition anti also reveals that the “spirit of antichrist” is a usurper. “It seeks to unseat Christ and reign in his place.” So, in the simplest of terms, the “spirit of Antichrist” is a crusade that seeks to undermine and usurp both the Word of God and the Messiah—the Lord Jesus.
Here is what that means: if you see anything—an institution, a philosophy, a business, a form of government or an educational system—has unseated Christ, and is operating without Him, then you can be certain that the evil “spirit of Antichrist” has infected it.
I know that encompasses a huge segment of the world.” But when anything insists on operating without Christ it has bowed to this sinister agenda! This is why Jesus said, “If you are not for me you are against me.” So yes, the “spirit of Antichrist” infests the thick and thin regions of this planet.
(Insight) There is a simple way you can unmask the “spirit of Antichrist” and discern its presence, and it’s by understanding what it cannot do! According to the Bible, it is completely helpless and powerless to do something. And 1 John 4:3 exposes this weakness. The Apostle says, “every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of antichrist.” John says it is impossible for the “spirit of antichrist” to acknowledge the supremacy of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to wait for it to blaspheme and curse the Lord in order to identify its presence. According to John, one of the principal ways the “spirit of Antichrist” casts its spell is by remaining silent and refusing to acknowledge the preeminence of Jesus Christ. It simply remains mute!
It’s obvious that this happens when it removes Christ from Christmas, eliminates the Resurrection from Easter Holidays, and silences the name of Jesus in public prayers. But I want to mention another way this dis-acknowledgement of Jesus occurs in society:
(Application) Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life.” Christ’s statement here is a non-negotiable confession of Christianity. So much so that one cannot be a disciple of Christ without a commitment to that profession. But people and organizations that are subdued by the “spirit of antichrist” cannot acknowledge this! They can’t admit Jesus is supreme and none is his equal.
So to reiterate what I said earlier: whenever a person, an institution, a system, or a philosophy remain silent and won’t affirm Christ’s supremacy, it hosts the “spirit of Antichrist.” I want to illustrate this.
(Illustration) It’s obvious that America and the world are plagued with insoluble problems: crime problems, educational problems, racial problems, and moral problems. But is Congress going to unify, rise up, and announce that Jesus Christ offers the preeminent solution to such Perplexities? No!
1 John 5:19 tells us “that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.” That means, Satan and his minions have a strangle hold on this present world.
2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
These scriptures don’t imply that God has lost control of life and is subject to the craft and cruelty of the devil. Not at all! God is sovereign and in some mysterious way “works all things [good and bad], “to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). It’s a mystery that won’t be unraveled on this side of eternity. Nevertheless, God remains sovereign.
I want to show you how entrenched this sinister force of Antichrist is in the world:
(Example) The world is comprised of 196 nations. 192 belong to an organization known as the United Nations. According to its original Charter in 1945, the UN’s purpose has been to foster international security and world peace. However, when the UN drafted its charter it refused to invoke God’s name and ask his blessing upon its quest for world peace. Remember, the dis-acknowledgement of God and his Son invites the “spirit of antichrist.” Do you realize, with its 192-member nations, there is no governing body that represents more of the world? That means the United Nations is the world’s chief facilitator of the “spirit of antichrist”! And what has the UN given the world since its inception? Despite its original goal to ‘foster international peace and security’ there have been 250 major wars that have caused the death of 23 million people! That’s what the world has experienced from 1948 to 2018.
Jesus said in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing.” That means there is no possibility of success when Christ is excluded.
There are those that suggest that education and culture need a respectful distancing from God and the Bible. They believe in the “separation of Church and State.”’ But folks, the principle of separating the Church from the State is the greatest intrusion of the “spirit of Antichrist” America has ever implemented. The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord”: (Psalm 33:12).
Have the conditions of our public schools improved now that corporate prayer, in the name of Jesus, has been forbidden from the daily agenda? Always remember this: the world is never improved when Christ is removed! . . . I want to propose two scriptures that make great prayers for Believers:
The first is found in Philippians 1:20. Paul says, “According to my earnest expectation and hope, in nothing shall I be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether by life, or by death.”
The second scripture is found in Colossians 3:17 where it says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (If you can’t invoke Christ’s name into your conversation or activity, then something is wrong!)
(Congregational Participation) I want to pause long enough to engage in some congregational participation. It involves confessing the Lordship of Christ. Here’s the statement: “Jesus Christ is Lord, and I invite him into every activity of my life—my conversation; my labors and leisure; and my behavior. I exclude Christ from nothing! I “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Do you know what you did? Your confession just withstood the “spirit of Antichrist”!
(Transition) This leads me to the next warning of the “spirit of Antichrist.” When Jesus is eliminated from any area of life—politics, entertainment, sports, the home, or whatever—the vacuum always draws in something cruel and detrimental. In fact, the “spirit of Antichrist” produces vexation. Painful, remorseful, unmitigated vexation!
II. The Spirit of Antichrist Vexes
In Luke 21:25 Jesus used two words to characterize the Endtime. He said the earth would be marked by “distress and perplexity.” The word distress means, “narrowing of a way.” It’s where life constricts and becomes hard to negotiate. That certainly explains the world today. Everything in life has tightened and things aren’t simple anymore.
(Illustration) I heard the story of a couple struggling to raise their daughter. The parents were frustrated, the teenager was troubled and the family was unnerved and polarized. Hoping for a solution, they scheduled a meeting with their pastor. After a few minutes of counseling the pastor asked the teenager what she wanted, and to everyone’s amazement, she blurted out, “I want to return to the 1950’s and grow up without all the distractions.”
But people are not only distressed Christ’s more ominous warning appears in the word perplexity. Jesus said the Endtime would be marked by “distress and perplexity.” And this word describes “unsolvable problems; circumstances without solutions.” Do you understand the severity of Christ’s prophecy here? When you combine these two words—distress and perplexity—Jesus indicated that the normal way of living would constrict and squeeze men into places without a solution!
This is what the “spirit of Antichrist” does. It removes Christ and presents problems! That’s why the world is struggling with insurmountable difficulty. It’s why life is baffling and frustrating and dangerous. When Christ is removed from the mainstream of life problems always emerge.
Consider some of the ways that life is vexed:
Here in America we are facing a social crisis. Our society is vexed racially, politically, and religiously. The Christian values that once united our nation are now the ones that divide us. So much so, that our former President announced that America was not a Christian nation! You can’t even recite the Pledge of Allegiance and say “One nation under God” without creating offense.
Whether we dare to admit it or not, much of America’s woes can be laid at the feet of political correctness. The sacred cow of political correctness has brought social division, racial tensions, cultural intolerance; and unprecedented political prejudices.
And chief among our vexation is America’s moral crisis. Christians are demanded to accept the world’s standard of sexual preferences, gender issues, and the definition of marriage. But have you noticed that it’s always Christians that must surrender their values, COEXIST, and exercise tolerance!
But the Apostle Paul foretold the vexation of the Last Days even as did Jesus. In 2 Timothy 3:1 he said: “Realize this,” [Stop for a moment. Paul’s first admonition for the reader is to firmly grasp something. He said, “Realize this [Heed this! Give ear! Don’t miss this!], in the last days difficult times will come.”
The English word that Paul used for difficult hardly represents the strength of its Greek equivalent. In order to show you what I mean, Paul chose the same Greek word that Matthew had used to describe the demonized men of Gadara. He said those men were so “difficult [that] . . . no one could pass by that way” (Matthew 8:28). Ordinary people were simply no match for these demonized men. They would maul unsuspecting travelers.
So when Paul said “difficult times would appear” he wanted us to know that “life as usual” would be over! And we’ve begun to witness the early stages of Paul’s prophecy. Terrorism and cruelty have multiplied around the world!
However, the prophecy does not stop with “difficult times.” When you connect Christ’s prophecy of “distress and perplexity” to Paul’s prophecy of “violence/difficulty” you understand the real depravity of the Endtime: It shows that life will constrict and force people to face the maddening powers of darkness! And it will be impossible to avoid the dread.
(Example) All of this reminds me of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. For those whose science is rusty, scientists call the Second Law of Thermodynamics “the greatest law of the universe.” It states that over time, the material world corrodes and nothing evolves into a higher, more stable form; everything worsens. Scientists assert this! In unwitting fashion, they have validated the Bible’s prophetic description of the world’s demise. We are watching civilization rust, unravel, and decay just as the Bible predicted.
This is what the “spirit of antichrist” does. It strikes against the goodness of life and exacerbates things. And the Bible shows the people of the last generation being overwhelmed with unprecedented vexation. It’s all because the world has decided it doesn’t need Christ Jesus. Don’t mention him. Thus,
(Application) There’s a reason the Bible tells Christians this will happen. The Lord warned of this to keep Christians from getting despondent and even “giving up” during a dispensation of overwhelming difficulty. This is the precise context of Christ’s words when he said “the love of many shall wax cold” and “some will depart from the faith” (Matthew 24:10, 12). Jesus knew the intensity of the “last hour” would cause undiscerning people to give up and even forsake the Faith. Daniel knew this too when he said the Antichrist would appear to “wear out the saints” (7:25).
The “spirit of Antichrist” is doing this, Saints of God, and we have to recognize it. This isn’t the time to bury your head in the sand. It’s not time to whistle through the graveyard and imagine you’re elsewhere. We have to discern the days and understand what the Bible says about the times we live in:
Terrorists aren’t going to disarm and pass out peace lilies.
The secular social engineers will not cease from their machinations.
Political correctness won’t surrender its values.
When Christ is excluded from life vexation appears! And that’s what has happened to this generation. It has excluded Christ and invited vexation!
Maybe you’re wondering what the answer to this vexation is. Again, you can make an application from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Lord is letting the world rust, unravel, and collapse to reveal Christ alone solves man’s dilemmas. It’s not rehabilitation that corrects the course of the world; it’s transformation! And that Great Day of Transformation will appear at the “Second Coming of Jesus Christ.” But until the Lord returns to take us out of the world, our responsibility is to pray, persevere, and draw close to Christ so we can press past the vexation of this world.
(Transition) Let’s investigate another aspect of the “spirit of antichrist.”
III. The Spirit of Antichrist Deceives
Before I announce this next warning you should know that Scripture is filled with prophecies that describe the Endtime. It speaks of war, calamity, disasters, disease, famines, pestilence, earthquakes, and great signs in the heavens. But with all the Bible’s Endtime caveats, there is one that prevails above all others. It’s repeated incessantly. It’s the warning of deception!
When the apostles asked Jesus what signs would precede his Return his first warning was, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” And when you read his entire answer you find He warned of deception 12 times (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21).
Then there are the phrases the Apostles used to describe the Last Days. They spoke of “deceiving spirits . . . false teachers . . . false brothers . . . false prophets . . . false Christ’s . . . false knowledge . . . false science . . . doctrines of devils . . . counterfeit miracles . . . sorcery . . . lies . . . [and] powerful delusion.”
Then there is the infamy of the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2, says the Lawless One will emerge with counterfeit miracles, pretense, and powerful delusion (9-11).
And finally, Revelation speaks of deception 13 times!
The Apostles constantly pointed out the coming deception. But they hadn’t convened, compared notes, and deduced from logic. This wasn’t their opinion; this was the Holy Spirit speaking! 1 Timothy 4:1 says, “The Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some will abandon the Faith and follow deceiving spirits and doctrines taught by demons.” The omniscient Holy Spirit revealed that every layer of life would be corrupt. And it is!
There has never been a time when this world has been more deceived. The deception that twisted its way into the Garden has infested the entire planet. And Christians need to know what they’re dealing with. This is why Paul warned Christians against the ‘deception of philosophy’ (Colossians 2:8) and the lure of ‘false science’ (1 Timothy 6:20). Paul knew the world’s propositions were concocted with duplicity and he distrusted its indoctrination.
(Insight) I’m about to paint with a broad brush, but nevertheless, it needs stating: These days are so pretentious that you cannot trust the ruling class, media, scientists, educators, or even meteorologists to speak without ulterior designs. Every form of educating the public is created with bias!
That’s because everybody has a master. It may be God or it may be the devil, but everybody has a master. And everybody seeks to please their master. That’s why the world has an agenda. Secular, world-based systems have been corrupted by evil forces!
If God exposed the scope of deception today we would shutter at the unveiling! We would realize how biased information outlets are. The news that’s reported is often news that has been filtered, edited, and shaped into a story that fits a sinister narrative. But because it’s aired, it must be true.
(Insight) There is a reason that deception takes wings through the airwaves. Ephesians 2:2 says Satan is “the prince of the power of the air.” The very atmosphere is the stronghold of principalities and powers of darkness, and they are eager to transmit pretense through that arena.
(Warning) Please hear me carefully: “The father of lies” has cast his spell over the Ruling Class of this planet. The ideology of world leaders, social engineers, and most media outlets is not their own; it’s from a region far beneath the soil of this planet. I don’t believe the Ruling Class is even cognizant of why it articulates as it does; it is simply teleprompting from the talking points of hell!
The Antichrist’s Rise to Power
(Insight) This is the perfect place to interject something about the Antichrist. The reason this Grand Imposter will arise and control the masses is because people will be incapable of discriminating truth from error. Once people are gripped with “powerful delusion,” they will accept whatever this Man of Deceit suggests and follow him en mass. And the Bible says the Antichrist will be a master of deception. Daniel says he will “cause deceit to prosper” (8:25) and “succeed through intrigue” (11:21).
Notice how the Apostle Paul said the Antichrist would capture the masses. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 says:
The coming of the lawless one [the Antichrist] is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, (10) and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (11) Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (12) in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The ultimate demise of man relates to a rejection of truth. When people reject truth, they invite delusion, bondage, and servitude. The rejection of truth will seal the fate of unbelievers and turn their hearts to the baseless words of the “father of lies.”
What alarms me most about this Endtime delusion doesn’t concern unbelievers. My concern is for “the elect”—the redeemed. Jesus said in Matthew 24:24, “False Christ’s and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
So what’s the answer to all this deception? How can Christians safeguard themselves against it?
It’s being saturated with the Word of God.
It’s maintaining a strong prayer life.
It’s staying full of the Holy Spirit.
And it’s loving and embracing truth at all costs.
(Illustration) In the 1980s the Holy Spirit spoke to me about a widely-known speaker in the Charismatic Movement. He had a popular radio program. As I tuned in one day the Lord said, “Don’t listen to him.” I didn’t understand why the Lord said that, but I obeyed. About two weeks later, I discovered that he stated this: “Jesus and Satan were spirit brothers.”
Folks, we must be careful, because “doctrines of devils” are real! Satan has sown weeds in the kingdom, and they are capable of deceiving “even the elect.” That’s why we must maintain a love for truth.
(Transition) I want to speak candidly about a worldwide deception that has gripped the world. There is a dangerous religious system that stands as a foreboding threat to mankind. And it is Islam.
IV. The Spirit of Antichrist Dominates
A few years ago, it would have been unthinkable that much of the Free World would facilitate this religion, but for some mysterious reason Islam and its hostile nature finds tolerance around the globe.
This is in spite of Islam’s practice of beating women, murdering Jews, and beheading Christians.
World leaders tolerate Islam even though Muhammad, the founder of Islam, taught his followers to advance its principles by the sword. That is, “Convert or die”!
Muslims admit they are prepared to throw the world into chaos so their messiah, the Mahdi, can arise and impose Sharia Law on the world.
Did you know that Muslim Clerics are calling for Israel’s destruction? In 2012, the so-called “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood, publicly denounced Israel’s right to exist and called for its annihilation! There’s nothing secret about this, yet it falls silent upon world leaders.
(Example) The US Government has been infiltrated by Muslim activists—especially the Department of Justice and the American Education system. I recently heard an ex-terrorist tell how Muslim organizations secretly pay University Professors to indoctrinate American students on the virtues of Islam. Its principles are even being taught in our elementary schools!
(Insight) We need to ask a question. Why do world leaders ignore the monstrous nature of Islam, make excuses for it, and even affirm it? Again, that answer pertains to the “spirit of Antichrist.” Islam is a trial run. The Ruling Class is using Islam to pave the way for eradicating Christ, dominating others, and enthroning the Antichrist. That’s why there is almost universal tolerance toward Islam. It is a calculated move by the elite to prepare for world domination.
And make no mistake: The ultimate intention of the “spirit of Antichrist” is total domination! It wants jurisdiction over our speech, behavior, values, and beliefs. The architects of culture are telling people what to think about the institution of marriage, abortion, sexuality, and euthanasia. Even the US government has criminalized certain speech and enforced laws that violate Christian conscience.
Just remember something: As a Christian, you are a citizen of a higher kingdom. And the laws of God’s kingdom supersede any and all laws of the world. That means you don’t have to let the world determine your thinking!
The world didn’t author the Book of Truth, anyway. The Book of Truth has been authored by Prophets who were filled with the Spirit of God and served as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. And that’s where our convictions should reside. Our eternal destiny depends upon our response to “thus says the Lord”!
(Transition) As I bring this message to a close I want to examine how the book of Revelation discloses this hideous spirit.
Two thousand years ago, in Revelation 2:13, Jesus said this to the church in Pergamum, Turkey: “I know where you live—where Satan has his throne.” That throne was not metaphorical; it was real! Pergamum is where the Greeks had carved a giant image of Zeus, chief among their gods, and situated it on the highest point of the city. It included a hollow, bronze bull standing over a pit. This is where Christians were bound, stuffed inside this bull, and roasted to death. For hundreds of years, Pergamum was infamous for the magic arts, idolatry, persecution, and war. This is what Jesus called “Satan’s throne” or the “Seat of Satan.”
(Example) What’s interesting is, in 1864, a German excavator (Carl Humann) travelled to Pergamum and unearthed the Altar of Zeus. He transported it to Berlin, Germany and placed it in a museum (1902). A few years later, a German politician became fascinated with the Altar of Zeus. He was so mesmerized that he ordered the Nazi Party to build a replica for his political speeches in Nuremburg. It was the “Seat of Satan” itself that aroused Adolf Hitler to mastermind a holocaust that incinerated 6 million Jews.
(Example) I hope you can bear this last example of how this Endtime delusion has increased. In 2008, the Democrat National Convention convened in Denver, Colorado—America’s “Mile High City.” The Party leaders built a replica of the Altar of Zeus and used it as a platform where their nominee—Barack Obama—gave his acceptance speech to run for President. Is there any doubt that the “spirit of antichrist is already at work”?