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I was once really blessed by a huge revelation about “many antichrists.” Most of us in the Western world have a cultural view of “The anti-Christ” as one person, as this huge bad guy who rises to power in a Hollywood blockbuster disaster flick about the end of the world.

I’m not sure how well that is really reflected in the Bible. I’m going to bow out of any eschatological debates and just point out that there is one place in the Bible were we really do hear about antichrists and that is in the Book of John. The disciple of love, if you will, the one Jesus loves. Adopt John’s attitude y’all, be the disciple Jesus loves.

Anyway, it is in the Book of John (1 John 2:18 actually) where we learn about how there are, “many antichrists” and how, “the spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist….” Anti doesn’t just mean “opposed to” or the “opposite of,” it also means “in place of.” A really bad substitute for the real thing. Antichrist is a spirit of deception. You think you got a treasure, but you’ve been sold a lemon.

God as harsh, judgmental, or unjust is an antichrist. All paths lead to the Father is an antichrist. Atheists singing, John Lennon’s Imagine is, an antichrist. When you pray as a little kid and “feel” as if God has abandoned you, that’s an antichrist. Bad pastors, abusive parents, hypocritical Christians, and false teachers, all antichrists.

Up until I understood this truth, I was often too busy looking over my shoulder for the special sound effects and lighting that signal the evil one is now rising to power. There has to be background music, right? That’s how you know what’s going on! Maybe that is why so many of us are clueless, there’s no good background music playing in our lives? Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, it’s the little things that matter. The tiny foxes that nip at the grapes. There are so many darn little antichrists plaguing our world right now that it is a bit like being infested by gnats at a picnic. Ankle biters. Yappers. Every thought that comes against the mind of Christ, every meme, every deceptive half truth trying to tell you God is not for you, is an antichrist spirit.

It’s not about people at all, but principalities and powers, things in high places. There is a concerted effort going on to separate people from God in the spiritual realm. An antichrist in the way John used the term, is not some scary, demonic, person, but more like a lie that pushes you away from God.

I have a lot of non believers in my life who are angry at God and who hate Christians. I think they actually subscribe to the antichrist’s news channel. I get to hear all about how the pope is sitting on a 4 million dollar throne while kids go hungry, so let’s all just cancel culture God Himself. My point being, they seek out every bit of antichrist validation they can possibly find so as to validate and affirm their non belief. I’ve always been fascinated by how much work non belief really is! You have to feed it constantly, often with deception, lies, and really bad substitutes for the real thing.

What’s the real thing? The sheer goodness of God, His holiness, how much He loves us. Much of the antichrist spirit, the really bad substitutes for the real thing, are about having a poor and misguided perception of who God is, what His nature is all about, and what His intentions towards us are.

That antichrist spirit can come from a myriad of places, our own stinking thinking, painful life experiences, rotten Christians, bad teachers, misunderstandings, fear, rebellion, sin, and the enemy. I’m sure I’ve left some out, but my point being, you can’t just pin it on one person, like a bad teacher or a corrupt church somewhere. It is everywhere! There is probably even a newsfeed you can subscribe, too. The thing is, you will never stamp out that antichrist spirit, because it is everywhere and it is our job to say “no” to it. It really has no power over us at all, it exists mostly because we subscribe to it.

The idea that we often subscribe to the evil in our lives gets me into a lot of trouble, especially with the victim crowd. All I can say is that I have been a victim a few times over and the path to healing and empowerment often begins with, so why are you subscribing to this channel??

I can hardly abide Tertullian sometimes, but he did write of the antichrist, “He is to sit in the temple of God, and boast himself as being god.” Well, one layer of that is that we people are the temple of God. Who sits himself down in us and and starts his old pick up line of, did God really say….? That’s an antichrist.

So why was this such a valuable revelation for me? It opened my eyes up to the fact that there really is a spiritual war going on and that an incredible number of things are trying to come against us, all of the time. It gave me permission to say “no” to them. You can’t say “no” to what you can’t see. Also, an antichrist in the way John taught is not big and scary, but rather ordinary and routine, to be expected. You don’t have to go looking for a bad pastors, an antichrist spirit will probably slip right out of your best friend’s mouth on occasion. That idea also kind of wipes out the notion of “cancel culture” and just avoiding all the “toxic people.”

We are all prone to be the toxic people. That term was born in the addiction community, it was meant to be a way to describe active addiction, potential violence. It was not designed as a label for bad thought or human imperfections or something. “Toxic” means you smell like a brewery or a four day binge not, you have failed to validate and affirm my belief system.

I really like 2 Corinthians 10, but especially, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” It’s really the little things that matter, the tiny foxes that nip at the grapes, the little things that come between us and God.

On the flip side of all that, we move mountains, we shake up the heavens, we make angels faint every time we say “no,” dump the lie, and choose the truth. That would be Jesus. He is the truth and the way and the life.