The Antichrist

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The Greek prefix for “anti” does not simply mean “against”; it also means “in place of.” A “vicar” is one who behaves vicariously. If we were to translate “anti” into English, it would be “vicar,” as one who acts vicariously on behalf of another. There is someone who is, in fact, the true Vicar of Christ. This is He whom Jesus in the Gospel of John tells us is the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:13-14). It is the Holy Spirit alone who acts in place of Christ and brings the indwelling and leading of Christ to us…

In the early Church there were two kinds of religions: religio elicita and religio illicita—“legal religions” and “illegal religions.” As long as someone acknowledged the emperor they could have any religion they wanted. The Romans would take their god and put it in the Roman Pantheon, making it part of the Roman religious system, the head of the system being the emperor. The emperor’s title was “Pontificus Maximus” or, for short, “the Pontiff.” He was the head of the Pantheon.There were two classes of people who had a problem with emperor worship: Jews and Christians. Emperor worship is a major element that teaches about the Antichrist. The Jews made a deal: “Since we cannot sacrifice to the emperor, we will sacrifice for the emperor.”

Initially, Christians were protected because they were seen as a messianic sect within Judaism; they were simply Jews who believed Yeshua was the Messiah, so they were protected. But when the rabbis ostracized Jewish believers and booted them out of the synagogue, they were no longer protected. They became religio illicita and they were persecuted because they would not bow their knees to the Pontiff…

The spirit of antichrist denies the Father and Son relationship (1 Jn. 4:3). This can be seen in liberal Protestantism which generally holds that “Jesus was just a uniquely inspired man who, as a result, became the Christ.” The theological term for this lie in the ancient church is “Adoptionism.” Such heresy is ancient. People believed that Jesus was just a great rabbi or a great moral teacher. That is the spirit of antichrist; it denies the Father and Son relationship. As a unique individual, Jesus became God’s Son by adoption, not by eternal nature.

Beyond liberal Protestantism, Islam is another example. On the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount is a quotation from a Suraht in the Quran, “Allah is not begotten and neither does he beget”—“God has no son”—right on the Temple Mount, an abomination of desolation foreshadowing partial fulfillment of the ultimate one. Islam is an Antichrist religion denying the Father-Son relationship and elevating Mohammed above Jesus…

The “spirit of antichrist” (working through the Zeitgeist or “spirit of the age”)  is preparing the world generally, the apostate church, and unbelieving Israel specifically, for the advent of the Antichrist—the same as the Holy Spirit is convicting the world of sin and preparing the faithful remnant Church, including the faithful believing remnant of Israel, for the Second Advent of Christ.

As we have the “spirit of antichrist,” we also have many antichrists, and there always have been. There are many types of the Antichrist in modern history—political demagogues who demand to be worshiped: Ceau_escu of Romania, Mao Tse Tung, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, and Idi Amin. These autocrats effectively demanded to be deified…

There is the spirit of antichrist, many antichrists, and then ultimately there is the Antichrist. It helps to recognize the spirit of antichrist and the many antichrists in order to understand the one. Some of these guys take the cake, but the Antichrist is going to walk off with the whole bakery. It is going to be unbelievable. – Jacob Prasch, Shadows of the Beast

Source: Shepherds Abiding in the Field