Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Jeannette Haley

“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.”
 — 2 John 7

   Ever since the first man exchanged truth for a lie, and as a result, sewed together fig leaves to cover his nakedness, so has mankind sought to be covered, hidden or concealed from the penetrating eyes of the Holy Spirit. Psalm 90:8 tells us: “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.”

   As we saw in my article last month, “God or Human?” underlying Adam’s desire for independence from God was treachery and iniquity. Once he chose to disobey God and partake of the forbidden fruit, he no longer bore the image of God’s glory. Some have put forth that this image was merely “tarnished,” but the truth is, his fall was so complete and thorough that no vestige of God’s glory, holiness, purity, or truth remained. Adam’s fall remains as immeasurable as the “bottomless pit.” This is the point at which God’s light withdrew from the world until the appointed time when the true Light of the world, bearing God’s image, would come into the world.

   Undoubtedly, this will rub some folks the wrong way. It’s true, we all tend to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think; however, God’s Word reveals: “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” Romans 3:10-12.

   In spite of the clear teaching of Scripture on this subject, it’s amazing how many church-goers confidently state with their own tongues that they are “good people.” Yet, even the Apostle Paul confessed: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” Romans 8:18a. He also declared: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” 1 Timothy 1:15.

   In spite of all the confusion and turmoil in the world today, it all boils down to what the Bible tells us; that is, there are two kingdoms—the kingdom of darkness, ruled by Satan, and the kingdom of light, ruled by the Son of God. (See Colossians 1:13). Isaiah 60:2 gives us this insight into the kingdom of darkness: “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” The spirit of this kingdom of darkness is the antichrist spirit that the Apostle John wrote about in 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.”

   Antichrist not only means “against” Christ, but it means “substitute” Christ. This is the spirit of deception that came into the world in the Garden of Eden and has continued working to this day through world leaders, secret societies, organizations (both religious and secular), to deceive individuals and nations. (I am not talking about the “son of perdition,” or The Antichrist, who is a physical person who will unite the world into one, set himself up as a man of peace, and be given a short span of time in which to reign, but the spirit of antichrist.)

   What is the goal of the antichrist spirit? It is to deceive the world concerning the true identity of Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:22 states: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” In 2 John 7 we read: “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.” Thus, the “mystery of iniquity” (Satan’s kingdom) has set itself up against the “mystery of the ages” (Jesus Christ) to keep the world in gross darkness. But, God has promised to remove this veil of lies in Isaiah 25:7: “And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.”

   Before we go any farther, we need to discuss the false teaching among Christians concerning the necessity of having a “covering” or being under the “covering” of man. Supposedly, if you are a servant of the Lord, yet lack the “covering” of man, then your ministry is considered illegitimate, and dismissed as irrelevant. This is an unbiblical concept and practice that has resulted in great damage to not only individual members of the Body of Christ, but to whole ministries as well. Many people have come under the cultish control of certain leaders who deceived them with this fallacious teaching, while others, who are true servants of God, have, in many instances, been prevented from ministering to God’s people.

   In a spiritual sense, there are only two “coverings” mentioned in Scripture, the evil one quoted above in Isaiah 25:7, and the covering in 1 Corinthians 11:15 concerning a woman’s hair. To come under a covering other than the Lord Jesus Christ is to bring oneself into spiritual bondage and idolatry. Yet, humans, being what they are (like sheep), love to find some leader to blindly follow, or some personality to exalt and identify with. It’s as natural as breathing.

   Satan knows our makeup. He knows our weaknesses and tendencies to look to man for guidance and leadership. He is also a master at stirring up our senses and emotions to bring us into bondage under a covering that not only dulls our discernment, but alters our commitment to the Lord. The deceptive power of the antichrist spirit subtly works to bring our affections to rest upon anything, or anyone, however “good” or “wonderful,” other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

   Before the antichrist himself can set up his world rule, the nations must be prepared to accept him. This preparation has been masterfully and methodically advancing towards this goal since Noah’s descendants banded together to build the tower of Babel. This preparation, or indoctrination, normally works behind the scenes through powerful secret societies and lodges whose membership consists of the wealthy and powerful elite who control the world banking systems, whose influence and ungodly philosophies reign from the highest levels of society; whose goal is to pervert and destroy critical thinking that leads a person to faith in the One true God, and adherence to His Word.

   It is easy to control and manipulate peoples’ worldview, moral codes, philosophies, and beliefs through the educational system, especially by pushing the unproven and outdated theory of evolution (beginning with preschool right on through institutions of higher learning). Needless to say, one of the most powerful means of public brainwashing in our technological society is through the media, which is also carefully controlled. Simply put, the antichrist spirit is out to destroy the knowledge of God and all truth as revealed in the Holy Bible.

   The antichrist spirit plays off of the spirit of the world by enticing people to embrace the world for what they can supposedly get out of it. In other words, a person can easily be led to destruction by appealing to their pride and lust. Tragically, this is also true for those “churched” people who have habitually exposed themselves under weak, man-centered, flesh-pleasing, entertaining, feeling-orientated, and self-esteem-building preaching.

   As the church drifts farther and farther away from her biblical moorings, and begins to embrace the spirit of the world, the siren call of the antichrist spirit becomes enchantingly realistic. The end result for the church (which for centuries has struggled to remain separate and distinct from the world) is the redefinition of her position and purpose under the Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

   Most professing Christians today have never been properly discipled, and are, therefore, biblically illiterate with no foundation upon which to test or discern spirits or heretical teachings. As a result, they eagerly embrace and believe a different Jesus who looks like and sounds like the real Jesus, but who puts forth a different gospel that embraces the spirit of the world. This counterfeit Jesus presents a false light and a false anointing. People who buy into this false Jesus end up with a religious spirit that readily embraces anything that seems to be religious or spiritual. The end result is unbelief in the true God of the Bible, and unbelief in Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, even though superficial lip service may be given to Him.

   Where are you in your spiritual life? Have you (either knowingly or unknowingly) bought into New Age occultism, such as the practice of visualization, positive confession, superstition, yoga, and Star Wars which is pure Hinduism? Perhaps you have allowed yourself to be swayed by psychology which is nothing more than man’s vain philosophies, or humanism (i.e., self-esteem). Perhaps you have been swept away in the latest church marketing schemes that originated with the mind-science guru, Robert Schuller, who has undermined true Christianity for decades, and done great damage to the cause of Christ. Maybe you simply admit that your pastor or leader is your “covering” because that is what you have been taught. The list is endless, but the identification of the covering remains the same—the antichrist spirit.

   The Lord of glory would not have any of His people submit themselves to any covering other than Himself, for He has commanded: Thou shalt have no other gods before me…for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:3, 5b. In Isaiah 30:1 God warns: “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit that they may add sin to sin.”  Any covering other than that of the Lord Himself is idolatry.

   Finally, because the covering teaching is still prevalent in many circles today, we would do well to meditate on these words from the Apostle Paul concerning those who would beguile us with “enticing words”: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” Colossians 2:6-10.