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Test the Spirits (Part 7)

Test the Spirits (Part 7)

We began examining the two temporal aspects of the antichrist last week. We observed the that that the antichrist is already in the world. He is referred to as the serpent, and we examined him particularly in the Garden of Eden.

John writes, “This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming…” (4:3). That is, there is currently an antichrist in the world (not only Satan, but also the many antichrists who work to disprove the deity of Christ), but there is an antichrist who is coming as well.

Now, there is much discussion and disagreement when it comes to the End Times. This post is not seeking to present a case for either. Instead, it is a reminder of what the apostle John reveals, as well as what Paul. In 2 Thessalonians chapter two, Paul offers an in-depth discussion of this dastardly man,

For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

This individual is described as:

  • A man (notice the words “man” and “son,” and masculine pronouns)

  • An individual who cares not about the Law

  • An individual characterized by destruction

  • An individual who hates gods and religions

  • An individual who assumes worship as God

  • An individual who will be revealed

We see here the principle of the perspicuity of Scripture.[1] That is, the clearness of Scripture in light of other Scripture.

Or, as the London Baptist Confession of Faith helpfully states, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly.”[2]

Paul’s words help provide additional insight into John’s statement. Paul fleshes out John’s verse, if you will. Like a picture that is out of focus, Paul’s information helps remove the blur and clears up possible confusion.

But this brings us back to our thought of testing the spirits. You remember that this is John’s focus at the beginning of chapter 4. He is providing additional support to his command for believers to test the spirits: because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

The difference between a true prophet and a false prophet, at least in this portion of John’s letter, centers on the prophet’s view of Christ. A failure to present Christ as a having a body denotes the falsity of the prophet. The energizer of this prophet (and others like him) stem from the spirit of antichrist, and John reminds his readers that the antichrist is already present but is also still to come.

Brothers and sisters, we must beware of the antichrist. He is coming, and he hates God and opposes Him at every turn. We must be aware of the false teachings that beset the church. We must test them.


[1] For a helpful article, see Burk Parsons, “The Perspicuity of Scripture,” Table Talk Magazine, October 1 2015, Ligonier Ministries,, accessed 8 September 2020.

[2] LBCF, I:9.

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