Satan’s Attack on Christ through Rome
To understand why the Apostle John described Docetism, or Modalism, as “the Spirit of the Antichrist,” we need to know the Bible’s prophecy of Church History.
The Spirit of the Antichrist came out of the four winds or spirits of heaven in Daniel 7:2, and 8:9. Through the power of the Red Dragon, which was Rome, he put an end to sacrifice and offering when he crucified Christ on the cross. The unexpected result of Satan’s attack was that Christ became the Male Child, Lord of heaven and earth, and the bright and morning star. Then the Spirit of Christ, as the Archangel cast Satan and his Angels down from heaven (Daniel 8:10; Revelation 12:7-9). The work of Satan and his angels on the earth, would be to distort the truth, and set up the abomination of desolation.
The Bishop of Rome set up the Abomination of Desolation
Daniel prophesied that Satan would be given “the eyes of a man, and a mouth” (Daniel 7:8), and that he would exalt himself as high as Christ, the Captain of the Armies, and the place of his sanctuary would be cast to the ground (Daniel 8:11). In 193 AD, the Bishop of Rome made himself greater than Christ, when he wrote letters of excommunication to the Churches of Asia because they would not observe his doctrine of Easter Sunday. The Spirit of truth was taken from the Church, and the abomination of desolation was set up.
In 180 AD, Irenaeus made the last testimony of the true evidence of speaking in tongues. After this, a false experience of tongues, called Montanism, began to spread, which both the Bishop of Rome and Tertullian supported.
The same Bishop advanced the doctrine of Modalism
This same Bishop of Rome promoted Modalism in Rome, which John called “the Spirit of the Antichrist.”
Tertullian identified the Bishop as Praxeas. In his tract “Against Praxeas,” he described the Bishop’s “restless disposition” being “inflated with pride,” as evidenced by his letter of Peace to excommunicate the Churches of Asia. (Against Praxeas, Chapter 1)
Tertullian attacked Modalism, saying:
“Praxeas did a twofold service for the devil at Rome: he drove away prophecy, and he brought in heresy; he put to flight the Paraclete, and he crucified the Father.” (Against Praxeas, Chapter 1)
Then Tertullian explained a Trinity, to replace Modalism. The prophecy that Tertullian spoke of, which the Bishop drove away, was the prophecy of the Montanists, who were likely the real inventors of the Trinity.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan
Tertullian was a great supporter of Montanism, which he called the New Prophecy movement.
Tertullian believed that the Bible was full of “heretical subtleties” and the Comforter was now explaining the whole mystery through the New Prophecy (On the Resurrection of the flesh, Chapter 63).
Tertullian was the first to:
- say it made no difference what kind of water was used for baptism
- propose Sunday rest, and
- the Trinity doctrine.
The mainstream Church considered Montanism to be the possession of evil spirits. Its founders, Montanus and Maximillia, were each said to have “died a different death, a mind-destroying spirit, driving each to a separate suicide” (Eusebius, Church History, 5:16).
As the Apostle Paul said, “the coming of the lawless one, is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9).