15. Against the Anointed

In his day, the Apostle John called the confusion about the identity of Christ “the Spirit of the Antichrist” (1 John 4:3).

Paul said, “You are in spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God makes its home in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” (Romans 8:9).

Perhaps some were confused by this verse and thought that the Spirit of Christ received by faith was the Spirit of God. But this made Jesus to be God Himself.1

So, John began his first epistle: “Indeed, our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3).

How could Jesus be God if, as John said, “No one has seen God at any time” (1 John 4:12)? John said they denied that Jesus came in the flesh: “This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). Antichrist means “against the anointed.”

John replied, “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ?” (1 John 2:22) – The anointed man.

He concluded his First Epistle, saying, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (1 John 5:1) and “The one who overcomes … believes that Jesus is the Son of God—there are three that testify (that Jesus is the Son of God), the Spirit, and the water, and the blood” (1 John 5:5-8).

He concluded his second epistle, saying, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God (for he thinks the Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God); the one who abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9).

These words were echoed by Justin Martyr in A.D. 150: “For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father nor to know that the Father of the universe has a Son” (First Apology).

  1. The reasons for this heresy are evident in the New Testament. The apostle Paul described those who persecuted the saints “born according to spirit” (Galatians 4:29). Many wanted to worship God, “according to the basic principles of this world,” and “according to the law.” They believed in Jesus, but they rejected the worship of God in the spirit. Indeed, not all believers received the holy spirit, that was only bestowed through the laying on of hands. This problem became even greater as time went on, and many departed from the truth, and were unable to receive spirit of truth.  But Jesus taught that one needed to be born of spirit to enter the kingdom of God. This presented a challenge for those who had not received the anointing of the Spirit of God. How could they be born of spirit without the impartation of the Spirit of God? Perhaps some believed that they had received the Spirit of Christ “by faith” as Paul described in Galatians 3:2. And perhaps they believed that the Spirit of Christ was the Spirit of God, and therefore they had been “born again,” even as many Christians today also believe.