David said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psa 14:1). A cursory reading of what David is saying, might lead one to believe that he is describing an Atheist, i.e.; one who denies the existence of GOD. Yet a more in depth look at the man he is describing, leads us to understand that he is actually recounting the state of the natural man who is in rebellion against GOD. For he goes on to describe the condition of all men by nature as they spring from the loins of their father, Adam. “They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psa 14:1)
He further develops this truth, saying, “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Psa 14:2-3) Paul quotes the same passage in his epistle to the Romans, “As it is written, 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.” (Rom 3:10-12)
Some of these men are appointed unto ultimate destruction; which is manifest, long before they depart from this life. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom 1:28-32)
All men would be in this same condition except for the mercy of GOD who is pleased to restrain the natural tendencies of some and to even, visit others with HIS grace in delivering them from the fate which awaits all rebels against HIM. These are those whom HE loves. HE will preserve them through the faithfulness of HIS calling, bringing them from natural darkness unto LIGHT.
While all men, by nature, are in rebellion against GOD, some of them are given over to embrace this natural tendency without any restraint. So, in essence we could read David’s words as saying, “the fool hath said in his heart there is no GOD for me”. Every man is given the natural understanding of the existence of GOD. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Rom 1:19-22). Yet all men, without exception, would continue in that rebellion to their own demise, were it not for the sovereign grace of GOD to deliver them from it.
Therefore, we see some, more so, than others who reject the knowledge of the one true GOD, in favor of various gods of their own imagination. In such cases this god is their own selves and they express their rebellion against the rule of an absolute GOD, by fashioning and worshipping, lesser gods who must be in subservience to their free will. David described this scenario saying, “Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.” (Psa 115:2-8)
John speaks of the very spirit which abides in men by nature and manifests itself in the present age. He says this spirit is “antichrist”. The Greek word which is translated into English in the KJV, literally means, “an opponent of the MESSIAH”. This word appears five times in the Bible. All five of those occurrences are found in four verses in the epistles of John. (see I John 2:18, 22; 4:3; II John 1:7) Until CHRIST was revealed in the person of JESUS of Nazareth, this spirit of “antichrist” could not manifest itself, though it is essentially the same as that rebellious spirit which has dwelt in men from the beginning, but is now revealed specifically, as GOD has been pleased to dwell among men in the “likeness of sinful flesh”.
John says we know that the present time in which we live is the “last time”, since opposition to the MESSIAH has arisen. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Heb 1:1-2) He does not speak of a time yet to come but the same age in which CHRIST has revealed HIMSELF. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1John 2:18)
This opposition is made manifest, chiefly, by a denial, that this MAN, JESUS of Nazareth, is that ONE sent by GOD to be the REDEEMER of HIS people. This rebellion against HIM is found in a desire to preach some other message than JESUS CHRIST and HIM crucified. Paul identified this “spirit” when he said, “As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:9) There are many who are willing to opine that HIS death serves as an example of ONE willing to save but they stop short of declaring that by HIS death and resurrection, alone, HE has procured the redemption of that elect bride which was given to HIM. This is “antichrist”.
To deny that CHRIST came in the flesh for this purpose, is to set forth a message which negates the work that HE actually accomplished and to present a “make-believe” christ. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, --because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1John 4:1) “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.” (1John 4:3) To deny the purpose for which HE came is the same as denying that HE came in the flesh for that reason. Many heresies arose in the days of John which denied HIS fleshly existence. They continue today. This is “antichrist”.
We should not be surprised at the widespread evidence of this “spirit”, for it was even abundant in the days when John wrote his epistles, “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.” (2John 1:7) Sometimes this “spirit” almost seems benign, but the truth is that deception is always very close to that which is true, else it could not be deception. “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness.” (2Cor 11:14-15)