Counterfeit Christs

Popular preaching presents the Antichrist as a totalitarian global leader bent on subjugating all the nations of the Earth through military conquest. However, the New Testament expresses far more concern over deceivers and “false anointed ones,” counterfeit christs working inside the Body of Christ to cause disruption and apostasy, pied pipers leading believers to their destruction.

In the Book of Revelation, for example, the victims of the “war” launched by the Dragon” are the “saints” who have the “Testimony of Jesus.” Moreover, the only New Testament documents that include the term ‘Antichrist’ are two of the epistles of John - (1 John 2:18-22, 4:3, 1 John 1:7).

Ringmaster Photo by Mark Williams on Unsplash
[Photo by Mark Williams on Unsplash]

The “
antichrists” referred to in the first letter of John were men who “went out from us, but they were not of us.” They were false teachers active in his congregations. He admonished his congregations to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” since the “spirit of the antichrist… was already in the world.” The “antichrists” with whom John was contending were false teachers, not national or world political leaders or military conquerors- (2 John 7).

Likewise, Paul warned of the coming “Man of Lawlessness.” While his words could suggest a political figure, his concern was with this figure’s ability to deceive believers - “Let no one in any way deceive you” - (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12).

Paul linked this man to the coming “apostasy.” When he was “revealed,” his activities would be “in accord with those of Satan, deceiving men, especially believers - (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:21).

The stress in 2 Thessalonians is on his power to deceive and turn people away from the faith, not on his political activity, military prowess, or sovereignty over nations. He will use “lying works, signs and wonders” to deceive his victims, and only those who hold fast to the Apostolic teachings will avoid succumbing to his allure.

In Revelation, the “Beast from the Sea” is not called the “Antichrist.” It possesses the character and authority of the “Great Red Dragon,” and in Chapter 12, Satan did not wage war on the nations of the Earth but endeavored “to make war with the remnant of the Seed of the Woman, those who have the Testimony of Jesus.”

Likewise, in Chapter 13, the “Beast” waged war on the “saints, and he overcame them.” This same “war” was reflected in the Book’s “letters” to the “Seven Assemblies of Asia” as they struggled with persecution and false teachers - (Revelation 12:17, 13:7).


In his ‘Olivet Discourse,’ Jesus issued repeated warnings about coming “deceivers,” “false prophets,” “false anointed ones,” and apostasy:

  • Beware lest anyone deceive you. For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and deceive astray.” - (Matthew 24:4-8).
  • And then shall many stumble, and they will deliver up one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and deceive many. And because lawlessness will be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold”- (Matthew 24:10-12).
  • For there will arise false Christs and false prophets, and they will show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you beforehand. If therefore they say to you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not.”- (Matthew 24:23-26).

His statements parallel Paul's warning about the “Man of Lawlessness” and the “Apostasy.” Deceivers will hoodwink many believers and cause “many to fall away.” Only those who endure “to the end will be saved.”

Before the return of Jesus, deceivers, “false prophets,” and “false anointed ones” will work to fool his disciples, not the larger world that already lies in the lap of the “Wicked One” - (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 1 Timothy 4:1).

Likewise, the Apostle Peter warned of coming deceivers who would work inside the Assembly of God, causing many saints to apostatize - “False teachers among you who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality and because of them, the way of the truth will be maligned” - (2 Peter 2:1).

The satanic plan is to wage war against Jesus and overthrow him. However, the Devil can only do so by attacking those men and women who belong to him. Christ sits on God’s throne beyond Satan’s reach. This is why, in Revelation, upon his release from the “Abyss,” the Devil gathered all the nations of the Earth in his final attempt to destroy the “camp of the saints.”

The “Antichrist” is coming to complete Satan’s efforts that are underway even now inside and against the Body of Christ. The time of his “unveiling” is being prepared by the Devil’s army of deceivers driven by the “spirit of antichrist.”

What better way to execute his plot than by offering clever alternatives in the guise of counterfeit anointed ones and through the mouths of “false prophets,” deceivers who “appear as angels of light”?

  • Beasts and Liars - (The presence of false teachers in the church demonstrates that we are in the last days, and the last hour is almost upon us)
  • His Repeated Warning -  (Jesus stressed critical information that is vital for his disciples if they wish to avoid deception by false prophets and other deceivers)
  • The Apostasy - (Paul warned the Thessalonians of a future apostasy and linked it to the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Destruction)