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The anointing that teaches
- Jacob Ninan
The first letter of the apostle John was the last book of the Bible to be written, and in it he gives some exhortations that are particularly relevant to the 'end times'. He warns us about antichrists among us, which we must understand as Christians who operate in a way contrary to the spirit of Christ (1Jn.2:18). If we only look out for the Antichrist, we may miss identifying the many preachers, writers and other leaders who are being influenced by the spirit of the Antichrist to a more or less extent. Why are they antichrists? Because they oppose the work of the Holy Spirit and the spirit with which Christ works. Since these antichrists are energised to a greater or lesser extent by deceiving spirits, they are not going to be opposing Christ openly. But using the name of Christ they deceive people into thinking they are working for Christ. But as Jesus taught us, we can know them by their fruit. When Christian leaders 1) exalt themselves, 2) deceive people in order to increase their popularity, wealth and empire, 3) control people by making them dependent on them, making decisions for them, wanting to know every detail of their lives, keeping them away from all other groups, keeping people busy with activities and responsibilities so that they won't easily leave, threatening calamities if they left, or using an unhealthy emphasis on church discipline, 4) do not have much to show in terms of the fruit of the Spirit but demand perfect submission from people, etc., don't we have to smell danger?
John says that the 'anointing' will help us to know these antichrists (v.27). When we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit on us, doesn't it give us a warning bell when we come across an antichrist spirit? Even if we don't know much of the Bible, don't we smell something wrong when we come across such people and groups? Even if we feel we are so 'small' compared to these so-called 'giants', don't we know that there is something to be careful about here?
But many of us are too awed by these leaders that we don't trust these warning signals. They seem to have such knowledge, 'power', following and accomplishments that we dare not question them. But what we must remember is that even though we are not to sit in judgment over them, we need to discern what is going on for our own safety! We should note that this passage is addressed to spiritual children (v.18), and not to the mature ones, showing that we don't need to have much maturity to be able to sense that something is wrong here.
Unfortunately many Christians are not even aware of such dangers, and simply follow their leaders without question. When they are taught new doctrines they assume that these leaders know what they are talking about, without checking for themselves if they are being misled (Ac.17:11). We would not have had to talk about this subject but for the fact that deception is all around, many false doctrines are spreading, and many are getting deceived. 1Pet.5:8.