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The Persecuted Church

 

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Types and patterns of the coming Antichrist

The angels were the first creatures made by God, they had the opportunity to see God and serve him in heaven. The one the Bible calls the devil, Satan, was the greatest of angels who had his ministry nearest to God, over his throne, until he fell with pride.

Pride is a potential in any intelligent creature, and this is Satan’s greatest attribute; you could say it is his fingerprint in his work. 

The devil tries to pattern himself after God, he copies whatever he possibly can of God to make it look genuine good. He disguises both himself and the  lure to bring people into the condition of sin. 

The Bible speaks of the mystery of Iniquity. There is a certain point when sin, which the Devil introduced to mankind reaches it peak man will reject God’s counsel and ways and God will give man over to his desires. Like Pharaoh whom God tried to have repent after so much rejection he will then have him unable to repent.

“I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not” (Isaiah 66:4).

 

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

 

The term “antichrist” is used in the New Testament exclusively by the apostle John who applies the term to those who deny that Jesus (as God) came in the flesh – “incarnated” only once (1 Timothy 3:16); they are of the anti-Christ spirit.

John in his epistles was specifically addressing the Gnostics who were within the church and denied his incarnation. Today we see this continue in the New Age Movement and mystics who perceives Jesus Christ as an archetype; Christ as a continual office, a principle or consciousness all can achieve. Many false prophets, heretics, and corrupters of the truth were already found in John’s own time. John writes, Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming (literally: that antichrist shall come-singular), even now many antichrists (plural) have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us(I John 2:18-19).

Many antichrists have come and are still coming; but there is one who is called THE Antichrist, who will be the last world ruler. He is described as a dictator that is more dangerous and destructive than all the dictators that have come before him. But He will not be a dictator when he is first introduced. He comes on the scene as benevolent and a problem solver. He will impress people by his charisma, and convince them he is sincere.

John further writes to the church, I John 2:21-22: “I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.” This is an exclusive statement to mean Jesus alone is God’s anointed one - the only Christ.  Someone who denies Jesus as the only anointed one falls into this category. To deny this is also to deny the Father because of his testimony of the Son and their relationship.

I  John 4:1-3 instructs: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”  

The phrase Jesus has come in the flesh” means God came as a man - through the Jewish lineage (Son of David): Jesus was raised from the dead in the same body (glorified) He incarnated in and continues to live in it.

Several times this term is used in the plural, and can be applied to almost anyone who is opposed to Christ i.e. those who deny that Jesus came in the flesh are anti-Christ or of the spirit of antichrist (these would be the majority of cults that deny Jesus is God that became man ).  Believing in Jesus doesn’t save you unless

He is understood as Lord (YHVH), as the one true God who became man for our salvation.

The Antichrist is not describing a widespread apostasy of the Christian Church, this happens before he takes his position of power.  Nor is this term applied any apostate teacher or religious system.  Not all heresies are connected to this term. In one sense John applies “his spirit” made known specifically to those that deny God was manifested in the flesh of Jesus and rose in the flesh. However he also applies it to a single individual.

We are told to test the spirits. Because there have been and still are false prophecies prompted by false spirits outside and inside the Church. All false prophets are types of the one who is to come (the Son of Perdition), as they deny Jesus. The spirit of the Antichrist  will have the nature of the one it represents.

We cannot know who or what is antichrist without first understanding what the spirit of antichrist is.

John’s gospel has the word “truth” 26 times; he speaks on the subject of truth more than all the other gospel writers combined.  The phrase the “spirit of truth” is found only 3 times in John’s writings and the phrase “the spirit of truth and the spirit of erroroccurs nowhere else in the New Testament.  John also writes of the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. False prophets speak a counterfeit Logos (a false word) by another spirit, Jesus gave us the true word, which is the Spirit of truth. The Spirit of truth is known and lived by ones adherence to the doctrine written from the apostles. The Spirit of error (Greek - planay) has the meaning of fraudulence, straying from orthodoxy, an error that shows itself in action.  Satan the father of lies is the energizing force behind all false spirits and the false religion that men do not invent on their own.

I John 4:5-8 “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”  John’s statement “He who knows God hears us” refers to our listening to the apostle’s teachings they are distributing to the church. John makes a distinction between “us” and “them.” Them are those who went away and started their own movements and changed the teachings.

1 John 4:15: “whoever confesses that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God,” To confess means to say the same thing; this confession was that He truly was God in the flesh, because John earlier wrote in chapter 4 of those who denied, “that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” have the Spirit of antichrist. John at the time was addressing the Gnostics who denied God became a man. These false teachers of his day denied the reality of the incarnation as many continue to do today.

I John 5:19 “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” Every Christian should know Satan is the temporary ruler of this world system. Ephesians 2:2: as believers “once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” We are no longer to “be conformed to this world”(Romans 12:2). We were once of this spirit and followed its dictates of relativity, and conformity. The spirit of the age wants to bring everyone into a unity without God’s truth, but a lie that will be presented as the truth. There is strength in numbers and a block of people is far easier to mislead when they are together, a co-operation which the Bible calls the spirit of antichrist.

Anti can mean “against” or a “substitute” instead of Christ. This man will claim to be in the place of Christ, be in opposition to him in person and teaching. He is one who opposes and also replaces the real Christ. The Antichrist will deny the existence of the true God coming in the flesh as he comes in his own name.

A.T. Roberston Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. I VI; (Baker:) 215 explains: “Anti can mean substitution or opposition, but both ideas are identical in the word antichristos.

Denying Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, the only Christ throughout history has been setting the stage so that the Antichrist can easily assume position and power.

Who is this anti-christos (antichrist).  Any person, thing, doctrine, system of religion, etc., which is opposed to Christ being the only Son of God, and is contrary to spread the true Gospel, denying the word of God–this is antichrist.

Some of the opposites of the true Christ: The false Christ does not want to die, he loves his life, while Jesus gave His life willingly, He wants to preserve it but not give life to others (Jn.8:44).

The devil will offer to mankind another Christ, one that will be conducive to all religions but oppose real Christianity and it will be called the truth. He distorts disregards and disguises the truth and replaces it with his own words, a lie. And the people who have rejected the love of the truth will happily accept it (2 Thess. 2:10).

All of these “antichrists” that have come are types, precursors of the man of sin, in whom they will all find their culmination in. John taught that there will be a final future antichrist, (singular) but he is preceded by many antichrists, (plural) until he comes. None before him will compare to the power and ability this last one will display. They were in first grade while the professor that taught them is coming. It will find completion in the ultimate rebellion, bringing those who reject the truth under one head, an individual leader known as the man of sin, and lawlessness - the Antichrist. Everything that Christ stood for and represented, holiness, truth, honesty will be twisted, the false Christ will replace it with evil and sin that he will convince is the good. He will directly challenge the Lord and his word.

John 1:5: “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Darkness often corresponds with sin, ignorance, and a fallen state. John is replaying the Genesis account showing its fulfillment as he is introducing Jesus in his gospel. There was darkness and God spoke and there was light and then gave life. John says 1:9 he “was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” Jesus is the word that was with God that gave life.

At the end of the age far less will understand, the light will be in conflict with the increasing darkness, deception will be the norm. We are watching that occur today; as the light of truth and the gospel is becoming dimmer.

I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:4-5).

Jesus spoke of time when it would be difficult to do God’s work

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1Thes 5:2) the day of the lord is another name for the Great Tribulation, it will come upon everyone suddenly.

The end will resemble the beginning as Jesus comes back in glory during the darkness that has overtaken mankind.

The only thing that is keeping this world from complete darkness is the light. Jesus spoke of his arrest and how it related to darkness.

Luke 22:53: “When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

As Satan motivated the men who rejected Christ to rid the world of him, in the end he will retry this and succeed temporarily to replace him.

Eph. 5:8 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”

1 Thess.5:5 “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” We are to be aware of the time and the events that surround us and not walk as if we see nothing. Christians should be the most aware people because they know what certain changes mean in relation to prophecy.

Along with the Antichrist is the spirit of iniquity is mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 states, “For the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) is already at work: only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  The Holy Spirit who is in the world and in the believers, in the Church, restrains (hinders, prevents) the Antichrist from revealing himself. Paul says the mystery has been operating in power throughout the world and is prevented from coming to its zenith because of God, the Holy Spirit.  

Satan will be manifested to promote sin and evil, to challenge God, His truth and holiness. As the Man of Sin he is called “the lawless one” (2 Thess. 2:8-9). As Jesus’ nature was holiness, antichrists will be sin. The antichrist’s message will be void on sin, it will give people freedom to do whatever they please.

This other one will claim to be in the place of Christ, but will be in opposition to him in person and teaching. The antichrist will try and counterfeit whatever he can in prophecy and activity.

Satan is described as The God of this World:  (2 Cor. 4:4): He is the influence behind false religion and cults which are against Christianity; he presides over politic that promotes and anti-God life style.  

The Prince of this world (Daniel 10:12-11:1; John 12:31; 14:30 16:11): This refers more specifically to his influence over the governments and politics and areas of this world, the is the one who exalts and positions the evil rulers to do his will.

Satan and the Antichrist are found in passages such as 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Daniel 8:23-25; 11:36-39. These passages show us that the man who is THE Antichrist would be a man controlled and energized by Satan .

There is no specific passage that we can point to that says Satan resides IN him, but the implication is there as we read that Satan entered Judas for a time period and he is called the son of perdition, this same title is given to the Antichrist.

2 Thess. 2:9-10: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish

Because He is influenced and indwelt directly by the greatest creature made, this man becomes the ultimate evil, a being who opposes God, and he will have power to exhibit Satanic miracles. He shall cause fire to fall from Heaven (Rev. 13:13), counterfeiting what God has done in the past (Exod.9; 1 Kings 18:38). Lying signs and wonders to deceive those who may not believe, even the elect that do not know the word well will be convinced of there being genuine.

Both he and Jesus have a revealing (2 Thessalonians 1:7 and 2:3), a coming (2 Thess.2:1 and 2:9). Just as God was “manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16) in Jesus Christ, the Antichrist will be Satan manifested in the flesh, masquerading as Christ, at one point will claim to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Satan will be able to work miracles through his man (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:3).

Christ came from heaven to earth to do His Fathers will (John 6:38). When the Savior entered this world, He came saying, “Lo I come to do Thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9). Antichrist comes from the sea (people) (Reve. 13:1-4,11). “And the king shall do according to his will” (Daniel 11:36-37). His goals will be the very opposite of Christ. Christ humbled himself to become man and serve man (Philippians 2:8); the Antichrist will exalt himself (Daniel 11:36). Jesus came as a servant of all to set man free; the Antichrist comes to enslave men. And both have a kingdom (Luke 22:18; John 3:2,18:36; Revelation 16:10).

He will want to be worshipped (Thessalonians 2:4). “Magnify himself above every god,” “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).  Self-exaltation will identify his ministry. Deification of emperors, kings, and other political rulers have occurred throughout our history. All stems from Satan's desire to be like God. (Daniel 11:36,37). But he will not come on the scene as a tyrant,

The Antichrist is the final ruler of the “Times of the Gentiles, by the time the middle of the tribulation takes place he will have increased his power and authority. but eventually will demand absolute allegiance to his solutions and ways. He will epitomize all the despots we have seen throughout history and make them look as amateurs. He will be loved and obeyed. There are all types of the antichrist throughout mankind's history.

Some are mentioned in the Bible some are not. Nero was certainly a type of the ruthlessness he will have. Antiochus Epiphanes was a Seleucid king of the Syrians who desecrated the temple in 167 BC. Korah who led the people of Israel to rebel against Moses is a type. Cain is also a type of the antichrist: He was a murderer (John 4:44) as is the antichrist. The Bible says “Cain, who was of that wicked one” and Cain’s “works were evil” (1 John 3:12)

Hitler, Stalin, Mao were all types of the one who is to come. They ruled a nation and killed many of their own people. No one questioned their authority, they were unable to.

The real aspect of Hitler's influential deception was the spiritual element. Most of the church in Germany were convinced and went along with the new order he promised. German pastors in the thousands joined the “German Christians' Faith Movement,” which supported the Nazi doctrines and promoted a “Reich Church” that would unite all Protestants under the state. A minority of pastors,  understood this to be anti-Christian, and opposed his ideas of  politics and the church.  

 It is this nature of evil that will have him target the believers during the Tribulation period.

The “Lamb” speaks of sacrifice of Christ who is the Savior of sinners; the “Beast” speaks of tyranny, fierceness and cruelty, for he persecutes and kills the saints (Revelation 13:7).  He kills those who worship the true God (Rev. 6:8-10) that do not worship him.

“And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him” (Revelation 13:7). So if one thinks that the saints are protected throughout the tribulation the Bible says otherwise. In the Tribulation a mortal will be more rare than fine gold  ( Isa. 13:10-12). Matt 24:9: “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.”

Rev 7:9; “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands”

Rev 7:14 answers who these people are: “ And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

The bloodshed will be continual and furious against the saints in the tribulation period. The survival rate is small.

Rev. 8:1-6: “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. And he was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel's hand.             Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth. And there were noises, thunderings, lightnings, and an earthquake. So the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” One reason the judgments are sent is in response to the saints being killed, God is answering their prayers.

Previously we  read in (Rev.5:8) Rev. 6:9-11 “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” 

This kind of destruction of human life we have seen only glimpses of by the despots in the past. They were children playing with death. The Lawless one will be like the teacher of these children who committed such treacherous acts to men in our past. It is for this reason Jesus said, "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.“And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matt 24:21-22):  

 

Pt.2 The king of the world; Out of the Shadows comes the Antichrist

 

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