Saturday, December 23, 2017

What I Beleive About the Antichrist

What I Believe About the Antichrist

Disclaimer: This article may be offensive to some and others may find this unacceptable.  I am not trying to change your mind or convince you to change what you believe.  I am only stating what I believe.  It is not my intention to question what you think but instead to say what I believe and why I believe it.
One of the teaching in the Evangelical churches today is the coming of the Antichrist.  There have been books written, movies made and even song sung about the Antichrist.  This end-time antichrist is  supposed  to do a lot of evil things at the end of the Christian Era. We are looking for a mythical end-time ruler who has been  the subject of fanciful  conjecture for  centuries.     
This super-natural, incarnate of the devil is coming, and everyone knows this to be true, or is it?  Most of what we hear about him is one theologian's theory built upon another's supposition. This goes all the way back to the 1st Century. Who and where is he? Is this how we'll know the second coming of Jesus is near.  What does Scripture state, and what is only mere speculation? To find out, let's think about all we have heard. All the things antichrist is supposed to be and do; those things that we supposedly know about the antichrist. Among other assumptions,  antichrist is supposed to:
1.      Appear  at  the end  of the age.
2.      Be a Pope
3.      Be a Jew
4.      Be a Muslim
5.      Rule  the  world for 3 1/2 years as a good leader. 3 1/2 years as  an evil leader.
6.      Have the  temple rebuilt?
7.      Reinstitute  temple sacrifices (first 3 1/2 years)
8.      Turn  against the Jews (second  3 1/2 years).
9.      Stop temple sacrifices  (middle  of the   7 years)
10.  Cause all to worship him.
11.  Start  the battle of Armageddon.
12.  Persecute the saints during the "Seven Year Great Tribulation"  (and anyone else he  can get his hands on).
13.  Misc. other legends (depending on school of thought) including that as 666, he is Satan  incarnate.
Yes, for many years I accepted what was taught by the prophecy experts.  When I begin to question some of the teachings I found, if you can believe it, not one of those ideas can be directly supported from Scripture. Not a single one! Some are total fabrications. Most of them came from interpreting the 70th Week of Daniel as a Seven Year tribulation.
I have listen to prophecy experts prove the person of the Anitichrist by using Rev. 13:18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Using the verse in Revelation 13:18 and that verse alone the following have been proven to be the Antichrist: Nero, Domitian, Charlemagne, Constantine, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm, Adolf Hitler, Anwar Sadat, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, various popes; and oh yes, let's not forget Khadaffy, and Henry Kissinger, have all been positively, and I mean POSITIVELY, identified as THE antichrist! Because of the scar on his head Gorbachev. Throughout the centuries, Christians not grounded in the Bible have followed the false prophets, disguised as mathematical wizards, who have made these predictions. Thousands have donned the robes of the prophet and, with hands upraised, have declared the name of the Antichrist to be ______-.
There has been much written in the past about who will be the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the Beast.  There are those who have taught since the Reformation that the Pope is the Antichrist.  Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther started a religious war with the Catholic church.  Pope Leo X despised Luther, and referred to him as a “roaring boar of the woods (who) has undertaken to destroy this vineyars, a wild beast (who) wants to devour it.”  Luther, on the other hand, described the Pope by saying:  We here are of the conviction that the papacy is the seat of the seed of the true and real antichrist.  I owe the Pope no other obedience than that I owe to antichrist.”
Since that exchange of insults, many preachers and theologians throughout church history in the wake of the Reformation pointed to the pope as the Antichrist.  
During this time, John Knox fled to Geneva under persecution, and he would eventually become the pastor of the English refugees in the Auditoire De Calvin which is next door to the St. Pierre Cathedral, the church Calvin pastored in Geneva.  Under Calvin’s oversight, John Knox and a group of scholars worked to produce the first study Bible in English history.  The Bible was published in 1560 and was known as The Geneva Bible.  It would be the Geneva Bible that was brought off of the Mayflower onto the soil of America years later. 
The 1560 Geneva Bible translated Revelation 11:7 as, “And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that cometh out of the bottomless pit, shall make wars against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.”
The study note attached to this verse stated the following:
That is the Pope which hathe his power out of hell and cometh thence.
This statement and a few others in the 1560 Geneva Bible caught the attention of the Roman Catholic Church.  It was eventually vilified and rejected.  From the political protest that developed, the 1560 Geneva Bible was labeled “Calvinistic,” a term of derision.  Although it was rejected by the Roman Catholic Church, it was well received by the people.  It would serve as the household Bible for over three generations.
In 1689 London Baptist Confession, also known as the Second London Baptist Confession states: The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church. By the Father’s appointment, all authority is conferred on him in a supreme and sovereign manner to call, institute, order and govern the church.  The Pope of Roman Catholicism cannot in any sense be head of the church; rather, he is the antichrist, the man of lawlessness, and the son of destruction, who exalts himself in the church against Christ and all that is called God. The Lord will destroy him with the brightness of his coming.
 When we look to the Bible, we see clear warnings regarding the antichrists who were already in the world during the days of John, the apostle (see 1 John 2:18 and 2 John 1:7).
The popes of historical periods such as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries have come and gone, so we must reject the idea that one of the past popes was the Antichrist – that specific man of sin or son of perdition mentioned in Scripture.  The word antichrist (in Greek: antichristos, an-tee'-khris-tos: an opponent of the Messiah:--antichrist.) That word appears only four places in Scripture.   
Every verse is in 1st and 2nd John. Why is antichrist mentioned in John’s epistles and nowhere else?
John was the last Apostle alive. The church had been established some 70 years earlier.  John’s Gospel, his three epistles, and Revelation were penned somewhere between 95 and 110 AD, nobody knows precisely when.
 Many heresies had already entered the church and John was the last inspired writer who could address them.   In his gospel, John addresses Gnosticism and the deity of Christ. In Revelation, He discusses the Nicolaitans, worldliness and other heresies. In his epistles, false leaders, brotherly love, the victorious walk in Christ and one more error which is about the rumors of an Antichrist that was coming.
 1 John 2:18  Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even NOW many antichrists have arisen.  
“You have heard” is the important phrase here. John isn’t saying that antichrist is coming, only that you have heard that he is.    Then he goes on to debunk the idea by saying, “even NOW many antichrists have arisen.”
To put that in today's language, you have heard “That men are from Mars and women from Venus.” That does not make it so, nor does saying that you have heard it mean that you believe it. You are not declaring, "That men are from Mars and women from Venus," as a fact.   Only that you have heard  people say that it is or you read the book that made that statement.
Neither is the Lord declaring in 1st and 2nd John that "the antichrist" is coming sometime in the future. Instead, it appears that He is using the same figure of speech to deny it: to straighten out a false 1st Century church belief. The Holy Spirit seems to be saying, Church this is a false doctrine. You have heard that antichrist is coming. I am telling you that he that denies that Jesus is the Christ or that denies that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is "the antichrist," and he is already in the world!
 John then describes what antichrist is really like:  
1 John 2:22  Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is THE antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.
 So anyone who “denies that Jesus IS the Christ” is THE antichrist . . . Not AN antichrist, but THE antichrist. Then in 2 John 1:7  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.
 So there was going to be many antichrists. John also tells us what antichrist is 1 John 4:3:
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.
 This spirit is an IT, not a him! What’s more, this spirit wasn’t waiting around twiddling its thumbs until the end of the Christian Era. Antichrist was ALREADY in the world during the time of John. 
 So biblically, antichrist is any evil spirit who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Do you see some Satan-inspired human being called "The Antichrist" in those verses? One who is going to appear at the end of the Christian Era and rule the world from Jerusalem for seven years?
 Those are all the verses in the Bible that mention antichrist. Everything else we believe about antichrist is pure conjecture.
Now some 19th century theologians concluded that “the man of sin” of 2 Thessalonians 2 just had to be “THE” antichrist. So lets look at "the man of sin."
 2 Thess 2:3-4  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall NOT come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
 The question that needs to be answered is what temple is he speaking about?
In Old Testament times, God’s temple was in Jerusalem, but this epistle is to the Thessalonian church which began after the Paul preached there. So, where is the temple of God during this Christian Era?  Paul answers this question in 1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Here is another question that must be answered, if Paul was teaching the Christians at Corinth that they were the temple of God why would he change his message to those in 2 Thess. 2:3-4?
It is sound theology to conclude that the temple spoken of in 2 Thess, 2:3-4 is the human heart. So I quote again:  “ he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
Any true Bible scholar will agree that the most significant opposition to God is coming out of the apostate church.  The teaching of secular humanist states that man is a god, their own manifesto declares:” Man made God in His own image.” This statement shows they have exalted themselves above every god. What is sad is there are many Christians today who have accepted the teachings of the secular humanist. The result is Satan takes the seat in the temple of God making man believe he is a god—verse 4 “so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God”:  That phrase, all by itself, shows us that the “man of sin” is not a human being, but a spirit! Only a spirit being can take his seat in the human heart. Our bodies are still the New Testament temple of the Holy Spirit.
We have forgotten where the Christian's battle is. It is spiritual.  One  more  time:  our warfare is spiritual!   Satan's generals are not stomping around in shiny boots at the head of some army.  Nor do they wander about in staff cars, or direct battles from front  line  bunkers.   The  real  war is for  men's minds and hearts, not for some fancy bit of real estate along the Mediterranean coast. Satan is a spirit, and he is fighting for the souls of men, Rev. 18:8-13. The enemy of our soul is hidden in the background, influencing those who influence us.
His real generals and high priests are the hidden seed of the serpent that sets the agenda of conquest  in our high schools and on our college campuses, even on so-called Christian ones.  They are the ones controlling governments, the world economy, terrorist actions, wars, political divisions, false-teachings, and all the evil around the world.  Since we are not tuned in to the kind of battle we are supposed to be fighting, we don't even know who Satan's real generals are.  It  is a long roll call. Included are the names of everyone who teaches a doctrine which rejects Jesus as the Savior  of the world.  The influence has been so significant that many Christians have fallen prey to the false-teachings and have been deceived into accepting the lie told to Eve, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Paul in writing to the Christians at Rome described what happens when the lie is believed:

“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.2 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,3 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” Rom.1:21-25

This world is not getting better.  There is a “falling away” of Christian believers from the Truth of God’s Word.  Many have been deceived by the false-teachings of those who are of the seed of the serpent and have allowed the spirit of antichrist to set up rule in their hearts.

Today there are two religions that are openly antichrist- Judaism, and Islam.  Both deny Jesus Christ, meeting the qualifications listed by John. What is interesting is the strong connection of Judaism and Islam and what is happening in the world today. One religion is the influence behind what is happening, setting the agenda for world domination, while the other is openly following the plan for world domination, both are being used by the seed of the serpent to destroy the true followers of Jesus Christ. The goal of both is the total genocide of Christianity.  As Christians, our primary concern is not who is the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, the Tribulation, the Rapture, or what happens to Israel.  Our primary concern should be have we made our souls right with the LORD, and we are walking in righteousness and holiness.  Do we have the courage to stand up against the evil that is happening and proclaim the message of salvation?
Before God brought judgment on the earth with the flood, He gave man 120 years to repent.  They did not and suffered the judgment of God.  God has given us time to repent.  We are told today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time.  Our time is running out the “fulness of the Gentiles” is quickly coming to an end.  We have already seen the “times of the Gentiles” ended how much more time do we have?  The future events of the end times are here now.  We are living in the ends times.  How are we preparing our souls for what is happening now?
If we are granted the blessing of seeing the coming of the LORD that is good.  However, our lives are not to be lived sitting around waiting for the LORD to return but instead we are to be busy doing the will of the LORD in this life.  We cannot become so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good to the casue of Christ.  We must work to keep the spirit of the antichrist out of the hearts and minds of those who are followers of Jesus Christ.  We must continue to expose evil and fight the good fight of faith.
If what I believe about the antichrist is wrong then I will admit that I am wrong, but if I am right then many are going to be deceived and find themselves like the Five Foolish Virgins in the parable told by Jesus. They will miss the coming of the Bridegroom because they are waiting for the Antichrist to be revealed when the antichrist is already here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fight the Good Fight of Faith

How we believe and what influences our belief system has been conditioned by our childhood experiences, our education, what we watch, hear and read from the mass media, and various other external influences such as our politics and religion. As we get older, the previously held belief system has been overly simplistic and lacked depth, and we often change.

As we acquire new information, we begin to seriously question the established standard.  The new data is examined under the old paradigm.  If it fails to agree with our belief system, then it is discarded, even though it can be verified as truth.  This action is dangerous and places the believer in a precarious situation.

There comes a time in our life that all of us resist letting go of old beliefs.  Then there are times when we are excited to explore new ways of thinking.  It should be noted that I have no desire to make you believe anything.  I am only interested in challenging you to expand you belief system to accept what is truth. To prepare you to engage an enemy that is seeking to destroy your soul is my only intent.

There are times when our belief system is in conflict.  As a child in Sunday school, we were taught to love “everyone in the world.”  But as we grow older in a general level, we may believe that all humanity is to be shown, love.  Yet, on a personal level, we may feel entirely justified at times in being angry and upset at individuals who are hateful and evil, and you have no love for these people.  Some may go so far as to justify killing, not that they would be guilty of the act, but would condone others carrying out the action.  We have no problem making sense out of what may appear “illogical” even when it is in conflict with our belief system.

By choosing to be honest, the inconsistencies within us and in the world become increasingly apparent, thus allowing us greater choice in how we deal with them. We naturally grow more open and better able to understand and integrate conflicting beliefs on various levels. Through choosing to identify, understand, and transform the inconsistencies within ourselves, they can actually become potent teachers inviting us to expand our awareness, if we allow them.

The more soundly we believe something, the more likely our lives will be shaped by those beliefs. The more deeply we know something to be true, the more likely we will see and experience the world in terms of that truth. That is why it is essential to, Study to show thyself approved—rightly dividing the word of God.

Yet this does not necessarily mean that what is right for one person, no matter how deeply it is experienced, will be true for others. Perception is reality.  Each person – through their interpretation of what happens to them throughout life – develops their own version of truth, which has varying amounts of overlap with what others believe to be reality. We may feel something to be true and real, but our emotional experience can be different.  The more honest we are to ourselves and to the spiritual world around us, the more consciously we can make choices. And the more honest we are in expanding our knowledge and beliefs, the more powerfully we can face the enemy of our soul.

It is vital that the believer recognize that they are in a battle.  Not knowing the spiritual conflict that is raging around the believer is one reason there are so many defeated Christians.  This is the primary fact that allows one to prepare for battle and face an enemy that can only be seen with spiritual eyes.  Ignorance is a Christian’s greatest weakness.  Keep Christians ignorant, and they will be no threat to Satan. One of the other most important things to know is that there are two kingdoms that are in conflict.  This is the source of all spiritual battles that we face.  There is the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.  These are the kingdoms of Satan and the LORD respectively.   Paul in his letter to the church at Rome admonishes the saints to put on the armor of light.  Christians are in a war against the kingdom of darkness, and our weapons are spiritual.

This spiritual warfare that has existed since the beginning of time.  The fall of Adam and Eve was the first event in the conflict between man and a highly advanced culture of evil.  These evil beings did not come with physical weapons but came offering man the ability to become a god.  The enemy of man created emotional confusion about the commandment given to Adam and Eve concerning the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The enemy of all mankind used the weapon of doubt and confusion to get Eve to question the truth of God’s command.   The serpent convinced Eve she would not die but instead become a god.  That uncertainty about obeying the commandments of God has continued to the present. 

This battle with evil spiritual influences and power has infiltrated every aspect of our society.  The most powerful and secret organizations within our nation have fallen under the control of the seed of Satan. Government leaders have sold the very soul of America for power and money promised by the devil’s minions.  As Christians, we have allowed the principalities of darkness to divide the cause of Christ.  We have allowed Satan to get us side-tracked from the mission of Jesus Christ.  We have enabled the on-going-idiotic philosophical disputes of how we are to find  salvation,(through grace or faith).  How we are to serve the LORD, (the priesthood of the believer or only certain individuals are called to minister).  How we are to carry out the message of the Gospel, (a paid ministry or all are ministers).   All these disputes have distracted us from our mission. Satan has kept Christians continuously occupied with quarreling like two adolescent boys trying to prove who is the strongest.  Paul in writing to the church at Corinth was concerned about the division that was taking place.  He begged the Christians to stop being divided into different groups. Christ cannot be separated into separate groups.  To do this is to allow Satan to win.

As the faithful followers of Christ take part in this division, Satan is sitting back laughing at us.  The enemy knows that as long as we are divided, we are weak.  The strategy used by Satan is to keep Christians in constant arguments over issues that have nothing to do with our salvation.  We allow Satan to plant the seed of discontent and division when we are not focused on the message of the Gospel.  That message is to expose the darkness of evil so men and women can be brought into the Light of Jesus Christ.

How long will we allow the demons of this world to manipulate the actions of the followers of Jesus Christ?  As Christians, we have remained silent because we are afraid  if we speak the truth we will find the world retaliating against us and all we want is to be loved.  Our silence will allow evil to spread creating a society that has forgotten God.

There are those who once followed Christ but fell to the temptations of wealth.  These often are the very leaders of the church that are the spiritual watchmen over our souls. They hide from the truth and cling even more greedily to the wealth they already have, robbing from the sick, weak, poor and deluded followers.  They drank the Kool-Aide of the Devil and bought the lie of health, wealth and prosperity.  Some have even gone so far as to say you can become a god.  Again, Satan has used mans disobedience to separate him from God.

Here is the problem.  Humanity is not about to be invaded. Humanity is not in the middle of an invasion. Humanity has been invaded! The attack has taken place, and is almost in its final stages. Great invasions do not happen with thundering smoke, loud explosions, or horrible and scary people.  Overthrowing your enemy successfully  occurs in secrecy.  Individuals are decieved by offering them what they want.  In the case of Eve, it was to become a god.  For some, it is wealth, fame, power, beauty, and  sex, or even world domination.

As American Christians are distracted by sports, entertainment, career choices, material possessions and family issues Satan and his minions are gradually changing our country over to an evil dominated society.  The new World Order that we hear so much about is not new it is the same Old World Order that brought about the first flood of judgment on the earth in Genesis chapter one, and the second flood that brought judgment during the time of Noah and it will be the same World Order that will soon bring the wrath of God again upon this evil world.

One message from the pits of Hell is that there is no devil or demons fighting against mankind.  We hear all sorts of lies coming from those evil beings who would influence our spiritual lives.  They have spread myths of the creation of man from evolving from a single cell to being genetically designed by some alien race.  They have tried to discredit the Bible, the deity of Jesus Christ, the Plan of Salvation, the Christian faith and judgment of God upon an evil and wicked generation.  We are children of the day and not of the night.  We can see the signs of the coming judgment of God and must not be silent.

If we are defeat the evil that is all around us, we must remember we are in a spiritual war against the forces of Satan and his demons.  Our only hope is in Jesus Christ.  So it is time to pull out our swords and put on the Armor of God and face the battle that is before us with the spiritual weapons that God has given us.  Every Christian should be giving a warning to those who are asleep and unaware of the coming events that will change the course of human history.

The moment a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and receives God's Holy Spirit, that person is instantly and literally translated from the kingdom of darkness of this world into the kingdom of God's light by God's Holy Spirit of truth. The Apostle Paul describes this process as the "mystery" revealed, which is "Christ in you" the hope of glory.

Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:27 to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The believer is saved from the power and bondage of sin, the carnal nature, the devil, and supernaturally empowered with the Holy Spirit. The power of darkness is anything that blinds a person to the reality of sin. It is the power of darkness that blinds a person to his or her need for salvation, and from receiving God's free gift of Holy Spirit. Those who have not received the gift of salvation are blinded by the power of Satan.  By the conviction of the Holy, Spirit God draws the sinner towards Him by the Light that lightest everyone who comes into the world that leads to salvation in Christ by the cross.  The people of the world reject the truth of Christ and are under the control or deception of the god of this world, which is the devil.  Scripture states,

1 John 5:19 "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the evil one."

2Co 4:4 in whom the god [devil] of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.

It's long been an axiom of military science and martial arts that wisdom begins with an honest evaluation of strength and weakness. There is nothing to gain by self-deception and self-delusion when it comes to gauging our capabilities and vulnerabilities.

Our success is based on five conditions:

Personal salvation, - “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 517)

Yielding to the Will of God, “Do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but yield yourselves to God, as one alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:13)

Filled with the Spirit, - “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9)

Studying to be approved, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Applying the Word of God, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16)

 The believer that applies and acts upon this knowledge will be successful in defeating the enemy of the soul. The believer that ignores this will suffer defeat.  Paul in writing to Timothy advised him to take heed to his own life, and the doctrine or teachings of the scriptures; he was to learn how to apply the principles of spiritual warfare.  By working to prepare ourselves to fight the good fight of faith we obtain the abilities to execute the principles of spiritual warfare.