Antichrist

18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 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 it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.  21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us —eternal life.

26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. – 1 John 2:18-27

 

 

13:1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling,  that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.  And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. – Revelation 13:1-10

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. 

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!” – Revelation 14:9-14

 

It is thus that I put to rest the case for blindly obeying any person (or beast) put in authority.  It is true that all authority is given by God, and even the beast in Revelation is given authority by God which God will eventually take away in the final battle to end all battles.  In John’s letter above, we see in verse 20 and again in verse 27 that through the Holy Spirit a believer has sufficient knowledge in order to exercise their gifts, their discernment and ministry which is always done in love.  Love was the central focus of this letter of John’s and so it should be in whatever we do.

 

In Revelation we see a far different picture of what happens when love is not present.  The day will come when the beast of Revelation will make war upon the saints.  What will you do?  I suspect that Romans 13 will be the passage of choice for enforcing the will of the beast and allow him to soundly defeat and deceive so many who will bear his mark. 

 

The antichrist is basically a counterfeit or a substitute.  Promising health, wealth and happiness but delivering bondage, misery and pain.  It is easy to see how the institutional church could become a pawn of the beast, if not take on many of the characteristics.  I’ve certainly heard enough questionable things from serious institutions which call into question the resurrection of Jesus or His fleshly existence.  I’m sure there are false prophets within the structure, the system and the walls of the institution.  While I’m sure there are those walking around spreading heresies outside of the system, it’s the ones on the inside who would institutionalize any false teachings or beliefs who are the most dangerous. 

Any system which stands in the way of having a relationship with Jesus or becoming more Christ-like would have some of that anti-Christ-like nature, basically getting in the way of love and loving one another.  I have heard of and known some various teachings that would like to strap the “whore of Babylon” baggage solely on the Catholic Church, but from where I am now, any religious institution where there is a separate clergy-laity would be fair game for such an accusation.

Just to make sure that I’m not putting too fine a point on it, any believer should be able to baptize other believers, should be able to administer and officiate a communion meal and at any time.  In fact, according to Acts, this was taking place all the time and everywhere the church spread.  The church expanded and spread to thousands and thousands, not by building bigger and more expansive buildings and ordaining more pastors, but house-to-house and neighborhood by neighborhood.  And this is the same way the church is expanding in areas of the world that do not have the opulent wealth that most of my readers enjoy.  And one could argue that many who live in atheist or Muslim countries are already in the teeth of the beast for not adhering to the official state religion or the official state regulations. 

Many of you have gifts that exceed those who might be leading you and exercising religious authority over you.  It’s time you be released and loosed in order to exercise those gifts and talents.  God did a wondrous thing in the first century through the movement of the Holy Spirit.  I see something similar happening, again.  There’s a part of me that wonders if this is a sort of pre-rapture, where people begin to come out of the institutions in search of a closer relationship with other people and with God.  I know I’m not the only one who senses this quickening.  World events continue to happen, but God is working locally in the hearts and minds of your neighbors, your friends, your family and each of you.  Just like the Pharisees in the first century, so too the religious establishment will miss out on this movement of God and will work to condemn it.  Afterall, what will happen to these lavish cathedrals and huge worship centers if there is no one who attends who wants to pay the bill?  Who will support the clergy?  Who will the clergy have authority over if the flock goes running off?

 

Here’s a lovely comic to brighten your day and give you a chuckle, not to mention something to think about.

D.

 

 

 

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11 Responses to Antichrist

  1. Xian Husband says:

    Well, you’ve certainly beaten up the strawman of my argument very well over quite a few posts. Too bad it appears that you didn’t ever actually understand the point I was trying to get across or what my actual argument was. If it helps to demonstrate this, let me say I probably agree more with the comic you posted (and the others on that site) then you do.

    You should have read the verse in I Kings I references as a possible answer to the questions of why God established certain people in authority. To make it easy: the passage was where the prophet Micaiah was called by Ahab and Jehosaphat to tell them God’s will for the coming battle. In the process, Micaiah gives an interesting picture of a conversation in heaven where God asks “who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” A spirit answered that he would do so. He said, “I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.”

    So, Micaiah says, “behold, the LORD has put a deceiving spirit in hte mouth of all your prophets.”

    So, while God cannot lie, there is precidence for God sending a spirit of deception to draw the wicked away to their destruction. Most of my commentaries believe Paul was making a direct reference to this in I Timothy 4 when he says, “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from teh faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons.” If this is correct we could say that false teaching has two sources: demons who want to draw the elect away to sin, and deceiving spirits from God who want to draw the wicked out of the flock.

    God’s solution, then, to the tares sown among the wheat. Give them a lie that they want to believe more than the truth so they leave and remove themselves from the elect.

    All of which reminds me of Psalms 16:25,26:

    To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,

    to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd.

    We are never to blindly follow anyone. We are to follow God in all things. But that still does not mean rebellion. You can talk all you want about “positional authority not established by God” but Paul said that ALL authority was established by God — and in writing that he was, more than anyone else, referring to the current Roman emperor. Who was Nero. The person above all others in history we could say was established by man and not God.

    Christian discernment is knowing when our leaders — who were established by God — are leading us away from God and to destruction. When they are, we are not to rebel but we ARE to disobey. We are to listen to God, not man. All while saying, as Justin did in his 2nd apology, that as long as you aren’t commanding us somewhere God told us not to go we’ll certainly follow you. We as Christians, will be the best followers any leader can ever hope for — as long as they aren’t leading us away from God.

  2. diggerjones says:

    “God’s solution, then, to the tares sown among the wheat. Give them a lie that they want to believe more than the truth so they leave and remove themselves from the elect.”

    I think if you look at what is happening in the mainline denominations, precisely the opposite is true…unless those who deny the resurrection are the elect. I mean the former Gov. of New Jersey left the Catholic church and is now studying to be an Episcopal priest! He just jumped from one wheat field to another.

    I do think you and I are amiss, and I’ll admit that I might not be getting what it is you’re trying to say. I agree somewhat with the paradox analogy, although it has consequences that are quite serious.

    I’m still trying to figure this out and yes, consulting the Bible to do it.

    It seems incredibly odd that Jehosaphat, after hearing some 400 prophets prophesy victory, would ask if there was just one more.
    D.

  3. Neatly timed dude! The verses numbers align here with me, and that the anti-christ exists is my own testimony to have encountered him locally. He is a man whose innocence can be proven, yet a habitual liar indeed of his own method can it not be avoided so as to seem to be him if and when ever so referring. To find the way through his method you only need know for certain to never accuse. But the days of his forty year reign will be brought to the full ending of soon. There are two dates we ought to recognise in this year 2007. The fortieth anniversary of Australian Aborigines becoming citizens of an essentially corrupt Nation State which has invaded our home, and then for others whose preference it is to that bone, that Che Guevara died forty years this year also.
    Enough told.

  4. Katie says:

    Oy, my head hurts, can we get back to talking about sex? (Or am I missing another blog? LOL)

    Again with me being Catholic and McDonald’s and all, I may just be a sheep. But I really like how the Church isn’t all “THE BIBLE.” The Catholic Church also follows the traditions of Jesus Christ with the Bible on the side (like 50/50 or something). Of course things may have gotten a little bit muddy over the years but for the most part I don’t think Jesus would really want us arguing Bible verses with each other especially ones written a century (or more) after his death.

    Do I really want all the Christian churches to align? Not really. Faith is such a personal thing in my opinion, we shouldn’t have just one option to worship God. I’m totally “Live and Let Live”, you go be whatever, I’ll be Catholic, and at the end of the day, it’ll all work out. (Just ignore all that Crusades stuff, please.)

  5. Xian Husband says:

    Digger: The opposite? Is that really what you see?

    I see McGreevey — someone whose life is evidence of his absolute LACK of the Spirit of Christ as he is about as corrupt as they come and gay to boot — leaving a church that would not tolerate his behavior because it is wrong and seeking to join a church that has been known lately to turn a blind eye to such real moral issues.

    The Catholics tell him that he is living in sin and unless he repents he is damned. But he doesn’t want to believe that. So he finds another church that tells him the lie he wants to believe — that everything is just fine with him, he certainly doesn’t need to change who he is and conform to any silly notions of ethics.

    Someone wicked. Drawn out of a church that would teach him that he is wicked to a church that tolerates such wickedness. Drawn out by a lie.

    Anyway, go back to the sheep comic site and read comic number 7. We’ve talked about this issue before, but more than that, I see a lot of his critiques on that issue applying to the one about authority we’ve been talking about. What the Bible says about God’s sovereignty is plain. But because you think you already know what to believe, you don’t think you can take things like Romans 13 literally.

    This comic author’s argument here is devestating, while still being humourous, and it absolutely applies to the issue he was taking to task, but it would behoove us all to look at it and see where else it might apply.

  6. JayAllTheTime says:

    Digger;

    First, it’s been a long time since I studied the scriptures.

    Two Things:
    1: If anyone suggested the Antichrist is here on earth in the flesh and asked me to point him out, that would be easy. His name is XXXXXXXXXXXXTHIS.MESSAGE.LOGGED.AND.REDACTED.BY.DHS.AUTOMATED.INTERNET.FILTERXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    2: The comic is great as is the text that follows. Having gone from mainstream to something similar to restoration, it seemed to me that the restorers were going exactly the wrong direction. It’s taken a long time for me, but I have started to believe that instead of 2000 years of entropy, it is possible for a church to have evolved with the input of 2000 years of energy from the Holy Spirit.

  7. diggerjones says:

    Katie, I would LOVE to talk about sex almost as much as I’d like to actually have it! I will eventually move off, but this is sort of where I am now. How you get to the traditions of Jesus without the Bible is a bit perplexing to me, but Catholics seem to be very tolerant of such mysteries. Is being a satisfied Catholic just part of being too busy to have to worry about the details? I heard one guy who basically came out and said he liked not worrying about what to believe or do because he had priests who told him what to believe and do.

    XH, I’m thinking about the Methodists who have struggled like the Episcopalians about some of the same issues. Many of us have wondered aloud as to why we don’t just allow the liberal folks to leave. “Why don’t they just leave, instead of trying to change the church into something that better fits them?” If a particular denomination does not allow ordaining homosexual ministers, why not join one who does, like McGreevy? Instead, every year, the Las Vegas-California conference tries to change the rules of everyone else to allow it. So the folks who have more orthodox beliefs end up leaving.

    To put it another way, instead of rebelling against a permissive Bishop, they come out of the denomination, thus out from under his authority.

    Jay, I agree that the restoration movement (which I suppose would descibe the fundamentalists I hung with in the ’80’s) went in the wrong direction…or actually did not sufficiently diverge from the mainstream to truly restore *anything*. The changes were cosmetic and haven’t really changed the hearts of the people or brought them closer to God. They still seek to run interference between individual believers and God perhaps even more so by adding MORE weight and bondage!

    D.

  8. Cat says:

    The changes were cosmetic and haven’t really changed the hearts of the people or brought them closer to God. They still seek to run interference between individual believers and God perhaps even more so by adding MORE weight and bondage! I like where this is going and even though like Katie I would love it if you talked about sex and more importantly had some 🙂 I am also interested whether I comment or not.

  9. JayAllTheTime says:

    I used the term ‘restoration’ but yes I was pretty much talking about various sorts of ‘fundies’.

    Oddly, in sitting here and stewing over this for a year or more I still haven’t crossed the threshold of a church. Yesterday I spoke with a neighborhood friend about her church and I’m going to give it a try.

    Yes, it’s as close to the opposite of the churches I grew up in as possible. It’s a liberal Episcopal joint.

  10. f2flutterby says:

    Re: The Early Church

    I’d challenge you to look at the Early Church through the distinctly Jewish lens of culture it was incubated in. What was given the Greek equivalent of Baptism is actually the Hebrew practice of Mikvah. No one needs to officiate, although a witness was sometimes used.

    What is referred to as “Communion” was simply the Master’s last Passover seder with his followers; the term “breaking bread” simply means to share a meal after study… another Hebrew custom.

    I’m in agreement about the idea of Paid Clergy/Pastors, whatever. In Temple times, the Levites were working class. Supported by the Temple food offerings only during their two weeks of stay at the Temple, they worked otherwise. The rabbis of old all likely were trained in a trade and supported themselves, as followed the disciples and apostles in their example.

    I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that I’m not fond of institutionalized faith and the results it’s wrought on society. Says I.

  11. therese says:

    Two things:

    It is inaccurate to say that only a believer can baptize, according to Catholic teaching. Since we believe that the grace comes from Christ and not the “baptizer”, the state of whomever does the baptizing is irrelevant. That isn’t to say that we don’t usually have a priest do it, of course, but technically you or I could with as much validity. Even an athiest could, if he baptized “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

    As far as “Being a Catholic means not having to worry about the details” and having someone tell us what to believe puts us off the hook from engaging our brains, neither are really true. Catholics have more “details” than pretty much anyone, and it is our DUTY to learn more about our faith. That sort of laziness in the man you mentioned can only lead to either religious indifference, acedia, apathy, or spiritual sloth, which in turn only affects the state of one’s heart and soul for the worse. A life of following the book (or magisterium as it were) is not enough to achieve salvation if one’s heart is not with God.

    Do I obey the teachings of my Church? I sure try to! But I also know that I have the responsibility to learn why I do. Everyone, even non-Catholics, should figure that out.

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