What Saith the Scripture?
Antichrist Shall Come
Or, The False Christ Will Be a Broken Cistern
"For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the Fountain of Living Waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water"
by Tom Stewart
The certainty and hope of these Last Days is that the LORD Jesus Christ is returning soon. "And, behold, I come quickly; and My Reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12). No man is a fool who lives his life in constant anticipation of the LORD Jesus' soon return. "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, LORD Jesus" (22:20). But, while the True Saints anticipate the LORD's promised return, the "mystery of iniquity doth already work" (2Thessalonians 2:7). In fact, a cardinal tenet of the understanding of the Early Church, was that they had already entered the Last Time, because of the presence of "many antichrists". "Little children, it is the Last Time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the Last Time" (1John 2:18).
Yes, Antichrist shall come-- to a deceived and unbelieving world-- but "unto them that look for [the LORD] shall [Jesus] appear the Second Time without sin unto Salvation" (Hebrews 9:28). And, how exactly did the situation arise that "many antichrists" (1John 2:18) could already be present in this world 1,900 years ago? To understand that answer we must turn our attention to the Original Rebellion. "What saith the Scripture?" (Romans 4:3).
But First, Back to Eden
It is true that Adam and Eve rebelled against the Love of the Thrice Holy God in the Garden of Eden, but they were not the original rebels. That distinction belongs to Satan, "that Old Serpent" (Revelation 20:2), who was present in the Garden as an "angel of light" (2Corinthians 11:14), in serpent form, to beguile Eve. "And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1). The giving of a Commandment to obey or transgress, is God's way of making apparent to us our Love for Himself, i.e., "If ye Love Me, keep My Commandments" (John 14:15), or our rebellion of heart, i.e., "whose heart departeth from the LORD" (Jeremiah 17:5). Though "sin is the transgression of the Law" (1John 3:4), before the command is transgressed, God is already rejected in heart, i.e., "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight" (Psalm 51:4), His Love is already spurned, i.e., "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an Everlasting Love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jeremiah 31:3), and confidence in Him Who is the "Fountain of Living Waters" (2:13) is already withdrawn. "16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:16-17). When Eve responded to the Serpent, she embellished the LORD God's command to abstain from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. "2 And the woman said unto the Serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die" (3:2-3).
True to his title as the Father of Lies (John 8:44), the Serpent distorted the Truth for selfish gain. "And the Serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4). Then, Satan allured Eve with the same proud lie that moved him to commit the Original Sin-- that he ought to receive the same worship as the Creator. "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14). This lie has been perpetuated to all generations of unrighteous men. "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" (Romans 1:25). Knowing that man ought to worship the Creator and not the creation, Satan seduced Eve with the lie that she would become like God, if she ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. "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" (Genesis 3:5).
The lie that "ye shall be as gods" (3:5) or "like God", and thereby, to receive the worship that would be normally directed to the Almighty, has been the driving passion of Satan, and is the epitome of the ambition of the Antichrist. "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, shewing himself that he is God" (2Thessalonians 2:4). In essence, Satan desires the worship that rightfully belongs to God. "I am the LORD: that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8). Satan's rebellion is a symptom of his hatred and distrust of the Living God. "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, He hath also rejected thee" (1Samuel 15:23).
The Original Rebellion
Satan is the Original Rebel that rebelled against the Truth of the Almighty's rightful claim to the worship belonging to Himself as the True Creator; and, all who reject His rightful claim to being worshipped as the sole "Creator of the Ends of the Earth" (Isaiah 40:28), are also rebels and liars. "Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the Truth, because there is no Truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). The Everlasting God is so hateful of rebellion that He promised the devouring of the sword to those who rebel. "19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:19-20). In fact, when the Son of God returns at His Second Advent, He will slay the rebellious with the Sword of His Word. "And out of His mouth goeth a sharp Sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Revelation 19:15). [See our article, "He That Endureth to the End Shall Be Saved, Or, The Biblical Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/He.That.Endureth.to.the.En.html -- , for a discussion of the necessity to persevere in faith and obedience for Eternal Salvation.]
In the Book of Isaiah, we find the account of the fall of the king of Babylon-- possibly Belshazzar-- that is transferred in a figure to Satan, i.e., "That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!" (Isaiah 14:4). We know that Satan will be finally defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire, after the Post-Millennial Rebellion has been quelled. "And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, where the Beast [the Antichrist] and the False Prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). The LORD Jesus painted a graphic picture of Hell-- which, we are told will be "cast into the Lake of Fire" (20:14). "43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into Hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-44).
When Satan is finally cast into the Lake of Fire, the tormented souls that reside therein will mock him with the hatred and disdain that Satan had formerly heaped upon them, i.e., "7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations [Satan's hatred of man] which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (Revelation 20:7-8). "9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee [Satan] at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the Earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? 11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee" (Isaiah 14:9-11).
The name of "Lucifer" is used only this once in Scripture, reminding us of Satan's exalted role of bearing the Light before he fell. "How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer [literally, light bearer], son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (Isaiah 14:12). That it appears to be the name describing our "adversary the Devil" (1Peter 5:8) is apparent, since he and his followers pride themselves in appearing as illuminators or bearers of the light. "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2Corinthians 11:14). Likewise, the Antichrist will fulfill both meanings of the prefix "anti-" affixed before "Christ": (1) "Anti-" means against or in opposition to Christ, i.e., "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped" (2Thessalonians 2:4). And, (2) "anti-" also means in place of or in substitution for Christ, i.e., "so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2:4).
The five "I wills" of Satan cost him and his angelic followers their "first estate" (Jude 6). "13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:13-14). The name "Satan", in both the Hebrew and the Greek, mean adversary, i.e., "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1Peter 5:8). "Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us" (1Thessalonians 2:18). Another name for Satan is "Apollyon", in the Greek, and "Abaddon", in the Hebrew, which both mean destroyer, i.e., "14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil" (Hebrews 2:14). Satan's reputation as the "accuser of [the] brethren" (Revelation 12:10) is well-founded, for the name "Devil" means slanderer, in the Greek. In short, when Lucifer pronounced the five "I wills" (Isaiah 14:13-14), they were not a statement of worship of Jehovah, but a perverse declaration of self exaltation and hatred of the Almighty. "Let not an evil speaker be established in the Earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him" (Psalm 140:11).
The destiny of Satan is the same as that of the Antichrist and the False Prophet-- the Pit, which is known as the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10). "Yet thou shalt be brought down to Hell, to the sides of the Pit" (Isaiah 14:15). Though the wicked one will continue to oppose the True Saints until he is cast into the Lake of Fire, the victory that is continually ours is wrought by our abiding in faith in the LORD Jesus Christ. "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1John 5:4). Our grasp upon His Word establishes us in this monumental conflict with Satan over the prize for our Eternal Soul. "And take the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God" (Ephesians 6:17). We are wary that we must still "tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: [but] nothing shall by any means hurt [us]" (Luke 10:19). "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37)!
The Lie Throughout Time: Ye Shall Be as Gods
Satan seduced Eve with the bait of becoming "like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14) in "knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). "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" (3:5). What Satan failed to tell Eve, was that she already knew all that she needed to know about evil, i.e., evil is eating of the fruit that God had forbidden. Did not the Creator say, "But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Genesis 2:17)? This seduction extends to the present, where the people of God are coaxed to investigate sin and Satan in a way that is detrimental to the soul. "For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil" (Romans 16:19). If we cannot investigate evil through the protective covering of the Word of God, then we ought to avoid it, as we would a venomous serpent. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). "Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (1Peter 5:9). "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
But, did not the Psalmist record, "Ye are gods" (Psalms 82:6)? True. And, did not the LORD Jesus Christ affirm the truth of this passage, i.e., "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34)? Also, true; but, He was pointing out His accusers' inconsistency in faulting Him for claiming to be the Son of God, when the Law that they accepted called mortal men, "gods". And, how could Jesus call the mere men to "whom the Word of God came" (10:35), "gods"? In Old Testament Israel, the God-like power of life and death was given to secular judges [Hebrew, elohim]; and thus, the appellation of "gods" (Psalm 82:6) was understood to be theirs-- without any sense of blasphemy. Asaph's authorship of the 82nd Psalm, was a protest against wickedness in the judges of the government of ancient Israel. "1 God [Hebrew, elohim] standeth in the congregation of the mighty; He judgeth among the gods [Hebrew, elohim]. 2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?" (Psalm 82:1-2). The close of the 82nd Psalm placed the godhood of Israel's secular judges into perspective, with a statement of the preeminence of the Almighty. "Arise, O God, judge the Earth: for Thou shalt inherit all nations" (82:8).
C. H. Spurgeon's "The Treasury of David" explains the usage of the term "gods" for secular judges: "[Psalm 82:6- 'I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.'] Verse 6. -- 'Ye are gods,' etc. It is of course, to civil governors, especially those entrusted with the administration of justice, that the prophet addresses this stern admonition. He calls them 'the gods' [v. 1], and 'the sons of the Most High' [v. 6]. To the people of Israel this kind of appellation would not seem over bold: for it was applied to judges in well-known texts of the Law of Moses. Thus, in the code of civil statutes delivered at Sinai, it is said, 'Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people' (Exodus 22:28). Nor is that the only instance of the kind. In two other passages of the same code (Exodus 21:6 ["Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever"] and Exodus 22:8, 9 ["8 If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour's goods. 9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing, which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour"]), the word which our translators have rendered 'the judges' is in the Hebrew, 'the gods,' or 'God'" (remarks by William Binnie on "Psalm the Eighty-Second" from C. H. Spurgeon's "The Treasury of David").
Antichrist must affirm the lie that "ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5), if he ever expects himself as a man to be worshipped as the Almighty in the Temple. "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, shewing himself that he is God" (2Thessalonians 2:4). Antichrist must pervert the essential doctrines concerning the LORD Jesus Christ to hoax the world into worshipping him as the Living God. i.e., "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" (Romans 1:25). In particular, Antichrist must convince the world, Israel, and the Laodicean Church that he is the incarnation of God in human flesh, just as the Scriptures teach that the LORD Jesus Christ is alone that Genuine Incarnation. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of Grace and Truth" (John 1:14). [See our editorial, "Laodicea, What Happened?"-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/Edit_Laodicea.What.Happene.html -- , for an analysis of why the Professed Church is where it is.]
Antichrist must persuade the world that he has the power to rise from the dead-- as only Jesus can and did, i.e., "14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: Whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not" (1Corinthians 15:14-15). But, the world will be deceived into believing that "his deadly [head] wound" (Revelation 13:3) and his amazing comeback are evidence of Antichrist's conquering of death, when he never actually dies, nor does he actually resurrect from the dead-- as astounding as his recovery seems. "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2Thessalonians 2:11).
Ultimately, Antichrist must prevail upon the world to render to him the homage and worship that only belongs to God, i.e., "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in Truth" (John 4:24). "8 And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him [Antichrist], whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 15 And he [the False Prophet] had power to give life unto the image of the Beast, that the image of the Beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the Beast should be killed" (Revelation 13:8,15). This abominable act of worshipping Antichrist as God-- and thereby, worshipping Satan-- is the fulfillment of Lucifer's ambition to "be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14). "15 When ye therefore shall see the Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)... 21 For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the Elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matthew 24:15, 21-22).
This filling up the "iniquity of" (Genesis 15:16) the Antichrist is necessary in order to demonstrate to the world that Antichrist is not God, not the "Fountain of Living Waters" (Jeremiah 2:13), but only "broken cisterns, that can hold no water" (2:13). All the Judgments and events of the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21)-- the Second Half of the Tribulation Week-- will graphically illustrate to all, that Satan, the "god of this world" (2Corinthians 4:4), is not the Almighty, but a beaten foe. When the Abomination of Desolation takes place on the 1260th day of the Tribulation Week-- "in the midst of the Week" (Daniel 9:27)-- conflict in the heavenlies will culminate in Satan being forever barred from coming into the presence of God to accuse the Brethren. "7 And there was war in Heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon; and the Dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in Heaven. 9 And the Great Dragon was cast out, that Old Serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the Earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven, Now is come Salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the Power of His Christ: for The Accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night" (Revelation 12:7-10). [See our "Tribulation Timeline" section-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/WStS.Timeline.html -- and our Tribulation Chart-- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/Timeline/Big.Chart.Intro.html -- to get a better idea of the chronology of the Tribulation Week.]
The Crooked Path of the Antichrist
When the LORD Jesus Christ testified to the Jews of their rejection of Himself as the Messiah, He noted the pattern for the ultimate acceptance of the False Christ, i.e., he will come "in his own name". "I am come in My Father's Name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive" (John 5:43). The Antichrist will come in the power and authority of "his own name", because he will have no authority from the Father. "For many shall come in My Name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:5). Everything about Antichrist will emanate from the perversion of the Truth that was represented in the lie, "ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). As the master deceiver, Satan is a "liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44), and so the preparation of the way for the Antichrist has to be the corruption of the Truth of God. "The Gentiles shall come unto Thee from the ends of the Earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit" (Jeremiah 16:19).
The history of Satan and his prophesied doom is a tragic warning to all of how we can become "lifted up" (Ezekiel 28:17) in our hearts, only to become an astonishment "in the sight of all them that behold" (28:18) when God judges us. "12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus [referring to Satan in a figure], and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God [as the Serpent to beguile Eve]; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold [possessing great beauty]: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created [possessing great musical ability]. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub [a fallen angel] that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect [holy] in thy ways from the day that thou wast created [Satan is a creature and not the Creator], till iniquity was found in thee" (Ezekiel 28:12-15).
Antichrist will follow in the perverse steps of Satan by corrupting the Wisdom that God originally gave to Lucifer. "16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty [sin of pride], thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness [perverted the way of Truth into "doctrine of devils" (1Timothy 4:1)]: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the Earth in the sight of all them that behold thee [cast into the Lake of Fire]. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more" (Ezekiel 28:16-19).
For the Antichrist to maintain that he is the Christ, the Messiah, the Deliverer, is to reject the claim of the LORD Jesus that He is the Christ, i.e., "25 The woman saith unto Him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He" (John 4:25-26). "Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son" (1John 2:22). Antichrist is a liar because he denies the LORD Jesus as the True Messiah. Is it possible to affront the Son without denying the Father? No. "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?" (John 14:9). In other words, Jesus is God Almighty manifested in human flesh. "And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1Timothy 3:16). Either Jesus is the Christ, or the Antichrist is the Christ. "Choose you this day whom ye will serve" (Joshua 24:15).
The Unsound Doctrine Promoted by Antichrist
Sound Doctrine is more crucial to the health of the True Saints and to the identification of the Antichrist than has been emphasized by the shepherds of the Flock. "For the time will come when they will not endure Sound Doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears" (2Timothy 4:3). Why the aversion to Sound Doctrine? Since doctrine is the foundation and marching orders for all conduct, then Sound Doctrine must be hated by those who are unwilling to change their conduct. "19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:19-20). It will not be possible to take the professed people of God captive without their first departing from Sound Doctrine. "Holding fast the Faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by Sound Doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers" (Titus 1:9). [See our "Topical Links: On Sound Doctrine"-- http://whatsaiththescripture.com/Fellowship/Topical.Links.On.Doctrine.html -- to assess the means we have to discern ourselves and our adversary.]
It is obvious that the Professed Church has departed from Sound Doctrine by the perversity of conduct which they tolerate in the name of Christian Love and Unity. "9 Knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to Sound Doctrine" (1Timothy 1:9-10). This toleration is the conduct of Laodicea, while declaring itself "rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing" (Revelation 3:17).
When the Antichrist seemingly miraculously arises from the dead from a "deadly [head] wound" (Revelation 13:3), he will deceive the world into believing that he is the latest reincarnation of the "Christ Spirit" or "Christ Consciousness" (New Age) that was allegedly in Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, etc. This will negate the need for the Antichrist to prove or claim that he is the crucified and resurrected Jesus. "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" (1John 4:3). The Antichrist denies not only that Jesus is solely the Christ-- and continues to be so-- but, Antichrist also denies that Jesus the Christ dwells in a resurrected, fleshly body-- and continues to do so-- while he, the Antichrist, obviously claims to be dwelling in human flesh. "And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word" (1Kings 18:21).
Either Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, was crucified, was bodily resurrected, and is ready to return in that same body, i.e., "Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen" (Revelation 1:7), or the Antichrist is Christ in the flesh. Both cannot be Christ in the flesh. One must be an impostor, a liar, and "not of God" (1John 4:3). Antichrist must declare Jesus to be the impostor, but the LORD Jesus will settle all disputation by returning physically, bodily to the Earth at His Second Coming. "14 That thou keep this Commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our LORD Jesus Christ: 15 Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the Blessed and Only Potentate, the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the Light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and Power everlasting. Amen" (1Timothy 6:14-16). If the question must be asked, "Is this the Second Coming of Jesus Christ? Or, Is this individual the LORD Jesus Christ?", then it is not the Second Coming, and he is not the LORD Jesus Christ. "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30).
How can one impostor-- the Antichrist-- so completely deceive the world? The world will be deceived because "they received not the Love of the Truth, that they might be saved" (2Thessalonians 2:10). The Judge of All the Earth (Genesis 18:25) will cause it to be so. "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2Thessalonians 2:11). As if the LORD finally allows the dog to catch the car that it has perpetually chased, man finally receives the climax of the lie that "ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). A fourth of mankind will die under the Fourth Seal Judgment (Revelation 6:7-8) directly or indirectly because of the slaughter caused by the Antichrist. Christians will be martyred under the Fifth Seal Judgment (6:9-11) due to the persecution of Antichrist. Multitudes more of the Tribulation Saints will be martyred shortly thereafter, when they refuse the Mark of the Beast at the Middle of the Tribulation Week. "7 And it was given unto him [Antichrist] to make war with the Saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (13:7-8). With the blood of so much of the people of the world on his hands in so short a time, how can we conclude anything but that Antichrist is identical to his "father the Devil, and the lusts of [his] father [he] will do. [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the Truth, because there is no Truth in him. When [Satan] speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). [See our "Commentary on the Book of Revelation" -- http://Whatsaiththescripture.com/The.Holy.Bible/Commentary.Revelations.1.html -- for more on the Seal Judgments.]
The Fountain of Living Waters (Jeremiah 2:13) or Broken Cisterns (2:13). Christ or Antichrist. Sound Doctrine or the Lie. The choice seems so stark by comparison, but the practicality is that the vast majority will not see the difference. "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (Matthew 13:15). Since a "prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself" (Proverbs 22:3), then it is my prayer that many who peruse this article will do so with their faith strengthened that they wait for the LORD Jesus Christ, not the Antichrist. "But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear" (Matthew 13:16). And, if you look for the Saviour, "unto them that look for Him shall He appear the Second Time without sin unto Salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).
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