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I never really preached this particular message in this form anywhere because it could so easily be interpreted in a negative way and lead people to some kind of gloom. That’s not what I intend at all. I believe that if we study what the scripture has to say about the closing period of the age...although we may not understand the precise order or nature of all the events predicted...it also foreshows a number of very distinctive trends and forces that will be at work. And, I believe, these are so clearly revealed today that it is really...it would be foolish on our part to ignore what scripture has to show us. The Bible speaking about prophecy says it is a light that shines in a dark place whereunto we do well that we give heed. So, it would be foolish to overlook prophecy and take the attitude “we really don’t need it.”
Now, the kind of prophetic truths that I’m going to be looking at this evening are not exactly who the antichrist will be or where the battle or Armageddon will be fought. But, it’s more in terms of the forces that are at work which are all foreshown in scripture. Although we may not know exactly the course that events will take we can identify these forces. The one important thing we could do is to discover who our friends are and who our enemies are. The title that I’ve given what I’m going to say is “Evil Forces at the End Time.”
If we view this thing overall there is one distinctive, key word which brings into focus all the evil forces that are to be released and have been released at this end time period. That one word is antichrist. I want to take some time just to unfold the very clear statements made in scripture about antichrist. I trust that you will appreciate this is not going to be a melodramatic picture of some particular godless ruler. I think the key scripture is 1John 2:18. We could read verses 18 through 22.
“Little children, it is the last time...”
Note that the “last time” had already begun in the days of the apostle John just as even on the day of Pentecost the apostle Peter implied that the last days were already there because he quoted the prophecy of Joel: “It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit...” And he implied that was being fulfilled at that time.
In connection with the end time...you do not need to turn there...in 2Peter 3 the apostle Peter reminds us that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years. And, a thousand years one day. It’s particularly in connection with the end time period that Peter gives us this reminder.
So, if you just take that simply at face value, which is usually the best way to take scripture, it means that just a little under two days have elapsed from the day of Pentecost until now. So, I think that makes it easier to accept the fact that in the day of Pentecost they were already in the last days or the last times. We are still in the last days or the last times. We have not come to the time of the end, the climax, the conclusion.
Going back to 1John 2:18 again:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists...”
Bear in mind there were already many antichrists in the time of John.
“...whereby we know that it is the last time.”
That’s very important. Especially associated with the last time is antichrist. That’s a distinctive feature of the last time that was not found in any previous time and will never be found in any subsequent time. It’s absolutely exclusive to the last time.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they have been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction [an anointing] from the Holy One, and ye know all things [or ye all know]. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”
Now, I want to begin by explaining the meaning of the word antichrist. Just knowing the meaning of the word gives you a great insight into this whole area. The word antichrist is a compound Greek word made up of the preposition “anti” and the word “Christ” which in Greek is Christos. It’s antichristos.
Now, the preposition “anti” has two distinct, recognized meanings in Greek. The first is “against.” The second is “in place of.” Fully to understand what we’re dealing with we have to include both meanings. First, against and second, in place of.
Then the word Christos, its meaning in Greek is “anointed.” The noun for anointing which is used here is chrisma. So, it’s just very close. It’s not the word charisma which is another word, let me say that. The Greek word Christosdirectly corresponds to the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament Mashiachwhich means “the anointed one” and is normally translated Messiah. It’s amazing how many Christians and Jews are ignorant of this simple fact that when we say Jesus is Christ we’re saying Jesus is Messiah. In fact, I’ve come to the place perhaps partly because of my pending involvement in Israel where I’m rather reluctant to use the word Christ any longer. It has been so abused and so misunderstood and so frequently used as a swear word...especially, I’m sorry to say, by Jewish people...that I really believe it’s almost preferable to go back to the word Messiah. Quite probably in some of what I’m going to say I will substitute the word Messiah for the word Christ. But bear in mind, Hebrew, Mashiach, which gives us the English word Messiah; Greek, Christos, which gives us the English word Christ. They mean the same thing, they mean “the anointed one.”
The operation of antichrist...and we’ll see there are various lines on which he operates but they’re all summed up in the meaning of the name. The function of antichrist or the purpose or the operation of antichrist is, first of all, against the true anointed one, Jesus the Messiah. The first operation is to get rid of the true Christ, the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.
But that’s not the end. The end is to replace him by another one. That’s in place of. And you cannot fully understand what’s going on unless you understand that Satan’s first operation is to remove Jesus the true anointed one. But, his ultimate purpose is to replace the true one by the false one, the antichrist.
If you look at it that way you’ll see that in many churches that we’re familiar with today antichrist is already hard at work. I have a friend who was a member of a Methodist church...and this is not an attack on Methodists but it’s a fact. About 8 years ago he said to me, “Derek, in our church Jesus is a dirty word. You can talk about Buddha, you can talk about Plato, you can talk about Martin Luther King, and everybody’s happy. But if you talk about Jesus everybody gets embarrassed.” That’s a Methodist church! What’s that? That’s the first operation of the spirit of antichrist. Eliminating the true Christ. What those Methodists and millions of other people don’t realize is that’s not the ultimate. The ultimate is to get rid of Jesus and replace him by another.
There are in the Mediterranean area three main religions. Remember, the Mediterranean area in many ways is the focus of prophecy. Christianity, Judaism and Islam [Mohammedism]. Each of them believes in one true God. There’s only one thing that keeps them from uniting. That’s that awkward historical character Jesus. If Satan could persuade the quote, church, that we could do all right with a nice form of religion that didn’t embarrass people by mentioning Jesus and a blood sacrifice and the need for faith in his name, the way would be open for a coalition of those three religions: Christianity, Judaism, Islam. It’s my personal opinion that that’s what antichrist will achieve. Believe me, antichrist will major in religion.
Let me say also that religion is the field where Satan is most at home. His greatest threat to humanity is always by way of religion.
Let me point out to you that antichrist is spoken of in three distinct forms then we’ll go back to what I was going to say before. If you look in 1John 2:18 it says:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come...”
Antichrist is there the title of one specific person.
“...even now there are many antichrists...”
So, in addition to one specific person who is “the” antichrist there are many antichrists. If you want to know what they have in common you have to turn to 1John 4:2–3. This is very, very important.
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God [the Holy Spirit]: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh is of God...”
See what a difference it makes when you translate it that way? “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh is of God.” Let’s also emphasize the past tense. The Messiah has come. That’s very significant for those of you who are familiar with Judaism. Verse 3:
“...every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of God...”
I think there’s probably an alternative translation in the New American Standard. What does it say in verse 3? You see, there are different texts from which the translations are taken. The one in the New American Standard is probably a more reliable text.
“...every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God...”
But it’s in context with confessing that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh.
“...and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
There is in addition to antichrist as a person and many antichrists as many persons, there is the spirit of antichrist which operates in all antichrists. Bear in mind that the spirit of antichrist cannot operate anywhere that the gospel has not really been preached. See? It’s different from paganism. The spirit of antichrist ultimately is a deliberate denial of the claim of Jesus to be the Messiah. If that claim has never been presented then there really isn’t any scope for the operation of antichrist. That’s why this is distinctively of the last age because in previous ages the claims of Jesus had not been preached. But where the claim of Jesus is preached there the door is open for the spirit of antichrist. Jesus said to Satan when he finished with him at his temptation, “Follow behind me.” Not “get thee behind me” but “Follow behind me.” In other words, “Everywhere I go, Satan, you follow.” You will find everywhere the gospel is preached the spirit of antichrist will follow. It’s Satan’s last move against God’s last move. It’s Satan’s final opposition to what God intends to do.
Let me say that the spirit of antichrist has got four distinctive marks and they’re all given here in 1John. 1John 2:19, are you with me?
“They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”
The first mark is that antichrist begins in association with the church. Again, this is further confirmation that this cannot arise where the gospel has not been preached. This is where I’m going to get myself into trouble but there is no more suitable place for the antichrist to arise than the Charismatic movement. I mean, it’s got everything he’s going to need. It’s lawless, it’s undisciplined, it’s crazy about supernatural, it’s largely ignorant of scripture, it’s just waiting for the antichrist. That’s a shocking thing to say but I really believe it’s a fact.
Yet, I believe the Charismatic movement is of God, let me hasten to add that. It’s not what God has done, it’s what man has done with what God has done that’s the problem. That’s the first mark, they begin in association with the church. I’ll show you some other factors about that later.
Secondly, 1John 2:22:
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist...”
So, the second mark of the spirit of antichrist is it denies that Jesus is the Messiah. There are certain things I’d like to say that I’m not going to say but I trust those of you that particularly are of a Jewish background will fill in the gaps.
Still going on in 1John 2:22:
“He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son.”
That’s the third mark of antichrist, it denies within the Godhead the persons of the Father and the Son. The Father/Son relationship in the Godhead antichrist will not receive. It doesn’t deny God, believe me not, but it does deny the Father and the Son.
Then the fourth mark is in 1John 4:3:
“Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that denies Jesus is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist...”
The fourth mark is the spirit of antichrist denies that the Messiah has come. It doesn’t necessarily deny there will be a Messiah. In fact, it’s going to ride in on that but it denies that the Messiah has come.
Let me just summarize those four marks. First of all, it begins in association with the church. Secondly, it denies that Jesus is Messiah. Thirdly, it denies the Father and the Son. Fourthly, it denies that Messiah has come.
Let me give you what I was going to give you before but it comes better out in this order. Various other titles of the antichrist. We might turn to 2Thessalonians 2:3–8. We’ll probably read all of them. I’m going to read the King James Version but amend it a little. As I pointed out, the result is the Prince version.
“Let no man deceive you by any means...”
This is talking about the day of the Lord, the manifestation of Jesus Christ in power and glory to reign over the kingdoms of the earth.
“Let no man deceive you by any means...”
We’re always warned against deception in this context. I’ll show you later that’s the number one tool.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the day of the Lord] shall not come, except there come a falling away first...”
The Greek says “until the apostasy comes.” The Greek word is apostasy. We need to stick to it because an apostasy is a deliberate turning away from revealed truth. I would like to say the apostasy is right here, right in most of the mainline Protestant denominations, the apostasy is upon us. Protestants are afraid that the Catholic church will be the scarlet woman. I don’t know about that. Up to this present time the Catholic church has not denied any of the basic truths of the Christian faith. Whereas there are leading Protestant theologians and preachers who’ve denied publicly and shameless every basic truth of the Christian faith. The deity of Jesus, his virgin birth, his sinless life, his atoning death, his physical resurrection...they’ve set them all aside without any sense of shame or responsibility whatever. That’s apostasy. Apostasy is impossible with people that haven’t known the truth. Only apostasy can open the way for what Satan intends to do. That’s why he’s the author of apostasy.
I’m going back to verse 3.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the apostasy first, and that man of sin [the Greek is lawlessness] be revealed, the son of perdition...”
There are two other titles: the man of lawlessness and the son of perdition. The Greek word for lawlessness means lawlessness or rebellion. Antichrist is the epitome of all rebellion against God. Jesus said in Matthew 24:13:
“Because lawlessness shall abound the love of many shall wax cold.”
One of the distinctive marks of the close of the age is lawlessness. How many of you have observed an increase in lawlessness in the United States in this generation? There couldn’t be one that hasn’t if we’ve got eyes and ears. That’s very significant.
Going on about the antichrist, we’re not going to deal with this too much:
“...who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
He doesn’t deny God, he claims to be God. He does deny the Father and the Son.
“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what restraineth to keep him from being revealed before his time.”
That’s the Prince amplified version. “You know what is restraining him from being revealed until his time comes.”
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work...”
When I read those words and say them it seems to me I’m right in the midst of them. The mystery of lawlessness is already at work. I believe that’s true of the very age in which we live. The mystery, the secret, subtle, underhand force of lawlessness is at work.
“...only the one who now restrains will restrain, until...”
“Until he be taken out of the way” is not a good translation. “Until he is no longer here.” Who is that? That’s the thousand dollar question and I’m not going to try to answer it. Let me point out it’s a he and an it. Verse 8:
“And then shall that lawless one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
One of the things that comforts me is that Jesus is undertaken to deal with the antichrist. I’m glad he didn’t leave it to me. If you want to go out with your sword in hand, God bless you brother. But you’ll go without me.
We’ve got two titles there, you notice. The lawless one or the man of lawlessness, it’s the same, and the son of perdition. There’s only one other person in the whole New Testament who is called the son of perdition. Who is that? Judas Iscariot. You see the linkup and the significance that Judas was an apostle but he betrayed the Lord. So there again is confirmation that the antichrist begins in association with the disciples of the true Christ but he’s a traitor.
Then there’s one other title which is found in Revelation 13:1–4.
“And I saw a beast...”
That’s the title. But I prefer to say “wild beast.” It means specifically something that’s fierce and cruel. One thing I’ll tell you about the antichrist is he will be cruel.
“I saw a wild beast rise up out of the sea...”
“The wild beast I saw was like unto a leopard...”
“They worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the wild beast, and they worshiped the wild beast, saying, Who is like unto the wild beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
So, we have the three other titles: the lawless one or the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, the wild beast.
I’m going to just make some more or less random statements looking at this situation. Let me just say this first. History reveals many antichrists. I understand that in the Jewish encyclopedia the encyclopedia itself names more than 40 antichrists who have arisen amongst the Jewish people since the time of Jesus. One of the best known was Moses of Crete. I think in about the 3rd or 4th century of this era, he claimed he was the Messiah. He would lead the people back to Israel, they would recover the land and he walked into the sea with his followers and they were all drowned. It’s funny but it’s also tragic.
In essence, the concept of the Messiah in Judaism is the one who will give the land back and enable the temple to be built. You’ll find that that’s a very current concept today amongst the Jewish people, in a certain sense.
In the history of, shall we say, Christendom or world history there have been many antichrists. One of the most clear is Mohammed. Mohammed arose out of the context of Christianity. He was familiar with the teaching of Jesus and related to it. He acknowledged that Jesus was a prophet but he denied that Jesus was the Son of God. It always distresses me to see gullible American lady tourists going to Israel and letting all the Moslems come up to them and say, “I believe in Jesus.” They’ll say, “Hallelujah.” Those poor ladies will say “Hallelujah” too and probably get ripped off. But, they don’t realize that when a Moslem says “I believe in Jesus” he doesn’t mean “I believe in Jesus as the Son of God, I believe in Jesus as a prophet.”
See? Being aware of Jesus and his claims and denying them is the essence of antichrist. Actually, Mohammed claimed to be the comforter whom Jesus promised he would send. People don’t know that.
I would say Hitler was an antichrist without any doubt. If you want to see cruelty, look there.
I was in southern Germany in l934 on a bicycle tour and I met an ardent young Nazi who wanted me to go up to ?Bechtersgarden? and meet Hitler. I was a confused young man like some of you have been and I had no scruples about meeting Hitler but the trouble was that ?Bechtersgarden? was on the top of a mountain and I had a bicycle and I couldn’t get my bicycle up the mountain to meet Hitler so I declined. Even in my ignorant blinded condition I was amazed at the things that young man said about Hitler. And that was in l934. He said, “He is for us something sacred.” Amazing! There’s no doubt that multitudes, I would say millions of Germans saw in Hitler the savior. ?Riddentrop? said he is the Holy Spirit. These are historical facts. See? Where that spirit moves in it gives men supernatural control over others. There’s nothing in Hitler as a person in his own right that would make anybody turn around and look at him twice. An insignificant little failure as a man. When that spirit moved in it enabled him to throw whole continents into turmoil and be responsible for the death of almost countless millions of people.
One thing I want to remind you continually is that beast is very cruel. There was another small scale antichrist I encountered personally in Kenya in East Africa. It was Mau Mau. Again, many people don’t know Mau Mau arose out of Christian missions. It was a deliberate rebellion against the black man’s concept that the white missionary had come to steal his land from him. I’m not saying there weren’t some real reasons for saying that. Jomo Kenyatta said basically, “The missionaries told us to pray and while we had our eyes closed they stole our land.” Just to illustrate what I’m saying, you’ll find almost all the leaders of Mau Mau arose out of Christian missions. They got their education from mission schools. When they started Mau Mau they took the very hymns that the missionaries had taught them and took out the name of Jesus and put in the name of Jomo. This is again a historical fact. That’s the essence of antichrist. Set aside Jesus and replace him with another. Again, I will tell you, Mau Mau was exceedingly cruel. Theoretically it was anti-white but more white people were killed by traffic accidents in Nairobi during the period of Mau Mau than were ever killed by Mau Mau. Thousands of African Christians perished in horrible cruelty. Bear in mind antichrist hates the followers of Jesus and the people of God.
I believe it’s time the Jewish people realized...and the Christians, too...that we have a common enemy. Almost always the same forces that have opposed true Christianity have persecuted the Jews. Not always but nearly always. The interesting thing...and again, I’m permitting myself certain liberties...when the Israeli army moved into Lebanon some time back the Christians welcomed them. That’s absolutely without any historical precedent that I know of. It could be very interesting if it went a little further. It’s very reasonable because they both have the same enemy.
Okay. Now then, let me talk about certain things. The supreme motivation of antichrist is rebellion. He’s the lawless one. Let me show you the beginning of that spirit in Isaiah 14. We won’t take long but we’ll just look at it. Isaiah 14:12 and following.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”
This is the great, beautiful, shining, glorious archangel Lucifer. It means the bright or shining one who became Satan the adversary. It’s significant, I think, that Satan started in heaven. He started as one of the angels of God, one of the archangels. So, all through there’s this thread of the one who belongs to God’s people but becomes a traitor and a rebel.
“Thou art cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
Here’s the motivation laid bare in five statements.
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into the 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: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like [or equal to] the most High.”
Did you notice the one phrase that’s repeated five times? “I will, I will, I will, I will, I will.” That’s the essence of rebellion. My will set in opposition to the will of God. Because Lucifer reached up for equality which he did not merit he fell.
I think it’s interesting to contrast the spirit of Jesus because that’s what we need to understand. Turn to Philippians 2, beginning at verse 5.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus...”
In the Messiah Jesus. Let’s keep the word Messiah. What was the attitude of Messiah?
“...who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God...”
Did not think that equality with God was something to be grasped at. Here’s the exact contrast with Lucifer. Lucifer was not equal with God, he reached for equality, slipped and fell. Jesus was equal with God, he renounced his position and humbled himself. That’s the spirit of the true Messiah.
Then we find the steps downwards that Jesus took as a result of humbling himself which we will not analyze. But just note the contrast. The Satanic spirit is one that grasps for power, authority and honor. Every time it grasps it falls. The spirit of Jesus is one that is entitled to authority and honor but voluntarily humbles himself. Now we need to be sure that’s the spirit that’s motivating us because my personal opinion is that the spiritual forces in the world today are so strong that no one is going to be a vacuum. If you’re not filled with the right spirit ultimately you will be filled with the wrong spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is no longer a useful recommendation. I think it’s a life and death necessity.
Satan and his expression as antichrist has one supreme ambition. What is that? I wonder how many of you know what I’m thinking. I mean, you could be right, too but I believe he has one supreme particular ambition. He wants to receive one thing which is what? Worship. Bear that in mind. You see, he didn’t achieve equality with God, he fell. But he hasn’t given up pursuing that ambition, believe me. There’s one thing that only God is entitled to receive, one thing that marks out God. What is that? Worship. So, in a certain sense, if Satan can receive worship he is re-establishing his claim to be equal with God. That’s why he craves worship more than anything else.
I want to point out a very dramatic incident in the life of Jesus right at the beginning of his ministry in Matthew 4:8–10. This version of the three temptations of Jesus, this is the final temptation. Verse 8:
“Again, the devil taketh him up to an exceeding high mountain and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them...”
Notice the bait is political power. That’s the bait.
“...and he saith unto him, All these things will I give thee if thou will fall down and worship me.”
It’s very simple. You don’t have to do much. You can carry on, you can teach, you can work miracles. There’s just one little thing I ask. It wouldn’t take a moment. Just fall down before me. Jesus the true Messiah rejected the bargain. He wouldn’t pay that price for political power.
“Jesus saith unto him, Get thee hence, Satan...”
Follow behind me is what it means.
“...for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Let me say this. The way to be empowered by anything is to worship it. What you worship is what will control you. That’s why the more we worship the Lord the more control he has over our lives. Have you ever dealt...I’m sure some of you have...with somebody who has actually worshiped Satan? You’ll know that it’s a tremendous battle to break that hold. Let me say to you lovingly be careful what you worship. That’s what’s going to dominate you for the rest of you life. Take time to worship the Lord because in doing so you’re giving him ever increasing control over you.
Now, turn to Revelation 13 for a moment. I feel a kind of anointing coming on me at this point. It’s probably not too soon! What I want to point out to you now...and I better say it in advance...is that the true Messiah rejected Satan’s bargain. He would not buy political power at the price of worshipping Satan. The false messiah will do it. That’s the difference. He will buy political power by selling himself to Satan. Once he’s sold himself to Satan, Satan will use all his power and his cleverness to promote that man politically to supreme rule over the human race. So we read this, Revelation 13:2.
“The cruel beast [the wild beast] which I saw was like unto a leopard... and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
The dragon, we are told specifically, is Satan. Satan gave him his seat, his power, and great authority. It’s important to realize that Satan can give people authority.
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the wild beast.”
There’s a kind of pseudo resurrection, see? Just as the real resurrection endorsed Jesus as the true Messiah, so there’s going to be a bogus resurrection, a phony resurrection that will single out the false messiah. Look at verse 4:
“They worshiped the dragon who gave power unto the wild beast, and they worshiped the wild beast.”
There’s Satan’s ambition achieved. He had to achieve it through a man. I would venture to say that Satan has been looking for 2,000 years for the man that will do the job. And he’ll be no ordinary man. He won’t be stupid, he won’t be ugly, he won’t be dumb; he’ll be very attractive, very talented, very charming, very clever, very sophisticated.
The next thing I want to say is that Satan has one main tool to achieve his objective and it is deception. Always in all prophecies relating to the end of the age we are warned against being deceived. I would say furthermore that his deception is going to take a specific form. Bear in mind his object is to get a certain man worshiped as God. So, he needs as his tool of deception a philosophy that deifies man. Do you know what I mean by deify? That makes man his own god. I would say in essence that’s the spirit in secular humanism. What secular humanism is aiming at is making man his own god. It’s not saying it in so many words at the moment in most cases but ultimately that’s where it’s headed. We don’t want any interference from any other supreme being, we don’t need religion; we can handle our own problems. Ultimately that’s making man his own god. I think we need to see this fact.
I don’t want to get fanciful but the number of the antichrist, everybody knows that. There’s not one person here that doesn’t know the number of the antichrist. I don’t want to embarrass you but it’s 666. Some very interesting things, I’ve got to hold myself down so I don’t get on too spiritual a plane. You know, both in Hebrew and in Greek which are the two languages of the scripture, every letter has a numerical value. Alephis one, Betis two, Gimmelis three, Yodhis ten, and so on. ?Caph? is twenty, ?Nabid? is thirty, ?Maim? is forty. I think. If I’m wrong, correct me privately. The same in the Greek alphabet. So, when it says that his number is the number of a man’s name, it’s very simple. I mean, there’s no big problem. Instead of writing the name horizontally you write it vertically. Against each letter you write the numerical value. Then with a little simple arithmetic you add it up. Okay? Personally I have no doubt in my mind that’s exactly what it means. What really convinced me that was true was one day I took the name Jesus in Greek, wrote the letters vertically, put the numerical value against them and do you know what they add up to? 888. So, there’s a kind of built in antithesis. The false christ is 666. The true Christ is 888. Six, in a certain sense, is a number of incompletion because seven is the number of completeness and perfection. Eight is the number of resurrection, seven plus one. So, what I’m saying is really the number 666, in a certain sense, represents the ultimate that man can achieve without God. That’s the essence of this spirit and the essence of this philosophy. It’s man making himself god.
There’s something very interesting here...it may not appeal to any of the rest of you but it appeals to me because of my background. I want to turn to Zechariah 9 for a moment. Verse 13. The Lord is talking about what he’s going to do at the close of this age and I’m just going to pick out one phrase.
“When I shall have bent Judah for me, and filled the bow with Ephraim...”
That’s a picturesque figure. It speaks about the restoration of two kingdoms that were scattered in exile. Judah the southern kingdom, Ephraim the northern kingdom. God speaks about the time when they’re going to become his weapons of war. Judah will be the bow, Ephraim will be the arrow that will be put in the bow. This is in line with the prophecies of Ezekiel 37 where the Lord speaks about restoring the two kingdoms as one nation. Then it says:
“...and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece.”
For many of you that may not have much significance. For me it has tremendous significance. There’s going to come a time when the stream that comes out of Zion will be in opposition to the stream that comes out of Greece. Why I’m interested is because my field when I was a professor at Cambridge University was Greek philosophy. I studied that for many years. I studied it in great detail. My primary object of study was the philosophy of Plato. Just because I’m entitled to say this, I’ve read every word that Plato ever wrote in the original language. That’s a great many words. I wrote my dissertation for a fellowship on the evolution of Plato’s method of definition. So, all I want to say is this is a field that I have been deeply involved in.
Therefore, I think I understand in a measure what it means when the sons of Zion are to be raised up against the sons of Greece. Greece is the source of all western philosophy. Basically, it began around about 600 B.C. Few people that are not familiar with history will know to what extent the concepts and the thoughts of the western world, that’s Europe and the United States, have been molded and influenced by Greek philosophy. Around about the year 600 B.C. one of the first Greek philosophers came out with a statement that really sums up this whole thing. His name was Heraclitus and he said, “Man is the measure of all things.” In other words, man has the ultimate answer. Whatever man measures and however man measures, that’s it.
When I started to study the Bible as a philosopher...because I felt it was my philosophic duty to study it...and without any spiritual insight after awhile I realized that I’d moved into a new field. That had been my attitude, “I’m the measure of all things. Anything I say, any decisions I make, any standards I set, any conclusions I come to, they’re valid.” The strange thing was when I began to read the Bible I got the strange impression was not merely was I reading the Bible but the Bible was reading me. And, it didn’t accept my standards. For the first time in my life I was confronted face on with the fact that there’s another standard that doesn’t bend to man, that isn’t impressed by man’s intellectual achievements or scientific achievements. I believe there’s a great measure of that in the statement that God will raise up the sons of Zion against the sons of Greece. Because, the essence of Hebrew thought is “in the beginning God.” That’s the fountain source of all true Hebrew thought and revelation. So you have this antithesis of “in the beginning God” and “Man is the measure of all things.”
Of course, Greek thought had gods, lots of gods. Convenient gods, pretty gods, clever gods, beautiful gods, very immoral gods, very cruel gods. But they were like little puppets in man’s imagination. Man was the ultimate. I believe you’ll find that this is going to be one major aspect of the end time conflict is which philosophy is going to triumph. In particular, which philosophy is going to rule you?
There’s something very, very appealing about the concept that man is the one who knows. His decisions are valid. That’s the concept and the philosophy that has moved into the Christian church whereby we set our standards. We don’t ask what God has said, we decide what God ought to have said. If he didn’t say it the way we said it we revise it. I’m not saying that’s true of this group.
I think we better go back over this. His supreme motivation is rebellion. His supreme ambition is to receive worship. His tool, deception through a humanistic philosophy. And, one distinctive characteristic of what he produces is counterfeit. Everything that Satan handles comes out a counterfeit. So, there’s going to be a counterfeit trinity. I’m sure many of you have heard this but let me just point it out to you because it leads on to another thing that I want to say. If you turn to Revelation 16:13, all three persons of this counterfeit trinity are mentioned in one verse. They are all attributed to unclean or evil spirits.
“I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the wild beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”
That’s the Satanic trinity. The dragon is Satan. The wild beast is the antichrist. The false prophet is the religious teacher who establishes the power of the antichrist. They correspond to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father, the counterfeit is the dragon, Satan. The Son, the counterfeit is the false christ, the antichrist. The Holy Spirit, the counterfeit is the false prophet.
Just interestingly, to see how close it comes to the truth, the supreme function of the false prophet is to get men to worship the false christ. You see how close that is to the function of the Holy Spirit which is to enable us to worship the true Christ. You see how close Satan models his counterfeit on the real thing.
Just look for one or two verses in Revelation 13:11–15.
“And I saw another wild beast coming up out of the earth...”
The first wild beast came up out of the sea.
“...and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon.”
At his first appearance he would be very humble and gentle and sweet. But behind the lamb-like appearance is the reality of the dragon.
“And he exercised all the power of the first wild beast before him, and causeth the earth and those who dwell therein to worship the first wild beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He doeth great wonders...”
He’s the miracle worker of the Satanic trinity just like the Holy Spirit is the miracle worker of the true trinity. Verse 14:
“And he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth...”
Again there’s an opposition. The Holy Spirit leads us into all truth, this leads us into deception.
Then particularly interesting, the latter part of verse 14.
“He deceiveth those that dwell on the earth saying to them that they should make an image of the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he [the false prophet] had power to give life unto the image of the wild beast, that the image of the wild beast should both speak, and cause that as may as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”
Again, I think if you can see this there’s a remarkable sort of revelation of truth. The Holy Spirit doesn’t need to make an image of Jesus. Because, he puts us directly in touch with Jesus. But the false prophet had to make an image. You see, everything that Satan does is a sham, it’s a counterfeit all through. So that’s the counterfeit trinity.
Now, buckle your seat belt because we’re coming to the real controversial issue. That’s the counterfeit church. Just as Jesus has a church that is his bride, the antichrist has a counterfeit church which will be his bride. Friends, don’t be the bride of the antichrist. How many of you have heard about the young lady of ?Riger? There was a young lady of ?Riger? who went for a ride on a tiger. They returned from the ride with the lady inside and a smile on the face of the tiger! That’s like the bride of the antichrist. It’s a very accurate picture.
Now, let me say that the essence of the counterfeit church, the counterfeit bride is that she is the expression of female rebellion. Just as the antichrist is the expression of rebellion so the antichrist bride expresses his nature which is female rebellion.
Now I’m going to read from the New American Standard just to prove I’m broad-minded and I’m going to read Zechariah 5. The Lord has very clearly directed my attention to this. Zechariah opens with a series of visions, all of which, I believe, have an application to the end time. We’re only going to look at one of them. It’s in Zechariah 5, beginning at verse 5. You notice my eyes are not trained to read the New American Standard, I have to put glasses on! The truth of the matter being that I don’t need to read the King James, I more or less know it by heart anyhow. This is a very clear translation, it brings out certain things that are slightly obscure in the King James. I think I only need to read this for you to see the point.
“Then the angel who was speaking with me went out and said to me, Lift up now your eyes and see now what this is going forth. And I said, What is it? And he said, This is the ephah going forth.”
An ephah is more or less like a bushel, it’s a measure of grain, et cetera.
“This is the ephah going forth. Again he said, This is their appearance in all the earth.”
I don’t agree with the translation land. For those of you who know Hebrew, ?aritz? is either land or earth, you have to decide. This is what they are like in all the earth, this ephah. That’s a representation of all the people of the earth.
“And behold, a lead cover was lifted up...”
There was a lead cover over the ephah which the angel lifted up to let Zechariah see what was inside concealed but there.
“...and this is a woman sitting inside the ephah. Then he said, This is wickedness [or rebellion].”
Hebrew, ?avon?. It means rebellion.
“And he threw he down in the middle of the ephah [praise the Lord]; and cast the lead weight on its openings.”
So, there’s a revelation of the force that’s at work in all the earth. It’s not visible until the lid is lifted. Woe to the person who lifts the lid. That’s where you lose your popularity. But, when you look inside, under the lid is a woman. This woman is the personification of rebellion.
“Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there were two more women coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. And I said to the angel who was speaking with me, Where are they taking the ephah? Then the angel said to me, To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar...”
Who knows what Shinar is? How many of you know? Babylon. Shinar is one of the words for Babylon. So this links directly up with Revelation 17 and 18.
“To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar: and when it is prepared she will be set there on her own pedestal.”
What a picture! I mean, if you don’t see it then you don’t know what’s going on. I think it’s time you found out. This is the appearance of them all there. There is an unseen force at work, it’s a force of rebellion. It’s specifically female and it’s going to have it’s own temple. It will be directly associated with Babylon which is the source of all religious corruption through all ages. I don’t need to give it a name but there are many names current today that we won’t mention.
Let’s turn to Revelation 17 and read verses 1 through 6. Really, when you think how the in depth truth of the scriptures see the bride of the antichrist as a whore. She’s not a virgin, she’s a whore, a harlot, a prostitute.
“And there came one of the seven angels which has the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters...”
This is the same woman, you understand.
“...with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
She has a kind of heady teaching that makes people drunk and incapable of acting soberly and reasonably any longer.
“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
This is the young lady of ?Riger? going for a ride on the tiger. But you wait and see what happens to her at the end.
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color...”
And that’s essentially religious.
“...and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations, and filthiness of her fornication...”
I think the golden cup is a kind of counterfeit of the Lord’s supper. In other words, if you have communion with her that’s spiritual fornication.
“...and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
Now, look at the next verse because this is where you and I come in.
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her I was greatly astonished.”
That’s why I read that far because we need to know who our enemies are. If ever you’re going to see cruelty, it’s there. That woman will tear us apart with her claws if she can get them on us. We need to know that that at the present time is our number one enemy. We better be pretty well aware what will happen to us if she gets us.
One thing about Elijah, he was a realist. He had no doubt about what Jezebel would do to him if she caught him. When I realize that the great Elijah ran from Jezebel it opened my eyes to the kind of force we’re dealing with. If you look at the story of Elijah...and God dealt with me supernaturally and personally about this very story, I won’t go into it. Elijah alone could not handle Jezebel. So God brought him to Horeb and he told him what to do. He said, “Go and anoint Elisha to be prophet.” And he said, “Anoint Jehu and Hazael to be kings of Israel and Syria.” In other words, raise up other leaders who will carry on and complete your task. The Lord spoke to me through that in l971 in June. That was when God opened to my understanding the need for discipleship. I never heard the word discipleship used at that time but that’s the way the Lord showed me. He showed me I could not handle that force alone. That I was going to need to help raise up and train others that could take the job on. In a certain sense, discipleship is God’s answer to Jezebel. I’m saying things some of you will receive a little, some will receive a lot. I’m trying not to say everything because I want to get out of Kansas City alive!
Did you ever see the cartoon, I think it was in Christianity Todayor one of those religious magazines? It was a picture of the apostle Paul arriving in the city of Corinth and there was a group of women waiting for him at the station. They had all sorts of banners that read like this: “Paul is a male chauvinist pig, et cetera.” Underneath was the caption, “Ah, I see you got my letter!”
Let’s go on in Revelation 17. Note that the woman was sitting on the beast with the ten horns, et cetera. Without going into the application of the ten horns verse 16 says:
“And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.”
So there’s the woman coming back with a smile on the face of the tiger. Isn’t that a remarkable contrast between the way the antichrist treats his bride and the Christ treats his bride? See, in everything there’s this antithesis. Jesus loves the church, gave himself for her, cares for her, provides for her, will beautify her, will glorify her and will present her with honor to the whole universe. Whereas the antichrist, having used the woman turns against her and destroys her.
I want to tell you, that’s like the devil. If you are in the hands of the devil he’ll treat you like a lemon or an orange. He’ll suck the juice out and throw you away. You have good warning. Don’t get into his hands. As long as he needs you he’ll flatter you, coax you, persuade you and make you feel important. When you’ve done all he wants he’ll throw you away into the gutter and stamp on you.
That’s about it really. Let’s just close on a note of victory, shall we? Well, I think there’s one more thing I need to say. Come back to 2Thessalonians for a moment, chapter 2, verse 7. I just want to bring out one more point.
“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now restrains will go on restraining, until he...”
It’s impossible to translate that in English. I’ve looked in every translation and there’s not one that says it right. I don’t know how to do it myself. But it says, “until he be comes out of the middle.” In other words, he’s no longer standing between that force and whatever it is he’s protecting.
“And then shall the lawless one be revealed...”
He’ll already be there but he’ll be revealed.
“...whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”
You remember, those of you that were here this morning, Don pointed out that his most effective but not his most popular book was the one on false prophets in which he pointed out the mere ability to work miracles is not necessarily proof that you’re a true prophet. You see, why that’s not popular is, in a certain sense, it runs counter to much of the emphasis of the Charismatic movement. That’s why I was saying right at the beginning the Charismatic movement is the obvious place for the antichrist to arise so far as we can see the scene today.
“...and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: because they receive not the love of the truth that they might be saved.”
This is the application to our lives. The only safe course is to receive the love of the truth. It costs something to love the truth because the truth doesn’t flatter us. The truth does us good. It’s much nicer to listen to a kind of teaching that flatters you and inflates your ego and makes you feel you’re a wonderful person. But that teaching will destroy you, I’ll show you in a moment. The only safeguard in these days that we have is to receive the love of the truth.
Isn’t it remarkable we don’t know much about Pontius Pilate but as far as we know he never had any philosophic problems about the nature of truth until the truth was standing right in front of him. Then he said, “What is truth?” That’s like many of us. When we’re confronted with the truth we get all philosophic. It costs something to acknowledge the truth. But it will save you. If you’re not totally given over to the truth you’re headed for disaster. Let’s read on.
“For this cause...”
What’s the cause? That they didn’t receive the love of the truth.
“...God shall send them strong delusion...”
Did you ever read that before? Who? The devil will send them strong delusion? No, God. I want to tell you the ultimate judgment of God is to turn people over to error. There are cases in scripture where he did it. He did it with King Saul. It says an evil spirit from the Lord troubled Saul. Why? Because he rejected the word of the Lord. It says in Isaiah 29, “God says concerning all Israel with a small remnant that the spirit of slumber will come upon them.” It says “because they heard all the words of the prophets and not obeyed them.”
Here it goes further. It talks about the whole human race. To whom the truth was being presented and they didn’t like it. God says at a certain point in human history, “I will send them strong delusions.” When God sends you delusions you can’t believe the truth. Did you know that?
“...that they all should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
That’s why we don’t like the truth, because it doesn’t go along with unrighteousness. We can give all sorts of fancy explanations, we can talk about the new morality or situation ethics. The truth of the matter is we don’t like it because it fights the unrighteousness that wants to assert itself in every one of us.
Now, I have various ways of closing this message but I think I know the mind of the Lord. This is a thing I very rarely say but it’s always somewhere in the back of my spirit. I don’t believe that we can play around with the truth to suit ourselves at our own convenience and then sometime when we really think it’s going to be profitable we can get back to God and receive what he has. I always see a historical parallel because of my particular involvement with Israel. I know and many of you know that the years just immediately before Hitler came to power and after he came to power before World War II broke out, when he was becoming more and more anti Jewish in all his propaganda and his utterances and his policies. The Zionists sent many representatives to warn German Jewry and European Jewry of what was coming. Many of them would not listen, they just could not believe it would ever happen that way. If you’ve either seen or read the book The Holocaustit’s pretty well described there. There came a moment when the forces of Hitlerism closed down on Europe and no one could escape. Then millions of Jews would have given all they had to get out.
I’m suggesting to you that there could be a parallel with the Christian world. That we can trifle and play with the truth and refuse to accept the solemn warnings and exhortations of God and just view it as something that never really could happen. But that there might come a moment when God will no longer plead with us and no longer make the truth available to us but will send a strong delusion and we’ll be trapped. I believe as I stand here tonight that’s reality. I didn’t intend to say that, I planned to end this message another way but I really believe if I understand God’s dealings with me he wants me to warn you that you can’t fool around with the truth. You’re not going to have necessarily another 20 years to make up your mind whether you’re committed to God or not. God can shut it off in one instance like that. The truth will no longer be available to you. If you heard it you couldn’t understand it or believe it.
Do you know that it takes the grace of God to receive the truth of the gospel? Apart from God’s grace you can’t believe. If God withdraws his grace and sends delusion you’ll be deceived no matter how clever or religious or intellectual or philosophic you are. In fact, the more intellectual and philosophic you are the easier you are for Satan to deceive. We need to make up our minds. Are we committed to the truth? Whether we like it or don’t like it, whether it flatters or insults us.
I feel I need to close this message tonight by a personal application. I would ask you to sit where you are quietly for a few moments. I’m not going to prolong this. My inner witness is there are people here tonight that know the truth well and are not obeying it. You’re fooling with it, you’re playing religious games. I want to challenge you to stop that and get honest and be real and obey what God is saying to you.
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