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We have been looking at the picture in the scriptures of antichrist. I think it’s perhaps good to recapitulate briefly some of the material that we’ve been working through. We said that the word anti has two meanings: against and in place of. And the total thrust of antichrist is first of all, against Jesus the true Christ, to get Him out of the way; and secondly, to replace Him with another, with a false christ.
We said that there are three different ways in which we meet this word antichrist. The spirit of antichrist which is a spiritual force that works wherever there’s an antichrist, many antichrists, and then the antichrist—one, final manifestation of this at the close of the history of this age.
I gave you three distinguishing marks of the spirit of antichrist. It begins in association with God’s people. It is not a form of paganism. It is aware of the claims of Jesus and deliberately rejects them. It denies that Jesus is the Messiah and denies the revelation of the Father and the Son in the Godhead. It’s not that antichrist doesn’t believe in God but he doesn’t believe in a God who’s revealed as Father and Son. In fact, he bitterly opposes it.
I also gave you three other titles apart from antichrist. The man of lawlessness, the son of perdition and the wild beast. I pointed out that this latter title, the wild beast, in the book of Revelation is a deliberate contrast with the picture of Jesus as the Lamb of God. And we have these two natures in opposition. The nature of the beast and the nature of the Lamb. For me this is very important, it’s practical, because I believe that we are going to be faced many times with pressures to go in the wrong direction, to express and develop the nature of the beast—which is somewhere inside every fallen descendant of Adam. I think we’re going to have to really be prayerful and waiting on God to be able to live out the character of the Lamb in these last days.
I’d like to turn to 2 Thessalonians again, chapter 2, which is one of the key chapters in connection with this. 2 Thessalonians 2, I’ll just read the first three verses.
“Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ...”
The Greek word for coming there is parousia which is the word that’s regularly used for His coming again in power and glory as king.
“...concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind, or troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us, as though the day of Christ [and many texts say the day of the Lord] had come.”
There were people at that time teaching that the day of the Lord had already come. Paul is contesting this and saying it’s impossible because the day of the Lord will not come until something else has happened. And in verse 3 he explains what has to happen.
“Let no one deceive you: for that day will not come, unless the falling away come first, and the man of sin [or lawlessness] is revealed, the son of perdition.”
So before the return of the Lord, two things have to take place. I realize this is controversial and it’s not always easy to fit together all the relevant passages of scripture. But these statements are very clear. Two things have to happen. There has to be the falling away, the apostasy. And as a result of the apostasy there has to be the emergence of the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, the antichrist. So, these two things must take place before the actual return of the Lord in glory.
I pointed out that the word that’s translated here “falling away” in the New International Version is translated “rebellion,” and it is actually the Greek word from which we get the English word apostasy. So, there is to be not just apostasy but the apostasy. And the apostasy, the falling away from the truth of the church, will open the way for the manifestation of the antichrist.
You see, the great bulwark that protects the world from the antichrist is the church with the truth. But when the church falls away from the truth then the bulwark is broken down and the way is opened for the antichrist to be revealed. So the falling away is part of Satan’s strategy to open the way for the appearance of the antichrist.
Now, everybody has to make their own personal decision but I could easily believe—in fact, it’s my personal opinion—that we are living in the time of the apostasy. You see, down through the ages in the history of the church there have been ungodly men who claim to be ministers of Christ and who led immoral and dissonant lives. Some of the popes were outstanding examples of that—and not only the popes. But basically, the great body of the leadership of the church maintained the profession of the great central truths of the Christian faith which are stated basically in the Apostles’ Creed. I think I can state them myself as I understand them. That Jesus is the Son of God, that He was born of a virgin, that He led a sinless life, that He died an atoning death, that He was buried and that He was raised again from the dead physically on the third day. And also that He’s coming again in power and glory to judge the living and the dead.
Now, as I understand it, throughout the centuries the church as a corporate entity has affirmed those truths. Even if people didn’t really believe them in their hearts and even if sometimes the leadership led lives that were totally inconsistent with what they claimed to believe, they still affirmed those truths. But in this century and especially in the last few decades, leaders from almost every section of the professing church have openly and publicly reneged on those truths. I’m speaking in an Anglican church and I’m grateful for the privilege. But, my impression is that a very large proportion of the bishops in the Anglican church today do not believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And this has certainly not only been denied but derided by bishops. I don’t say this as a reason for attacking anybody. And certainly there is no church that I know of that can point the finger at some other church because almost all the main denominations today contain leaders who have publicly denied that. Although the Catholic church officially maintains that there are within it many theologians—priests and others—who don’t believe it and who actually privately deny these truths. This, I believe, is the situation that has never exited in the history of Christianity from the 1st century until now. I don’t believe it has come to a climax. I believe that it’s going to be much more open and much more bold and even, in a sense, will deride those who claim to believe the statements that I’ve just outlined. So I believe that we are at least in the early stages of the apostasy. And therefore I believe that the way is being opened for the antichrist, “the” antichrist, to be manifested.
You see, if you live in the Middle East, as we do, they always talk there about the three great monotheistic world religions. By which they mean Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Now, to Jewish people that’s the view. There are three great monotheistic religions that originated in the Middle East. And in a certain sense, they lump them together. For us as believers in Jesus we can’t see them lumped together. But, it’s very possible that a world religion could emerge that incorporated elements of all three. There’s only one obstacle. There’s only one thing that can prevent that from happening. It’s that awkward historical character Jesus. See? He says I am the way, the truth, the life. Nobody comes to the Father but by me. That’s offensive to most people today.
So, if the spirit of antichrist could eliminate Jesus, the way would be open for a world religion that people could adhere to and be Jews, Moslems or professing Christians. Actually, there is a kind of pattern in freemasonry which is a religion. I don’t want to go into that but it’s a very specific religion and it has place for Jews, Hindus, Moslems, Catholics and all the rest.
You see, religion is the strongest single power for influencing humanity. Far stronger than atheism. In fact, at the present moment atheism is really on the retreat almost all over the earth. In the Soviet Union, in large parts of China, atheism is practically written off. It doesn’t have the power to motivate men and women permanently. But religion does. And so, the antichrist is not going to be irreligious. He’s going to have some kind of religion which he uses to manipulate humanity.
Now let’s talk for a little while on a very interesting theme which is the name of the antichrist. Let me not anticipate what I’m going to say, let me just say it. Jesus who was the true Christ and was a true prophet said in John 5:43, speaking to his own Jewish people, He said:
“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, him you will receive.”
See, the question is the name. Jesus didn’t come in His own name, He came as a representative of the Father. And as He said to the Jewish people as a nation with many individual exceptions, they did not receive Him. But He said if another one comes, another messiah in his own name, him you will receive. The Jewish encyclopedia records at least forty false messiahs since the time of Jesus who have come and gained a following amongst the Jewish people. One of the most outstanding was Bar Kochba who led the final revolt against Rome in 130-some A.D. There was Moses of Crete who led several thousand people into the ocean to meet the messiah—and they all perished. There was one called Sabbathai Spee in the 17th century who led a move to take the Jewish people back to their homeland, claiming that he was the messiah—but he didn’t succeed and eventually he was converted to Islam. Those are just some of the names. What I’m pointing out is that when Jesus said another will come in his own name, him you will receive, He was speaking the truth and it’s been historically fulfilled.
There’s a great deal in the book of Revelation, particularly about the name of the antichrist. I’d like to turn to Revelation 13, reading verses 16 and following. This is speaking about the regime which the antichrist through the false prophet will establish, by which he will dominate humanity. And it says:
“He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand, or in their foreheads...”
People used to make fun of the Bible and say that’s ridiculous, but today there are many different techniques that can do that. I don’t know how many of you have ever been to Disneyworld in Florida, which is just near where we live in the state. But if you go to Disneyworld and pay the entrance fee for the full day and then you want to go out again and come in, they stamp your hand with something that can’t be seen except in ultraviolet light. But when you come back they shine the light on the back of your hand and if you’ve got the right date on they’ll let you in. That’s just a very elementary example of precisely what the Bible is indicating. So, there will come a time when in order to shop, to buy food or to get any of the necessities of life, before you can buy anything you’ll have to display a specific mark so that the people that do not submit to the antichrist will, in a certain sense, be isolated and cut off from the necessities of life. That’s in a way a very simple, practical way of arranging it.
Let’s look at the mark or what you have to have. It says in verse 17:
“...that no one may buy or sell, except one who has the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
So apparently there are three alternatives. You may have a mark—and I don’t know what the mark is. Or you may have his name—and we don’t know what his name is. Or you may have a number which is the number of his name. And then it says in the last verse of that 13th chapter:
“Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”
Now, there are certain things we don’t know but there are certain things we do know. There are at least three languages—Hebrew, Greek, Arabic—in which every letter has a numerical value. For instance, to take Hebrew, you go through the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet, aleph is one, beit is two, gimmel is three, donet is four, hey is five—up to ten, which is huud. When you’ve got to ten then you count by ten—twenty, thirty, forty, fifty. Fifty is noon, like n. Sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, a hundred which is the letter koof. And there are only three more letters in the Hebrew alphabet, it’s only got twenty-two letters. So you get one hundred, two hundred which is raish or r, three hundred which is shee or sh, and four hundred, the last letter, which is taff. So, if you want to know the number of a person’s name in Hebrew, instead of writing it horizontally—and you write it from right to left, let us include that. But write it vertically. Write the numerical value of each letter opposite the letter and add it up. You’ve got the number of the name. You can do the same in Greek and you can do the same in Arabic.
In World War II the Arabs discovered that if you spelled Hitler’s name a certain way, beginning with a gimmel or gee, Gitler, it added up to six hundred and sixty-six. So, that was quite exciting for them at the time. I don’t think it was the final identification.
So now I’m going to take my dear wife whose Hebrew name is Ruth. That’s her English name, too, Root. Now, Root in Hebrew has got only three letters but they’re very valuable letters. You see, this is the way the Jews think. They say the more the numerical value of the name, the better the name is. Understand? So now I’m going to take Ruth and write it vertically. The last letter is th which is one letter. Okay? This is quite exciting. Raish is the last letter but two, it’s two hundred. Taff is the last letter, it’s four hundred. Now, it’s very exciting to know what this middle letter is. Well, it’s the sixth letter so it’s six. So you add it up, you see that? Six hundred and six. There’s no mystery about that and you can do it with any Hebrew name, any Greek name, any Arabic name. I can’t do the letters in Arabic.
Now, the interesting thing is we don’t know what the numbers are but we know what they’ll add up to, which is 666. Now, I was rather doubtful whether this was correct until I went to the Greek and I took the letters of Jesus and added them up. I’m not going to write them in Greek but just suppose we did it this way. They’re Greek, all right? Do you know what they add up to? 888. Now, that convinces me personally that this is the secret. You see, you have to be careful getting into theories about numbers but seven is the number of perfection, completion. Six is just fallen short of it. Seven has completed it and gone one further with resurrection. So, the antichrist is 666, Jesus is 888. I mean, you can respond to that whatever way you please but I don’t have any doubt in my own mind that when the antichrist appears—and it’s almost certain he’ll be a Middle Easterner of some kind—if you add his name up you’ll find out who he is. And I think a kind of shudder will go through you when you realize.
I could believe the antichrist has already been born. I would think he probably has. There is a theory which I’m not necessarily endorsing, let me go back a moment. I want to emphasize this is a theory only. It states that in the time of Noah, angelic beings cohabited with human women and the result of the union was giants or heroes. And of course, if you’re familiar with Greek mythology and other mythology there’s many, many historical indications that this is true. It’s something to consider that Satan will ultimately find a human woman with whom he can have sexual relationship and the product will be the antichrist. I’m not saying that will happen but it’s just a way of viewing how these things could come about.
So now let’s go on with the picture of the antichrist. We’re in Revelation 13, we’ll go back to the first 4 verses, beginning at verse 1:
“I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. The beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.”
The beast is apparently a political federation made up of different political elements. His body is that of a leopard, the main part of him. What do we know about a leopard from the Bible? It cannot change its spots. Though it may appear in a very different guise, it’s really still the same. I hope I won’t be run out of town for this but there are two world powers today which are associated with the bear and with the lion. The bear is Russia, the lion is Britain. If it were a European federation it would extend from Britain on the west through Europe to Russia on the east. And the majority of the nations in the middle historically have two features. First of all, they’re imperialistic. Whether you take France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, they’re all nations that have had claims to empire. The second feature of them is basically historically they are primarily Catholic nations. Is the Bible telling us that the leopard cannot change its spots? That what we are dealing with is just an updated version of something that has been going on in history for a long while?
This is just simply confronting you with possibilities. In a sense, my aim is to stimulate your thinking and to make you aware that the thing could be right—well, I put it this way. The shadow of the antichrist has already fallen across human history. How far is he behind his shadow? Especially since we are now talking about essentially a United States of Europe which Biblical commentators have predicted for probably at least two centuries. I’m certainly not attempting to say what ultimate shape they will take. What I’m pointing out is that in essence all the basic factors are already present and becoming more and more conspicuous every decade.
Let’s go on with the picture of the beast. Verse 3 of Revelation 13:
“I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world marveled and followed the beast.”
It would seem that there is at least the claim to a resurrection. What would have happened if John Kennedy had been raised from the dead? He would have had the whole of America at his feet in a moment. See? We’re right on the threshold of possibilities.
“So they [the people of the world] worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’”
Who is the dragon? Satan. We need to confirm that, turn back to Revelation 12:9.
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
There you have the most complete identification of Satan in one verse. He’s the dragon, he’s also the old snake, and he’s called the devil, diabolos. Do you know what the word devil means? It means a slanderer. And he’s called Satan. Satan means the adversary. So he’s the dragon, the snake, the slanderer or the accuser, and he’s the adversary, the one who opposes God and the people and the purposes of God. So when we have the dragon in chapter 13, verse 4, they worshiped the dragon. Who’s that? Satan. And they worshiped the beast. So, the ultimate purpose of antichrist is the obtain the worship of the whole human race. Satan’s purpose through him is to be worshiped. That’s Satan’s ultimate ambition, it’s to be worshiped.
You see, when he fell from heaven his aim was equality with God. He lost it but he’s never given up the ambition. And there is just one way that he can assert his claim of equality with God, because there’s one thing that is due only to God. What is that? Worship. So if he can receive the worship of the whole human race, he’s saying, “God, you see? I’m still your rival.” And I don’t think you really understand the operation of Satan amongst humanity unless you realize that his ultimate aim is worship. And all forms of idolatry, in essence, are different ways in which Satan gets worshiped. But his ultimate will be this supremely clever, gifted, astute, cruel, unscrupulous ruler.
There’s a very interesting contrast between the true Christ and the false christ. You see, Satan was willing to make a deal with Jesus. If you turn to Luke 4 for a moment, the description of the temptation of Jesus, verses 5 and following.
“Then the devil, taking Him [Jesus] up on a high mountain showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to him, ‘All that authority I will give you and their glory; for this has been delivered [or betrayed] to me, and I give it to whomsoever I wish. Therefore if you will worship before me, all will be yours.’ And Jesus said, ‘Get behind me. It is written you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only.’”
But Satan said you can do it. You have the ability. You can get the whole human race to worship you and I’ll give you the power. And then they’ll be worshiping me. The true Christ refused the deal. The false christ will accept the deal. And he will deliberately yield himself to Satan, become a worshiper of Satan, in order to be empowered by Satan to gain dominion over the whole human race. You see the picture?
We’re going back to Revelation 13, we’ll look a little further on, verses 6–7.
“Then he [this is the antichrist] opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.”
I am being a little self indulgent this evening, I’m offering you some speculations which you are free to consider. Where it says those who dwell in heaven, the Greek word means to tabernacle in heaven. And it’s the same word that’s used of keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. So, I consider the possibility that there will be a Feast of Tabernacles in heaven where the redeemed will celebrate. But Satan on earth will be talking against them. You don’t need to indulge that thought, just bear it in mind.
“...he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God. to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who tabernacle in heaven. And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority was given him over every tribe, people, tongue and nation.”
Here is a hard objective scriptural fact. This evil person is going to have authority over the entire human race. His supreme aim will be to be worshiped because when he is worshiped the one who empowered him will be worshiped through him. That’s the purpose in the mind of Satan. We have to face the fact that his supreme enemies will be who? The followers of the true Messiah. It’ll be true against false. I suspect it will be the beast against the Lamb, the beast nature against the Lamb nature.
See, I don’t think that we Christians in the west sufficiently appreciate the seriousness of the issues. I think it’s going to be a matter of life and death. Just how soon these issues will emerge, I wouldn’t undertake to say but I think very, very quickly. And there are going to be those who will have to lay down their lives. It says about those who overcame him in the 12th chapter, the 11th verse:
“...they did not love their lives to the death.”
It was more important for them to be true to the Lord Jesus than to stay alive. Faced with that issue, that was the choice they made.
You see, Jesus went home by way of the cross. I wonder whether the church isn’t going to go home by way of the cross. Victoriously, triumphant, undefeated; but conquering by laying down our lives. Does your theology make room for that?
You know, I was called up into the British Army in World War II in l940. And they never told me we’ll give you a guarantee you won’t be killed. No soldier is ever called up on that basis. I smile sometimes when I hear Christians talk about being soldiers of Jesus Christ. I wonder if we really understand what’s involved in being a soldier.
Let’s turn back now to Revelation 12 for a moment and I want to point out another aspect of that verse. Revelation 12:9:
“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world...”
His primary tool against us and against humanity is deception. The most important thing that we have to guard against is being deceived. I personally don’t believe that there’s any one of us here that can take it for granted. As far as Ruth and I are concerned, we have become very well aware of the tremendous danger of being deceived. And alas, over the course of the years I’ve seen men of God who had tremendous ability and great success fall into the trap of deception. I don’t believe anyone is immune. Certainly I know I’m not.
Let’s look in Matthew 24 for a moment. This chapter really is a picture of the events that will bring the age to a close. We’ll simply read from verse 8 a few verses on.
“All these are the beginning of birth pangs.”
All right? The birth pangs of what? A new age. What will be the mark of the new age? Not the New Age movement, believe me! But the kingdom of God established on earth under the headship of Jesus the Messiah. You see, the kingdom of God never comes but by a birth. Whether it’s in an individual or it’s in the whole human race, no one can see or enter the kingdom of God unless he has experienced a birth. And what is true of the individual is true of the human race. The kingdom of God is not going to come by organization, it’s going to come by a birth. And I believe myself we are already in the throes of the birth pangs. I don’t have time to going to Matthew 24 in detail but I believe it’s very clear that the birth pangs Jesus spoke about are already taking place.
Now, if you were a young man married to a beautiful wife whom you loved and she was pregnant and the birth pangs began, what would you do? Would you phone the doctor and say, “Doctor, my wife’s going through something terrible! Please come and stop it at once!”? No. You make plans to go to the hospital as quickly as you could. So, how do we react to the birth pangs of an new age? Do we say, “God, please stop it, this is too much, we can’t stand this.”? Or, do we say, “Praise God, there’s a new age coming!”? You see, we can really diagnose our own spiritual condition by our reaction. If you’re clinging on to everything that’s familiar at the present time, can’t bear to be parted from it, you don’t really want the new age. You’d rather stop the birth pangs.
Anyhow, let’s go on reading here.
“...these are the beginning of birth pangs. Then they shall deliver you up to tribulation, and kill you...”
Who’s you? You is—it’s bad English but you is us.
“...and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.”
By how many nations? All nations.
“And then many will be offended and will betray one another and will hate one another.”
Many who? Christians, that’s right.
“Then many false prophets will rise, and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
So there’s going to be a lot of adverse pressures, all of them designed to make us turn away from our faith. And then Jesus says:
“But he who endures to the end shall be saved.”
But the Greek says more than that. It says he who has endured to the end will be saved. When are you saved? When you have endured. You’re saved now, thank God, but to stay saved what are you going to have to do? Endure, that’s right.
And then it says:
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end shall come.”
Is it going to be easy to preach the gospel of the kingdom, is the world going to be making it easy? No. The opposition is going to increase. It’s going to take people of commitment. I don’t want to be negative, I believe that proclaimers of the gospel are going to see victory such as the church has never witnessed up till this time. Tremendous turning of whole peoples to the Lord. Miracles and signs and wonders. But, in the face of tremendous opposition. And only those who endure to the end will be saved.
So, that’s in a sense what God uses the devil for. See, God uses everybody, including the devil and the antichrist. God is going to use the antichrist to bring forth a bride for the Lord Jesus Christ. See, the scripture declares that the bride will be glorious, holy, spotless, without blemish. You look at the church today and see if you can believe that. How is God going to do it? I think God is going to do it be persecution. And only the people that really are committed will stand. That seems very simple, I’m sure there are a lot of other factors but I think that’s the central thrust of the truth of the gospel.
Let’s go on. I didn’t ever get to where I was getting to! Matthew 24:23–24. My theme is this:
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah, or there,’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
So the forces of deception are going to be tremendously strong. So strong that if it were possible even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. Thank God it isn’t possible. But brothers and sisters, we really have to take seriously the threat of deception. We have to walk very carefully, very humbly.
Satan has one great lever which he uses to introduce deception. Do you know what it is? Pride, that’s right. I don’t believe any deception ever comes to Christians except through pride in some for or another.
God says in Zechariah 9:13 that He will raise up the sons of Zion against the sons of Greece. What does Greece stand for in the world of thought? Philosophy, that’s right. I was a student of Greek philosophy for years, about seven years. I’m very familiar with that field. See, today there is a major movement of thought which has been potentially there for many centuries which is a religion but not a religion. And I believe it is Satan’s great tool of deception and I believe it’s also the way he’ll prepare for the antichrist. How many of you know what I have in mind in one word? Humanism, that’s right.
You see, humanism is the deification of man. It’s man making himself a god. It’s that motive to which the antichrist will appeal because in making this man our god we’ll be, in a certain sense, deifying ourselves. The first of all the Greek philosophers in history that’s well known was a man called Heraclitus. He has perfectly summed up humanism in three statements. That’s all that survives. The first statement is everything flows. Nothing is stable, nothing is fixed, nothing is absolute. The second is you can never step twice into the same river. Because, by the time you go back it’s a different river. And the third which sums it all up is this. Man is the measure of all things. What man says, what man determines, how man views things—that’s it. And that’s the essence of humanism. That’s a stream that’s been running through European culture since the 5th century before Jesus, and older than that.
But, there’s another stream which has its origin with the Jewish people and in the Bible. Its simple statement is in the opening verse of the Bible:
“In the beginning God...”
And there you have the absolute antithesis. On the one hand man is the measure of all things. Whatever he decides, however he views things, that’s it. And the other is in the beginning God. An absolute, unchanging eternal God who has made laws which will never be revoked and can never be broken—except to our own great cost. And there we have the conflict in the realm of thought and the spiritual realm, it’s the conflict between the absolute of the Bible and the relativism of humanism.
The main manifestation of humanism today is the New Age movement. And in a sense, there’s only one sin according to the New Age movement, that’s believing something absolute. You can believe anything you like, as silly as it may be, as wicked as it may be, as long as you don’t believe that it’s the truth, the truth. So there’s only one target for the New Age. They’re pro Hindu, pro Moslem, pro atheism. What are they anti? Christian, that’s right. And it’s totally illogical. Think of the movements in the United States to keep religion out of the schools. They’ll fight tooth and nail against anything that even sounds like Christianity. There is perfect freedom for everybody to think whatever they want to think except one group of people. Who are? Christians. What’s that? It’s the spirit of antichrist. It’s not far away. It’s all around us.
Brothers and sisters, let’s be careful about one thing, that it isn’t in us. That’s what really matters.
We come to the end but let me point out one aspect of Satan’s deception. We go back to Revelation 16 and we just read verse 13.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs...”
Here in Britain we don’t know much about frogs but in warm climates—how many of you have lived in warm climates? Do you know what frogs do? They croak unceasingly all night. That’s a picture of the agents of Satan. It’s a picture of political propaganda.
“...three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophets.”
So there we have a satanic trinity. The dragon versus God the Father, the beast versus Jesus the Son, the false prophet versus who? The Holy Spirit, that’s right. So there is a satanic counterfeit trinity. Somebody has said that the devil is the ape of God. He never creates, he never can produce anything original. But whatever God produces he imitates, corrupts and distorts. And so, he has his own trinity: the dragon, the beast and the false prophet.
They produce a counterfeit church which is called the harlot. That’s very, very close. I’m going to be dealing tomorrow with the false church and the true.
Now, what is the safeguard against deception? I don’t have time to read it but you’ll find it in 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12. It says God will send them strong delusion because they did not receive the love of the truth. What’s the only security? To love the truth. The book of Proverbs says buy the truth and sell it not. Do whatever you can to find and keep and obey the truth. If we don’t love the truth, if we deliberately reject the truth, God will send us strong delusion. It will not be an accident. That will be God’s judgment on those who refuse the revealed truth of scripture, those who do not submit to it and those who do not obey it.
I trust that I’ve somehow succeeded in confronting you with the fact that the issues are extremely critical, extremely serious and extremely relevant. They apply to us and the time and the situation in which we are living. So let us agree together we will love the truth. Can you say amen to that? Amen.