CHRIST OR ANTICHRIST?

If you ask people, “Are you pro or anti?” you want to know if they are for or against. If someone is anti-Christ, he is against Christ.

Jesus did not come to earth to have a good trip. He came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).  He tried to tell his disciples, and they didn’t understand–and didn’t want to. They preferred life over death, good times over bad. Can’t blame them. I probably would have voted the same way.

Jesus worked mighty miracles. After feeding five thousand, he could see something was wrong. “Perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself” (John 6:15). Someone looking for popularity would have given in. He was seeking the favor of One.

Not only did he die unpopular, but he died a criminal. He was a misfit, “despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and as one from whom men hide their faces…” (Isaiah 53:3). And “he was numbered with the transgressors” (12), guilt by association. He didn’t hang around popular people. The leaders said, “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2). He had a short season of popularity, but it didn’t last.

Take your pick–a lamb or a beast. Just before the return of Christ, a man will arise, inspired not by God but by Satan (antigod). He will be endowed with supernatural powers from the underworld to deceive those not belonging to Christ. He will become a world leader when a fatal wound is miraculously cured: “The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon [Satan] because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast [antichrist] and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?’” (Revelation 13:4). He will bring substantial and temporary peace in the world, fueled by Satan and demons. It will mean hard times for Christians, but the worst will only last three and a half years.

Paul warns, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come [the day of the Lord] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple proclaiming himself to be God…The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing”(2 Thess. 2:3,4,9,10). Want to know more about this man? Daniel 7 and Revelation 13.

The world, blinded by sin, will think that this demon-possessed man is the answer to the world’s racial and social problems. When he proclaims himself god, humanity will believe his miracles and worship him with songs of praise. I won’t if I am around, and I hope you don’t. We live in an age of tolerance–except for those who disagree!. Be prepared to face ridicule, and maybe more.  Christians will give their lives as the world applauds. Then the triumphant King returns and that’s it for a race in rebellion. Enter eternity of bliss for followers of the Lamb! Make sure whose side you’re on!

LET’S READ REVELATION

It’s not the first book I recommend to a new Christian. Maybe it would be the best. It’s the favorite of my special-ed daughter, Naomi. It’s a picture book. It starts with Jesus addressing seven real churches in what is now Turkey. He commends, corrects, and comforts according to the vitality of each church. Some are doing well; others are barely surviving.

We remember many of those messages. He told Smyrna, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (2:10). He affirmed the church of brotherly love, Philadelphia, and promised to keep them “from the hour of trial that comes upon the whole world” (3:10). He warned lukewarm Laodicea that they were about to be spit out of his mouth (3:16).

Then comes a long section–visions of judgment upon a world in rebellion (chapter 4-18), most of the book. The suffering church is called to endure, a key word. The victorious ones are those who “loved not their lives even unto death” (12:11).

Chapter 19 gives us a glorious picture of the triumphant king whose “judgments are true and just” (2). This king rides a white horse and triumphs over the powers of darkness, holds the Great White Throne judgment, and gives the verdict that sends some into everlasting bliss and others (most) into the lake of fire. Among the first to go are the devil and death. He then ushers in the new heaven and new earth for the redeemed to enjoy for eternity, closing with a message given three times, “Behold, I am coming soon!”

John the author, writing in exile, doesn’t paint a picture of the church taking over the world. He says, “I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patience endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (1:9). He tells his readers, including us, about “the things that must soon take place” (1:1). He promises that Jesus “is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him” (1:7). His return is our consuming hope (I Peter 1:13).

The following truths come through:

  1. The end-time church is not winning a popularity contest. Most of the world has chosen its hero, the antichrist. The church is promised a place with the glorious king if it holds out faithful to the end.
  2. Some make it, most don’t. The lie of universalism (that all eventually will) is exposed in this awe-inspiring book. The church does not present to the Bridegroom a largely converted world. As Jesus said, “The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:14).
  3. The answer to the woes in the world is not a victorious church but a triumphant King with fire in his eyes. When the suffering increases, we are told to lift up our heads, because our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28)! He is the ultimate answer. He deals with the race in rebellion, not the church.

Some teach a more “positive” end-time picture. Is this one pessimistic? No, because it is truth. Read the Book! It focuses on the exalted Christ who overcomes, who says what He will do–and does it. Our trust is centered in the Lamb–alone! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

CHRIST OR ANTICHRIST

 

…a lamb or a beast. Just before the return of Christ, a man will arise, inspired not by God but by Satan (anti-god). He will be endowed with supernatural powers from the underworld to deceive those not belonging to Christ. He will become a world leader when a fatal wound is miraculously cured: “The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon [Satan] because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?’” He will bring substantial and temporary peace in the world, fueled by Satan and demons.

Paul writes, “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come [the day of the Lord] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple proclaiming himself to be God…The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing”(2 Thess. 2:3,4,9,10).

The world, blinded by sin, will be deceived into thinking that this demon-possessed man is the answer to the world’s racial and social problems. When he proclaims himself god, humanity will believe his miracles and worship him with songs of praise.

The antichrist will exercise unilateral authority for three and a half years (Rev. 13:5). “He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (13:7,8). During this time of persecution, called the Great Tribulation, Christians are challenged to be “faithful unto death,” in order to win “the crown of life.”

This beast (the opposite of the Lamb, in the prophecy of Daniel) was “waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom…He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws…But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever” (Daniel 7:21,22,25,26).

The only one able to handle the antichrist is Christ, and He will return with a militia of warring angels, any one of which who could dismantle the entire U.S. Marines. Jesus came the first time to die. He returns now to take over the earth and rule: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming” (2 Thess. 3:8).

The end-time answer to the problems in the world will not be a large-scale turning to Christ, though we still believe for a major revival (Malachi 4:5,6), or the church gaining in power and influence. It will be the return of the glorious one on the white horse with fire in His eyes. Period! Come, Lord Jesus!