Promises and Secrets

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Apostasy and the AntiChrist

VIEWPOINT



The Bible predicts a period of time that starts about seven years before Jesus returns to earth to reign for the Millennium. It is during this time that a man will insert himself heavily into politics and make big changes to the world as we know it.

FACT



The Bible predicts that an anti-Christian person will persecute the saints during what is called the Time of Trouble.


BLUE VIEWPOINT



According to the Bible, the person that most Christians know only as "the man of sin", "lawless one", "that Wicked", "AntiChrist", "liar", "apostasy", and "another", will arise sometime in the future.

Exactly when, we don't know. However, there are some things that must happen before he comes that will help to make him more effective. One of these things is a great "falling away" or apostasy, during which many will lose their faith (2 Thes 2:3-4
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

). Well, it's easy for me to say these things, but let's see what some others say.

They got it right, except for some of the details

The fact that an Antichrist is coming and his actions will have a direct effect on the entire world seems to have activated the imagination of the world's religious leaders. Since something bad is about to happen, many have used some passages in scripture to fabricate escape plans that deny the prophecy of God. Many serious pastors have conjured up a "Pre-Tribulation Rapture" that is supposed to remove the saints from the earth, thus thwarting the persecution that is predicted in the Bible. How can you make up stuff that calls God a liar? But, on the other side of the coin, others are making preparations to get the world ready for the Antichrist, most without even knowing that he is prophesied to come and "take over".

A recent book called Foreshocks of Antichrist, a collaborative work by Grant Jeffrey, Chuck Missler, Dave Breese, Zola Levitt, John Walvoord, and 9 others, has come to our attention. The purpose of this book is to "inform" us of the truth regarding the Antichrist and the events leading up to his appearance on the scene. The quotes are around the word "inform" because the "information" they use is not always corroborated by the Bible, being an opinion based on interpretations that skew the words of the Book and contradict other passages. In the foreword on page 10, the general editor of the book states the following:

The terms apostasy and Antichrist really mean the same thing: a denial the Jesus Christ has come in the flesh to redeem fallen mankind through His shed blood on the old rugged cross at Calvary. Each term represents people's anti-God determination to do what seems right in their own eyes, to march to their own drumbeat in diametrical opposition to God's way.

Starting out with incorrect facts?

Well, if this book is supposed to give us the truth, why does it use terms that the Bible does not use with regard to the death of Christ? Note the words at the end of the first sentence. This statement has been made including a phrase that is not even in any honest Bibles - "the old rugged cross".

It's there, but who put it there?

Oh, you will find the words "the cross" in most of the Bible versions out there, but the Greek
Luke 9:23

does not support this. Even trying to get a good definition requires looking outside the definitions provided by the "Biblical" sites like Bible Hub. Looking at the Greek in their site link
Luke 9:23

, you see the word "cross" as the english translation for the words of Jesus in Luke 9:23. But looking at the definition for the Greek word (highlighted in gray) for stauron
stauros

in the Strong's Concordance, you see the definition as: stauros: an upright stake,
stauros

which is followed by a totally incongruous "hence a cross (the Rom. instrument of crucifixion)
Luke 9:23

". What?

Say that again, with a straight face...

For those of you who don't use a lot of KJV English, "hence" means "therefore", as in "Of course, that word "stake" means "a cross". ??? The cross didn't even become an instrument of "crucifixion" for the Romans until the third or fourth century A.D. They probably should have used the term "stakifixion", but there is no "romance" in that term.

Worse yet, look at the "Short Definition" below - "a cross" - and the "Definition" below that - "a cross". How blatant can you get? The only thing we don't see here is a pastor statement like "I, the Bible scholar, refuse to believe it was not a cross, so I will make the definition say that I am correct."

There's the real thing...

An even better (more honest) definition came from University of Chicago showing this
stauros

, limiting it to the basic definition for "stauros" as "an upright pale", which is a pole, not the "modified" one that fits all the pastors' ideas. So which is it - a stake or a cross? It can't be both.

A little side trip

Jesus died on a "pole" or "stake", not a pagan cross (If you really care, there is more on this at Aurthur Frederick Ide's Blog, but be prepared for the complex details).

Worse yet, we decorate our churches and our bodies with crosses as a raising up of the murder weapon used to kill Jesus. And yet, the cross is not really even a valid symbol of Christ. Oh, everyone knows Who is meant by the cross symbol, but that is kind of like saying that "poverty" is a symbol for Donald J. Trump. There is just no link there. But, then again, the way people use the Bible is pretty much the same, saying that a passage means one thing when that meaning contradicts other parts of the Book.

So, does this mean that the authors of the Foreshocks of the Antichrist are some of those about whom they write that are going their own way, in spite of the truth? If you look around, you will see that this apostasy of faith is not just "out there" in the world, but it is in our churches, with our neighbors, on TV, and in the books on our home library shelves. It has become so common that no one even notices it anymore. If you don't care to verify that what you "know" is the truth, then here's hoping that your future is as you want it to be. We will use this information later in this page.

Sorry about the side trip, back to the Antichrist

There are at least 22 Bible passages that sort of describe the man, but more time is spent on what he will do in the future. These give us the only clues we get to determine who he is, or will be. Here is a list of eight of those passages:

Daniel 7:24-27
24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. 25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

26 But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.


Daniel 9:27
He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."


2 Thes 2:3-4
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.


2 Thes 2:6-10
6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 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. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.


1 John 2:18
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.


1 John 2:22
22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist - denying the Father and the Son


Rev 13:1-10
13 The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. 4 People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?"

5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God's holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast - all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.

10 "If anyone is to go into captivity,
    into captivity they will go.
If anyone is to be killed with the sword,
    with the sword they will be killed."

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God's people.


Rev 19:20
20 But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.


So, from these we can see that Antichrist is coming, the Holy people will be delivered into his hands, he is a liar, he exalts himself above God, he will work the way Satan works, some like him have already come, people will worship him, he is pompous, the time is short, and he will be defeated in the end. However, as tempting as it is to point at someone who is mean and famous and say, "There he is!", we do not yet have enough to know who he is.

But, what about...

Usually, one of these points in the verses above is often ignored, and even denied, by most pastors. The point is in Daniel 7:25
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

where you find the phrase "the holy people will be delivered into his hands". The hands here are those of the Antichrist, but who are these holy people and how are the pastors ignoring them?

According to the beliefs of most pastors, before the Antichrist arrives and begins his dirty work there will be a removal of all faithful followers (read this as "holy people" or "saints") of Christ from the earth. This stand is called the "pre-tribulation rapture", and it directly contradicts Daniel 7:25
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

with regard to the Antichrist persecuting the saints. If the "holy people" mentioned in the last paragraph are, indeed, the saints, how could this happen if they were "raptured" before the Antichrist did his thing? Logically, these can not both be true. So, if we have to pick a side to believe...

They create new saints for the persecution...?

Now, to be fair to those who have thought this through up to a point, some believe that the rapture will happen, and those borderline "Christians" left behind will realize their mistake. (Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins made an excellent presentation of this idea in their famous Left Behind series. While I disagree with the concept, the fiction series was an exciting read.) This will somehow immediately transform them into "saints" and these will be those saints who are persecuted by the Antichrist.

While this makes sense in a very limited way, it sounds like a way to set up a flimsy defense for a non-Biblical doctrine. Why must we have secret ideas that deny the plain text of the Bible, when reading it for what it says and means is straight-forward and easier?

"He's going to do what...?"

In the second passage on the list, Daniel 9:27
He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

, this Antichrist is going to do something that everyone claims can not happen because they claim that Jesus' death removed that possibility - he is going to put a stop to "sacrifice and offering". Now, how can he do that if those sacrifices are not happening?

First, most pastors agree that the Antichrist has not yet done his thing, so it must still be in the future. If Daniel predicts this event, then it will happen. In order for that to happen, sacrifices must have begun again. That means that between now and then, the Temple must be rebuilt. If the Temple is rebuilt, the Jews will have a place to properly continue those God-commanded sacrifices they had to stop when the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.

A "hero" for the world

Since the Christian world hates the thought of anything Jewish like the Sabbath and Feasts (eeewww...), when the Antichrist comes along and stops those sacrifices and offerings, guess who is going to cheer him on? "Christians". When he claims to be God, those who believe that he is acting Godly by doing what they believe is right, they will follow him.

Not only that, but the world is going to think this guy is the SGW (Smartest Guy in the World) until he turns bad and starts persecuting the real Christians who do not worship him. Then, those "Christians" not now heeding the whole word of God have a chance to realize that the Antichrist is persecuting, at first, only real Christians. Hopefully, they will try to find out what the difference is and get in line with God. The Antichrist is going to convince the world that he is the only hope it has. How tricky will he have to be?

It seems he will be clever enough to convince most of the world, not just "Christians", to follow him (Matt 24:24
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

). Combine that with the "love of most will grow cold", Matt 24:12
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,

, and where does that leave the world? (see Rev 13:3
One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.

for a hint.) Of course, you and your pastor will not be fooled, right? It will only be all those other churches who don't know what you know...but all of you seem to believe pretty much the same thing. And, if you still think he is right when he persecutes only those other "fanatics"...

There are others, but...

Now, there are some (a considerably smaller segment) pastors who advocate a "Mid-tribulation rapture". They hold that this will happen at some point after tribulation starts but before the second half where God's wrath comes into play. This stand is more in line with Daniel 7:25
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his holy people and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.

, but it begs the question - "Why even consider a rapture other than the one that happens when Jesus returns?" God has promised to protect those who have faith in Him and His Son from "His wrath", so we will be safe if we are truly "in Him". Do you remember any other time when a horrible fate awaited some people among whom the Israelites were mingled?

That's right! The exact same situation happened with Moses and the Israelites when they were captive in Egypt. Now, did God "rapture the people out of the way" when He sent the angel of death to kill the firstborn of those who would not submit to the will of God? Nope. He left them right there and worked around them like only He could have done. Any more? How about Noah? He wasn't raptured to save him and his family. Instead, he was saved out of the Wrath by following the commands of God in a very down-to-earth, physical method - an ark.

I can't find that one...

Now, the "rapture" as described by most pastors is supposed to be a silent, sneaky one that people will not notice until their plane or bus, with a Christian pilot or driver, crashes. Or, they will wake up in the morning with some loved ones missing. But none of the passages they use for reference are describing an event that is quiet. In fact, the main one they use in 1 Thessalonians has a lot of shouting and horn blasts going on.

What passages do these pastors use as a reference to make these claims? Well, the first one is 1 Thes 4:13-17
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

. OK. This is definitely a rapture or being "caught up", even though the word "rapture" does not appear in the Bible. But let's read Mark 13:26-27
26 At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.

.

That sounds like a rapture as well, and notice that it is not a gathering of only those who "wised up and converted later", but of His elect. And, it is not a silent one. The one in Mark 13 one is the "rapture" believers are waiting for, and with all that power and glory, we should expect a chorus of angels and the sound of power. Halleluiah! (or however you spell it.)

"That's not what I want it to say, so..."

Now, again, many pastors say that the two passages above in 1 Thes 4:13-17 and Mark 13:26-27 are two different events in time. Their reasoning varies, but it all centers around a technique used to calm the fears of Christians who don't want to be around during the Tribulation. However, if you read the actual words of the passages, they are both stating events that will happen at the coming of the Lord. It's a pretty sure bet that there is only going to be one of those, and it will be when He said it would happen, at the end of Tribulation, not when we desire it.

Hang in there...

So, gird your loins, friends and neighbors. (In case you are wondering, the loins are between your hips and your ribs on both sides of your spine. Yeah, surprised me, too.) We will be right here when the Antichrist gets busy. Well, hopefully some of us will have passed away by then. Based on a pet theory, the "End of the Age" will not begin for a couple of hundred years or so, but I'm doing everything possible to be ready just in case that idea is wrong. No matter how long it is, if we can hold on through the trials, when Jesus comes at His second coming we will then be truly "raptured" and spend the rest of eternity with the Lord.


Disagree? Find an error? Contact us at glenjjr@gmail.com and give us your view.

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