|- J. Preston Eby -
Suppose I were a pursued fugitive. Now, if I could get my pursuers sidetracked and get them to fire on a stuffed dummy made to represent myself, they would thus, by diverting their fire from me, aid in my escape. Satan has a dummy antichrist set up, a horrible creature who will never appear. And the Christian Church is busily engaged in wasting their time and ammunition on this dummy. They are telling what a terrible creature he will be, all the while ignorant of the fact that the true criminal is in their very midst! If the adversary can get the people of God to look for some imaginary man of sin yet to appear, some fictitious son of perdition to come, then he has won a victory, because then WE WILL NEVER DISCOVER THE MAN OF SIN WHERE HE ACTUALLY IS ABIDING.
The detrimental and deceiving effect of the notion of antichrist being some world leader yet to arise, is, that while people have their eyes focused on the future, they are not alert to discern his presence now - and that gives him opportunity to do a great deceptive work right in their midst. The old serpent is still very crafty, beloved, and if he can keep us peering out in the mists of the future for the events we have been warned about, we will overlook them in our own generation and time, and within our very own lives. "Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time" (I Jn. 2:18). Ah, my brother and sister, the Christian Church, for the past nineteen hundred years, has been literally filled with antichrists. And the present-day crop are busily engaged in pointing the finger of accusation at some poor defenseless and fictitious person who is supposed to appear at some indefinite period in the future. That is Satan's trick to keep men's eyes off of the real culprit! Satan is the sole author of the doctrines which keep men looking ahead to some character who will never appear, thus aiding his present-day emissaries to carry on his work without interruption. It is high time for Christians to awake, and learn what they are playing with. There is poison in the pot!
Antichrist, in first and second John, is spoken of in four distinct forms. I Jn. 2:18 says, "'Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that ANTICHRIST shall come. . . " The absence of the definite article shows that the term here embraces the WHOLE REALM OF ANTICHRIST, bespeaking a SYSTEM, including both the actors and the program they initiate. In addition to the antichrist system we read in vs. 22, "Who is a liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is ANTICHRIST..." In the Greek, however, the definite article is used, so that the Greek text reads, "Who is THE LIAR, if not the one denying that Jesus not is the Anointed one? this is THE ANTICHRIST, the one denying the Father and the Son." Here antichrist is the title of a specific personage. Then it says, "Even now there MANY ANTICHRISTS." In addition to the singular person who is the antichrist, there are many antichrists. Then, in addition to antichrist as a person, and many antichrists or many persons, and antichrist as the system spawned by these, there is the SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST which operates in all the antichrists and in their system. "And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST, whereof you have heard that it should come."
Let us summarize these four distinct forms of antichrist: (1) the spirit of antichrist (2) many antichrists (3) the antichrist (4) the antichrist system.
THE BODY OF CHRIST - AND ANTICHRIST
Many people will seriously question the possibility of the antichrist being a multiplicity of persons. Have you considered the truth that lies hidden in this inspired sentence: "For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: SO ALSO IS CHRIST" (I Cor. 12:12). Christ, contrary to popular opinion, is not a Person, but a great body of persons. In fact the word "christ" is itself not a true translation of the original. It is not a proper name, but should be rendered "the anointed". And in I Cor. 12:12 we find just what "the anointed" really is. It tells us, that as our natural body is but one body composed of many members, "SO ALSO IS THE ANOINTED." Christ, or the anointed then, is a huge company composed of anointed Sons of God.
To further clarify this statement, Paul continues by saying, "for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body" (I Cor. 12:13). This is sonship: being baptized by the Spirit into the body WHICH IS CHRIST (Rom. 6:3-4). We, however, dare not confuse this baptism with that of being baptized by Jesus into the Spirit (Mat. 3:11; Jn. 1:33). Being baptized by the Spirit into Christ is being baptized into His very death and then resurrected a new heavenly being in the image and power and glory of the firstborn Son (Rom. 6:3-4). There is no other way to be a part of "the anointed". And those who thus die with their Lord and are resurrected new creatures through the new birth are "in Christ" (II Cor. 5:17). They are then members of this vast company, or body, composed of anointed Sons of God. And this body or company which IS CHRIST has a head, the chief Christ, the firstborn among many brothers, our Lord and Saviour!
All natural things have spiritual counterparts and spiritual meanings. Everything God does follows a distinct pattern and every natural pattern has a corresponding spiritual one. Thus we plainly observe that every man consists of two things in particular, a head and a body. If one had only a head, he would be incomplete and grotesque. If he had only a body and no head, he would be incomplete and useless. Now let us suppose that a man by the name of John Smith has his head severed from his body. Would any man, finding the head, exclaim, "There is John Smith!" Would he not say, "That is John Smith's head." On the other hand, if a person discovers the body, will he cry, "That is John Smith!" No, he would rather say, "There is the body of John Smith." But collect both head and body and reunite them and all who then behold them will say, "There is John Smith!"
Therefore, to make a complete man there must be both the head and the body and the two must be joined inseparably together into one glorious being. Now when a child is born, the head is born first. Then follows the body with all its many members, the shoulders, the arms, the torso, the legs, and finally the feet. The feet are born last, but there is neither fullness or completeness until the head and the body stand complete and entire as one. The HEAD of the anointed, which came forth from the womb nearly two thousand years ago, and the BODY, which has been in preparation ever since the day of Pentecost, is indeed but ONE CHRIST, as Paul has so beautifully explained, "God has put all things under His feet, and has appointed Him universal and SUPREME HEAD of the Church, WHICH IS HIS BODY, THE COMPLETENESS of Him who everywhere fills the universe with Himself" (Eph. 1:22-23, Weymouth).
The body of Christ is the COMPLETENESS OF GOD'S CHRIST. Two millenniums ago the revelation of the head was given, but the body of that same Christ has been developing throughout the entire Church age that God's glorious Christ may stand complete at the end of this age, Christ the head and Christ the body, the perfect Man, Jesus the head, with all His many brethren, the body, the joint heirs with Christ.
Men seem to be able to understand how a foot, a leg, a hand, a torso, and a head can, though separate and different, all be members of one and the same body. If physical members joined only by the weakness of flesh and blood can be one, how much more are those who are joined by the omnipotent, omnipresent, and eternal SPIRIT of the living God! An arm that is severed from the body no longer belongs to the body because the bonds of flesh are broken. A leg to which the flow of blood is cut off will develop gangrene and have to be amputated from the body. I have often been asked the question, "What is it that determines whether a person is in the body of Christ?" To which, with all emphasis I must answer, "All are members of the Christ who are vitally connected in LIVING UNION WITH THE HEAD." Someone says, "But I am joined to the other members of the body and that makes me a member of the Christ." Ah, that is true, IF the members to which you are joined are themselves VITALLY CONNECTED WITH THE HEAD! But if some MAN is their head, or some organization, denomination, or religious system, apart from the HEADSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST alone - there is no body of the Christ! Sons of God exist only because of their vital relationship to Jesus Christ, not because they have an intellectual understanding of the doctrine of sonship, or attend meetings, or belong to some "end time" movement or "New Testament Church?".
Through much study of the Word of God and through many years of walking with God I have become thoroughly convinced that just as the Christ is a glorious body composed of many members, even so THE ANTICHRIST IF A BODY COMPOSED OF MANY MEMBERS. The company which is Christ is the true Church; the antichrist is the false, apostate Church, that which is "anti", or "opposed to", or "instead of" the true! Paul speaks of this false Church, the antichrist body in II Thes. 2:3-4. Let us now take special heed to Paul's teaching. "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of Christ) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
The Greek word that is here translated "falling away" is "apostasia" Strong's Concordance defines this word as "defection from the truth". It is from this word that we get our English word "apostasy". Adam "apostatized" and "fell away" from the pure essence of God's truth in the beginning, but the apostasy of which Paul speaks was yet future in his day and was to be a corruption, a departure from the truth as it is in Jesus Christ - a departure that would develop right within the realm of the body of Christ. As one Greek scholar has pointed out, "This is apostasy. It is, therefore, to be sought IN the visible Church and not OUTSIDE the Church, not in the pagan world, in the general moral decline, in Judaism, in Mohammedanism, in the French Revolution, in the rise and spread of Masonry, in Communism, or in lesser phenomena" -Lenski.
Is the falling away from true Christianity yet to happen at some future time or has it already happened? Those who are acquainted with Church history KNOW THE ANSWER! The falling away to which Paul referred began many centuries ago and continues to this very hour. The only way the falling away could be future is if the Church had remained PURE in doctrine and spirit UNTIL NOW, This has obviously not been the case!
Originally the New Testament Church was filled with truth and spiritual power. The book of Acts gives an account of those glorious days. In the midst of those few holy years the apostle John, filled with divine wisdom and keen in spiritual discernment, foresaw that the Church would spread over the world, and that, becoming popular, many would arise within its ranks who would appreciate its FORM without having been transformed by its SPIRIT. Grace had wrought a wondrous work, but alas! with many the INNER NATURE remained unchanged. The natural man with his carnal mind was still at enmity with God, and the cloak of Christianity could not long conceal his corruption. The beautiful infant virgin Church was not very old before the seeds of APOSTASY from Christ began to appear.
Even before the apostles has gone to their reward, a spirit and system had set in among the saints of the Lord and many people were wearing the Babylonish garment. They were instituting rules and regulations, laying down laws, formulating creeds, observing days, establishing sacraments and ordinances, elevating human government, becoming disciples of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas, and of many others. The Babble had begun and the mysterious MAN OF SIN was raising his ugly head. Before too many years had passed men began to set themselves up as "bishops" and "lords" over God's heritage in place of the Holy Spirit. Instead of conquering by the power of the Spirit and truth - as in the early days - men began to substitute THEIR ideas and THEIR methods. Soon the glory and power, the presence of God in the morning time Church began to be eclipsed, and the power of carnal minded men gradually TOOK THE PLACE of the awesome presence of God. Consequently, man's carnal understanding was put upon the Scriptures, and as the Spirit of Christ fled from their midst, men established a vast and elaborate system of SUBSTITUTES to take the place of reality. A "falling away" of a massive and dreadful nature arose until the religion of Christ became gradually the religion of antichrist. That which had been visibly known as the body of Christ BECAME THE BODY OF ANTICHRIST where carnal observances replaced spiritual reality, the ceremonial took the place of His indwelling life, human tradition obscured the Word of God, human authority usurped the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and idolatry replaced true and spiritual worship.
Paul calls those involved in this falling away "the man of lawlessness" and "the son of perdition". Both phrases mean the same thing; Paul just uses two different ways of expressing his point. Without doubt he added "son of perdition" because it was Hebrew custom to give the name "son of" to anyone who possessed the character described by the word following the phrase "son of". Since Paul is naming those involved in this failing away, and Satan is the father of rebellion, he uses these all-inclusive phrases "man of lawlessness" and "son of perdition". This "man of sin" or "man of lawlessness" is the one who "opposes and exalts HIMSELF above all that is called God... so that HE AS GOD sits in the TEMPLE OF GOD, showing himself that HE is God."
Many have applied the word "man" in II Thes. 2:3 to mean one individual on the basis that Paul spoke of "that man of sin" and that such wording must refer to ONE individual man, not a GROUP of men or a SUCCESSION of men. That meaning, however, does not fit Paul's subject because he is discussing the falling way, and it is not just one man who falls away. The Greek word used here for man, "anthropes", is used most often in the New Testament with reference to "many people". To illustrate, II Tim. 3:17 includes the phrase "that the MAN of God may be perfect". This refers to ALL men of God. Heb. 2:6 states, "What is MAN, that You art mindful of him?" referring again to MANKIND, or all men. This is the same Greek word used in phrase "son of man" in the same verse, which refers to all the sons of Adam's race.
The Church - the long succession of believers through the centuries - is spoken of as "ONE new man" (Eph. 2:15), and all the mature Sons of God are called "A perfect man" (Eph. 4:13), and certainly no one would insist that the body of Christ is one individual man in a literal sense. The beloved John saw in vision a "woman" called "Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots" (Rev. 17), but this is not taken to mean ONE LITERAL WOMAN, nor is that glorious "woman clothed with the sun" (Rev. 12) thought of as a LITERAL woman! A single "beast" in prophecy often represents a whole empire or kingdom in all its changes and revolutions from beginning to end.
A friend has shared the following enlightening thought: "It is interesting, then, to read the words of Jeremiah who said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that 'the heart is deceitful ABOVE ALL THINGS and desperately wicked. Who can know it?' (Jer. 17:9). The heart of man, then, is the MOST DECEITFUL THING IN THE WORLD! When the Pharisees criticized the disciples of Jesus for eating with unwashed hands we hear Jesus say, "That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man. For FROM WITHIN, OUT OF THE HEART OF MEN, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, coveteousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come FROM WITHIN and defile the man' (Mk. 7:20-23). Every sin-category imaginable is contained in this discourse. Everything that a man could ever do or think that is evil is said by Jesus to come - not from outside himself, but from WITHIN!
"In our consideration of this passage, there is one all-important phrase that we must be careful to note. Jesus said, 'for from within, out of the HEART OF MEN...' It is imperative that we notice the grammatical number of the two words here. The word "heart" is singular being in the Greek in the genitive SINGULAR case. The word 'men', however, is plural being in the genitive plural case. We have then, ONE HEART - but MANY MEN! For want of a better word, I have called this one heart of all men the 'cosmic heart' - cosmic being from the Greek word 'kosmos' which relates to this world-system. This 'cosmic heart' or 'cosmic mind' is the common possession of all men -- one great subconscious mind shared by all the inhabitants of the world. It is the mind of Adam - shared with his many-membered body. Prodding, goading, tempting, whispering, the subconscious mind makes its subtle suggestions to the conscious mind and man's will bows before it. FROM WITHIN, out of the HEART OF MEN - the subconscious mind - proceed all these evil things!"
I am certain that all who read these lines understand how it is that Adam is not one man, but a whole race of men; and how it is that the Christ is not one Person, but a many-membered body; and how it is that the great harlot John beheld sitting on many waters" is not a single woman, but a universal spirit and system that sits astride the whole earth. Can we not see, too, that "the man of sin" is not one individual man but a vast company, a many-membered man? It should be clear to every anointed mind that all who are part of the "falling away" are also part of this lawless "son of perdition".
The reason for the falling away is because this man exalts HIMSELF. HE, the SELF, the EGO, takes the seat of the true and living God in his own body which IS THE TEMPLE OF GOD. "Know not that YOU ARE the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple YOU ARE. What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?" (I Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19). Man takes the seat of the true and living God, the anointing, in the temple of God, becomes independent of the leadership of the Holy Spirit, sets his own standards of spiritual life, establishes his own programs to do the work of God, and even while the flow of words from his lips speaks the things of Christ, his own bestial desires peep out from between the lines, and as you discern what lurks behind all the facade of spirituality you discover the inner motive of the flesh in its SELF-KINGDOM-BUILDING. Even the religious desire of seeing souls saved, sick healed, lives blessed, etc. etc., will. be discovered as a SELF-DESIRE to build - gather around self for the furtherance of his own kingdom and glory and financial gain, so that while he appears as a servant of God he is in reality serving the false god of SELF as he resists the Holy Spirit and thus "opposes and exalts HIMSELF above all that is called God, so that HE AS GOD sits in the temple of God, showing HIMSELF that HE is God."
"Beloved, believe not EVERY SPIRIT, but TRY THE SPIRITS whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST ... but YOU have an UNCTION from the Holy One, and YOU KNOW ALL THINGS" (I Jn. 4:2-3; 2:20). Every Christian has, or should have, an UNCTION from the Holy One. The word unction really means ANOINTING. As the kings and priests of old were anointed with oil upon their heads, the oil flowed down from the head to the body until the whole body was covered, including even the soles of the feet. So Jesus Christ, the head of His body, has anointed you with the Holy Spirit who is here likened to oil. This anointing is that you might KNOW ALL THINGS.
John did not mean that you would at all times have the conscious awareness of knowing everything in the world. I have a friend, a dear brother in Christ, who is an electronics teacher and used to teach at White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico. He is a teacher of teachers and has authored courses in his field for the U.S. government. Now, this brother has without doubt forgotten more about electronics than I will ever know! His mind is filled with thousands of bits of complex scientific information. Yet, there is no minute or hour of any day when he is CONSCIOUSLY AWARE of EVERY ONE of those pieces of knowledge! He KNOWS them all, but they are held, stored in the most complex and intricately designed computer in the world - the human brain! Every bit of information is there for instant recall at any time it is needed. He knows ALL THESE THINGS but is only aware of any of them when it is necessary to be so.
There is a world of wonderful spiritual truth here! The apostle says, "You have an unction from the Holy One, and YOU KNOW ALL THINGS." ALL knowledge is resident in the boundless, unlimited MIND OF CHRIST. The mind of the Christ Who dwells in your regenerated spirit KNOWS ALL THINGS, but the Holy Spirit shows you and makes you perceive only those things that are necessary for you to know moment by moment, and day by day. Frequently people write to me seeking answers to the problems in their lives, or asking for a word of the Lord in some situation. In the name of Jesus Christ the Son of the living God I exhort you, do not look to me for your answers for all the wisdom and knowledge and understanding you will ever need is as close to you as the very air you breathe, yea, as close as the blood coursing through your veins. "YOU have an UNCTION from the Holy One, and Y-O-U KNOW ALL THINGS!"
Jesus told us that false prophets would come and that their coming is to be a sign of the end of the age. If you will keep in union with the Holy Spirit, depending on Him for instruction, He will give you an inner witness as to whether the spirits are of Christ or antichrist. Do not go to your neighbor or some preacher to get a human opinion. You will probably get the wrong answer. There is a much better way than this to know the will and way of God. Instead of seeking human opinions, go directly to your Father who dwells within you. He will make the truth known to you by THE ANOINTING which you have received from Him. While the Lord does indeed often CONFIRM the truth to our hearts by the testimony of others, the Holy Spirit must always be your teacher. You have no need that any man teach you, "but the anointing (unction) which you have received of Him ABIDES IN YOU, and you need not that any man should teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you ALL THINGS, and IS TRUTH, and IS NO LIE, and even as it has taught you, YOU SHALL ABIDE IN HIM" (I Jn. 2:27).
Do men ask, Who is the man of sin, the son of perdition? I answer most emphatically, Look not for him in Brussels, or in Jerusalem, or in Berlin, or in Moscow! He is the power of Satan, the root of the carnal mind organized into a kingdom of darkness, error, and superstition which MASQUERADES AS CHRIST'S KINGDOM. You will find him standing in the pulpits every Sunday and on week-nights. He is highly trained, highly thought of, and highly paid. He is in the pulpit, but he is also in the pew! He is in the hearts of the people and in the very system that holds them chained in spiritual blindness. He is within our very own hearts until the glad day when he is uncovered and revealed and consumed by the spirit of HIS MOUTH (Christ's) and destroyed with the brightness of HIS COMING. In these days it is of ever increasing importance that the elect should separate themselves from the antichrist church system. This many-membered body, this confused harlot, drunken with the blood of the saints, rich and increased with goods and having need of nothing, adorned with gold and silver and costly array, applauded by a careless, carnal, and ungodly society, lounging in plush pews and entertained by elegant choirs, eloquent orators and super-star entertainers is the greatest deceiver and false Christ in the world. If we are to be received as Sons of God, our very first command and obligation is to COME OUT OF HER!
John saw many antichrists in his day. The number has been increasing steadily, all through the years, until now we find ourselves surrounded by these men. And the chief reason for so many today preaching about a great coming antichrist is that most of the men who preach this ignorance are themselves a perfect fulfillment of the prophecy, and cannot be expected to reveal their own identities!
There is a day of revelation unfolding which shall soon stagger the world with its disclosure. There shall be a dual manifestation - the fullness of Christ in His body AND the fullness of the antichrist people. When Jesus gave the parable of the wheat and the tares He explained its meaning thus: "He that sows the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the sons of the Kingdom; but the tares are the sons of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age" (Mat. 13:37-39).
Every age ends with a harvest. Harvest is the time of maturity and fullness when each seed, having passed through all the various stages of growth, finally REPRODUCES ITSELF many fold - a vast harvest. Harvest is a time of reaping rather than sowing - a time of gathering fruit. The harvest of the kingdom of Judah serves as a type of the harvest of this age. Our Lord's words to His disciples as He sent them forth, during His ministry to that church-nation, should be carefully remembered, as giving proof that their special work then was REAPING, and NOT SOWING. He said to them, "Lift up your eyes and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest: and he that REAPS receives wages, and gathers fruit unto life eternal" (Jn. 4:35-36). As the chief reaper in that harvest (as He also is in this one), the Lord said to the under-reapers, "I sent you to reap that whereon you bestowed no labor: other men (the patriarchs and prophets and other holy men of old) labored, and you are entered into their labors" -to reap the fruits of those centuries of effort, and to test that people by the message, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," and the King is present - "Behold, your King comes unto you."
In the Jewish harvest, the Lord, rather than to make goats into sheep, sought the blinded and scattered sheep of Israel, calling for all who ALREADY WERE HIS SHEEP, that they might hear His voice and follow Him. These sheep were the FINAL PRODUCT of all God's dealings in that age. They constituted the FULLNESS that the revelation and life of that age could produce. They became the EMBODIMENT and PERSONIFICATION of all the truth God had planted in men's hearts from the days of Moses until Christ. These were the GRAIN, the FRUIT, the HARVEST at the end of that age!
Another and larger sowing took place at the dawn of our present age. Jesus declared, "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it die, it brings forth MUCH FRUIT" (Jn. 12:24). The "grain of wheat" that was sown in the earth was Jesus, the Son of the living God, the first of a new kind of God-men, and it is HIS LIFE that has been developing in the body of Christ throughout the past nineteen centuries. The "much fruit" will be a vast company of Sons in the time of harvest in whom the fullness of HIS LIFE has been formed, John, his soul aflame with inspiration wrote, "Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is" (I in. 3:2). When He shall appear, we SHALL BE LIKE HIM! Wonderfully LIKE HIM! EXACTLY like Him! IN HIS IMAGE! In His likeness, in the omniscience of His wisdom, in the purity of His truth, in the omnipotence of His power, in the immutability of His love, in the faithfulness of His purpose, full of His grace, His kindness, and His unending mercy! The Sons shall be like Him for He shall be perfectly formed in them all.
Jesus testified, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, He purges (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit" (Jn. 15:1-2). The Church, the Vineyard of God! Surely this truth alone is sufficient to establish the fact that the Church's day must end in a harvest of many Sons conformed to the exact likeness of the firstborn Son. If we are the planting of the Lord, then NOTHING SHALL PREVENT THE GREAT HUSBANDMAN FROM BRINGING HIS CROP TO MATURITY!
But there is more than wheat in the harvest - there are also the tares! In the harvest the wheat and the tares are separated. But as the wheat, in the time of harvest, has reached maturity, the full expression and ultimate manifestation of its life, so also the tares! The wheat are the true Sons of the Kingdom, while the tares are the false ones who take on the outward appearance of being Christ's. In external appearance the two are so much alike as to require the close scrutiny of a trained eye to discern between them. The tares look like, and oft times pass for, the children of the Kingdom, but they are imitations - of another life. In this the end of the age both wheat and tares are coming to maturity and there shall be an awesome unfolding of the fullness of each.
The preparation is being made this very day and hour in the hearts of both classes of people. The entire antichrist system is now rising to its dizziest heights. The progress now being made in all quarters by the ecumenical movement in gathering together Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants into one drunken harlot system under Rome is nothing short of phenomenal. The ecumenical spirit is not the spirit of the Lord, but the spirit of that wicked one whose desire of desires is to adulterate all that is sacred and holy and true with all that is corrupt, profane, and false. There is not one particle of doubt in my deepest heart that the ecumenical movement, however desirable it may appear in the eyes of natural men, is in itself the final rising of that antichrist system which will head up all so-called Christian denominations in one system with one head even one who opposes and exalts himself above God and all that is worshipped so that he, as God, sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is Vicarius filii Dei - that is, Vicar of Christ or instead of Christ - who is not recognized for what he is, but is lauded as the greatest religious leader of our day, by which even now many millions of Christians are being deceived.
After this has been accomplished all manner of signs and wonders will be present to deceive all the ends of the earth insomuch that the image of the beast will speak and call down fire from heaven in the sight of men. "FIRE FROM HEAVEN" has always been the singular sign of GOD'S BLESSING AND APPROVAL by the manifestation of Himself. It is certainly true that these ecumenical and charismatic people are even now "calling fire down from heaven" in the presence of the beastly system as they talk freely of signs and wonders and miracles, and speak loudly of salvation and of the baptism in the Spirit, but are not these the very things of which the faithful apostle Paul warned God's people when he spoke of him "whose coming is after the WORKING OF SATAN WITH ALL POWER AND SIGNS AND LYING WONDERS, and with all DECEIVABLENESS of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the LOVE OF THE TRUTH... and for this cause God shall send them STRONG DELUSION, that they all might be damned (judged)" (II Thes. 2:7-12). The spirit of antichrist, wherever it is found, is known by these unmistakable signs: LYING WONDERS, DECEIVABLENESS and UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
The specific event of the past decade (from 1982 - ed.) that concerns us is the advent of the "Catholic Charismatic" which has added even more fuel to the fire. The new "Catholic-Charismatic" is a sort of middle-of-the-roader, who really doesn't care so much about doctrine, but is more concerned with ecstatic experiences and specifically the baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. We certainly believe in the baptism in the Holy Spirit and in all the precious gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, but when men claim to be manifesting the Spirit we have the responsibility to TRY THE SPIRIT whether it be of God.
Among some Catholic Charismatics there is testimony that after being baptized in the Spirit they had a deeper appreciation of the Mass, a closer relationship with Mary, an ability to recite the rosary in tongues, etc. etc. Since these institutes of the Catholic Church are all pagan in origin and contrary to the Word of God, how can the Holy Spirit, who was sent to LEAD US INTO A-L-L T-R-U-T-H, be leading someone DEEPER INTO ERROR? "Fire from heaven" indeed! but I do not hesitate to tell you, beloved, that it is STRANGE FIRE and multitudes are today deceived by the lying signs and wonders!
Some have hinted that the Mother Church of Rome, the Mother of harlots, is changing, but I have seen no significant change. For a true change, the Vatican would have to close its doors, the sacrifice of the Mass would cease, the veneration of Mary would stop, the rosary would be discarded, prayers to the dead would be abandoned, the bodily assumption of Mary would be declared an invention and a lie, the images and idols would be thrown out, the empty rituals and ceremonies would be stopped, the confessionals would be removed, etc. etc. What the "change" actually is, is a new tactic in deception. Rather than to remain as the Papal Church always has been, the Catholic Church is now sponsoring and promoting many Catholic-Protestant activities and events in order to merge the two together (i.e. Cursillo Movement, Jesus '78, Jesus '79 etc.). Today's priests are being trained to use the vocabulary of the Protestant (born again, receiving Christ etc.) and are learning to copy the motions of true believers. The plan is working! We see Protestants going over to the other side, fellowshipping and receiving Mass together with Catholics. We see the emphasis on ecstatic experience accompanied by a derision of the truth and absolutely no desire to heed the call of the Spirit, "Come out of her, My people!"
Let all who read these pages be assured that the Lord does not require massive temples, religious ceremonies, beautiful and symbolic furnishings, nor priests adorned in decorative robes to demonstrate His life and power. All these outward evidences may be taken away, but God will yet have His witness IN HIS PEOPLE who are the living, righteous PERSONIFICATION of His glory and power. It is in fact, imperative to all who are called to Sonship that these earthly trappings be completely taken away that we may discover HIM ALONE who is the INNER SOURCE of power and life unto His apprehended ones. When the Lord takes these literal, physical THINGS away from His people, it is then evident that He intends to manifest HIS GREATER SPIRIT-LIFE through His chosen ones.
Babylon shall fall, shall so finally, totally, and irrevocably fall until the words of the prophet are fully fulfilled: "And the ten horns (political power) which you saw upon the beast, these shall HATE THE WHORE (Babylon Church system), and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and BURN HER WITH FIRE ... thus WITH VIOLENCE shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found NO MORE AT ALL" (Rev. 17:16; 18:21). As God raised up Nebuchadnezzar to bring swift and certain judgment upon the faithless and backslidden House of Judah, and, when the judgment was complete, He in turn raised up the Medes and the Persians to destroy the kingdom of Babylon, His instrument of judgment upon Judah, so has the Almighty in this hour raised up the sinister power of WORLD COMMUNISM to inflict His judgments upon the apostate Church system, and, when the Communists, arrogant and vain and deluded, have finished their work of judgment, and Babylon the Great has received double for her sins, God shall in turn destroy communism, the instrument of that judgment. This awesome judgment has already begun in many lands where the power and pride of the apostate Church has been broken, where the great cathedrals of former years stand empty and in a state of disrepair, and their ministers are classified as "non-productive citizens" and have been placed in secular work or sit rotting in some horrible prison.
Fear not, saints of the Most High God, for your Father is in control of all these things and is directing all these events. He concludes none of these ominous judgments until first He brings His Sons to Mount Zion and prepares the glorious New Jerusalem to fill the whole earth with His glory. The holy Mount Zion is A PEOPLE and the beautiful New Jerusalem is A PEOPLE, and through these LIVING WITNESSES who PERSONIFY the righteousness, truth, glory, and might of HIS KINGDOM the Lord will arise to subdue all the kingdoms of men, filling the whole earth with His glory and dominion. It will, at long last, be the hour of the exaltation and ministry of those humble followers of the Lamb who are found to have PUT ON CHRIST and to whom shall be committed the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God under all the unbounded heavens! "And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and A-L-L DOMINIONS SHALL SERVE HIM" (Dan. 7:27).
Ah, let the Communists destroy all the modern Church buildings, temples, and fellowship halls; let them make it impossible for religious organizations to present their message, either through radio, television, or the printed page; let them search out and burn and ban all the Bibles in the whole world; by the Word of the Lord I say to you that God will then have ready A LIVING WITNESS IN HIS PEOPLE. Communism shall thoroughly judge the wanton, swaggering harlot who has deceived all nations and with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication. What the darkened minds of the Communist leaders do not know is that in the hour that lies before us the Sons of God shall not minister through the limited and carnal means of traditional religion, for they themselves shall have BECOME THE LIVING WITNESS of the nature and glory and power of the mighty God.
In these perilous times such as the world has never known may the Spirit of God impress upon you, beloved brother, precious sister, the absolute necessity of purging from your life all the INSTEAD OF'S of religion until no place is found for them, that Christ may become ALL-IN-ALL within. The precious Holy Spirit now gently woos you, bidding you to separate yourself completely UNTO THE LORD. God shall exalt His Kingdom THROUGH THE LIVES OF HIS CHOSEN ONES and will take His throne over all the earth. How, precious saint of God, would YOU MINISTER if you could use absolutely NOTHING in your ministry but YOUR LIFE - no Bible, no building, no meetings, no hymn books, no Sunday School Quarterlies, no baptismal tank, no literature, no radio programs, no communion table, no instruments of music - NOTHING BUT YOUR L-I-F-E! That is all Jesus had. That is all Jesus used. That, beloved, is Christianity reduced to its simplest form. THAT is Sonship!
There is judgment in the land and the day may come when, even in this fair land, the Church buildings will be closed, the gospel removed from the air-waves, and it will no longer be possible to raise millions of dollars for Christian television stations or massive Church programs. Put away all lightness and foolishness that with heads bowed low and hearts lifted in worship God's Holy Spirit may reveal how our wise and gracious and omnipotent Father has been preparing in secret in the lowest parts of the earth an ANOINTED COMPANY, a MANCHILD, a vast FAMILY OF SONS that IN and THROUGH THEM He may, in the darkest hour of earth's history, be fully and gloriously revealed!
This is not the hour to be looking for the devil to take over the world or for Jesus to come to "evacuate" His saints away to heaven. The devil has had the world for six thousand long years, since that fateful day way back there in Eden. The night has been long and dark. But, thank God! the first rays of light of a NEW DAY are even now painting the eastern sky! Thank God, a few of His chosen ones are, even now, arising to behold the glories of the dawn and to drink in the intoxicating freshness of the morn. The night is almost over. The day of the great antichrist IS ALMOST OVER! And what we are now ready to enter is not his day, but rather, the fullness of the DAY OF THE LORD!
How truly the whole creation groans, and travails in pain together, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God! Oh, the foul lives, the defiled consciences, the troubled minds, the broken hearts, the crying oppressions, the multiplied miseries of our race! What a world of sin and woe is contained in that one word, WAR! What famines and pestilences, and revolutions and massacres arise from MISGOVERNMENT! The deepest and truest compassion for the sufferings of humanity must prompt the cry, How long, O Lord? And apart altogether from the joy and glory that is to be brought to THE SONS by the revelation of Jesus Christ, the saints must long for His unveiling THAT THE CREATION ITSELF MAY BE DELIVERED FROM THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION, AND BROUGHT INTO THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD.
While we thus stand, as it were on Pisgah's heights, and view the grand prospect just before us, our hearts rejoice in the Lord's great plan, with unspeakable joy; and though we realize that God's true Church is still in the wilderness of her humiliation and testing, and that the hour of her actual triumph has not yet fully come, yet, seeing the indications of its rapid approach, and by faith already discerning the dawn of the New Day, we lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our redemption draws nigh. Oh, what fullness of blessing and cause for joy and thanksgiving the truth contains! Truly, the Lord has put a new song into our mouths. It is the grand anthem, the first note of which was sung by the angelic choir, at the birth of the infant Jesus- "Behold, I bring you GOOD TIDINGS, OF GREAT JOY, which shall be unto ALL PEOPLE, FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY A SAVIOUR, which is CHRIST THE LORD." Thank God, the harmonious strains of this song will ere long fill heaven and earth with eternal melody as A WHOLE FAMILY OF SONS IN HIS EXACT IMAGE AND LIKENESS AND FORM ARE BORN - SAVIOURS ON MOUNT ZION - and the work of salvation - the restitution of all things - which they come to accomplish progresses toward its GLORIOUS CONSUMMATION!
What glories lie beyond this, we cannot yet know. Of this we may be sure: we who are redeemed have entered a progressive institution, a Kingdom in which stagnation will never enter. We will ever go on "from glory to glory", for "of the increase of His government THERE SHALL BE NO END". We will never come to the place where we may sit down with folded hands and say, "This is the end." We, who have been born into the heavenly realm, have entered a stage of action, we have become active agents in the greatest development program ever conceived. A whole universe awaits our touch and guiding hand. "What is man, that You art mindful of him? You have put ALL THINGS in subjection under his feet. For in that He put ALL in subjection under him, He left N-O-T-H-I-N-G that is not put under him. But we see NOT YET all things put under him. But we SEE JESUS" (Heb. 2:6-9).
Away out there in the blue is a Kingdom of life and light and love for every Son of God to explore and develop and perfect. And if ever, in all the countless ages to come, that Kingdom should become too small or overcrowded for its citizens, let us remember that we, being as He is, are therefore, one and all, the very same kind of Beings as He Who simply spoke the Word, and lo! the present worlds appeared. Being like Him, we will also be creators, one and all, and not destroyers, as in our human state. "WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM."
Ah, the tares, the antichrist system shall be gathered and cast into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. THEN SHALL THE RIGHTEOUS SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN IN THE KINGDOM OF THEIR FATHER. Who has ears to hear, let him hear (Mat. 13:40-43).
Writings in This Series: