July 26, 2009

There are over 25 million people living on the west coast of California stretching from the San Francisco / Oakland area down to San Diego.  Along Interstate 5 is the San Andreas Fault.  We have always heard that there is a great possibility for the so-called "BIG ONE" to hit and devastate nearly half of California.  An earthquake above 7.5 on the Richter scale would cause the loss of life and the realignment of the entire state of California.  The point I make here is that when it comes of biblical prophecy, the "BIG ONE" is definitely the topic of the antichrist.  Let me warn you in advance.  Get ready for some shocks.

Kelly Sellers, who runs of decorative-stone business in Minneapolis, Minnesota thinks that the Antichrist is "probably a good looking man."  He says "I am sure he's in politics right now and probably in the public eye even a little bit."  Sellers has read every Left Behind book in the series.  Sellers was interviewed in a Time magazine article entitled "Apocalypse Now" and said that he anxiously looked forward the publication of each book in the Left Behind series.  Seller's view agrees with the "Glossary of Terms" which defines "Antichrist" as an evil figure who will plague the world and eventually be defeated by Christ in the battle of Armageddon.

Like most prophecy-minded Christians today, Kelly Sellers thinks the antichrist will be one super Bad Guy who will publicly appear after the rapture.  In the Left Behind series, storyteller Jerry B. Jenkins gives the antichrist a name, Nicolae Carpathia.  In another sequence of end time thriller movies - Apocalypse, Revelation, Tribulation, and Judgment - the name of the antichrist is Franco Macalousso.  With a creative twist going beyond other films, Megiddo: Omega Code 2, portrays the antichrist from boyhood on up, and even has him falling in love and getting married.  He name in this movie is Stone Alexander.  Unfortunately for Mr. Alexander's bride, she eventually discovers her dashing lover to be the devilish incarnation of Satan himself.

What does the Bible really teach about this mysterious subject?  The word "antichrist," or "antichrists," is found only five times in Scripture, and all of these references are in two small books right before the Book of Revelation.  The two books are 1st and 2nd John.  The verses are I John 2:18, 22; 4:3 and II John 7.  That's it.  When we read these verses (and others near them), we certainly don't read about any Mr. Sly falling in love and getting married.  On the contrary, we find:

After an objective look, what have we discovered?  Do any of these verses describe a solitary Mr. Sin who only shows up after we are gone?  Definitely not!  The Word of God describes not just one, but many antichrists.  And according to I John 2:19, these many antichrists "went out from us," which means they were once inside the Christian Church!  They are subtle, deceptive, and at war with true Christians.  They may profess a certain faith in Jesus, yet their faith is superficial.  They actually deny the Father and the Son (I John 2:22 & 26).  There is also a spirit of antichrist, call "the spirit of error," which is now in the world (I John 4:3).  According to the Bible, the goal of these many antichrists and of the spirit of antichrist is to deceive Christians away from God's love, from the Gospel, and from the true doctrine of Jesus Christ (II John 7 & 9).  Just like America is now at war with terrorists, even so must genuine Christians do battle with these spiritual enemies of truth; and in the strength of Christ, overcome them (I John 4:4).

This is everything God's Word actually says about "antichrist," "antichrists," and "the spirit of antichrist."  Now don't miss this point.  None of these insightful passages point toward one Mr. Super Sin - like Nicolae Carpathia, Stone Alexander or Franco Macalousso - who appears as a cunning politician only after we are gone.  The truth is quite different.  In reality, they all refer to seductive and deceiving elements which are here now and which true Christians must face and overcome.

It's true, God's Word reveals other prophecies about the emergence of an evil "little horn" (Daniel 7:8), a dreadful "beast" (Revelation 13:1), and "the man of sin" (II Thessalonians 2:3).  It is primarily these prophecies that are now being used to support the idea of a future Mr. Abominable - one who will rise up outside of Christianity after the rapture.  Yet consider this: The definite trend of the Bible's literal "antichrist" passages clearly points to things that are here now and which true Christians must face and overcome.  So why would its other antichrist prophecies about the "little horn," :the man of sin," and "the beast," suddenly reverse this trend and apply to things which Christians will not face because they will first vanish in the rapture?

A few years ago I was asked to preach a revival in Vincennes, Indiana.  I was to drive from my church in Mt. Auburn, Illinois, but only knowing that the best way to get to Vincennes was to take U.S. route 51 South to U.S. 50 East, I thought it was a synch to get there.  My wife told me to stop and get a map of the Vincennes area so I wouldn't get lost after I crossed over into Indiana.  Knowing that my destination was just across the state line I didn't think it would be too hard to find the church where I was to preach.  Soon after crossing the line into Indiana I saw the Vincennes city limits sign on U.S. 50, but within two minutes I was outside the city.  Thinking that the road my wind around and back toward the city I just kept driving for about 15 minutes.  A little voice started impressing my conscience to check a map.  At first I ignored it, after all I would have to stop and get a map or ask directions - you know, men don't like to do that!  Finally, I stopped at an Exxon station, took a look at a map, and found that U.S. 50 did touch the northern part of the city but quickly moved away farther East.  I turned around, went back to the state line, turned onto Fort Knox Road and went into Vincennes proper and had little difficulty finding the church.  I made it to the Church on time!

I learned this lesson: No matter how much I trust someone who gives me directions, I must check the map for myself.  The same thing applies to the subject of the antichrist.  We may trust that today's much-respected prophecy teachers know their stuff and won't lead us astray, but in the final analysis, we must look to God's Map (the Bible) for ourselves.  So far, as we have done this, we've seen that all of the Word's clear "antichrist" statements apply to deceptive elements inside of Christianity - elements we must face and overcome.  But most bestselling prophecy books don't tell us this.  As you continue down the end time delusions highway, checking God's map closely and listening for His voice, you will discover many other things you won't learn at the movies.