Eschatology

The Antichrist

Today is my 666th post on this blog. Weird for so many reasons. Andrea suggested that on this day, I should blog about the Antichrist. Why not, right? So here goes …

Since the beginning, Satan has orchestrated evil schemes in order to overcome the plan and will of God. He’s worked in the past, works in the present and will work in the future.

  • Satan attacks the truth of God. It’s his oldest trick. He tempted Eve to sin by leading her in disbelief of God’s command to not eat from the tree. He asked, “Has God really said?” (Gen 3:1). Sin was escorted into the world by an attack on God’s Word.
  • Satan instills doubt for the validity of God’s Word. He likes to question the authority and integrity of our Word.
  • Satan attacks God’s program in this world by spreading false religions, doctrine and teachers. His strategy is to replace true religion and truth with false ones. Paul admonished the Church in Colossae, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col 2:8). Paul warned Timothy, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Tim 4:1). In his next epistle to the young pastor Timothy, he wrote, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (II Tim 4:3-4). Peter warns in his 2nd Epistle, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (II Pet 2:1).
  • Satan attacks the people of God through persecution. Satan hopes to cause some like Peter to deny Christ by “turning up the heat.” John was reminded in Revelation 2:10, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested….”
  • Satan attacks the ministry. He detracts people from ministry by spreading pessimism or causing people to doubt whether they can be useful to God. Paul told the Thessalonian church, “Therefore we wanted to come to you– even I, Paul, time and again– but Satan hindered us” (I Thess 2:18).

And this same Satan is the energizer of the Antichrist. Paul tells us about this lawless one and his relationship to the Antichrist – “…the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, & lying wonders” (II Thes 2:9).

Antichrist

People like to ask, “Who will this Antichrist be? Where will he come from?” And in Daniel 8:23-25, we give a profile of what he will look like: “23 And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. 24 His power shall be great—but not by his own power; and he shall cause fearful destruction and shall succeed in what he does, and destroy mighty men and the people who are the saints. 25 By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall become great. Without warning he shall destroy many. And he shall even rise up against the Prince of princes, and he shall be broken—but by no human hand.”

There are basically 7 characteristics listed of this little horn that fits the figure the Antichrist.

  1. He will be a king “having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes” (vs. 23c). He comes with lies and he is able to betray all.
  2. He will have great power (vs. 24a). It will be power that providentially was allowed to exist.
  3. He will destroy Israel (vs. 24b). He’s given as an instrument of God to inflict punishment upon Hebrews.
  4. He will increase wickedness in the world (vs. 25a).
  5. He will exalt himself (vs. 25b).
  6. He will oppose the Prince of princes (vs. 25c). He is against the Lord – as his name suggests.
  7. He will be broken in the end (vs. 25d). His kingdom is short and won’t be tolerated for long.

So, if and when this man shows up, look out! Eternity is “right around the corner.”

 

We Shall Be Like Him?

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.

 

In I John 3:2 we read, “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” John says, “Because we are God’s children we are going somewhere. We have a destination – not just a location like heaven – but a position – to be like Him.” John does express something truly remarkable here: we will become like Jesus when He appears.

Ponder this with me: the great reversal will be completed. What I mean is this: we were created in the image of God (Gen 1:26), but when we invited sin into our lives, imperfection and a broken relationship with God became reality. Man lived unreconciled to God in a unique way and unable to do anything about it. And because His sin kept Him from God, God had to send a perfect Lamb in His Son Jesus Christ to reconcile us to Himself. However, even though we can stand before God right now with Christ as our Advocate, we still have the flesh. As long as we occupy this earth, we still sin. What we hope for is what John is writing about in vs. 2. We hope for a time of Christ’s return when we will finally see His image completely and totally restored, without the marring, without the imperfections, etc. John says, “Now we will become like Him.”

Paul says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom 8:29).

He told the Church of Corinth, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. …” (II Cor 3:18).

To the church of Philippi, he wrote, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself” (Phil 3:20-21).

And to the church in Colossae, he said, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Col 3:4). In heaven, we just won’t be with Christ, we will be like Him.

A big, big question we all want to know is, “What will that be like?” We all want to know, right? Let me try to help answer the question, but I will be honest with you about the answer: I don’t know that any of us can completely know what this change is going to fully look like. The Bible tells us a few things, but not everything. Let me read for you a central passage that helps answers this question – “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (I Cor 15:42-44).

 

  • Our bodies will be actual bodies … just glorified. Just as Christ had a resurrected body that you could see and touch, we too will living in actual bodies.
  • They will be immortal. Paul calls them “imperishable.” Unlike the death we see on earth, there will no death for our bodies in heaven. And that also means there will be no deterioration or sickness or aches or pain.
  • They will be sinless. Paul calls them “raised in glory.” No evil thoughts or intentions or motivations or crass words. No corrupt behavior in any sense.
  • They will not require sustenance. That is the meaning of having a “spiritual body.” They won’t require food, even though it certainly seems to be something we will still enjoy.

 

Many like to make much of Christ’s resurrected body that walked through walls or doors or traveled at will without natural limitations. And perhaps we can expect that same super-hero type ability, but we cannot be for sure. I know this: being like the Son of God – in any form or fashion – is better than I am now … infinitely. John Piper has said,

“God created you with a body and he created you for his glory. Therefore he is going to raise your mortal body no matter how mangled, or deformed, or emaciated, or disease-ridden, and he is going to make it so strong, so healthy, so beautiful, that when I see it, I will say, ‘You are like the broad blue sky on a bright summer day. You are like the splendor of a million stars against the black night of space. Your radiance is like the sun; yes, in you I see the form and grandeur of the glory of Jesus Christ who made you, redeemed you, raised you, and glorified you with his glory for ever and ever.’”[1]

Anyone else have hope stirred within the as a result of this?

[1] http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/the-spirit-will-give-life-to-your-mortal-bodies