Trouble

trouble

If your troubles multiply whether you examine or ignore them, what should you do?

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Antichrist

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Anti-Christ

The mention of the name “antichrist” sends a chill up the spine.

And every age brings forth a potential candidate

Napoleon

Nero

Genghis Khan

Stalin

Hitler

Yassar Arafat

Bill Clinton

Ronald Reagan

George Bush

Our current president

Antichrist is normally associated with the number “666′ and Armageddon from the book of Revelations. The word anti-christ however is not found in the book of Revelations.

The English word for Antichrist is taken from the Greek antíkhristos, which means to “oppose Christ” or “instead of Christ” and only appears four times in the New Testament in 1 John and 2 John

Jesus never mentions the word antichrist. But in his answers to the disciples questions concerning the destruction of the temple, the sign of His return, and the end of the age he describes the spirit of antichrist that is to come in the future.

Matthew 24:5 : Many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many

Matthew 24:11, Many false prophets will arise and deceive many.

When Jesus spoke about false christs, false prophets and deception this certainly influenced John (he was present when Jesus gave these warnings) as he writes in 1 John 2:18 some 50 years after Jesus departure*

“My children, this is the final hour. You have heard that the antichrist, the greatest enemy to His kingdom, is coming, but in fact, many antichrists are already here. This development tells us how late it really is”.

It appears that John is not primarily concerned with who the antichrist might be or when he will appear “You have heard that the antichrist, the greatest enemy to His kingdom, is coming” but with the danger presented by the antichrists who were already present.

What can we learn from his warning in our present age?

The final hour

1 John 2:18My children this is the final hour”

The apostle Paul echos this in Romans 13:11

“It is time for you to wake up and see what is right before your eyes”

The apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 4:7

“We are coming to the end of all things, so be serious and keep your wits about you in order to pray more forcefully”.

John, Paul and Peter all point to a closing of history that is drawing near. If it was close 2000 years ago it is even closer now.

It is a time to be to be serious and prayerful, to be aware of what is going on around us.

Many antichrists are already here

It is important that we take the admonition given in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 seriously.

“Take a close look at everything, test it, then cling to what is good”.

Just because it looks good, sounds good, is on the New York Times best-seller list, doesn’t mean it is good. Popularity does not equal truth. John is adamant in his warning

1 John 4:1 “My loved ones, I warn you:do not trust every spirit. Instead examine them carefully to determine if they come from God

Don’t buy the lie

In 2 John 1:7 he writes “The corrupt world is filled with liars and frauds who deny the reality that Jesus the Anointed has come into the world as a man of flesh and blood. These people are deceivers and antichrists”.

The liar is anyone who attempts to discredit Jesus Christ as Savior, His deity or offers another way to salvation 1 John 2:22

 Keep the faith

Finally in the little book of Jude we see that our faith is something we will have to contend for. This word implies a struggle, to compete or contend with an adversary.

“Friends, I have been trying to write you about our common salvation. But these days my heart is troubled, and I am compelled to write to you and encourage you to continue struggling for the faith that was entrusted to the saints once and for all. 4 Vile men have slithered in among us. Depraved souls who stand condemned have made a mockery of the grace given to us, using it as a pretext for a life of excess, lived without any thought of God. These poor fools have denied Jesus the Anointed, our one Lord and Master. Jude 1:3-4

There are two things we must keep in mind:

 1.  We are to persevere

Lord God help us fight the good fight, -To stay on course and finish the race, and through it all, to keep the faith “. 2 Timothy 4:7

2.  Remember our victory in Jesus is secure

Revelation 12:10-11

Now the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Anointed One have come.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God,
has been cast down and silenced.
11 By the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their witnesses,
they have become victorious over him,
For they did not hold on to their lives, even under threat of death.

 

Shadow Warfare

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“All warfare is based on deception”

Sun Tzu (Chinese general and author 500 bc)

 We are in the middle of a war.

Not a war like the scenes in Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Black-hawk Down or the real wars that have been fought for hundreds of years

As I write this I think of the party in Lord of the Rings for Bilbo Baggins his eleventy-first birthday. As they celebrate his birthday, they are unaware that a storm is building that the enemy is gathering his forces, that danger is ahead.

As I look at the world in the 21st century I feel many of us just like Bilbo and his friends are at the party there is danger ahead but we do not see it.

John Eldredge in his book “Wild at Heart” writes

“You can’t fight a battle you don’t think exists.”

The enemy in this battle is very real.

It is a struggle not only on a physical level, but a struggle for the soul and spirit, eternity for all is hanging on the outcome of this battle.

This war is unlike those we are familiar with. It is fought in the shadows, a guerrilla warfare, a war of deception where the enemy is seldom seen.

He seeks to focus our attention on what is unimportant at the expense of the most important.

It is a war of distraction

It is a war of deception

It is a war of disinformation

 It was critically important to Jesus that his followers and all who would would have the right information and not be distracted by the distractions and deceptions of this world.

Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 all record his warnings of what is to come.

Jesus begins to point them towards the future and the importance of letting go of the familiar that soon would pass away. But the disciples are focused on the here and now.

Mark 13:1-2

As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”

2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

We then see the heart of his warning in his Luke 21:34

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap”.

Jesus then goes on to explain what the future will bring

Watch out that no one deceives you

Many will come and try to do exactly that claiming to be the Christ.

You will hear of wars

and rumors of wars, nation against nation.

Do not panic.

It is inevitable

this breaking apart of this world.

Famine…

Earthquakes…

These are birth-pangs…

The beginning…

The end is unfolding.

You will be persecuted

put to death

you will be hated

Because of Me.

Many will turn away from the faith

and their love for Me.

Betraying…

Hating one another…

The love of most will grow cold.

Few will obey the law.

False prophets will appear…

Many will be deceived…

Wickedness will grow.

There will be no end

to the wickedness.

Do not waver from the Path.

Do not follow them.

There will be signs

In the sun

In the moon

In the stars.

Nations will be in anguish…

People will faint

from terror.

The heavenly bodies

will be shaken.

When the twigs of the fig tree

become green and tender

when it begins to

sprout leaves

In the same way,

When you see all these things

wars

suffering

false liberators

and desolation,

The Son of Man is near

right at the door.

 

IMatthew, Mark and Luke,  gives his followers final warnings and a promise that he will come.

Luke 21:34

Distraction

So be careful. Guard your hearts. They can be made heavy with moral laxity,with drunkenness, with the hassles of daily life. Then that day I’ve been telling you about might catch you unaware and trap you.

 

Mark 13:35

Deception

Be alert! Be on guard! You don’t know when that time will come.

Don’t be like the servants who were left in charge of the Masters household while He was away on a journey thinking they had plenty of time and the Master came back to find them sleeping.

 

Matthew 24:36 ;42

Disinformation

“No one knows the hour or the day, not even the the messengers in heaven, not even the Son.

Don’t be as they were in the days of Noah, busy making lives for yourselves, eating, drinking, marrying, giving in marriage, making plans, having children, growing old, until the day Noah entered the ark. They had no idea what was coming.

 

The Promise

Matthew 24:42

“So keep watch. You don’t know the day your Lord will come.”

Matthew 24:29-31

And as the prophets have foretold it: after the distress of those days,

The sun will grow dark,
and the moon will be hidden.
The stars will fall from the sky,
and all the powers in the heavens will be dislodged and shaken from their places.

That is when the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. All the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming; they will see Him powerful and glorious, riding on chariots of clouds in the sky. With a loud trumpet call, He will send out battalions of heavenly messengers; and they will gather His beloved faithful elect from the four corners of creation, from one end of heaven to the other.
As we see the wickedness in this world increase and many of the signs Jesus spoke of come to pass we know the end of all things is near.

Be ready! He is coming soon!