Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.

 
 
 

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Gospel Tract #87

Antichrist

by George C. Clark, Sr. and John D. Clark, Sr.

Let no one mislead you by any means. That day will not come except the Apostasy come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above everything called God or that is worshipped, so that he, as God, sits in God’s temple representing himself that he is God.”
2Thessalonians 2:3—4

Paul asserts that before our Lord’s return there is to be a “falling away” from the faith and a revealing of “that man of sin” — antichrist. This falling away is not a denial of faith itself; rather, it is a turning to a perverted faith. A rejection of faith would deceive no one, but Satan’s perversion of the faith of Christ has, and will, deceive many. Seeing this apostasy taking place in his day, the apostle John wrote, “Just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many have become antichrists” (1Jn. 2:18). An example of this is found in Acts 15, where certain men went out from Jerusalem teaching doctrines the apostles did not teach. John said such men “went out from us, but they were not of us” (1Jn. 2:19).

In Revelation, a book of prophecy, the word “antichrist” is never even mentioned. There was no need for John to prophesy of one who had already arrived! In Revelation, we learn of the “Beast” and the “False Prophet”, two future enemies of righteousness (Rev. 13), but “antichrist” had already come in John’s day — not a physical man but the “man of sin”, the spiritual offspring of Satan. Yes, the spirit of antichrist has been here, working among the saints, since the days of the apostles.

What is yet to come, as Paul said, is the revealing of that man of sin, for he has disguised himself well. That there is a man, “the Antichrist”, who has not yet come is a doctrine Satan invented! By this clever ruse, he diverts the saints’ attention to the future while he continues to steal their joy, quench the Spirit, and destroy their fellowship with Christ and with one another. While believers look for the dreaded Antichrist, Satan works freely in their midst, unhindered because he is unrevealed.

Satan encourages men to serve Christ Jesus — but only as he defines what serving Jesus means. With forms of godliness, his religion (Christianity) deceives every soul not led by God’s Spirit. Satan has deceived the whole world to believe that the religion of Christianity is the religion of Christ.

THE SPIRIT THAT CONFESSES CHRIST

By this, the Spirit of God is recognized: every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ when he has come into flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus Christ when he has come into flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now already, it is in the world” (1Jn. 4:2—3). The Spirit of God is not a dumb spirit (1Cor. 12:3). It speaks (in tongues) when it enters. Jesus said, “When the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth which comes out from the Father, he will testify of me, and you also shall bear witness because you’ve been with me from the beginning” (Jn. 15:26—27). This is exactly what happened to Jesus’ disciples on the day of Pentecost. They received the holy Spirit and began to testify in tongues “as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Paul likened this supernatural confession of Christ to the birth-cry of a new-born infant, saying, “You received the Spirit of adoption [into the family of God], by which we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Father!”)” (Rom. 8:15).

Any spirit that fails to meet the Lord’s condition of a verbal confession when it enters is not the holy Spirit. Instead, it is Satan’s substitute: the speechless antichrist spirit. Dictionaries of first-century Greek tell us that the definition of the Greek word anti was “instead of”. This is what the word “antichrist” really means: “instead of Christ”.

My friend, if you are professing to be born again but have not spoken in tongues, you are dangerously entangled with the “instead-of-Christ” spirit, the spirit of antichrist, though you may be sincere in your believing. Multitudes are persuaded by Satan’s ministers that they are born again without receiving the Spirit with its heavenly witness! Instead of following Christ, Christians have been seduced by the powerless christ which Satan’s ministers offer them. More than any other, this particular truth provokes bitter reaction from those entangled in the antichrist religious system (2Tim. 3:12).

CHRISTIANITY — ABOVE SUSPICION

God’s children are so sincere about doing what they think is God’s will, they often become the most fiercely loyal members of Christianity — but only because they think Christianity is of God! If they didn’t care about pleasing God, Satan couldn’t make merchandise of them (2Pet. 2:1—3). But being zealous, they are used by Satan to strengthen and enlarge his unordained religion. Satan accomplishes this by persuading God’s children to express their love for God in ways which, in fact, dishonor and deny Him.

Christianity is the one thing God’s children least suspect of doing them harm, yet it has been Satan’s chief tool for dividing and controlling them. Christianity is not now, and never has been of Christ, and in the light of Christianity’s patently evil history, the attachment which God’s people feel for it is astonishing.

Jesus did not suffer and die to bring about the religion of Christianity. That truth is so obvious that I marvel that it even needs to be said. When God’s children at last are convinced of this, and when they see how they have been seduced by Christian ministers and used for Satan’s glory instead of God’s, they will know it is the Father’s voice crying, “Come out of her my people!” Then, they will at last forsake Christianity and come to Jesus “outside the camp, bearing his disgrace.”

Speaking to Pharisees, Jesus said: “You are they who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts! That which is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Lk. 16:15). If there is one thing highly esteemed by men and held in contempt by God, it is man’s religious creeds and ceremonies. False religion has always mesmerized the world and will continue to do so. The greatest tragedy, however, is that Satan’s religion mesmerizes many of God’s saints! Peter warned us of this deception: “There were also false prophets among the [Old Testament] people, just as there shall also be false teachers among you, who shall bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them. . . . And many shall follow their licentious ways, because of whom, the way of truth shall be spoken evil of . . . . Promising them [the hearers] liberty, while they [ministers] themselves are slaves to depravity” (2Pet. 2:1, 2, 19).

SITTING IN THE TEMPLE

In this New Covenant, believers are the “temple of God” because the Spirit of God is in them (1Cor. 3:16). But where is the antichrist? Paul said he “sits in the temple of God, representing himself that he is God.” The “mystery of iniquity” that already worked in Paul’s day is that the antichrist may enter into people who are God’s temple and dwell there, along with the holy Spirit (2Thess. 2:7)! Jesus told us that this abomination would “stand where it ought not” (Mk. 13:14), and we see it standing in God’s temple every time a Spirit-baptized person is persuaded that others can receive the Spirit without the sign that God always gives with it.

The antichrist cannot force itself into any believer’s heart. It enters into that sanctified chamber only as believers welcome it in by receiving that doctrine. My friend, what about you? Have you, too, received the antichrist spirit into your heart?

God’s Spirit is with every person who has begun to follow Jesus, but it is not in them until they speak in tongues, or have “stammering lips” (Isa. 28:11). This was true of Jesus’ disciples (Jn. 14:17), and it is true now. But the vulpine spirit of antichrist, craftily using Christian ministers, tells those who have just begun to believe in Jesus that they already have the Spirit, even if they have not spoken in tongues! That is the sandy foundation upon which all of Christianity, the antichrist religion, is built.

Many deceivers”, the elder tells us, “have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ when he comes in the flesh; this is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2Jn. 7). Yes, these deceivers departed from the faith, and, as John testified, they “went out” from the apostles’ fellowship into the world, declaring a perverted gospel (1Jn. 2:19). This new gospel offered pardon without demanding complete surrender, and it won the hearts of men. In a short time, it supplanted the rule of the Spirit over the saints with the ecclesiastical rule of carnal men, and to this day the saints are bound within the walls of that religion which Satan inspired. Its ministers are deceived, denying that the baptism of the holy Spirit with the evidence of the Spirit’s confession is the new birth, and — most astonishingly of all — some of these ministers who deny the need of the baptism of the holy Spirit have themselves previously received it! Are they not those of whom Peter sorrowfully prophesied, those redeemed souls who “deny the Lord who bought them” (2Pet. 2:1)? Yes, my friend, when a holy Spirit-baptized person denies that it is Jesus’ baptism that washed away his sins, he has denied the Lord that bought him, for “the Lord is the Spirit” (2Cor. 3:17).

Just look at how the Enemy has deceived God’s dear children — those who have received the Spirit! Their power and joy is departing as they have departed from the holy Ghost. And they themselves ponder over why the glory is departing. For their answer, they need look no further than the sermons they themselves are hearing! What they stress is, “Get saved! Get saved! Get saved!” But an empty promise of “getting saved” is all that Satan has to offer. My dear brothers and sisters, do not believe his speechless spirit, the spirit of antichrist!

BAPTISM SAVES

Peter wrote of the holy Ghost baptism, “Baptism now also saves us” (1Pet. 3:21). But the holy Ghost not only will save us in the end; it is also what gives us a clear conscience while we are on the way there, as Paul suggested when he wrote that we are saved “through the washing of the holy Spirit that brings about a new birth and restoration” (Tit. 3:5). This renewing of our inner man, he told the Corinthians, takes place “day by day.”

Peter proclaimed, “We are his witnesses of these things, and so is the holy Spirit, which God has given TO ALL THOSE WHO OBEY HIM” (Acts 5:32). Have you obeyed God, my friend? Unless you have received the baptism of the holy Spirit, which is God’s personal testimony of your obedience, the answer must be “no”. Christian ministers, under the influence of the anti-christ spirit, will teach that you are washed from your sins without this divine witness, but you know in your heart — and God knows — when “your obedience is fulfilled.” Why not surrender to Jesus now, so that you may really receive the Promise? For, “the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).

My friend, it is your choice. Will you choose the “instead-of-Christ” spirit (with its appearance of righteousness and the praise of men), or will you choose the Spirit of Christ that speaks when it enters?

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