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Chapter 8: Many Antichrists


part 2 of 2

SPIRITUAL OFFICES IN THE CHURCH

Romans.12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office;
5. So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Eph.4:11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
Now UNTIL we all come in the unity of the faith, and even unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, we shall need these 5 offices of 'preaching elders', which, while they constitute the most visible manifestation of the Divine Deputation in the Church, they by no means exhaust the catalog of 'special Divine empowerments' assigned to the body of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
1Cor.12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He (God) will.
The Holy Spirit distributes these 'offices, functions, and capacities' according to the will of God; God's choices being justified in His own will. Now we are talking about The True Church; that composed of all True and Faithful believers. A man whose ambition is to please God will have no problem accepting a less conspicuous 'office' of service in Christ's Church, for the peace and security that comes with obedience to the will of God feels the same for both the pastor and the man whose "gift" is to shew mercy (Rom.12:8).

THE PRIESTS OF THE PEOPLES

But now, dear Reader, I shall prove to you that, according to Our Lord Jesus Christ, most of what Christendom calls "clergymen", are just the Pharisees of the last days. Now you say, (I suppose) that Jesus is the head of the Church. It is His Church, is it not? AND IF Jesus is the head of the church, ought He not to be allowed to define and describe who are the ministers of righteousness, and who are NOT ? Listen to Jesus as He describes the Pharisees:
Matt.23:5 ... all their works they do for to be seen of men; they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments.
Phylacteries are little boxes that contain printed passages from the Bible; they were thought of as testimonials to the sanctity of the wearer. It is not a far stretch to compare these to the diplomas, licenses, and certificates by which our modern "clergyman" thinks to certify his spiritual authority.
They enlarge the borders of their garments: In other words, they "costume" themselves in clothing styles associated with religious and civil authority, and they do so to present the appearance of social, spiritual, and moral superiority. There is no difference between the way the Pharisees "dressed for success" and the way our modern "clergymen" like to wear special outfits in the pulpit, or try to dress like the governor or the business tycoon. This attempt to look like the princes of this world (1 Cor. 2:6) reveals that they have NO regard for the teachings of Jesus, for He said, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is ABOMINATION in the sight of God (Luke 16:15) I know how outrageous and scandalous it is to say these things, but remember: Jesus said it first.
6. And they love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues.
Our modern Pharisees love to be held in honor at public assemblies, where they get their name in the paper or have their picture taken with the mayor; once again, ignoring the words of Jesus, Who said, Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets (Luke 6:26).
The Jewish synagogue was a building that was used for religious meetings, just like the modern "church". The Pharisees long for those 'big chairs' in the front, where everyone can see how important they are! Please explain the difference between then and now; the difference between THOSE Pharisees and today's "clergy-class"!
7. And they love greetings in the markets, and to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi.
8. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
They love to be called "Reverend, Reverend", when Our Lord Jesus has denounced the use of such titles in His Church. Jesus said, The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:48). Do you think that these "clergymen", who have shown such overt contempt for the words of Jesus can actually be the very people that He is requiring us to confirm, support, and submit to?
9. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Oh! The Protestants have no trouble reminding the Catholics that "Father" is not an appropriate title for any Christian, for Jesus explicitly forbade it; but anyone can see the hypocrisy! Jesus Christ explicitly forbade us to accept ANY of these titles of PUBLIC sanctity. Jesus describes those who accept such titles as Pharisees. Do you know of any such Pharisees?
10. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, even Christ.
11. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Jesus said to His disciples that they should not allow themselves to be called, Rabbi, Father, or Master. This in no way denies that some in the church will be distinguished by special capacities and powers assigned to them by the Holy Spirit. We can still recognize that a man is a pastor, or an apostle, and receive the ministry that God grants through them. What Christ is denouncing here is "the worldly clergy": those who THE WORLD will acknowledge as "God's representatives". The world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not (1 John 3:1). The word "know" here means more than 'to be acquainted with'; but means both to RECOGNIZE and APPROVE. The world did not TRULY recognize and approve of Jesus when He was here in the flesh. The Bible says of Jesus that He was despised and rejected of men (Isaiah 53:3); NOT everybody's favorite preacher! Sure. . . they all came running when there was free food and miracles of healing; but these same people turned away once Jesus started preaching, and they said 'crucify Him' when they realized that His teachings threatened the social, religious, and economic order of their society (John 11:48, 19:6-15).
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant: by these words, Jesus denounces that yearning for social prominence and popular authority that characterizes 'the priests of the peoples'. A servant does not use other men for his own purposes and convenience.
AND THEN, there is that 'sleight of hand' by which a man calls himself "a servant", while manipulating and controlling others by popular authority. Jesus also addressed this fraud:
Luke.22:24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25. And He said unto them, The kings of the gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? But I am among you as he that serveth.
YES. . . they CALL THEMSELVES benefactors; but they exercise that same social and political authority over their "flock" that the kings of this world use to subdue and control their subjects. They occupy an 'office of worldly authority': being recognized by THE WORLD as the LEGALLY LICENSED, INSTITUTIONALLY CERTIFIED, BUREAUCRATICALLY ORDAINED, and PUBLICLY ACCEPTABLE representatives of POPULAR RELIGION. They are a part of the world's social order: they stand shoulder to shoulder with the mayor, the doctor, and the policeman. They sit on the town council; they influence elections; the newspaper values their opinion. They are RECOGNIZED by THE WORLD as "the men of God"; while the Bible says the world knoweth us not: but The World DOES 'know' THEM.
Now what am I supposed to do, apologize for Jesus Christ? Is that what you want me to do? Perhaps now you are ready to throw this article away, and pretend you were never confronted with this. I guess you better throw your Bible away, too; for you have read nothing here that you won't see again the next time you read that Bible!
Matt.23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
When shall this happen? In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel (Rom. 2:16). So here we have it: nearly everything which distinguishes the "clergy-class" from the rest of men is denounced by Jesus Christ. They wear the "costumes", they love the "titles," they associate themselves with the princes of this world; they are THE PRIESTS OF THE PEOPLES; they are the many antichrists of Bible prophecy. This is the second time, and the second way, that this has been explained to you.

WHERE DID THEY COME FROM?

1John.2:18 Little children, it is the last HOUR: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last HOUR.
19. They went out from us; for if they had been of US, they would no doubt have continued with US: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of US.
Now, someone, at some time, will have to end up being those many antichrists of prophecy. There shall come a time when we will all be revealed for WHAT WE REALLY WERE; and hindsight shall unmistakably discover just 'who' were those many antichrists.
We may all justly pause, and say, Is it I? (Matt. 26:21) For it shall surely turn out that either you, or I, or someone else, was, AND IS, an antichrist. And this is a most serious matter, for whoever is labeled as "antichrist" will be facing Jesus Christ at the judgement; For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement unto the Son (John 5:22). There, in the bright light of Truth, it shall be revealed that all who opposed the person AND THE PURPOSES of Jesus Christ were in unity with The Devil: and if they are found to be such in The End, they shall join The Devil in the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:10).
So, being very aware of the consequences of error in this matter; I shall prove to you that, 'They went out from US', does NOT mean that they renounced Christianity altogether; and nor does it mean that they broke fellowship with any particular group or denomination: but that they REMAINED within the sphere of profession, and passed themselves off as ministers of righteousness, while both supplanting and opposing Jesus Christ.
1John.2:19 They went out from US, but they were not of US; for if they had been of US, they would no doubt have continued with US: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of US.
So let's entertain for a moment the ridiculous notion that every group that claims to be a Christian Church is the "official US" of the New Testament: so a man leaves and denounces one group and goes to another, and the comedy begins. The group he left says "He went out from US", therefore he is antichrist; but the group he went to welcomes him as a hero, and assures him that he has made the right choice. Soon, he becomes dissatisfied with his new "church" and leaves them to go to another, and the comedy starts all over again. Perhaps he will become both antichrist and spiritual hero several times over.
Perhaps it will do me no good to point out to you that most of the older and popular commentators assert that these many antichrists are not open defectors from Christendom, but remain, as Augustine said, as "Bad [influences] IN the body of Christ", Maybe you have some respect for Scofield, who said, "They went out from us, that is,DOCTRINALLY. Doubtless then, as now, the deniers of the Son still called themselves Christians." When Jude speaks of those who deny the only Lord God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, he says they crept IN unawares (Jude 4). In other words, we were not aware of how and when they crept in.
1John.4:5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
They are THE PRIESTS OF THE PEOPLES: those who represent the popular religion of their time and culture. These "priests" do the same job in every society: they personify the religious ideals of their own culture, and they grant assurances of security and righteousness to those who acknowledge their spiritual authority. Anyone who dares to denounce the "PRIEST OF THE PEOPLE" has also insulted the mob that elected him: and that mob will protect his dignity, for their righteousness is tied to his.
The Apostle Paul addresses those who have risen to respectability and influence in the society of the world by saying, Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have REIGNED AS KINGS without US: and I would to God that ye did reign, that we also might reign with you (1 Cor.4:8).
Yes, they had obtained popularity and influence in the world; but the Apostle Paul says they did so WITHOUT "us". Just who do you suppose the Apostle means by "us"?
1John.4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth US; he that is not of God heareth not US. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.
And here we are faced with that "US" again! Once again the silly picture is before us; in which every cult, and schism, and denomination, is able to recite, "He that is not of God heareth not us", against every other cult, schism, and denomination. But SOMEONE must be able to say this AND BE RIGHT!
This "US" that the Apostle speaks of must include himself, right? The things that they refuse to hear must be what this Apostle and the other Apostles have said AND WRITTEN, RIGHT? So when the Holy Ghost says through John, They went out from US; what they went out from was the doctrine and fellowship of the True Saints; and John goes on to describe who the True Saints are.
1John.2:4 He that saith, I know Him (Jesus), and keepeth not His commandments (the commandments of Jesus Himself), is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
So the True Saints embrace; and do not attempt to compromise or explain away the teachings of Jesus Christ. One of the popular "excuses" for ignoring or explaining away the teachings of Jesus is the idea that The Kingdom of God has been 'postponed' until the Second Coming. The conclusion that they make from this is that 'some of' the teachings of Jesus DO NOT APPLY to "US" during the Church-Age. That they are being dishonest when they do this, is made obvious by the fact that those who teach this "postponed kingdom" will quote the words of Jesus whenever it will suit their purposes, and will 'postpone' the words of Jesus whenever they will hinder or contradict their purposes. In what is called "The Great Commission", which all clergymen will quote as authoritative for this age, Jesus said: Teaching them to observe ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER I HAVE COMMANDED YOU (Matt. 28:20).
The Great and Final Apostasy of prophecy (2 Thess. 2:3) is NOT the overt and public abandonment of Judaeo-Christian morality, nor is it the wholesale abandonment of religion or church attendance: it is the denial that Jesus is the Lord of The Church by ignoring or explaining away His teachings.
1John.3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10. In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the Devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Now this statement, that, Whosoever is born of God DOTH NOT COMMIT SIN, is one of the most severe and frightening phrases in the Bible. It stands as a warning to those who are so quick to FORGIVE THEMSELVES for their habitual sins. So here we go . . .do you know anyone that NEVER sins? But this is an address to the motives and intentions. The one who is born of God does not plan or purpose to continually commit sin, because the Divine seed in him, which begets a new creature (2 Cor.5:17), does not sin. The same Apostle says, My little children, these things write I unto you that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate (priest-representative) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (1 John 2:1). If one is TRULY a child of God, he may say with Paul, If I then do that which I would not, I consent unto the Law, that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me (Romans 7:16-17). This is not meant to diminish the awful horror of any sin: but to amplify it. For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8). And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He (Christ) is pure (1 John 3:3). The fact is: those false brethren that shall be exposed for their fraud at the judgement will not be people who didn't try hard enough: they will be those who NEVER intended to conform to the standard and teachings of Jesus in the first place. They take one look at, lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth (Matt.6:19); and they immediately become "confused" about what this might mean. After they have excused themselves for being "not mature enough" to understand, they forget the whole thing. There is, on their part, no intention whatsoever to submit to Jesus, or to walk, even as He (Jesus) walked (1 John 2:6).
How shall we define and describe righteousness? He that doeth not righteousness is not of God. There is a "civil righteousness", wherein the approval of men sets the standard. But that which is highly esteemed among men is ABOMINATION in the sight of God. This servile conformity to social order; which is done only for personal safety and profit, is just conformity to the world. The main goal of "civil righteousness" is to escape persecution; but the Bible says, Yea, and all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (1 Tim. 3:12). WHY? Well, you just go around telling people that True Christians do not lay up treasures upon earth, and they take no thought for the morrow; or that anyone that does not forsake all that he hath, cannot be Christ's disciple (Luke 14:33), and you will find out what religious persecution is all about right away. Or perhaps you would dare to say with Jesus, Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another, COMMITTETH ADULTERY: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband COMMITTETH ADULTERY (Luke 16:18). I wonder how popular you would be in ANY "church" today if you were to simply repeat aloud these words of Jesus? If Jesus's life and teachings are the absolute standard for righteousness, then we can understand what is meant by, Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God. If the righteousness that distinguishes the True Christian from all others is just a religiously defined public morality, then all those Mohammedans, Jews, Buddhists, and Mormons that deport themselves as 'good citizens' are as much the Children of God as any Christian, are they not? If ye know that He (Jesus) is (our example of) righteousness, ye know that every one that doeth (that same type of) righteousness is born of Him (1 John 2:29). All you have to do to get some of that 'popular civil religion' is to get rid of the example and teachings of Jesus Himself: and THAT is exactly what has been done by Apostate Christendom.
Neither he that loveth not his brother: we have already reviewed who 'our brother' is. Can you consider what it means if I, who have written this, am a True Christian? That means, that if you don't LOVE ME, then you are not of God.
But then, you say, "He speaketh novelties, we have never heard the like!" On the contrary, consult your commentators, and you will see that most of them HINT AT what you are reading here, but were either unable or unwilling to express the final conclusions of their own reasonings. This is the time for these things to be said, because the darkness is passing, and the true light now shineth (1 John 2:8). We are now, in that last hour, and it's time to end that endless arguing that pretends that there are no final answers and conclusions before us. Someone, somewhere, is going to be those many antichrists of prophecy, and I defy you to describe any other class of persons other than what THE WORLD calls "clergy" that can effectively oppose the person and purposes of Jesus Christ by actually supplanting Jesus Christ.
1Cor.1:30 But of Him (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
Yes, if one truly believes in Christ Jesus, that bare belief in Jesus makes us WISE, RIGHTEOUS, HOLY and SAVED: but one who has come to truly believe in Jesus will always follow up with a life of ever increasing conformity to His example by obedience to His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous to those who believe that they are for our good (1 John 5:3). Jesus said, These things have I spoken unto you, that My JOY might remain in you, and that YOUR JOY might be full (John 15:11).
On the other hand, those who have erected a "little antichrist" over themselves believe that the concessions they make to their "clergyman" make them partakers of the "righteousness" that they ASSIGN to that "clergyman". The "clergyman", for all real and practical purposes, becomes the "public image" of God, to which they do their obeisance. The Jesus Who said, That which is highly esteemed among men is ABOMINATION in the sight of God, INTERFERES TOO MUCH with their social and economic ambitions: so they find themselves another 'mediator' who will only ask for tithes, or conformity to a dress code; and who will applaud them if they get their name in the paper or advance themselves in the world. The game is old, and has always been the same; but only NOW, in this last hour, has God allowed someone to COME RIGHT OUT AND SAY IT: What THE WORLD calls "clergymen", God calls antichrists: and any "clergyman" who utterly refuses to play the "antichrist game", would see their audience and their popularity shrinking rapidly. They know it, too. You simply cannot be seen as a PUBLIC BIG-SHOT or pay the bills for a magnificent building with a congregation of 20 or 30 people, no matter how dedicated and faithful those 20 or 30 people are! Jesus said, I receive not honour from men (John 5:41). He REFUSED it. The many antichrists of Bible Prophecy have MADE A CAREER out of accumulating this honour from men.
Let us review again the "game": You acknowledge that the "clergyman" is indeed the special representative of God, and lend some degree of support to his program. He assures you that you are indeed a "good Christian" and that heaven awaits you in the end. He doesn't ask you too many questions, and you don't ask him too many questions: because neither of you really wants to know. If you are troubled or threatened by something you read in the Bible, you can always go to him: he is quick to "explain it" so that it does not contradict anything that HE is saying or doing; and usually, he "explains it" so that you end up OWING HIM even more of your time and money than you are already giving! If you turn against him, he will either set the mob against you, or allow them to attack you on their own, if they will. They probably will: for when you have denounced their "public example of right religion", you have denounced the people who elected him as well. Every culture and society has it's religion, and every religion has it's "clergymen". All of these "public clergymen" do the same job: they represent the "solution" to the 'God-problem'. The people cast off responsibility to solve the 'God-problem' onto their "clergyman"; who they insist has indeed 'solved it'. They then, by making concessions to these "clergymen", presume to have a share in his spiritual superiority. This is the same transaction that takes place between the Christian and his Savior. Jesus has solved our 'God-problem', and by believing that He (Jesus) is the image (representative) of the invisible God (Col.1:15), we are accounted righteous. Anyone who allows you to take your spiritual security from THEIR sanctity, OR receives your applause as a PROOF of your righteousness, is an antichrist.
Permit me to paint up this "professional clergyman" routine for you in another way. The WORLDLY concept of "clergyman" divides the people into two classes: clergymen, and laymen. The "clergymen" are allowed, expected, and required to be about the business of representing religion at all times. All day long his conversation may be punctuated by references to the Bible or proper morality. He is freely permitted by those around him to introduce religion into any conversation: they expect it from him: it is his "job". He need not fear the consequences of offending anyone outside of his own group, because he gets PAID for representing the religious views of his own "church". The "layman", however, gets to excuse himself from representing his religious convictions on every opportunity, because it is not "his JOB". He is glad of THIS, because since he is not 'an official preacher', he will NOT BE ALLOWED by most people to speak authoritatively on spiritual matters. Just imagine, if you will, a "nobody" who insists on inquiring into the religious convictions of EVERYONE HE MEETS! He will be regarded as a RUDE and SELF-IMPORTANT CRACKPOT, WILL HE NOT? It's the 'TITLE', Friend, that is making the difference! In this WORLDLY DISTINCTION between 'amateur' and 'professional' religion, ONLY the "official, full-time, licensed and certified public clergyman" gets to LOOK LIKE a "first class Christian", while the layman gets to LOOK LIKE somewhat LESS than a 'first class Christian'. The overwhelming majority of the people you meet defer AUTOMATICALLY to the "clergyman" because of his PUBLIC TITLE, while they fear NO consequences for ignoring or despising the opinions of a "layman".
By no means am I denying that they which preach the gospel should live of (from) the gospel (1 Cor. 9:14). There are, and will be, certain persons that God ordains to receive financial assistance from others, that they may devote themselves to work for which THE WORLD will not pay them. I am, myself, in such a case: but I dare not allow anyone who "helps me on the way" to think that all is well between them and God just because they supported or flattered me. In the fear of God, I am more severe and demanding with my "friends" than I am with strangers: always ready to lose both their approval and support FOR THEIR OWN GOOD, and in the Fear of God. I am well aware of the temptation to 'not say anything' when I have nothing (in the WORLD) to gain by it other than wounds, slanders, and enemies. What, "FROM THE WORLD", do you suppose that I shall gain by telling them that WHAT THEY CALL CLERGYMEN, GOD CALLS ANTICHRISTS? For I have not shunned to declare unto you all that I myself believe to be the counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
AND BESIDES, when you truly suspect or believe something in your heart, BUT YOU DON'T TELL ANYONE because you are trying to get their respect or their financial support; are you not a deceiver, a liar, and an opportunist? If I were to sidle up to YOU, and attempt to gain your support by boasting of my knowledge of the Bible and my "great dedication" to the cause of Christ; BUT FOR MY OWN PROTECTION, I concealed from you that I believed that WHAT THE WORLD CALLS CLERGYMEN, GOD CALLS ANTICHRISTS; would I not be a liar, a deceiver, and a con-man with a secret agenda?
The antichrist does not really care about the differences between your doctrine and his: he only cares to get your approval and financial support. I am not suggesting that the antichrist never offends anybody; but that he is careful not to offend anyone whose praise, service or money he might gain. Having once been a "card carrying priest of the peoples" myself, I have met many "professional clergymen" who privately confessed to holding opinions that were plainly contrary to the official doctrines of their own "church" or denomination. They NEVER brought these things up from the pulpit, for THAT would have cost them their "job". This is the third time, and the third way, that this has been explained to you.

THE DOCTRINE OF THE MANY ANTICHRISTS

1John.2:22 Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
23. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son, hath the Father also.
It just cannot be that this denying of the Father and the Son amounts to a public refusal to admit that there IS a Father and a Son. Any one who would SAY, "There is no Father or Son" would get no audience anywhere in Christendom. Remember, Jude says that these men, who deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ, CREPT IN UNAWARES (Jude 4). They are on the INSIDE, NOT outside of professing Christendom. But note: it is not said that they deny the Holy Spirit. This is because they claim to be led by the Holy Spirit, and to speak from the Holy Spirit. They bring forth "the word of the Lord" as coming from the Holy Spirit all the time; but they deny The Word of The Lord as it has been revealed in the Father and the Son: and this Word is in the Bible.
The word of the Father is the witness of God, which He hath testified of His Son (1 John 5:9). The word of the Son is WHAT JESUS SAID. The Greek word translated to denieth means to "deny by contradicting". Jesus said, Many shall come IN MY NAME, saying, I (Jesus) am Christ, and shall deceive many (Matt. 24:5). These are not 'Jesus impostors', but people who CLAIM TO REPRESENT JESUS. They will come in the (authority of) His name. They say, "Jesus is the Christ", but then they deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ by either ignoring or explaining away the teachings of Jesus Himself. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father (1 John 2:23). They will never come right out and say that Jesus was "just plain wrong" about this or that: instead, they will contradict Jesus by explaining away what He said; or by relegating what He said to some future kingdom; or by so interpreting what he said that it has lost all of it's obvious meaning. Consider what is commonly done with, 'Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, and take no thought for the morrow'. By the time they get done explaining these words, they have nothing to do with your "rainy day savings" and your retirement account. Rather, they account anyone who does not do the EXACT OPPOSITE of what Jesus said to do as IRRESPONSIBLE. They are, however, real firm about 'how they feel led' by the Holy Spirit; they tolerate no contradictory "interpretations" to THAT.
1John.4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth (admits) that Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh, is of God:
3. And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ IS come in the flesh, is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, wherefore ye have heard that it should come; and even now it is already in the world.
This is not a denial that there ever was such a person as Jesus. The spirit of antichrist denies that Jesus IS come NOW to save YOU. The English here perfectly represents the Greek original. Even demons can SAY, Thou art Christ, the Son of God (Luke 4:41). The spirit of antichrist places a gap between you and The Savior, a gap which only the false prophet can fill. The mental and emotional impression that is made upon you by his preaching is that THOUGH YOU ARE SAVED, there is something lacking which ONLY HE can supply. As a matter of fact, he INSINUATES that the power of God may not come upon you at all except by his agency. He stands BETWEEN the professing Christian and God, as a functional mediator. This is done by INSINUATION, HINT, and INNUENDO; and rarely by outright declaration. It is an IMPRESSION that is left upon you, and reinforced by spirits. We are told to watch out for the spirits, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. These spirits of antichrist exalt the 'special anointing' of the false prophet while denying that the power of Christ is immediately available to you. I said, the spirits do this: you are clearly under the impression that your sense of lack, guilt, or insecurity arises from your own heart, and not from the false prophet's preaching. Now if you are NOT YET SAVED, this impression may well tell the truth: for if you are not saved, you have no idea what real Christianity is (2 Cor.2:14); and you must accept without reservation all that looks Christian to you, in order to accept the Christ. When Jesus said that man must forsake all that he hath in order to be His disciple, He was including all of your carnal judgements about what makes for True Religion. If you ARE saved, and you are left with the impression that your blessing, or your healing, or your security, are made dependant on how much you submit to any one particular man, you are being influenced by the spirit of antichrist. This does not mean that every time you are made to feel this way by someone's preaching that they are an antichrist; but that you are LISTENING TO a spirit of antichrist. Thus you are told to TEST the spirits, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. The antichrist makes that relief you long for to be the result of receiving him; not the result of receiving a Truth. The True preacher wishes to convince you of a 'saving Truth': the antichrist wishes to convince you that he is 'the saving man'. If you defer to him as 'the great man of God', he will grant you assurances: if you doubt his authority, he will issue warnings. His concern is NOT for what, in particular, you believe: but his concern is for your estimation of him, and that's because these many antichrists of Bible prophecy are, one and all, SELF-PROMOTERS.

SELF PROMOTERS

John.5:43 I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
John.7:18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Psalm.49:11 Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue forever, and their dwelling places to all generations: they call their lands after THEIR OWN NAMES.
There is no surer way to spot one of these many antichrists than to pay attention to what he does with his own name. To them, religion is a career: the last thing they want to happen is for THEIR NAME to be forgotten. Thus, they advertise THEIR OWN NAME as boldly and in as many ways as possible. They like to have things named after themselves; and even if they feign humility in the matter when someone else comes up with the idea, they will still let things be named after themselves. They name a Bible college after themselves, they name a television show AFTER THEMSELVES. They boast of how many people were blessed by getting in touch with or sending money TO THEM. If you read their "newsletter" you will see THEIR NAME and THEIR PICTURE and testimonies to THEIR GREATNESS more than any other feature. They think they are doing God a favor by all this boasting, for they presume that whoever looks TO THEM, must of necessity be looking to God.
BY THIS, this self-presentation, as "agents", "go betweens", and "mediators" between the Christian and the help of God, they become antichrists. The blessing and the power they boast of is attached TO THEM, and not to any Truth that they can teach you and leave you with. They seek to addict you to THEIR SELVES, so that your blessing, YEA, and even your hope of salvation, become dependant on whether or not you will submit to or assist THEM. They insert themselves, BY HINTS AND INNUENDOS, between you and God. They act as if they are a "toll booth" on the highway to heaven: no pay, NO GO. You do understand this, don't you?
Tell me, have you ever attended one of those famous "So and So Crusades"? Tell me, did "So and So" DIE FOR YOUR SINS?
Alas, dear Reader: I know how outrageous this all is. If it weren't for the existence of the Bible, it would be impossible to assert with confidence any of these things. The carnal mind, as it is, wishes to see better things in humanity. You and I both long to believe that what popularly passes for righteousness really is: for then, we would find ourselves living in a friendlier world; in the safety of a crowd; where all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall NOT suffer persecution. But. . .we Christians HAVE SAID that the Bible is The Real Truth; and better than half of that Bible is devoted to the denunciation of the overwhelming majority of mankind. As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God (Rom. 3:11-12, Psalms 14 & 53). The Bible plainly has it that ALL MEN are by constitution, enemies to God UNTIL and UNLESS they are converted (Rom.5:10, Col.1:21). The Bible allows no one to describe themselves as 'friends of God' unless they DO the things that Jesus Himself commanded. Ye are My friends, IF ye DO whatsoever I command you (John 15:14). How in the world can these "clergymen", who have snubbed the words of Jesus Christ by ignoring or explaining them away, be the ministers of righteousness? You tell me; or rather, convince yourself: for I do not plan to be around to bear your rage. Rather, I appeal to God to protect me. Am I become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Gal. 4:16).

RELIGIOUS WITCHCRAFT

Notice now, how the only differences between the Shaman and the "clergyman" are in the symbols and titles of spiritual and social authority that their congregation respect.
WITCHCRAFT is the self-serving manipulation of persons and objects by supernatural or psychological means: So we say, "She bewitched him by her beauty", or "Hitler bewitched the German people by his eloquent oratory". WITCHCRAFT is mostly the art of persuasion, and usually, those who do not believe in the power of the witch are not affected by any of their "hocus pocus". Witchcraft is most effective when the one who is being "hexed" both believes in the power of the witch and KNOWS that they are being cursed.
Suppose you threw away some old shoes, and the Shaman fetched them out of the garbage, made little dolls to represent you and your wife, and stood them up in the shoes. Then, he thrusts the dolls through with needles, pours blood all over them, and pins dead scorpions on their backs: but you never knew that this was happening. No problem, right? But when he leaves those shoes on your front porch for you to find, YOU ARE AFRAID: not of his mumbo- jumbo, BUT OF HIM, or of someone he might send; because even though you do not believe in his mumbo-jumbo, you suspect that since he has gone this far, he may be willing to vindicate his own curse. On the other hand, if the Shaman does these things to someone whose whole life has been spent in conformity to a society that believes in this mumbo-jumbo, it might well scare them to death. The Shaman's "symbols" of power: his title; his costume; his sacred objects; and his mumbo-jumbo, are almost comical to you: but they represent "the power of God" to his own people.
Evil spirits (demons) also "work with" the Shaman. The Bible plainly testifies to the existence of demons, and the terrible effects they can have on people. So it is, that many witches can and do demonstrate supernatural powers. We are all aware of stories about those who DID NOT BELIEVE in witchcraft until they were convinced by some supernatural event. These demons may cause psychological torment, pains and symptoms, frightening visions and dreams, and so distract someone that they become accident prone.
The power of the Shaman to influence and intimidate his own "congregation" is the same power that the "clergyman" has over his congregation. There is social pressure to yield to the "divine authority" of the Shaman. There is culturally conditioned superstitious regard for his symbols and titles. There are supernatural events that appear to confirm his spiritual authority.
Take way the costume, the "sacred objects", the culturally conditioned regard for his mumbo-jumbo, and THE GANG THAT WILL DEFEND HIS HONOR, and what do we have left? Some dude in baggy shorts and a dirty tee-shirt who says "a curse on you" is hardly frightening. Let that same man put on his costume, dance around the fire, and pronounce curses on you IN THE PRESENCE OF the people that WILL defend his honor, and you dare not show your contempt. AND NOW CONSIDER THIS. . .
Up on the stage is a man that everyone IN YOUR SOCIETY respects and holds in awe. He wears a special "outfit" or "costume" that distinguishes him as one of the leaders of his own culture (a business suit will do just fine in America). We waves around sacred objects, he performs solemn ceremonies; he looks up from his book of dark and mysterious secrets (that only he knows best), and utters ominous words. Everyone around you insists that something splendid and divinely significant is taking place.
For his incantations he borrows from the words of God Almighty. He doesn't have a dog's head on a stick, but he does have a "certificate" that guarantees that he is, indeed, "the man of God". He has a title that all your ancestors and everyone around insist MUST BE RESPECTED.
He promises peace and prosperity to those who applaud him; he casts judgements, damnations, and excommunications against those who despise him. He says, Come not near to me, for I am holier than thou (Isaiah 65:5). He loves to go about in long clothing (special preacher outfits), and loves salutations in the market places, and the chief seats in the church-buildings, and the uppermost rooms at public social gatherings; he allows himself to be called "Reverend, Reverend", and he devours widow's houses (will take even their last nickel "for God" without guilt), and for a pretence makes long prayers (in public, of course). AND, if anyone putteth not into his mouth, he even prepares war against him (Micah 3:5). YOU DO KNOW WHO I AM TALKING ABOUT, DON'T YOU?
Take away the "preacher's costume", the big black book with the gold edges, the ordination certificate, the public title, the brightly lit stage, and ESPECIALLY, the mob that stands ready to defend his honor, and what do we have left? JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY MAN, JUST LIKE YOU, saying, "God won't bless you if you don't admit that I am somebody special who ought to be respected and obeyed".
The saints of God fear to offend their God, so when a man wraps himself in the symbols and titles of Christianity, those symbols become his "signs of authority". Even if he is a heinous scoundrel, the church-folks are afraid to denounce him, because he's got the big black book, the costume of public dignity, and a "certificate of spiritual authority": and then, EVERYONE is aware of the mob that stands ready to punish you if you dare to mock their "priest". The fact is, that the symbols and titles of Christianity CAN be used in exactly the same way that the Shaman uses his "symbols and titles". As long as the Shaman or the antichrist holds forth these symbols of public authority, the people are afraid to despise or confront him. Take way the stage, the props, and the avenging mob from either of these men: all we have left is JUST ANOTHER MAN attempting to intimidate and subjugate other men by bombast and threatenings. This is the fourth time, and the fourth way, that this has been explained to you.
Now what I have been talking about all along, is what THE WORLD calls "clergymen". There are men who have been sent, authorized, and empowered by God to represent Him: but these are described in the Bible, and what THE WORLD calls "clergymen" do not fit that description. Any man whose authority in religious matters is purely the product of his conformity to a popular standard is an antichrist. The very fact that all men in every time and place have had their "clergymen" invites the inquiry into just "what" these clergymen were and are in the sight of God. The fact that they represent differing creeds does not conceal the things they all have in common. They are both "the what" and "the who" that the fallen human race has erected before the eyes of their hearts in that place that should only be occupied by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
John.10:8 All that ever came before (Grk. stepped in front of) Me are thieves and robbers: but the (true) sheep did not hear (listen to and believe) them.

THE ENERGIZING OF THE LIE

The peoples of this world have long known and acknowledged that some men seem to have supernatural powers. Even in the days of the Apostles, the people of Israel were deceived and taken in by a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that he himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of a long time he had bewitched them with sorceries (Acts 8:9-11). So it is, that gullible minds that do not allow the Bible to describe WHOM they are to receive, and WHOM they are to ignore, will always account the presence of ANY supernatural power as 'a SIGN' of God's approval.
God gave warning even through Moses; some 35 centuries ago; that there shall arise FROM AMONG 'US' those who seek to lead us away from the 'True God' by displaying SIGNS AND WONDERS:
Deut.13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2. AND THE SIGN OR WONDER COMETH TO PASS, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3. Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Now to the people of Israel, the 'gods which thou hast not known' were not always gods with some other name; but they were ANY 'so called' god that did not agree with The Law of Moses. Anyone among them who claimed to speak for God, and yet denied or contradicted the Law of Moses was representing SOME OTHER GOD. 'For Thou hast magnified Thy word ABOVE all Thy name' (Psalm 138:2). The God of the Bible declares that He is better known by HIS WORDS than by His name. The antichrist does the same thing. He is always talking about a 'God' which thou hast NOT known YET, but which you may get to know by his agency. Jesus said, Many shall come in My name, saying, I (Jesus) am Christ, and shall (by claiming to be sent by Me) deceive many (Matt. 24:5). The fact that someone has signs and wonders (Matt.24:24) does NOT mean that they are truly representing God. And, the fact is, my Friend: that if I were to produce testimonials that miracles of healing and gifts of the Holy Spirit have been demonstrated in me, this is the very argument that would be used by my adversaries to discredit me. Even to this very day, we never cease to hear reports of miraculous healings performed by the "clergymen" of Voo-doo and other occult religions. The question then is: whether we shall consider EVERY "miracle" done by someone who claims to be a Christian as testimony that they represent the interests of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, Jesus warned that There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and they shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matt. 24:24). 'The very elect' can hardly mean anyone other than the official 'US' of the New Testament. In other words, the power of this last days deception will be so great, that only with difficulty shall even the very elect be able to escape from being deceived.
Now there have always been false Christs and false prophets, but the language of prophecy has it that their numbers and their power will be conspicuously greater in the last days: Because those who are deceived by that power received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thess. 2:10).
2Thess.2:11 And for THIS CAUSE (not receiving the love of the Truth) God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12. That they ALL MIGHT BE DAMNED who believed not the truth, but had pleasure (while willfully remaining) in unrighteousness.
Yes. . .I know. . .all you have to do is turn on that T.V. and you can see and hear about miracles of every kind going on in almost every quarter of Christendom. How is it, that God shall send them strong delusion? By ENERGIZING THEIR LIE, or 'adding confirmatory miracles' to their LIE. God has foretold that He Himself shall do this during the Falling Away at The End of This Age and BEFORE Our Lord Jesus Returns (2 Thess. 2:1-12).
Acts.17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:
31. Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness, by that man whom He hath ordained: whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.
And so I believe, that since God has chosen to conceal some knowledge until the time of the end; that some who have heretofore been playing the antichrist game from one end or the other are allowed to repent. Now either I am right about this, and therefore also speaking in harmony with the Bible; or I am completely wrong about this, and also misrepresenting the Bible; or else what the Bible says about these things is meaningless. God knows what we are both up to, does He not?

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