Speaking where the bible speaks, and silent where the bible is silent.

Who Is The AntiChrist?

The apostle John is the only writer to use the term “antichrist” and he never mentions him in the Revelation. In his first epistle, he refers to the antichrist four times. “Little children, it is the last hour: and as you heard that antichrist comes, even now have there arisen many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last hour” (1 Jn 2:18). “Who is the liar but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, even he that denies the Father and the Son” (1 Jn 2:22). “And every spirit that confesses not Jesus is not of God: and this is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof you have heard that it comes; and now it is in the world already” (1 Jn 4:3). John writes about the antichrist again in his second epistle. “For many deceivers are gone forth into the world, even they that confess not that Jesus Christ comes in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 Jn 1:7).

Was John writing about a single individual who bore the mark of 666 on his forehead? Was he the incarnate image of Satan who would take humanity into a world of destruction and fear? An examination of the Bible will quickly dispel any accepted wisdom of the modern day prophets as nothing more than human philosophy and deceit.

John introduces the reader to the antichrist in 1 John 2:18 when he warns of the “last hour.” The disciples of the early church believed the Lord would return at any time (1 Thess 4:13-18). John exhorts the saints to be faithful in the face of the trials faced by those who did not believe that Jesus had come in the flesh as the Son of God. John recognizes that MANY antichrists were in the world. In 1 John 2:22, John defines the character of the antichrist – anyone that denies that Jesus is the Christ. Again in 1 John 4:3 he declares that any who would deny that Jesus is not of God is antichrist. The final reference to the antichrist is found in John’s second epistle when he again affirms that those who deny that Jesus did not come in the flesh are antichrist or deceivers.

Jesus told the Jews in John 8 that He was the son of God. “I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins: for except you believe that I am he, you shall die in your sins” (Jn 8:24). They rejected Jesus as the Messiah and killed Him. The foundation of salvation is stated by John in his gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:1-2,14 ff; 1 Jn 1:1-3).

The antichrist is the majority of the world that even today do not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. There is no single person who is the antichrist. The antichrist is every person who refuses to believe Jesus was with God, was God, and came in the flesh. If you do not believe Jesus is God’s Son and refuse to obey His gospel, you are “against-Christ”, and you are an “antichrist.” The only means of salvation is to believe Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life (Jn 14:6). There is no other means of salvation. We are either for Christ or we are against Christ (Matt 12:30). There is no in between.

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Beware of Evil Counsel

The Psalmist said, “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly . . .” (Ps. 1:1).

Rehoboam, son of Solomon, asked for advice when he was about to be made king. The people wanted their burdens made lighter. The older men advised Rehoboam to be considerate of the people. “But he forsook the counsel of the old men . . .” (1 Ki. 12:8). Turning to the younger men, his contemporaries, Rehoboam was advised to answer the people sternly and to warn that he would increase their burdens. Speaking to them after the counsel of the young men, he said, “My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.” Rebellion broke out. Ten tribes revolted and made Jeroboam their king.

Not long after Jeroboam took command of the newly formed ten-tribe kingdom, he said in his heart that the people must not be allowed to go up to Jerusalem to do sacrifice in the house of the Lord. He feared that going to Jerusalem for worship would turn the hearts of the people back to Rehoboam, and they would slay Jeroboam. “Wherefore the king took counsel . . .” (1 Kin. 12:28). Whoever his advisers were, their counsel must have been wicked. The king set up calves of gold, one in Dan and one in Bethel, and urged the people to worship in their own kingdom. He argued that it was too much to go all the way to Jerusalem. He changed the feast day and ordained men to the priesthood who were not of the tribe of Levi. His greatest desire was to insure his political position.

In the days when Ahaziah, grandson of Jehoshaphat, was. ruling in Judah, evil counsel had a strong influence. Ahaziah’s mother was a daughter of the notorious Ahab. It was said of Ahaziah, “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly. Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab: for they were his counselors after the death of his father to his destruction” (2 Chron. 22:2-4).

Often men feel the need for advice. How careful we must be that counsel we receive is not evil.

Every Day Examples

Sometimes people with marriage problems turn to professional counselors. A lot of these “experts” in the field of marriage know nothing about the teaching of the Scriptures. They give advice which sets their clients on a course directly opposed to the will of the Lord. Beware of the counselors who are not faithful Christians!

People with emotional problems sometimes seek the advice of psychiatrists. Not a few professionals in the field of psychiatry are anti-religious. They see religion as a major cause of mental disorders. Take heed that your faith be not wrecked by such evil counselors!

And people are constantly looking to preachers and religious leaders for spiritual advice. Unfortunately, many of these do not respect the authority of Jesus Christ. Preachers who are bound up in sectarianism are not good counselors. Preachers who deny the miracles of the Bible are unfit to counsel others in spiritual matters. Preachers who interpret the Bible to suit themselves are not safe advisers. Beware of religious leaders whose counsel disagrees with the word of God!

High school teachers and college professors frequently give advice to their students. Some of these instructions know not God. Many are rank evolutionists. Some of them glory in human wisdom and delight in making fun of the Bible. It is not uncommon for college professors to urge young people to throw off restraints of morality. Beware of these wicked counselors!

Each of us have parents who give us advice. What is bad about this is that most parents are not Christians and are handing down their false beliefs to their children. Yes, children are to obey their parents, (Eph 6:1-4) but only “in the Lord”. This means that when parents tell you to do something which is contrary to sound doctrine of the scripture, don’t obey them. Jesus said, He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt 10:37). And again he said, “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26).

One who feels the need of advice about something that affects the course of his life or the destiny of his souls should seek a godly, wise, and respected Christian to be his counselor. Mature Christians are better prepared to give advice, generally speaking, than are the inexperienced.

Weigh all advice carefully by the word of God no matter who gives you advice. No matter what men may say, God’s word is right. His word should be the final word. The only truly infallible guide that we have is the Word of God.

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel. . .” (Prov. 1:5). “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end” (Prov. 19:20).

 

When the time came to reveal that great Plan of Salvation, God assigned that function of revelation to the Holy Spirit. God is the primitive cause of man’s salvation, he willed it. Jesus Christ is the sacrificial cause of man’s salvation, he purchased it with his blood. However, the Holy Spirit is the revealing cause of salvation. The plan had to be revealed, and God assigned that revealing function to the Holy Spirit. The gospel of Christ is the instrumental cause of salvation — hence “go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” — and “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.” Then faith becomes the appropriating cause of salvation for “we have access by faith into this grace,” and baptism is the consummating cause of salvation — “he that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” In the act of baptism, remission of sins or pardon is received.

Where faith, repentance, baptism, and salvation are mentioned together, salvation is always last in the order. When faith, baptism and salvation are mentioned together, salvation is never put between faith and baptism. When repentance, baptism and salvation are mentioned, salvation is never put between repentance and salvation. When baptism and salvation are mentioned together, salvation is never put before baptism. Always the order when mentioned together is faith, repentance, baptism, salvation for remission; or when faith is not specifically mentioned, repentance, baptism, salvation; when neither faith nor repentance is mentioned — only baptism in connection with salvation — then it is baptism and salvation — salvation is always last and in the order, and baptism is put in the consummating order, as the consummating cause of salvation.

Therefore, the order of obeying the gospel is sure: Hearing the gospel must come first followed by Faith “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Faith and Confession are each a result of one another. “For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:10). Lastly, repentance and baptism are intertwined. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). We turn from our sins and then they are washed away (Acts 22:16). Then we are added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47). If, and I did say IF, we remain faithful and continue in the doctrine of Christ and His apostles, we shall be saved (2 Jn 9 f; Rev 2:10). This is the same plan of salvation which was preached unto all the world (Matt 28:19,20 f; Mk 16:15,16).

So the scheme of redemption is a divine plan, revealed by the apostles; that is the exact use of the term mystery in our New Testament. So when you hear preachers say that we are saved by the Man, and not by the plan, you are hearing a phrase which means nothing except a reflection on the gospel plan of salvation. And as all Christians should know, you can’t have the Man without the plan.

Have you ever heard  this argument concerning homosexuality: “If you are going to condemn homosexuality because the Bible condemns homosexuality, then you also must condemn eating pork and shellfish because the Bible also condemns that. Then they add to their argument: “The Bible also commands that adulterers be stoned, so why don’t you do that?” Now of course, what they are actually advocating is for society to ignore biblical teachings which condemns their favorite sin. What they are ignorant of is the difference between the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ, and as to which one is still in effect and which one has ended.

The Bible certainly does contain prohibitions on the eating of certain kinds of foods, including pork, catfish, shellfish, and other food items (Lev 11:1-23). And the Bible clearly commands that adulterers, as well as a host of other sexually immoral persons, including a man who lies (has sexual intercourse) with a male as he lies with a woman, are to be stoned to death (Lev 20:8-21). However, what is overlooked by those who cite these biblical injunctions is that all of them are part of the Law of Moses that governed the Hebrew people, the Israelites or commonly known as the Jews, before the coming of Christ and the inauguration of the New Testament (covenant).

The Law of Moses was given to Israel (Deut 5:1-3). It was never binding upon Gentiles except as Gentiles voluntarily became proselytes to the Jewish faith. With the ministry of Christ and His death on the cross, the Old Covenant was abolished and the gospel, the law of Christ, became effective. Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law (Matt 5:17) and took it out of the way, “having nailed it to His cross” (Col 2:14). “Therefore let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Col 2:16-17).For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes (Rom 10:4).

Christians do not observe the sabbath, celebrate the Old Testament feasts or festivals, observe the dietary laws of Judaism, or stone adulterers and homosexuals. In the past, God spoke to the Hebrew fathers by the prophets, but “in these last days (the Christian age), [He] has spoken to us by His Son” (Heb 1:1-2). The gospel of Christ is for every person in all nations, both Jews and Gentiles (Matt 28:18-20 f; Mk 16:15-16). The gospel of Christ, not the Law of Moses, is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom 1:16 cf; 3:20).

The gospel (the law of Christ, the New Testament) places no restrictions on certain foods. Rather, all foods have been created by God “to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:3-4).

At the same time, the gospel (the law of Christ, the New Testament) makes it clear that adultery, fornication, and homosexuality, etc are still wrong and are still as severely condemned as they were under the Old Testament. (Rom 1:26-32 ff; 1 Cor 6:9-11; Gal 5:19-21; Rev 21:8). The difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament with reference to these and other kinds of sexual sins is that God (not man) is the final Judge and Executioner (Rom 1:32; 2:16 ff; 2 Cor 5:10-11; Rev 20:12). In the meantime, while man is not the judge and executioner in such matters, Christians are to have no fellowship with members of the church who persist in a sinful and disobedient lifestyle (1 Cor 5).

Thus, before one begins to make uninformed charges about “cherry-picking biblical laws,” it would be beneficial for one to become informed about the different religious covenants set forth in the Bible, and to determine to whom the various laws were given and how long those laws continued in force.

Be diligent (study) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing (handling accurately) the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).

Prove All Things

The beloved apostle Paul stated “Prove all things; hold firm to that which is good,”  (1 Thess 5:21). Carefully note what he told us should be a guiding principle of our lives: “Prove (confirm, verify, make sure of) all things (not just a few of them, but every single one of them); hold fast to (make them firm and sure in your life, do not let go of) that which is good (after you have done all that is in your power to make sure that it really is good and fine and acceptable to the all-powerful and benevolent God of Heaven).” Not only is this a mandatory requirement for the Christian where all spiritual affairs are concerned, but it has a very imperative application to the physical world also.

John reaffirmed this high principle of thorough investigation (1 Jn 4:1) with the statement, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” We can see the proof of it all around us each day of our lives and in every generation.

Paul, the apostle, made this affirmation (2 Cor 13:1), “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” On another occasion he said (1 Tim 5:19), “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.” An accusation must not be allowed to stand in and of itself. Without some kind of meaningful support it is at enmity with truth and logic. Without proof, it is only so much “blowing into the wind.”

This principle of requiring two or three witnesses was not something new by any means, for the Hebrew writer noted that “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Heb 10:28). That there must be two or three witnesses to establish the facts if a given matter is also indicated in the Old Testament (for example, Deuteronomy 17:6), but notice that one witness could not convict a person. “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

We should here recall that a witness cannot be one who thinks he knows the facts because of what “they all say,” or because of some conclusion he has reached through a very limited knowledge of the matter. A witness is one who has personally observed the facts of the situation himself and is able to testify of his first-hand knowledge of them. Hear-say and popular belief are not enough in any situation.

This is like many of the street-corner facts and old wives’ tales that we hear so many times. They sound good, but there is not much truth to be found in them.

Often the reputations of one or more persons will be involved in the stories that get about on the wings of idle gossip. Once a reputation has been lost through carelessness or maliciousness, there is absolutely no way it can be regained, at least not in the area of the country where the damage occurred. If such as this happens to an individual, his only recourse is to move on to another location.

Christ has said that “You shall know them by their fruits” (Matt 7:16). If, therefore, one has not observed any fruits or he is uncertain about the meaning of the fruits that he has observed, it is the better part of wisdom to keep one’s mouth shut.

Most fitting for this study are the words of the Lord Jesus (Matt 7:1-3), “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why behold the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?

It is so much better to practice what Jesus speaks of (Luke 6:37), “Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned: forgive, and you shall be forgiven.

In truth, it profits us to remember the conclusion reached long ago by King Solomon (Eccl 12:13), “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” The apostle John said on this same matter, “And he that keeps his commandments dwells in him. And thereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us” (1 Jn 3:24).

That we might know what commandments he has given us, we must study (2 Tim 2:15). And not just a merely superficial study of his word, but we must be able to “Prove all things, hold firm to that which is good.” We must not prove all matters of faith by our own opinions or by the opinions of others, but by God’s Holy Word even as did the Berans! “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11).

Generally, people who say, “You live your live and I will live mine”, are individuals who try to defend their life style when it is called into question.

However, the concept of the statement is a biblical one. Consider with me the statement found in Psalms 119:109 , “My life is continually in my hand, yet, I will not forget your law.” The inspired writer points out a truism of life. An individual, unless intellectually impaired by disease, accident, or birth defect, has total control over the course of life he chooses to take. Bottom line, life if what you make it. It’s your choice.

Notice the writer says that life is continually in our hands or control. Consequently, this takes all excuses away for bad behavior. It is not parents fault, siblings fault, friends fault, teachers fault, church’s fault, etc. It means we are not a victim when we exhibit bad behavior.

In Job 14:1, we are told “Man that is born of woman is short lived and full of problems.” Everyone has problems; even Jesus did. In Ecclessiates 9:22, we are told: “…time and chance” happen to all men. The best qualified does not always win, the righteous are not always treated fairly, the unrighteous sometimes get what they don’t deserve. Life is not fair, Satan will see to that.

In the 73rd Psalm, Asaph said that as he pondered the unfairness of life. It troubled his mind to the point of discouragement. He said he almost turned his back upon God until he came to the realization that both the righteous and the unrighteous are going to die. He realized it was at death that God would resolve the matter. It was at death the righteous would enter into eternity with God and the unrighteous would enter eternity without God.

God has never promised His children a life free from problems. He has promised he will try His saints (Ps 11:5,6). He has promised his saints that they all will suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12). However, he has promised us how to deal with any challenge we face in life. Peter reveals to us in 2 Peter 1:3, that in the word of God, we “…have all things that pertain to life and godliness.“God gives us direction to deal with life. God allows Satan to bring difficulties into our life to see how genuine our faith and love for Him really is – “By their fruits, you shall know them” (Matt 7:20).  God warns us not to love money, the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10). God tells us to shun fornication (1 Cor 6:18). God’s Word tells us what sin is, and warns us not to commit such (1 Jn 3:4 f; Lev 5:17). Paul consoles us by saying, “No temptation (trial) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13).

We will all face God in the day of judgment (2 Cor 5:10). It is at that time our eternal destiny will be determined by whether or not we remember and applied God’s law to our life while in the flesh. Yes. you can live life by your own set of rules or you can choose God’s set of rules. If you choose your own rules, hell and damnation awaits you at the judgment. If you choose God’s set of rules, eternal life awaits you (2 Thess 1:7-9).

Yes, it is our life and it is our decision how we choose to live it (Josh 24:15). The question we must deal with is this, “Did I choose to live my live according to the will of God or the will of man?” Our choice regarding this question will determine our eternal destiny. It is our choice and we will have to live with it for eternity.

There is no doubt that sin exists in this world. Often people wonder why God allows such evil to happen.

What is sin? John defines sin as the breaking of law (1 Jn 3:4). If such a law did not exist, then there could be no violation of that law.for where no law is, there is no transgression.” (Rom 4:15).

Some have foolishly argued that here lies a quick way to remove evil from the world – remove every law! It was once against the law to have sex outside of marriage. Those laws have been dropped from the books as being unenforceable. Has the sin of fornication therefore disappeared with the removal of the law? Has it even decreased? No, the exact opposite effect has been recorded. People are living together in staggering numbers and the rate is increasing phenomenally. It was once against the law to commit homosexual acts. Such laws didn’t eradicate the dreadful sin so it was removed. Now-a-days, not only do more people commit such sin, but now they have added to it by marring one another and rearing children. The same is true for murder, stealing, rape, abortion, adultery, and all kinds of sexual perversion. Laws don’t prevent sin, but laws do limit it.

The problem we must face is that evil still exists even when we do not acknowledge it in our laws. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned – for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses …” (Rom 5:12-14). Notice that even before God gave the law to Moses, sin was still in the world. Yet, God did not impute the punishment for sin against mankind.

Consider the age-old exclaim, “I didn’t know that was illegal!” Does our ignorance of a law mean the law doesn’t exist for us? Obviously no. We are still held accountable to uphold a law even if we did not know of its existence. Yet, if we truly had no way of knowing the law, the judge might be lenient in passing sentence.

Where Does Sin Originate?

James 1:12-18 explains that sin comes from people making the wrong choice. Sin originated from Satan and not from God (Jn 8:44). We all have desires that are necessary for us to live. Satan uses these natural tendencies to put us in situations where the satisfaction of our desire would cause us to break a command of God. It is a trap, but it is a snare that we willingly walk into because we want what is offered.

Not only does Satan tempt us, but our fellow men, already caught up in sin, will use our desires to gain their own goals (2 Pet 2:18-19). Temptation is so prevalent in this world that none are immune to sin (1 Cor 10:12). Yet, the situation is not hopeless. God remains in control, even when we are tempted to violate God’s laws (1 Cor 10:13).

Yet, if evil exists, and people will choose to do evil, why did God bother giving men a law? Paul explains that the law does not cause people to sin, but it does clarify our sins (Rom 7:7-12). The law, being from God, is holy and good. It defines for man what God sees as sin. It helps us understand the nature of sin and of evil.

Unfortunately, the law is also exploited by Satan. By defining sin, it lets us know about options we might not have considered before. Paul spoke in Romans 7. He, by nature, would not be one to covet what belongs to another man. But when he learned about coveting through the law, he faced the temptation to covet from the simple fact that he was now aware of the possibility. This does not excuse our decision. We have been warned in advance by the law. Hence, the law leaves us with no excuse when we violate the law.

Sin exists because people want it (Jer 5:30-31). God tolerates its existence because it creates a distinction between the righteous and the wicked (Rom 7:13). When we sin and we see the affect of evil on our lives, then we learn that God was right. We are forced to see that God’s laws are actually the best path because we see the devastation caused by people who sin. The existence of sin and the existence of people willing to commit sin show us just how bad off mankind is (Eccl 3:16-18).

When we battle against sin, we are strengthened by the effort (Jam 1:12). What kind of shape would we be spiritually in if we never exercised our faith? Even though the choices are not always enjoyable, I need the opportunity to make them so that I may be better able to serve God (2 Tim 2:15).

We must also acknowledge that evil continues to exist in this world because we refuse to recognize sin. This is the trap the Jews fell into (Rom 2:17-24). How can a person lead others out of sin if they wallow in sins that they feel are not so bad?

This was a major point in Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Murder is awful, but it is preceded by the sin of anger (Matt 5:21-22). Adultery is evil, but it is preceded by the sin of lust (Matt 5:27-28). We cannot make a half-hearted stand against evil. Evil will not go away if we accept some sins but reject others. This is an all-or-nothing war. Evil cannot be defeated if we allow sin to continue to exist in our own lives.

Where do you stand in this battle against evil? Either you are for righteousness and God, or you are against him (Matt 12:30). There is no middle ground (Rev 3:15,16).

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