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THE ANTICHRIST SPIRIT (AND ITS CHRISTIAN SUPPORTERS)

         Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. [1John 2:22]

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RIDDLE ME THIS         

         It is said that there are three major monotheistic religions in the world: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Two of these deny that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah. A faction of one of these has formed an alliance with one of the deniers. This same faction hates the other denier. What is this faction?

         Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. [1John 2:18-19]

         This is one of those passages that is subjected to a strange anomaly inherent within the minds of some believers, that of the past being projected onto the future. It is something many Christians and prophecy teachers are prone to, in that they read such passages as if they refer to present times. They don’t. This passage was written almost two thousand years ago and must only be seen in those terms.

         The author of this epistle explicitly states that it is the last hour. He says it twice. These are the only times in Scripture this three word phrase appears. Some versions say the final hour or the last time. That is, way back then, in the mid-first century, it was the last hour. In the mid-first century many antichrists had already appeared and the coming of another was imminent. His arrival was just about to happen and was almost upon them. At the same time, way back then, many former believers had already left the fold.

ONLY 120? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE THOUSANDS?

         As I have written here many times, it remains amazing to me that the Lord Jesus was only able to gather a mere 120 people for the original Pentecost. I highly recommend the following article: Bizarro Christianity—It’s Much Worse Than You Think (Part 1). It contains the following statement:

         “Perhaps this is why the Lord only managed to gather a mere 120 people for the original Upper Room Experience. Keep in mind, the Lord Jesus was not some podunk rambling rabbi but GOD. He had preached to tens of thousands at a time, but many of these were not sincere. He did every major miracle you can imagine, preached powerfully, taught a perfect and pure message, and then, amazingly, offered Himself up as a perfect sacrifice on our behalf, ROSE FROM THE DEAD, and still only managed to convince a mere 120 people to go to the upper room for ten days and await Pentecost! That’s astonishing, especially in light of today’s easy-believism.”

         This fact reveals that there are only very few who are in it for the long haul and really interested in the truth, and will remain with the Lord through thick and thin and much persecution. Most will leave Him and betray Him, just as those did whom John refers to. The same phenomenon has happened throughout Christian history. The majority always falls away into untruth and unbelief, creates counterfeits, and embraces those who hate the Lord.

        “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” [John 6:64-69]   

         It happened throughout the first century. Just as followers of the Lord left Him and walked away on several occasions during His ministry, the same thing happened afterwards. The apostle Paul predicted it would happen in the Ephesus area when he addressed the Ephesian elders in Miletus. That original generation of real believers knew they would have to work overtime and make as big an impact as possible in the very beginning because the enemy would strike back, and that, of course, happened just as Paul said it would:

         “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” [Acts 20:28-31]   

         These are serious charges that Paul made in advance, exactly as the Lord did, especially when He prophesied the fate of Judea and Jerusalem. No one during His time could ever have imagined that the temple would be destroyed as would be Jerusalem, and that what was left of the nation of Israel would be no more forever. But it happened. And the same thing happened to His Community, in that savage wolves came in among them and men arose speaking perverse things. The Lord’s Community itself stayed intact and pure but many left. Many disciples were drawn away. Many made alliances with unbelievers and Lord Jesus deniers. The ones who left could no longer handle being real followers. They showed the lack of love of the Lord by embracing substitutes and counterfeits or running off into oblivion.

         Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. [1John 4:1-3]

THE FATHER AND SON ARE INDIVISIBLE

         Judaism does not confess that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah. Islam does not confess that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah. Whoever denies the Son also denies the Father. This means whatever god these people are serving, it is not the God of the New Covenant Scriptures.

         Yet, many Christians are confused on this point. They have been taught and apparently believe that it is possible to somehow serve God and be in relationship with Him while also denying the Son. The Scriptures obviously refute this. The Father and Son are indivisible. Whoever trashes the Son is trashing God. Whoever denies the Son is of the spirit of the antichrist.

         For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. [2John 1:7-11] [1]     

         © 2018 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. 


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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Apostasy: Invalidating the Word of God For the Sake of Religious Tradition (2)

         For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. [Hebrews 6:4-6 RSV]

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         First of all, it must be noted that the great bulk of that which is called “Christianity” is not real Christianity, but something entirely different. It is not watered-down Christianity. It is not less-than-the-best Christianity. It is not weak or backslid Christianity. Instead, it is a completely separate entity.

         With reference to the above verses of scripture, the clear facts are:

(1) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never tasted the heavenly gift.

(2) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never become partakers of the Holy Spirit.

(3) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never tasted the goodness of the Word of God.

(4) The great majority of those who refer to themselves as Christians have never experienced the powers of the age to come.

         For all of these reasons, it is therefore impossible for those who make up the great bulk of Christianity to commit apostasy simply because they never had the real thing to begin with.

         Apostasy is a conscience decision of the human will to quit on the Lord Jesus and walk away. Whoever does this can never be restored again to God until they make the decision on their own to return to God. No one else can thus force repentance upon them.

         But the majority of those called “Christians” are not real Christians and never have been. They are playing a game with their chosen form of Christianity and have substituted empty and powerless replacements that have no actual spiritual effect whatsoever. The only thing distinguishing these people from non-believers is the exterior wrapping. And as a person associates with a larger group of people clothed with the same chosen exterior wrapping, such a person feels completely secure within said group and becomes convinced the group is the “right” group or an “approved” group.

         How do we then distinguish real Christianity from the many counterfeit forms? Here’s how: Real Christianity has the power of God. This power is released through the use of the Name of the Lord Jesus and through His pure Word.

         However, the only people who can use the Name of the Lord Jesus properly and legally are those who have completely surrendered their lives to Him. These are real believers who have have given Him their entire heart. They have subjected their hearts to full heart circumcision. They have turned away completely from all sin, disobedience, and rebellion against the Lord. This is the nature of repentance. They have also been filled with the Spirit of the Lord with the outward evidence of a complete change in their speech—their tongue, the most unruly member of the body, has been completely subjected to the Lord.

SPEECH

         In the act of real repentance, the tongue is the very last member of the body to yield to God. Once this happens, an immediate proof of the occurrence follows: The new believer begins praising God in a new language. The person’s speech is at once given over, as if a switch was flipped, to praising God and even prophesying of the things of God. This is all very clearly spelled out in scripture.

         James wrote the following:

         If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. [James 1:26]

         For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

         Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

         So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

         For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. [James 3:2-8]

         It is obvious then, that a tongue never yielded to God proves sinner status and non-discipleship, regardless of anything else by which a person claims to be a Christian. The yielded tongue, however, with miraculous speech following, proves a new birth.

         This new birth then allows for invoking the powerful Name of Jesus. Its use, as given by the Lord, results in miracles. The use of the Lord’s Name is only given to real disciples.

         This is also why each and every real believer as recorded in the Book of Acts invoked the Name of Jesus in water baptism. The reason why is otherwise simple: Without the Name of Jesus there is no spiritual power.

         We can see, therefore, that if there are no miracles within a Christian group, it obviously follows that there is no spiritual power, which indicates the group is not right with God. It proves that the group has never yielded to God.

         Real Christianity is distinguished by the following:

         And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

         “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

         “These signs will accompany those who have believed: In My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [Mark 16:16-18] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

New England’s Avalanche of Apostasy: Snowing Over the Pilgrim’s Progress

         The northeast has had an exceptionally snowy winter. And it’s not over yet. Residents have experienced cold and snow way beyond the norm in an ongoing series of repeated winter storms and blizzards blowing in with gale force winds, much of it concentrated on the inner coastal areas of New England.

         The city of Boston has set new all-time snowfall records. The area’s snowfall is greatly out of proportion compared to other usually more prolific geographic snowy spots known for large accumulations and relatively high averages. Is all this random?

         Boston set a new season snowfall record on Sunday, measured from July 1 to June 30, with just over 9 feet to date. This had never happened before in official recorded history. The city also set by a large margin a new all-time winter record, and destroyed the previous monthly record with 64.9 inches in February, eclipsing the old mark of 43.3 inches set in January of 2005.

         The official measurements date back to roughly 1870. Unofficial record-keeping dates to the 1700s. There is no way to know for sure what the actual records are from the time of Boston’s founding, but residents of the Boston greater metropolitan area, which adds up to about 7.6 million people including commuters, have seen the record snowfall firsthand and generally refer to this as the worst winter in memory.

         Boston was founded in 1630. It could certainly be the case that the new official records were exceeded in all that time, but comparing the snowfall totals of the last 145 years gives a good indication that the current snowfall has been decidedly extreme. The previous annual record was set two decades ago. The snowfall is increasing at what appears to be an exponential rate with new records being set at shorter intervals.

         Adding this to all the other strange weather patterns happening in recent years all across the country tells us something is up. Other records are being broken as well. There is no comparable data for many of these events in recorded history and therefore no portent of what is to come, but it does not look good.

THE ARRIVAL OF THE PILGRIMS

         And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. [Daniel 2:21-22 KJV] [1]

         In 1620, the English Separatist Christians, also known as the Pilgrims, landed at Plymouth Rock. They were the first English settlers in the region and founded Plymouth Colony, the second colony in America.

         These believers had suffered greatly for their faith while in England, and even had to flee to the European continent to escape persecution before coming to America. The Separatists had withdrawn completely from the English state church—the Anglican—many decades before, due to strong beliefs in pure New Covenant teachings. They paid for it severely. Many lost their lives and were imprisoned long before later brethren made it to these shores.

         There is confusion regarding the many denominations of the English Reformation of the 1500s, such as the Presbyterians, Puritans, and Separatists, but it was the latter group that the Lord had chosen to get to New England first.

         The Puritans were relative latecomers to America and had always insisted on keeping one foot in the official Anglican Church. They proved their lack of resolve by not only succeeding in avoiding much persecution, but also waiting for others to do the heavy lifting and putting forth a strong witness. Once the ocean highway was built by the pioneering Pilgrims they began infiltrating Plymouth Colony and the Boston area in droves.

         Thirteen years before the Pilgrim landing, in 1607, it was the Anglicans who began the first English settlement on the American continent, but this was to the south in Jamestown, Virginia. The Jamestown settlement experienced great hardship and was actually abandoned briefly in 1610. It had a purely economic motive rather than the spiritual motive of Plymouth.

         Regarding New England, though the Separatists were obviously the group closest to the heart of the New Covenant and the Gospel, they were soon overrun by all the others who later ventured to America. Still, they laid the initial spiritual foundation. The Puritans overlaid the Pilgrim’s foundation with their own, which included an ecclesiastical culture and governance, much legalism, and the aforementioned connection to the hybrid high church Anglican assembly. Nevertheless, there was a strong Christian presence in the New England colonies overall and the Puritans eventually distanced themselves from the Church of England.

THE FIRST GREAT AWAKENING

         The first American Great Awakening began a century later in late 1734 in Northampton, Massachusetts in a small church community led by Jonathan Edwards. It eventually spread like the proverbial wildfire throughout the northern colonies and later as far south as Georgia. This proved to unite many of the members of the various denominations, though the old school Christians fought the revival tooth and nail. The Awakening proved to be the initial unifying force of the young confederation of colonies that a few decades later rebelled against harsh English rule and won independence in the American Revolution.

         It must be noted that the Revolution against the English throne had achieved in the secular what the Separatists had achieved in the Spirit. Both parties made the decision to risk everything and attempt an impossible goal. Both were driven by something otherworldly beyond the natural scope. Without those strong disciples of the Lord a century and a half before the Declaration of Independence was signed—those who were willing to risk it all in bringing the Gospel to a new continent—there would have been no American Revolution, no freedom, and all the blessings of God made possible since.

THE SECOND GREAT AWAKENING

         The Second American Great Awakening in the early 1800s spread rapidly primarily under the preaching of Charles Finney beginning about 1825. The next ten years were his most active as a revivalist. Again, God’s choice was not conventional. Though a Calvinist, he rejected much of the Old Divinity Calvinism, and preached against strict Predestination, proving that the doctrine of some people being born for heaven and others for hell to be heretical.

         Finney caught much flak from his detractors during his ministry. He was a strong advocate of preaching against sin and demanded repentance, exactly as had the Lord Jesus and the early believers. Jonathan Edwards had done the same. Both of these men were humble and unpretentious. Both fought against great odds. Both were seen as odd.

         Finney preached thousands of messages in revivals throughout his life and also founded Oberlin College in Ohio. His revivals were primarily located in upper New York state and Manhattan.

         The First Great Awakening of Jonathan Edwards’ time had spread throughout New England, New York, and Pennsylvania.

         The Separatists Pilgrims had established Plymouth Colony, which at its height covered most of the southeastern part of what is now the state of Massachusetts. This colony merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

         There is no doubt that great spiritual happenings were a matter of course for the greater New England and northeast region. The people there had been abundantly blessed by God. Later history, however, reveals the unfolding of a spiritual disaster.

SPIRITUAL SNOWSTORM?

         What has happened to the great Christian presence in the Northeast? In the region where great revival fires spread and untold numbers of people were saved there is now a general spiritual coldness, distance from God, and a growing hatred of real Christianity. As the record snowfalls of Boston portend, the hearts of millions have grown cold in an ever increasing spiritual snowstorm.

         Could the snow records be a sign? Could it be that the record snowfall is a clear indication of the great apostasy of the region?

         Boston’s snowfall record goes back to the beginning of official record keeping in about 1870. Charles Grandison Finney died in 1875. Coincidence? How could a place with such a powerful Christian spiritual history become the very opposite at present? What is the cause of the northeastern states’ descent into such a freezing cold spiritual condition?

         In looking once again at the impossible journey of the Separatist Pilgrims almost 400 years ago and the great spiritual foundation they set, and also at not one but two powerful Great Awakenings that shook the northeastern part of the country, it should give all believers serious pause over what can happen when people drift away from God. The spiritual temperature in the region is matching the frigid winter lows but remains constant all year long, and has resulted in a relative spiritual ice age.

         Keep your seeing eyes peeled. After just witnessing the greatest all-time snowfall upon the exact land claimed for God by the Separatists four centuries ago, there are not only warnings to be heeded but signs to be sighted.

         Something tells me the present early stages of the Great Awakening will not be having any breakouts out in Boston.

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.