Thursday, September 27, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - September 27, 2018

Today's Reading:

2 John 1

Ezra 5-6

Psalm 93

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In 2 John 1, we find many important things, but one of the most vital principles of this chapter is the key to identifying the spirit of antichrist:
2 John 1:7 "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Yahshua Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
Sandee Freed addresses the subject of the spirit of antichrist so thoroughly that I will not re-invent the wheel, so-to-speak, rather I will quote from her online article titled "Who or What is Antichrist?" 
To put it simply, the Antichrist is everything that is anti Christ. In other words, it is everything that opposes Christ and the Gospel of Christ. Since the great opponent of Christ is the devil, then Satan himself—and all of the evil he perpetuates—is the Antichrist (with a capital A).

The word antichrist is mentioned in only four passages of the Bible. All four are found in 1 and 2 John when (Yahshua) warned His disciples of false prophets (we will discuss this in further detail later). Many theologians and futurists, however, believe that the Antichrist is the beast mentioned in the books of Revelation and Daniel.

Many people have written articles and books, preached sermons and even spoken on prime-time television to give their opinion of exactly who the Antichrist may be and from where he originates. My purpose... is not to suggest the name of a particular person today who might possibly exhibit the characteristics of the one known as the Antichrist in the end times. Rather, I am sure that Satan himself is the Antichrist, and I believe he will manifest in a certain person during what Scripture terms the “end times,” but I am also confident that in the last days an antichrist system will adversely influence the world to be anti-Christ. This antichrist system targets God’s children and seduces us to believe lies concerning not only ourselves but also God...

Working Since the Beginning of Time

When focusing on the Antichrist, most Christians consider the end time effects of the person who will seek to lead the world “anti” Christ. I believe, however, that the spirit of antichrist has been at work since the beginning of time. It was working when Eve was in the Garden, and it has been working to lead God’s people away from Him ever since.

All of us are aware of how Satan attempts to undermine the works of God and how his deception began in the Garden as he seduced Eve (see Genesis 3). In the same way, the Antichrist’s primary work is deception, and this deceptive spirit will target the people upon the earth until the end of time. The thread of Satan’s deceptive nature is traced from Genesis through Revelation and reaches its climax in the Antichrist—Satan himself, as seen in Revelation 13:4.

If it were not important for God’s people to understand the devil and his seductions, then why did (Yahweh) expose him in the very first book of the Bible? The evil forces were disclosed in the book of Genesis, a Hebrew name meaning “the beginning.” Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” So in the very first verse, God’s Word identifies the beginnings of the works of God. Then in the third chapter, God describes the beginning of Satan’s attack on humanity:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which (Yahweh) God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1, NASB)

The first appearance of Satan in the Bible, then, shows his deceptive nature. And ever since, the enemy has spread his evil words, planting evil seeds in our thoughts and minds.

Dear ones, this deception is still happening today. While the Antichrist is not yet just one person, it is a demonically inspired system whose purpose is to steal the minds of our children and abort the destiny of every believer. Whether through politics, abortion clinics, the courts, the legislature, public school teachings, false religious structures, religious legalism, television, the news media or Hollywood, the voice of the enemy is sounding off loud and clear.

The Serpent and Our Identity Crisis

Part of what we are experiencing today is what Eve faced in the Garden: an identity crisis. We do not know who we are in Christ, and the devil uses our ignorance to destroy us. He attempts to sound like God, and we must be alert to his craftiness in these last days. “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which (Yahweh) God had made” (Genesis 3:1, emphasis added).

In this first appearance of the enemy of God’s people, the Bible calls Satan a serpent, or snake. The Hebrew word for serpent is linked with the word “hiss,” and “to whisper a magic spell.”3 So here in the first part of the book of Genesis where we meet God’s archenemy for the first time, we also see the genesis, or beginning, of witchcraft—one of the major weapons the enemy uses against the Body of Christ...

This introduction to Satan also says that he is subtle, which means “crafty.” The Hebrew word subtle is linked to a word that refers to “giving crafty counsel.”4 In other words, the snake, or Satan, gave Eve wrong counsel. Hence, the seduction began.

[The serpent] said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1–5, NIV)

Satan convinced Eve that God did not want her to be like Him. In other words, he made Eve feel “less than.” Man’s weakness often lies in feeling “less than,” “left out” and “forgotten.” Satan baited Eve with an evil, cunning suggestion that God did not want anyone else to be like Him. Satan implied that God wanted her to remain ignorant of all that she could be or have!

This may seem ridiculous at first, but when we stop and ponder it we have to realize that we, as humans, want to know! Think about it. We like to be in the know. We enjoy being part of the in-crowd who is in the know. We want to know everyone’s secrets. We even feel left out (maybe abandoned) if we are not let in on “privileged information,” when it is usually none of our business! For some strange reason we feel more important if we know something about someone that no one else knows. We thrive on knowing everything, don’t we? In fact, if we are not careful we easily boast in our knowledge and all that we know. It is a human weakness to become prideful and puffed up with head knowledge.

Satan knew this about Eve. So he targeted her weakness and twisted the truth. You see, Eve was already like God because she was created in His image! She had everything available to her because God breathed His life into her and fashioned her after Himself. And yet, Eve did not fully know who she was in Christ, so she experienced an identity crisis. And Satan used her ignorance to destroy her (and then Adam). The devil could have chosen any other area to target, and yet he chose Eve’s self-image. Smart move. Subtle. Crafty. Cunning.

In the same way today, Satan uses our ignorance to destroy us. He is still making subtle suggestions concerning our identity—just as he did to Eve. We fall into the same trap that she did, day in and day out. Satan comes to us in a subtle fashion, speaking evil counsel, and we take the bait. Our enemy is seductive and sly. He attacks us in our minds and in our belief systems concerning our “image problem.” He was sly in the Garden, and he is sly today. The entire antichrist structure is set in place to cause us to doubt our relationship with God and our identity in Him.

What, then, are we believers to do? We are exhorted to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (Colossians 3:10, NIV). This means that we should remove ourselves from old “clothing,” or what we have worn in the past. If we have worn shame, for example, then we are to remove our garments of shame and put on the image of God! If we have worn guilt, then we are to remove those garments of guilt and put on the image of God. If we have worn anger, then we are to remove those garments of anger and put on the image of God. After all, we were created in His image: We look like God!
The problem is that we do not know that. We do not really believe that God loves us, desires to bless us and that we have the goods to defeat the devil! But we do! We are to be overcomers. God created us to be the light, and in order to be all He wants us to be we must renew our minds continually in order to overthrow antichrist structures that we have allowed to be seated in elevated positions in our lives.

New Testament Teaching on the Antichrist

Now let’s take a look at some of what the New Testament says about the Antichrist. Nelson’s Bible Dictionary says the Antichrist is “the dragon” in Revelation 12 and 13:4; “the serpent” in Genesis 3; “the sum of all the beasts” in Revelation 13:4 (also in Daniel 7, which is an Old Testament prophecy); and the “false prophet” (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). The Antichrist is also referred to by many as the “lawless one” who will be empowered by Satan to lead a final rebellion against God:

Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.... The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 9–10, NRSV)

Although the apostle Paul did not address the seductions of the enemy as the Antichrist (or the markings of an antichrist belief system), he most certainly understood that a great apostasy, or a falling away, would take place before the Second Coming of Christ. Paul also firmly encourages believers to stand in faith and not be deceived by the seductiveness of the Antichrist’s ability to perform counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders.

The apostle John describes the “spirit of antichrist” as the one who opposes Christ:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that (Yahshua) Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess (Yahshua) is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:1–6, NRSV

In summary, John makes nine main points in his description of the spirit of antichrist:

  • Test the spirits to see if they are from God. 
  • Many false prophets are “in the world.” These false prophets are teaching error and false doctrine. 
  • Spirits that do not confess Christ are not from God and are the spirit of antichrist. Any religion or religious teacher, therefore, that does not confess Christ as Savior is of an anti–Christ nature. 
  • The Antichrist is coming and is also already here. (It was active then and it is definitely active today. It is not waiting until the “last days” to manifest.) 
  • If we are children of God (His seed), then we have conquered the spirit of antichrist and the teachings of the false prophets. 
  • The antichrist spirit is from the world. (I refer to this as the seed of Satan because he desires his own seed just as God has His.) 
  • What the Antichrist says is from the world, and only the world listens to him. Only those “of the world” listen to false teachings. (This brings up a question to ponder: Why do we believe the lies of the enemy? If Satan is of the world, and we are not, then we should not be heeding his lie.) 
  • Those who know God listen to the true apostles. Those not of God will not heed sound doctrine. 
  • The spirit of antichrist is rooted in a spirit of error.
John uses the term antichrist to refer to one who stands in opposition to all that (Yahshua) Christ represents (see also 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7). In other words, whatever is not “for Christ” is, therefore, “anti-Christ.” It is just that simple. (