Apostles and Prophets
ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: ANTICHRIST
Greetings to all of you!
This is not the Coffee Break I'd planned to release today, but because of the urgency of this message to the body of Christ, it was necessary to delay the article I'd written and intended for this post until next week.
I've shared the following story in times past, but because of its relevance to what the Lord has instructed me to share today, I will briefly relate it once again.
Back in the late 1960's and up until 1972, I served at Full Gospel Assembly in Salt Lake City with Bill Christopulos. This was at a point in my spiritual development where I had learned many things and had many experiences in the Heavenlies and in the realm of the Spirit. One of the areas, however, in which my spiritual development and understanding was severely under-developed was in the realm of eschatology -- "End Times" doctrine.
Everything that I thought I knew and understood came from the prominent prophetic teachers of the day; and most of them promoted an end-time doctrine which had grown out of the teachings of a woman by the name of Margaret MacDonald in the early-to-mid 1800's, and subsequently incorporated into C.I. Schofield's reference bible published in the late 1890's. When the Azusa Street Revival broke out after the turn of the century, Schofield's bible was THE reference bible for everyone to have. Schofield's notes became accepted as gospel and with the growth and development of the Pentecostal fellowships and denominations that grew up in the 1920's and 1930's, Margaret MacDonald's teachings on the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist and End Times (it has come to be referred to as: dispensational, pre-trib rapture) became de rigueur among Pentecostals.
Naturally, Schofield's reference bible expanded well beyond Pentecostal realms and for many years it was the standard reference bible among virtually every Evangelical denomination. As a consequence, the MacDonald doctrines were taught as absolute revelation and truth. Most Evangelical and Pentecostal bible colleges and seminaries promoted these teachings, and virtually everyone of the generations -- me included -- who grew up during this era believed these teachings without question. Lest anyone take offense to what I'm about to share, let me be clear: not everything that Margaret MacDonald taught was error! At the same time, much of the teaching was founded upon some concepts which have been part and parcel of the body of Christ since the days when Latin was the language of the church world.
As already noted, I grew up with these doctrines and believed them with my whole heart and soul. You could walk into any Bible book store and pick up any one of a variety of books, whether reference books, study books, prophecy books, and even fiction, all predicated on this understanding of the Rapture, the Great Tribulation, the Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast, and End Times in general. Prophecy teachers abounded on radio and television, all expounding on their variants of these doctrines, and yet mostly all agreed on the fundamental tenets.
Now that I've laid that foundation, let me get to the story I wanted to share with you.
In 1970 and 71, I was expounding on all these teachings with our Wednesday night bible studies. I had all my charts together, my statistics and my predictions down pat! I was really on a tear! It didn't hurt, either, that our bible studies were sometimes better attended than the Sunday morning services. My ego was really pumped.
One Wednesday night I was putting contemporary world events into the end-time scenarios and expounding on who and what the antichrist would be like. It was a particularly ego-filling night and I wrapped up the teaching feeling really good about myself and my ability to communicate these "truths" to our congregation. No sooner had I gotten home when Holy Spirit pulled the plug on me.
As clearly as I've ever heard Him speak he said to me, "Are you teaching all these things because you received them from me as revelation, or because you read them in books or heard someone else expound on them?"
OOOOPPPPSSSSS!!!! I knew the answer to that even before He finished asking the question.
"I thought you and I had an agreement that you would teach or preach nothing but that which I gave to you by revelation and subsequently walked out in your life!"
Whewww!!! Talk about lowering the boom on me! Holy Spirit didn't have to say another word. I had to drop my head in shame and disappointment realizing that I was doing nothing more than parroting what everyone else was saying without any consideration as to whether there was any real download of revelation or impartation from Heaven concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ or the events surrounding His return.
Without any further ado I put all of my books on the Second Coming together, my books on the Antichrist, the Tribulation, my charts on End Times, and all my study notes. I went outside and brought in a trash can and dumped all those books, charts, notes, etc. into it and threw them away. For more than 20 years I refused to even have a discussion with anyone on the topic, and I certainly didn't teach or preach on any of it.
Not until the mid-1990's did Holy Spirit begin to really download fresh revelation and understanding. Still my understanding was grossly incomplete and there were far too many unresolved issues. To the extent that I was able to share pieces of the picture, I did so. When the Library of Congress first began to go online in the early 90's, I had access to some archaeological findings that unfolded confirmation of revelation that had been flowing and fitting pieces together that I'd seen in the Word.
Without realizing that I was actually sharing something that was revelatory for that period of time, the Lord had demonstrated for me a clear link between the picture of the seven nations that Israel was commanded to overcome and drive out of the land of promise, and the seven letters with which John opens up Revelation. That's not where I'm going today, however. I've already posted a lengthy series of Coffee Breaks outlining that revelation.
Let's get to the core of what I need to share with you today. Take a look at the very first verses of Revelation 1.
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw."
Go back and read it again. How does it open up? See? "The Revelation of Jesus Christ!" OK, wait a minute. If you've been like me in past times you passed right over it. The Book of Revelation is a revelation of end times! Right? It's a revelation of the Antichrist. Sure it is. It's a revelation of the Great Tribulation. Uhh Huhh! Yup. It's a revelation of the Mark of the Beast!
Whoaa! Wait a minute! That's NOT what it says! Every translation I can lay my hands on -- even the original Greek text that I read -- says in no uncertain terms: "The Revelation -- apokalupsis: the unveiling, the manifestation, the disclosure -- of Jesus Christ!"
This is a critical distinction, folks! This is a revelation of the nature, the character, the makeup, the very divine, supernatural personality, the loving and authoritative character of the Lord Jesus Christ!
But it is more than that.
This is a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ operating IN AND THROUGH HIS BRIDE! This is a revelation of Christ in us, and us in Him! This is a revelation of the overcoming nature of Jesus Christ bred into, imparted and infused into a people against whom Satan throws the full force of his power and might -- a revelation of how easily Satan is defeated.
For many years I've said that the book of Revelation is a manual for spiritual warfare. It is more than that. Sure, it gives us pictures of unfolding events both prior to Jesus' return and after His return. It provides understanding -- clear understanding -- of the era in which we live. Coupled with prophetic pictures shared by both Isaiah and Daniel, we get to see what a thousand years of peace on earth looks like. Revelation also gives us -- and this is where I'm headed with today's discussion -- a clear picture of the character and makeup of just what Antichrist is.
Beyond these pictures (and they are really peripheral to the grand scope), however, Revelation is an unveiling of the character and nature of Jesus Christ -- both personally, and as manifested in His Bride -- in a very practical and demonstrable way.
Remember Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:17? "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him."
This is what John is instructed to share as he pours out this revelation. He begins with some graphic pictures of the glory and magnificence of the Lord and then shares with us how this revelation unfolded for him.
"I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia....."
Notice that John was "in the Spirit" when these events unfolded before him. No amount of human reasoning and academic study can produce the kind of wisdom and understanding -- the revelation, if you will -- that comes "in the Spirit." Without that place of revelation, things begin to break down. Error quickly creeps in. Doctrines develop that easily become substitutes for what Jesus is really after.
As already noted, that portion of the revelation has been shared in a lengthy series of Coffee Breaks (some 30 in all) titled, SEVEN NATIONS, SEVEN LETTERS. It is not my purpose to revisit that revelation today. Rather, I'd like to deal with the analogy that many have used in comparing the references to the Beast, the False Prophet and/or the whore of Babylon with the "Antichrist."
From what Holy Spirit has shown me and the revelation gained as a result of my visits to Heaven, and the time-travel experiences He gave me, transporting me both into the future as well as back into the past has resulted in a realization that Antichrist is a whole lot more -- and a whole lot less -- than the popular teachings of the day have made of it/him.
First and foremost, Antichrist is a spirit. John makes that abundantly clear in his general epistles to the body of Christ. (For the sake of brevity, I refer you to I John 2:18, 22, I John 4:3, and II John 1:7.) Antichrist is a very religious spirit.
I suppose I ought to go back to the root of the word in the Greek text. As you might well imagine, the Greek word has been literally Anglicized into our word today -- antichristos. The problem with this is that we've applied the Latin definition of anti- rather than the Greek definition. Let me demonstrate.
The Latin form of anti- is properly translated: to be set in opposition to; against, the opposite.
The Greek form of anti- is a bit different: instead of, a substitution for, substitute, in place of, for.
When you see the translation of the Greek, it isn't hard to extrapolate the Latin from it, and yet that extrapolation causes folks to draw some wrong conclusions. It IS clear that everything we know as antichrist sets itself in opposition to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, but it goes way beyond that picture. Think "substitute" Christ. Think "in place of" Christ.
Once that picture begins to come into focus, a whole lot of things fall into place. Antichrist is actually operating within the body of Christ, and has been for some 2,000 years. It was in full bloom with the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (power over the people/power to the people) John describes in Revelation 2. It was on public display when the emperor Constantine declared all of Rome to be "Christian."
It was manifested throughout the Dark Ages. It has been operating in every segment of church life in the centuries since. Why do I say that?
Once again, think "substitute Christ." Think "substitute Gospel." Any "gospel" which promotes or preaches a version of Jesus Christ that leaves the power and authority or the glory of the Lord on display through His people today is Antichrist! Any version of the Gospel of the Kingdom which produces a people who are less than the spotless Bride (no spot or wrinkle) Jesus is coming for is Antichrist.
Any doctrine preached which promotes a "get outta here" mentality (before tribulation, testing and trial comes) in believers is Antichrist. Any teaching which suggests, promotes and encourages God's people to avoid the fire comes straight from the spirit of Antichrist.
When John the Baptist began to preach the coming of the Messiah, he said, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:11-12)
That fire is for our cleansing. It brings purification. Anything which suggests that we don't need this fire cheapens and degrades the call of the Bridegroom. Consider what Paul wrote to Timothy (see I Timothy 2:15): "Be instantly responsive to the Lord, making yourself available to Him in the midst of the crucible, a tried and tested laborer, who has no fear of being examined -- one who, by virtue of God's testing and the time spent in the crucible with Him, knows the proven word of truth." (my translation from the Greek)
That "crucible" is the container in which gold (or other precious metals) gets placed for refining. It is heated to hundreds of degrees in order to get the impurities removed. This was the illustration Paul used in order to make clear the fact that we must endure the fire. Paul continues in his letter to Timothy: "Stand aloof from, and avoid the untested, untried "word" which comes forth from those who would propagate speculation and create their own doctrines. These profane speculations and so-called "words" are empty babblings which will only serve to advance ungodliness; and those who spread these doctrines will only yield a gangrene pasture -- a source of poison to those who ingest their "word"......"
If you'll pardon the illustration, that "gangrene pasture" is precisely what the spirit of Antichrist wants God's people to feed on. Folks, tribulation is something promised by the Lord for all believers. Jesus put it like this:
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
By now, you're beginning to get the idea. Whether we ever see an individual who is referred to as "the Antichrist," or not, is really almost irrelevant. Antichrist is here now! We see it on public display coming out of our nation's leaders as they promote tolerance for Islam, acceptance of homosexual and lesbian (and other deviant) behavior as "normal," the killing of unborn children for the sake of personal convenience, and a socialist, entitlement mentality which avoids personal responsibility that is presented as "the way Jesus would treat things," and "after all, Jesus preached love."
That, my friends, is a substitute Jesus. That IS Antichrist!
Are you hearing this? Do you understand what I'm saying?
"The deep things of God are known only to Him, but are revealed to us through His Spirit. That is the promise of 1 Corinthians 2. Therefore, it is our expectation to witness an unprecedented outpouring of His Spirit and unfolding Last Day mysteries that will perfect the bride and empower the Sons of the Kingdom.
Mere human knowledge is not sufficient to bring in the great harvest. We must be endowed with God’s supernatural provision that is clearly promised for this hour. To do so, every saint of God must come to the realization that Christ is "all in all."
He is Light; He is the Way, Truth, Life; He is the Resurrection; He is Wisdom; He is Righteousness; He is Goodness; He is Understanding; He is Alpha and Omega; He is the Beginning and the End; He is All in All.
To merely acknowledge these as doctrinal truth is not sufficient. They must become experiential reality through personal encounters with the Living Christ. The Lord is standing at the door knocking with a personal invitation for profound fellowship and the unveiling of Latter Rain revelation. For those who will forsake all else to dine with Him, this will be an age of greater glory and personal transformation into His very image. (Prophetic Word from Paul Keith Davis)
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
709 South 7th Street
Sunnyside, Washington 98944
All Coffee Break articles are copyright by Regner A. Capener, but authorization for reprinting, reposting, copying or re-use, in whole or in part, is granted – provided proper attribution and this notice are included intact. Older Coffee Break archives are now available at http://regnersrangers.multiply.com/journal/ and are being slowly added at http://www.AnotherCoffeeBreak.com. Coffee Break articles are normally published weekly.
If you would like to have these articles arrive each morning in your email, please send a blank email to: Subscribe@AnotherCoffeeBreak.com. To unsubscribe, send a blank email to Unsubscribe@AnotherCoffeeBreak.com.
CAPENER MINISTRIES is a tax-exempt church ministry. Should you desire to participate and covenant with us as partners in this ministry, please contact us at either of the above email or physical addresses, or visit http://www.RiverWorshipCenter.org.