ANTICHRIST—THE WORSHIP OF SELF

ANTICHRIST

ANTICHRIST—THE WORSHIP OF SELF Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Antichrist is the worship of self. It is scriptural that there will appear in the last days an individual who fully expresses the self-centeredness of Satan. However, the spirit of Antichrist is in every one of us until God and Jesus are firmly seated on the throne of our personality.

Sin is a bondage, a symptom of the worship of self.

The democratic stress on the rights and freedom of the individual, while it appears at first as an expression of Christianity, or at least a friend of Christianity, is by far the deadliest enemy of God and man. This is because it nourishes the worship of self.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Personality of the Antichrist Democratic Government and Christianity What Does the Bible Say About Death to Self?     The work of the cross     Learning obedience through suffering     They overcame him What Does the Bible Say About Antichrist? Sin Is an Unwanted Bondage, a Symptom of the Real Enemy Conclusion

ANTICHRIST—THE WORSHIP OF SELF

Introduction

"And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. (Daniel 11:37—NIV)

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (II Thessalonians 2:4—NIV)

It began around the Throne of God as "I wonder how it would feel to be like the most High." A thousand years later it was "I will be like the most High." Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow.

The Ten Commandments are a judgment on the self-love of Satan.

A desire to worship ourselves prevents the expression of God in us and our being a blessing to other people.

The spirit of murder, of gossip and slander, addiction to drugs and alcohol, a desire to lie and steal, lust, a willingness to molest little children, are symptoms of a deeper problem. These sinful, destructive bondages, these chains, are placed on us because we love our self more than we do God.

I saw a picture in the newspaper two days ago of a man sentenced to twenty years in prison. He had ingested cocaine and as a result had run over a young girl with his truck and killed her.

He was a decent-looking person. The expression on his face at his sentencing was one of horror at what he had done and the penalty imposed on him. He was not defiant, not peering around murderously at the judge and jury as happens nowadays.

He was not a truly wicked individual, just a human being chained by addiction to cocaine. He was vulnerable to the addiction because he was serving himself rather than God.

One man in Texas, waiting on death row for his date of execution, was heard to say, "How did I get here?" The poor man got there because he was serving himself instead of God.

Until we are taught and helped to love and serve God rather than our self we will remain bound by the destructive practices of sin.

All of us, until we have been pressed into the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, have the spirit of Antichrist, of self-worship, in us. Yet we may have some persons whom we truly love and would die for.

Then there are those individuals who are much more advanced in the worship of self, who love and adore themselves to the exclusion of all others.

Some people worship God and Jesus His Son.

Some people worship Satan or the demons.

Some people worship other people.

Some people worship things or circumstances.

Some people worship themselves. These are the most dangerous of all.

Those who worship God and Jesus are the most blessed of all people.

Those who worship themselves are the most cursed, the most miserable, the most destructive of all people. They are the image of Satan. They are of the spirit of Antichrist.

The worship of our own self is the greatest of all evils. The sins of the flesh are undesirable bondages, chains, penalties imposed on us because we worship our self.

Have you ever thought about Satan being one of the cherubim who overshadowed the Throne of God with his wings?

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:14,15—NIV)

You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.~ I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah 14:13,14—NIV)

Now, Satan didn't one sunny day blurt out "I will make myself like the Most High." The concept may have started in his heart as the tiniest of seeds and then have grown through thousands of years of our time. His final statements, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High," did not just occur to him one day but were the fruit of the slowly developing pride in his beauty and majesty.

I think this will be true of the Antichrist.

The Personality of the Antichrist

I don't know how you picture Antichrist. I believe he (or she) will be the most affable of human beings, friendly, a capable administrator, anxious to please, someone who is fun to be around. But he will not be truly interested in the welfare of anyone except himself or herself.

Antichrist will be dedicated to democratic ideals of government. I think he may begin as a Christian although he will have to branch out to other religions later because of his ambition to govern the world.

He will arise at the conclusion of the mammoth latter-rain revival and will see the possibility of using the fact that multitudes of people had witnessed and admired the power of the Spirit of God at work, in spite of the tremendous works of destruction that had been needed to open the doors of all nations to the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Great numbers of people who are secular at heart will join themselves in those days to the Christian churches insincerely and hypocritically, using flattery, because of the extraordinary power they have seen operating among the Christians. The Christians, who are so anxious to gain members of their religion, will welcome them without perceiving they do not know Jesus.

Antichrist will develop a plan to use religious people as a power base in order to achieve a workable United Nations with himself as the head.

In the beginning his motives will be relatively pure and apparently selfless.

But because Antichrist will be a man in love with himself, Satan will have access to him and begin to direct him.

The majority of believers, having been affected by the powerful revival, will welcome the many opportunities the Christian churches will have to work together with the government to bring relief to the impoverished nations. Antichrist, probably a professing Christian, will subsidize the churches and invite Christian leaders into his cabinet.

But Jesus Christ will speak to a minority of the believers, warning them of the danger of what is taking place. Then the minority will appear as the enemies of the Christian churches as well as of the government. It will not be long after this that the government will institute repressive measures against the remnant of saints, using the excuse they are enemies of society in that they are not cooperating with the huge welfare plans inaugurated by Antichrist.

The majority of professing Christians, enjoying religious freedom and economic abundance, will not have the moral strength to protect their more fervent brothers and sisters.

In the end the Christian churches, for the most part, will take the side of the government. The remnant will be persecuted and hounded from the large cities of the earth, from the centers of civilization.

All this evil will take place because of the pursuit of personal liberty and happiness rather than the pursuit of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Democratic Government and Christianity

Because of the way our country was founded, the ideals of democratic government and Christianity seem one and the same, or at least compatible. They are not the same. They are anything but compatible. One is of Antichrist. The other is of Jesus Christ.

Democracy is rule from the bottom up (supposedly). The Kingdom of God is rule from the top down. These two forms of government are totally incompatible. This was not obvious in America two hundred years ago but it certainly is clear now as our democratic government by law protects abortion, an evangelistic homosexuality, pornography in the public school classrooms, and the vilest of immoral and anti-Christian filth in various art forms.

Such evidences of the activities of Satan are obvious also in the European democracies, but I write about America because I am an American.

Democracy, the emphasis on personal freedom, while it espouses equal rights for all, human dignity, peace, always moves toward the worship of self, as we see in America. This is because the normal focal point of human beings, which is God, is changed to a focus on the welfare of man.

There are people who will give their lives for the benefit of other people. But unless they themselves are worshipers of the one true God, their efforts will not bring the lasting peace and joy for which mankind longs. This is because Satan always enters where God is not worshiped and changes what would have been a beneficial endeavor into the worship of himself—and corruption inevitably follows.

America was settled in part by Puritans, people who sought to purify the Church of England and who fled to America to escape persecution by European kings and religious prelates, and by others who came to America for economic or other reasons.

Ironically, the Puritan concept of congregational democratic government is considered to be a source of modern democracy.

The moral laws emphasized by the Puritans and other Christian groups have strongly affected the values of the American people for hundreds of years. Today such moral values are mocked by the ignorant as being a destructive force—a philosophy that prevents human happiness as they view happiness.

Personal liberty and happiness are the stated goals of the American government. The rights of the individual are held to be sacred—more to be esteemed than the rights of society or even the rights of God.

Therefore our nation is disintegrating morally. The economic, educational, and military establishments will crumble in time. We are finished because we are encouraging the worship of self.

Believe it or not, God does not intend for man to pursue happiness. If God wanted everyone to be happy, as in the Garden of Eden, God could easily and swiftly bring into being a state of perfect, complete happiness for everyone.

God's intention is for man to pursue God, the Kingdom of God, the righteousness of God. In so doing man learns to escape the horror of worshiping himself. He learns the unsullied joy of living for the benefit of God and other people, as Jesus does. Until a human being learns to live for God and other people he is the most miserable of creatures. He will remain bound by the sins of the flesh, striving endlessly for love, joy, and peace and never, never finding them.

If America ever was a Christian nation it certainly is not one now. It is a democratic nation, that is, a nation dedicated to the liberty, rights, and happiness of the individual.

The Christian Gospel is dedicated to the crucifixion of the individual that he may become a new creation as he walks in the resurrection Life of Jesus Christ.

How can dedication to the liberty, rights, and happiness of the individual be the same thing as dedication to the crucifixion and resurrection of the individual? Are they not totally antagonistic one to the other?

The Christian churches by and large do not understand this conflict in ideology, considering themselves to be democratic institutions. We have a way to go in America before even a remnant understand God is calling us out of the world that we may attend to the holy things of God. We simply are unaware of the rebellion and disobedience that still dwell in us and influence us even though we have served the Lord for many years.

In the near future the religious fabric in America will tear because the contrast between democratic ideals and the living sacrifice to which Christ has called us will begin to be evident to all who truly are seeking the Lord.

What Does the Bible Say About Death to Self?

There is only one way to overcome the Antichrist spirit and that is by the death of the cross. If we do not accept the way of the cross, the denial of our own desires, our testimony can be overcome by Antichrist, as has happened to the Christian churches in America in our day.

God's people are not being taught the way of the cross. They are encouraged to learn to use spiritual gifts, in some instances, but they are not taught the importance of personal crucifixion.

Because the American believers and their leaders have turned away from the hardships associated with the Christian discipleship, God has sent a strong delusion upon us. We have rejected the way of truth, the way of the cross.

We need to get back to the preaching of the cross of the believer. No person can govern the nations until the rod of iron has been created in his personality, for it is by the rod of iron that we rule in Christ. The rod of iron, the hardness of a will fixed in God, is created only by carrying our cross of denial.

The work of the cross. When we are baptized in water we are claiming that we have entered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. From now on we are to live in newness of life. This means each day our flesh is devoted to death and our new born-again spiritual nature is nurtured.

There are three idols dwelling in our flesh that seek to guide our thinking, speaking, and acting. These three idols are the love of the world, fleshly lusts, and self-will. They are symbolized in Revelation, Chapter Eleven as Egypt, Sodom, and Jerusalem.

In the last days God's witness will be overcome by Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem. Even today the churches in America have been overcome by the lusts of the flesh, the love of the world, and self-will.

The only way we can overcome Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem, is by ceasing to love and serve our self and begin to love and serve God.

The method by which we cease to love and serve our self and begin to love and serve God is that of taking up our cross and setting out after the Lord Jesus.

Consider: when you choose to take up your cross, your means of execution, you are saying, "I love Jesus Christ more than I love myself." Isn't this what you are declaring?

We should be telling the Lord many times a day that we will do His will no matter what He requires because we love Him more than we love ourselves.

If you are unable to tell Jesus you love Him more than you love yourself you are not a Christian, not a disciple. You are not having a scepter of iron created in you. You are unable to govern the nations. Therefore you will not be gathered with the saints when the Lord appears, because the purpose of our gathering with Jesus and the saints is that we might descend with Him and establish by force the Kingdom of God on the earth.

We have a multitude of churchgoers, professors of Christ, in the United States of America. Out of this multitude there are not many who are willing to tell Jesus they will do His will no matter what He says. They are still rebels against God and are unfit to rule with Jesus, to meet Him when He appears.

This may sound harsh to you but it is the truth. Please do not wait to find out if I am correct.

The Lord Jesus puts us in various kinds of prisons—situations we detest. He withholds from us the burning desires of our heart and mind. The disciple prays for strength to keep the word of Christ's patience one day at a time.

The churchgoer who is not a disciple wrenches himself from the Lord's prison, breaking God's laws in order to escape. This individual is so in love with himself he cannot serve the Lord. Antichrist overcomes him readily. He will never rule with Jesus unless God in His love sends such burning flames on him that his self- love is destroyed. Even then he may curse and deny God, and who knows what his end will be?

Learning obedience through suffering. The Lord Jesus Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered. He was made perfect through suffering.

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10—NIV)

Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Hebrews 5:8,9—NIV)

Think carefully about the above two passages.

We are referring to the Lord of Glory, the eternal Logos who has been with the Father from the beginning.

How could it be that Jesus Christ needed to learn obedience to God?

The Scripture says He did and so we accept this fact. Christ had to be made perfect and learn obedience on the earth. This tells us that such perfection and obedience cannot be learned in the spirit Paradise. If we are going to learn obedience and be made perfect, it must be while we are on the earth. Something to think about, in that Christians are trusting they will be made perfect after they die or when the Lord appears!

Satan rebelled against the Father. The Father has determined to put down all rebellion, all disobedience, through an instrument termed the Kingdom of God.

The King of the Kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ, was the first to be tested. He passed the test gloriously. He has been proven totally obedient to God.

Prior to His being made flesh the Logos was perfect in righteousness and holiness. However it is the earth that is the crucible where the obedience of the King and His royal priesthood must be tested to the limit.

The test given to Christ was the question whether He would ever be restored to God after having borne on Himself the sin of the world. One might say, "It wasn't really a test because He knew God would never fail Him." May we say we have the same assurance, but the tests are very difficult at times.

The Lord Jesus agonized in the Garden and then pressed forward into God's will. He drank the cup of suffering. "God's will be done regardless of the consequences to me!"

We must do the same. We must always pray, "Your Kingdom come. Your will be done in the earth as it is in Heaven regardless of the consequences to me personally."

Until we can pray this prayer with singleness of heart we are a rebel against our Creator and not fit to return with Christ to judge and govern the nations.

The purpose of the two thousand years of the Church Age has been to bring forth the nobility of the Kingdom, the members of the royal priesthood.

Each member of the priesthood will be tested in the realm of obedience to the Father. No individual ever, ever, ever will be a member of the royal priesthood until he or she has been tested severely in the realm of obedience.

This is why we suffer as we do. We are being judged as to every possible source of disobedience in us. It is a fiery trial, no doubt about this.

As soon as our obedience is complete, God then will be ready to send the Lord and punish the disobedient on the earth.

Antichrist is the lawless one, the disobedient one. Antichrist cannot possibly be overcome except by those who have been found utterly obedient to God.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. (II Corinthians 10:5,6—NIV)

The members of the Body of Christ have bowed the knee to God and called on God for their salvation. God sprinkles the blood of the covenant on us so we have the authority to begin the program of salvation.

The members of the Body of Christ have bowed the knee still further and have sought to live in the Spirit of God rather than in their carnal thinking and fleshly appetites. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to pursue the program of salvation.

Now we have both the authority and the power to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

The salvation itself is the Kingdom of God, that is, the receiving of the Father and the Son into our personality such that They are on the throne of our life forever. To have God and Jesus on the throne of our personality forever implies total, utter obedience.

So the issue today is obedience. Our desire to be obedient should be spoken out loud so God and the rest of the spirit realm can hear us, and so we can hear ourselves. With the mouth confession is made to salvation.

Then God begins to make us obedient. The issue is God against our self-will. God keeps sending suffering in one form or another and we have to keep choosing to obey Christ rather than to try to dodge the suffering. It is through patient suffering that we enter the Kingdom of God.

God keeps us cheerful through the process of learning obedience, that is, if we have an obedient, trusting heart. If suffering makes us gloomy and depressed then it does us no good. In fact, we will become bitter, hating the instruments God uses to frustrate us. The same suffering will make the obedient, trusting believer a mature saint and the disobedient, faithless believer a bitter warped soul.

If we suffer with Christ we will rule with Christ. Suffering creates obedience in us and assists in the program of developing iron righteousness and fiery holiness in us. Until the scepter of iron is formed in us we cannot return with Christ to judge and bless the nations. The scepter of iron is found only in the overcomer.

He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery—just as I have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:27—NIV)

They overcame him. God has, as we have stated, brought many people through basic salvation. From this larger group a smaller population has been made aware of the work of the Holy Spirit in their life.

Now God is drawing from the smaller population a Gideon's army—saints who are willing to follow God in the program of death to their self-will.

When the remnant has been saved, filled with the Spirit, and obedient to the point of death, God will be pleased to charge Michael to cast Satan out of the heavens. The casting of Satan and his followers to the earth will cause enormous rejoicing in the heavens.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." (Revelation 12:10- 12—NIV)

"They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death."

The blood of the Lamb refers to basic salvation.

The "word of their testimony" has to do with the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit is the Lampstand of the Tabernacle, to speak in a figure. The Holy Spirit testifies through us by the moral transformation He brings to pass in us and also by the gifts and ministries He gives to us. The Holy Spirit is responsible for the fruit of Christ's image borne in us and also for the gifts of power and revelation He gives to us. Both the fruit and the gifts come from the Holy Spirit, and these compose the word of our testimony.

Loving not their lives so much as to shrink from death is speaking of the suffering we experience as we are being taught obedience. We must remain faithful unto death in the prisons in which we are placed. Only then are we eligible for the crown of life and righteousness.

Satan will continue to accuse our brothers before the Throne of God until a company of saints arises in whom the three aspects of overcoming have been brought to maturity: the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and loving not their lives to the point of death.

We think the formation of this Gideon's army is at hand and the wrestling match against Satan is soon to terminate in complete victory for Christ and His saints. This is a wonderful prospect and keeps us going when severe demands are made on us.

What Does the Bible Say About Antichrist?

The Bible refers to Antichrist as the lawless one, the one whose only law is that which exalts and please himself.

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders. (II Thessalonians 2:8,9—NIV)

Our generation is witnessing the rise of lawlessness, particularly in those nations with a democratic form of government. We have fled from one tyranny, that of the kings and religious prelates of Europe, only to experience another tyranny, that of the self-love of individuals. Which tyranny is worse I am not here to say. But it is evident that infinitely more harm is done to the development of saints in the democracy than in the monarchy. This may be due to the fact that we must enter the Kingdom through much tribulation, and when every effort is being made to keep us comfortable and to secure our rights we lose the intense consecration to God that one finds in more hostile environments.

The tendency in America today is to change the law rather than the people if the people feel their rights to express themselves are being hindered. Is this true?

The Bible says Antichrist will worship no god except himself.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (II Thessalonians 2:4—NIV)

We see in America today the tremendous emphasis on the human being as god. From the earliest years in school the student is taught that his rights are more important than anything else. He is to be in control. He is to map out his life and do what he feels is significant and enjoyable. He is to be allowed to express himself without hindrance. Any kind of discipline that would prevent his personal liberty is to be regarded with suspicion.

Unless this kind of teaching is reversed our nation is doomed.

We observe the symptoms today as employees who are fired return and kill their employers. Children in school kill their teacher or classmates if they have been offended in some manner. Drivers on the highway kill one another if they feel they have not been treated courteously. Young people kill one another if one feels the other has been disrespectful.

Yet we do not think about the meaning and the end of all this; we cannot perceive it. This is because self-will blinds us to reality. We would rather "rule in the cardboard shacks of Hell than serve in Heaven," as someone said.

It is this blindness that has us attempting to peddle our "marvelous" way of life to other governments.

It is the blindness of people who value personal liberty above all else that will cause the world to cry "peace and safety" when all around them is the desolation that always is produced when people worship themselves.

We say democracy gives us religious freedom. No government or person can give us religious freedom except God Himself. Americans and Europeans are somewhat politically free to carry on their religious endeavors. But spiritually they are bound with many demons of lust, covetousness, and violence.

The slave of Jesus Christ is the only truly free individual.

The Bible says Antichrist will overcome the saints in the last days.

He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25—NIV)

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 12:7—NIV)

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. (Revelation 11:7—NIV)

He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:7—NIV)

One may wonder, "Why would God give Antichrist the ability to overcome the saints?" It is because when the saints are bearing witness victoriously, being anointed by the Holy Spirit and full of revelation and power, they do not gain the iron of God's righteousness in their character. Too much "rain" makes them soggy. They become careless regarding the fine points of holiness and are not always careful to obey the Lord strictly. They are having a good time and good times are not conducive to the creation of iron godliness.

It is during the periods of struggle, of being "killed," that the saints are pressed into God. During the "daylight" there is much speech. But it is at "night" that the knowledge of the holy is gained.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. (Psalms 19:2—NIV)

The Bible says Antichrist will ascend to the heavens and tear down some of the host.

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to him, "How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled—the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot?" (Daniel 8:9-13—NIV)

There can be no doubt the above passage does not correspond to our ordinary view of Heaven. Yet it is obvious that such a statement must be of vast significance concerning the authority and power that God will give Antichrist toward the end of the Church Age.

We ought to see immediately that our concept of Heaven as a place of safety is invalid. There is no safety in the heavens, the only safety is in Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the entire Bible does it say there is safety in Heaven or in the heavens. In many passages, however, we are told that God is our fortress and high tower. So we have some midcourse corrections to make in our theology.

The little horn (Antichrist) grew until it reached the host of the heavens. This is exactly what it means, as far as we know. There are two hosts, the host of the saints and the host of angels. The Lord is the Lord of Hosts (plural). The host spoken of in the above passage is the host of the saints, as far as we can ascertain.

Several times in the Old Testament and the New we read that God will give the saints into the hands of Antichrist.

He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:7—NIV)

In order to understand how and why Satan will attack the saints in Heaven we must comprehend the dual personality of each true saint. The Bible states that we are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God, that is, our new born- again life has been raised to the highest throne, the most awesome position of power and authority in the universe.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your~ life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3,4—NIV)

But we have another life. The other life is our body and soul which are alive on the earth, or our soul which is somewhere in the spirit realm if we have died.

Antichrist is not worried about our body and soul on the earth, or our soul in the spirit realm. His concern is our new nature, which is of Christ and already is located at the right hand of Power. It is this part of our personality that will drive him from the heavens and the earth.

How does Satan attack our life at the right hand of God? By inviting us to emphasize our body and soul so our attention and faith are pulled down until we no longer have our mind set on things above. By many kinds of lies including worldly attractions, the lusts of our flesh, and particularly our willingness to follow our own course instead of looking to the Lord. He also employs the threat of sickness or danger to swerve us from obedience to God.

His desire is to tear us down from our high place in God so our personality consists only of that which is human. Then we are no threat to him.

People will claim it is impossible for us to lose our crown of authority. If that were the case the Lord Jesus would not have cautioned us to let no one take our crown.

In our own day we have seen prominent ministers torn down from their high place in God until they no longer are a threat to Satan's kingdom.

In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation we notice that a third of the stars of Heaven are cast down to the earth by the tail of the dragon. That this is referring to the saints is evidenced by the fact that after the casting down of a third of the stars, Satan and his legions of angels fight against Michael in the heavens. There is no indication that Satan already has lost a third of his army. Why would Satan cast down a third of his warriors when he knew he would need them to fight against Michael? To be certain he would be defeated?

Did God not say He would shake not only the earth but also the heavens?

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."~ The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26,27—NIV)

Only that which is firmly established in Jesus Christ cannot be shaken. All that is created, that is, the works of the flesh and carnal mind, will be removed in that day. All rebellion and the symptoms of rebellion shall be driven from the Kingdom of God.

"It threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them." This is speaking symbolically of Christians who have been torn down from their position with Christ in the heavenlies because of lust or the love of money. We have seen such tearings down in our own day. And as for the great majority of God's saints, those who no longer are alive on the earth, we must remember that God is judging both the living and the dead.

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:5,6—NIV)

"It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low." The Prince of the host can be none other than the Lord Jesus. This tells us that in the last days Antichrist will work in the Christian churches in such a manner that the believers no longer will trust in the blood atonement, the daily sacrifice, but will look to the god within them, their own self, and worship themselves, just as Antichrist does.

"Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it." Here is the key to the whole passage. God is seeking out every tiniest bit of rebellion whether it be in the nations, in the Christians on earth, or in the host in the heavens. In addition the ancient rebellion of the angels has not been dealt with thoroughly to the present hour. The passages above tell of the climax of the ages, the period when God drives the rebellion from the creation.

First the Lord Jesus was made perfect in obedience through the things He suffered.

Next the members of the royal priesthood must be made perfect in obedience through the things they must suffer. Earth, not the realm of spirits, is the crucible where stern obedience to the Father is mastered. However, it must be remembered that disobedience began in the spirit realm, so obedience (and perhaps learning obedience) is an issue in the heavens as well as on the earth.

Then the heavenly host itself must be shaken until every member showing the least particle of rebellion is removed from the throne of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is the doing of the Father's will, and all rebellion must be abolished.

You can see from this how far from being ready for the Kingdom the present Christian churches are.

The host of the saints, those who have been sprinkled by the blood of the daily sacrifice, that is, by the blood of the Lamb, must be shaken! shaken! shaken until every trace of rebellion has been removed! These will be intensely hot fires because rebellion is so deeply rooted in us.

And then too, we see at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age how readily the nations are deceived by the released Satan and encouraged to go up and surround the camp of the saints. After a thousand years of the totally righteous rule of Christ and His saints the nations still are ready to rebel against God and His saints. Imagine this!

The vision concerns "the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and of the host that will be trampled underfoot." When Antichrist, a person who is the product of our current emphasis on "the rights of people," sits in the Most Holy Place of the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, covered by the golden wings of the cherubim of glory, and declares there is no god except the god within himself, within all people, the great tribulation will commence. This is the abomination that produces desolation standing in the holy place.

As we see in America today, the self-love of man always produces desolation in the financial, educational, military, political, artistic, and vocational establishments. People who enjoy personal liberty cry "peace and safety!" when their environment is chaotic. How self-seeking does blind us!

The Bible says there is something blocking Antichrist that must be removed before he is revealed. We know this means before he is fully revealed, because in the days of the Apostle John there were many antichrists and they had come out of the Christian churches. Antichrist will always come from the Christian churches just as Judas, that forerunner of Antichrist, came from among the twelve who were closest to the Lord.

And now you know what is holding him back, so he may be revealed at the proper time. (II Thessalonians 2:6—NIV)

If a man or woman in high political office declared himself or herself to be God there would arise such an outcry from the Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims, that the individual would soon be driven from office and scorned as being mentally unbalanced.

But after the massive latter-rain revival the religious people of the world will become so enamored of the "rights of people" that the climate will be ripe for a person to declare himself to be God. After all, everyone will have been taught that the only god to be worshiped is that which is in himself. So it will not seem so strange. Everyone will understand this outstanding leader to be giving voice to what educators, psychologists, and social scientists have been claiming all along. Of course all of this will be familiar to the New Agers. They have realized all along that man is his own god.

The apostasy, the revolt against all authority other than the rights and personal freedom of the individual, represents the removal of that last shred of common sense and fear of God. Now Antichrist, the lawless one can be revealed and worshiped as God.

Sin Is an Unwanted Bondage, a Symptom of the Real Enemy

Every true Christian (and perhaps some unsaved people as well) wants to get rid of the bondages of sin. Sin actually is an undesirable curse, a symptom of the real enemy. The real enemy is self-centered, self-willed lawlessness. Self- willed lawlessness is the source of all sin. In America we call self-willed lawlessness "civil liberty."

We have mentioned previously Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem. These are the three bondages that prevent people from bearing a true witness of God.

Sodom speaks of the lusts and passions of the body. Many ministers and Christians in America have had their lampstand of testimony removed from them because they have not overcome the fires of sexual lusts, of drugs, of alcohol, of violence.

Egypt speaks of the desire for money and material luxuries. Many ministers and Christians in America have had their lampstand of testimony removed from them because of their desire to be rich. In fact, becoming rich seems to be a major goal of American Christians. They equate material riches with God's blessing. Books in the Bible book stores tell us how to become rich. Think of it, after all of Paul's warnings!

Jerusalem speaks of religious envy and self-seeking. Personal ambition in religious works, the need to be important, to have status, so drives the ministers of our day that they will do almost anything to add people to their congregation.

You do not often hear a minister say he will be faithful to the Word of God and leave it to the Lord to add people. This after all is the only sensible approach, because we have no way of knowing whether Christ wants a small assembly or a large one. We assume, in America, that He wants a large one and so we end up with many people under one roof, and very few if any of them are coming to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. Am I correct or not?

We measure the worth of a church by the number of people who attend. In our heart we know better than this. But spiritual ambition is carrying the day.

The Pharisees no doubt had trouble with sexual lust, as all people have had from the beginning of the race.

The Pharisees had problems of covetousness, we know from the Bible.

But neither lust nor covetousness murdered Jesus. It was the religious ambition of the Pharisees. For no reason other than a desire to be preeminent they cried, "Let his blood be on us and on our children."

Personal ambition is caused by the worship of self. The lawless slew the Lawful One, Jesus Christ.

Rebellion, lawlessness, self-centeredness, the worship of self, is the root of all sin. Lust and covetousness, Sodom and Egypt, spring from the worship of self. The chains of sin are placed on us because of our rebellion against God.

Satan, because of his rebellion against the will of God, is hopelessly bound with lust ("dust shalt thou eat"), with lying (he is the father of lies), with rage (he was a murderer from the beginning), with pride, with treachery, with presumption, with thievery, with idolatry. In fact, the Ten Commandments are a judgment on Satan and he understands this.

Conclusion

"But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. (Luke 16:25—NIV)

The love of money is the root of all evil because it reveals a love and concern for one's self rather than for the needs of God and other people.

Sin, as we have said, is a bondage, a symptom of the worship of self.

The democratic stress on the rights and freedom of the individual, while it appears at first as an expression of Christianity, or at least a friend of Christianity, is by far the deadliest enemy of God and man. This is because it nourishes the worship of self.

God has given us the cross to cure our worship of self. As we are willing to suffer in order to do God's will, our worship of self is converted to the worship of God.

Self-seeking, self-centered selfishness is the most hideous of all bondages. An individual bound by self-seeking is without integrity and cannot be trusted, for he will lie, steal, kill, betray, or do anything and everything else to make sure he is exalted and benefited.

Jesus Christ is filled with God and lives for the glory of God. He does only those things that exalt and benefit God and the creatures of God. He does nothing of Himself. His joy and food are to do God's will. This is the way people are supposed to be.

Satan will do nothing except that which exalts or benefits him directly. This is Antichrist.

Antichrist is the human expression of Satan just as Christ is the human expression of the Father.

All creatures of God, including man, are so formed as to worship God. When we have no God, no principle, no ideal, no person that we love sacrificially, no one or nothing for which we will exert ourselves except as it benefits us directly, we are as Satan; we are as Antichrist.

God puts us in many different situations and shakes us repeatedly to make sure He has uncovered every possible source of disobedience in us. When we hold the knife over Isaac, then God is assured we fear Him.

As God prepares to bring His Kingdom into the earth, all of His creatures must be tested and shaken, particularly the members of the royal priesthood, until God is absolutely assured no rebellion remains—not the least trace. There are to be no more snakes in the garden.

When the shaking comes to us personally, let us make every effort to respond by glorifying God, even when it seems the heart is being torn out of us. It is to our best interests as well as God's that all rebellion concealed in us is uncovered and removed.

Only then will we be fit to enter the Kingdom of God. Only then will we be candidates for the first resurrection, and qualified to be raised from the dead and caught up to assemble with the invading Commander in Chief as He organizes His troops for the Battle of Armageddon.