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Encore : Who Is the Antichrist?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 14, 2020 3:00 am

Encore : Who Is the Antichrist?

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 14, 2020 3:00 am

In this episode, we revisit a classic message from Greg Laurie titled, "Who Is the Antichrist?" from Revelation 13.

Pastor Greg tackles questions all about this mysterious character in Scripture: Who is he? When will he appear? Is he alive today?

As we'll find out, in the Last Days there will be many who will be anti-Christ—against the Lord. And when the Antichrist does come, he will attempt to turn many hearts against the Lord. Listen in and find answers to your questions about Last Days’ events.

Watch the original sermon on YouTube.

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Learn more about Greg Laurie and Harvest Ministries at harvest.org.

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Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast, and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective. To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, harvest.org.

So thanks for joining me for this podcast. Let's grab our Bibles and turn to Revelation chapter 13. And the title of my message is, Who is the Antichrist? Maybe you have wondered about that.

Well we will talk about that today. Let's start with a word of prayer. Father we are glad to be here today. And we think of that wonderful promise uniquely attached to the book that we are looking at. And that promise says, Blessed is the person who reads and keeps the words of this book. So Lord we are going to read it. Then we are going to hear it.

Then hopefully we are going to keep it. And Lord we want that blessing. We want to be ready for Your return. So speak to us as we open Scripture today.

We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen. All right.

Quick poll. How many of you own a cell phone? Raise up your hand. Well that is just about everybody. It seems like everybody has a cell phone these days. And everyone is talking on a cell phone. How did we ever survive before when we weren't on a phone? You know I mean they give them out to dogs now.

And I am not making that up. There is actually a dog cell phone. There is a little collar you put around your pet's neck. It has a little speaker on it. And you can talk to your dog.

And you know I would like to get one of those just to mess with the dog's mind you know. He is walking along. He is all heavy. Sit. Sit.

Down. You know needless to say they don't make them for cats. You think a cat would care about what you had to say to it? But do you remember when cell phones first came out? It was actually back in 1983.

The first portable cell phone was the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. There she is in all her glory. You remember this? I owned one of these. And I was so proud of it. Because this baby you could take it anywhere.

You could make a phone call. I think Michael Douglas had one of these in Wall Street 1. And I didn't see Wall Street 2.

But I saw the trailer for it. And he is getting this stuff as he is being released from prison. And they give him this phone which I thought was pretty funny. But this one was cutting edge technology so young people pay attention. This is a history lesson on cell phones. He has weighed 30 pounds. Maybe not that much.

They are heavy. Very short battery life. Then the next generation that came out after that was the Motorola MicroTAC. Remember the MicroTAC? Now this compared to that other one which incidentally was nicknamed the brick. This seemed really portable.

It just sort of flipped open. And you could dial your number. It was still using sort of a digital screen and a super long antenna on it as well.

I had one of those too. And then the various Nokia phones that came along. And then of course we made our way to the Blackberry 2004. The Blackberries are very popular. So popular in fact that people would be so addicted to the email feature on the Blackberry they called them the Crackberry. Right.

Because they just couldn't put them down. But the whole industry was turned upside down by Apple in 2007 when they released this phone. The iPhone. And this changed everything. In fact now when you walk into a Verizon store, an AT&T store, or whatever it seems like most of the phones resemble this model, this template, this prototype. It changed everything. This is called the smartphone with these icons that you can push and you can go online and texting has become popular and so forth. And now these are so widespread.

I remember I was at a Macworld convention in San Francisco and they were releasing for the first time the iPhone. And you could actually look at one. They had it encased in circular bulletproof glass. It slowly turned around. There was a crowd about like ten people deep around it staring at it. So I, being my normal obnoxious self, walked through the front, came right up to it and I was touching the glass and a guard next to it said, Stand back from the glass.

I am like, Shoot me now. What? I mean it was the closest thing I have ever seen to idolatry in my life. The look on the faces of the people.

You know I just get a grip. It is just a phone people. But it was actually dubbed the Jesus phone.

Right. And because of its popularity. Well now there is all these imitations of it as I already said. In fact Apple and Samsung got into a big lawsuit. Apple sued Samsung for two billion dollars for stealing a lot of the technologies that they had developed.

And I think they won a settlement of one billion dollars. But imitation. Whenever something is popular there will always be an imitation. I read an interesting article about how widespread cell phones are over in Copenhagen that birds, especially the starling bird, have begun incorporating the sound of a ringing cell phone into their own songs. So they have actually been able to imitate it.

And the chirp they give sounds like a cell phone. It is hard to answer a bird though. You know. But the whole point is imitation. Whenever something is popular. Whenever something is successful.

Whenever something is effective. You can always be sure there will be imitations. Well today I want to talk to you about the ultimate imitator. His name is Satan. And he has this cheap imitation of all things that are true. For instance we have real Christians that believe in Jesus. Satan has his fake believers out there. Pretenders.

Posers if you will that pretend to be something they really are not. We have real miracles performed by the hand of God. Satan has his fake imitations of those as well. And we will talk about that more in a moment. God has his son Jesus. And one day.

Listen. Satan will have his son. Not exactly in the way that God's son has come because Jesus is God incarnate. But in a way Satan will have his version of Jesus.

His imitation of Jesus. We have Jesus Christ. And Satan will have his antichrist. This man will be history's vilest embodiment of sin and rebellion. But this coming world leader may not be what you expect. He won't be dressed head to toe in black with 666 tattooed on his forehead and steam rising as he walks by.

His eyes won't glow red. Rather antichrists will be suave, intelligent, engaging, magnetic, charismatic. He will do what no other man has ever been able to do before. He will bring global peace. He will solve the Middle East peace puzzle. He will rid the world of terrorism. He will be so successful he will be hailed as the greatest peacemaker who has ever lived. No doubt he will win the Nobel Peace Prize. He will be a satanic superman.

He will even get the Jewish nation and Arab nations to sign a peace treaty paving the way for the long awaited Third Temple. But behind that is the most evil man who has ever walked this earth. You know many people believe that an antichrist is coming.

And not just Christians. In a U.S. News and World Report that was done a while back 49 percent of Americans said there will be an antichrist sometime in the future. In a Newsweek poll 19 percent of Americans said they believe an antichrist is on the earth right now. And in the same poll half of those who accept biblical prophecy believe antichrist is alive right now.

And no question about it. Things are ripe for such a man to emerge on the world stage. Historian Arnold Toynbee said almost prophetically some years ago and I quote, "...by forcing on mankind more and more lethal weapons and at the same time making the world more and more interdependent economically, technology has brought mankind to such a degree of distress that we are ripe for the deifying of any new Caesar who might succeed in giving the world unity and peace." Well said. Really it fits the biblical scenario.

That is right. The deifying of a new Caesar that will come on the scene. Now some of us may think, well why would I care about the antichrist?

Why even give a passing thought to him? Well maybe one reason would be there are over 100 passages in Scripture that detail the origin, nationality, career, character, kingdom, and final doom of the antichrist. He is discussed in depth in the book of Revelation as we will see as well as the book of Daniel.

And he is also referenced in 2 Thessalonians and in the book of 1 John. The sheer volume of information about the antichrist in Scripture is enough for us to want to understand who he is and what he will do. But I think there is another reason we should know more about the antichrist. Because as we see him reigning, as we see evil predominant in the culture it can almost look like things are going to end for the worst. But as we continue to read the narrative that is given to us in Revelation we see the antichrist is defeated. We see evil is overcome. And we are reminded that we win in the end.

So we want to keep all things in perspective. So let's take a few moments and look at this man described as the beast, the wicked one, the son of perdition, the little horn, the prince to come, better known as the antichrist. As I said if Satan ever had a son this is it.

And here is something to consider. His coming is getting closer every day. Revelation 13 verse 1. And I stood in the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, his mouth was like the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and his great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshipped the dragon who gave the authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast saying, Who is like the beast and who is able to make war with him? And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. He opened his mouth and blasphemy against God to blaspheme his name, his tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.

It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority was given to him over every tribe, tongue, and nation, and all that dwell on the earth will worship him whose names have not been written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear." Now we will stop there. Now this first description of the Antichrist sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. But don't think of Rodan or Godzilla here or Mothra. But realize that these are illustrations.

These are figures of speech that John is using, and he uses them already here in Revelation, and they are also used earlier in the book of Daniel. Let me put it this way. To understand the beast you have to first understand its father.

Or let me put it another way. To understand Antichrist you need to know more about Satan himself. We have already read here in Revelation chapter 12 about seven heads and ten horns. In Revelation 12 we read another sign appearing in heaven.

There was a great fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and on his head were seven diadems. Now we know that Revelation reveals that that dragon, what he has spoken of, is always the devil. So this coming world leader, the Antichrist, is empowered by the devil himself. 2 Thessalonians 2.9 says, The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan's working with all kinds of miracles, signs, and wonders.

You might say like father, like son. But also here we read about a lion, a bear, and a leopard in verse 2. What does that mean? Well we have to think back for a moment about the companion book to Revelation. The book of Daniel. And in the seventh chapter Daniel was given a vision of four animals that are representing four world kingdoms.

Now when Daniel wrote those words this was primarily all in his future. But now as we look back on what Daniel wrote with 20-20 hindsight we can see how this was historically fulfilled to the T. First Daniel had the vision of a lion. And that was a symbol of the kingdom that he was captive in and advising the king of. That was the kingdom of Babylon. You remember the Babylonians overtook the Israelites. And Israel was in bondage to Babylon for 70 years. And you remember the leader of Babylon was Nebuchadnezzar who was influenced by the ministry of Daniel.

He was ultimately replaced by Belshazzar who was the last king of Babylon. So that was the lion. And archaeologists who have unearthed ruins dating back to Babylon have this symbol that they used predominantly which was a winged lion. So first there is a lion that is overcome by a bear.

The bear has massive strength. And we know that the Medo-Persians conquered Babylon. This was predicted elsewhere in Scripture. So while the wicked boy king Belshazzar was reigning the Medo-Persians were closing in. We all remember that story when Belshazzar threw a feast to all the false gods and they were drinking out of the various cups and things taken from the Jewish temple going out of their way to blaspheme God. And as they were having this drunken feast a hand was seen writing on the wall. Remember. Tickle, tickle.

Many, many tickle you farce. And Daniel was called in to interpret it. And he said it means you have been weighed in the balances and found lacking. Effectively he was saying to Belshazzar, buddy the party is over and your number is up.

You are going down. And right outside of the gates of Babylon were the Medo-Persians led by Darius. So Darius came into power. Daniel survived from Babylon into the kingdom of Darius. And you remember that it was Darius that was responsible for sending Daniel to the lion's end which he survived. But the Medo-Persians were overtaken by Greece under the direction of Alexander the Great. That is symbolized by the leopard.

Leopards are known for speed. And Alexander the Great led the charge and conquered much of the world and went because there were no more worlds to conquer. But then as you move forward there in Daniel in verse 7 of chapter 7 there is a fourth beast that is terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled what was left beneath its feet.

It was different from any other beast and it had ten horns. This is a description of the mighty and unstoppable military machine of Rome. Interestingly looking at this final beast in Daniel's prophecy of chapter 7 no one overtakes Rome. And historically no one conquered Rome. No one could stop the military of Rome. Rome effectively collapsed under her own weight and was eventually overrun.

But it was no military army that was able to overtake her. And it is from these ashes that Antichrist rises because Daniel 7 says, As I was looking at the horns another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were wrenched out roots and all to make room for it.

This little horn had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly. So from this other beast, from this mighty military machine emerges the Antichrist you see. And it is interesting because in a way Adolf Hitler was like a prototype of a sort of Antichrist because it was his desire to bring back the kingdom of Rome again. And that is exactly what Antichrist is doing.

He is coming from these roots. So all of these creatures or empires referenced here in Revelation 13 are embodied in the Antichrist. He will have the splendor of Babylon. The cruelty of the Medo-Persians. The speed of Greece. The might of Rome. The pharaohs. Nebuchadnezzar. Alexander the Great.

The Caesars. Napoleon and Hitler himself. All were forerunners of this one who is to come who will harness the economical and technological power of the world and bring about a one world economy. A one world government.

And a one world religion. He will lead the mother of all evil empires. Now let's identify some important things about the beast or the Antichrist.

Number one. He is energized and empowered by Satan himself. Again he is energized and empowered by Satan himself. As I already said if Satan ever had a son this is it.

The only one who has even come close to the Antichrist would probably be Judas Iscariot. You know sometimes Judas is portrayed as a man who was simply misdirected. He wanted the best. He wanted to help Jesus. And he just sort of went the wrong direction.

Not at all. You know Judas was a wicked man. And actually there was a point when Satan entered his heart according to Scripture.

We read in the upper room. John 13 27. Satan entered Judas. So in the same way Satan effectively enters the Antichrist.

Again verse 2. The dragon who is the devil gives him his power, his throne, and his great authority. The devil has given him a lot of power.

A lot of authority. And by the way that is the devils to give. Because Scripture says that Satan is the god of this world.

The prince of the power of the air that now works and the children of disobedience. You remember in the wilderness Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. And he said, All of this is mine and I can give it to whomever I choose.

And you can have it if you will fall down and worship me. Now Jesus could have said, Hold on now devil. That is incorrect.

These are not yours to give. But He didn't correct them because it was true. And Jesus ultimately went to the cross and died for the sin of the world and purchased back that which was lost in the garden. But Satan was offering to Jesus a shortcut. Listen Jesus. You don't have to go to the cross. You don't have to suffer and die.

I will give it to you. Just worship me. Jesus would have nothing to do with it. But the point is He could give those kingdoms to someone.

And He does that here. He gives them to the Antichrist. Now we need to understand when this phrase the beast is used it is not describing his appearance. It is not like the Antichrist is going to be some ugly beast-like creature. I think he will be very attractive. Very handsome. Very intelligent.

The devil wears Prada. You see. He will look good. This phrase the beast is not a description of his appearance. It is a description of his character. When we say Antichrist the prefix anti not only means against but it also means instead of. So the question is is the Antichrist against or instead of Christ. Answer.

Both. He will be the arch enemy and ultimate opponent of Jesus Christ. Dwight Pentecost wrote and I quote, Satan is seeking to give the world a ruler in the place of Christ who will be in opposition to Christ so he can rule the world instead of Christ. In effect the beast or the Antichrist comes as a fake Christ.

Some will even think he is Christ. I have a Facebook page. How many of you use Facebook raise your hand.

Quite a few of you. And there is some person out there who is impersonating me. And they actually will go out as Greg Laurie. They take a photograph of my real Facebook page. And they go to people and try to friend them.

And so you get a message from Greg Laurie and then you become his friend. And then this person will say let me pray for you which is a clever little poise or anything you need prayed for. And then after that this person solicits funds for some nonexistent orphanage in Africa. So I have had a lot of people direct message me saying is this really you.

And I say no it isn't. And they are impersonating others as well. I think James McDonald has a fake James McDonald. There is a fake Bob Coy. There is a fake. Everyone has a fake out there. You are not really doing well unless you have a fake I guess.

You know it is just irritating to me obviously to think of some person impersonating me, misrepresenting me. But you know that is what happens. And really the antichrist is a fake Jesus if you will.

And sadly many will believe in him. By the way did you hear the story about the guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas? His buddy said, well I thought your wife wanted one of those sporty four wheel drive vehicles.

And the guy said, yeah but where am I going to find a fake Jeep? Get it? Anyway.

Anyway. So antichrist is really a fake Christ. What has he come to do? He has come to deify Satan. He has come to deify Satan. Verse 4.

They worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast and they worshiped the beast saying who is like the beast. This is what Satan has always wanted. To be deified. To be worshiped. This is why Lucifer was thrown out of heaven. Because he wanted to be worshiped like God. In John 14 he said, I will be like God.

I will be like the Most High. God said, actually you are out of here. And he opened up the trap door of heaven and booted him out. But this is what the devil has always wanted.

Going back to the temptation in the wilderness. What did Satan want Jesus to do? Worship me.

Give me the momentary satisfaction of bowing down before me and I will give you everything you want. So now Satan is there in this place wanting to receive worship. Also the antichrist is coming to defy and take the place of Jesus. He is coming to defy and take the place of Jesus. Verse 5.

There was given in mouth speaking great things and blasphemies and authority was given to continue for forty-two months or three and a half years. And he opened his mouth and blasphemied against God to blaspheme his name as tabernacle and those that dwell in heaven. Again the antichrist not only opposes Jesus he offers himself in the place of Jesus. He comes against Christ by coming in the place of Christ. Also he comes to kill Christians. Antichrist is coming to kill Christians. Verse 7. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.

And authority was given to him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. During the tribulation period that is still to come many believers will be martyred for their faith. And already we are seeing an antichrist mentality become more popular and more widely accepted. It is one thing when it is in an Islamic country where Christians are shot for simply believing in Jesus. But it is another thing when it is happening in a country that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is another thing when this antichrist bias is happening in our country the United States of America. And indeed it is. Here is something to consider. Though we do not know if the antichrist himself is here yet there are antichrists.

Plural. Let me explain. This term antichrist is actually not used in the book of Revelation. Though the person is referred to. The very term antichrist is found over in 1 John 2.18. It says, Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the antichrist is coming.

Talking about the person. And already many such antichrists, plural, have appeared. From this we know the end of the world has come. These people left our churches because they never really belonged with us. Otherwise they would have stayed with us when they left us.

It proved they did not belong to us. This is interesting. Ask yourself the question. Not who is the antichrist. Ask yourself, Am I antichrist?

Get it? It is different. You see who is antichrist? According to John it is a person that once made a profession of faith but has turned their back on God. That is antichrist behavior. Are you living that way? Have you put something or someone in his place? Are you opposing him in some way?

Have you cut yourself off from other believers and effectively turned your back on God? If so then you yourself could be antichrist. Also antichrist is coming to dominate the globe. Look at verse 7. Dominate the globe.

Authority was given to him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Now how on earth is he going to pull this off? Listen to this. Not in the way you might expect. Antichrist isn't going to emerge on the scene, bludgeon everybody into submission.

No. He is going to come as a man of peace. He is going to be the peacemaker.

In fact the Bible says through peace he will deceive many. He will come at economically difficult times. He will be worn in different parts of the world. There are some brilliant political moves combined with his incredible charisma. He will do what no one has ever been able to do before. He will bring solidity to the economy. He will bring world peace. He doesn't start violently.

He starts peacefully. He will even help the Jews rebuild their temple again. We will talk about this more in our next message. But imagine this. Think about the constant conflict that rages between Israel and the Arab nations. They sign a peace treaty in the morning and break it before lunch. Think of all the presidents that have brokered peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians or other Arab nations. Going back to President Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush again, George W. Bush. They all brokered these agreements. I have no idea what President Obama is doing over there.

But I will tell you this. Antichrist will succeed where all others have failed. They will honor the peace agreement.

There will be a temporary peace. He will be so successful that some people will think he is the very Messiah and that is the whole point because that is what he is masquerading as. And he is not alone. He has at his side the false prophet mentioned in verse 13 and 14. Now you have heard of the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin, right? This is the demonic duo of Antichrist and his false prophet, his religious guru. In fact if you were to add Satan to the mix you now have the unholy trinity.

Again remember Satan is an imitator, right? So you have the holy trinity of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Now we have the unholy trinity as Satan in the place of God, Antichrist in the place of Jesus Christ, and the false prophet in the place of the Holy Spirit working together. A new religion is going to come on the scene that everyone can embrace. It will probably be many beliefs intertwined with occultism.

So when he moved toward a one world religion to me is a foreshock of Antichrist. You know one of the things I appreciate about our country is the freedom we have to worship. I appreciate the freedom I have to stand up here and say what I believe today without fear of arrest or being shot. And I appreciate the freedom that others have to hold views that are even different than mine.

And though I may not agree with them I am appreciative that we can say what we believe in our culture today. Even if I were able to I would never impose the Christian faith on anybody. I would never want Christianity forced on people who did not want to believe. I believe we have a reasonable faith and our desire is to bring people to Christ as we share our faith with them. God says, let's reason together says the Lord. I would never want to force anyone to believe what I believe.

But here is the problem. In our culture today we see things moving toward and embracing of all faiths. Everything is equal. We are told we are all praying to the same God. We are all just following different roads to the same God. You can call Him Allah. You can call Him Jehovah. It doesn't matter. I beg to differ.

I beg to differ. I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I worship the God of the Bible who sent Jesus Christ. There is no other God. There is no other God. I think you are going to find a tolerance that will grow in the days to come of any belief you want to have except that intolerant faith as they would describe it. Read Bible Believing Christian.

There is going to be less tolerance for that. That is why we have to be very careful because you see the devil is smart. You know we might be finding them on one side and setting up house with them on the other. We might say the devil is evil. I see all those depraved things out there.

I want nothing to do with those wicked things. Meanwhile the devil is coming in your back door as an angel of light. Sometimes he comes in like a roaring lion in his depravity. Other times he comes in as an angel of light in his splendor. That is why the Scripture says if I or even an angel from heaven come bringing any other gospel than that which you have already heard let him be accursed.

Why was that said? Because Satan is a fallen angel. Right? If the devil were to appear to us today God forbid I guarantee he would not have red skin and horns and a pitchfork and a pointed tail and hooves. Right? Carrying an orange Julius cup for good measure. That is not a knock on orange Julius but they used to have a devil as part of their logo.

No. He would be a magnificent angel. And if you didn't know anybody you would be awestruck.

Whoa! That is right. So who will come in these last days with religious deception? One of the signs of the end times is people turning away from the faith. The Bible speaks of an apostasy.

A departure from the faith. 2 Thessalonians 2 says the day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God. There will even be professed believers turning away. 2 Timothy 4 says the Bible says or rather the Spirit says in the last days some will abandon the faith following deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings have come through hypocritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron or warned over in 2 Timothy 4. The time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine anymore but instead to suit their own desires they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears have come to hear.

Another way to translate that is in the last days there will be an itch for novelty. You know there are people today that say you know we need to reimagine the church. We can't do it the old way. We have to do it the new way. I don't think we need to reimagine church. I think we need to rediscover the church. The way Jesus set it up.

Go back to the original template. Because I will tell you what. You go to some churches today and people don't even bring their Bibles with them. And the sermons are short. And they are more like a pep talk than they are a message from God's Word. You know I want to be motivated.

I want to hear practical things. Ok. That is fine. But listen. I want to hear the Word of God.

And I want to know what the Bible says about all the things that I am going to face in life. And I don't want to waste your time here folks. And just stand up and talk about cell phones. So I started that way. I mean I will lay some humor in things.

I will put illustrations in things. But ultimately what we are here to hear is God's Word. And that is all that matters. And that is the antidote to this deception that we will see more of in the last days. Paul said to Timothy, Preach the Word.

Be prepared in season and out of season. Correct. Rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. So we have to beware of any movement toward other faiths being equal with our faith. Any move toward the Word of God as the source of authority. Any move away from the uniqueness of Christ.

Listen to this. The false prophet. This religious guru is going to be able to perform signs and wonders. You know some people say, I want to see miracles in church.

Hey I do too. But guess what? God decides when and where to do miracles. But you know you will have people who are chasing after signs and wonders and they want to see spiritual phenomena. Ok. That is not necessarily a bad thing as long as we are looking at everything in the light of what Scripture teaches.

But be careful. Because when this false prophet comes on the scene he will be able to do miracles too. Revelation 13.

13. He performs great signs so fire comes down from heaven on earth in the sight of men and he deceives those that dwell on the earth by those signs that were granted to do in the sight of the beast. Can the devil do miracles?

In a sense he can. Not any miracle. But remember the story of when Moses went into Pharaoh's court and demanded the release of the Jewish people and needed a series of miracles to convince the Pharaoh. Remember how Pharaoh's magicians were able to duplicate or imitate a number of the miracles. Not all I might add but many of them. And that just shows the devil the imitator as I said in the beginning is able to duplicate certain things.

Maybe replicate. Maybe they are not real miracles at all. I don't know. But I do know there will be signs and wonders done by this false prophet. And there is another thing. The devil is even going to have his fake resurrection of the antichrist. Look at verse 3.

I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded and the deadly wound was healed and the world marveled and followed the beast. It sounds as though there will be an assassination attempt against antichrists. This will probably be after he has become very successful. He comes into the world scene with global solutions.

You know a stable economy. A worldwide peace. A very religious man helps the Jews rebuild their temple. Many are even thinking he might be the very Messiah. And someone tries to kill him. And everyone thinks he is dead. And somehow he survives the assassination attempt. A mortal wound is healed.

He recovers. So now the devil has his fake version of the death and resurrection of Jesus in antichrist. And after this many will flat out worship him. Now I called this message who is the antichrist. So you are probably waiting for an answer. You are hoping I would reveal who the antichrist is. So I am going to answer that now. Who is the antichrist?

I have no idea. Nor does anyone else. Don't waste your time speculating. You know over the years many people have come up with all their crazy theories of who they think the antichrist is. I don't even want to give all the names.

It just really becomes quite silly. But here is the thing. Why waste your time trying to figure out who the antichrist is? Because if we understand Scripture we would realize antichrist cannot even emerge until we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. We won't be around to find out who He is.

That is the whole thing. Our job is not to be looking for antichrist. Our job is to be looking for Jesus Christ. That is the emphasis of Scripture. Now why do I say antichrist can't be revealed until the church is removed?

It is because 2 Thessalonians 2 7 and 8 says this. You know what is restraining antichrist? That he may be revealed in his own time. For this mystery of lawlessness is already at work only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken away and then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will destroy with the brightness of His coming. So Scripture is saying the one who is restraining the spread of evil will do so until he is taken out of the way then antichrist can be revealed.

So who is the one who is restraining evil today? It is the Holy Spirit. So some have wondered about that thinking well if the Holy Spirit is going to be taken away how will people come to Jesus in the tribulation period? Because there will be no Holy Spirit on the earth. Well actually during the tribulation millions are going to believe in Jesus. We are going to see the greatest revivals in human history happen after the rapture in the tribulation period. Well how can that be done without the Holy Spirit? Answer.

It can't be. Because the Holy Spirit will be working and transforming people. Because no one can come to Jesus apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said when He has come He will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of the judgment to come and so forth.

So He said, Well I don't get this. Ok. He who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. That is speaking of the restraining work of the Holy Spirit.

Listen. Through the church. The church is a restraining force in the world today. The reason that things have not completely gone to hell in a hand basket is because of Christians. Because of Christians that stand up for what is right. Christians that speak out against evil.

Christians that do what they are supposed to do. Function as light and salt in culture. Jesus said, You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth. And light obviously illuminates in salt in the first century was used to preserve meat.

They would rub it into the meat so it would last longer before refrigeration. We are here to tell the world about Jesus and shine our light and we are here to stop the spread of evil. But can't you see once the church is removed how all this stuff could happen almost overnight? Can't you see once the church is out of the way that this coming world leader emerges on the scene and people are embracing it. They are embracing this religion. They are embracing the solutions.

They are going for it. But here is my point. We should be looking up because Jesus said when you see these things begin to happen. Look up for your redemption is drawing near. He didn't say when they are happening when they are beginning to happen.

Listen. Antichrist has not emerged yet. The tribulation has not begun yet. But we see the four shocks of it. Like the four shocks before an earthquake reminding us the big one is coming so we can see how these things could be on us at any time. It amazes me that Christmas seems to be rolled out earlier every year.

Doesn't it? I mean we just got through it. But it seems like you will start seeing those decorations go on sale in September. You will start seeing those decorations go on sale in September. It seems to me those decorations go on sale in September.

Or October. Christmas. Put this on Christmas layaway. Buy your Christmas decorations today.

But here is what I think about. If Christmas is close Thanksgiving is closer. And I love Thanksgiving.

You have to love a day where you stuff your face and go into a food coma. Come on. What is wrong with that? No. But seriously.

A day when we give thanks to God. Well. As we look at how close the Antichrist is here is what we learn. If Antichrist is close then the coming of Jesus Christ for his church is even closer.

So look up. Your redemption is drawing near. So here is my closing question to you. Are you an Antichrist? I didn't ask you if you are the Antichrist. Are you an Antichrist? Some of you would resent that.

How dare you ask me that? What does it mean again? Here is another definition of it from 1 John 2.22. Who is the great liar?

Listen. The one who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Such people are Antichrists. For they have denied the Father and the Son. So if you say, I don't believe that Jesus is the Christ. I don't believe Jesus is the only way to God. I don't believe in the Bible.

Guess what? You are Antichrist. Remember anti means not just opposing but putting something in the place of. So here is your choice. Are you going to be for Christ or the Antichrist? It is Emmanuel or Jezebel. It is God or it is Satan. And if you make the right choice you can know with certainty that your name will be written in the book of life but if it is not written in the book of life you are doomed. Look at verse 8.

All who dwell on the earth will worship Him whose names have not been written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. One last thing. You said you already said one last thing.

No. I said one last question. Now this is the one last thing. The difference between the last question and the last thing. Now we are on the last thing. I love this phrase. The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

What does that mean? That means God made this decision to send Jesus long ago. Before there was a solar system. And before in that solar system there was a planet called earth. And before there was a garden called Eden on the planet called earth. And before there was a man named Adam and a woman named Eve who ate of the forbidden fruit causing sin to enter in the world.

Before all of that. Before the foundations of the world God decided He would send Jesus to the earth. That God would come to us as a helpless baby in a manger in Bethlehem. He would live a perfect life. And He would voluntarily go to the cross and die for the sin of the world.

He was slain from the foundation of the world. But why did God decide that? Because He knew we would blow it.

But He gave us our chance anyway. Sort of like when we watch our grandkids. We just know they are going to make messes. You know we have a little grandson Christopher now and we put him in his high chair and we know more food is going to be on the floor than on his tray. We know he is going to just be a baby.

We put a diaper on him. Because we know things happen. So you make preparation. Well God knows the future as well as He knows the past. He knew we would sin. So He made provision for us with the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Jesus died for you on the cross 2,000 years ago.

So what is your reaction? Are you for Jesus Christ or are you for antichrist? Which is everything else but Christ.

Anything else but Christ. Well I don't accept your premise. I don't believe in antichrist or Jesus Christ. I am the captain of my own ship. I am the master of my own destiny. You are an idiot. That is what you are.

And I will tell you why. You have bought into the deception. The Bible says that God of this world, speaking of the devil, has blinded the eyes of those that do not believe.

You see He has blinded you into thinking you are running your own life when in reality He is in control. You want to be really free. Submit your life to the Lord Jesus Christ who will forgive you of all of your sin. And then you can know with certainty that when you die your name will be written in that book.

Why is that important? Because as we will discover later in Revelation if you are not found written in the book of life you are cast into the lake of fire. But man if your name is in that book you are home free baby. You are good to go.

Your reservation is set. And you are ready to meet the Lord. I can't think of anything more important than that. You know yesterday we had a service at our church in Orange County. We said goodbye to a friend named Gary Arthur. Many of you here in Riverside may not know Gary but Gary was in a number of Christian bands like The Way and Parable and served the Lord through his life and had come to work for us actually a couple of years ago. We started our church down there and he would do whatever you needed to do. You know if you needed someone to lead worship he would pull out his guitar and do that. If you needed someone to oversee a group of men in our men's Bible study he did that too. If you needed someone to run sound he would go back there to the sound board.

If you needed light bulbs changed he would climb up on those ladders and change the light bulbs. He was just serving the Lord. He was 50 years old. Excuse me 60 years old. My age. Active.

Energetic. And the Lord called him home. He died. And we found out we were in shock. But we had a service yesterday and it was sad to say goodbye to someone so soon but it was glorious to see a life that was lived well.

You know he started and he finished well. That can't be said of everyone. You know Gary was a part of the music that was happening in that Jesus movement era and a number of those people that were doing that back then aren't walking with the Lord today. They have walked away from the Lord. But he was faithful to the end. That is all you want to do man is be faithful to the end because you don't know when that day is going to come for you.

You need to sit there and look at me and say, Well Greg it is probably going to come for you soon. Maybe. Maybe I will outlive everyone here. Who knows. I will be 90 years old.

Maybe I will live nine more days. I don't know. And frankly I don't worry about it.

You know why. My name is written in the book of life. And I am ready.

I am ready. My vote is in. I vote Jesus Christ. Who do you vote for? Because if you don't vote for Jesus Christ you are going to be in trouble. You are going to be in trouble.

You are going to be in trouble. Because if you don't vote for Jesus Christ you vote anti-Christ. Not be anti-Christ in particular but just everything else but Jesus. That is anti-Christ. Jesus said you are for me or against me.

Why don't you make your choice right now. We are going to pray and I am going to give you an opportunity to get right with God. And if you are not sure your name is written in the book of life here is an opportunity to change that.

And I might add if you are one of those people described as anti-Christ in what we read in 1 John that was in the church but walked away from the church and has not come back this is your chance to come back. Think about what you are going to do as we pray. Father we have heard Your Word. Now I pray for everyone listening.

Everyone watching. Lord help us to respond. Help us to believe. We don't want to be for anti-Christ. We want to be for Jesus Christ. And I pray for those that have not made this decision yet. Help them to make it now and believe in You we pray.

Well our heads are bowed and our eyes are closed. How many of you would say today Greg I want to believe in Jesus Christ. I want to know with certainty that I will go to heaven when I die. I want my name written in the book of life.

I am ready to say amen. I want my name written in the book of life. I am ready to say yes to Jesus.

Pray for me. If that is your desire. If you want Jesus to forgive you of your sin.

If you want Him to come into your life. If you want to go to heaven when you die would you lift your hand up wherever you are and I will pray for you. Lift your hand up where I can see you. God bless you.

Lift your hand up. God bless you too. Wherever you are.

Go in the amphitheater up in the court building. Wherever you are raise your hand. This is not about Greg seeing you. This is between you and God. It doesn't matter what I see or don't see. But just take that little step of faith. Raise your hand saying I want Jesus right now.

I want Jesus right now. All right now I am going to ask all of you that have raised your hand if you would please I want you to stand to your feet and I am going to lead you in a prayer right where you stand. A prayer of asking Christ to come into your life.

If you have fallen away from the Lord this would be a prayer of recommitting yourself to Him and coming back to Him. You stand to your feet wherever you are. Stand up. Stand up.

That is right. Many are standing. I hope you are one of them. Harvest Orange County. You stand up right now and I am going to lead you in a prayer.

Harvest Orange Crest. Amphitheater. Court building. Stand to your feet right now and we are going to pray. One more moment. If you are going to stand, stand now.

One final moment. God bless each one of you. Anybody else stand now. God bless you. All right you that are standing I want you to pray this prayer out loud after me and this is where you are asking Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sin. Again as I pray, pray this out loud right where you stand.

Pray this now if you would. Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner but You died on the cross for all of my sin. I am sorry for that sin. I turn from it now. I choose to follow You from this moment forward. Thank You for loving me and calling me and forgiving me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-27 20:13:58 / 2024-01-27 20:35:55 / 22

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