Marilyn Manson once said “I use to have nightmares about the Antichrist – what would happen, where it would come from, and who it would be.” I can relate. I was raised in a religious world that talked about the Antichrist all the time, and there were hundreds of guesses who the Antichrist was going to be. I never will forget an old preacher telling me that he thought President Roosevelt was the Antichrist! Ha!
To be sure, we humans are a speculative bunch. Our minds are wired to “fill in the blanks” of information we don’t know. We are curious. We are gripped by sensationalism. We want to be “in the know.” I was so concerned about myself once because my Social Security number equaled 666 and I remember praying “Lord, don’t let me be the Antichrist. I don’t want to be the Antichrist!” Well, perhaps there is a trick at work here keeping us so worked up about this or that that we miss the true deception that sneaks in while we’re thrashing about in our curiosity!
Look at our Lesson today in 1 John 2:18-25 (the whole lesson is 1 John 2:18-29; 3:1-8. Please read it all)
Brethren, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know that I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.
St. John states clearly that, as he is writing, it was the “last hour.” Amazing! It’s been the “last hour” for some time now! What does that tell you? Well, it should tell you that the coming of Jesus, His Life, Death, Resurrection, Ascension, and promised Second Coming all spelt the end of the reign of sin and death over humanity! Jesus’ coming has signaled God’s end game for humanity! And John knows this because the coming of the antichrist was said to be coming. John says there were already “many antichrists” and that was the signal that we were already in the “last hour.”
Of course, since “a thousand years are like one day” to God (see 2 Peter 3:8), the “last hour” could last quite some time from our perspective. But all of that is never the point of this wisdom!
The real lesson for us is that, during this “last hour,” the true intentions of people is going to be revealed. There will be some who claim to be with us that leave us because they really weren’t with us truly in the first place. The real lesson is that God is watching over His Church and giving His Church insight because of His presence within His Church, His anointing. And God is proving who is a liar and who is a truth teller precisely by how we know Jesus Christ! Those who deny Jesus Christ are antichrist! It is faithfulness to the witness of the Church through the centuries in revealing the true identity of Jesus that protects us from antichrist and the spirit of antichrist that attempts to deny the Son, that attempts to confuse the world by slandering the revelation of the Holy Trinity; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
So, mark those voices that are always attempting to confuse the world about the true identity of Jesus Christ; that attempt to deny the revelation of the Holy Trinity. Because if these antichrists can succeed in their confusion, they will confuse humanity as to their own true identity as persons created to be in communion with God, the Holy Trinity. Those voices, whether they know it or not, are antichrist!
Today, are you resting in the settled wisdom of the Faith or are you allowing the spirit of antichrist to confuse you about who He is and who you are? There is true wisdom and eternal life in the faithful testimony of our Orthodox Church to protect us from the spirit of antichrist that is already working hard to keep you from being Orthodox on Purpose!
P.S. This past Sunday’s Faith Encouraged LIVE wasn’t live! Since I was away finishing our videos for our “A Journey to Fullness” outreach tool, we had a rerun of my visit with Fr. Moses Berry – “Your Arms Are Too Short to Box with God” Thanks for your love and prayer and patience. More news coming soon!