A popular doctrine taught in many Christian churches today is that there will be an antichrist appearing on the scene during a time of great tribulation, and that this will take place in the future after the church is raptured; that is, after the church has been removed from the earth and carried to some far away place in the heavens. There is no real scriptural basis for such teaching; nevertheless, it is taught among many churches that are well-respected in society. They say that antichrist is an individual that will come on the scene after the Christians have gone to heaven.
Such futuristic teaching falls right in with the scheme of Satan’s plan of deception. As long as Christians believe that antichrist will not appear until some time in the future, an excellent cover of protection is provided for it to work unhindered and unnoticed among them.
I John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
This verse rejects the idea that the appearance of antichrist is yet to take place at some time in the future. Listen to what the apostle John says: “Ye have heard that antichrist shall come”; that is, you have heard that it will come in the future. Then he says, “Even now are there many antichrists.” And, for greater emphasis, he repeats it in the fourth chapter. That spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it shall come; and even now already is it in the world. I John 4:3. Notice also that he calls antichrist a spirit and not a person. It’s an “it,” not a ”he.” It can manifest itself through a “he” or a “she,” but it is an “it.”
The apostle John says that we know that it is the last time because of the many antichrists already at hand. If John was in the “last time” nearly two thousand years ago, then so are we. You might say that we are in the last time of the last time. And in the last time of the last time there are even more antichrists. There are greater workings of Satan in this day, “for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12).
You don’t realize how much the antichrist spirit has already taken over the church-world. You don’t realize the magnitude of deception that is resting upon much of Christianity. That satanic teaching that antichrist is yet future has lulled many Christians into a death-sleep. That passive attitude that all we have to do is attend church and be morally good is antichrist in nature. This is not the time to be passive and lethargic. We must press in to more of God! We must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (II Corinthians 2:11).
I John 2:18-19 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have
heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby
we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Notice what the apostle John says about the many antichrists in verse 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not of us. The many antichrists were in the church. Jude records the same thing in his epistle. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Jude 4,12,13.
The many antichrists were in the church, but then there was a separation. They went out from us…that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. They didn’t just go out; they were separated, which is prophetic of this day. There will be a separation of the false from the true. Twice during His earthly ministry Jesus entered the temple and cleansed it, driving out those that were making merchandise in the house of God. Once at the beginning of His ministry (John 2:12-16), and again at the end of His ministry (Matthew 21:12-13). As Jesus cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple at the close of His earthly ministry, so it will be in this day at the close of the Church Age. There will be a separating of the false from the true in the church.
The Scriptures are quite clear concerning the corruption in the church in this last time (II timothy 3:1-5; II Peter 3:3-4; Matthew 24; etc.). For this reason judgment will begin at His church. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? I Peter 4:17.
The church-world in its corruption has become Mystical Babylon. Her name is given in Revelation 17:5 as MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. Verse 6 of the same chapter says that she is “drunk with the blood of the saints.” She is draining the life force of the saints. Revelation 18:2 says that Babylon “is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit.” All this has happened because the antichrist spirit has infiltrated the church and has sown tares (Matthew 13:25).
To speak of the church as being corrupt in this way would seem to be most sacrilegious to many people. But you must remember that this corruption is well hidden under the surface. The false looks like the true. Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, and his ministers are transformed as the ministers of righteousness (II Corinthians 11:14-15). It is not so unusual for immature Christians to interpret a situation as an anointing of the Holy Spirit when in truth it is the activity of an antichrist spirit. Thus the prophecy of Isaiah: Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20.
The Pharisees were highly respected as the religious leaders of Judaism. They were accepted as the ones chosen to teach the people how to serve God. But Jesus said they were “whited sepulchres, full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness” (Matthew 23:27). They did not appear to be corrupt outwardly, but Jesus was able to discern their inward nature. On another occasion He said they were of their father the devil (John 8:44). In the same manner it is only with sharp discernment that one would be able to recognize the activity of the antichrist spirit working under the surface of Christianity. The church, however, will not remain in this state. There will be a separation, and “ the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 13:43). The Lord Jesus Christ shows this mixture in Christianity and the separation of the false from the true in the parables of Matthew chapter thirteen.
Matthew 13:24-25 Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The
Kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
The church of His Kingdom began with good seed. But while men slept (that is, when Christians became passive and lethargic) the antichrist spirit crept in unawares and sowed tares among the wheat. Verse 38 says that “the tares are the children of the wicked one.” They are the “many antichrists” produced by the antichrist spirit. It is interesting to note that tares so closely resemble wheat that they are not recognized in their early stages.
Matthew 13:26-30 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth
fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then have it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?
29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Christianity is a mixture of tares and wheat until the time of harvest. So the separation of tares and wheat takes place in the last time. The tares are taken out first. The reapers gather them together and bind them in bundles for burning. This gathering together, I believe, is already beginning. There was a time, for example, when there was a sharp distinction between those who believed in receiving the Holy Spirit and His gifts, and those churches that did not. Today, however, there is not much difference between the two. There has been a gradual gathering together of those religious groups that have placed a limitation on how far they will go in God.
Matthew 13:33 Another parable spake He unto them; The Kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
Leaven, in the Scriptures, refers to the permeating characteristic of corruption. The woman in this parable represents Mystery Babylon, the harlot of Revelation chapter seventeen. The leaven is the working of that antichrist spirit. The satanic scheme is for the leaven to permeate until the whole of Christianity is leavened. It won’t happen, though! There is a remnant in Christianity called the elect that will not be deceived. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:24.
There are two women of note in the Scriptures. One is the false church, the harlot in Revelation chapter seventeen; and the other is the true church, the bride of the Lamb in Revelation chapter nineteen. These two women are seen at work in the Gospel of Matthew. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Matthew 24:41. The two are working at the same mill until there is a separation. The false is taken out in judgment and the true remains, for they shall inherit the earth. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9.
We must be aware of the day we are in. We have heard that antichrist shall come. But already there are many antichrists. For this reason we know that it is the last time. It is also a day of separation, meaning it is the last time for the many antichrists, for they shall be gathered out. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Matthew 13:43.
Copyright © 2003 by Henry DuBose