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The Divinity of Christ, part 16

THE Antichrist

This will be the last set of blogs (perhaps 3-5 more) in my series on the divinity of Christ. The first set of blogs were related to The Arian Controversy. In them we gave the historical background of the controversy over the deity of Christ. We saw that it first erupted in a big way back in about the year A.D. 318 with a priest named Arius.

In subsequent blogs we began to set forth some of the biblical proofs for the deity of Christ. If you read the previous Blogs, you might recall that we referred to the axiom in algebra which says that if a = c and b = c, then a = b.

We then employed that principle to show that if Jesus Christ in the New Testament possessed the same characteristics, qualities and attributes of deity as God did in the Old Testament—characteristics which are only applicable to deity, then that constitutes proof of the deity of Christ.

Here are just a few of the ways in which we saw the equivalency of God and Jesus: as Israel’s Rock and Stone, as the Holy One of Israel, as the Shepherd who seeks out His flock, as Immanuel, which means God with us;” as the bridegroom of Israel, as the omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent one.

In Isaiah 9:6, we saw that the prophesied savior would be called the Mighty God and the everlasting Father. We saw how the Word was with God at the beginning and the Word was God and the Word became flesh. The Word became the Son.

The Son was not eternal—despite what many well-meaning theologians and ministers teach. Rather, the Word, the Logos of John chapter one, was eternal. After all, He is called the only-BEGOTTEN Son.” When a being is begotten, it means he had a beginning.

The Son had a beginning at His birth in Bethlehem. In a sense, we could say that the Son of God pre-existed, not as the Son, but as God the Word, and as such, He had no beginning. I don’t want to quibble over this because it almost always comes down to a question of semantics.

I want to begin our study today by discussing a topic which is always on the front burner with our fundamentalist, rapture-believing brethren, and that is the doctrine of the antichrist.

For over a century now, this has been a topic of fascinating intensity and frequent speculation in the Christian fundamentalist world as they try to pinpoint some prominent world figure as THE antichrist.

Years ago, THE antichrist was supposed to have been Mussolini. Then it was Hitler. No, others said, it is actually Joseph Stalin. A couple decades later some said it was Fidel Castro.

And when the first Roman Catholic was elected president, some suggested it was John F. Kennedy. A decade later, some suggested it had to be that Rasputin-like character who dominated Nixon’s oval office, Henry Kissinger. Yes! Why, don’t you know that the numbers of Kissinger’s name add up to 6-6-6?!

Then, by the mid-1980’s, it was clear to some that the one world dictator, THE antichrist, was surely Mikhail Gorbachev. Why, brother, didn’t you ever see the mark of Cain—some said the mark of the beast—on Gorbachev’s forehead?” (I am sure many of you have seen pictures of old Gorby with the big splotchy birthmark on his forehead which runs up onto his bald head.)

In recent years, there is some alleged Bible scholar who has written a book saying that King Juan Carlos of Spain is THE antichrist because he comes from the correct ancestral dynasty of royalty to fit the Bible, and on and on the speculation goes.

Now, don’t anybody go shouting it out for the CD or tape ministry here—we don’t want to ruin the fun for those have not yet read my book on the Sacred Secrets of the Sovereignty of God {on page 1 of the Order Form} because I set forth quite a different idea as to who the antichrist is.

But we’re presently on the subject of the divinity of Christ, and if you might be wondering how this discussion of THE antichrist fits in with it, let’s turn to 1 John to get a correct biblical definition of this dreadfully evil person.

1 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.

I don’t know what Bible translation you use, but it is unfortunate that some versions even capitalize the word antichrist” there in that verse, which in itself is theological bias; it is doctrinally editorializing.

By so doing, the translators are leading the reader to believe in this great end-time bogeyman whom they allege will be…[pronounced with great drama:] THE ANTICHRIST!

Do you have a Bible version which capitalizes the word antichrist”? Well, the BBE (Bible in Basic English) does, and shamefully, the NKJ (New King James) version capitalizes it, and yes, the Roman Catholic Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible, also capitalizes it.

However, the apostle John went on to say that there were many antichrists even in his day, and when we read the definition he gave us—which is in verse 22—we see that there have been countless persons down through the centuries who qualify as antichrists. Listen to the definition:

1 John 2:22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Turn a page in your Bible to chapter 4 for some additional descriptions of who qualifies as an antichrist.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

So, who is antichrist? Some kind of one-world government dictator who is going to arise in the 21st century? Don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that some more overt form of world government than we already have could not arise.

It certainly could; and with it some singular and devious politician could climb to the top of the heap and become an evil dictator. And if that happened, he could certainly fit the definition of AN antichrist.

But the danger with all this fundamentalist-dispensationalist preoccupation with some future world dictator to be known as THE antichrist is that it neutralizes Christians from occupying the earth for Christ right now!

Incidentally, for a revealing glimpse into how this futurist school of Bible prophecy became so prominent in American Christianity, I would recommend you read The Incredible Scofield and His Book.

(Above: My personal library copy of Canfield’s book. Below: page from Canfield’s unpublished manuscript in a 3-ring binder in my personal library. Several more chapters were added before its publication by Ross House books in 1998, and updated with another new chapter in the 2004 edition. My manuscript copy dated 1986. Photos by James Bruggeman)

I became personally acquainted with author in his later years. He lived in north Asheville. He has since passed on. We stocked his book for many years and readers can still obtain a copy online.

The importance of The Incredible Scofield and His Book is that it documents what a scoundrel, con man, and fraud Dr.” Scofield actually was. His Book” in the title refers to The Scofield Reference Bible,” which has thousands of footnotes explaining” the Bible.

We put Dr.” in quotation marks because he had earned no doctorate degree; it was a self-awarded title… as was his law degree.”

Unfortunately, his book has been extremely influential in setting the course of fundamentalist and evangelical theology, and especially its eschatology for over the past century.

When I got saved” in a fundamentalist church back in the 1970s, I was advised to get a copy of The New Scofield Reference Bible” as THEE most theologically reliable study Bible out there.”

I still have my original copy with tons of underlining and hundreds of my own notes, often directly contradicting Mr. Scofield. Perhaps I will share more on Mr. Cyrus Ingerson Scofield in future blogs.

More on the topic of antichrist and the deity of Christ in our next blog.

-END-

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