Why The Revelation
Of The Antichrist and the Apostasy
Must Precede the Coming of the Lord
A few passages from God's Word at the outset: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. They saw not one another neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings" (Exodus 10:21,23).
Therefore in the dark day of tribulation when the Antichrist reigns, the Lord is able to protect His people. The Lord is able to give light, able to strengthen, able to bring His people gloriously through by His mighty hand; just as He delivered Israel in that day out of the darkness that prevailed in the land of Egypt.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4, we read, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." Thus there is one to come, to rule this earth, who on earth is to assume and take the place of God Almighty. He is going to assert or declare that he is God. We see in man today, in man's attitude in the world, the attitude of the natural man without God; that he would drive God from His throne and exalt himself to the place of God! That is what is going to happen; he is going to exalt himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, showing himself that he is God.
Take Heed of Rising Lawlessness
In Luke 21:25-28, we are warned: "And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your hearts; for your redemption draweth nigh."
We are told in the light of this event to take heed to the more sure word of prophecy. . . Take heed thereunto as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).
That is one thing we are to do. Take heed. Then again we read: "that day shall not overtake you as a thief." God's people shall know; "But ye brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness" (1 Thess. 5:4, 5). Daniel said, "None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." There shall be understanding given to the people of God. God shall give light and illumination at that time. That day shall not come, except there come a falling away and the man of sin be revealed; "and when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh." When these things begin to come to pass, God's people then on the earth, the saved of the Lord, the church of the redeemed, shall know. That is the clear teaching of God's Word.
There are Two Signs of Night
I want you to know that there are already signs of night, signs of darkness; there are signs even now!
Suppose you are motoring into a city as it is drawing towards night. As you approach the city you see the lights going up. A great switch is turned on and immediately there is one light, then another, and another, until the whole city is illuminated. Darkness has come and we have the lights of man; superficial lights! Listen: in that day of apostasy there will be great darkness! And what will we have in that darkness? We will have the lights of men. Human thoughts, world philosophies. What are these lights of men? The lights of men deny the Word of God, the Truth of God, the lights of men have no room for the deity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, no place for the atonement, no place for the resurrection, no room for the ascension of Christ, no room for the second coming of Christ! Because they are in darkness they have no hope, and the god of this world hath blinded their minds lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine into their hearts.
Man's light in night! The world by wisdom knew not God. The darkness is deepening and the apostasy is gathering; the people are refusing the light of the Son of God and God the Son, and asking for "natural religion" and another gospel.
Anti-Christian and Anti-Bible Teaching
Let me say that the apostasy is steadily and rapidly advancing, and that much of the teaching that is being put forth, both outside and inside the professed church, is anti-Christian and anti-Bible. This may be but the beginning of things!
We have today a mighty advancement of human philosophy. The inspired record of the Word of God in the book of Genesis is denied with regard to creation and redemption. Instead we have the evolutionary theory, which is largely accepted. The modern philosopher tells us that he can no longer believe the old conception of things in the light of modern scientific research. Therefore "the old, old story of Jesus and His love" has no longer any place in man's philosophy. But God's Word is verily true: "The world by wisdom knew not God."
That is the tendency in the colleges all over the world and the voice of the professors"”making little of God's Book. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14). Some of the switches are on, and this is an indication of the darkness that is coming on: there is a great turning to the lights of men! Read in God's Book "That evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." I would rather hear what some poor brokenhearted soul who really loves the Lord and knows how to pray has to say about the Bible, than what all the high-brows on earth have to say about it. I would rather hear the testimony of the poor man who has an experience of Jesus Christ and personal salvation, than all the theories of the Modernists, who have only an intellectual understanding and who are void of the Spirit of God. You will not find light in anything man can give: you can only find light and life and salvation in Jesus Christ Himself. In the light of men there is no light for you: "For men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil" But, thank God, "The word of the Lord endureth for ever." "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." Iniquity is abounding on every hand, and because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold. I have known many of God's people who were keen for God, and who would not miss the prayer meeting before the war, who are now seldom there. They have put something else before God, and now they have no time for the prayer meeting and only occasionally do they come to the Lord's table and attend the morning service. The world has caught them; they are centered on earthly things. Because iniquity abounds they are in a cold state spiritually.
The Mystery of Iniquity at Work
Now the mystery of iniquity doth already work; it is like a sore, it is like some festering spot; and out of this mystery of iniquity the Antichrist will arise. That mystery of iniquity is a dark thing; it is working today, but the trouble is that some of God's redeemed people do not realize it! The darkness is so great and so tense they do not seem to realize that this evil spirit abounds. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places." The darkness deepens. It is a terrible age of worldliness, indifference and pleasure. The apostasy is gaining ground and we are called upon to take heed that it shall not overtake us as a thief. "When they say peace and safety then sudden destruction cometh upon them." There are those who would preach peace and safety; but listen, it is sudden destruction that cometh.
Satan's Masterpiece Ahead!
The stage is being set for the Antichrist, as you know. Antichrist will be a person, and will be Satan's masterpiece.
The Antichrist will be possessed by Satan; he will have a master mind and when he sits down at the conference table of the United Nations of that day, he will have such persuasive powers that when he declares his policy the whole United Nations Organization will applaud him. By the unanimous vote of U.N.O. he will take the chair and put down his plans on the table. With one voice every delegate will agree: "that this is the way to put the world into a new order." They will accept and agree because he has the plans of a master mind, inspired by Satan. You know that the United Nations have no acknowledgement of God! God is not taken into account! God is not in all their thoughts, and if God is not acknowledged they must be trying to please the anti-God, and that is a very sad thing. Peace on earth without God! How can man establish this? It cannot be! What a terrible spirit of unrest and dissatisfaction is found among people everywhere! This system of apostasy will develop and develop until we come to that darkness such as this world has never known: the manifestation of the Man of Sin. What do we read in Matthew 24:24? "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." But "for the elect's sake," for the redeemed of the Lord, those days shall be shortened.
Apostasy has already set in. The modern Church of all denominations is largely apostate.
No Revival for the Apostate Church
That might seem a wide and sweeping statement! I was challenged in Ireland as to that; but I know it is true that the modern Church is largely apostate, and the world-wisdom of human philosophy knows not God. Apostasy is death and cannot revive. But God will revive His true people, and there are those, thank God, who have a heart for God and His Word, even in this land and every land. God has His people in every age, and has never left Himself without a witness. And do you think there will be no witnesses in the Tribulation? He will have His witnesses even then, those who will not bow the knee to the Antichrist; He will have those who love His word, who will worship Him in sincerity and truth. Many will be martyred and suffer, but in that day, when the apostasy has developed, the iniquity of the Amorites will be full. Then there will be the completion of God's elect of this age; the completion of the roll of the martyrs. When the Church of the Firstborn is completed, when the roll of the martyrs has been written up, He will come again. He is now at the right hand of God in heaven until His enemies be made His footstool, until His enemies shall lick the dust. When the Lord Jesus comes, He is going to destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His coming. "He that now letteth will let till he be taken out of the way," or "There is One that restrains until He be developed out of the midst." "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming." Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan, and Satan to Jesus must bow. When He leaves His throne, every enemy shall be His footstool. He is there at God's right hand until all His enemies be made His footstool. Jesus shall reign"”Jesus is coming"”Hallelujah! He is coming as the glorified Lord. His people will reign with Him and be associated with Him in His reign.
The Lord's Presence in Tribulation
God is able then to protect His people and bring them through that dark day, because there will be a great manifestation of His presence. God's people in deep affliction and persecution have always had a great realization of His presence. When you are tried, and need God most, does He forsake you? No! "His grace is sufficient, His strength is made perfect in weakness." "When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." When will that dark day end? At His coming! Our eyes are not on the darkness, our hearts are not on the Tribulation, and we are not looking for the Antichrist. We are looking for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming from the glory; and He is coming to be admired in all them that believe; coming to be glorified in His saints. He is also coming to "take vengeance on them that know not God." He is coming at the end of the Tribulation. When He comes there is no law of gravity to hold His saints to the earth; "We shall be caught up to meet Him in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:17,18). He is coming at the last trump, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed"”then shall be brought to pass the saying, Death is swallowed up in Victory" (1 Cor. 15:52, 54). "Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." There is victory in this blessed hope of His coming, power in it, inspiration in it, and grace in it, even for us who live in this ungodly world. "That we might show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light."
Our Lord is coming at the Last Trump
In Matthew 24:31, we read: "He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Some tell us that the "elect" there are the Jews, but it is the same word used in the Old Testament as in the New Testament which describes His redeemed people of every age, and I am old-fashioned enough to believe in the eternal purpose of God in election. "Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified." That "trump" in Matthew 24:31, is identical with the trump in 1 Corinthians 15:52, and identical also with another trump... "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout . . . and with the trump of God" (1 Thess. 4:16). Then in Revelation there is the seventh trump: and He is coming at the last trump, which is the seventh trump of Revelation; and if we read that portion of Revelation 11:15-19, we find Christ takes the throne, and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ. When He comes there is judgment for His enemies and reward for His saints. In Revelation 10 when the seventh trump begins to sound, the mystery of God is finished.
When the Lord
comes for His
Church, "they that are Christ's at His coming," it will
include all Old
Testament saints, New Testament saints, and Tribulation saints; all who
redeemed by His blood and born again. "These are they that have
great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in
of the Lamb.