Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Antichrist’

Will Christians be secretly raptured?

October 21, 2014 2 comments

This past weekend the eschatological thriller Left Behind opened in theaters. It joins a flood of Christian movies this year including Exodus, Son of God, God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is for Real, and Noah. Okay, let’s not count Noah.

Yet Left Behind stands out among this surge of Christian films, not just because it stars Nicholas Cage, and not just because it’s based on the wildly successful Left Behind novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Perhaps more than the other films, Left Behind captures believers’ imagination because it portrays a future, world-changing event: the secret rapture, that moment Jesus suddenly snatches up all Christians to himself years prior to his visible second coming.

As producer and writer Paul LaLonde put it, “It’s a Bible-based movie, it’s a biblical story, it’s a true story—it just hasn’t happened yet.” As a result, it can cause us to wonder, What will it be like when all the Christians suddenly disappear? How close are we to the rapture? Will I be taken or left behind?

But there’s another question we should ask, one that may surprise you: “Is the rapture taught in the Bible?” It may come as a shock to learn that many Bible-believing Christians today doubt the rapture, and that most Christians throughout history had never even heard of it.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Dispensationalism and the Anti-Christ

August 26, 2013 1 comment

Dispensationalists hold that the appearance and reign of the Anti-Christ takes place during the seven year period after the Rapture. At the end of the seven years Christ returns with His saints, defeats and destroys the Anti-Christ and his armies in the battle of Armaggedon, and sets up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem over which He rules in person for 1000 years. The reign of Christ on earth at that time according to Scofield, will be a sitting on the throne of David, as King of the Jews, literally, strictly and politically understood.

This Futuristic theory of the Anti-Christ propagated by Dr. Scofield is the Popish view. “Alarmed by the fact that the Reformers were pointing to the Pope as the Anti-Christ, the Jesuit Ribera at the end of the sixteenth century, invented or at least propagated futuristic views of the Anti-Christ, and pointed to a solitary Infidel Anti-Christ who would appear in the dim future. Ribera’s view soon infected the High Church party. J. N. Darby caught the contagion, and finally Dr. D. L. Scofield swallowed the Jesuit’s pill. Thus Ribera succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, for the attention of thousands of Protestants became deflected from the Papacy, a future Infidel Anti-Christ was looked for, and the historic Protestant view handed down by the Reformers was despised by many. These are the hard facts of history. A Protestantism saturated with Ribera’s Futurism is not the Protestantism of the Reformers, nor is it feared by the Papacy.” (The Roman Anti-Christ by Rev. F. S. Leahy).

In the days of the Apostle John there were many antichrists, heretics who denied either the divinity of Christ or His actual incarnation. “Even now” he writes “are there many antichrists.” He also says, “Little children, it is the last time: and ye have heard that Antichrist shall come.” (1 John 2:18). According to Matthew Henry the generality of Christians had been informed of the coming of the Antichrist. Paul’s 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians Ch. 2:8-10 made it clear to them. He is called the Antichrist as though there were none but he, because he was so eminently above all others. He is, therefore, called “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” and the system of which he is the head “the mystery of iniquity.”

The Meaning of Anti-Christ

All the Reformers and all the Churches of the Reformation and the great body of Protestant interpreters hold that the Pope of Rome or the Papacy is the Anti-Christ, the word anti-christos being composed of kristos meaning anointed (Christ) and the prefix anti. “Anti” means against also instead of or in the place of. “When prefixed to the name of an individual it indicates an agent who assumes that individual’s place, and at the same time acts in opposition to him. Thus Rome herself speaks of Anti-popes. Anti-Christ therefore means one who pretends to be a vicar of Christ, and assumes to act in His name, but who is at the same time His rival and greatest enemy.” (The Roman Anti-Christ by Leahy).

In the Smalcald Articles Martin Luther singles out one particular statement of the Apostle Paul which beyond all doubt labels the Pope as the Anti-Christ “- – – the Pope raised his head above all. This teaching shows forcefully that the Pope is the very Anti-Christ, who has exalted himself above and opposed himself against Christ, because he will not permit Christians to be saved without his power. This is properly speaking to exalt himself above all that is called God, as Paul said, (2 Thess. 2:4) (Smalcald Art 11, art. 4:9-10).

“No one else has ever and will never be able to exalt himself above all that is called God more than the Pope of Rome, who holds millions of people at his command and over four thousand priests as agents of his ambition. He dares to oppose and rejects even the central truth of the Scriptures. He condemns justification by faith, which is fundamental to all, the heart of the Gospel. He puts himself against Christ, he damns, curses this cardinal truth given by Christ.” (Who is the Antichrist? by J. Zacehello, D.D.).

“To submit to the Roman Pontiff, we declare, say, define and pronounce to be absolutely necessary to every human creature to salvation.” (Bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII).

“If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sin for Christ’s sake; or that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified, let him be accursed.” (Council of Trent Can. 9.12).

The late Pope John XXIII was no sooner inaugurated in November 1958 than in his coronation address said: “Into this fold of Jesus Christ no one can enter it if not under the guidance of the Sovereign Pontiff; and men can securely reach salvation only when they are united with him, since the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and represents His person on earth.”

The Babylon of the Apocalypse

As the Pope is the Anti-Christ, Babylon in the Book of the Revelation is the Church of Rome. Babylon cannot be the literal Babylon for it was not built on seven hills, nor was it the Queen of the earth in John’s time. Even the great Roman Catholic controversialists have been driven to admit that Rome fits the description of Babylon in the Revelation. ” St. John in the Apocalypse” says Cardinal Bellarmine, “calls Rome Babylon, for no other city besides Rome reigned in his age over the kings of the earth, and it is well known that Rome was seated upon Seven Hills.”

“It is confessed by all” says Cardinal Baronius, “that Rome is signified in the Apocalypse by the name of Babylon.” And the language of the celebrated French Prelate Bousset, in his Exposition of the Book of the Revelation is: “The features (in the Apocalypse) are so marked, that it is easy to decipher Rome under the figure Babylon.”

The above quotations from Bellarmine, Baronius and Bousset are taken from “Is the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Apocalypse?” a classic by Charles Wordsworth, D.D., Canon of Westminster and later Bishop of Lincoln, who died in 1885.

“These Apocalyptic prophecies, which describe the Woman who is called Babylon and is seated on the Beast with seven heads and ten horns do not concern the older, literal, Assyrian Babylon. The inscription on the woman’s forehead is Mystery, indicating a spiritual meaning. This word had been used by the Apostle Paul in his description of the Mystery of Iniquity opposed to the Mystery of Godliness; and St. John adopts the word from St. Paul, and applies it to the same object as that which had been portrayed by that Apostle.

“Again, the Babylon of the Apocalypse is described as a city existing and reigning in St. John’s age; but the literal, or Assyrian Babylon had long ceased to be a reigning city when St. John wrote. Therefore the Babylon of the Apocalypse cannot be the literal or Assyrian Babylon.”

In the conclusion Canon Wordsworth writes: “We have been contemplating the TWO MYSTERIES of the Apocalypse. The word Mystery signifies something spiritual; it here describes a church. The first Mystery is explained to us by Christ Himself. “The Mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest – – – The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:20). The second Mystery is explained also: “I will tell thee the Mystery of the Woman.” The Beast that carrieth her, which bath the seven heads, is described, and the seven heads are expounded to be seven mountains on which the woman sitteth. (Rev. 17:7.9).

      1. The first Mystery is the Mystery of the seven stars.

      2. The second Mystery is the Mystery of the seven hills.

The first mystery represents the universal church in its sevenfold fulness, containing within it all particular churches.

The second mystery represents a particular church, the church on the seven hills, the Church of Rome, claiming to be the church universal.

The first mystery represents the universal church, liable to defects, but not imposing errors as terms of communion; and therefore, by virtue of the Word and the sacraments, held together in Apostolic communion with St. John and Christ, who walketh in the midst of it, and governed by an apostolic ministry, shining like a glorious constellation in the hand of Christ.

2. The second mystery represents the particular Church of Rome, holding the cup of her false doctrines in her hand, and making all nations to drink thereof. And the voice from heaven cries, “Come out of her, my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not her plagues.”

      The first mystery is a “Mystery of Godliness.”

      The second is a “Mystery of Iniquity.”

Such is the interpretation of the two Mysteries of the Apocalypse.

“If any minister or member of the Church of Rome can disprove this conclusion, he is hereby invited to do so. If he can, doubtless he will; and if none attempt it, it may be presumed that they cannot; and if they cannot, then as they love their salvation, they ought to embrace the truth, which is preached to them by the mouth of St. John, and by the voice of Christ.”

“This appeal was just made in a sermon preached by the Canon on Sunday, April 28th, 1850, in Westminster Abbey, and reiterated in Westminster Abbey on Sunday, February 16th, 1851. As far as the writer is aware, no reply has yet been made to it by any member of the Church of Rome. It is therefore repeated here.”

With reference to Paul’s description of the Anti-Christ in 2 Thess. 2:3-8, Dr. Charles Hodge of theological fame says, “This portrait suits the Papacy so exactly that Protestants have rarely doubted that it is the Anti-Christ which the apostle intended to describe.”

“So strikingly” says Richard Baxter, “does the Church of Rome resemble Anti-Christ that any one is justified in mistaking the similarity for sameness.”

“And the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth” (Rev. 17:9). “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH AND I SAW THE WOMAN DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS OF JESUS.” (Rev. 17: 5,6).

The Doom of the Papacy

“As sure as the Papacy has had its glory, so surely shall its doom come. Paul before closing his prophecy pauses, and in solemn and awful words foretells the night of horrors in which its career is to end. “That wicked — whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2 Thess. 2:8). This day of wrath will be unspeakably great and will mark as one of the greatest days of vengeance since the foundation of the world. Paul despatches it in a single sentence; John expands it into a whole chapter. And in what other chapter of the Bible or of human history is there such another spectacle of judgement — such another picture of horrors of awestruck consternation, of loud and bitter wailings and cries of woe as in the eighteenth chapter of the Apocalypse? The kings of the earth shall bewail her and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas! Alas! That great city Babylon, the mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. (Rev. 18: 9,10).

But this dark scene has one relieving feature. It is a scene that will not be repeated for it will close earth’s evil days and begin the hallelujahs of the nations. “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down and shall be found no more at all. Rejoice over her, thou heavens, and holy apostles and prophets: for God hath avenged you on her – – – and in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Rev. 18: 20, 21, 24). (The Papacy is the Anti-Christ — p. 128 by Rev. J. A. Wylie).

An excerpt from an article entitled “The Scofield Bible and Dispensationalism” found at http://www.theologue.org

Chapter XXVI : Of the Church

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

1. The Catholick or universal Church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit, and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole (a) number of the Elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

a Heb. 12.23. Col. 1.18. Eph. 1.10,22.23. & ch. 5.23,27,32.

2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the Gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it; not destroying their own profession by any Errors everting the foundation, or unholyness of conversation, (b) are and may be called visible Saints; (c) and of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted.

b 1 Cor. 1 2. Act. 11.26.

c Rom. 1.7. Eph. 1.20,21,22.

3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject (d) to mixture, and error; and som have so degenerated as to become (e) no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a (f) Kingdome in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his Name.

d 1 Cor. 15. Rev. 2. & ch. 3. [Most modern editions cite 1 Corinthians 5 rather than 1 Corinthians 15 here.]

e Rev. 18.2. 2 Thes. 2.11,12.

f  Mat. 16.18. Ps. 72.17. & Ps. 102.28. Rev. 12.17.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, in whom by the appointment of the Father, (g) all power for the calling, institution, order, or Government of the Church, is invested in a supream & soveraigne manner, neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is (h) that Antichrist, that Man of sin, and Son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Col. 1.18. Mat. 28.18,19.20. Eph. 4.11,12.

h 2 Thes. 2.3-9.

5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the World unto himself, through the Ministry of his word, by his Spirit, (i) those that are given unto him by his Father; that they may walk before him in all the (k) ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or (l) Churches, for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that publick worship, which he requireth of them in the World.

i Joh 10.16. chap. 12,32.

k Mat. 28.20.

l Mat. 18.15-20.

6. The Members of these Churches are (m) Saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving up themselves, to the Lord & one to another by the will of God, (n) in professed subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.

Rom. 1.7. 1 Cor. 1.2.

n Act. 2.41,42. ch. 5.13.14. 2 Cor. 9.13.

7. To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that (o) power and authority, which is any way needfull, for their carrying on that order in worship, and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands, and rules, for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.

o Mat. 18.17,18. 1 Cor. 5.4,5. with v.13. 2 Cor. 2.6,7,8.

8. A particular Church gathered, and compleatly Organized, according to the mind of Christ, consists of Officers, and Members; And the Officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) for the peculiar Administration of Ordinances, and Execution of Power, or Duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the World are (p) Bishops or Elders and Deacons.

p Act_20:17, with v.28. Phil. 1.1.

9. The way appointed by Christ for the Calling of any person, fitted, and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the Office of Bishop, or Elder, in a Church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common (q) suffrage of the Church it self; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with imposition of hands of the (r) Eldership of the Church, if there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon (s) that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like Imposition of hands.

q Act. 14.23: See the original.

r 1 Tim. 4.14.

s Act. 6.3.5.6.

10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, (t) with watching for their Souls, as they that must give an account to him; it is incumbent on the Churches to whom they Minister, not only to give them all due respect, (u) but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves (x) entangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising (y) Hospitality toward others; and this is required by the (z) Law of Nature, and by the Express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel.

t Act. 6.4. Heb. 13.17:

u 1 Tim. 5.17,18. Gal. 6.6,7.

x 2 Tim. 2.4.

y 1 Tim. 3.2.

z 1 Cor. 9.6.-14.

11. Although it be incumbent on the Bishops or Pastors of the Churches to be instant in Preaching the Word, by way of Office; yet the work of Preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to them; but that others also (a) gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.

a Act. 11.19,20,21. 1 Pet. 4.10.11.

12. As all Believers are bound to joyn themselves to particular Churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; So all that are admitted unto the priviledges of a Church, are also (b) under the Censures and Government thereof, according to the Rule of Christ.

b 1 Thes. 5.14. 2 Thes 3.6.14,15.

13. No Church-members upon any offence taken by them, having performed their Duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any Church order, or absent themselves from the Assemblies of the Church, or Administration of any Ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow-members; but to wait upon Christ, (c) in the further proceeding of the Church.

c Mat. 18.15.16,17. Eph. 4 2,3.

14. As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to (d) pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (every one within the bounds of their places, and callings, in the Exercise of their Gifts and Graces) so the Churches (when planted by the providence of God so as they may injoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold (e) communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.

d Eph. 6.18. Ps. 122.6.

Rom. 16.1,2. 3 Joh. 8,9,10.

15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of Doctrine, or Administration; wherein either the Churches in general are concerned, or any one Church in their peace, union, and edification; or any member, or members, of any Church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth, and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many Churches holding communion together, do by their messengers meet to consider, (f) and give their advice, in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the Churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled are not entrusted with any Church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the Churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any Churches, or Persons: or (g) to impose their determination on the Churches, or Officers.

f Act. 15.2,4,6. & 22,23.25.

g 2 Cor. 1.24. 1 Joh. 4.1

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith