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Our goal is to make it to Heaven, and our way to get there is to become as much like Jesus as possible. Jesus was fully human but also fully filled with God’s spirit. Jesus was not God, but God worked powerfully through him. This was possible because Jesus freely and willingly gave his free will over to God in everything he did. Everything. Not just some things – everything. That’s what we need to do to be like Jesus, and that’s what we must do to make it to Heaven.
In contrast, the “man of perdition” that Paul mentioned, who is the same one that Daniel described and that John wrote about in Revelation, will do the opposite of what Jesus did. That’s because instead of being filled with God’s spirit, he’ll be filled with Satan’s. In other words, a human will provide the body for the disembodied “Father of Lies” himself.
I was an atheist for the first 36 years of my life. During that time, various demon spirits moved in and out of me, most of them evil. I didn’t consciously invite them in; they just showed up as a consequence of my misguided thoughts and actions. I drew them to me, but unconsciously. Now, as a born-again follower of Jesus, evil spirits are still around me, but there’s no longer any room for them in me because God’s spirit has taken up residence. No human can have both God’s spirit and evil spirits at the same time. It’s either one or the other.
As Paul pointed out, everyone who doesn’t acknowledge that Jesus is Lord is antichrist (literally, “opposed to Jesus the Christ”), which means that most of the world’s population is antichrist. The man of perdition is also antichrist, but he’s not just your regular run-of-the-mill antichrist. He’s so antichrist that he’s considered The Antichrist. This is a man who has consciously chosen to host Satan’s spirit and to consciously work in opposition to Jesus (and therefore to God), so we’re talking one messed-up dude here. You don’t become The Antichrist by mistake: you become The Antichrist on purpose.
I mention this because the spiritual landscape is swiftly changing. The people of the world are being repositioned and softened up to accept a “global” leader who will be the man of perdition. God warned us about him through Jesus, Paul, Daniel, John and others, so he’s definitely coming. As born-agains, we’ll know him when we see him, and our job at that time will be to warn others about him, and to keep showing people the only way home to God.
Here’s what we should expect of The Antichrist. He’ll be very rich and well-positioned politically and religiously. He’ll perform “miracles” and will know everything about everyone. He’ll also be extremely handsome and charismatic; most of the world will be spell-bound by him and will without hesitation die or kill for him. His hold over people will be supernatural and powerful, and no-one will be able to escape his lure unless they’re born-again. Yet, sadly, even some born-agains will fall for him.
I’ve been under the thrall of demons, so I know how powerful their hold can be. I would still be under their control were it not for God rescuing me, but only after I cried out to him. God has given us all free will and he’ll never ask for it back. He respects our right to choose and won’t force his will on us, even if it means we choose our way to Hell. But the instant we break and cry out for help, God is there.
In contrast to what the world considers to be freedom (i.e., doing whatever you want to, whenever you want to do it), true freedom is putting your free will 100% into God’s hands and asking for his help and guidance in everything you do. As born-agains, we know this is true, because we live that reality every day. We know what it is to live without God’s help, and we know what it is to live with it, and there’s no comparison between the two. I’d rather live just one more day with my will completely in God’s hands than to live forever without his help.
The Antichrist has chosen the latter path, and that’s a horrible place to be. Even the pleasures of near-absolute power will in no way make up for what happens after that cold heart stops beating, and stop beating it will. Scripture tells us that The Antichrist’s days are numbered, and that Hell is his final reward.
Hell is the final reward of all antichrists.
We need to be reminded of that every so often.
Heaven is our goal. Following Jesus as a born-again is the only way to get there. The Antichrist will try to persuade us otherwise, either through temptation or brute force. He knows all of our weaknesses, and he’ll try to exploit them. He’ll try to convince us that God’s Way is not only narrow but narrow-minded. He’ll brand us bigots. He’ll outlaw God’s Word. He’ll torture and kill those who won’t comply with his dictates. He’ll even torture and kill our family and friends. He’ll promote alternative belief systems that have elements of God’s Way but ultimately are antichrist.
Don’t fall for his lies. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be afraid.
Stay your course and endure to the end, no matter what that entails.
Jesus is Lord and God is our Father. We don’t bow down to anyone else.
Remember that when your time comes.
Jesus ended his ministry on Earth exactly as he started it: Alone.
When he was naked and dying in agony on the cross, no-one except him believed anymore that he was the Messiah, just like no-one, when he was growing up, believed he would become the Messiah.
If you plotted in graphical form the number of followers Jesus had during his time on Earth, a classic bell curve would emerge. From the initial 1, the numbers would swell to many, and then back down to 1 again.
Jesus himself is not responsible for the sharp rise and fall of his follower numbers. Rather, it was his followers’ lack of understanding of scripture along with their unwillingness to accept Jesus’ mandate as being spiritual not political that led to their exodus from the truth.
When Jesus burst on the scene dispensing miraculous healings like free condoms at a Pride parade, nearly everyone wanted to be part of the excitement. Jesus was youthful and vibrant and he really sounded like he knew what he was talking about. He thumbed his nose at religious authorities, besting them in every argument, and had a genuine connection with the people. He was a likeable guy doing likeable things. What’s there not to like?
It was only when Jesus started to challenge his followers’ false beliefs that his popularity began to wane. People wanted feel-good excitement and a “winning” candidate that they could get behind, but Jesus was stating very clearly that the winnings would not be in Earthly terms, and that in fact the Earthly reward for being part of the Kingdom would be persecutions and social rejection. Who in their right mind would want to sign up for that?
As follower after follower drifted away, Jesus didn’t water down his message but instead pushed the remaining followers harder and harder. He was weeding them even as he was feeding them. Those who could stomach the truth, stayed; everyone else either ran screaming or slithered off in silence.
At the cross, no followers at all remained, just a few friends and family members along with some soldiers and the usual assortment of haters. No-one believed anymore that Jesus was the prophesied saviour. Some still loved him, but they didn’t believe in him. He alone persisted to his dying breath in the sure belief that he was the Messiah.
After Jesus died, the women went to his tomb a few days later to apply the spices that were part of Jewish burial rites. Even though Jesus had told them explicitly that he would rise from the dead in three days, they still went to dress his corpse. They didn’t believe he would rise because they didn’t believe he was the Messiah. Then, when they found his tomb empty, they simply thought his body had been moved. They thought Jesus was buried, not risen, because they no longer believed he was who he’d said he was.
Self-confidence is a beautiful thing when it’s based on truth. Jesus remained firm in his belief that he was the Messiah because his interpretation of scripture was God-based, not man- or demon-based. In assuming his role as the Messiah, Jesus hadn’t set out to win a popularity contest. He didn’t measure the success of his mission by how many followers he’d accumulated but by how closely he adhered to a Godly interpretation of scripture and how closely his will was aligned to God’s. And in both of these measurements, his mission was more than accomplished.
Most if not all of today’s churches measure their success quite differently. For them, “making converts” has become some kind of a contest and the church with the most “converts” wins the prize. But to make converts to their false version of Christianity, these antichrist Christians – these wolves in sheep’s clothing we were warned about – not only water down the gospel but sweeten it with saccharine lies. I have stood in many of these churches, as have you.
I will stand in them no more, even if it means, like Jesus, I stand alone.
Even if it means, like Jesus, I die alone.