The Antichrist - Part 1
Let me begin this video with saying that I wish to be perfectly honest and frank with you about what I am about to share. When I began this study, I didn’t intend to end up where I did, however, whenever this happens, I am quick to think through these things and question myself as to what I believe I’m seeing. Then I have to remind myself just how much tradition has succeeded in leading us astray, and influenced each and every one of us to believe things that are just not true.
I am thoroughly convinced that we have drifted far from the original gospel of Christ. That being said, please consider the following.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV)
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
There are still many today in the body of Christ who believe that the preceding passages are speaking of an individual who is destined to arise, called the Antichrist, who will, as Paul said, oppose and exalt himself “above all that is called God or that is worshiped.” As we see, Paul called this entity the “man of sin” and “son of perdition.”
Despite what so many believe, I don’t believe that this is or will be an individual. I also don’t believe that “antichrist” is coming, but IS ALREADY HERE. John confirmed this, even in his day, stating in 1st John 2:18 that “EVEN NOW are there MANY ANTICHRISTS” (KJV). Beloved, if this was true in John’s time, how much more so is it now?
So, if this “man of sin” is not an individual, then who or what does he represent? My friend, it is none other than the "Self" which Jesus taught MUST BE DENIED in order to follow Him (Matt. 16:24-26). How do I arrive at this idea? Please consider.
Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…
1 Corinthians 15:22 (NKJV)
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
The “one man” of whom Paul speaks in Romans 5:12 was and is “Adam.” However, what many fail to realize about this “one man” is that he typifies the carnal essence of the Self which abides in all of us. Note how Paul went on to state that “death spread to all men, BECAUSE ALL SINNED.” My friend, it wasn’t Adam’s sin that brought death into our being, nor was it Adam’s sin that made us a sinner, rather, it was OUR OWN SIN, for the nature of the “first man Adam” is found in everyone who has or ever will be born into this world until the purpose of God is accomplished in its fullness (1st Cor. 15:45; KJV).
Despite the traditional take, the Genesis parable and the story of Adam and Eve is not a presentation of how Satan or man thwarted the purpose of God, but rather figurative of God’s sovereignty in creating the essence of the Self in everyone for the specific purpose of bringing all of us into His kingdom. For this reason Paul was able to state, “For as in,” or just like “Adam,” “all die.” Friend, sin and death exist because our Maker has a purpose in it. The greatest proof of this lies in the divine and universal principle of sowing and reaping, where the beautiful abundance of a fruit tree cannot be realized until there has been the “death” of the seed which sets the entire process in motion (Matt. 7:19; Luke 6:43-44; John 12:24). “Even so in Christ ALL shall be MADE ALIVE.”
Romans 6:6-7 (NASB95)
6 ... knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.
If we pay close attention to what Paul wrote, we find that he declares “our body of sin” as the “old self,” no, not this physical body so much as that which resides in it, what the scripture calls the “soul” of man, for as Ezekiel 18:4 and 20 tell us, “The soul who sins shall die” (NKJV). No wonder Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26; NKJV)
What is the soul? It is the Self. The definition of “soul” is “breath,” taken from the word which means, “To breathe” (Strong’s). In keeping with this we read in Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and BREATHED INTO HIS NOSTRILS the BREATH OF LIFE; and man became a LIVING SOUL” (KJV). In the same way we breathe without giving thought to it, so also does the formation of the Self take place without our awareness, that is, it happens without our recognition of it until we are awakened to understand that it does exist. After all, if Jesus said we must deny the Self, then it logically follows that we must have a Self and understand what it consists of (Matt. 16:24-28).
The “man of sin” which Paul speaks of is the soul or Self in everyone, what some teachers call the Adamic nature. Proof of this lies in the fact that not a single one of us can say that we have not sinned (1st John 1:8). Not only does Paul call it the “old self,” but also the “outward man” who is perishing “day by day” (2nd Cor. 4:16; KJV). It is this “body of sin” or Self who must die in order to be “freed from sin.”
Look once more at how our passages read in 2nd Thessalonians about the “man of sin” or “son of perdition.” “Who opposes and exalts him-SELF above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he,” that is, him-SELF, “sits as God in the temple of God, showing him-SELF (heautou), that he,” that is, him-SELF, “is God.” Who is “God”? “Him-SELF.”
Now, here’s an interesting take. Our word “man” in “man of sin” is the Greek word anthropos, which Strong’s defines as, “Man-faced, i.e. a human being.” Would this be one human being or all human beings?
Here’s another interesting take. Note where it reads “who opposes and exalts himself.” Our word "himself” IS NOT in the original manuscripts. Ah, but Paul does go on to say that “he” sits “as God in the temple of God.” Our word “he”? This is the Greek transliteration autos, which Strong’s defines as, “The reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound heautou of the third person, and (with the properly personal pronoun) of the other persons.” In other words, “he” means the Self which is neither male nor female and therefore refers to this essence in everyone. As noted, our word heautou is rendered “himself” in verse 4 and the Strong’s Concordance defines and translates this word as “himself, themselves, yourselves, ourselves, his, their,” and “itself.”
At this point, one might ask, “Are you saying that the soul or Self is antichrist?” Well, when we bring all of this together, yes I am, and here’s proof that it is.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJV)
14 But the natural man (anthropos) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness (silliness; absurdity; Strong’s) to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Friend, who is this “natural man” which Paul speaks of? Is it an individual? Not at all, for our word “man” is the same word we considered earlier which means “human being.” This being the case, we could render it as, “But the natural human being does not receive the things of the Spirit of God,” could we not? And wouldn’t that then include all of us and explain why all of us sin, no exceptions? Now, let’s take this one step further.
Romans 8:5-7 (ESV)
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death (for to be carnally minded is death; KJV), but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot.
Oh my, here we go! “Those who live according to the flesh,” who “set their minds on the things of the flesh,” are setting their minds on “death” and not “life.” Furthermore, “the mind that is set on the flesh is HOSTILE to God, for IT DOES NOT SUBMIT TO GOD’S LAW; indeed, IT CANNOT.” Beloved, if one’s mind is completely absorbed in this physical realm and identity, Paul makes no apology in stating that it is a mind which is “hostile to God” and that it “does not submit to God’s law.” Doesn’t our own reality prove this? And would that not mean that such a mind is “antichrist”? After all, “Christ” means “anointed” and refers to the Spirit of God, so when Paul contrasted the mind set on “the things of the flesh” (carnally minded) as opposed to the mind set “on the things of the Spirit” (spiritually minded) was he not in essence saying that one is the “mind of Christ” and the other isn’t? He was! See 1st Corinthians 2:16.
So, is there a difference between the “natural” and the “carnal” essence of which we speak? I believe there is. The first or “natural” speaks of us in our state of innocence BEFORE the Self is formed, while the second speaks of us once the Self BEGINS TO FORM. Not being able to receive (natural) is different from opposing (carnal). In the first is found ignorance but in the second is found arrogance.
When we enter into this world as an infant, we are innocent but “natural,” but as we begin to mature, the formation of the Self begins and sets up what Paul calls the “carnal mind” in all of us (Rom. 8:7; KJV). And here’s the kicker. This process of “natural” to “carnal” is true of every single person born into this world, past, present, and future, that is, until the process and purpose of God is complete in the ages to come.
The mind set on the flesh is “anti” the mind set on the Spirit, so it’s “anti” Spirit of God, or, “antichrist.” The word “antichrist” in 1st John 2:18 is actually defined as, “An opponent of the Messiah.” It’s a compound word where anti means “opposite, i.e. instead or because of,” and Christos means “anointed,” again signifying the Spirit of Christ, so, it would be safe to say that “antichrist” could also be called “the spirit of error” (1st John 4:6). So with all of this said, let’s bring this to what Jesus taught in Matthew 16.
Matthew 16:24 (KJV)
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man (inserted by translators) will come after me, let him (not in original manuscripts) deny himself (heautou), and take up his (hautou) cross, and follow me.
Note where I have inserted the various comments. Recognize our word heautou? Now, see our word hautou? Strong’s tells us that this word is derived from heautou and also means “self.” Certainly not a coincidence, is it?
So, what does all of this mean to us as believers? Well, for starters, it means that we need to get our eyes off others and start focusing on the principle which Jesus taught in Matthew 16, which is to “deny” our own Self.