It has already been said that on His Return, Jesus will triumph over the antiChrists. The previous chapter focused on what Jesus will do to rescue the world from its self-destructive trajectory. (Mind you, this state of the world is the one we have allowed to come to pass.) Of course this writer knows only a limited amount about what the Savior will do. But he fully expects to be completely in awe at Christ's Brilliance - as He tackles the major problems we have, and sorts out the sound from the unsound. The writer also suggests that he won't be alone in this awe: each one of us will be amazed.
And again of course, Jesus will not be alone in His Work; we can rely on Him to inspire us to do our bit. With what end in view? The building of the Kingdom of God on Earth, no less!
If you have become convinced that the Messiah will indeed be here soon, then you may be asking, What can be done to get ready? Done by me as an individual, done by the faith community, done by society and the world at large? Well, within the faith community it's surely the case that all are not equally convinced of His imminent Return. So there's something individuals can do - help spread this news about the Word of Life - let others know that our lives down here are about to get a whole lot better.
And beyond the faith community, it has to be said, nothing will happen until those folk "out there" gain the conviction that Messiah is a soon-coming Reality. That means spreading the good news, the gospel, that Christ was is and will be the Answer - not only to the problem of antiChrist, but to every situation where His creatures are hurting. Here again, individuals - by their witness - can make a difference.
One question: What to do in the face of the antiChrists? But
the larger question is: What to do about the Gospel?
Lies. As an ex-liar, this scribe is painfully aware of how toxic lies can be. And we saw in chapter 4 the extent of US government lying, under antiChrist. Don't we need to challenge this rotten state of affairs, and insist on "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"?
Greed. When it comes to the
greed of antiChrist, need we look any further than
the huge profits that Halliburton/KBR have made in the years since
2000? Profits raked in at taxpayers' expense, in
those same hapless countries of Afghanistan
and Iraq(1). How long are we supposed to allow
this to continue?
Temptation. Seeing all the wrongs that happen around us, we may find ourselves giving in to this kind of thing also. When the Tempter is able to get at us in this way, then we are at risk: we can be tainted by the same twisted outlook as antiChrist. The antidote to this poison is always to be found in Jesus. Why don't we just look to Him for rescue from our frailties? (There is more about this in Section B.)
To wrap up this question of what to do, it's good to remember that one of antiChrist's principal weapons is fear. Rolling back the fear, acting in a way that shows the enemy we're onto him, is surely the place to start. Letting him know that we will not be taken in by lies anymore. Nor will we be deceived into thinking that “the other” is a danger to us, or is less worthy in some way. Nor will we accept that the land of another is to be exploited, or that a nation’s might is rightly used to stomp on another nation. To recognize that the existence of all nations as God-ordained, is to realize that we need to tread the path of peace, consistently.
^ Finally, when the battle seems too long or too hard, it is good to realize that there is purpose to this. God has deliberately built a constructive tension into the Design of the universe: a "tug of war" between good and evil. And since God has prescribed it, it is certain that this struggle is needed! As Daniel Barenboim has said, such a tension can "lead to harmony in the music of life."
The case presented in the previous section led to a call to action. Maybe help will be needed with this? Which is exactly where the Gospel comes in: the Gospel is about Jesus, and the Gospel is Jesus. When we crave reassurance in life, when difficulties seem to be mounting up, when we want to be bold, but we wonder if the struggle is worth it - Jesus is there.
This is our real security; this is our support against fear. Even though Messiah has not yet returned physically, He is still here present in Reality. And that's a bit of a paradox, isn't it? Truly, in each and every one of us, God lives, and has a share in any pain that we're going through.
By latching onto Christ, it becomes possible to see the link between the external enemy (the one we usually think of when we think, "enemy"), and the enemy inside of us. The very word "enemy" sounds an awful lot like "inner me," doesn't it? Half the time, at least that's the writer's experience, the trouble lies in himself! This is why George Fox emphasized the need for stillness and calm inside(2).With the assurance that our Savior gives us, it's possible to reach that place where our lives can express true non-violence. We can know the state of ahimsa that Gandhi lived by - that state in which unconditional love to all is the order of the day. Such a life will be kind to the rest of Creation; it will help repair this planet instead of damaging it further. The environment is there for all of us; we live in a network, as the following words, inspired by American Indian wisdom, point out:
Will you teach your children what we have taught our children?Jesus was so unstinting in His earthly Ministry. And His Character has not changed! This is how He is today. Therefore, there is really no need to fret - not about antiChrist, nor about any other fear-inducing thing that may be troubling our world just now. One day, it may well be we will come to see the point, we'll fully understand why all the tension - between Christ and antiChrist - was needed.
That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.
This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth.
All things are connected like the blood that unites us all.
Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
One thing we know: our God is also your God.
The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator(3).
But for now, we can be glad that the battle with these major antiChrists is almost at an end. This writer firmly believes that the three who are featured here - Saddam, Ariel, and George W - are the "final" antiChrist figures. The evidence for this belief was given in chapters 1-4. Now if you agree that the evidence is sound, then can we not take heart and even rejoice at these words of Jesus:
But when these things begin to take place,And:
straighten up and lift up your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.
Luke 21:28 (NAS 1975)
Even so you too, when you see these things happening,So, if we are correctly interpreting the signs of the times, then the conclusion must be that a Wonderful Deliverance is about to descend upon the world. Let us be encouraged!
recognize that He is near, right at the door.
Mark 13:29 (NAS 1975)
the other hand, it would be hard to be encouraged if you didn't know
Jesus as your Savior. This writer was in that situation for many years,
and so can relate to those who are looking for answers to the
questions in life. He would recommend drawing on the many good
on the Internet to help you in that search(4).
Since God is with us, we know that we can act boldly to tread down the evil of antiChrist. Fear, timidity - these cannot flourish where love is in control. And when we acknowledge that the Prince of Love is our Source, then we find the needed courage to tackle the enemy - whether this is the enemy inside or the one outside of us.
We can live out the Gospel if we stick close to Jesus. And we will find that the changes we desire - in our personal lives and in the world - will start to happen, as long as we are faithful.
Although the time may be short, this is not to suggest that we rush into things. It's not healthy to approach life with haste all the day long! This piece of wisdom was shared with the writer: "God is never in a hurry." So, we see more of God's Glorious Nature when we let events unfold, at God's Tempo. If we are doing what we can, if we're letting our light shine, then Jesus will be pleased with us when He comes to dwell with us in the Earth.
These antiChrist figures we've been looking at? Their evil natures will soon be part of history! It's time to look up and see the Beauty of God's Plan:
is working for our good
if we love God
and are fitting into his plans.
Romans 8:28 (TLB)
writer is at: