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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Derek Prince » Derek Prince - Are We Living In The Last Days?

Derek Prince - Are We Living In The Last Days?

Derek Prince - Are We Living In The Last Days?
TOPICS: End times

This is an excerpt from: True and False Christ - Part 2

We have been looking at the picture, in the Scriptures, of antichrist. I think it's perhaps good to recapitulate briefly some of the material that we've been working through. We said that the word anti has two meanings: against and in place of. And the total thrust of antichrist is first of all, against Jesus the true Christ, to get Him out of the way; and secondly, to replace Him with another, with a false christ. We said that there are three different ways in which we meet this word antichrist. The spirit of antichrist which is a spiritual force that works wherever there's an antichrist, many antichrists, and then the antichrist one final manifestation of this at the close of the history of this age.

I gave you three distinguishing marks of the spirit of antichrist. It begins in association with God's people. It is not a form of paganism. It is aware of the claims of Jesus and deliberately rejects them. It denies that Jesus is the Messiah and denies the revelation of the Father and the Son in the Godhead. It's not that antichrist doesn't believe in God but he doesn't believe in a God who's revealed as Father and Son. In fact, he bitterly opposes it. I also gave you three other titles apart from antichrist. The man of lawlessness, the son of perdition and the wild beast. I pointed out that this latter title, the wild beast, in the book of Revelation is a deliberate contrast with the picture of Jesus as the Lamb of God. And we have these two natures in opposition. The nature of the beast, and the nature of the Lamb.

For me this is very important, it's practical, because I believe that we are going to be faced many times with pressures to go in the wrong direction, to express and develop the nature of the beast which is somewhere inside every fallen descendant of Adam. I think we're going to have to really be prayerful and waiting on God to be able to live out the character of the Lamb in these last days. I'd like to turn to 2 Thessalonians again, chapter 2, which is one of the key chapters in connection with this. 2 Thessalonians 2, I'll just read the first three verses. "Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ..."

The Greek word for coming there is parousia which is the word that's regularly used for His coming again in power and glory as king. ...concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind, or troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us, as though the day of Christ [and many texts say the day of the Lord] had come. There were people at that time teaching that the day of the Lord had already come. Paul is contesting this and saying it's impossible because the day of the Lord will not come until something else has happened. And in verse 3 he explains what has to happen. Let no one deceive you:, for that day will not come, unless the falling away come first, and the man of sin [or lawlessness] is revealed, the son of perdition.

So before the return of the Lord, two things have to take place. I realize this is controversial and it's not always easy to fit together all the relevant passages of Scripture. But these statements are very clear. Two things have to happen. There has to be the falling away, the apostasy. And as a result of the apostasy there has to be the emergence of the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, the antichrist. So, these two things must take place before the actual return of the Lord in glory. I pointed out that the word that's translated here 'falling away' in the New International Version is translated 'rebellion,' and it is actually the Greek word from which we get the English word apostasy.

So, there is to be not just apostasy but the apostasy. And the apostasy, the falling away from the truth of the church, will open the way, for the manifestation of the antichrist. You see, the great bulwark that protects the world from the antichrist is the church with the truth. But when the church falls away from the truth then the bulwark is broken down and the way is opened, for the antichrist to be revealed. So the falling away is part of Satan's strategy to open the way for the appearance of the antichrist. Now, everybody has to make their own personal decision but I could easily believe in fact, it's my personal opinion that we are living in the time of the apostasy.

You see, down through the ages in the history of the church there have been ungodly men who claim to be ministers of Christ and who led immoral and dissonant lives. Some of the popes were outstanding examples of that and not only the popes. But basically, the great body of the leadership of the church maintained the profession of the great central truths of the Christian faith which are stated basically in the Apostles Creed. I think I can state them myself as I understand them. That Jesus is the Son of God, that He was born of a virgin, that He led a sinless life, that He died an atoning death, that He was buried and that He was raised again from the dead physically on the third day. And also that He's coming again in power and glory to judge the living and the dead.

Now, as I understand it, throughout the centuries the church as a corporate entity has affirmed those truths. Even if people didn't really believe them in their hearts and even if sometimes the leadership led lives that were totally inconsistent with what they claimed to believe, they still affirmed those truths. But in this century and especially in the last few decades, leaders from almost every section of the professing church have openly and publicly reneged on those truths. I'm speaking in an Anglican church, and I'm grateful for the privilege. But, my impression is that a very large proportion of the bishops in the Anglican church today do not believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead. And this has certainly not only been denied but derided by bishops.

I don't say this as a reason for attacking anybody. And certainly there is no church that I know of that can point the finger at some other church because almost all the main denominations today contain leaders who have publicly denied that. Although the Catholic church officially maintains that there are within it many theologians, priests and others who don't believe it and who actually privately deny these truths. This, I believe, is the situation that has never existed in the history of Christianity from the 1st century until now. I don't believe it has come to a climax. I believe that it's going to be much more open and much more bold and even, in a sense, will deride those who claim to believe the statements that I've just outlined.

So I believe that we are at least in the early stages of the apostasy. And therefore I believe that the way is being opened for the antichrist, 'the' antichrist, to be manifested. You see, if you live in the Middle East, as we do, they always talk there about the three great monotheistic world religions. By which they mean Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Now, to Jewish people that's the view. There are three great monotheistic religions that originated in the Middle East. And in a certain sense, they lump them together. For us as believers in Jesus we can't see them lumped together. But, it's very possible that a world religion could emerge that incorporated elements of all three. There's only one obstacle. There's only one thing that can prevent that from happening. It's that awkward historical character Jesus. See?

He says I am the way, the truth, the life. Nobody comes to the Father but by me. That's offensive to most people today. So, if the spirit of antichrist could eliminate Jesus, the way would be open for a world religion that people could adhere to and be Jews, Moslems or professing Christians. Actually, there is a kind of pattern in freemasonry which is a religion. I don't want to go into that but it's a very specific religion and it has place for Jews, Hindus, Moslems, Catholics and all the rest. You see, religion is the strongest single power for influencing humanity. Far stronger than atheism. In fact, at the present moment atheism is really on the retreat almost all over the earth. In the Soviet Union, in large parts of China, atheism is practically written off. It doesn't have the power to motivate men and women permanently. But religion does. And so, the antichrist is not going to be irreligious. He's going to have some kind of religion which he uses to manipulate humanity.
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