Recently (before I got off topic a bit) I wrote about the antichrist. As a starting point to ping pong my ideas off of, I used the writings of Joseph Salmon, Andrew Murray and Eckhart Tolle. (I’m pretty sure nobody comes here just to read what I have to say so I try to draw my ideas and examples and views from a wide source of references…different paradigms etc.) Another modern day writer…who I have mentioned and quoted quite often on this blog….also has a lot to say about (the) antichrist. He most definitely has more in common with Joseph Salmon than Eckhart Tolle. He would be more inclined to warn us that Tolle’s writings are a counterfeit. I would disagree, but even so there is a lot to learn about the concept of the christ within and the carnal man “without” from Eby.
The following excerpt begins with the question..…who are the antichrists (and John says there are many...right then and there in their midst….
Jn. 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour: and as you have beard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; wherefore we know that it is the last hour.
And so this “last hour” has been going on now for roughly two thousand years (give or take a few) and antichrists have been proliferating within the church…and the world.
First the question:
But who are they, what are they, and how do we recognize them?
And then Eby’s thoughts on the matter….
First, let us consider the meaning of the word. It comes from a compound Greek word made up of the preposition "anti" and the Greek word for Christ which is "Christos". "Anti" is a Greek word meaning "opposed to" or "instead of" or both of these meanings. The Greek word "christos" means "anointed". When "anti" is compounded with a noun signifying an agent of any kind, or functionary, the compound signifies a vice-functionary, or a functionary of the same kind opposing, or sometimes both. Some apply only the first meaning - a person "against" Christ. But this would not be a very specific point of identification. Millions of people have been against Christ. Paul, before his conversion, was "against" Christ. The Jews, pagans, communists, and members of non-Christian religions of all kinds have been against Christ. But such a broad application of the word could not be what was meant by John. His description is far more definite than this!
When John spoke of certain people which were a type of antichrist which was to come, he did not refer to all opposers of Christ. Instead, he referred to a certain class of people - apostates who were teaching things that were contrary to the revelation imparted by the Holy Spirit! These were not openly against Christ, they were professing Christians and apparent ministers of Christ! Therefore we find that the word "antichrist" properly signifies one who opposes, or one who sets himself up appropriating some of the attributes of Christ. That is, antichrist would appear as Christ and by so doing would actually be AGAINST Christ - usurping that place that rightly belongs to Christ alone! Anything that is placed INSTEAD OF Christ, is literally antichrist. We have contained and practiced a lot of attitudes, ideas, beliefs, doctrines, rituals, ceremonies, sacraments, ordinances, religious forms, babylonish traditions, which have TAKEN THE PLACE OF TRUTH AND REALITY in our lives. These may have contained bits and shades of truth and life, but they WERN'T THE LIVING REALITY OF CHRIST HIMSELF at all! They were shadow, but not substance; form, but not essence. Any little form of SUBSTITUTION that detracts from HIS INDWELLING LIFE is ANTICHRIST.
If at any time we accept an "instead of" rather than HIS WORD AND WILL AND LIFE WORKING WITHIN US, we have accepted that which is "antichrist". It is not merely that which is in direct opposition to Christ, but also includes anything, which of itself might be good, but is used INSTEAD OF Christ. And, beloved saints, the battle is not so much an outward one, but an INNER CONFLICT, until we are so cleansed by His blood, so purged of babylon's spirit and ways, that CHRIST IN US becomes our ONLY hope of glory! Praise God, the consuming fire of the dealings and processings of God in our lives is being, used to remove all these "substitutes" and "counterfeits" and bring us down to the true and only reality found in the LIVING CHRIST.
Now even though Eby is a bit more modern in his wording of things….he pretty much says the same thing Joseph Salmon was saying way back in 1647. Antichrist is not so much a person…but more of a spirit. The spirit of antichrist…and not just against Christ, but instead of. We see that all over the place…and one might argue we especially see it in organized religion. Looking “without” for what dwells “within.”