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Chapter 54

Another Man

 

The Protestant Reformers of the sixteenth century had many differences of doctrine, but on one matter agreement was unanimous. They were convicted that the man of sin, the son of perdition spoken of by the apostle Paul, was the Papacy.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrigh-teousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:1ó12)

It was not only the Reformers of the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries who held such views, based firmly upon Scripture. This was the consistent conclusion of Protestantism even in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the nineteenth century English Baptist preacher, typified this view. He declared,

It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Anti-Christ, and as to what Anti-Christ is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the Popery in the church of Rome there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name . . . because it wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement, and lifts a piece of bread in the place of the Saviour, and a few drops of water in place of the Holy Ghost, and puts a fallible man like ourselves up as the Vicar of Christ on earth; if we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we loathe and detest their dogmas, and so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened, because we turn our faces towards Christ when we pray. (Michael de Semlyen, All Roads Lead to Rome?, Dorchester House Publications, England, 1991, p. 182)

Further, today, there are Protestants such as the Irish Baptist pastor now residing in the United States, Philip De Courcy, who perceptively stand by the incontrovertable evidence of Scripture as it delineates the characteristics of the antichrist. He has recently written:

As we shall see more fully in this chapter, Protestant dissent and disagreement was driven by doctrinal and Evangelical concerns over the person and work of Christ. In the mind of our Evangelical forebears, Romeís doctrine and practice undermined the four unshakable pillars of gospel truth: that men are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone based upon the revelation of the same in Scripture alone. It was their conviction that to Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) Roman Catholicism had added human and Church tradition. To Solus Christus (Christ alone) Rome had added the pope, Mary, the priesthood and the saints. To Sola Gratia (Grace alone) Rome had added human merit and the sacraments. To Sola Fide (Faith alone) Rome had added works and good deeds as a means of attaining eternal life. Therefore, the subsequent prevailing opinion in the light of these facts was that Rome, like the Judaizers in Paulís day, had corrupted and perverted the gospel, and was worthy of the anathema and reproach of all true Christians. (Gal. 1:5ó9; Phil. 3:1ó11) Rome, much like the Pharisees and Scribes of Jesusí day, had denuded the Word of God through layers of human tradition and had earned the scorn of Christ Himself. (Matt. 15:3, 6, 14) (Philip De Courcy, Standing Room Only, Ambassador-Emerald International, Greenville, South Carolina, 1999, pp. 3, 4)

We would be remiss if we concluded this book on such a theme. It is not the man of sin, the son of perdition which we would leave with you. It is a Man of an altogether different quality. It is the Author of the book of Revelation.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John. (Revelation 1:1)

That Man is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We have traced the remarkable accuracy of Bible prophecy in preparing faithful men and women for the end-time scenario. Christ in His great love has prepared us for that fearful time. Speaking of the ten horns, as we have seen, representative of the nations of Europe, Christ foretold,

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:12ó14)

Europe, undoubtedly through the European Union, will empower the Papacy in the Old World as the United States does in the New. This combined power will persecute Christís people and only those who are truly faithful will stand for their Lord at that fearful time.

But following the withdrawal of Godís mercy from the world just prior to His return, the nations of Europe will turn against the Papacy with an unrestrained bitterness.

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:16ó18)

It is from complicity with these terrible events that our God of love calls those still in the fallen churches of Babylon, to come out of false doctrine and practice; for He desires a people pure in heart and faith.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25ó27)

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. (2 Peter 3:14)

The eighteenth chapter of Revelation expresses Godís powerful plea to His people. It is Christ who calls us in most tender love and urgency to return to the pure faith and eschew the religion which pollutes the true faith with Satanic concepts.

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:1ó5)

This call rings down the ages as a siren blast of unprecedented piercing clarity. All will hear it, all will respond either with acceptance or rejection. Christís call is to "Come out of her [Babylon] my people."

Why does Christ represent Babylon in such telling terms? It is because of His great love and His reluctance to see any of His children lost.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

He has promised to uphold us during the times ahead. In the days in which literal Israel prepared to enter Canaan, the promised land, God assured them,

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Joshua 1:5)

He makes the very same promise to His people, spiritual Israel, as we prepare to enter our promised land, the heavenly Canaan.

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

We may know all these things. We may believe them in an intellectual manner, but unless that knowledge under the power of the Holy Spirit transforms our lives, we will stand culpable in the judgment for disobedience to that which God has revealed to us.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17)

May God search the heart of every reader and find a receptive response is our prayer. We are saved by grace (mercy) through faith. But God places a condition upon the bestowal of His mercy.

And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:6)

This is why He claims as His people those who obey.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

It is only such a people who will be the object of Satanís ire.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman [the church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

It is only such a man or woman who truly believes, as we have shown, for such will be born again, love God with the whole heart and love his neighbor as himself, keep the commandments in Christís strength, overcome worldliness, have victory over sin and have the faith of Jesus. Only those possessed of such a character will be safe candidates for heaven, where sin will no longer pollute.

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

May God endow you, the reader, with such love for Him, such courage in adversity and such fidelity to His truth. In the glorious Kingdom of God, we will see our Redeemer face to face and, with hearts full of gratitude, thank Him for His great salvation. In that day the trials of this life will be nought when compared with the glories and joys of heaven.

 


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