Explorations in Theology

The series explores a theology that is human friendly! Jesus as the true human shows us who God is, and because of his consideration for us ('who are we, that God should make note of us?') defines who humanity was created to be. The nature of sin is to fall short of the glory of God. The glory of God as revealed in the truly human one - 'we beheld his glory full of grace and truth'. This volume is a foundation for the other volumes. And there are ZOOM groups available...
Volume 2 Significant Other and Volume 3 A Subversive Movement now also available!
El libro electrónico (en Español) también ya está disponible
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So go on... you know you want to!!! Order a copy Boz Publications

No, not future, and yet of course maybe

There could be one, but!

I do not believe the Bible prophesies that there will be a future antiChrist. Interestingly, for example, Hal Lindsey has a chapter on the antiChrist in his book ‘Late Great Planet Earth’, but nowhere does he quote the verses (all in 1 John) that actually use the term ‘antiChrist’ in that chapter! The teaching of a future antiChrist has to put together ‘man of lalwlessness’ and ‘false prophet’ alongside each other and then suggest somehow that is what John was referring to.

In John the use of the term is of a spirit that ‘denies the Father and the Son’. If there was some early expectation of ‘an antiChrist’ we also have the very real issue that anything future in the NT we would have to show is still future for us – cf. the man of lawlessness was future for Paul’s readers in Thessalonians, one of his early letters, but is fulfilled in the entry to the Temple in Jerusalem in AD70… the sacrilege that brings desolation (from Daniel referring to Antiochus Epiphanes, and to AD70 that Luke helps decipher the biblical language with ‘armies surrounding Jerusalem).

Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But by going out they made it plain that none of them belongs to us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and all of you have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and you know that no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also (1 John 2:18-23).
And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world (1 John 4:3).

Could there be a future ‘one-world-ruler’? Yes, there could. Could we quote many Scriptures to show what kind of person that was, once he (and more likely to be a ‘he’ than a ‘she’) was visible? Yes indeed… in the same way that Judas Iscariot was a example of a friend who betrayed and the OT Scripture was quoted to show what was going, an OT Scripture that did not prophesy Judas’ existence.

A one-world-government. OH yes. That is / and was always the conflict we are caught up in. The do-not-eat of that tree set up the conflict; it set powers in place that have always been pushing for a full manifestation of such a scenario. The tower of Babel is another wonderful story that illustrates so much that gives us hope – God had to come down to see this big tower that was reaching into heaven (the irony is not to be missed) and the unimpressive project remained unfinished. Add to that the day of Pentecost and the reversal of the God-set boundary and we should really not have too much to be worried about. Pentecost was to release the imagination of a new world, one shaped from heaven and manifesting on the earth… seems we have been keen to reverse that with the fear of a big ever-getting-badder world with our only hope to escape. (Now what was that prayer of Jesus? The prayer connected to glory? I think it might be something like ‘I pray you do not take them out of the world’?)

Loads to imagine and yet! We as body of Christ have not really got hold of living counter-culture to the world. Where there is active persecution (thankfully) the church has sought to be true in their allegiance and suffered enormously. None of that goes unnoticed and is certainly ‘adding to the afflictions of Christ’; but in the more comfortable West we have so often retreated to ‘we’ve lost our privileges (Christendom) and want them back so we can rule (have our way)’. That does not add to the afflictions of Christ, but rather inflicts suffering on those we are here to bless… Christ-like or antiChrist-like? To deny the Father and the Son probably has some element of not acknowledging their true core identity: not surprising as the ‘fall’ was a desire to be like the god they imagined, not living out their true humanity, that is truly God-like.

We really should have a critical eye open to the mark of the beast, not as some implant or tattoo but as an ever-present reality. I guess if we could have transported someone from the first Century to our day and explained to them how our economic system works they would freak out with thoughts of 666 flashing in neon lights through their heads. Part of the freak might be simply the inability to come to terms with the huge change in the past 2 millennia, but part of the freak I suspect might be justifiable biblically. Just as Babylon is always present, and is always incomplete, we should not totally freak out ourselves, but we do need our eyes open. Following Jesus does not start with a set of private beliefs with no impact on our lives; indeed for a certain rich young ruler it was to begin with a change to his bank account!

Conscience, yours is not mine; convictions, yours are not mine; honest assessment, honest over where I am compromising, and then honestly asking if it is in order to move today closer to tomorrow (redemptive) or is my compromise submitting tomorrow to that one-world-government reality.

I am so glad that (as I see it) AD70 sets such a wonderful ceiling to the vast majority of the NT, saving me from speculation, fearfully trying to avoid the world to stay clean, but anchoring me in the questions of ‘OK Martin so how are you going to live then’ – much more relevant that a future antiChrist, are the questions of whether I am more Christ-like or antiChrist-like. I am not called to avoid antiChrst as a person; I think I am instructed to avoid imbibing of antiChrist at all levels.

Maybe I should add I do see one book that goes beyond the AD70 scene; the ‘cartoon’ book of Revelation, probably the best critique of power that has ever been, after all it is an unveiling, taking away the facade, the mask. Written to minority groups within the huge matrix system of the day, the only time a Babylon has been manifest to that level, truly one that was the machine that enabled that era to be labelled as ‘the fullness of times’ giving all the oikoumene (inhabited, civilised world) into the hands of the ‘devil’. Thank God that in Jesus the offer of taking that over was refused. His kingdom is not of this world(-system / -order). Never was, never is, and never will be – the will be bit is a challenge to a lot of eschatology. Years ago I read the Reconstructionist writings. Turn the other cheek was explained as simply a response that was necessary now, but then… there will be another response. That teaching (by non-charismatics) influenced so much of charismatic theology in the decades post-80s. Jesus, ‘the Coming King’, but not king as you know it.

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