Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
1 John 2:18-24
The power of the anti-christ is not just about coming against Christ as much as it is about attempting to replace Christ Jesus with some other thing, possibly even under the same name.
If we consider the tabernacle, and the progression of Nicolatianism, to Balaamism, to the Jezebel doctrine, as presented by William Branham in his exposition of the seven church ages, we see a particular pattern.
As the Holiest place was characterized by the glory, and the headship of the Lord, the first thing that is removed from a church is the glory. Once the glory is removed, the headship is replaced by man’s wisdom, the hierarchical and organizational structure that appeals to the flesh of men. This is the first necessary step, even as contradicting the Lord Jesus’ commands that we are all brothers, and are to put no one above ourselves except for Himself, who is the head of every man.
And, while there are shepherds, teachers, apostles, prophets, and evangelists, there is never the veneration of a man, only the God in the man. While God has given offices to men, it is not to place one over the other, but rather to serve. This basic substitution is essential for the replacing of Christ, for the instituting of a false church.
When Christ is removed from the head of the church, it becomes something else. While some ministry may continue to function, the parts of the man’s soul who leads such an organization, not being a vessel of the Spirit but taking some of the glory for himself, becomes like the clouds blocking the sun. The true light and glory of the Spirit are blocked by him, and true leadership, Jesus Himself, is limited in His ability to direct and guide His flock, through even the vessels He has chosen to do so.
The church, when it no longer goes forth into the glory, stagnates, turns back to fleshly methods, until that connection with the glory and the light of Heaven is restored. There is no other road, other than repentance, faith, and pressing on to the mark of the high calling of God.
Next, however, if this doesn’t happen, is the corruption of the body itself. Even while the headship is corrupted and the glory is stopped, there still be the light of the Holy Spirit, the ministering of His seven-fold Spirit, and the congregation of the body (the shewbread). There can still be true ministry, even that of intercession, just short of the veil. But, as the congregation is bound to the organization, true faith is corrupted and replaced by something else. True faith in the invisible (the Holy place is indoors, signifying the walk of faith) is replaced by creeds, dogmas, and organizational strategies, again, what can be seen, and the truly unseen, Eternal reality of heaven is replaced or misunderstood not as a current reality, nor God as someone that can be known, but as a distant, far away, thing, replaced instead with a creed, bylaw, and religious institution, which leads to hell.
This corruption, as William Branham observed, comes largely from the substitution of the Word with other things, hence robbing the true believer of the only thing Biblically that brings faith, for Faith comes by Hearing, and Hearing by the Word of God.
When the true, pure Word of God is removed from the people, they are left with nothing but a soulish, empty form, with none of the real presence of God. Some may still come in at times, for the bit of Word that is realized can still bring faith, but like the Glory, true faith is replaced by organizational agreement, and cast out of the synagogue, making it a synagogue of satan.
Then, finally, the Jezebel doctrine comes into play, replacing even the outer courts, or the outward acts of the man Jesus Christ. There is still a claim of headship, although it is not the glory. There is still a claim to the anointing, to prophecy, and to the gifts, but it is by baal and it is not faith. But, here, the whole person of Christ, and His actual works are replaced by something else. Because they cannot match the scale and quality of the works of Jesus, false religion often relies on doctrine and tradition, even converts, or the few prophecies or healings they do manage to produce. But, they are not His at this point, and these signs, even if they are done in the Name of Jesus, are lying signs and wonders, because they do not point to the Tabernacle, even Jesus Christ, the Eternal God and Savior.
Truth is a person. It is not a set of rules or doctrines supposedly concocted from the scriptures, although out of the true Context which is of His flesh. And, when the truth that you espouse does not look like the person who came, gave, died, and was risen from the dead, for love, for mercy, for grace, and for truth, it is anti-christ, it is false, and it is rotten to the core.
But, at the end of the matter, when you look at what is left, though they have a form of the tabernacle, with each part represented, each is replaced with man, so that man does what he wants, and hears not the voice of the Lord, but is condemned, damned, and lost, even while he claims Christ.
For, not every one who says unto Him, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom, but only those that do the will of the Father (Matthew 7:21). To the sincere, those who with honest hearts, seek the Lord, and know Him as who He is, He is always there. But, to those who would be confident in themselves, and in their institutions, and even in their teaching ministries, but do not know Him, His precious, sweet touch, and His wonderful, awesome greatness, they are merely burnt out forests and riverbeds in which no water runs.
His path is life, it is peace, and it is complete. In Him is fullness of joy, and His right hand are pleasures forever more. He is a good God, and everything He does is good.