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Who is Hindering
Authored By : Bill Kochman (aka The WordWeaver)
Published On : January 31, 1998
Last Updated : January 26, 2012
Defining The Antichrist, The Apostasy, The Temple Of God, Diana Of The Ephesians, Pope John Paul II And The Vatican
There is an old saying which says that if you want to start an argument, just mention the topics of politics, economics or religion. Friends have been lost, and families have been divided over differences of opinions stemming from the discussion of these three nasty beasts. No one wants to be told how to vote, how to spend their money, or what to believe in; and if you don't believe me, just offer some unsolicited advice and see if you aren't met with hostility. While I personally try to avoid the first two topics, there is no way I can avoid discussing religion; after all, over eighty per cent of my life has been dedicated to the study of the Scriptures.
If there is one thing which I know with a great deal of certainty, it is that there is a lot of disagreement within religious circles concerning the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. This is particularly true in the field of eschatological study, that is, the study and interpretation of Endtime prophetic events. It seems that the only thing which we Christians can agree upon, is that there is still so much that we don't comprehend; and believe me, there are many of us who are continually trying to understand the mysteries of God's Word. Personally, I have been devoted to trying to understand the prophetic mysteries of the Bible for close to thirty years. I feel that I have made considerable progress over the years, but even I must humbly admit that I still remain stumped by certain passages and prophetic events.
One topic of eschatology which has always been in the forefront of discussion is that of the revelation of the Antichrist. Many hours have been spent trying to properly decipher the Scriptures which describe this ominous Biblical character; and many papers have been written regarding the possible identity of, and the correct timing and place of appearance of this man on the stage of the Endtime. I myself have written extensively concerning him. A major part of the series "The Kings Of The North And The South" is dedicated to discussing him. For the sake of clarification, I define the Antichrist in the following manner in my article "Who Is Who?: Defining Important Endtime Terms":
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ANTICHRIST - I believe that the term Antichrist most appropriately applies to the Jewish False Messiah, that is, to "Moshiach ben David". I do not believe that the Beast and the Antichrist are the same person. In my view, the Beast will be a political/military foreign invader to Israel, while the Antichrist will be a Jewish-born political and spiritual leader. Not only will the Antichrist be against Jesus Christ, but he will seek to convince many that he is in fact Christ returned to the Earth, or possibly Jesus Christ come to the Earth for the first time in total contradiction to traditional Christian interpretation of the Scriptures. The term "antichrist" is introduced to us in the Epistles of John:
"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."
1 John 2:18, KJV
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
1 John 2:22, KJV
"And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
1 John 4:3, KJV
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
2 John 1:7, KJV
As can be seen, the overall meaning of the term antichrist, or antichrist, is anyone, or any spirit who denies the existence of God; and more specifically, anyone or any spirit who denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who has come in the flesh to redeem the world of sin. Notice that John gets even more specific by stating that even in his time the spirit of antichrist, and many deceivers, or antichrists, were already in the world. Exactly who were the primary culprits who denied the Divinity of Christ? Who were those who repeatedly fought against Christ and then tried to pervert the doctrines of the early Church? Again, the Scriptures provide a very clear answer. Notice what Jesus said to the Jews of His day:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
On two occasions in his writings, the Apostle Paul used the phrase "false brethren". On another occasion he used the term "false apostles":
"In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;"
2 Corinthians 11:26, KJV
"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:"
Galatians 2:4, KJV
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:13-15, KJV
It is a scriptural fact that the first Apostles, and the First Disciples which joined the Early Church were of Jewish origin. It wasn't until after Peter's revelation in the Book of Acts, and until the beginning of Paul's ministry that the First Disciples fully understood that Salvation was meant for both Jew and Gentile alike. A further reading of the Scriptures will reveal that these false brethren and antichrists mentioned by Paul and John were Christ-hating Jews who were still under the Law; and who entered the flocks of God feigning to be disciples in order to cause division, and to force circumcision and other aspects of the Mosaic Law upon the new Disciples. Paul issued a stern warning against them in his Epistle to the Philippians when he said:
"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision."
Philippians 3:2, KJV
Because they didn't truly accept the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as being all that was necessary to inherit Eternal Life, these antichrist Jews were trying to mix grace with works. While they claimed to be true Jews, Jesus Christ Himself via His angel sent to John in the Book of Revelation, tells us the exact opposite:
"I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan."
Revelation 2:9, KJV
"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."
Revelation 3:9, KJV
Thus, through these Scriptures, and many others which I have not even listed, we see that, while the term antichrist can be used in a general sense to describe anyone who rejects Christ, in those early days of the Church, it was used primarily to describe Christ-rejecting Jews who attacked Jesus, and then plagued his Apostles and Disciples wherever they went to preach the Word. Thus, in my view, it is very appropriate that the term "antichrist" should be applied in these Last Days to the coming Jewish False Messiah whom Orthodox Jews refer to as "Moshiach ben David". He will be the final revelation of the spirit of antichrist.
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Due to many descriptions in the prophecies of Daniel and the Book of Revelation, we have a fairly clear idea of how the political Beast and the religious False Prophet will operate once they are revealed. However, there are certain aspects concerning the revelation of the Jewish Antichrist which have eluded us. One point in particular is that of the identity of the one who is currently holding back the revelation of the Antichrist, or the Son of Perdition as he is also referred to by the Apostle Paul. I believe that a key chapter to understanding the revelation of this evil man is found in Paul's second Epistle written to the Thessalonians. Thessalonika was counted among the churches established by the Apostles during the First Century. It was located in what is still known today as Thessalonika, Macedonia, Greece. The second chapter of Paul's second Epistle begins with the following relevant information:
"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;"
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, KJV
As I explained in previous articles, Paul's concern in writing this chapter was that even back then, almost two thousand years ago, some of the Brethren were under the mistaken impression that the day of the Lord's Second Coming was at hand. Thus, Paul was attempting to restore their composure, while at the same time issuing a warning to them to not believe anyone who might voice such false teachings. As a sure sign that the arrival time of this evil spiritual leader is drawing near in our current day, Paul told the Thessalonian Disciples that there would come a "falling away" first. This phrase is derived from the Greek word "apostasia" which means a falling away, a defection, an apostasy. In this particular case, since we are dealing with a religious matter, it is believed that Paul was referring to a falling away from the Christian faith which we have inherited due to the faithfulness of Christ, the Apostles and their early followers.
The beginning of this Apostasy is clearly evident in our modern day; and can be observed in our governments, in our religious institutions, in our public school systems, in the various forms of mass media and entertainment industries -- including the Internet and the World Wide Web -- and in the absence of moral values being taught in our homes. In many quarters we are seeing a steady decline in faith in God and in His Holy Word, which has had a direct effect on the world around us. As explained in other articles such as "Science And Technology: The Forbidden Knowledge?", we are changing from spiritually motivated creatures, to creatures of invention, modern science, and technological wonders. We have replaced our faith in the One True God with faith in ourselves and our abilities to manipulate the world around us. Many have lost respect for the sacredness of life which has resulted in a massive increase in crime and violence, in the destruction and loss of both flora and fauna, in the pollution of our water, land and air, and even in evil man defining what constitutes human life and what doesn't. In short, man is playing "God", deciding who should live, and who should die; even for those who don't have a say in the matter.
For us Christians, perhaps the most evident sign of the Apostasy can be found in the attitudes of those we deal with in our daily lives as we try to remain faithful to the Lord by sharing His Word with others. A few verses which come to mind which clearly reflect the mentality of our current times are the following:
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
Romans 1:28-32, KJV
"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation."
2 Peter 3:3-4, KJV
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
2 Timothy 3:1-5, KJV
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:"
Ephesians 4:17-18, KJV
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Romans 3:11-18, KJV
It is in front of this spiritually dark backdrop that Paul tells us that the Son of Perdition will appear on the world stage. Once he does, what will be his agenda? Again, Paul makes it quite clear as we continue reading his sobering letter to the Thessalonians:
"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?"
2 Thessalonians 2:4-5, KJV
As the above verses reveal, this man, "Moshiach ben David", the false Jewish "messiah", is going to be so powerful, and so deceptive, that he will either be permitted by the Jews to sit in the Temple, or else he will forcibly place himself there, and will declare himself "God". As I pointed out in such articles as "The Kings Of The North And The South", some Bible students are convinced that this verse, and other like it, are describing the pope of Roman Catholicism. They believe that Rome, and Vatican City in particular, represents the center for the Endtime false religious system known as Babylon the Great Whore. However, as I have pointed out in a number of my articles, while this interpretation has a lot of merit, I am not fully convinced that it is the correct one.
In the above verse, the word "temple" is derived from the Greek word "naos", which is pronounced nah-os'. It is used forty-five times in the New Testament. My Greek lexicon states that this word is used to refer to the Temple at Jerusalem, but only to the sanctuary itself consisting of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. Upon reading this, I performed an examination of all of the verses in the New Testament where this word is used. I discovered that it is indeed true that "naos" is used to refer to the actual structure of the Jewish temple. This is also the word that Jesus used when He challenged the Scribes and the Pharisees to destroy His body:
"Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body."
John 2:19-21, KJV
The second Greek word translated as "temple" in the New Testament is the word "hieron", pronounced hee-er-on', which the lexicon defines as "a sacred place, temple, used of the temple of Artemis at Ephesus, used of the temple at Jerusalem". "Hieron" is used seventy-one times in the New Testament. A more expanded definition found in the lexicon states as follows:
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"The temple of Jerusalem consisted of the whole of the sacred enclosure, embracing the entire aggregate of buildings, balconies, porticos, courts (that is that of the men of Israel, that of the women, and that of the priests), belonging to the temple; the latter designates the sacred edifice properly so called, consisting of two parts, the "sanctuary" or "Holy Place" which no one except the priests was allowed to enter, and the "Holy of Holies" or "the most holy place" which was entered only on the great day of atonement by the high priest alone. Also there were the courts where Jesus or the apostles taught or encountered adversaries, and the like, "in the temple"; also the courts of the temple, of the Gentiles, out of which Jesus drove the buyers and sellers and the money changers, court of the women."
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This definition is quite accurate. My examination of the Scriptures where this word is used revealed that "hieron" indeed refers to the interior of the temple enclosure. In many of the verses I looked at, the phrase "in the temple" was used, or a similar phrase which clearly showed that the writer was referring to the interior of the temple. This is also the word used when Satan tempted Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple. As stated in the above definition, the only time "hieron" is used to mean anything else, is when it is used one time in reference to the temple of the Ephesian goddess Diana in Acts chapter nineteen. The Greek lexicon provides the following information regarding Diana, who was also known as Artemis:
----- Begin Quote -----
Diana = "complete light: flow restrained"
Artemis, that is to say the so called Tauric or Persian or Ephesian Artemis, the goddess of many Asiatic people, to be distinguished from the Artemis of the Greeks, the sister of Apollo. A very splendid temple was built to her at Ephesus, which was set on fire by Herostratus and reduced to ashes; but afterwards in the times of Alexander the Great, it was rebuilt in a style of greater magnificence.
----- End Of Quote -----
Thus we see that collectively, "naos" and "hieron" are used one hundred and sixteen times to refer to the Second Temple at Jerusalem. Only one time is "hieron" used to refer to something else. From this evidence, it seems to me that when Paul used the term "temple of God", this is the Temple he was referring to. Consider the audience he was addressing in his Epistle. It was primarily Jews who had been converted to Christianity, as well as some Gentiles who had begun to receive the Word of the Lord. In those days, when someone said "the temple of God", everyone knew that there was only one "temple of God" in the world; and that was the Temple at Jerusalem. As is evident in the Book of Acts, Jews from all over northern Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East would make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to worship at that one Temple, even though they had local synagogues in their places of residence. Consider this example of Paul's final persecution in Jerusalem by Asian Jews:
"And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,"
Acts 21:27, KJV
One final interesting point worthy of note is the following. Considering that the Second Temple would be destroyed about three years after Paul's execution, what would motivate him to write about "the temple of God"? I suspect that either through direct revelation from the Lord; or possibly from learning from those who had actually been with Jesus; or most likely from studying the Scriptures of the Old Testament, he knew that the Second Temple was going to be destroyed in accordance with Jesus' own words:
"And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down."
Matthew 24:1-2, KJV
Despite this fact, Paul knew that some day in the distant future, the Temple would be rebuilt in order to fulfill all of the ancient prophecies; even if it was the false temple of a false religion with a false messiah. After all, we know that the True Temple of the Lord is a spiritual building made up of living stones who are built upon the solid Rock foundation of Jesus Christ Himself. I have elaborated on this topic quite amply in other articles, so I will only mention a few key verses here:
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
John 4:21-24, KJV
"But he spake of the temple of his body."
John 2:21, KJV
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"
1 Corinthians 6:19, KJV
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
1 Corinthians 10:4, KJV
"If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,"
1 Peter 2:3-7, KJV
So again, when Paul used the phrase "the temple of God", I am relatively certain that he was referring to a rebuilt Jewish Temple, and not to St. Peter's Cathedral where the Roman Catholic pope sits upon his papal throne. Saint Peter's Cathedral didn't even exist back then, so it doesn't make sense that Paul would be referring to that since the Thessalonian Disciples wouldn't have the slightest idea of what he was talking about. He spoke and wrote in terms which he knew they would understand. The only way that I could possibly accept that John Paul II is the False Messiah, the Jewish "Moshiach ben David", would be under the following conditions:
1. If it is soon revealed that he is actually Jewish in origin and a direct descendant of David. Considering that he is Polish, this is a possibility. Remember, he is the first foreign pope to rise to the papal throne in literally hundreds of years.
2. If through some brilliant diplomatic negotiations, he resolves the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Considering the way he has assisted in bringing about the seemingly miraculous fall of oppressive regimes in certain countries, this could happen.
3. If he is one of the primary architects of a peace accord which will among other things, include the construction of the Third Temple and the resumption of the "daily sacrifice".
Short of fulfilling these requirements, I don't see how he could possibly be the one to sit in the Temple of God. One thing I do know for certain is that while there is a great deal of animosity between Rome and Jerusalem, it is an established fact that Vatican City has a keen interest in controlling Jerusalem, and already maintains light diplomatic relations with the city fathers due to the Christian churches and monasteries which are in Jerusalem.
In the following verses, Paul explains that this Son of Perdition, the Jewish Antichrist, is going to be extremely powerful; and that he will deceive many with the demonic inspiration of Satan himself by performing great lying wonders which many will be quick to believe:
"Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness 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 2:9-12, KJV
This is another reason why I reject John Paul II as the long-awaited Antichrist. Unless I have been asleep and have missed something somewhere, the pope has not performed any kinds of signs or lying wonders to prove that he is the "Messiah". Some might pose the weak argument that he is responsible for all of the supposed Marian apparitions occurring all over the world; however, I view such a thought as a desperate attempt to try to prove the unprovable. John Paul II is sick, and he is old. My current thoughts are that he will soon go the way of all flesh, and that the same speculations will then be attributed to his successor. As can be seen, whoever the Antichrist turns out to be, he will be received and heralded as a "savior" because people, and the Jews in particular, will have rejected the Truth of God's Word. They will welcome this demonic counterfeit with open arms because they despised and rejected the true Son of God almost two thousand years ago:
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Isaiah 53:3, KJV
"He came unto his own, and his own received him not."
John 1:11, KJV
Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.
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