FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
February 7, 20
Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain?– Part XVI
The Counterfeit before the True Revival of Primitive Godliness
See Matthew chapter 23, particularly verses 37, 38. With tears in His eyes and voice, after His woeful pronouncement to His own people who had corporately rejected Him whom all the Old Testament prophets and John the Baptist himself pointed to and baptized as verily the promised Messiah (which final actions resulted in them being cut off as the chosen people at the end of the seventy-week prophecy of Daniel 9: 24-27), Jesus departed from their temple for the very last time, saying, “Verily I say unto you, there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
They listened in initial disbelief because, like the rest, they also embraced the popular errors that their religious leaders had long perpetrated: (1) a reinvented Messiah (2) their temple was invincible and indestructible. “As He sat upon Mount Olivet, the disciples came to Him privately,” asking a two-part question regarding the devastating truth He just told them: “Tell us (1) when shall those things be, and (2) what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and the end of the world.” Matt. 24: 1-3. They clearly connected Christ’s second coming with the end of the world. And they were right.
Christ gave them a list of things that all spiritual watchmen today should take heed as an accountable charge, first of which, was, “Take heed that no man deceive you,” followed by “for many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ [also claiming to be Christ’s vicar on earth after His ascension instead of the Holy Spirit]; and shall deceive many.” Verse 4, 5. Read the rest of the chapter up to verse 51. In his “little epistles” bearing his name, John reveals and explains the name Antichrist and what it clearly refers to.
Christian Edwardson puts them forth clearly:
“The name ‘antichrist’ is found in only three chapters of the Bible, and in every instance it was emphatically stated that he wasalready in the world. We read:
‘Ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists . . . 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 18, 22. ‘This is the spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even already is in the world.’ 1 John 4: 3.
‘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 7. How can anyone, in the light of these plain texts, say that the antichrist here spoken of is not yet come, when the very texts declared that he is here already.’
“These texts also reveal the fact that the apostle did not believe to be only one individual, but rather and antichristian tendency in the church: and organization dominated by ‘the spirit of antichrist;’ having a man at its head, so that when he died another would take his place, and the antichristian system would continue. Thus there would be ‘many antichrists,’ as the apostle says, but only onesystem; and this system had already made such progress before the apostle died, that it was about to capture the church.
Its leaders would not accept the Apostle John, one leader ‘forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.’ 3 John 9, 10. This accounts for the warnings in John’s epistles against these ‘many antichrists.’ – Facts of Faith, p. 196, (Revised), Southern Publishing Association, Nashville , TN ( U.S.A. ), 1943. John died during the reign of Roman emperor Trajan, A.D. 98-117. Toward the close of his life he wrote the book of Revelation and also the Gospel and the 3 epistles bearing his name.
Satan, means “adversary,” from the Hebrew “to cherish animosity.” The transliterations of the Hebrew and Aramaic to the Greek is satanas. The Septuagint translators had it diabolos, “slanderer,” “accuser,” devil,” “the great adversary of God and man (Rev. 12: 7-12), otherwise commonly called the devil (Matt. 4: 10, 11; Rev. 12: 9), Beelzebub (Matt. 12: 24), Belial (2 Cor. 6: 15), the tempter (Matt. 4: 3), the enemy (Matt. 13: 39), the evil one (ch. 13: 25), the adversary ( 1 Pet. 5:8), and the deceiver (Rev. 12: 9).
Satan’s first recorded act on earth was, in the guise of a serpent, then the most beautiful animal before it was cursed (Gen. 3: 14), was to deceive Eve by subtility to distrust God’s goodness and wisdom, doubt His word and warnings, and thus reject His authority. She, in turn, caused the fall of her husband (Gen. 3: 1-6; 1 Tim. 2: 14). “No lie is of the truth.” 1 John 2: 31. “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” Prov. 12: 22.
Since he was cast down to earth when he and his angels lost the first war against Christ and his angels (Rev.12: 3, 7-9) , Satan has, through his agencies, counterfeited all the vital truths essential to salvation, particularly the Decalogue as the eternal and immutable foundation of His government in heaven, on earth, and throughout the universe, the real nature the controversy, and the plan of redemption of the Gospel—we must expect that he will counterfeit the real revival and reformation of the final global movement under the power of the Latter Rain. Thus the church is warned:
“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children [in the Latter Rain].
At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. [See Revelation 18: 1-5]. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths, which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming.
“The enemy of souls desires to hinder this work; and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it by introducing a counterfeit.
“In those churches which he can bring in his deceptive power he will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.
“In many of the revivals that have occurred during the last half century, the same influences have been at work, to a greater or less degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to deceive.
“Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God’s word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God’s blessing is not bestowed. And by the rule which Christ Himself has given, ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits’ (Matthew 7: 16), it is evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God.” – E. G. White, Great Controversy (1911), pp. 464, 465.
The original apostolic revival of “primitive godliness” referred to here was during and after the 120 disciples received the Former Rain on the Day of Pentecost, recorded in the Book of Acts. Revelation chapters 2 and 3 describes the church’s history during the remainder of time represented by seven churches in Asia . The first period was called Ephesus , meaning, “first, or desirable.”
Indeed it was as long as any of the apostles were still alive. John the beloved, the last survivor, who moved to Ephesus , was the patriarch of the church in Jerusalem . John died during the reign of Emperor Trajan (A.D. 98-117). Toward the close of his life he wrote the book of Revelation and also the Gospel of John and the 3 epistles that bear his name.
“Primitive” here means “of the earliest times;” “original;” “primary”—not “uncivilized” or “savage.” Evolution teaches that “humans are primates of the family Hominidae, and that the human lineage diverged from the last common ancestor with its closes relative, the chimpanzee!” Lord have mercy! Man was created in the image and likeness of his Creator but through transgression has fallen lower and lower in the worth of moral scale and physical stature. The glorious plan of redemption was designed to reverse all these!
Biblical godliness is genuine righteousness by faith in Christ. “Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God; and ‘God is love.’ [1 John4:16]. It is conformity to the law of God; for ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness’ [Ps. 119:172]; and ‘love is ‘the fulfilling of the law [Rom. 14:10]. Righteousness is love, and love is the light and life of God. The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ.
We receive righteousness by receiving Him.” -Sons & Daughters, p. 304. The righteousness which Christ taught is conformity of heart and life to the revealed will of God.”- Desire of Ages, p. 310. “Exact obedience is required and those that say that it is not possible to live a perfect life throw upon God the imputation of injustice and untruth.”- MS 148, 1889.
How is Christ’s righteousness specifically obtained by “faith which worketh by love” (Gal. 5: 6)? – “When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with his heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garments of His righteousness.” – Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 312.
(Continued next week).