1 John 2:18 & 19
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.
19 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.
We’ve been looking at one of the biblical types of antichrist: Saul; which is important because we live in a crucial age in history. Just as John disclosed as a part of his teaching, and revelation both Christ, and antichrist – even so throughout scripture, even intrinsic within the Gospel are the crucial elements for us to take warning from. It is not merely a point of eschatology.
As John the revelator declared in this passage above, concerning antichrist persons (of whom there is not one, but many – though surely there will be found the personification of it in the false prophet who will arise (whom John elsewhere calls ‘the beast from the earth’)), these are people who: ‘Went out from us…‘ (v.19)
According to John’s understanding of ‘antichrist’ it applied to people who had been followers of Christ, but departed. If they had been True followers of Christ they would have continued in the Lord, but they left following the Anointed one that it may be manifest that they were not of the congregation.
Is John’s revelation True? Of course – and we see this thing reflected in the life of Saul, the carnal king of Israel (and the king of carnal Israel…). As we’ve discussed, Saul was called, chosen, even anointed of God INDEED. Yet he went from following the anointing of God; he continued not in the faith, but digressed, and would not be renewed again to repentance.
‘For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.’
You’ll find that I warn people that it is possible to follow the example of Saul – it is possible for one to lose their salvation, and its essential for us to take warning of that. Yet we must neither assume that simply because we may struggle with sin have we gone so far. Saul met all the criteria described in the passage above – he had received the Holy Ghost as we do under the New Covenant, and then he REBELLED (he did not merely sin, which would readily have been forgiven – think of David’s transgression); Saul hardened his heart against God, and would not repent.
Samuel described the condition of Saul’s heart when he declared:
1 Sam 15:23 ‘For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.’
Saul not only rebelled, but he further clung stubbornly to his folly. He was rejected because he had heard, understood, believed, and then rejected God’s Word.
Yet on the outside, Saul retained all the appearance of a spiritual leader. This is the danger, and deception of the antichrist – because man looks on the outward appearance, while God sees the heart. Saul’s followers knew that he had been called, chosen, and anointed in times past – it was even said of him: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Sam 10:12) – but they could not see his heart. So the entire kingdom (the carnal kingdom) continued after Saul (the carnal king) because they could not see in the Spirit.
The man who COULD see in the Spirit (Samuel) knew from that moment (in 1 Sam 15) that the anointing had departed from Saul, and it pained and grieved him sorely. The Lord had to shake him from his mourning for Saul, and commanded him to go and find the Lord’s True anointed – the man whose heart would be right before the Lord.
Have you ever noticed that Samuel already knew that Saul was antichrist (that he despised the anointing unto the degree of murder)? When God sent Samuel to anoint David, Samuel objected, and declared:
‘How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me.’ (1 Sam 16:2)
This was no coward’s excuse; Samuel understood the full rammifications of Saul’s rejection as king. He knew that Saul had become antichrist, and would indeed kill the anointed one if he could. Samuel’s prophetic understanding of the situation held True, for Saul (the carnal king) would spend the rest of his life trying to kill David (the spiritual king… of spiritual Israel).
As I discussed in my last post, the root of Saul’s digression was the fear of man. The fear of man overrode the fear of the Lord in Saul’s heart.
Results of the fear of God: heed & obey His Word (1 Sam 15:22)
Results of the fear of man: stubbornly rebel against God’s Word (v. 23)
The root of the antichrist kingdom is the fear of man. He is the beast FROM THE EARTH (carnal, natural), his number is MAN’S NUMBER. (Rev 13:11 & 18) No one can be antichrist until they have 1st heard & rejected God’s Word. The supreme antichrist has been called, chosen and anointed by God, and then like Saul rejected Messiah (Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:1 & 14)); in rejecting the Word of God, Saul rejected Messiah and everything He stands for.
With all of the types of antichrist to be found in scripture, we can see two things: 1) they are carnal, and 2) they are envious of the righteous. This was the case with Cain, who was so carnal he could not understand why God accepted the offering of his righteous brother, and not his own. He seemed to think he could go on being as carnal as he was and get the blessing of God, too! So also with Esau, so carnal he would sell his spiritual inheritance to fill his belly, yet he so despised his brother taking the anointing that he sought to kill him!
Likewise, Saul eventually (not at the beginning) sought the approval of man above that of God, and envied the anointing on David to a murderous degree. He had tasted of the heavenly gift, knew what it was like, and knew that he should have it – this made him all the more jealous of the anointing on David.
The antichrist spirit is murderously envious of the anointing. In fact, at the death of Jesus, Pilate discerned this very thing in the murderers of THE Christ (the Sanhedrin murdered Christ (Matt 26:59; 27:1; Mark 14:1 & 55; John 11:53; 18:31; 35; Matt 27:25) it was not Rome, as some say, for Pilate (Rome) sought to release the Christ (John 19:12), found no cause in Him (John 19:4), and washed his hands of the murder of the innocent Man (Matt 27:24)), and made this very interesting statement to the antichrist system:
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
Ever notice, that Pilate specifically called Jesus ‘CHRIST’ to the Sanhedrin when he gave them the choice between He and Barabbas? Not only so, but the following verse verifies WHY he referred to Jesus as ‘CHRIST’ – because he knew that they sought to kill Him because of their envy. Remember, ‘Christ’ is the Greek word for Messiah, and Pilate had been set over the Jews; they fully understood each other, and he intentionally called Jesus their Messiah.
Like Saul, the Sanhedrin had been called, chosen, and anointed (see Numbers 11). Yet when Christ came they rejected the Word of the Lord – Pilate understood that it was due to envy that they sought to kill Jesus. The Sanhedrin, like Saul had become antichrist.
Speaking of the Sanhedrin, Jesus had declared:
5 “But all their works they do for to be seen of MEN…
6 [they] love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 And greetings in the markets and to be called of MEN, Rabbi, Rabbi.
28 Even so ye outwardly appear righteous unto MEN but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt 23:5,6,7 & 28)
Fear of man; murderous envy of the anointing.
The life of Saul (the type of antichrist) was the perfect foreshadow of the system of antichrist which actually murdered Jesus: the True system of antichrist. As Saul was called, chosen and anointed, rejected as king, and sought to murder David (the type of Christ), so the Sanhedrin was called, chosen, anointed; rejected as ruling (Matt 23) and did, indeed murder the ACTUAL Christ, fulfilling the prophecy of the Kingdom of David revealed in the life of Saul.
In the last days – in which we now live – the True kingdom of David (those who live by faith in Jesus, and are ‘Christians’ (little anointed ones) will need to take heed of the ancient religious system which was once called, chosen, anointed INDEED but has rejected the Word of the Lord for the fear of man. The offspring of Saul, the carnal king of Israel will hunt the offspring of David, the heavenly king of spiritual Israel.
Sequel post: Three Branches of Antichrist