[b]Characteristics of The Antichrist - Self-Exaltation & Lying (Series 2)[/b]
[i]by Zac Poonen[/i]
Lucifer became Satan by wanting to exalt himself to become like God, so that he could receive the worship of his fellow angels. The desire for worship is found everywhere today - in political circles, business circles and religious circles as well. In false religions, there are so-called god-men who are actually worshipped too.
In Christendom too, we find men who desire to exalt themselves over others by titles such as 'Reverend Father', 'Reverend Doctor', 'Pastor' - just like the Jewish 'Rabbis', whom Jesus condemned. At the root of all such titles lies the same Satanic desire for the worship of others. This is the same spirit that the Antichrist will have who will "exalt himself ... displaying himself as God" (2 Thess. 2:4).
This desire for the worship of others is also manifested in more subtle ways such as in the sending out of reports of one's work replete with statistics and photographs (usually with plenty of photographs of the leader preaching or praying, etc).
The desire to exalt oneself over one's fellow believers can also be seen in scheming to be an elder in an assembly, wanting to travel the world as a well known preacher, giving advice to others on various matters (even when they do not ask for advice!), criticising and passing judgment on the work of others as 'self-appointed censors' (Jas. 3:1 Amplified Bible), preaching beautifully arranged sermons for the honour of men, trying to prove oneself as a better preacher than another, imitating the gifts and ministries of others, justifying oneself when one has fallen in sin (Lk 16:15), and in other ways in which one seeks to get a name for himself.
We need to see clearly that all these desires and many more ugly ones lie dormant in our flesh, needing to be severely judged, if we are to be free from them. Only then can we have the authority and power to drive out this spirit of the Antichrist from the churches.
The Antichrist will deceive the world through "lying signs and wonders and the deception of wickedness" (2 Thess. 2:9,10). Satan is the father of all lies (Jn. 8:44). The child of God who tells a lie through his tongue is actually offering his tongue as a womb for Satan to conceive a lie. Lying is the one sin that all of us are experts at. We "go astray from birth, telling lies" (Psa. 58:3). There are various forms of lying such as telling half-truths, presenting only one side of the picture (when we want to justify ourselves), exaggerating the reports about our work or in the fantastic relating of incidents (such as is found in many Christian biographies these days, which simple believers often swallow without any discernment), feigning pain and sickness to get pity and sympathy for oneself, pretending to be generous or inwardly pure (when one is not), or relating incidents connected with prayer, fasting or casting out demons in order to give an impression that one is an expert in these matters. There are hundreds of possibilities of lying.
If you are defeated by sin but are honest about it and are mourning over the matter, there is great hope for you. But if you claim to have victory over sin or give others that impression through your preaching, and yet are defeated by it inwardly or privately, then be assured that the words of Jesus apply to you, "You hypocrites, how can you escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:33) - even if you claim to be a Spirit baptized believer.
Lying cannot be rooted out of our lives, unless we take a radical attitude against it every time we detect it in our lives. There are many who talk the language of holiness who has not taken a radical attitude against lying in their lives. The spirit of the Antichrist still has power over them, for they seek to justify themselves before men, but do not fear God who will bring every secret thing to judgment one day. Our assemblies must be places where liars of every sort must be ruthlessly exposed through the preaching of the word. It was thus that the antichrists were driven out in John's day and only thus will the antichrists be driven out in our day as well.
To be continued
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon