(In The Wrong Direction)
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
From the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s to the late 1940s following WWII, life changed very little in the tiny village of my birth. Most folks did well to eek out a living from truck patch gardening, and harvesting the products of milk cows, hogs, and chickens. Many worked in local strip coal mining that abounded in Sebastian County, Arkansas. However, the Bible was largely held in high esteem, and a fearful looking for of Antichrist was widespread. One major problem with that was they were looking for Antichrist in all the wrong directions.
The war caused rationing of goods and services needed for its support. Then, it was not uncommon to experience rationing stamps of sugar, gasoline, and auto parts to being named the “Mark of the Beast” produced by Antichrist. The next cry was over social security numbers.
Also, in those days, and especially in that place, there was no comprehension of Biblical heresy beyond the sawdust and tent meetings of holiness type folks with their so called speaking in tongues. The inroads of universalism, and ecumenism were unknown. So, was the vast importance of the Lord’s New Testament Church, and the role it must play in the heat of the last days. With cornfield plowing, circuit-riding preachers every first or fourth Sunday, and focus largely restricted to getting folks saved, the religious comfort zone of the times was largely undisturbed. Of course, this is the recall of a child growing up during those days.
The term “Antichrist” is found several times in the epistles of John. He emphasized that “. . . even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” I John 2:18.
To John in his day, it was the denial that Jesus was the Christ, and that He had come. That and kindred denials has grown exponentially. It is enlightening to consider that “Christ” is a Greek work transliterated rather than translated into English. It means “Anointed.” In the New Testament, two entities have been anointed: the Head of the body, and the body of the Head. That is: Jesus, the head of His body, the church, was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. It was appropriate then that His body which He put together in His earthly ministry should also be anointed if it is to carry on and represent Him throughout the age. That anointing of the body occurred at Pentecost, Act 2.
Therefore, counterfeit churches that oppose the teachings of the faith once delivered to the saints are in fact antichrist meaning those that are against the teachings and work of the anointed body. Folks of a generation ago were right to look for the work of Antichrist, but most of them were looking in the wrong direction. If the apostle John were to return to the 21st Century, I wonder how he would describe the myriad of anti-anointed or antichrists, presently. They abound as prophesied!