(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!
THE NUMBER IS 666
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” Rev. 13:18.
Much speculation, mostly quite wild, surrounds this verse of scripture, particularly among those not noted as biblical scholars, but as ones given to sensationalism, either for their own pleasure or for the captivation of attention of those less informed than they. So, dare we protrude into that speculative world, or may sane, sensible, understanding prevail which is in total harmony with all the rest of the 66 books of holy writ? Let’s think about it!
“Beast” in prophetic terms, and often in modern vernacular as well, refers to government, the organizational direction of nationalities. “Man” in this verse of scripture is not in the ancient Greek of the New Testament,“aner,” a man, but “Anthropos,” “mankind, species.” “Wisdom” is the proper application of knowledge. With this information, a literal translation of the ancient Greek is offered. “Here the wisdom is, the one having the mind (to spiritually calculate) let him pebble (count) the number of the wild beast, for it is number of humankind, and the number of it is 666.”
Are you thinking with me?
What is the number of humankind? Biblical numerics consistently place it as six. On the sixth day mankind was created; hence, it becomes its number. But what may be said about the plural number? It is this. Mankind was made in the image of Almighty God, his creator. God is a trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Therefore mankind was made to be triune creatures. Every person possesses an intellect after the similitude of the Father, a body after the similitude of the Son, and a very real spirit after the similitude of the Holy Spirit.
Thus, in the affairs of men values and principles are constantly under assault by the demands of humanism (natural man in his sinful state). Often, changes occur that are unbiblical, immoral, and downright evil. At last, the world of mankind will, by the grace of God, arrive at its ages-long quest: to have a world devoid of any vestige of God. Thus, the final expression of human government will be totally Godless in mind, body, and spirit (666) and the masses of such men will gladly usher in its ultimate leader: THE MAN OF SIN.
So, the knowledge of the Word affords us the wisdom to know that the beast (government) which will finally emerge as the crown jewel of humankind will be humanistic in mind, body, and spirit: 6, and 6, and 6. Can that day be far away?
Author: W. A. Dillard
Our dearly beloved apostle, John wrote: “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.” I John 2:18. Now, hold on just a minute! What is he saying? What does he mean? Think with me!
Since “ …man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Luke 4:4, it is imperative that every word of God be thoroughly understood to have correct theology and proper discipleship. Therefore, we observe that “antichrist” is a compound word. “Anti” is a prefix meaning “against; opposite in the negative.” “Anti” in this case does not necessitate harshness, but simply a mild twisting of the truth into error, and propagating it as truth. Moreover, “Christ” is a Greek term transliterated into English. It means “anointed.” So, the apostle John is telling us that there are many who are anti (the) anointed in the world already in his time. Of course, that number has been multiplied exponentially over the last two thousand years.
Now we follow with a proper application of the compound term that is totally in harmony with all the rest of the Word of God. Greeks would use the term “Christ” while Hebrews would use the term “Messiah.” Hence, the meaning of these terms go deep into Hebrew history. The anointing of a new king or high priest was accomplished with a public ceremony wherein oil was poured over the head of the designated person. In scripture, oil is consistently symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Upon the anointing with oil, the Holy Spirit empowered the one anointed with sufficient wisdom and power to properly fulfill the office for which he was being installed.
In the New Testament, only two entities were anointed with the Holy Spirit, imparting to them the power to fulfill their designated roles. Those two are the Head of the body, and the body of the Head. Specifically, these are Jesus, the Head of His body, the church, at His baptism, and His body, the church, on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2. The Head of the body, and the body of the Head stand for the same principles. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life while the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, and it is the propagator of the faith once delivered to the saints in and through the Head.
Finally, if every word of God is important, and is true (which it is), and if the anointed body of Jesus is heaven’s agency on earth standing for and propagating that word and its truth, then it follows that every institution and person on earth seeking to pervert, deny, and twist that word and that truth out of its context to make it seem to say something it does not is indeed antichrist. Truly, many antichrists are here, and they will play a significant role in propelling THE COMING MAN OF SIN into international prominence. Therefore while it is today, call on the name of the Lord in repentance from sin, then walk in faith in the anointed Head and body instead of one of the many antichrists.