It’s all Greek to me. Or Hebrew. Or perhaps some lovely Shakespearian English. Regardless, things can get lost in translation and communication is hard sometimes. This much is true. Then there is the KJV bible, you know, the only authentic one, the very same version the Apostle Paul himself used?
Just a joke people, no need to send me a sternly worded letter.
Regardless, on another blog I distressed a friend by speaking of “antichrist,” defined as being “against Christ.” In the ancient Greek it seems, in some word translations, “anti” can mean something more akin to “instead of,” and not necessarily “against.”
(I speak of the spirit of antichrist, not the evil guy you often see in Hollywood movies, hell bent on world domination, passing out the mark of the beast.)
I don’t wish to sound unkind, but such things just make me wail in despair. Have we become so post modern, so trapped in virtual reality and moral relativism that we really believe there is some distinct difference here, some safe place between “instead of” and “against?”
To be “against Christ” or “instead of Christ” is the very same thing! There is no middle path, no place where you can go and hover in limbo, to be “not really against Christ” just kind of, “instead of Jesus.” Or as a gal told me not long ago, “I believe in God, just not your God.” She too was like, I’m sure your God is a very nice God, I’m not against Him, I just believe something else instead.
Yeah, that’s simply antichrist. I’m not intending to be unkind at all, it is just that “there is only one path to the Father.” You’re either walking on it or you are not. If you are not, well, He is full of grace and mercy and there are thousands of people ready and willing to lend you a hand so you can climb out of the sticker bushes.
But never mind non believers, antichrist is also a bit like what comes over Peter when he draws his sword and lops off a man’s ear. He objects to God’s plan, He tells Jesus, “Far be it from You, Lord! This shall never happen to You!” And Jesus replies, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
I would imagine Peter was full of all sorts of good intentions, noble reasons, a desire to protect Jesus whom he loves, but just the same his actions and words are “antichrist,” as in being against Christ, as in objecting to the will of God, as in holding dear a plan of his own that is “instead of” what Jesus wants.
There is virtually no difference between being “against” God and having a plan that is “instead” of God. And surely all of us have been there and done that dozens of times ourselves?! Well, I certainly have anyway, sometimes without even being aware of it.
Nature abhors a vacuum. You turn out the lights and the dark just rushes in.
I’m kind of one of those cheerful people who would just as soon comply and forget about it, but I can’t in this case because it’s just too important. I have to double down and insist that being “against the Lord” and having a will that is “instead of the Lord” is the very same thing.
I suppose religiosity may have distorted this message, legalism may have led people to believe they can never be “against God” or that an antichrist spirit belongs only in the realm of false prophets and wolves disguised as sheep, but that isn’t it at all, it is about us.
It is about us, meaning we need to realize the bible is addressing us personally. So many people are still trying to reject the nature of themselves and to try to earn the Father’s love. I’m not really “against Christ,” I’m just sometimes, “instead of Him?” Forget it, it just doesn’t work that way.
In order to embrace the Lord’s grace and to receive His love and wisdom, you have to see the antichrist parts of yourself. You have to see how you have chopped off a man’s ear and denied Christ three times before the rooster crows. We have to stop fearing the Lord’s rejection and stop hiding who we really are.
And in His grace He will simply say, just as He said to Peter, “Peter, do you love me?”