More than 3,000 years ago, Joshua had led ancient Israel into the Promised Land that God had prepared for them. But the Israelites were already beginning to forsake serving God and were inclining their worship towards the demonic gods of the surrounding cultures. How quickly they had forgotten the very first of God’s Ten Commandments given to them at Mount Sinai!
Jump ahead many centuries. After King Solomon’s reign, Israel divided into the northern ten-tribe nation that continued to be called Israel and the two southern tribes that were called the nation of Judah. Israel and its ten tribes failed to serve the true and living God, choosing rather to serve the gods of the nations around them, with catastrophic consequences. Israel was conquered by the Assyrians and went into the Assyrian Captivity in the 8th century B.C. They never fully recovered from it.
Judah did not learn the lesson of its northern neighbor. They too continued to move away from serving the Lord God, and the majority chose instead to follow the demon gods of the nearby cultures. Like Israel before them, they also went into captivity, being conquered and exiled in several waves by the Babylonian empire. That captivity lasted about 70 years, and Jerusalem and its temple of the Lord were destroyed.
Now let’s jump ahead again more than five centuries. God sends His divine Son Jesus into the world, born of a virgin:
A divine Son (“conceived…from the Holy Spirit”) would come to the world as its Savior, “to save His people from their sins.” He would be known as Immanuel, which Matthew translates for us, giving that Hebrew word’s meaning as “God with us.” His given name on earth was Jesus. Our English word Jesus traces back to a Hebrew word meaning that God/the Lord saves.
So much could be said about this Savior, this divine Son, Jesus Christ. As the apostle Paul wrote descriptively, Jesus is the very heart and focus of the Bible’s Gospel message:
Jesus Christ, the virgin-born Son of God, died on the cross to take our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead, so that we may in turn be saved, be born again, through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
With that eternity-affecting truth in mind, let’s now address our opening question: Will you worship Christ or Antichrist? You must decide! Your eternal destiny depends 100% on making the correct choice.
From His very birth Jesus received worship, even from non-Israelites — “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi [traditionally, wise men] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him’ ” (Matthew 2:1-2).
As an adult early in His ministry, Jesus walked on water and calmed the storm, also empowering Peter to walk on the water (Matthew 14:22-32). Back in the boat, those early disciples were so astounded that they “worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’.” (vs. 32)
After Jesus restored the sight of a blind man and sent him away healed, (John, ch. 9), Jesus found him later that day, and the grateful man declared, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped Him (John 9:38).
After His death, burial, and resurrection proved conclusively to His disciples that He was the divine Son of God, the heaven-sent Savior, He appeared to His followers and gave them His Great Commission. The Bible says, “They worshiped Him” (Matthew 28:17).
The writer to the Hebrews (1:6) recorded that “when God brings His firstborn [Jesus] into the world, He says, ‘Let all God’s angels worship Him’.” That is very revealing! God the Father orders that even the very angels are to worship Jesus the Son.
Revelation chapter 5 shows some of the residents of heaven falling down and worshiping both God the Father and “the Lamb” (His crucified, resurrected, and ascended Son Jesus) — they “fell down before the Lamb” (vs. 8) … “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped” (13-14).
How much does Jesus deserve honor and worship? He Himself answered this while on earth. In John chapter 5, the antagonistic Jewish leaders were opposing Him. They were especially angered that Jesus “was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (vs. 18). Sadly, even though Jesus is indeed true Deity, they chose not to believe that truth. John 1:1 emphatically declares: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
First, let’s define “antichrist” biblically:
John the apostle wrote 20 centuries ago that “even now many antichrists have come.” What did he mean? The verses just above give us some significant insights:
1) “Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ…is the antichrist.” The prefix anti means against. All who deny that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah and only Savior sent from God to redeem the world from sin are, by definition, “anti-“ or against Christ. There are multitudes like that on earth today whom God is calling to repent of that fatal error and to turn to Jesus Christ in faith for their salvation. Sad to say, many of those will, to their eternal loss in hell, fail to turn from being against Christ to receiving Him as their Lord and Savior. So in the broadest sense of the word, there are billions of antichrists in the world today.
2) Satan's demons are clearly against Jesus. Also there is a spirit, an attitude, that John describes as “the spirit of the antichrist.” He defines that as: “…every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus…is the spirit of the antichrist.” There is no neutral ground, no innocent place of agnostic indifference. Every living person either acknowledges Jesus — that is, is for Jesus — or is against Him. Jesus Himself said, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23). To be against Christ is to be anti-Christ.
3) John wrote further that “…you have heard that
A quick summary: Bible scholars generally agree that this “beast” of Revelation 13-14 is “the antichrist,” a phrase John had used in his epistle. The dragon Satan (Rev. 12:9) will give him great authority to rule in a reign of terror for 42 months in the end times. All over the world there will be those who worship the beast. Notice who those beast-worshipers will be: “all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb [Jesus] who was slain…” (13:8).
Those who choose to worship the antichrist will face eternal damnation: they will drink the wine of God’s fury (vss. 14:9f). They will be tormented with burning sulfur for ever and ever (14:10f).
The choice is yours. Every living person faces it. Will you worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ? Or will you worship and serve the antichristal, Christ-denying spirit and ways of the world? And if, as many Bible scholars believe, we are in the end times, the last days, will you choose 1) Jesus and eternal life or 2) the antichrist and eternal damnation, with the smoke of your torment rising for ever and ever?
The choice is clear. I made that choice as a young adult 51 years ago. I have never regretted a minute of that decision. Jesus saved me from the guilt and punishment due to my sins. He has given me a wonderful life full of His presence and His blessings (He’ll do the same for you too!). And best of all, He has clearly promised to all His followers that beyond this life we will enter the unimaginable glories of eternity in His matchless presence. As the apostle Paul declared, eternal life with the Lord is “better by far” (Philippians 1:23) than all this life can offer.
To my fellow Christians I say, to echo Joshua’s bold words, continue to “choose today whom you will serve…we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NLT).
To those whose heart God is touching to make an initial or renewed commitment to Jesus Christ, do it today! It will be the greatest decision you’ll ever make. And I can assure you by the words of Jesus Himself that, after your last breath on this earth you’ll hear His words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!…Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)
If you need some help in making that connection to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please let the late, respected evangelist Billy Graham help you
Check out our featured article: Who Is Jesus Christ? God? Man? Both?
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©2020, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
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Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.