31 December 2022 Anno Domini (New Year’s Eve)
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“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. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” (1st Epistle of St. John 2:18-23; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
I have chosen only the first six verses of today’s lectionary text on 1 John 18 since far greater space would be needed to cover the entire text. Antichrists have been with us from the beginning of the Gospel and will continue in our midst until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though antichrist may be identified as an individual man, he may also be represented as institutions and governments. It is fairly simply to recognize antichrist governments such as Communist China, North Korea, Venezuela, and, more increasingly, even our own government in the United States that wish to ban Christian prayer, Holy Days, and religious conviction.
We cannot claim a belief in God and yet deny His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. But Jesus Christ keeps getting in the way of the religious and government agenda. If only that ‘Stone of Stumbling’ which is Christ could be removed as an impediment to their global, Tower-of-Babel, ambitions! “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Peter 2:7-8)
The Lord Jesus Christ even keeps getting in the way of many mainline churches who deny His Word and are turned to open rebellion to it. They seek social respectability and a presumed ‘sophistication’ to the simply obedience required of the Church and people of God.
We are about to embark upon a new year. It may be a landmark year in which the Holy Spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters of America, as He did in Genesis 1:2 at the beginning of Creation and restores our faith and obedience to Him; or, it could otherwise be a year in which we sink so deeply into the abyss that recovery without an awful judgment is impossible. There was a time in the apostacy of Israel that restoration became impossible and hard bondage in Babylon was the result. The ‘red-line” of God is not the same as that of politicians and apostate churches. That Red-Line of God was drawn in the sands afoot the cross at Golgotha by the blood of His dear Son. Shall we who have known Him as a nation and as a Church turn away in ridicule of that Red Line? Yes, we may do so, but I can assure you, God is aware of the dark secrets of the heart: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” (Galatians 6:7a)
In the Roman calendar, the Roman idol, Janus, was a two-faced figure with one face looking back, and the other looking forward. Our month of January is named for that idol. Of course, the principle illustrated in the wisdom of looking back upon the wisdom of the past and looking forward to the challenges of the future with our thinking fortified by that wisdom. But modern society has forgotten that backward-looking face. We have abandoned the wisdom of the ancients, and of God, for perversions that have forever been rejected by past generations. Do you consider that wise? Have we become so self-sufficient that we no longer need that proven wisdom of the past and are ready launch out into uncharted waters – the same that brought a fiery destruction to the Cities of the Plain (Sodom and Gomorrah)?
In the coming New Year, will you be friends of the Lord Jesus Christ of or antichrist – the choice is ours? “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17These things I command you, that ye love one another. 18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John 15:14-19)