In this section of scripture we see what occurs when Jesus departs front the earth to return to the Father. This scripture describes the final moments, the last conversation and the method of His leaving the earth.
Contained in these words too is a powerful message of His second coming when He will return to take control of the earth and to establish Gods kingdom with men. Knowing this helps us for we are warned in many places that there will be false prophets, false teachers and worst of all, false Christs including the Antichrist who is to come.
Consider these words well for they will keep you from being deceived when the time comes.
Before we look at the return of Jesus it is worth knowing a little about the antichrist. In most Christian churches you will hear teaching about a coming antichrist who will establish a kingdom to rule over the world.
However we need to understand that there is not just one antichrist, but many. And these antichrists have been around for a long time doing their insidious and deceitful work to try to take control of the church.
The apostle John said, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) So we see that even in John’s day there were antichrists doing their evil work. So who or what are these antichrists?
An antichrist is not just someone who opposes or sets himself up against Jesus. It is also and more so a person who sets themselves up IN PLACE OF Jesus. When they deny God the Father and deny Jesus His rightful place at the head of the church, that church has fallen victim to an antichrist structure.
As John said in 1 John 2:22, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” How do they deny Him? By establishing themselves as the head of the church.
And there are many churches today that are set up with one man at the head of the church. This is not the way The Lord set up the original church. The true church structure was set up with Jesus at the head and then a body of elders to rule the church on earth. There was no senior elder who ruled the rest, but all were equal and had an equal status and say in the governance of the church.
Any church that does not give Christ His rightful place at the head of the church by setting up a pastor or other person as the head of the church, especially if they do not have the oversight of a co-equal eldership is headed for trouble. The spirit of antichrist can easily sway that church and cause all manner of trouble in the ministry and amongst the flock.
In fact one of the most important things a pastor who happens to take over control of a church can and should do is to establish and eldership from those in the church according to the guidelines set down in the Bible. He should do this for the protection of the church and also for his own protection so that the church is correctly aligned to the structure Jesus established. And they will stand a better chance of being with Christ when He returns.
The other interesting point to come out of these scriptures in Acts 1 is that they make reference to the return and second coming of The Lord. The angels who come and speak to the disciples make these statements in verses 10 & 11.
10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
When Jesus left the earth at this time He was standing on top of Olivet, otherwise known as the Mount of Olives. Ad what the angels told the disciples, which we can learn from, is that Jesus would return in exactly the same way.
When He was lifted up into the air they watched Him go until He was hidden by the clouds. When He returns He will come in the clouds as it says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.
So if any antichrist or someone claiming to be Christ appears, this is the first test they must face. Did they appear in the clouds? Ad there is more for as Jesus left from the Mount of Olives, so too He will return to the Mount of Olives as we are shown in Zechariah 14:3-4.
3 Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.
4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.
As His feet left the Mount of Olives some two thousand years ago, so too when He returns His feet shall alight on the Mount of Olives and as they touch the mountain it will split the mountain. This is the second test for any so-called Christ. If they do not return to the Mount of Olives splitting the mountain apart, then hey are not the true Christ.
This is why it is important to know these signs and scriptures, so that you are not carried away by false teaching and false doctrine from impostors. It is critical that every Christian seek The Lord and find the truth in all matters so that they are not led astray, especially in the antichrist structures that were evident in John’s day and are still with us today. And if you would like to read a description of an antichrist church, look at 3 John 1:9-10.
9 I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.
10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.
This man Diotrephes puts himself first. That is, he is setting himself up in the place of Jesus Christ as the head of the church, pre-eminent and in the first place of authority. And look also at what evil he has perpetrated by doing this and opposing the truth. And consider also the warning John made in 2 John 1:7-9.
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.
9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
Again it is the message of the antichrist who will deceive by putting himself first and going ahead of Christ. We must remember that we are followers of The Lord. He is leading and guiding us. If we go ahead of Him, where are we going? Certainly not along His defined path and we step out of His light into darkness and go off the rails.
Be very, very careful about these matters and ensure you know where you stand as you watch for the signs of His return.
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