The Word of the Lord states, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it; and it shall be no more until He come whose right it is; and I will give it Him.” Ezekiel 21:27.
When the Jews were taken into captivity, never again were God’s professed people to have a king until Christ Himself would set up His kingdom. Therefore, any one who should attempt to become king over God’s people would, in that very act of usurpation, become an antichrist. To claim to be a “Vicar of Christ” is to claim to be an antichrist, because vicarius in Latin is equivalent to anti in Greek. Both words are defined as one who acts in place of another. While ministers may act in the place of Christ as an apostle to spread the gospel, no minister or clergyman may act in the place of Christ as Lord. (See Matthew 23:8; I Peter 5:3.) An antichrist is either a person who professes to stand in the place of Christ or one who is against Christ. The Christian religion teaches that man has only one spiritual Lord, so anyone attempting to be Lord over other Christians is an antichrist.
In the days of the apostles there were many antichrists, just as there are today. It is even possible to become an antichrist within your family by usurping the place meant for Christ alone.
“The prevailing spirit of our times is that of infidelity and apostasy. The spirit manifested in the world is one of pride and self-exaltation. Men boast of illumination, which in reality is the blindest presumption; for they are in opposition to the plain word of God. Many exalt human reason, idolize human wisdom, and set the opinions of men above the revealed wisdom of God. This affords opportunity for the working of Satan, and the spirit of antichrist is far more wide-spread than any of us imagine.
Among the great mass of professed Christians, the grievous character of the transgression of the law of God is not understood. They do not realize that salvation can be obtained only through the blood of Christ, through His imputed righteousness; but this alone will avail to make fallen man what he should be, and exalt him to become a member of the royal family.” Review and Herald, November 8, 1892. [Emphasis supplied.]
“There are men among us in responsible positions who hold that the opinions of a few conceited philosophers, so called, are more to be trusted than the truth of the Bible, or the testimonies of the Holy Spirit. Such a faith as that of Paul, Peter, or John is considered old-fashioned and insufferable at the present day. It is pronounced absurd, mystical, and unworthy of an intelligent mind.
“God has shown me that these men are Hazaels to prove a scourge to our people. They are wise above what is written. This unbelief of the very truths of God’s word because human judgment cannot comprehend the mysteries of His work is found in every district, in all ranks of society. It is taught in most of our schools and comes into the lessons of the nurseries. Thousands who profess to be Christians give heed to lying spirits. Everywhere the spirit of darkness in the garb of religion will confront you.
“If all that appears to be divine life were such in reality; if
all who profess to present the truth to the world were preaching for the truth and not against it, and if they were men of God guided by His Spirit, —then might we see something cheering amid the prevailing moral darkness. But the spirit of antichrist is prevailing to such an extent as never before. Well may we exclaim: ‘Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.’ I know that many think far too favorably of the present time. These ease-loving souls will be engulfed in the general ruin. Yet we do not despair. We have been inclined to think that where there are no faithful ministers there can be no true Christians, but this is not the case. God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. God has never made the flock wholly dependent upon human instrumentalities. But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 79, 80. [Emphasis supplied.]
Today God is purifying a people. When Ellen White was alive, the spirit of antichrist had permeated throughout the Seventh-day Adventist church, and that spirit is prevalent today as never before.
While it is true that the devil is the real antichrist, and while it is true that he has human vicegerents working under him who have claimed for many years to be antichrist, let us be sure that we do not also become antichrists by adopting a position of kingly power that only Christ is to fill.