Tom: Welcome to Apostasy Update! I’m T. A. McMahon, and this is our seventh program in our series addressing biblical eschatology, what the Bible has to say prophetically about the last days prior to the return of Jesus Christ. My partner in this discussion is Carl Teichrib. He’s the author of Game of Gods: The Temple of Man in the Age of Re-enchantment.
Carl, welcome back, and thanks for joining me in our discussion of where the world and Christendom are headed according to the Scriptures as history draws to a close.
Carl: Tom, it’s good to be back with you. I can’t believe it’s seven episodes already! Wow! They’ve gone by quick.
Tom: They do, and we’ve got a few more to go, don’t we?
Carl: We do.
Tom: Carl, last week our discussion—I think I need to correct an erroneous impression that some may have regarding the Antichrist, particularly his kingdom and his religion. That came to light when a good friend of ours, Warren Smith, called me about the talks he’s giving at our 2020 Berean Call conference, and he said when the subject of Antichrist is addressed by him, at times some will admonish him saying, “We’re not to focus on the Antichrist, but on Jesus Christ.” And he wanted to know how I’d respond to that. I would agree to a certain extent, but then I’d have to ask, “What do they mean by ‘focus?’”
There are many today and certainly down through history who thought they knew who the Antichrist was and is, and that was their focus. People can guess at that all they want, but I think it’s an act of futility at best. Guesses are all they have. No one is going to know who the Antichrist is until he is revealed. And since I believe that takes place after the Rapture, believers won’t know until we return to earth with Jesus at His Second Coming, when our Lord will, according to the Scriptures, capture him and have him thrown alive into the Lake of Fire. So unless we have bleachers in heaven to watch the activities of the Antichrist unfold, which I highly doubt, we won’t know until we return with Jesus.
What then about a focus that’s biblical? Well, John the apostle was inspired by the Holy Spirit to focus on the Antichrist in his epistles and in the Book of Revelation. Paul, as well, in 2 Thessalonians gave us relevant information about the Antichrist setting himself up as God and seeking the worship of the entire world.
So, Carl, how does what we’re doing differ from trying to figure out who the Antichrist is?
Carl: It differs, Tom, in the sense that what we’re doing is trying to focus on the heart of the matter and not point our finger at a particular personality. I’ve had people come to me at different conferences with various schemes, and you’ve probably had the same thing, Tom, where people come to you maybe even with diagrams that they have drawn up showing that such-and-such a person, the way the letters of their names line up demonstrates that they are the beast or 666 or the Antichrist. But we don’t know! You’re absolutely right. We don’t know who that individual is, but we can know and can recognize the heart. We can recognize the message, the anti-salvation message that is being displayed by his personality, because it’s the same message that beats right from Genesis 3 right into all of our own hearts all the way up into that point in Revelation, and it’s that heartbeat of the simple nature of the creation opposed to the Creator.
It’s not that we’re focused in that we’re looking for a particular individual or saying, “So-and-so is the Antichrist.” No. But it’s in the Scripture, and by the very fact it’s in the Scripture means that we should be looking at it. If this is an area that we shouldn’t be tackling, can you tell me what other parts of Scripture we should be avoiding too? And so it’s important for people to recognize that what we’re doing is not looking for a particular person—to recognize that spirit, to recognize that dynamic that’s already working in the world.
Tom: And that’s certainly what Samuel Andrews did in his book Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict, right?
Carl: Right. It very much, Tom, has that flavor.
Tom: Yeah. So the way I would say it, we’re trying to ascertain the characteristics of the Antichrist as they pertain to deceiving mankind…
Tom: …which is what you said. For example, the Antichrist, he wants to control the world as its leader. Well, how will that come about? And he wants to be worshipped as God. Again, how will that come about? In my thinking, in order for just those two things to take place, there needs to be a preparation, a conditioning of humanity in order for people to accept those attributes of the man of sin. It doesn’t happen overnight! The deception that began on earth with Satan deceiving Eve into believing that she could be as God has worked its way through history, and it’s going to conclude with the Antichrist.
Carl: And that’s what I appreciate about Andrews. And one thing that really struck me, there was a point in his book where he references that Antichrist in many respects is mirroring where man’s heart already is, especially the pantheistic “I am God” part. And so he now becomes that human representation of what collective mankind is already declaring. It is an exact counterfeit to what is taking place between God sending His Son Jesus on earth where Jesus, God incarnate, walks among us and is the representative of God on earth to man, whereas what I’m seeing, and I think Andrews brings it out, is this is a representative of the fallen world walking on earth saying, “I represent mankind.”
Tom: Right. There are two definitions of antichrist—one way it could be spelled is “ante-,” which has to do with a replacement, okay, which is just what you’ve addressed. But “anti-” is against, and so on. And the man of lawlessness, he represents both those things.
Last week in our program you said something which I really would like you to expand upon. It was your mentioning democracy as a political device that will definitely play into the development of the kingdom of the Antichrist. Democracy—some people will say, “Oh, wait a minute, hold on a second here….” So how does that work?
Carl: You know, I’m glad you brought that up, because just yesterday I was looking at what some advocating non-governmental organizations were putting in their platforms, and that was the concept of global democracy, global representation. Where this comes into play, Tom, is democracy enables every person’s opinion to now rise to the level of authority. You could even look at it in a more broad context than just the ballot box, but it essentially says, “The mob now rules.” Whoever controls the emotional masses has rulership, has the ability to move an agenda forward.
When I hear things like “global democracy,” my ears go up, because I immediately understand that what you’re setting up is a global system that represents man. It is man’s representive system. In the past, the concept of monarchy—a monarchy was supposed to be a representation of almost like a parallel or reflection of God’s order on earth. That was what it was supposed to be, and there was a completely different system or structure to it. I’m not advocating monarchies. I’m not saying, “Let’s go back to the time of monarchies.” But democracy becomes the rule of man over man.
Tom: If you look at our government, it seems to me it started out, yeah, using democratic form to a degree, but it was a republic. In other words, there were higher laws that man was supposed to be in subjection to. We know when our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ rules from Jerusalem, it’s going to be the perfect government. All this that we’re dealing with now, the confusion, the delusion, but what’s the basis of it? The basis of it is, “Hey, I need to get elected. What’s my best way to get elected? Why don’t I tell the people what they want to hear, regardless of whether I’m going to implement it later.” But that’s the idea, that’s the mentality, and it’s a problem, because where is that going? Well, it’s going to go into a form of socialism. Now there are going to be some controls. “Yeah, I know what you want, and I know what you voted for, but here’s what I’m telling you. This is the way it’s going down.” So it’s an important point.
So, folks, don’t get freaked out if we use a term—I mean, hopefully we’ve been able to clarify it.
Carl: Democracy is a really important subject, Tom, and it’s something we’re going to have to address in more depth later down the road. One thing: going back really quickly to the aspect of the Antichrist and for those who are maybe first-time listening to this, I go to different events, global events. Some of them are political, some are interfaith, some are even occultic in nature, to try to understand from a researcher’s point of view what’s going on.
In 1999, I attended an event in Fort Wayne, Indiana that was about looking forward to the coming “new age,” and one of the speakers’ names was John Davis. He had just come out with a book called Revelation for Our Time, and he used occult numerology to repackage the book of Revelation. His calculation for this new story—he described the Antichrist as an A-N-T-E-christ, and he described it as “the second coming of a messiah of our collective making.” To me, when I heard that, and what we have just had this discussion on democracy, that is where we see this interconnection or the possible interconnection where we say, “Now we will collectively save ourselves.” And I thought that was really rather remarkable as he made the argument to us that separation and fear would disappear as the “antechrist” became reframed as a positive human experience. And I’m like, “What?!” But that was the direction it was going.
Tom: How attractive could this be? Well, twice in Proverbs it says, “There’s a way that seems right unto a man, but the ways thereof are the ways of death.” Separation—it’s more than just drifting away from God, it is rejecting what He says, how things ought to be, and how He’s the only One that can solve the mess. Well, it’s sin!
Carl: Mm-hmm, it is!
Tom: It’s sin as its consequence. And we’re seeing that today—I’m in my 70s, and going back to my time, Christianity was kind of a—I call it a “romantic religion.” In other words, it had some ethics, it had a belief in God, and you kind of went along with it. But it seemed to be okay, and there was a level that certainly is incredibly at odds with where we are today. But this is where it is all going. In order for the religion of the Antichrist to be established, there has to be a massive transition by those who have a traditional belief, which I had as a non-believer, as a Roman Catholic back in the ‘50s and ‘60s and so on. But the transition starts with a traditional belief in God as the Creator of all things, separated from His creation.
Well, we call that theism. God is totally other than all of creation, which He made out of nothing, and He can do that. You know, some people say, “Well, no, He had to make it out of Himself.” Got a problem there!
Carl: Yeah, right!
Tom: If He made it out of Himself, why are we in this mess? Then this mess is connected with God, right? No, He is totally other.
The transition is to a belief in God, a God who is in His creation. If God is in His creation, then all of creation is God. And therefore, man as a part of creation is also God. So the transition from theism to pantheism, “pan-” meaning all, “-theism” meaning God—so, “All is God and God is all.” It’s sometimes also referred to as panentheism—again, God being in everything.
Now, Carl, you would think that a finite person who believes that God is infinite would have difficulty seeing himself as infinite, yet that’s the belief he will accept!
Carl: Mm-hmm. In the New Age movement, the idea is, Tom, you have forgotten your divinity. We’re helping you awake your divinity; we’re helping awake your divine self, your pantheistic self.
I find it interesting that, if you were/are God—if you, Tom McMahon, are God, and you just need to be reminded of the fact that you’re God, what kind of a limited god are you? I mean, if that was me, Tom, I’d take myself back to the “god store” and ask for a replacement because this one’s defective!
Tom: What if we believe we are God, but then we forget again? I mean…
Tom: …that’s what they’re saying.
Carl: I know! That’s exactly what they’re saying, and it boggles me because this is a defective god! A forgetful god is a defective god, period. End of story. That’s not the attribute of who God is.
So it reminds me: many, many years ago I was at an event where the Dalai Lama was speaking. This was back in 1999, and I’m not sure if I’ve shared this—I’ve shared this a number of times—but the Dalai Lama was complaining about his eyeglasses because he has poor eyesight, and about his skin condition, and he had US Secret Service surrounding him. And he was talking to us about Y2K and how he was not afraid of one millennium to the other because he has seen millennium come and millennium go, which itself is a statement of deity, okay? That’s a God-statement to say that he has personally seen the passage of millenniums. But then he had just given us all of these “ha ha ha, I’ve got bad eyeglasses, ha ha, I’ve got bad skin condition.”
And I thought to myself—again, going back to this concept, and I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but it hit me: If you’re God, I would take you back to the god store and replace you because it’s deficient. Why do you need US Secret Service?
None of this makes sense, Tom. I mean, God has to be, in order for Him to be God, different fundamentally in every respect from the created order—certainly different than you and me. He is absolutely different than the creation.
Tom: Mm-hmm. So, Carl, that brings us to the problem of how are people accepting this? Because as you just pointed out, it’s irrational. When it rains, the Dalai Lama has an umbrella, okay?
Tom: I can think of some of the other gurus—well, what was their deal? Disease, illnesses, corruption, all of that. These are the godmen! Well, the question then is why are you having so many problems here? You know what the answer is? Karma. Whoa! In other words, the excuse that they give is that their guru, who is their god, basically, even though they are gods, their guru is basically taking on the karma of the rest. Hey, does that sound like a salvation kind of thing? But I document this. We have it in America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice. Those who work closely saw that what they were doing didn’t work! It was like a bad excuse: “Yeah, well, I’m working off the karma—not only my own, but for everybody else.” You know, that’s samsara, that’s the wheel of sorrows. That’s something that has no solution and even Gandhi was depressed over it, okay?
Carl: Yes, and it is depressing! If that is ultimately your foundation, it will have to become depressing. Again, it kind of goes back to some of our previous conversations: Where is your hope then? Because the problem doesn’t fix itself. Where is your hope? If we can’t discover our divinity in ourselves, then we look for it in our collective, we look for it in the group. And the power of emotion and the power of feelings and the power of experience plays a big role in that.
I have a section in my book talking a little bit about German national socialism before World War II started, and there’s an observation in the book—obviously not my observation, I wasn’t there! But it’s the observation of a historian at the time recognizing the emotional fervor, the group fervor that comes through as now they collectively are experiencing, collectively affirming their own salvation. It is an antichrist system in that it is projecting a false or an alternative messianic vision, a false system of salvation.
But, Tom, since sin entered the world, that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been looking for systems to save us, techniques to save us. It’s not in a technique is it? It’s in Jesus Christ.
Tom: It is an absolute rejection of what God has done for us, what He’s provided for us if you’re willing. God doesn’t put out a coercive system here. Some people think that, because yes, there are consequences to sin! There are eternal consequences. But God still loves us and calls us and has laid these things out for us. He has solved the problem if we’re willing to receive it and accept it.
Carl: Here’s a quote. I have it in my book—here’s an example. This is again from that time period before World War II. This was written by Heinrich Himmler’s esoteric philosopher in his book Lucifer’s Court. Listen to how the collective here recognizes their own divinity. I’ll just read you just a little brief piece here in Lucifer’s Court, and the fellow’s name was Otto Rahn. He was the German occult thinker of the time.
“In Lucifer’s Court, Otto Rahn recounts his wanderings in southern Germany. After stopping under an apple tree, he felt compelled to write the heretical thoughts of traveling spirits from centuries ago. ‘Jesus is not Christ! What is God? Lucifer is nature as you see it in you, around you, above you.’ Soon a scout patrol came into view, and Rahn joined in a song of solidarity: ‘If one of us becomes tired, the others are awake for him. If one of us wants to doubt, the others who believe laugh. If one of us is to fall, the others stand for two, because each fighter is a god, the comrades together.’”
That’s the spirit of the antichrist!
Tom: And it’s also a corruption of the Scriptures!
Tom: Carl, I just had a survey, an interview with some people that I know really well, and the survey was about how did you move from a theistic belief—in other words, personal God of the Bible and so on—which they both did, and now they were into Eastern Mysticism, healing, all of that kind of stuff, meditation. So I said, “So how did you make that transition?” because I knew their background. I knew one grew up Roman Catholic, the other one Episcopalian and so on. “So how did you move from this theistic worldview to what you hold now?”
And one of them said, “Well, I still believe in what I grew up with.”
And I said, “Well, wait a minute, in my understanding,” and I knew exactly where they were coming from and what they were into, I said, “no, you take a pantheistic worldview.”
And one of them said, “Yes!”
And I said, “Hold on a second—you claim that you still believe in a personal God who created the universe, but now you believe in pantheism, that God is a force, that He’s impersonal and so on? How do you reconcile those two things?” Well, they thought about it, but they didn’t have any problem with it. That’s where we’re going! It moves away from objective truth. You can’t reason…I mean, how can you say A is non-A? But, Carl, you know this, this is where it’s going!
So the point of trying to reason—you know, as the Scriptures say, God says, “Come, let us reason together.” Could be the end of apologetics, because, “Well, Tom, I know what you’re saying. You’re making sense, and so on, but I just don’t feel that way.” Where do you go? “Have a nice day,” you know?
Carl: I’ll be honest, I’ve been wrestling through what does an apologetic look like? Because it’s not the same apologetics we use in terms of dealing, let’s say, with the pseudo-Christian counter-cults like Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses. It’s a different type of apologetics, and we’ve played around with that a little bit when I’ve gone to Burning Man and to other transformational events. How do you engage in apologetics where they can hold contradictory belief systems? And that’s what you’ve just described: you’re holding in one hand this belief system and in the other hand this belief system, and they contradict each other, but you both embrace them. And that’s an Eastern worldview, that’s an Eastern offset. And I think the Christian church, we have to start wrestling with what this looks like, because in many respects we’re still doing the apologetics of the counter-cults of Mormonism and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and that’s great, that’s fine! But honestly your neighbors aren’t joining the Kingdom Hall, your neighbors are believing what you just described, Tom.
Tom: We’ve said this before—Carl, you, myself, anybody who’s a believer—folks, we can’t turn this around.
Tom: Why would I say that? Because we’re looking at what the Scriptures say this is all heading. Yeah, there are people crying out for revival and repentance and so on, but they have an agenda, which we’ll talk about sometime in the future, and the agenda is not according to the Scripture. It’s not the way the Bible lays out.
To give you a term, it’s Kingdom Dominionism. They believe they’re going to take over. They need revival for all of that; they need repentance—not for the right thing; and we all want revival and we all want repentance—cannot happen globally. There’s no verse in the Scripture that would give you that indication. But it will happen on the highways and byways. It will happen among people groups that come to the Lord, all right? We’re so thankful for that. But it is a rescue operation. We do what we do, and hopefully the folks that are listening to us, we’re trying to reach those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. God knows who they are, but we don’t, so we just keep doing what the Word of God says. We are trying to reach people that they might have eternal life.
I know what graciousness means, but my comprehension of it is so far below what it’s really all about. God is so incredibly gracious. He loves us so much He sent His Son to pay the full penalty for our sins. So that’s an important part of it.
I do want to go back to the point of insights from the Word of God as Samuel Andrews gives us in his book Christianity and Anti-Christianity in Their Final Conflict. Here’s a quote from the book—now remember, what we’re talking about is biblically focusing on the Antichrist. Why is that of value? Well, here’s what he writes: “He who seats himself in the temple of God [referring to the Antichrist], showing himself that he is God, is not, as is often said, one who compels the world to pay him divine homage by brute violence. It is done voluntarily.” He goes on to say, “That he can present himself to man as the object of divine honor and receive it shows a community of belief already existing between him and his worshippers.” They see him as the representative of their own religious ideas, and their religious ideas will be some form of pantheism, right?
Carl: Right, because it’ll be man worshipping himself.
Tom: You know, going back to the heart of man, they want this. If you reject Christ, what have you got left? Yourself. And you’ve got to add things to make you think it’s happening. But is this rational?
Carl, explain to me: how does a finite person become an infinite god? We could add to that—in Romans it says they are without excuse. They worship creation. Well, why are they without excuse? Because they know that God is the Creator of the universe; they know that He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. You don’t need the Bible to understand that. They recognize it from creation. But if it’s rejected, they’re just left with themselves.
Carl: It sounds like what’s happening is a strong delusion.
Tom: Well, the Holy Spirit is out convicting and drawing people to Himself, but decisions have to be made. So if that’s the case—He’s drawing but it’s being rejected—2 Thessalonians 2…where is it, verse 8 or 9: “Those who have not a love for the truth, God will send strong delusion.”
There are a couple of verses in the Bible that—tough! One is Matthew 7: “Many will come to me in that day and say, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not do this and do that?’” They are obviously under the delusion that they’re really working for God here, and I think in that verse they’re shocked when He says, “I never knew you.”
Carl: Yeah, it’s sobering, isn’t it?
Tom: Oh, man, it is. On the one hand it’s sobering, on the other hand it makes us jump for joy that we have received, accepted His eternal gift, that we’re going to spend eternity with Him—at what cost? We’ll never comprehend the cost that Jesus went through. Remember on His knees in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, if it’s possible, let this cup pass from Me.” There’s something we will never understand, ever be able to understand the separation first time in the history of—not just creation, in the history of history, okay? But He did it for us, “for the joy that was set before Him.”
Carl: And that shows love beyond measure, beyond what we can grasp. And it should inspire us to be thankful and to appreciate it.
I look at what we have just discussed in the last 30 minutes here, Tom, and what strikes me is that some people look at this and go, “I’m finding this discouraging.” It’s not! It’s encouraging. Be strengthened, be encouraged, because the God that you serve loved you that much, loves us that much, and has shown mercy and grace to us, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Tom: Right, and all we’re trying to do here, folks, is explain it as best we can, and not just us, but others, whether it be Samuel Andrews or other people that have been influential in our lives coming from a biblical perspective. That’s where our hope is; that’s where our confidence is! It’s not in you, not in me, but it’s in not just the Word of God, but the work of the Holy Spirit to help us understand these things and be effective to His glory. That’s what we want.
Once again, thank you so much. I hope people are being edified by what we’re doing. See you, brother, God bless you!
Carl: Okay, have a good day!