“Nest-Eggs” for the Antichrist?


Jim van Heiningen

The way it started

Increasing blessing was attending the brand new work that was initiated in Jerusalem by the Holy Spirit. What wonderful chapters we find in “Acts of the Apostles”! Just take chapter 4, where we are told that “great grace was upon them all” – indeed, an abundance of living water was flowing! But the chapter starts off with persecution (have you ever noticed that the Jewish priests believed in the “laying on of hands” – verse 3?). This first time the persecution didn’t go beyond a night in prison for Peter and John and severe and repeated threats. That was God’s instrument to get the whole church down on its knees in prayer and supplication. For God’s work to go ahead victoriously, knee-work (or ‘kneeology’ as some like to call it) was absolutely essential – it still is! It wasn’t a passing sentiment either – in 12:5-12 we find them in Mary’s house, still praying. Boldness, unity, power, love, selflessness, generosity and great joy all flourished as a result. Of course, it wasn’t only in Jerusalem that a congregation proved the power of prayer – in 13:3, 14:23, 20:36 and 21:5 we find other congregations similarly engaged, even out on the beach. Which living congregation of God’s children could afford to be prayerless, or relegate prayer to some perfunctory part of “liturgy”?

The way it is now

When I set foot in the United States for the very first time, quite a few years ago, someone invited me to a prayer-meeting in the city of Baltimore. Great – I thought – my first prayer-meeting in the States! Now this was in what they call a “mainline church”, and a good number of people were present – wonderful! There was some singing, there was some reading, and then the “praying” started. But who prayed? It was the pastor who prayed! And when he said “Amen”, the “prayer-meeting” was over… No one else prayed, at least not audibly. Well, after all, if a pastor is hired for praying as well as for preaching, then the good man was only doing his job. But it certainly was a far cry from a New Testament prayer-meeting! It fact it could not be called a prayer-meeting at all – it was a prayer-performance. By way of contrast, notice how Paul emphasizes the incalculable importance of individual and corporate prayer when he nears the end of each of these five epistles – Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians.

Christians investing

But we must have a closer look at this matter of ‘generosity’ produced in the midst of a praying congregation. The Christians felt it wasn’t right that so many in the “multitude” should suffer a lack of basic necessities, while others owned lands and houses. And so a great real-estate venture started – many properties were sold and the proceeds put in the trust of the apostles for relief work. Barnabas was only one of the many who simply and joyfully gave up their entitlement to what was legitimately their own, in order for brothers and sisters to be helped.

Is there anything we could learn from the last part of this chapter? Modern day theologians, if not exactly condemning these Christians in their generosity, have often expressed their grave doubts about the wisdom or business acumen of the early church, contending that this way of getting rid of their real-estate was asking for serious trouble in the long run. Such ‘theological’ reasonings have kept many a disciple from following in the steps of our first century brethren. How many Christians do you know who have sold substantial acreage or a fine house or car in order to invest the proceeds in the Lord’s work? Not too many, we may guess.

Great grace or total loss

However, the “great grace that was upon them all” was definitely not something impractical. God knew what He was doing and what He was leading his children into! It was something extremely practical. If they had held on to their properties now and let their brethren suffer, not only could it have bred resentment and division, but also, in a matter of just a few months, they would in all probability have suffered the loss of those very properties!

For what do we find in chapter 8:1? We find the Christians driven out en masse by persecution – the threats had grown into terror. As refugees, would they be able to ever reclaim their confiscated properties from the hands of Christ’s enemies? Hardly! God’s grace, however, had worked amazingly to prevent such a scenario of senseless loss.

Which leads us to our application for today: What if “in the twinkling of an eye” you and your congregation suddenly disappear from the face of the earth? Into whose hands is your church’s “sanctuary”, for example, going to fall? Is your “sanctuary” one of those into which many thousands, or even millions, of dollars were invested? Those thousands or millions, plus the whole lofty structure, plus other such investments, will from the moment of the rapture-of-the-saints be one big total-loss!

The Romans 12 investment

We’re talking of a total loss to the cause of Christ! Money, time, energy, enthusiasm were invested in “a cause”, but was it the ‘cause of Christ’? A truly God-honoring investment only comes about through times of prayer, when there is genuine willingness to go the way of the cross. “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me!” (Lk. 9:23). Romans 12 describes the “ministry” of a Christian congregation – all the believers, “members-of-Christ’s-body”, render a sevenfold service, producing fruit for all eternity. However, the opening verses of that chapter make it very clear that this is absolutely contingent on surrender of all that hitherto was ‘my own’! The body itself is no exception. When my “ownership” is relinquished and I present it to God, it is to HIM “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable”. That is God’s perspective of “investment”, anything less is not acceptable.

The way of the world

Innumerable programs and projects serve no other purpose than self-aggrandizement. They are conceived by clever minds and image004carried out with great fanfare, all for man’s greater glory. For instance, let me ask what comes to mind when you get the Crystal Cathedral in California on your screen with all that goes on inside? Jesus said: Do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do.., that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward! (Mt. 6) Yes, there is great singing in the Crystal Cathedral. That choir will still be singing, when, at the Rapture, the true believers from among them have vanished… It is then that the Crystal Cathedral will come into its own; it will be of immense interest to the Antichrist and his False Prophet, choir and all. And, by the way, how about the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Arguably they sing even better – have you heard them sing Handel’s “Messiah”? It is important to realize that the sevenfold spiritual ministry of Romans 12 – designed to truly glorify God – lists neither singing talents, nor building skills…

Making the Antichrist happy

So, coming back to “that day” spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, what if it has tomorrow’s date on it, and you, together with all true Christians, are suddenly removed by the ‘Rapture’? Instead of tomorrow, it could be next week, or next year… Into whose hands are your church’s assets, and your own, and your “nest-eggs” bound to fall? You know the answer – they are going to fall into the hands of the Antichrist and his administration! He might not be sitting in the White House, but he’ll be sitting somewhere. At one point he’ll be sitting in the greatest “sanctuary” of all time, in the “Temple of God”, making out that he is god (2 Thes. 2:4)! Whoever he is, wherever he’ll have his seat, he will be mighty glad that so many Christians have left him an incredible ‘legacy’ of untold billions’ worth of property, assets and bank-accounts.

One wise guy, who had made the wrong investment, heard God saying to him: “‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:20-21). According to the Son of God, providing and laying up treasure for yourself is a thing of fools. Precious things are received from God, to work with for HIM – time, energy, health, education, riches, assets – but many a “foolish” Christian plays it all nicely into the hands of God’s worst enemies…


The Rapture and after it the Great Tribulation are, undeniably, at the door, however, it just might be that you have still enough time left to put yourself, your body and all your stuff, into the hands of Christ. There are very many needs in God’s present work. Don’t go for “sanctuaries” – the New Testament (unlike the Old) NEVER tells us to construct buildings for worship! Rather invest in getting out the Word! Go for Isaiah 52:7!

In that verse, quoted in the NT, you’ll get a glimpse of God being absolutely elated, and exclaiming for joy when He sees his servants simply and earnestly engaged in the proclamation of his Good News! Invest in that, engage in that! It is the only safe way of keeping your nest-eggs out of the hands of the Antichrist!

Finally, just in case you didn’t realize this – there is a special Tribunal awaiting all Christians; it is exclusively for all who belong to Christ. The apostle Paul, conscious of the serious implications in this for every Christian, mentions it repeatedly – see Romans 14, 1 Corinthians 3 and 2 Corinthians 5. On the day of that Tribunal, after the Rapture, we will be summoned to have our heavenly account scrutinized, to see what treasures we have been laying up in heaven (Mt. 6:19-21). We’ll be asked about all we did with our Christian life in regards to possessions, occupations, relations…

In Luke 19 our Lord himself gives us a graphic picture of that future scenario in his parable of the minas. Woe to that servant who didn’t take his stewardship very seriously – he is called a “wicked servant”. Though saved, the verdict from the judge is negative – he has incurred eternal loss! Not of his “life”, but of his “crown” (with all the privilege and responsibility implied by a crown). Though destined for him, it will be on another Christian’s brow (Ap. 3:11)!