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Days of Deception – Week 26 / June 24th
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.” Mark 13:22-23
According to the New Testament writers the days just prior to Jesus’ second coming will be ones filled with deception; so much so that even the elect will be tempted to embrace it. Moreover Jesus, in His Olivet Discourse, warned that Christians would be hated and fiercely persecuted at this time and that because of it many will fall away and abandon the faith. He thus stated that the end time would require tenacity, perseverance and dedication from His people because it will be only as they endure that they will be saved. One endures when one is under pressure and difficulty. All in all the picture that Jesus paints of the days just before his coming is one of trial and apostasy. (Mark 13:13)(Matthew 24:10-14)
Paul himself confirmed this when he wrote that the two final great signs of Jesus’ second coming would be the arrival of the Antichrist and a great falling away from the church. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) Why would believers fall away in great numbers? Because the pressure of persecution and public hatred will be too great to bear. Paul also warned that these would be days of great delusion because weak Christians did not know and love the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12) John, like Jesus and Paul, also warns of a time of great trial and persecution before Jesus returns. This, he warns, will require patience and great endurance from the saints of a God. (Revelation 13:10)
Given that all this is true, how strange it is to hear preachers today, not warning the Church of what lies ahead of them, indeed just around the corner, but instead preaching a message of blessing, prosperity and of great revival before Jesus comes back. To vouch for this from the scriptures they falsely expound passages of the New Testament and thereby tell their hearers that great times of amazing revival, prosperity and blessing are about to befall them and their nations. Naturally the people of God love it so and, their ears having been tickled, they respond with much clapping, hallelujahs and amens! One almost feels un-spiritual and back-slidden to believe otherwise!
So, this end time deception is cast over the people of God. Some examples of this deception is by telling people the following:
- The Gospel will impact and transform the whole world. Jesus never said this; indeed He said that the Gospel would be preached as a witness or testimony to the whole world and then the end would come. In the very same context He warned that as a consequence Christians would be hated by all nations for His name sake! (Mark 13:10-13)
- The end time would see a new brand of Christian appear on the earth who will be without spot, wrinkle or any such thing. This is a statement that Paul made in Ephesians five in reference to the relationship between Jesus and His bride, the Church. The truth is, Paul was not referring to some amazing end time group of Christians but to the fact that when Jesus comes again He will present to Himself the Church of all ages finally freed from all sin! This is no reference to a great end time revival but one to the saving power of Jesus toward all those who through the centuries have put their faith in Him. To believe otherwise is to fall prey to deception.
- The spiritual recovery of Israel will unleash resurrection power on the world-wide Church. This error is preached from Romans 11:15 where Paul states that Israel’s inclusion in the Olive Tree of salvation will result in “resurrection from the dead” for the global believing community. On the contrary, this passage means exactly what it says, in that when Israel is recovered spiritually the whole “Olive Tree”, comprising of Jews and Gentiles, will be resurrected to meet Jesus in the air. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) This is in harmony with Paul’s teaching in the whole of Romans eleven in that after the fullness of the Gentiles “have come in all Israel will be saved” and the Deliverer will come out of Zion. (Romans 11:25-36) In other words there will not be two “fullnesses of the Gentiles” and those who teach this stuff are teaching a lie and thus deception!
- The end time will witness a great outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh. This is taken from Acts two where we have the account of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a waiting Church. (Acts2:1-4) Peter giving interpretation to that which happened said, “This is that” meaning that the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost was indeed a fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy given hundreds of years before. (Acts 2:14-21) On the Day of Pentecost the Spirit was indeed poured out and given to the church as part of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. (Acts 2:33) Joel’s prophecy was fully fulfilled on that Day, meaning, that from that day forward anyone who comes to Jesus, by repentance and faith in His atoning work, can claim the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39). He will now come upon all flesh and has and this will be true up until the great Day of the Lord arrives! This is not a promise of some great end time revival where God’s people will get something more than they have now.
Revival is just what it means; the reviving of what we have lost and should already have. God has done this time and time again through the centuries, and may He do it again! But to teach that this passage promises a special end time global revival is false. Indeed Jesus stated that when He comes will He find “the faith” on the earth!
Dear friends, we must pray for revival and certainly we are not going to approach the end time with a timid and fearful disposition. No, we are going to aggressively engage the world with the good news of all that Jesus has done for it on the cross but scripture warns that days of great trial and persecution are just ahead of us. One doesn’t have to be a prophet to see the signs of this everywhere. My word to you is; don’t be deceived, strengthen your relationship with God by Jesus Christ, live a holy life and serve Him with all your heart because days of great testing are before us.