Ten years out and still wondering

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Been wondering and musing about some things lately. Seems like the past several months I’ve unplugged from all the “discernment groups” and the “weekly guru prophesy updates” and now I see how much I’ve needed to. This may be a … Continue reading

I.C. DELIMMA

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                                                              I.C. DILEMMA When I first started this blog site it was with the subject of Eschatology in mind, hence the name, “Closingstages.” Because of unforeseen circumstances at the time what evolved was subject matter centered around Apologetics, in particular, … Continue reading

In Light of His Coming, the Promise of Scripture

Paul taught that the Scriptures are the basic historical facts on which the Gospel stands, and which the Scripture, pertaining to the sacrificial system in the Old Testament pointed to the sacrifice of Christ as our substitute. The reality of Christ’s sacrifice was verified by Scriptures. “For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption” (Psalms 16:10), for example. The apostles clearly recognized this verse as forecasting the resurrection of Jesus. Peter quotes this verse on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:27), as did Paul in his early preaching at Antioch (Acts 13:35). By Scripture alone is the sufficiency of Christ’s work realized and the atonement declared:

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures”(1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

It is through the evidence of Scripture a person commits themselves to the conviction of faith. “According to the Scriptures” places the witness of Scripture above that of those who saw the Lord after His resurrection. Peter himself verbalized the importance of Scripture as “the more sure word of prophecy” which Peter states exceeds his own personal experience on the Mount of Transfiguration (2 Peter 1:16-19). All Old Testament prophecy dealing with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was fulfilled precisely as predicted by the prophets. “The only infallible interpreter of what we see in nature or know innately in our own consciences is the explicit revelation of Scripture. Since Scripture is also the one place where we are given an infallible account of Christ, the Bible is the touchstone to which all truth-claims should be brought and by which all other truth must finally be measured.”1 We have no greater example than Jesus Himself as He began his Galilean ministry teaching in the synagogue He quoted from Isaiah 61:1-2 boldly proclaiming, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Jesus intentionally and carefully fulfilled all Old Testament prophecy concerning Himself exactly as it was written – Matthew 3:13-15; 5:17-18; Luke 4:16-21; 18:31; John 5:39.

Understanding then that Jesus fulfilled all prophecy concerning Himself as Savior, the atonement of our sins by His blood, His sacrifice as our substitute, all verified by Scripture, it becomes comprehensible that a dependency upon Scripture for salvation should also be taught in the Bible. In fact, the Bible teaches that our heart belief and spoken confession in Jesus Christ is the most foundational lesson found in Scripture. In essence, without Scripture, there would be no faith, nor would the provision of salvation be known. “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” – Romans 10:9-11. Notice “For the Scripture says!” Without Scripture there is no belief unto salvation, no faith by which we make such a confession in Him. John 7:38 substantiates we must believe exactly as the Scripture articulates; “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” The metaphor “rivers of living water” flowing out of our hearts are then contingent upon our belief in Jesus “As the Scripture has said!”

It is clear we must accept the Scriptural account of Jesus Christ in order to obtain the faith to believe. Equally, we must accept that Jesus fulfilled all Old Testament prophecy precisely as it was predicted. So here is the rub, why then do we find many today who do not apply the same rule concerning prophecy centered around His Return? Many teachers too often approach prophecy using the method of interpretation that best suits their own biases or circumstances rather than accepting the clear intent of the biblical authors. Our very salvation hinges on the accuracy of the Scriptural account concerning Jesus and His fulfilling prophecy precisely as it was predicted. How is it that our observations of New Testament prophecy are so different? How is that we don’t embrace the same care for prophecy as that of our Lord who’s motivation was driven to please His Fathers will in fulfilling all? From the crossing of the “T” to the dotting of the “I,” Jesus apprehended to both preserve and fulfill (Matthew 5:17-18).

Nowadays we are confronted with many who scoff at the thought of Christ’s return. They say through the centuries Christians have been convinced of Christ’s coming, either by calculations from Daniel or signs that they believed were conclusive. They speak of the Rapture of the Church as a modern day heresy kept alive by novels. And they contend the signs in Matthew were fulfilled in A.D. 70, and imply that Revelation and Daniel are deliberately cryptic and full of imagery beyond our comprehension. To attempt to comprehend such mysteries (they say) are simply speculation that serves only as a distraction. Rob Bell, recent author of the book “Love Wins” in an interview with Martin Bashir on MSNBC introduced the term “speculation” as it relates to death and ones eternal destiny. Rob Bell was ask “: Is it irrelevant and immaterial as to how one responds to Christ in this life in term of determining ones eternal destiny?” Rob Bell answers: “It is relevant but as to how exactly that works out in the future, we are now when you die firmly in the realm of speculation. Christians have built whole dogma’s about what happens when you die and you have to be very careful that we don’t build whole doctrines and dogma’s on what is speculation.”

What we are faced with today are those who are forming the way we think and view Scripture through the writing of books, television, magazines, etc. Their messages appear to be a Christian message that is cheery, caring and fashionable to contemporary culture but remains unbiblical and historically unreliable. They amend the Gospel message so that its pliable to contemporary people. Similarly, on the subject of eschatology, doubt and suspicion is implanted in the hearts and minds of people when the light of speculation is cast upon it. Even our renowned Bill Johnson will tell you the Revelation cannot be understood, you get extra points for reading it, but you won’t understand it. Unto many of our modern day authors, Scripture is Speculative, especially when biblical prophecy is the topic. So is this what we have come to today? Where the subjects of the Gospel and Eschatology are now simply a matter of speculation, conjecture and theory? If so, what of our eternal state? How can anyone know for certain there is such a thing as salvation? As to the Return of Christ, no hope exist if all that was prophesied is past as some suppose. Was Moses a madman for looking forward to the eternal reward, or Abraham who look for a city who’s builder and maker was God? They followed God with certainty and saw beyond the veil of this flesh looking to the eternal Kingdom of Christ.

Biblical prophecy provides the greatest encouragement and hope available to us today. A hope clearly taught in Scripture, something that every true child of God should know and understand.

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance” – Romans 8:22-25.

False prophets and false teachers are known by two things, the fruit that they bare and the Gospel they preach (Gal. 1). They have gifting, they are quite excellent at speaking, dynamic even, and they seem to have some power about them but, their character and message is the key, do they bear fruit, what message do they proclaim? In Peters second epistle he speaks of untaught and unstable people who wrest (or twist) the Scripture to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:15-16.) These verses tie in with verse 9 , where Peter explained why the Lord had delayed fulfilling His promise. God had every reason long ago to judge the world and burn up its works, but in His mercy, He is long-suffering with us, “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Peter is describing those lacking the learning imparted by the Holy Spirit. He speaks of those who are deficient in spiritual learning, and have originated many heresies as a result. Instead of waiting until God by His Spirit makes Scripture plain by comparing Scripture with Scripture, they hastily adopt distorted views. They transfer the authority of Scripture unto themselves over exaggerating their ability to hear from God.

2 Peter 3:10-13 tells us the Lord’s return will be sudden and unexpected. Believers are to still look for His promise despite those who scoff (vs. 3-4). Christian behavior itself hastens the coming of the day of God (vs. 11). In many ways, the timing of the Lord’s return is directly related to the condition and activity of the church.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” – Acts 3:19-21

As believers we are to steadfastly trust God will fulfill everything he has promised in His Word. Just as all Old Testament prophecy dealing with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was fulfilled precisely as predicted by the prophets, so to, all that was predicted concerning His Second coming and His Earthly Millennial Kingdom will be fulfilled exactly as Scripture affirms! Jesus said in Matthew 24:25; “See, I have told you beforehand.” He gave and entrusted to us the Scripture which contains all we need to be overcomers and to be completely prepared for the cataclysmic days of the end times, “so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (John 2:28). Jesus has given both the church in general and the world advanced notice of exactly what will occur in the end times. For those who scoff, speculate, and compromise there is only the promise of God’s wrath which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger (Rev. 14:10-11).

1John MacArthur; The Truth War

A Dangerous Journey – Deliverance from Extreme Pentecostalism

I am posting this testimony from Inerrant Word Blog as the Author of this Blog site rejoices that his wife has been delivered from the extreme Pentecostalism of Bill Johnson.  Below is only a small section of her testimony and I have provided a link at the bottom so you can read this testimony in it’s entirety.

At the beginning of 2010 I decided I wanted to get involved in a more passionate “Christianity”. I have always thought of myself as a worshipper & I craved being around others who lived & breathed worshipping the Lord.

Our church had been *pushing* & wanting revival to break out. So naturally I went home one day and decided to research about what “revival” actually was and how we could get it!  Through my discoveries I found out about The Welsh Revival, Charles Finney and others.

I wanted *revival* to break out in our church. The more I read about the “amazing” things that happened in Wales, the more I wanted that to happen to us.

A member of our church had been involved in the Brownsville Revival.  She told me many stories about the revival that happened there & the anointing that she received from there.  Whenever she went up for prayer her body would shake & eventually she would, fall to the floor.

I was curious and started looking into the information surrounding the Brownsville revival. Like the Toronto blessing, the Brownsville revival had similar manifestations of the holy spirit, and following that was the Lakeland revival.

At that time I was initially very cautious. It didn’t seem to line up with the God of the Bible I knew and I couldn’t find anything in the scriptures to back up what was happening in these places. BUT I so desperately wanted to feel God and being among passionate Christians, I thought that this was where those sorts of people were.  Some of the manifestations, including the prophetic seemed exciting and it drew me in.

Despite my initial caution & a nagging feeling of unease, I started listening to the answers that these extreme prophetic people would give to the sceptics.

Here are some of the things they said/say:

– God was revealing new things to the church today.

– God was moving in a way that was different & more relevant to the world now.

– How could these things not be of God, when people were singing his praises all within the safety of a church?

– No one can judge or dismiss the manifestations of the holy spirit, if you did then this then you were quenching the Spirit.

– David danced in the streets and people then thought he was crazy, but he was a man after the Lord’s heart.  This meant that even though manifestations were similar to David’s dancing (disorderly behaviour) they were of God.

– The church at Pentecost had exactly the same spirit manifestations (like drunken behaviour…because in the Bible the mockers thought they were acting drunk therefore the early church must have had drunken spirit manifestations.

– Bill Johnson is such a kind, quietly spoken & gentle man therefore he must be a man of God.

– People from all over are coming in droves to these churches, so its has to be good.

– In the last days, God’s spirit will pour out on his people and this is that.

– No-one can judge the holy spirit. If something is done in the name of the holy spirit then it must be the holy spirit.

– Those who think that these manifestations are not of God are Pharisees (& are not open to things happening in the spirit outside of the Bible).

– People who were outside of these movements were missing out on a special anointing from the Lord.

To read the complete four part testimony click here on Inerrant Word Blog.

Save With Fear Pulling Them Out of The Fire

There have always been those who attempt to divert God’s people from their main purpose.  Whether angels or men.  God knows how to deal with the rebellious, but believers are warned not to participate with any such persons.  The wicked  appeals to the lusts of the eye, lusts of the flesh and to inordinate pride.  They will pretend to love God, appear to do good works, but on close examination they are as fruitless as the fig tree that Jesus cursed.  The wise will be able to identify those whose object is to be god, rather than to serve God.  It will take a deeply spiritual heart to know how to reach any who are deep into deception without being contaminated-hating the sin but still loving the sinner. – Jack W. Hayford (revised by myself)

I am tired…… sick and tired of running after the false teachers and leaders.. that I use to run after….  thinking they were right……what’s up with that? I have realized that I’m still following after these bozo’s! Oh- for very different reasons for sure …..once I believed them, now I want to warn everyone to stay away from them……How’s that workin for me? Not so much!! It seems I can only take so much information on the heresy these guys teach before I over load and have to step away. Who knows, maybe that’s normal for most of us, I don’t know?

I have read more information, articles, books, tweets, and listened to their sermons: I now know more  about what they teach than I ever did when I was blindly following them! Had I looked at them this closely from the beginning, obviously I wouldn’t have followed them! But I still find myself hanging out with them much more than I want to! Why is it that the very ones that I was deceived by are the ones I still  spend so much time listening too?

  • hang on every word, much like their followers who adore and idolize them do.
  • help them with their income by buying there latest book, so as to “critique” it and show how much they are still teaching and preaching heresy.
  • Notice these books have, what I called orchestrated controversy and the publicists release the book earlier than scheduled because of the “controversy”…… translation is that it sells more books = more MONEY.

I know that it is critically important for those whom God is calling out of this deception to have the information out there on these false teachers. I thank God for the bloggers and discernment ministries daily. Let me say clearly that I am in no way wanting to diminish the work that they do for God in calling out these false prophets.

My point is, OK their FALSE, they are teaching false doctrines  and heresy’s. It’s obvious!! Many other’s long before I arrived on the scene have tried to correct and instruct them in their error, to no avail. So what good am I doing or anyone else for that matter by chasing after their next statement, sermon, healing conferences, or books.

We already know they are and will continue to twist the scripture, teach another Jesus and basically do what false teachers do. Scripture doesn’t tell us that many will turn back to the truth, it states the opposite, many will fall away from the truth and follow after these false prophets.

These guys are not interested in the truth. More importantly how many times do you present them with the truth before it becomes “throwing your pearls before swine”?

Jude 22-24   “And of some have compassion, making a difference:  23  And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  24  Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”

We know who is teaching false doctrines, we have a list of those who twist scripture. We are still waiting for many of them to respond and defend their “position” with a Biblical based defense, “in context” would be nice!

I plan on doing things a little differently , instead of wasting so much time and energy running after false teachers, their next book, sermon, tweet etc. I want to focus more on those who follow them.

The facts are  already known;

  • their teaching heresy
  • they refuse correction, instruction, or to be accountable
  • and if they did/do repent I’m sure they would want to make it known to the world, so as to save those from the fire that they have been deceiving all of these years.

Has anyone noticed that most don’t really respond to or defend the doctrine that they are teaching to any who are questioning their Biblical validity? Several reasons for this:

  • They can’t Biblically defend their position and to enter into a debate “contending” for what they believe wouldn’t line up with scripture.
  • By not engaging those who are scrutinizing their doctrines they accomplish a couple of different things. One; they effectively “separate” themselves from those inquiring, setting up a “US and THEM” mentality within their ranks, “THEM” of course being the “bad guys” or the “unenlightened”. Which of course sets up the mind set of “aren’t we special.” Two; that sets up by default division which of course is flipped back onto those asking the questions to begin with and they are the ones that are being viewed as divisive for even questioning!! Crazy how that works but it’s working for them isn’t it.
  • By not engaging in response it actually in some ways promotes them and keeps them in the news so to speak. No matter if it’s good or bad, publicity at least they are being talked about. Look at almost every book that is cranked out by them. Anymore they actually promote their material as controversial……sells more books….gets more coverage….even the secular world will pick up the story and guess what…..they sell more books. Then the publishers release it earlier than planned because of all the hype……
  • By not responding and defending what they are teaching it creates a vacuum of sorts for those who follow them, “their sheep” are left to defend them. In some respects that works to the advantage of those who are flagging their teachings as heresy; because at least there is an opportunity to engage and hopefully save some of them out of it. But in reality those like Bill Johnson who promotes a gathering around the “FATHERS” should feel a little sheepish himself (no pun intended) in the fact that he is allowing the “children/sheep” as it were to defend the “FATHERS/leaders” leaving the sheep to defend the shepherd!!!! Kind of flies in the face of the fathers as protector doesn’t it.
  • Also in some ways I’m sure they are hoping that by not engaging and defending they appear to be taking the proverbial  “high road” and somehow appear more like Jesus. Unfortunately that is certainly not what scripture says to do, let alone Christ never missed an opportunity to preach and defend the gospel. To always have an answer to all men. Yet they seem to be “above” the fray so to speak. One it keeps them from really having to come up with intelligent scriptural responses, in reality this can only last so long until even the most diehard fan/follower has got to start wondering if maybe what the dissenters are saying isn’t actually true.

Then by not responding it begs the questions and statements.

  • Why aren’t they concerned about clearing up the doctrinal error questions?? Especially for those that follow them? To give them clarity and a solid Biblical basis for them to be able to build themselves up in their faith and stand and defend and contend for the faith?
  • As leaders they appear to fail miserably in protecting and defending their faith, it’s role reversal, their flocks are out in the trenches fighting for their “leaders” and aren’t adequately equipped to defend them or what they teach. I can’t tell you how many comments I have read from people defending Johnson and crew, where the poor person that is commenting  is using statements like “I’m sure this is what he believes…..or that’s not what he means by that” you get the picture.
  • I’m sure those who follow these guys would love for them to show up on some of these bloggers sites and give them what for or at least give the sheep/flock some solid defense to take with them when they go to defend them!
  • One of the most tragic and I think spiritually criminal is the very fact that they truly lack compassion, grace, and mercy, not only for those they deem deceived (what a golden opportunity to win some!!) but for their very own!!!!
  • You can only conclude that they have more than enough followers that they aren’t too concerned about those that venture into the controversy over their teachings and get slaughtered and destroyed trying to defend them. Apparently the parable of the one lost sheep going astray  or wondering off where it shouldn’t doesn’t carry much weight with them. They certainly aren’t concerned about possibly losing a few being crippled or maimed!!!!
  • They do not take accountability or responsibility for the very things that they are presenting as truth. If they really believed and were convinced that they hold the truth, wouldn’t they at all cost continually present a defense for it? Knowing that some will be saved, even if it’s one it would be worth it? Where’s their compassion and love for the truth they claim they have when they won’t stand in defense of it? The conclusion is that those following these ministries will have to ask themselves these questions someday. Again scripture is clear, always have an answer for all men.

2 Timothy 2:4  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

1 Peter 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.

2 Thess. 3:1-2 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:  And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

How shameful it is to look at just how little concern these false prophets have for those who follow them, but then look at how little they are concerned with defending their own faith…you have to wonder  (usually most people will defend what they believe vehemently and often to death) do these guys even believe what they are teaching?  They don’t step up, why?  Don’t they trust God is faithful enough to defend His own and His own Word? Yes I’m being facetious .

My point is I know at times I have lost my spiritual compass in all of this…..it’s not hard to do!  For me, I just want to really try and refocus on those out there that are in despair, broken, destroyed and hurting all at the hands of wolves like these. If they choose to repent that would be beyond wonderful; but until then the only mention I want to give of them is to all who are hurting and broken from their deception that they are spewing, God has and is calling you out.

Bethel’s Bizarre Preacher visit’s Local Church

Kris Kildosher from Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church visited a local Church in the Defiance Ohio area in February.  I have included an audio of the message below which is about an hour and a half long.  Riddled throughout the message are many prophecies of financial breakthroughs, a house of restoration for the pastor of the church, and many other  bizarre happenings, several invisible healings, as Kris introduces himself as the entertainment of the hour.  Just prior to his introduction, Kris is found on the floor during the worship service where he was given a vision of the throne of God.  Now drunk in the Spirit, Kris takes the podium where he begins to preach (if you can call it preaching).

Kris’s mom is a spirit filled catholic, according to Kris she had dreams and visions so  as a result Kris met Jesus at a young age.  During Kris’s college years God spoke to him about Acts 5, God said that Kris was lying to God about giving everything to God.   Kris then spent two days rolling around on the floor having visions and encounters. Nov 7, 2004 the Holy Spirit came into His apartment and filled him. (Question: how was he having visions and encounters if the Holy Spirit wasn’t there?   According to Kris, after the two days of rolling on the floor having visions and encounters, the Holy Spirit came into his apartment and filled him.)

Kris then started going to house church meetings where signs and wonders where happening, diamonds would appear on floor, nine of them showed up at his house when he went to the school of supernatural ministry.  He then moved to Bethel California to attend the School of Supernatural Ministry where he graduated in 2008.  He then traveled the world.  1 Tim 1:11 is His favorite verse “The bliss full happy God” (Must be a new version).

Listening to Kris you start to understand that everything he believes in is experience based rather than faith based.  Like dozens of deaf ears being opened, tumors disappearing on a weekly bases, dreams, visions, encounters etc.  Like his conversion, there is no mention of the Gospel, repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ.  All you hear is about dreams, visions, the prophetic, etc, etc.  This then is the fruit of Bill Johnson’s ministry, a “Gospel-less Gospel.”  I found it difficult to listen to the message in it’s entirety in one sitting as it made me nauseous to think that the church has gone so far from the truth of God’s Word.  However, I felt it necessary to post so people can see what sort of warped teachings are coming out of Bethel Church.  To listen to the message click here – Kris Kildosher of Bethel

 

The Secret Place

Matthew 24:24-26 “For false Christ and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible, even the elect (God’s chosen ones). See, I have warned you beforehand. So if they say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness (desert) do not go out there; if they tell you, Behold, He is in the secret places or inner rooms, do not believe it.”

Are false christ’s and false prophet’s decieved? Or do they know they are employed by Satan to do his work? They dress up as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves (Matt. 7:15)! They masquerade as ministers of righteousness but boast of worldly things (2 Cor. 11:15-18)! Are men such as Bill Johnson, Todd Bently, and Kris Vallotton knowingly, consciously decieving people? And what are the effects of contemplative prayer, slain in the Spirit, and drunk in the Spirit? Is it that they as Satan’s Emissaries are trying to fill as many people as they can with the domonic so as to destroy God’s work in the world and thwart the Church from it’s purpose and calling? I need some feed back on this, I’m starting to believe that as we are seening prophets and apostles appearing on the world’s stage today is a direct fulfillment of Jesus’ warning of false christs and false prophets.

There is such an encroachment of teachers and teachings that claim prophetic authority today, but fail to present and honor Jesus Christ in a way consistent with the whole of the Scriptures. According to 1 John 4:1-6 we should reject any prophesying that preoccupies itself with mystical ideas. And 2 John tells us the genuine is reconized by the orthodoxy of their message i.e. the doctrine of Christ. FEED BACK PLEASE!

Exploring Prophecy: The Deception

Now as he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age? And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you.

In the last article, “Exploring Prophecy: The Question” We looked at the Disciples question concerning the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the age. Here in the Olivet Discourse Jesus sketches the prevailing conditions of the present age down to the very end, culminating with the Day of the Lord when God will judge the earth and Jesus will vanquish the Antichrist and the false prophet throwing them into the lake of fire at Armageddon. We see here where Jesus beginning his discourse, answers the disciples question with a solemn warning to “Take heed that no one deceives you.” This describes that which is closest to Jesus’ heart concerning His people, deception. Jesus above all others, understands the power and destructiveness of deception. The very purpose for His coming was because of the deception that began in the garden thrusting all of humanity into spiritual depravity. Because of deception, all of humanity is at enmity with God, disobedient, and by nature are children of wrath. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” – Ephesians 2:4-5.

Deception has eternal consequences, and there are as many forms of deception as there are faces in the world. Anyone of us are capable of either deceiving or being deceived. “Deception is a cruel act…It often has many players on different stages that corrode the soul” – Donna A. Favors. Deception begins with one first deceiving one’s self, and always ends by deceiving others. Religious impostors will always steadily degenerate, and with them, those who follow them. Paul told Timothy, “but evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” – 2 Timothy 3:13. Is it any wonder why Jesus began with such a warning to “Take heed?” It is safe to say that Jesus’ warning that no one deceive you includes yourself.

The only way to be true to oneself is to be truthful with God, trusting in and relying on His Spirit and His Word to guide you into truth. I have discovered Confession is the best way to hamper the deception of oneself if you understand that confession is agreeing with God, meeting Him on His terms. Jesus gives an example with the Pharisee and the tax collector who went up to the temple to pray. “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, God, be merciful to me a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” – Luke 18:11-14. Who was deceived? Confessing truthfully to God diminishes self deception, while comparing yourself to others only leaves you praying with yourself, God is nowhere to be found.

The Counterfeit

The question which begs answering is, “Why such an urgent warning?” The next verse gives the answer, “For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many” – Matthew 24:5. To understand the magnitude of this religious deception several points must be considered which will open our understanding as to just how nefarious these spoken of here are. First, they come “In Jesus’ name.” Because they come in His name with the intent to deceive shows us they will misrepresent Christ. Secondly, they say, “I am Christ.” The Greek word Christos means, anointed. It is clear by the text that the “many” who come in Jesus’ name are not saying they are Messiah, but rather, they are “anointed” as they come “In His Name” claiming special anointing. One does not come in the name of another claiming to be the one who’s name they invoke. Another way of looking at it is, they will claim the same anointing as Christ himself alleging equality with Jesus.

There are two facets to consider here, The first is the counterfeit Christianity Jesus is describing here, the other is the antichrist himself. One is a system, the other is a person. We have several examples in Scripture which go hand in hand with this thought. The parable of the Wheat and Tares (Matthew 13:24-30) tells us that through Church history and unto the consummation of the age the true Church (Wheat) will be intermingled with the counterfeit (Tares). Tares were very common in Palestine and closely resemble wheat, they are not really distinguishable from the wheat until the grain appears at harvest time. Interesting is the fruit of the tare which is black and poisonous. It will be at the end of the age where the two (wheat and tares) will be separated. The fundamental difference between true Christianity and the Counterfeit is the true will always point to Jesus Christ preaching repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. The Counterfeit on the other hand draws men after themselves looking for quick results that require little sacrifice. Nor will they care for the flock of God. Paul exhorted the Ephesian elders that savage wolves would come in among them not sparing the flock of God. And also from among themselves men would rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves (Acts 20:17-30).

Satan has always tried to get a foothold on the Church and has been successful through his emissaries posing as ministers of the Gospel. Many falsely boast of their superiority to the foundational Apostles and Scripture categorizes them as “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” – 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. The Greek word for this transformation of Satan and his agents of deceit exposes them as schemers, people who disguise their real agenda by masquerading as ministers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Anywhere in the New Testament where you see “false brethren,” “false prophets,” and “false apostles,” be assured that Satan is at work. It is Satan’s desire to dominate the Church. The seven letters to the seven churches recorded in Revelation 2-3 demonstrates this as the Churches were infiltrated with the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. The name “Jezebel” appears as a doctrine to seduce God’s people into both a literal and spiritual fornication. Satan or “devil” is used no less than five times in the seven letters. It becomes clear that Satan dwelt within the churches as we see “Satan’s throne,” “where Satan dwells,” “the depths of Satan,” and the “synagogue of Satan” in opposition to the Church. The spiritual war, the race to be run that Scripture speaks about is within the church walls, not the world. And the conflict will continue until the Return of Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus told His Disciples to “Take heed, that no one deceive you.”  In the context of Matthew 24 it is those within the church who will become the apostate, who will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, who will betray one another and hate one another (Matt. 24:11-12).  I comes upon the true church to watch, to take heed the warning Jesus gave to the church and to be sober and vigilant, watching as that day may be soon upon us.