Recently, my wife and I watched as one popular televangelist offer 33 times the favor of God for $33. Not to be outdone, a couple of days later another one offered 1000 times the favor of God for $1000. A plethora of professing Christians follows these and other blatantly heretical and wicked individuals. There is no doubt that they are under a strong deception. Christ warned us in Matthew 24:24 that there would be a great deception so clever and intense that, if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived. The Apostle Paul described it as Satan “coming with all power, signs, lying wonders, and all unrighteous deception.” Obviously, it will be so powerful that the most dedicated Christian will have to endure aggressive satanic influences not to succumb to it. I believe that the very elect will overcome because they are indwelt and equipped by the Holy Spirit. However, the Great Deception will be the most powerful one that has ever afflicted the world. Nominal Christians are in grave danger of being drawn into its fatal snare. The consequence is eternal separation from God. Of course, individuals bound by the world system are already snared.
The atmosphere that precedes and produces this type of deception will be a time of doldrums initiated by lethargic professing Christians that have grown lukewarm and apathetic. When the deception reaches critical mass, the great and final apostasy will manifest. If one is not deceived, he or she recognizes this powerful deception and even a strong delusion is presently active in all segments of society including Christianity. Great numbers of people are succumbing to the influence of the satanic mind. They believe that right is wrong and evil is good. The political realm is inundated with individuals that cannot (or choose not to) discern between truth and lies. Secular society is celebrating hedonism as if it is a type of freedom. An increasing number appear to be without natural affection. Hostility toward true Christians is increasing dramatically. False religions, cults, and the occult are operating very powerfully in the religious realm. In all sectors, godliness is being rejected on a mass scale while the spirits of darkness are welcomed as new ideas, revelations, and innovative philosophies. Woven through it all is the bizarre delusion that mankind is somehow making the world a better place.
This free slide into apostasy was made possible by the unwillingness of professing Christians to draw near to God during a critical period. In a few words, they became obsessed with the offerings of the World System. As a result they became lukewarm and spiritually destitute. They abdicated to conservative news pundits their responsibility to oppose the darkness. Nowadays, they lament when elections do not go their way, about how terrible the world is becoming, and yet cannot grasp how far they themselves have drifted from the truth and full surrender to God. The more of them that resisted the consuming fire of God, the weaker organized Christianity became. Instead of humbling themselves when they were convicted, they either changed pastors or churches. That paradigm gave opportunity to hirelings, false teachers, and other wicked individuals. Many of these apostates have taken over significant churches and even denominational leadership and other key positions. They brought with them their proclivity to paganism and other elements of the New Age Movement. The response to this encroaching darkness by other leaders in Christianity is to embrace liberalism, including homosexuality. In short, the tragic and devastating prognosis is that Christianity is rapidly morphing into a false religion. Multitudes of professing Christians have rejected the influence of the Holy Spirit. Connect that with the precarious stability of the Middle East, the dramatic increase of the persecution of Christians worldwide, the coalescing one world government, and the imminent cashless global economy, we must conclude that this is the last days and we are in perilous times.
The entire sorry mess is frustrating and discouraging. It is a drain on ones spiritual energy and stifles hope and joy. My wife and I have ceased watching certain news programs talk shows because of the drain on our spiritual energy. Finding someone who even cares to discuss the end times is rare. They will discuss politics, sports, and nearly every other subject except the end times. It leaves me wondering how some professing Christians will survive such a period of great darkness. I must be honest and declare that it will not be easy. However, there are some basic principles that one must follow if victory is to be had.
First, we must read and study God’s Word. This puts the right information inside of us so that we are better equipped to recognize heresy and answer deception. Additionally, the Scriptures contain God’s revelation of Himself to us. The more that we read and study His Word, the better we know Him. The better we know Him, the better we can recognize the deceptive portrayals of Him by the workers of darkness. God’s Word contains Divine Order. Divine Order is the Divine Continuum of how God works in this world. All doctrine, revelation, and Christian conduct must harmonize with the Divine Continuum or it is not of God.
Second, one must be filled with the Holy Spirit. One of the most powerful factors in deception is that the deceived do not know they are deceived. Any sane individual knows when he or she is sick, injured, angry, sad, happy, and etc. But not one deceived individual knows that he or she is in fact deceived. The great deception is so clever and intense that it is only recognizable when one is filled with the Holy Spirit. The religious atmosphere is so convoluted that the human mind alone, no matter how intelligent, cannot always sort truth from error. In fact, I have observed intelligent individuals that rejected or neglected the Holy Spirit and entered deception as if it were an opportunity sent by God. When they were challenged, they pitied the ones challenging their deception, making remarks such as, “What a shame, they’re so deceived. We can’t teach them if they refuse to listen to the truth.” As such are the attitudes of everyone who has been beguiled by deception and embraced the darkness.
Third, we must reject everything new. The prevailing and misleading concept of truth in the deceived factions of Christianity is based primarily on new revelation. In fact, those individuals are always searching for something new. As a result, many new but false doctrines are inundating Christianity today. The Apostle Paul obviously believed that the word God gave us must be held tightly. There are no verses in God’s Word that tell us to hold onto truth for only a little while and then discard it for new revelation or “new manna”. Why would God put the burden on us during the Great Deception to discover and accept new revelation in the midst of a deluge of false doctrine? God would not subject us to such an opportunity for Satan to work during the great darkness of the last days. Instead, we are instructed to “cling fast” to what we already know. Paul wrote to the church that they should hold tightly to the things that they had been taught in order to avoid deception. There is no danger in holding on to time-honored scriptural truths. Further, and this may come as a shock to some people, we do not need new revelation in order to be spiritual, faithful, powerful, productive, Christians, or to be intimate with God. However, the propagators of new revelation try to shame people into accepting it by scornfully accusing them of being dry, dead, lifeless, clingers to the old manna. There is no such thing as “old manna” when it comes to God’s Word. His Word is “quick and powerful, sharp as a two-edged sword.” To claim that His Word gets old, ruins, and stinks like old manna, is a diabolical lie.
Two thousand years ago God sent us the Savior with His plan for salvation. It is not old, ruinous, or stinking news, but the effervescent good news. It is the foundation and life of everyone who desires to escape the great deception and apostasy. There are no scriptures that teach us to look for new revelation in order to survive the last days. Everything that arrives that is new is likely part of the great deception. One will not miss anything essential to ignore it.
Fourth, we should take the responsibility to maintain our spirituality. We depend too much on people to do everything for us. Millions of professing Christians sit in churches or in front of the TV sipping spirituality vicariously from people that they really do not know. There are homosexuals, adulterers, drunkards, drug addicts, thieves, liars, con artists, and etcetera, leading large congregations, and otherwise on TV and involved in highly influential positions. Instead of rejecting them, multitudes listen to their lame excuses and go right on supporting them. That is one of the main reasons so many people are deceived today. In fact, most of the deceived ones cannot defend their positions from Scripture, but mingle the Word of God with the words of vain humanity. They do not realize that they are growing up into these “heads” (actually, tails) rather than the true Head, which is Christ. Those people may already be deceived beyond help.
Last, we must pray. I don’t have to say a lot about this because every Christians knows that they should pray. It is the most necessary activity for spiritual life. Of course, I’m not talking about Contemplative Prayer, which is nothing more than entering an altered state of consciousness with the danger of demon possession. I’m referring to true prayer, talking to God with supplications and intercession.
Many clever words are spewed out to the masses, but truth comes from only one source, and that’s the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will speak to us through God’s Word. One does not need fictional books, farcical movies, television programs (no matter how well-produced) to discover truth. One simply needs to be hungry for the truth. To such a one the Holy Spirit will not deny truth. If you want to survive the great deception and apostasy, you will have to hunger for truth to the point of love for it. Don’t let anyone deceive you. Multitudes of professing Christians will not enter heaven because they foolishly ignored God’s warnings about the great deception. There are many ways that seem right, but the truth is what saves us from deception.
Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15; NKJV)
Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. (2 Timothy 1:13-14; NKJV)