DECEIVE EVEN THE ELECT

Matthew 24:24b

 

By

Dene McGriff

 

The Bible tells us that in the “last days” Christian will deliver up Christian, thinking they are doing God a favor.  What is the nature of a deception that would lead to such a betrayal?  How could people from the same background suddenly turn on one another?  What catalyst or issue could cause such a separation between believers who once stood for the same thing, possibly attended the same church, prayed in the same homes, shared potlucks and lives?  What would cause “good” people to deliver up a fellow Christian, a father, mother, son or daughter to death?

 

For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows.  “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.   And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.  Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved, For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles.  These are the beginnings of sorrows.  “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them.   And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.  But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.   Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.   And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  (Mark 13:8-14)

 

The last article I wrote, “The Mother of All Deceptions” drew some interesting reactions.  And if you recall the article, we discussed the possibility that the American government had lied to the public in the past (e.g. Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, Iraq) and possibly about involvement in 9/11 because of some very curious coincidences surrounding the downing of the twin towers.  The question posed was:  What if there were another terrorist event?  What would happen to the coming elections?  What if the administration attacked Iran as noted in recent articles.  What if America staged a three day blitz of 1200 targets in Iran?   What if this triggered terror attacks against Americans around the world or even at home?  We pointed out what happened on the Sundays following 9/11.  The churches of America filled to the brim with flags waving.  A patriotic swell not seen since Pearl Harbor swept the churches.  It wasn’t that difficult to couch the war in Hitler-like terms of “good versus evil”…  Islam against the Judeo-Christian world.  After all, they declared the war against us already and brought it to our shores!

 

As Chalmers Johnson says in his brilliant work, “The Sorrows of Empire” . . .  

 

It would be more accurate to say that the attacks produced a dangerous change in the thinking of some of our leaders, who began to see our republic as a genuine empire, a new Rome, the greatest colossus in history, no longer bound by international law, the concern of allies, or any constraints on its use of military force…since 9/11 our country has undergone a transformation from republic to empire that may well prove irreversible.  It suddenly became “un-American” to question the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism,” let alone a war on Iraq, or on the whole “axis of evil,” or even on the sixty or so countries that the president and his secretary of defense announced contained al-Qaeda cells and so were open targets for unilateral American intervention.  The media allowed themselves to be manipulated into using sanitized expressions like “collateral damage,” “regime change,” “illegal combatants,” and “preventive war,” as if these somehow explained and justified what the Pentagon was doing.” (pp 3,4)

 

Like the war on drugs after which it is patterned, there will be no victory. That is because both of these wars are designed, not to be won, but to be waged. Their function is to sensitize the population with fear and indignation, to provide credible justification for the gradual expansion of government power.  A recent article warned, “Bush has put in place all the necessary measures for dictatorship in the form of "executive orders" that are triggered whenever Bush declares a national emergency…Ask yourself: Would a government that has lied us into two wars and is working to lie us into an attack on Iran shrink from staging "terrorist" attacks in order to remove opposition to its agenda?”

 

ONE MORE INCIDENT . . . THEN . . .

 

One more event would not only trigger untold reactions from the government (possible martial law, travel restrictions, censorship of criticism, etc.) but it would likely trigger a ground swell of support from the more conservative churches in America.  Our position on America in Bible prophecy should be clear to anyone who has read my book on the website, “In Search of Prophetic Babylon.”  The proposition is that the Bible clearly describes a religious but apostate Christian nation, a massive consumer economy that devours the world’s goods, a military power that sprung out of the Roman Empire and finally a nation that signs a treaty with Israel – only to renege on it after three and a half years and turn on her (Daniel 9:27).  This is not some brilliant idea for a novel but straight out of multiple passages of the Bible and discussed from many angles on our website (See the series on the US-Israel Strategic Alliance by Doug Krieger).

 

The Bible is also clear that in the last days, most Christians will be deceived.  You may ask yourself, how could this possibly be?  How could Christians turn on one another?  How could they support the Antichrist?  I am going to give you three good reasons and then discuss each in depth: 1)  Many “Christians” consider America to be a “Christian” nation – founded on Christian principles by Christian men and that it has a special destiny to fulfill here on the earth; 2) America is Israel’s only real friend and if America blesses Israel, America will be blessed by God; and, 3) Many Christians are confused about their true citizenship and are working mightily to make the world a better place to live.

 

America – God’s Redeemer Nation

 

It is understandable why the typical American Christian would be upset by the thought that we may not be the good guys we were cracked up to be.  No one wants to think ill of their home country.  In our mind, we are standing against godless Islam by fighting “terrorism” in Afghanistan and Iraq.  The fact that a million civilians have died in those two countries escapes us (even though this would normally be considered genocide by us and the rest of the world given different circumstances).  We are bringing truth, justice and the American way, democracy and self-determination to these poor radical dictatorships.  The collateral damage and all the nuclear waste from our hardened artillery and bombs causing hundreds of thousands of deaths are acceptable losses compared to the good we are bringing.  The media constantly launders our brains to think America is doing the world such a great service to the world. 

 

But there is something deep in our national psyche.  In the words of the famous author Herman Melville (1819-1891), “We Americans are the peculiar chosen people—the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world.”  (Herman Melville, White Jacket, p. 150)  We are all familiar with the theme of “manifest destiny” which threads through America’s history and has been echoed by many presidents since then. 

 

There is another empire that brought together many peoples, languages and religions and united them into one civilization, language and culture –the Roman Empire.  Napoleon, Charlemagne and Hitler conquered Europe, but they didn’t fully assimilate it as the Romans did; The Romans offered full citizenship to free men.  Rome brought civilization and empire to multi-ethnic peoples by bringing one language, one culture, one commercial empire to the masses.  We are the Romans of the new world – first, the great assimilating people made up of peoples from all of Europe; then, Africa and lately, Asia and Latin America.  We have become the great exporters of civilization.  The most popular television programming and blockbuster movies are immediately translated (either dubbed or with subtitles) and sent all over the world practically in real time.  I used to sit in gatherings in places as far flung as Indonesia, Argentina or Nigeria and watch the incredible fluency of others in our language and culture seeing them capture the nuances of English.  In fact, it was a little embarrassing being beaten in Trivial Pursuit more than once by some “foreigner.”  “Ubiquitous” really describes the USA –we are everywhere.  When I was in Kuwait for a couple of weeks, the lead story in the newspaper was a great debate over the Barbie Doll and whether it was too (well, you know) to be allowed in the country.  American culture and the English language permeate the world.

 

America is schizophrenic where half take pride in being liberal and open, while the other half feel that they have been robbed of their core values by secular culture.   Yet, America holds the most conservative religious beliefs in the Western world and is closer to Turkey or Mexico than any western country.  The culture conflict between the secular and religious elements is well known but both rally equally when it comes to making a buck or fighting an enemy.  A Pew Research study in 2002 found that 59 percent of the US respondents declared that religion plays an important role in their lives.  This compares to 65 percent for Turkey and 57 percent for Mexico, 30 percent for Canada, 12 percent for Japan and France.   Forty-seven percent of Americans attend church on a typical weekend.  According to a Newsweek poll, 91 percent of Americans believe in God.

 

THE GOSPEL OF PROSPERITY

 

The church in America closely resembles the description of the Church of Laodicea, “Behold I am rich (wealthy) and in need of nothing.”  (Revelation 3:17)  Max Weber’s book, “The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism” described the marriage between the religion and money.  Wealth was a sign of God’s blessing and poverty of his curse.  So Americans worked hard and became wealthy.  The lust for wealth became one of the hallmarks of the “word/faith movement,” proponents of the green gospel.  Now the suburbs are burgeoning with mega churches – parking lots filled with imports and SUVs as shuttles bring people from remote parking lots to the services on the “main campus”.  Folks who are making a lot of money will fight to keep it.  The good life is worth fighting for – to liberal and conservative alike.

 

THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL-CHURCH COMPLEX

 

There is nothing like a good enemy to unite the country; and we have had some good ones.  Hitler was a class act bad guy.  So were Stalin, Mao and many less notables.  This gave the country (and the military-industrial complex) someone to fight.  Fascism and communism gave the American military a reason for being.   But when the iron curtain fell, for the first time in decades there was no enemy to fight and no way to feed the ravenous appetite of the elites who just happen to make a lot of money from war.  So along comes 9/11 – that catalyzing event which just so happens to be six years ago this month.  It gave us a new enemy and a good reason to drop close to two trillion dollars into a new war.  We now have a truly evil enemy (someone who would kill thousands of innocent people in the twin towers), people who are willing to blow themselves up and take women and children – innocents, with them. 

 

When 9/11 occurred, everyone, including the legislators rallied around the President and gave him everything he wanted.  In the weeks following the attack, churches filled with people and American flags.  For the first time in 60 years, an attack had been made on American soil.  The Republicans had just come to power but increased their lead in the next election as the religious right thought they had finally found their champion and had garnered enough votes to get things done so they could begin to reverse the decline.  Meanwhile, the President pressed his advantage by painting the enemy in the worst light.

 

President Bush repeatedly cast the struggle against terrorism and America’s place in the world in explicitly religious terms.  Not just the terrorists, but a range of other rivals of America were cast as ‘evil.’  A religiously inspired messianic spirit colored even those passages where Bush was ostensibly, speaking of secular and universal values.  Bush himself has been reported as seeing himself as an instrument of divine providence…The statement that ‘if you are not with us you are against us,’ so endlessly repeated by the president and other officials…”(Anatol Lieven, “America Right or Wrong,” p. 128).

 

We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge...be ready for pre-emptive action when necessary to defend our liberty and to defend our lives… In the world we have entered, the only path of safety is the pat of action.  And this nation will act. (Address at West Point graduation, June 2, 2002)

 

Six years later, in spite of the lies and subterfuge of the administration, the religious right is in a state of panic.  Some understand now that Bush and his cronies were not necessarily all they promised to be, although a couple of Supreme Court appointments will be Bush’s legacy to the conservatives.  But when they look forward, they see little hope.  There isn’t a democrat or republican that they can really rally around – a thrice divorced catholic, a Mormon, a former POW who is pro-choice, etc…  We are at a cross roads!

 

That is why I posed the question in the last article:  What if there were no election?  What if there was another terrorist event?  What if there was another 9/11?  What if Bush decided to carry out the last piece of unfinished business he has as president and that is to swing a knock out punch at Iran (and maybe Syria if they get into the act)?  There is more than speculation out there and the news articles on a possible preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities are in the news every day.  What if that led to retaliation by Iranian sleeper cells in the U.S.?  What would that do to the 2008 election?  But more importantly, what would that do to the churches in America?

 

President Bush, as well as pastors across the land have clearly characterized radical Islam as evil, an enemy that is threatening the peace of the world, our friends in Israel, and, if Iran were allowed to get nuclear warheads, not only Israel, but most of Europe would be within reach of Iran.  The argument goes, that Iran can’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons and we have to act while we still can.  Imagine for a moment that we bombed Iran and threats and more began to be hurled our way.  What do you think Americans would do – whether conservative or liberal?  They would rally around the flag as they always do in times of war.  Remember, we are talking about deception.  Attacks and threats will cause churches to rally their congregations around the government?  They did it during WWII.  They did it after 9/11.

 

THE HOLY WAR:  PATRIOTIC PASTORS vs. CHRISTIANS

 

Patriotism rallies the citizenry by definition, especially when it is a “holy war.”  Christians understand this and have waged holy wars against Islam from the crusades onward.  You may say it couldn’t happen here in this modern era.  According to Chalmers Johnson, the administration’s “apparent acceptance of a clash of civilizations” and of wars to establish a moral truth that is the same in every culture, sounds remarkably like a Jihad, especially given the Bush administration’s ties to Christian fundamentalism.  The president even implicitly equated himself with Jesus Christ in repeated statements (notably September 20, 2001) that those who are not with us are against us, a line clearly meant to echo Matthew 12:30, ‘He that is not with me is against me.’” (ibid, Johnson, p. 287)  

 

The Bible tells us that in the last days, these conflicts will exist leading up to the Gog-Magog War (which is a civilization conflict between Islam and Judeo-Christian forces—see Doug’s articles:  Antichrist and the Gog-Magog War).  What could possibly cause Christians to turn against Christians but a highly patriotic conflict between “good and evil?”  Something like that happened in our lifetime and many well-meaning Christians embraced Hitler and fascism.  They didn’t all hate the Jewish people but when the propaganda machine told the people that they were the cause of all their problems (think about the similarities between the burning of the Reichstag and 9/11) so the great the majority of the population turned against them.  To not do so was to harbor the enemy.  If caught, the few who protected the Jews were thrown into concentration camps with them.  Believe me, the source of persecution in the last days will come from a politically corrupted form of Christianity.

 

What would so enrage Christians against their fellow brothers and sisters more than seeing them as traitors to their own beloved country?  Believe me, it is not a terribly popular thing to expose the true nature of America/prophetic Babylon.  This goes against everything we were ever told.  Our initial gut reaction is to condemn anyone who would dare criticize the U.S., especially as it valiantly fights the war on “terror” – fighting evil the world over.  What do you think deception is all about?  It has got to be convincing, appear to be good and right.  Only those who know and listen to the voice of the Shepherd will be spared the deception.  We are not talking about something cleverly human but something diabolically deceiving.  To the average person and even Christian, it will look right, sound right, and feel right.  It will be so convincing, so overwhelming that they will be convinced they are doing God’s work in “turning in their deceived and heretical brethren” to “the authorities.”  After all, it’ll be for their own good!

 

As in Orwell’s 1984, the government will make sure the threat levels stay high.  Orwell’s satire had three regions of the world called Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia—constantly at war with one another in order to keep the masses under control.  The unifying factor was hatred of the enemy, and for every day, they observed, “the two minute hate.”  They hired an actor, Emmanuel Goldstein.  The enemy of the people would come on TV every day and deliver a venomous attack against Big Brother. 

 

The dull, rhythmic tramp of the soldiers’ boots formed the background to Goldstein’s bleating voice. …  In its second minute the Hate rose to a frenzy. People were leaping up and down in their places and shouting at the tops of their voices in an effort to drown the maddening bleating voice that came from the screen. … The dark haired girl behind Winston had begun crying out “Swine! Swine! Swine” and suddenly she picked up a heavy Newspeak dictionary and flung it at the screen. It struck Goldstein’s nose and bounced off; the voice continued inexorably. … The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was, not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds, any pretense was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.”…(George Orwell, 1984)

 

We have been conditioned since we were children to believe that we are the good guys in white hats on white horses fighting the bad guys.  Sociologists, historians, political scientists, writers and others from Alexis de Tocqueville on have been writing about America’s messianic visions and its moral crusading on behalf of the world.

 

Christians have been led to believe that our founding fathers were all God-fearing Christians who founded a Christian nation.  Whether that was their intention or not, it is scripturally irrelevant; however, it is a matter of history.  We will never create utopia on earth (more on this later).   The American form of government was as much a product of the French Enlightenment (which was decidedly secular) as it was the Bible.  If you look at the description of commercial Babylon in Revelation 18 and Jeremiah, you will see a nation that may well at one time have been used to bless the nations.  Nothing is black and white and there certainly have been believers who sincerely walked with the Lord and served as best they could.  I’m not taking away from those wonderful saints.  But we are naïve and deceived if we attribute any more to America than that.  It is an interesting experiment but the “whole world lies in the evil one.”  There will be no Kingdom of God upon the earth until Jesus returns and reigns for a thousand years.  To believe that America is blessed in the same way some considered Britain to be the “new Israel of God,” is the path to deception and destruction.  This brings us to a related subject – Israel!

 

“I Will Bless Those Who Bless Israel” but Beware!!!

 

I want to make one thing perfectly clear before I begin.  There is no one who is more supportive than we are of Jews, including those living in the land of Israel.  Just look at the dozens of articles we have on this website.  In fact, we have been so bold to declare that the two witnesses of Revelation 11 – the two olive trees and the two lampstands are God’s two peoples: Jews and Christians (See:  The Two Witnesses in Wikipedia and Doug’s article on The Two Witnesses).   We have multiple articles on this subject and go into it in great detail.  We feel that these two peoples will somehow stand and testify to God’s faithfulness during the Tribulation.  The Bible is very clear that His people would be scattered among the nations and gathered again back to their land.  (See “Can These Bones Live?”)  This is mentioned in Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Bible and mentioned countless times throughout.  Praise God!  It happened in our life time.  Israel became a nation in 1948, was nearly overwhelmed by much more powerful enemies six times since then and is still facing millions committed to their destruction.  Again, we have countless articles on these prophecies as they are unfolding before our eyes. (See, for example:  Three Wars and One Peace Treaty by Doug Krieger)

 

Now this is where it gets interesting.  Most evangelicals, especially dispensationalists, are supportive of Israel.  John Hagee, a pastor of a large church in San Antonio, Texas, heads a large organization “Christians United for Israel.”  Now it just so happens that the United States has historically been about the only friend Israel could count on.   All the other countries turned against them (Britain, France, etc.).  Only America has consistently and practically stood with her (i.e. billions and billions in military aid, making Israel the third most powerful military in the world—the IDF).  On the one hand we Christians would have to say this is good.  We are blessing Israel.  So what could possibly be wrong with that?

 

 

Nearly twenty-five years ago, one of my closest friends started an organization that was building bridges between Christians and Jews.  They had wonderful joint events, marches, dinners, meetings in Washington, DC.  It was really the beginnings of what is going on today.  Israel was getting caught in one of their tight spaces and my friend really wanted to show support for Israel, so he took out a full page ad in the Sacramento Bee (not inexpensive even then).  I warned him back then to be careful getting too entangled with politics.  Now what’s wrong with that, you may say?

 

Again, we have detailed articles on this subject on our website but here is a brief summary.  Daniel 9:27 speaks of a covenant (“Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;  But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined,  Is poured out on the desolate.”).  The peace of Israel is guaranteed by a treaty with the Antichrist head of a nation called Babylon – prophetic Babylon, if you will–a country that is so big and powerful, it can do this and no one’s going to mess with Israel (Please see our article).  The only problem is (to simplify and shorten the story), the guy who signs the treaty – this king of Babylon is the Antichrist and he breaks the treaty mid point in this seven-year period and turns on Israel.

 

SIDING WITH THE ANTICHRIST – NOW THIS IS DECEPTION!

 

The warning for both Christians and Jews should be obvious now.  This great leader and this great country that is supporting Israel is the ANTICHRIST and PROPHETIC BABYLON.  Again, please check out articles on the website for details.  The warning is for both because the Antichrist turns against Israel (Daniel 9:27) and the apostate church (Revelation 17:16) that helped him to power and supported him.  Meanwhile, there will be the “two witnesses” – which consists of Jews and Christians who are willing to stand up and testify to God’s mercy and pending judgment and against the lies of the Antichrist.

 

Christians who support Israel are called dispensationalists (traditional dispensationalists) because they believe the church era ends with the rapture of the church and the final dispensation (the last seven years) is left to the Jews.  This is one more reason the average fundamental Christian will be deceived.   Some of them are well aware that the final seven years begin with the treaty between Israel and the Antichrist as the king of Babylon.  But if that treaty occurs and they are still here, it is doubtful they will recognize it because the pretrib rapture doctrine has them out of here before that happens

 

The deception grows for many reasons.  Because they were expecting to secretly rapture to meet Jesus somewhere in the air, they thought they were supporting their own President signing a treaty to protect Israel, a nation they have been taught to bless and support.  They didn’t recognize their leader as a questionable character.  They didn’t recognize their country (America/prophetic Babylon) as having any prophetic significance (please see: In Search of Babylon).  These Christians were brainwashed to believe America couldn’t possibly be anything but a nation with a destiny, if not a divine calling to usher in the kingdom. 

 

Christians the world over will be celebrating a treaty to protect Israel and guarantee her security.  The treaty will be signed after the ORACLE OF DAMASCUS (Daniel 9:26—“”the end of the war”) and prior to the Gog-Magog War (See:  Three Wars and One Peace Treaty by Doug Krieger) – a debilitating war between radical Islamic forces in the Middle East on one side and Israel, with probable US support, on the other). 

 

Everyone will be ecstatic over the victory, but Israel will have used up most of her offensive weapons (and exhausted her thirst for Secular Zionism—see Isaiah 17:4) so America will have to protect her from future calamities (i.e., the Gog-Magog War) – NOTE:  The PRE-POSITIONING of the West’s forces in the Beautiful Land permits the scenario of the Gog-Magog War/Conflict found in Daniel 11:40-45 wherein “Antichrist and his forces” contend with Gog-Magog’s forces (King of the North and King of the South; however, in Ezekiel 38-39:16) Israel, now dwelling in “unwalled villages” as a result of the “peace treaty” orchestrated by Antichrist, is the focus of the Gog-Magog War—these two portions of Scripture speak of the same war from two perspectives!  (Ref. Robert Duncan Culver:  Daniel in the Latter Days, p. 169):

 

“He (Antichrist) shall seek to destroy Israel (referencing Daniel 11:41, 45) in his own ‘glorious land’ (Palestine) and to obliterate the then revived worship of Israel in the land.  This is the most obvious explanation of the statements that ‘he shall enter also into the glorious land,’ and that ‘he shall plant the tents of his palace between the sea and the glorious holy mountain.’  Most commentators of all schools admit that this is, indeed, the literal meaning.  We further believe that the prophecy, ‘he shall come to his end, and none shall help him,’ is fully explained in a literal fashion by Paul (II Thess. 2:2 ff.) and by John Rev. 19:11 ff.).  This interpretation accepts the doctrines of a final Antichrist, of a restoration of Israel to the land in the latter part of this age, and of a millennium during which Israel is blessed to follow this age.” (Robert Duncan Culver, Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Daniel and the Latter Days, p. 169)

 

Surely this is a sign that we are a chosen and blessed nation because of our support.  The only people that will say much in opposition (other than those liberals supporting the Palestinians) will be those few Christians who understand the prophecy.    Anyone who dares to oppose this wonderful treaty is nothing more than a traitor and sympathizer with the enemy!  This will surely lead to prison or worse for any dissenters.  They will have no prophetic understanding that they have allied themselves, like “the many” (i.e., the majority of Israelis) with those Isaiah says “. . . have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol (HELL) we are in agreement . . . (BUT) . . . your covenant with death will be annulled, and your agreement with Sheol will not stand” (Isaiah 28:15, 18)

 

And finally, these Laodicean Christians who think they are rich and in need of nothing, are poor, blind and naked, unwittingly taking their stand on the side of the Antichrist – and totally clueless (Revelation 3:14-19).  This brings us to our last point.  The whole world will be deceived by the Antichrist, but Christians should know better.  It’s all laid out in the Bible (Revelation 6:2; II Thessalonians 2:1-12).  Why are American Christians in particular deceived?

 

WHY ARE WE CHRISTIANS PRONE TO DECEPTION?

 

I’m going to answer that question in a minute.  But first let’s define a Christian.  Is a Christian someone who believes in certain doctrines and teachings, goes to church, reads his Bible, and prays?  Not one of those things makes a person a Christian.  A Christian is a person who has been born again by the Spirit of God.  His human spirit has been brought to life.  That is a special part of our being – the “God shaped” vacuum within us, that special place where we fellowship with God.  It is that transforming life inside that changes us, not our efforts to be good or to act a certain way (Ref. John 3:1-21).  But what happens often with Christians is as Paul says in Galatians, having begun in the spirit we continue in the flesh (Galatians 3:1-3).  We experience a new life and relationship but get distracted and start to act like we think a Christian ought to act.

 

So what does that have to do with being prone to deception?  If we don’t maintain that relationship with God, we revert to our old ways, our old life and become miserable, hypocritical actors!   We start out so alive, so relieved to be forgiven and clean for once in our lives.  We sense God’s presence and spend a lot of time fellowshipping with Him.  But soon, something happens and we lose that wonderful relationship we started with and we learn to be religious or, in other words, how to act, how to go through the motions of being a Christian.  Many things distract us, but we American Christians have a unique problem in the history of the world.

 

It’s pretty simple if you think about it.  We have too much to lose!  We are the wealthiest people to ever live on the face of the earth.  Maybe if we lived in a mud hut in Haiti, China or Africa, and owned the clothes on our back, a spoon, a bowl, a blanket, had no shoes and got one meal a day, we might have different priorities.  I could bore you for hours on end with how much more of everything we have compared to 90 percent of the rest of the world, but I’ll spare you.  Basically, we want our cake and eat it too.

 

American Christians are at the top of the pyramid when it comes to Mazloff’s hierarchy of needs; and we have a system of society that demands involvement where we can participate in and affect what happens.  We have come to believe in our ability to change the world, make it better and in fact the “Protestant ethic” makes it mandatory for us to get involved.  At the same time, our material appetites increase.  The starter home has doubled in size from about 1200 square feet to 2400 in the past 25 years.  The finisher home is the proverbial MacMansion (5000 plus square feet) that I see sprouting up all over town in those large lots from the ‘50’s – two story behemoths that take up the whole lot and tower over the little ranch house next door!

 

Go to the local mega church and you will never be offended as the church helps you navigate through all the important things of your purpose driven life.  You will never hear a thing about prophecy (way too negative, as in “Despise Not Prophecies”).  You will likely be reassured about the imminent rapture.  Although, you will see disillusionment with the government, criticism will spin on a dime to support if something bad were to happen.  Overall, most believe America is essentially a good, well meaning country, that it has no place whatsoever in prophecy and that supporting Israel is good (Please see Doug’s series beginning with:  Bye-bye Babylon (check on Google).

 

Let me tell you, people raised in this safe atmosphere will never think outside the box and will do whatever is necessary to protect and defend what is theirs.  These Christians basically view themselves as having dual citizenship.  They have their life insurance policy to go to heaven, but this is where their life is – job, car, family, home and church.  They need to vote, do jury duty, participate in the PTA – after all Satan will take over if “good men do nothing.”  They are more at war with the culture and the secular society that is drawing their kids away, subverting their morals and spawning rebellion.  They are determined to take the country back.

 

When Jesus said that we are either for or against Him, He meant it and 99.99% of the Jews and Jewish leaders of His day were against Him then – and Luke poses the question, “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  To me, the question for this generation, especially in America, is one of citizenship.  In God’s mind, there is no such thing as dual citizenship.  Down through the ages saints looked for a city whose builder and maker is God.  (Hebrews 11:9-10)  We are strangers and pilgrims.  (Hebrews 11:13)   The Bible tells us the whole world lies in the evil one’s control.  (I John 5:19)  Just as all men are fallen and need to be redeemed, all have fallen short. 

 

There is no institution that man creates that is any better than the man that created it.  All nations are broken.  All forms of government are broken.  All forms of economic organization are broken, because man is broken.  He is corrupt and will bring that corruption with him wherever he goes.  The world can’t be fixed. The only thing that can be fixed is the heart of man by God – one heart at a time, if they are willing.

 

But if Christians hold on to their things, to their beloved America, the savior nation, of Israel, even of the poor and oppressed in the form of today’s “gospel of social justice” – “the distorted gospel of the (so-called) Kingdom (of good works),” (proclaimed by well-meaning but wholly-deceived lovers of so-called ‘liberation theology’ – in other words, your “good works” and your “evil works” – the good, the bad and the ugly – and fail to see through the sham of it all as nothing more than a replacement of Christ Himself, they will be deceived. 

 

If Christians continue to go to church and demand that the pastors do this that and the other thing for them, rather than realize that they are the church, have gifts and should use them, they will be deceived. 

 

If Christians fail to give everything they are and have to God, they will be deceived. 

 

If Christians think there is nothing more to it than going to church and reading their Bible now and then, they will be deceived. 

 

If Christians refuse to listen to and obey His voice, they will be deceived. 

If Christians believe the feel good gospel they hear from their pulpits, they will be deceived.

 

If Christians believe the media, the spin, the lies of their government, they will be deceived.

 

If end times’ Christians refuse to read and understand the very prophecy that was written for them because it is too hard or confusing, they will be deceived. 

 

If they accept the teachings of their pastors rather than looking into the Scriptures themselves to determine the “purposes of God” for the end of days as it clearly states in Daniel 12:4, they will be deceived. 

 

If they blindly support America, or any government for that matter, they will be deceived. 

 

If they trust a sincere, charismatic, peace making leader who wants to sign a treaty to defend Israel, they will surely be deceived. 

 

And finally, if they think they can’t be deceived, they surely will be!

 

IN CONCLUSION – IT’S TIME TO DECIDE!

 

Brothers and sisters, there is nothing to be afraid of.  We are about to enter the most exciting, climatic (literally) period in the history of humankind!  We are going to have the opportunity to witness those events leading to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ!  The greatest deception and tribulation the world has ever known is settling like a pale upon us.  We can either be caught up in it or stand boldly against it, knowing that the short-term price to be paid is nothing compared to the glory about to be revealed.

 

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4)

 

Far from the lukewarm Christian wanting to hold on to his own life is the attitude of the Christian in the midst of the Tribulation: “And they overcame by the blood of the lamb, by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives even unto death.” (Revelation 12:11)   Or as the martyred missionary Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”