How Christians Will Be Deceived
by Dene McGriff
The Bible tells us that Christians will fall into one of two categories: deceived or persecuted. The deceived will persecute the others in much the same way the Jewish religious leaders opposed the early Christians. Deception is a central feature of the “last days” so we can count on it happening. The Bible proclaims a spirit of delusion, a man of deception and of so-called Christians being led astray to do things they may not normally do if they were in their right mind. The deception is so pervasive that the whole world is taken in by it. These aren’t my words. They are Jesus’ words and are found throughout the Bible in describing the last days. (Matthew 24:5,11,24, Matthew 10:17-21, Revelation 12:9, 13:4, 18:23) We should expect it and be wise enough to recognize it.
Many Christians pick and choose what they want to believe in the Bible. They don’t take prophecy seriously because it is considered peripheral to their faith, controversial, complicated and too open to interpretation to matter. Studying prophecy is boring. Most teaching is based on 19th and early 20th Century scholarship and these are based on the geo-political situation of that time. These teachings have been passed down from generation to generation in Bible Schools and Seminaries compounding error. It should be obvious that end time prophecy can only be understood by the end times Christians because they are the one’s that have a “need to know.” (Daniel 12:9) Most Christians accept dated interpretations and are stuck in a time warp of their own preconceived ideas. Very few take a fresh look at prophecy in the light of the current geo-political situation. The fact of the matter is that just as it takes revelation to grasp the wonder of salvation, it requires an inward revelation to really understand prophecy.
The modern Christian is set up to be deceived. The two extremes in opinion are those who think prophecy has already been fulfilled and those who think the church will rapture before the tribulation (so it is of little personal interest). Hank Hannegraff’s “partial preterist” and the preterist view takes the position that all prophecy was basically fulfilled by 70 AD and we have been living in the “end times” every since. The more common among evangelicals is the dispensationalist view which has the church rapturing prior to the Tribulation. The church era ends and the Jewish dispensation resumes leaving the Jews to face the tribulation, possibly along with a few newly saved “tribulation saints” who are impressed by the quick exodus of Christians. A third position is represented by the mega church which is so caught up in improving and perfecting the good life here and now, that they don’t even consider the negative possibilities of tribulation. These wealthy “Laodicean” churches express their wealth with sprawling “campuses”, opulent sanctuaries seating thousands of people, and multimedia presentations that would make any university green with envy. They are into the higher calling of preaching the gospel to people who would certainly not be attracted by gloom and doom prophecy.
Today’s modern Western Christian is set up for deception coming and going no matter what their persuasion. Few are receiving fresh revelation on the subject. We are in touch with a few ministries that are linked to our website that clearly see but, relatively speaking, we are minute voices whispering in the great wilderness of Christendom. As we said in the last chapter, Christians focus on items that are essential to faith and relegate everything else to the sidelines. Prophecy is considered nice to know but certainly nothing to focus on. My only question is, if that is the case, why is a third of the Bible related to end times prophecy? Is it unimportant to God and man? Is a third of the Bible unimportant and a waste of our precious time?
I would agree that prophecy is not essential to our faith, but it is crucial as to whether we are deceived or not. Our view of the end times determines what we do or don’t do about it. We act according to our beliefs. As we shall see, the stakes are high. Even Christians can end up on the wrong side persecuting other Christians thinking they are doing God a favor (please see the opening verses of the last article). Christians today are set up for deception like never before.
In our opinion, one of the most important features of the last days is the testimony of the two witnesses: the two olive trees and the two lampstands (Israel and the church). The popular Christian teachings eliminate one or the other. Either the church raptures and the Jews are left or the Jews are irrelevant and the church takes dominion. We are often fixated on the word “tribulation” but there is more at stake than just a little suffering. Another word for “tribulation” is “trial” and the world is on trial prior to the judgment. The Old Testament clearly established the fact that no one can be convicted of a crime except upon the testimony of two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). In this case, the two witnesses are the two olive trees and two lampstands (Revelation 11) are his people: Israel and the church. Other issues are the identity of the major players in the last days: the identity of Babylon the Great, the Harlot, the antichrist and the issue of timing of events. One thing is certain and that is that God’s enemy does not want a prevailing testimony and will do everything within his power to lie and deceive. So we begin to look at those issues that are important with regards to deception.
The Rapture Issue
The rapture (the church being caught up to meet the Lord in the air):
" Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:30-31)
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (I Thess 4:16-17)
This is probably one of the most controversial and emotional issues in evangelical circles today. Supporters are vehement and know their arguments well. We have dealt with the detailed issues concerning this question in many places on this website so I won’t go into the arguments pro and con other than to say that any straight forward reading of the verses concerning the rapture as in those above leaves little doubt that the Lord returns and the saints meet Him in the air. Only a convoluted reading supports a secret rapture which is not the historical teaching of the church. But for arguments sake, let’s look at what happens if they are wrong, if they expect the church to rapture and it doesn’t.
As events continue to progress in the Middle East we see Israel surrounded by Hezbollah, Fatah and other equally committed enemies such as Syria, and Iran. Evangelicals pressure the U.S. government and support candidates who support Israel. Meanwhile, America is poised to attack Iran, and Israel Syria. Both the Islamic and Christian worlds are setting themselves up against one another. Israel is being pressured by the U.S. to concede a “two state” solution. What part of prophetic alignment don’t we understand? Let’s further assume war results leading to the defeat of Israel’s enemies. America is praised for not only aiding Israel in winning the war, but makes a defense treaty with Israel. There are many articles on our website describing this scenario. Nearly all evangelical Biblical scholars down through the ages agree that a defense treaty (Daniel 9:27) signals the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel or the seven year period more commonly known as the tribulation.
If Christians expect to be raptured before this period begins, will they understand unfolding prophetic events? Will they recognize the role the only great superpower in the world plays in the scenario as friend and defender of Israel? In fact, will they be applauding American support for Israel. Will they recognize the treaty for what it is? Will they continue to believe America is the nation that stands for truth, justice, democracy, etc. In fact, we are told that the antichrist betrays the apostate church at the midpoint of the Tribulation (Revelation 17) just as Israel is betrayed at the same time (Daniel 9:27). The church has been carried forth by the euphoria of victory after victory, the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and the triumph of “Christianity” over Islam, only to what? Be deceived, right? They fell right into the trap for several reasons: 1) they hadn’t raptured, 2) they saw no prophetic role for America, 3) they were caught up in false support for political Israel and 4) were blind to their own fallen Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-22) condition.
So let’s review: If someone is expecting to rapture before the tribulation, will they recognize events that occur (that should only happen once the church is gone)? Will Christians do anything extraordinary to prepare if they believe they will be gone? What will these patriotic Christians do to the naysayers who warn them against making a treaty with Israel?
Is America In Prophecy?
Western Christians in particular believe for the most part that the antichrist will arise out of the remnants of the Roman Empire – in other words, Europe. They can’t even conceive of America having a role. After all, America isn’t even mentioned in the Bible, so how could it possibly have a central role? At most, they see America’s destruction at the hands of Russia or China so Europe can rise and assume its rightful prophetic role. It just has to get out of the “prophetic way” so we can get on with the Bible! One school of thought is that America, once a chosen nation has fallen into sin and must be judged. The other is the exact opposite. They still see America as the chosen nation, and if the religious right can get in control of it, it can rid the world of God’s enemies – mainly Islam and bring the kingdom of God. Christians see two basic roles for America in the last days: one is as defender of Israel and the other is the nation that ushers in the kingdom of God and others see it doing both. But none of today’s patriotic church would see a more sinister role for America in the world. It is utterly unthinkable to us (although the rest of the world may have a different opinion)
Many evangelical Christians applaud America’s support for Israel, and in a sense, they are absolutely right. The big question is to what extent we support Israel politically? Israel historically has had no other friends in the world and without America’s support and arms, it would probably have been run over years ago by their enemies. Pat Robertson, John Hagee and many prominent Christian leaders today laud and encourage America’s support for Israel. Israel has believed in supporting herself and not trusting anyone else, so they have yet to enter a defense treaty.
So if Israel and the U.S. enter a defense treaty, the church will be applauding America as friend and defender of Israel. They won’t recognize the treaty for what it is, and most will continue to believe America stands for truth, justice, democracy, etc. Israel enjoys peace for three and a half years before it is betrayed by the antichrist (Daniel 9:27). At the same time the antichrist shows his true colors and turns on the apostate church (Revelation 17). The church has been carried forth by the euphoria of victory after victory, the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem and the triumph of “Christianity” over Islam, only to what? Be deceived, right? They fell right into the trap for several reasons: 1) they hadn’t raptured, 2) they saw no prophetic role for America, 3) they were caught up in false support for Israel and 4) were blind to their own fallen Laodicean (Revelation 3:14-22) condition.
The prophetic Word describes a great end times nation that not only dominates the world militarily but economically as a great consumer nation and is apostate (fallen) Christian as well. (Please see the book In Search of Babylon on this website, also Revelation 17 and 18). Could America be the “little horn” of Daniel 7 and 8 that grows out of but dominates the other ten? They fail to see that we are the little horn that sprung out of Europe; that we are European in every way: in language, culture, religion and law, that we removed three (England, France and Spain) and ended up more powerful than all of them. We are Israel’s only friend. Half the military expenditures of the whole world are by America. We are still the world’s biggest economy consuming one fourth of the world’s products. Yes, we may be over extended. Yes, we may be going broke, but we are hell bent on maintaining our empire as long as humanly possible. The chess board is lined up. The pieces are in place and poised to act out the final drama beginning with a culture clash in the Middle East, a treaty with Israel, a great rejoicing for America’s victory followed by the greatest apostasy and tribulation the world has ever seen.
The idea that America, the unchallenged leader of the Western world could be anything but a righteous nation chosen by God is inconceivable to us. The rest of the world can see through the façade to the self interest of our foreign policy, our materialism and hypocrisy. We are self-deceived as Americans, but I have lived in Latin America and Europe, and worked in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. People in other countries understand where we are coming from and don’t necessarily attribute our actions as being the selfless defense of underdogs, fighting for their freedom.
We Americans honestly believe that we fight and die that we and the world might be free. I just attended a Veterans Day breakfast at a church and let me preface this by saying that I served in the military and this is in no way mean to be derogatory but just a way of point out some of the fallacy in our thinking. They kept heralding the fact that our men and women died to preserve our freedom. Well, maybe the revolutionary war or the war of 1812 when the British attacked and burned Washington DC, but I don’t think our freedom was at stake when we fought the French, the Indians, the Mexicans, the Spanish. WWI was certainly not a war that in any way threatened the U.S. yet Wilson had us fighting to “make the world safe for democracy.” Hog wash! You might make a better case for WWII, but how did Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Panama or any of the other little wars we have been in have a thing to do with threatening our freedom or making another country free? Come on. We knew about Pearl Harbor but did nothing to stop it. We lied about Vietnam, Iraq and Bosnia but went in any way. What did we prove? What did we improve? Did we secure their freedom or just waste American lives? One thing we have done is told the lie often enough and loud enough that most of the people believe it and God help the person who dares to disagree. The new patriotism in the war on terror is that “you are either for me or against me” (quote President Bush). We are now in a war that has no end against a terrorist enemy that could be anywhere and every where, that justifies any action against anyone and at any time the country deems necessary. Most churches across the land wave the American and Christian flags proudly uniting the church behind our soldiers, against the godless enemy that would kill us at the drop of a hat and steal our freedoms and our right to worship! And so we will be willing to die and deliver up anyone who disagrees.
So let’s review: How many American Christians are going to accept that their country, although it may have had wonderful Christian roots, has become evil, corrupt, materialistic, heavy handed and dominant throughout the world? That certainly doesn’t fit our view of ourselves! How many pastors will start preaching this from the pulpit? How many church members will embrace this alternate view of America? What will they do to those who do? Isn’t supporting Israel always good? Why not sign a treaty to defend Israel? Why not die for our freedoms, our country? Well friends, that’s what deception is all about.
Who is The Antichrist?
The identity of the antichrist is a subject of great controversy. Some say he is a “spirit of the age”, an antichrist system, the Pope, a Russian leader, a Jew, Hitler’s clone, an Islamic leader, a popular European leader and on and on. Doug has written an excellent series on the subject titled “Reflections on the Antichrist.” The term “antichrist” is misleading and often misunderstood. It doesn’t mean “against” Christ but it means a Christ “substitute” – someone who claims to have the same attributes and authority as the real Christ – in fact, to be Christ! Christians are all over the map on this issue, but none expect him to be the great supporter of Israel, the leader of the greatest military and economic power on earth as well as an apparent “Christian”. Certainly, he shows his true colors at the midpoint of the tribulation, but how could he deceive the whole world (Revelation 13:4), including the “elect” if he didn’t appear to be good and moral, even Christian, the chief supporter of Israel and champion of the church? Clearly, the antichrist is the ruler of a nation, has vast armies to conquer and has the power to enforce a defense treaty.
The antichrist is or at least appears to be “Christian” (Revelation 17) but eventually turns on the church. His appearance is so good that even the “elect” are deceived. No one is standing against him initially. The antichrist appears to be a friend of Israel and makes a defense treaty with her but after three and a half years, turns on her as well (Daniel 9:27) So we have established that the antichrist is a friend of the church and at least appears to be “Christian” enough to fool most Christians, a friend of Israel. He has armies (as we see in Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation, etc.), makes wars of conquest (liberation – same thing, right?) throughout the world. No one can stand against the antichrist and his armies at least until we get to the battle of Armageddon when an army of 200 million marches up from the east (presumably China and India). The world worships and adores him. They take the “mark of the beast” which prevents them from buying or selling and is a token of their devotion and commitment to the antichrist.
Revelation 17 describes his nation, “prophetic” Babylon as apostate (fallen) Christian. You can’t fall from being “Christian” unless you were one originally. There is only one Western “Christian” nation that still has the “Christian” zeal. The European countries are truly post-Christian and their churches are empty – just a few old people are left in the pews. Only America maintains the missionary zeal to counter Islam.
The antichrist heads an apostate Christian nation where the churches are closely aligned with the government (Revelation 17 – the woman riding the beast), represents the consumer nation of the world (Revelation 18) and has a powerful army that goes forth to conquer (various places in Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Revelation), and finally, it supports and defends Israel. How many friends and real supporters does Israel have in the world? Please name one beside the U.S. Only one nation fits all these descriptions. So who could that be? Come on. Be honest. Russia? They are hardly Christian, have no consumer economy and don’t have much of a military any more. Europe? They are hardly united and have no offensive military. They are pretty good consumers but are hardly Christian any more. No, there is only one dominating “Christian” nation (and I use the word “Christian” loosely) that fits the description. (Again, I refer you to the book In Search of Babylon) As I mentioned, I traveled all over the world and found that most people outside of the U.S. easily grasped the concept of America being “prophetic Babylon”, but we have a veil over eyes. In fact, in the description of the church of Laodicea it describes western church in the last days as materially rich, naked and blind. Are American Christians going to embrace this view of their country? Not very likely, is it? If an apparently “Christian” American leader comes to power, are they likely to oppose him, especially if he comes to power with the support of the church and stands with Israel? Are very many people likely to get it? Will those expecting to rapture before the antichrist appearance recognize him? Will Christians who believe that America is God’s savior nation, the protector of Israel or the new Israel recognize him? Probably not, right?
Let’s review this point: The name of this game is deception. Is the antichrist and the nation he rules going to be an outwardly evil and despicable? Probably not. He is more likely to appear to be good, even “Christian”, very popular, worshipped by the people. How can anyone resist this guy? He is going to be the most charismatic, beloved leader the world has ever seen, a good guy on a white horse, supporting Israel. Few will oppose him and all will eventually have to choose whether they will take his mark or not. Many expect the antichrist to come from Israel, Rome or Russia, but from America??? Won’t American Christians will be the least likely to ever accept this as a possibility? Even Hollywood has a better imagination than most Christians! (Remember Damien from the Omen?) Would American Christians dare to consider the possibility that the antichrist could be one of them?
An Example of Deception
You may say this can never happen here in America. Yet we have an example of highly educated, even religious peoples, from a sophisticated western country – Germany in from 1922 to 1945. They were much more religious then than they are today. So if you think that we will never be duped by the antichrist, please remember that Hitler was popular, adored and worshipped by Germans. “Hitler projected an infinite power, power that only God can claim, and this was mesmerizing the German people. Power has innate erotic qualities that were amplified by Hitler's guttural voice, his screaming performances on the radio broadcasts, and his appeal to the primitive parts of man.” Most Christians slavishly supported and very, very few, opposed him. Excerpts from Hitler’s speeches shows his strong “Christian” belief.
My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for wh at they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.
-Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922
Another author and expert on Hitler says, “Hitler not only got brought up as a Roman Catholic Christian, but he expressed his Christian views into adulthood, including his period as Chancellor of the German Third Reich. One only need read Mein Kampf to see the extent of his Biblical beliefs. The German populace knew well about Hitler's book and it became a best-seller second only to the Bible. Furthermore, Hitler expressed his Christian feelings even more intensely in his speeches and proclamations throughout his power reign.”
One of Hitler’s henchmen, Helmut Brucker said, “We struggle for a union of the small Protestant state churches into a strong Protestant Reich Church.... We are acting not as a party, but as Protestant Christians who only follow a call to faith from God, which we here in our Volk movement. As true members of our church we have a legitimate claim to have appropriate consideration given to the greatness and inner strength of National Socialism in church life and the church administration.” All you have to do is look at Mein Kampf or read his speeches and you will see that Adolf Hitler clothed himself as a Christian – not even to say he was one, but with the symbolism, even quoting the Scriptures to support his case.
Hitler is a type of the antichrist. He appeared “Christian”, gained the support of the church and its leaders; even incorporated churches into his overall scheme. He used the Bible to justify his persecution of the Jews. Remember, the antichrist persecutes Christians and Jews, including the nation of Israel although he comes to power as a friend of both. So the betrayal is there in both instances. And very sad to say, few Christians or Jews realized what was happening until it was too late.
Let’s review: In the last days, there will be a powerful witness – among some Jews and Christians. Don’t ask me how but there will. They will speak the truth. They will speak whatever God puts in their mouths. They will stand and testify. They will stand and deliver and they will pay with their lives. Revelation 11:3 tells us he will give them power to testify for three and a half years. If you read carefully Revelation 11 you see that it truly is a misnomer to call the entire seven year period the tribulation as many scholars have pointed out. In fact, the first three and a half years is the time of testimony for the two witnesses. The second half is the period of the great Tribulation after the antichrist reveals his true colors. So what does this have to do with us?
Where is the Testimony of Jesus Today?
You are more likely to find the real testimony of what it means to be a Christian today in a house church in China, Africa, South Asia or the Middle East where people are persecuted for the faith, disowned by their families, ostracized by friends, fired from the jobs and sometimes killed or thrown in jail for their testimony. A good friend just returned from Cuba after smuggling in Bibles which are still illegal to saints hungry for the Word and willing to suffer for their Lord. If you want to find out what is happening to Christians around the world, see the Voice of the Martyrs website. Most Christians around the world have little to lose. They are passionate about their faith and one another. As it has been down through history, the more the world system opposes these poor weak Christians, the more brightly their testimony shines. But we Western Christians have too much to lose so we have come up with a new gospel – prosperity and purpose driven which justifies our riches and makes our pursuit of them almost spiritual – a sign of God’s blessing. Shame on us!
We are told that judgment begins at the household of God. If God is going to judge the world for ignoring Him, His free gift, His love and His presence, what will become of this dead church that claims to be alive but stinks like death? He is going to do what He has done through history and that is to allow the world to come down on it like never before in history. We are told that during the first half of the tribulation, the two witnesses will have a powerful witness but during the second half, they will be killed and their bodies trampled in the streets. (Revelation 11) In fact, the antichrist will make war against the saints and overcome them (Revelation 13:7). During this time, there will be betrayal. The imposters who claim to be Christians will deliver up their sons and daughters, mothers and fathers thinking they are doing God a favor because they don’t support “God fearing” America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, and this wonderful leader who makes a treaty with God’s people in Israel. American Christians won’t be killed because they are Christians. They will be killed by Christians because they see America and its elected leader for what it is and who he is. Those who are deceived will turn against the few who are trying to warn them.
Revelation 12:11 tells us what happens to those who dare to dissent. “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony and they loved not their lives even unto death.” They overcome not because of what they are but by what Jesus did for them. They are not afraid to speak out but have a word of testimony – what Jesus did in their lives and told them to say. They are willing to give up everything – their cars, homes, 401k, the good life and everything else, including their own lives because nothing matters but the testimony of Jesus which is the antithesis, the opposite of everything the antichrist stands for.
Concluding Comments on Deception
This is written particularly for the American Christian, because we will be the least to suspect ourselves, and therefore the most likely to be deceived. No one likes to think ill of their own country or their leader. Christians are encouraged to pray for their leaders, but I would like to point out that would apply to Nero, Hitler or Ghandi. It doesn’t matter whether they are good or bad and it doesn’t mean you have to support what they do. You are just told to pray for them. No matter where we are, whether in America or a developing country, our attitude as Christians should be that we are ambassadors and citizens of a heavenly city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews). It is interesting that over half the readers on our website are from other countries. Our audience is as international as any Christian site we have ever seen. I suspect that may have something to do with the fact this message resonates with Christians around the world who are less myopic about America and what it seems to stand for in the world. Imagine being a Christian in Malaysia trying to figure out from Scripture what nation fit the description of prophetic Babylon, the home of the antichrist (friend of Israel, most powerful military, economy, etc.) It wouldn’t be too hard for them to figure out, right?
On the other hand, we American Christians have been brought up to believe we are a special, chosen, blessed nation. Maybe we were but something has happened. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that America has lost her moral footing. What is presented here and on our website is not something you will hear from any mainline church in America that I know of, and for obvious reasons. Talk about a negative, counter culture message! I can’t imagine very many people being attracted to it. Believe me, this is a lonely road and we may meet somewhere along the way – outside the camp as they say, because we aren’t likely to be very welcome “inside”. Patriotism is a powerful human emotion, a powerful force built into education, socialization and even our churches. Our nation is our tribe. It’s where we belong. We owe it our identity, language, culture, values – everything. To stand against the tide of our culture and identity will require inward revelation and strength that can only come from above.
Final Review: So the choice will be before us all. Which group do we want to stand with? Do we want to be a part of the problem or the solution? Do we want to be like the German Christians who were afraid and deluded (deceived)? Or do we want to be one of those who stands up and says whatever God puts in our heart without fear or remorse? All I can say is that those who stand up as one of the two witnesses (and I believe these are corporate witnesses – not that we are standing alone) will be empowered with a message from God that will drive the world and the church totally mad. It will convict and convince some. It will surely be our death warrant. We can just about guarantee that but at the very least we will have a few incredible years of testimony. So as the Lord once told the children of Israel, “I have put before you this day a blessing and a curse.” He will put before us an opportunity to live the good life and be deceived or to lose our lives and testify. The choice is ours.