Showing posts with the label Deceivers

Babylon Unveiled

The interpreting angel exposes Babylon’s true nature – She is a seductive whore stained with the blood of martyrs .  Chapter 17 of Revelation presents the reader with an impressive female figure, “ Babylon, the Great City .” Her outward appearance is so appealing that even John is mesmerized by her, at least, for the moment (“ I was astonished when I beheld her, with great astonishment! ”). Yet the interpreting angel identifies her as a “ whore ” and links her to the violent deaths of the “ witnesses ” of Jesus.

Deceivers and Catastrophes

Jesus began his final discourse on the Mount of Olives with a sharp warning - Beware of the “ many deceivers ” who would come and use his authority to spread misinformation about his imminent return based on common occurrences such as wars, earthquakes, and other calamities. They will “ deceive many .” Contrary to their claims, the “ END IS NOT YET .” Likewise, “ False Prophets ” will propagate lies about the whereabouts and coming of the “ Son of Man .”

Discerning Times and Seasons

Popular preaching often claims that Jesus commanded his disciples to “discern the times and the seasons” so they may know when the end of the age draws near. They must know and understand the “signs” so they can be prepared to meet Jesus on his return. Though we may assume this is an established fact, Jesus never stated anything to this effect. At no place in the New Testament does he command his followers to know all the times, signs, and seasons. He taught them something rather different.

The False One(s!)

In his first epistle, John declares it is the  Last Hour , a period elsewhere in the New Testament called the “ Last Days .” As evidence of this, he points to the presence of false teachers who are disrupting the congregations under his care. These deceivers are the products and instruments of the “ Spirit of Antichrist ” that is active already in the world, and these very same men are forerunners of the final “ Antichrist ” who is yet to come.

Proclaiming Another Jesus

When certain “ super-apostles ” began undermining his authority, the Apostle Paul warned the Assembly in Corinth not to heed anyone who was “ proclaiming another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or a different spirit, or a different gospel .” Instead, Paul pointed to the same Jesus that he first proclaimed in the city, the “ Crucified Messiah .” He was the measuring rod against which all other messianic claimants and beliefs must be compared.

The Final Antichrist

The Spirit of the Antichrist is raising up deceivers in the Church, but a final Antichrist will appear at the end of the age .  The Apostle John applied the term “ antichrist ” to false teachers who were disrupting his congregations, namely, deceivers who denied that “ Jesus is the Christ ” and “ came in the flesh .” They were inspired by the “ Spirit of the Antichrist ” that has been operating in the world since the beginning of human history.

In the Assembly

The term “antichrist” occurs only in the second and third letters of John, and the Apostle applies the plural form of the Greek noun to deceivers who were spreading false teachings in his congregations. The presence of “ antichrists ” constituted irrefutable evidence that the “ Last Days ” were underway, and the false teachers were the product of the “ Spirit of Antichrist ,” forerunners of the final “ Antichrist ” who was yet to come.

Counterfeit Christs

Since its founding, Satan has been sending many deceivers and false prophets to destroy the church from within .  Popular preaching presents the  Antichrist  as the ultimate global leader, a tyrant bent on subjugating all nations. But New Testament shows far more concern about deceivers working inside the church and causing apostasy than with political events in the surrounding world.

Howling Imposters

In his final recorded discourse, Jesus included several warnings about coming “ deceivers ,” “ false messiahs ,” and “ false prophets ,” men and women intent on misleading his disciples. His warnings were reiterated and expanded in the writings of the Apostles. He began his discourse on the Mount of Olives with a stern warning - “ Beware lest anyone deceive you! ” - “ MANY ” deceivers are coming who will “ deceive MANY .” Deception working its way through the Body of Christ is  NOT  a new phenomenon.

Predicted Final Events

The New Testament warns the disciples of Jesus about several things that will characterize the period between his first and second comings, ones that will intensify as the end approaches. They include a great many deceivers that will infiltrate the church along with deception, apostasy, the rise of an especially significant deceiver just prior to the end, and Satan’s final assault on the church.

Another Gospel

The epistle to the  Galatians  opens with a stern warning. What some believers contemplated doing would replace the true Gospel with something quite alien to the Apostolic message. To turn from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” to the “ works of the law ” for justification meant abandoning the grace of God and rejecting the message preached by Paul, which is why he summoned God to “ curse ” any man, even “ an angel from Heaven ,” who preached “ another gospel .”

Stand Fast!

After explaining the coming “Apostasy” and the “Man of Lawlessness,” Paul instructed believers in Thessalonica on how to avoid the coming deception and thereby find themselves standing “blameless” before Jesus when he “arrives.” To do so they must “stand fast” by adhering to the teachings and “traditions” of the Apostles. The conclusion to his discussion includes verbal links to his first letter to the Assembly. The second letter was written within a few weeks or months at the most of the first letter.

Rumors and Disinformation

D isinformation about the return of Jesus is causing alarm among some believers .  In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses rumors and even claims that the “ Day of the Lord has set in ." False information and incorrect expectations about his “ arrival ” at the end of the age are disrupting the assembly. Moreover, this false information is being attributed by some either to a “ spirit ,” word ( logos ), or a letter “ as if from ” the Apostle Paul and his coworkers.

His Repeated Warning

The discourse of Jesus given on the Mount of Olives includes instructions for his disciples about the future. In it, he warns repeatedly of the “ many deceivers ” and “ false prophets ” who will appear among his followers, spreading false information about his return and the end of the age and otherwise striving to mislead “ the elect .” Constant vigilance by his Church is vital for avoiding deception and apostasy.