The post called "The Law no longer applies! according to gay christians" written by Mark over at Chester Street is just one example of the not-so-subtle deception that is currently permeating Christian belief. Read the comments there, too, and you will see that deception can cause a 180 degree turn from what has been known and taught (through exegesis, Scripture interprets Scripture, and Sola Scriptura, and scholarly Biblical study & review) for two thousand years; into heretical beliefs spawned by secular humanistic desires masquerading as "tolerance," "diversity of opinion," "focusing only on Jesus' love without regard for his role as Judge of the universe," the "twisting of Scripture to accommodate sin," and the misuse of "thou shall not judge" as if all discernment should be thrown out the window.
A while back, I was startled to read the Barna Research pages that revealed how many label themselves as "Christians" today, yet not be willing to follow the true Gospel and Biblical mandates of Christian belief and scholarship. Jesus himself warns us:
Mar 13:22 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Mar 13:23 "But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.
Mat 24:24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Mat 24:25 "See, I have told you beforehand.
How do we recognize one who professes to be a true believer but acts in the spirit like a false christ or false prophet? The only way to recognize deception like this is to be born again in Christ and to know God's Word. Otherwise, the sentiment of the people can be swayed so easily that they don't even realize that they are being deceived!
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
1Jo 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Pro 16:2 All the ways of a man [are] clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Jesus gives us insight into the world of demons in the following Scriptures and Dr. Guzik explains further in his commentary below.
Mat 12:43 ¶ When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mat 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth [it] empty, swept, and garnished.
Mat 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last [state] of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
3. (43-45) The dangerous consequences of their rejection of Jesus.In his informative book, "Antichrist Rising: The Coming Global Storm," Ed Hindson writes:
"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation."
a. When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none: Jesus grants us an important insight into the world of demons. Apparently, they (or at least some of them) desire a human host, and look for such among those who have "unfilled houses."
b. And the last state of that man is worse than the first: How important it is that we be filled with Jesus; as He fills us, we cannot be filled with any unclean spirit.
The Bible predicts that a time of spiritual apostasy will precede the revealing of the Antichrist ("man of sin"). The book of Revelation describes this apostasy as the religion of the "great whore." She is the epitome of false religion and spiritual adultery. By contrast, the New Testament church is pictured as a virgin betrothed to Christ.
Most Evangelicals believe this apostasy is made up of people who outwardly profess Christianity but have no inward possession of the Spirit of God. Peter Lalonde argues that the apostate whore is not made up of any particular denomination, but of "all those who do not truly love the Lord." Many view the false religion of the last days as a combination of corrupted Roman Catholicism, liberal Protestantism, New Age mysticism, and materialistic Evangelicalism all rolled into one grand deception.
Years ago, professing Christians almost always acknowledged the authority of Scripture. Whether they were willing to live by it or not, people believed the legitimacy of biblical morality. Today, that is often not the case. Even professing Evangelical believers will often disregard the commands of God. It is not unusual today for people to respond with an "I don't care" attitude when confronted with biblical truth. People used to say, "Pastor, I know what I'm doing is wrong, but I just can't help myself." Today, the more common response is, "I know what the Bible says, but I'm going to do what I want to do anyway."
This shift of attitude betrays the selfism that is so prevalent in our modern culture. People want what is best for themselves regardless of who they hurt or what moral principles they violate.
Does that aptly describe what is going on in the world these days or what??
Let's read that again:
People want what is best for themselves regardless of who they hurt or what moral principles they violate.
This list is by no means a comprehensive one, but even these few examples of "selfism" show the truth in that comment!
7. Sexual Predators
8. Radical Islam
9. Secular Humanism/Atheism
10. Anti-Christian Legislation
11. Sex trafficking
12. Drug abuse culture
13. Alcoholism epidemic
15. Hatred spewed via media
16. Rampant fornication
17. Evil endeavors
21. Physical, emotional, intellectual abuse
And I'm sure that every person reading this could add to the list!
What do all of these things have in common? They are all examples of the "spirit of antichrist." All of these things happening are setting the stage for the final rise of apostasy.
The apostle John warned centuries ago that the spirit of Antichrist is already at work through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. He added that there are "many antichrists" who "went out from us" because they "did not belong to us" (1 John 2:16-19; 4:1-4).
Now, this next statement is going to be hard to accept. It will grieve you. It certainly grieved me when I read it, but it is accurate (and backed up by Scripture). Professing Christians who really do not know Christ and do not possess His Spirit in their hearts are called little antichrists because they express the spirit and attitude of Antichrist. Now, I'm not calling them the Antichrist. They only prefigure the Antichrist, who is described in the Bible as the "man of sin." the "son of perdition," and the "beast out of the sea."
I know. The idea that such a great deceiver could come upon the world scene instantly and dramatically may see remote to some. But when the rapture of the church happens, it will have global significance and proportions that will shake the entire world population. Thus, it will have to be explained in some manner. The Bible warns that the explanation will be a lie that brings "powerful delusion" to the unbelieving world (2 Thessalonians 2:11) The mind-sets of liberal Christianity, New Age thinking, corrupted Roman Catholicism, and the seeker-sensitive Evangelicalism could all play a part. So you can see that we are coming dangerously closer than at any other time in history.
The rapture of the church (all genuine believers, not a denomination or building) is the blessed hope of the believer. But it is a sobering matter for those who are left behind. They will likely succomb to the great lie and will perish and be damned (see 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12) unless they come to Christ during the Tribulation period. With all the believers gone, God's warnings to a defiant and unbelieving world will be gone as well. Therefore, it will be more difficult for people to escape the huge delusions and deceptions.
When the Antichrist rises to power, he will oppose God, exalt himself above God, and even claim to be God (see 2 Thessalonians 2:4). The Bible warns us that the Antichrist will be empowered by Satan to do miracles of signs and wonders (see 2 Thessalonians 2:9). He will be assisted by the False Prophet who encourages the worship of the Antichrist as God.
There is more to share, but I will continue in the next post. Meanwhile, I wanted to show a chart done by Grant Jeffrey (an end times expert) that points out several contrasts between Christ and Antichrist.
Man of Sorrows
Son of God
Mystery of Godliness
Exalted on High
Cleanses the Temple
Slain for the People
Man of Sin
Son of Satan
Mystery of Iniquity
Cast Down to Hell
Defiles the Temple
Slays the People
A simple survey of the characteristics of the Antichrist confirms the idea that he is both a false Christ (pseudochristos) and against Christ (antichristos). He masquerades as an angel of light only to plunge the world into spiritual darkness. Like Satan, he is a destroyer, not a builder. Promising peace, he pushes the world into war. In every conceivable way, he is just like Satan who indwells and empowers him.
The spirit of Antichrist is alive and well today. The New Testament authors assure us that the spirit of Antichrist was active in their day over 20 centuries ago. It has remained active throughout church history. He expresses himself in persecutions, heresies, spiritual deceptions, false prophets, and false religions. At the culmination of history, such a spirit will inhabit one man...as satan's final "masterpiece."
In the next segment, I will discuss the Scriptures that warn the church constantly of apostasy from within its ranks. (For a head start, see 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Galatians 1:6-12; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7; Jude 3,4).
1Ti 4:1 ¶ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
The hope and comfort:
Jer 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find [me], when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Lam 3:40 Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.