Friday, July 11, 2008

The Triune, Ultimate Deception

Several of my Internet friends have been sharing insights regarding today's world of turmoil and End Times Bible prophecy.

Sothenes has a post up at my Talk Wisdom message board titled A Measure of Wheat for a Penny?

Excerpt:


It was hard to convince people a few years ago that there may be worldwide hunger but you can see how quickly everything has changed in today's headlines. A gallon of gas in the U.S. is predicted to be about $4.24 a gallon in November and people already want out of their 401K savings because they are losing their life savings as some investments are down 17% because the stock market can't climb in value if the price of oil is taking the profits.


OPEC Chief: 'Unlimited' Oil Price Hike if Iran Attacked Official says OPEC is unable to make up for oil shortfalls should Iran oil go offline from a potential war with Israel, U.S.



Complete story.

Joel C. Rosenberg discusses Missiles and the Messiah Making News.

Excerpt:


Talk of missiles and the Messiah are making big news in Israel, Iran, and the U.S. in recent days. It's a curious combination, to be sure. But numerous high-profile stories and television programs on both topics are stirring interest and controversy among millions in three countries that could not be more different. The Messiah stories are particularly interesting to me. Iran, as I mentioned the other day, is running a new documentary TV series on Jewish, Christian and Islamic eschatology (End Times theology), consistent with President Ahmadinejad's on-going call for the Muslim world to prepare for the "imminent" arrival of the Islamic Messiah, known as the Mahdi. The Israeli archaeological community, meanwhile, is currently abuzz over the discovery of a ancient stone tablet dated not long before the birth of Jesus that strongly suggests that religious Jews of the day were expecting the coming of a Messiah who would suffer, die, and be resurrected three days later. Most Rabbis and other Jewish scholars have long argued that the death and resurrection of a Jewish Messiah was a "Christian" invention, not part of long-established Jewish thought or Biblical teaching. But a front-page story in Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper, just a few days ago has a lot of people asking: Are Jews really supposed to believe their Messiah will actually die and rise again, and was this really Orthodox religious thinking before the time of Jesus?


Excerpt about Iran's missile threat and recent test:



"Yesterday's tests offered no big surprises about Iran's missile technology, but they are a useful reminder of just how real the Iranian threat is – and how rapidly it is growing," observed the Journal. "One of the missiles tested was the latest update of the Shahab-3, which has a range of about 1,250 miles. Replace the payload with a lighter one – say, a nuclear warhead – and the range gains 1,000 miles. Add a booster and the range can be extended even farther. North Korea did just that with its Taepodong missile – technology that it passed along to Iran. U.S. intelligence estimates that Iran will have a ballistic missile capable of reaching New York or Washington by about 2015. Iran may already have the capability to target the U.S. with a short-range missile by launching it from a freighter off the East Coast. A few years ago it was observed practicing the launch of Scuds from a barge in the Caspian Sea.


Sothenes' post includes several verses from the final book of the Bible.

Also, be sure to visit Joel's site and read the entire essay.

There is no doubt that global tensions are running extremely high - especially between Israel and Iran. Iran's hatred for Israel was prophesied in the Bible. Read We Are Witnessing Biblical Prophecy to understand when it began and why.


Both of these aforementioned essays reveal developments that read like a chapter right out of Revelation!

Back in May of 2007, I wrote an essay called The Religion of the Future - Now Here? which included details from Chapter Six of Ed Hindson's book, Antichrist Rising: The Coming Global Storm.

For a crash course (not entirely complete) in End Times Prophecy, see this post.

Today, I want to discuss a section in chapter 2 of Hindson's book called "The Ultimate Deception."

Hindson informs us that the Antichrist will not rise to power alone. The worldwide spiritual deception will occur at the hand and encouragement of the False Prophet (see Revelation 19:20; 20:10). The False Prophet (see Revelation 13:11-17) is the spokesperson for the Antichrist. J. Dwight Pentecost states that the spirit of Antichrist "will culminate in the Beasts in their corporate ministries...The first Beast will be in direct opposition to Christ...and the second Beast will assume the place of leadership in the religious realm which rightly belongs to Christ." 1

(Sounds eerily similar to the relationship between Rev. Wright and Barack Obama...doesn't it? Just sayin...).

Hindson writes:


Revelation 13 presents ten identifying features of the False Prophet:

1. rise out of the earth (13:11)
2. controls religious affairs (13:11)
3. motivated by Satan (13:11)
4. promotes the worship of the beast (13:12)
5. performs signs and miracle (13:13)
6. deceives the whole world (13:14)
7. empowers the image of the beast (13:15)
8. kills all who refuse to worship (13:15)
9. controls all economic commerce (13:17)
10. controls the mark of the beast (13:17,18)


Hindson admits that biblical scholars are divided on the matter of the identity of the False Prophet. Some think he will be Jewish - others believe he will be Gentile. However, Hindson reminds us of the relationship of the False Prophet to the great prostitute (Revelation 17) and the reference to "seven hills" (see 17:7,9) seems to refer to Rome by the terms of "Babylon the Great."

Excerpt:



The False Prophet is depicted in the Revelation as one who uses miraculous signs and wonders to deceive the world into worshiping the Antichrist. Ice and Demy remark, "Even though this is yet a future event, the lesson to be learned for our own day is that one must exercise discernment, especially in the area of religion -- even when miracles appear to vindicate the messenger." 4

A century ago, Samuel Andrews argued that the work of the False Prophet will be to extend his ecclesiastical administration over the whole earth by establishing the church of the Antichrist as the counterfeit of the true church. 5 Andrews viewed this apostate religion as being bound together by a common hatred of Christianity and being filled with demoniacal power. Thus, the False Prophet does not so much deny Christian doctrine as he corrupts it.


There are several corruptions going on within Christian denominations today.

1. The Emergent Church movement.
2. Oprah's False Religion New Age movement.
3. The gay-behavior-affirming "christian" movement (a.k.a. Queer Theology).
4. The Black Liberation Theology. *[Note: With thanks to Carlotta for sharing that link with me!]

These are just a few of the many deceptions running rampant within churches today. Each one, in their own particular way, denies Christ through rejection of the true Christian Gospel.

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 may not 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.

It is because corruption of true Christian doctrine is being done by these false teachers that many unsuspecting people are being deceived! How terribly sad!! And deadly!!

Hindson continues:



Only in this way can the Antichrist sit in the temple of God, demanding to be worshiped as God (see Isaiah 14:12-14). Remember, in Satan's temptation of Christ, he also appealed for worship (Matthew 4:8-10). In fact, Satan offered to surrender the entire world to Christ if He would worship him. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the goal of the Satan-inspired False Prophet will be to get the whole world to bow down to the Antichrist, who is the personification of Satan himself.


Keep in mind that Jesus told us that there would be many false Christs and false prophets to deal with:

Mar 13:22 "For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

Notice that Jesus mentions that the "signs and wonders" would be so strong as to "deceive, if possible, even the elect."

THAT'S SCARY!

In other words, all of the pretend Christians out there who are not born again (Jesus said, "you must be born again.") in Christ can easily be deceived by the false Christs and false prophets arising for the purpose of drawing them away from true faith in Christ!

Don't allow yourself to be one of the deceived!!!

Hindson:



Together, Satan (dragon), Antichrist (beast of the sea), and the False Prophet (beast of earth) comprise an "unholy trinity" that is a counterfeit of the triune God. Satan opposes the Father; Antichrist opposes the Son; and the False Prophet opposes the Holy Spirit. This ungodly alliance is Satan's final attempt to overthrow the work of God on earth.

The method of their diabolical attempt is explained in the biblical record. The Antichrist dare not appear until after the "rebellion" (NIV) or "falling away" (KJV) of apostasy. In the meantime, the spirit of Antichrist (lawlessness) is already at work attempting to pervert the gospel and to corrupt the true church. When this process is sufficiently established, the False Prophet will arise to prepare for the coming of the Antichrist.


Part of the "rebellion" and "falling away" includes the heresy currently going on within several denominations of churches. Such deliberate heresy leads to apostasy. This is discussed in more detail later.

Hindson:



The False Prophet is identified in Revelation 17 with the "great prostitute" (apostate religion). Dr. John Walvoord observes, "Prostitution was often a part of pagan worship, but the adultery mentioned here refers to spiritual adultery. The woman is guilty of compromise and association with apostate religions." 6


This is key to understanding why born-again, Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ cannot compromise on the social issues of our day.

If we take just one example of the heretical movements out there - the homosexual behavior affirming churches - we see that many of their "symbols" are counterfeits of what those symbols mean in Scripture.

1. The rainbow. This was used as a sign of the covenant between God and His people.

The homosexuals use it as a symbol of their pride of self and sexual proclivities.

2. Marriage. Marriage is God's idea and he ordained it to be a union between one man and one woman. [At link, scroll down to February 10, 2008 "Marriage: The Image of God" to view or listen to the message.] No other type of union (or, for that matter, sexual relationship) is called good in the Bible.

To take the sacred, sanctified-by-God marriage union of one man to one woman and pervert it to include homosexual relationships is both a heresy and apostasy which twenty years ago would have been unthinkable!

3. Homosexual behavior affirming churches. This would have been unthinkable, years ago, as well.

Each of these examples provides physical and earthly deception. However, what is far worse is the spiritual deception that these things lead to! The great prostitution of the combined sins of perverted sexuality, pride, adultery, pagan worship, sexual deviancy, and idolatry involved with the gay "christian" movement is just one terrible example of Satan's handiwork. His main goal is to deceive souls away from the saving mercy and grace of the true Gospel!

The other three examples of heretical movements (listed above) include much of the same errors of pride, adultery, pagan worship, sexual deviancy, and idolatry (though they may not be as obvious to outsiders looking in).

Hindson:



The False Prophet is depicted as having "two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon" (Revelation 13:11). He looks religious, but he talks like the devil. He counterfeits true religion in order to hide his real identity. Price states, "Just as the Holy Spirit is dedicated to bringing the world to know Jesus Christ, the False Prophet is dedicated to bringing all men into spiritual allegiance with the Antichrist." 8


The ONLY way to know FOR SURE that you are not being led into counterfeit Christianity is to KNOW WHAT THE SCRIPTURES ACTUALLY SAY! The Holy Spirit of God will NEVER lead a person in a direction that counters God's Word, the Bible!! It is the plumb line of Scripture that will keep you from all of the deceptions swirling around out there in our world today! God's written Word is there to keep our minds and hearts from being warped - which in turn - keeps us in line with true Christian faith. Without God's Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, how could we possibly stay away from entities that would lead us away? The Bible and the Holy Spirit of God are the restraining "musts" for Christians to keep from being led down the road of crooked, evil, and corrupt deception!

Hindson:



The process by which the False Prophet deceives the world is through apostasy, the renunciation of the true gospel. The spirit of Antichrist continues to work throughout church history, daring to deny the true Savior and His work on the cross that redeemed us from our sins.


This is another point that the heretical movements (listed above) have in common. They each pervert the true gospel. They ignore or deny the need for repentance of our sins and deny that the cross of Christ is the only way to be reconciled back to Father God.

Hindson:



Puritan scholar John Owen observed that apostasy is brought about by the great apostate himself. He wrote, "The devil, that greatest of all apostates, has it as his chief desire to destroy Christ's church on earth, and failing that, to utterly corrupt it and so make it his church." 9


In the Bible, Jesus warns us not to be "of this world." Notice how "worldly" the four heretical movements (listed above) are! Notice how they each appeal to a person's pride of self; love and worship of "the created - rather than the Creator;" lusts of the flesh; worship of other "gods"; etc.

Hindson:



Owen pictures Satan's external attacks against the church as a roaring lion and his internal attacks as a poisonous serpent. It is the latter that has proven most insidious. Owen adds, "Once in, he secretly and gradually poisoned the minds of many by vain thought of power and ambition, with love for the praise and honor of the world, and with superstitions. Thus he turned them from the spiritual power and simplicity of the gospel...In this way, the 'mystery of iniquity' worked and was successful." 10


I once had a long discussion (via comments) with a woman who absolutely refused to believe that her lesbian sexual practice is a sin in God's eyes. You can scroll down to the comment section of this post and read it.

In Pastor Miles McPherson's sermon video about marriage (link above), he specifically refers to homosexual sexual acts as poisonous. Scientifically, that is very true. It is poisonous to body, soul, mind and spirit. Yet, those under the power of deception can refuse to believe that they are being poisoned.

Hindson:



Owen goes on to list the danger signs of apostasy: 11

1. loss of all appreciation for the gospel
2. loss of conviction that the gospel is true
3. contempt for the promises of God
4. rejection of the true Christian religion
5. despises and rejects people of God
6. despises and rejects the Spirit of God
7. open declaration of hatred for Christ

Though these observations were made over 300 years ago, they pinpoint exactly the nature of apostasy, both personal and ecclesiastical. When professing Christians turn against the truth, they often do so with a vengeance. anyone who has ever debated theological issues with extreme liberals has felt their bitterness and enmity against the Savior.


Hindson goes on to inform us that the apostate religion of the end times will be led by the False Prophet. After the rapture of true believers, all that are left behind will be lost. The False Prophet will easily succeed in deceiving the whole world. The next sentence should alarm those who would be left behind for rejecting Christ:



While the Holy Spirit will still be omnipresent in the world, the removal of the church (body of Christ) will bring His restraining ministry to an end.


This development will lead to the Great Lie:


The apostle Paul explained this process when he wrote: "For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way" (2 Thessalonians 2:7). After the rapture, the Holy Spirit will still convict peole of sin, but His restraining ministry will be over and all of Satan's evil will break losse on earth. Then the lawless one will be revealed.

Paul said, "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing" (2 Thessalonians 2:9.10). The rise of the Antichrist ("lawless one") will parallel a general breakdown in religious and moral values, resulting in a decadent society that will believe "the lie" rather than the truth.

The apostle does not define "the lie (Greek, psuedei), but he specifies that it is a particular lie, not just any lie. It is possible that this could refer to a falsehood perpetrated to explain away the rapture (for example, alien abductions). But it is more likely that it is the official rejection of Christ and the acceptance of the deification and worship of the Antichrist.

The False Prophet is presented in the Revelation as an individual who is empowered by Satan (13:11,12). Later, he is personally cast into the lake of fire (19:20; 20:10). However, the religious system that he represents is called the "great prostitute" (17:1) who is drunk with the "blood of the saints" (17:6). Therefore, the final phase of apostasy is both a religous system and the individual who leads it. Herman Hoyt observes, "The harlot, representing all false religion at last united in one great super-organization, will ride the beast."12

All the more reason why Christians should be involved in:


Eph 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

*******

Reference: Ed Hindson, Antichrist Rising: The Coming Global Storm (Springfield, Missouri: 21st Century Press, 2003), pp. 25-31.


Additional References:

1 J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1965), p. 339
4 Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, Fast Facts on Bible Prophecy (Eugene, Or: Harvest House, 1997), p. 78-79.
5 Samuel Andrews, Christianity and Anti-Christianity (Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1898), p. 320.
6 John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), p. 324.
8. Walter K. Price, The Coming Antichrist (Chicago: Moody Press, 1974), p. 162.
9. John Owen, Apostasy from the Gospel, abridged by R.J.K. Law (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1992), p. 135.
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid., pp. 148-50.
12. Herman Hoyt, The End Times (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), p. 129. Cf. Dave Hunt, A Woman Rides the Beast (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1994).

*******

*Added on 7/12/08:

Black Liberation Theology

It is important to go to Rhodes' site and read about the development of this movement. Just like any other movement within the Christian churches, it is not all bad. However, we begin to see where errors emerged within Cone's theological thinking:

Sin and Salvation. In Cone's view, sin is "a condition of human existence in which man denies the essence of God's liberating activity as revealed in Jesus Christ."[35] In this view, sin is anything that is contrary to the oppressed community or its liberation.

Salvation for Cone primarily has to do with earthly reality, not heavenly hopes. "To see the salvation of God is to see this people [i.e., the blacks] rise up against their oppressors, demanding that justice become a reality now and not tomorrow."[36] Hence, though Cone often speaks of Jesus as the Liberator, in practical terms he emphasizes the human work of self-liberation among blacks and downplays divine help.



Second add-on:

This portion is really good:

Theologians who make black experience all-determinative have, in a way, made the same mistake some white racists did during the days of slavery--only in reverse. Just as some whites imposed their "experience" as slavemasters onto Scripture in order to justify slavery, so some blacks have imposed the "black experience" onto Scripture to justify their radical views on liberation. Both positions have erred. For blacks to use such an experience-oriented methodology is to condone the very kind of method used by those who enslaved them. In my thinking, this is self-defeating at best.

Black theologian Anthony Evans directly challenges Cone's methodology by arguing that the black experience must be seen as "real but not revelatory, important but not inspired."[52] Black writer Tom Skinner agrees and argues that "like any theology, black theology must have a frame of reference There are some black theologians who seek to make their frame of reference purely the black experience, but this assumes the black experience is absolutely moral and absolutely just, and that is not the case. There must be a moral frame of reference through which the black experience can be judged."[53] That frame of reference must be Scripture.

To produce a biblical liberation theology, Scripture--not the "black experience"--must be the supreme authority in matters of faith and practice. By following this approach, a strong biblical case can be constructed against racism--something I would think should be at the very heart of a biblical black theology.

The unity of the human race, for example, is a consistent emphasis in Scripture--in terms of creation (Gen. 1:28), the sin problem (Rom. 3:23), God's love for all men (John 3:16), and the scope of salvation (Matt. 28:19). The apostle Paul emphasized mankind's unity in his sermon to the Athenians: "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live" (Acts 17:26). Moreover, Revelation 5:9 tells us that God's redeemed will be from "every tribe and tongue and people and nation." Because of the unity of humanity, there is no place for racial discrimination--white, black, or otherwise--for all men are equal in God's sight.



HT: Sothenes' post at message board

Joel C. Rosenberg blog

Ron Rhodes.org

3 comments:

Carlotta said...

Christine, theologian Ron Rhodes has an excellent piece on Black Liberation Theology and you can find it here: http://www.ronrhodes.org/BlackTheology.html

More on your post later - still reading it! (great info!)

Carlotta said...

Finished it and it is AWESOME!

We are definitely looking at the endtimes and the whoredom of our churches today is what's a really good sign that end times are quickly approaching. You're right, it would have been unthinkable not too long ago to know that there are churches that cater specifically to a gay audience. Now it's becoming acceptable to think of them in marriage!

I'm carrying on a discussion on my last post with a gay man who thinks it's disturbing that we would argue that if we accept homosexuality than so should we accept pedophiles, polygamists and the like. He doesn't accept God or the bible and I questioned him as to WHO ARE YOU to say that something isn't right? He doesn't want to be judged for his lifestyle but is willing to judge others.

Yep, signs of the times and we must be so careful not to be deceived.

Great post!

Christinewjc said...

Thanks so much for that excellent link Carlotta! And thank you for patiently reading that entire post! It was a bit long...

I'll be over to your blog today to see that discussion you are having!

It's amazing. People can come up with all kinds of excuses, self-absorbed reasons, and high-falutent ideas as to why they can disobey God and ignore their need to repent of sin.

But the Bible continues to expose them.

I applaud you for dialoguing with such difficult people!