Let no one deceive you.

Everyone has experienced change this year. The whole world and its systems have been disrupted by COVID-19 and the differing political responses to it. No one has been left unaffected. But as I wrote in an earlier post, I believe greater change is coming and the church and the majority of Christians aren’t ready for it.

In Matthew 24 Jesus gave a warning about something that potentially affects all of us. The danger is already here today, and many have fallen victim to it. But in a changing uncertain world it is certain to increase.

“Watch out that no one deceives you”.

The seriousness of this warning is highlighted by the number of times Jesus mentions it in various ways throughout Matthew 24. Yet in the current times those warnings are possibly overlooked (or even ignored) more than any other part of His prophetic teaching. He includes references to false Christs (anointed ones), false prophets, false claims that Jesus has already returned, and misleading “great” signs and wonders.

Despite the frequency of deception being mentioned as one of the primary signs, it seems to be the sign most ignored by end-time prophecy enthusiasts. Their eager hunger to recognise how close the Lord’s return must be seems to lead to a neglect of discernment and they keenly accept information from potentially questionable sources.

How often have claims been made about the likely identity of the Antichrist? I think most of the recent US Presidents have been named at one time or another. A few decades ago Henry Kissinger was a favoured contender. Recently Bill Gates’ name comes up.

Then there is the mark of the beast:

Barcodes tattooed on the skin.

Tiny computer chip implants.

Sunday worship.

These are just three of the many ideas which range from the possible to the bizarrely unlikely. Even the wearing of masks due to COVID has been linked to the mark “because there is only one letter difference between ‘mask’ and ‘mark’ (!?!).

And many of the recent COVID protocols have been claimed as conditioning us for the mark, from hand sanitising to non-contact temperature checks…

Do I need to mention vaccines being administered along with a surreptitiously implanted chip?

Or vaccines that alter our DNA?

Or vaccines that kill off the so-called ‘God gene’ that facilitates the ability to believe in God? …

(Anti-vaxxers must be having a field day).

It’s quite disturbing just listing these things, knowing that I’ve come across professing Christians who actually believe them. Let’s take a little time to cleanse the spiritual palate by looking at what scripture says. What does Jesus warn us about regarding one source of deception?

MANY FALSE PROPHETS will appear and deceive MANY people.

And why would He mention this in an exposition of end time signs intended to prepare His followers not to be deceived (vs 4), and to endure to the end (vs 13). Could false prophets compromise a believer’s ability to endure and to avoid deception?

Only if their false claims are accepted as truth.

And who might some of those false prophets be? How about those who have made, and are still making claims about the identity of Antichrist, or those identifying this or that as the mark of the beast? What about those who cause alarm by making these claims? Causing fear of mask wearing, of having temperatures taken, of administering certain medications…?

What were the actual commands Jesus gave within His revelation of the signs leading up to His return?

  1. Let no one deceive you. (vs 4)
  2. Don’t be alarmed. (vs 6)

A serious problem among believers is that we can be all too willing to put the Bible aside and look elsewhere, if we think someone else has more understanding than we’ve been able to glean for ourselves from scripture. With end time prophecy, there is an abundance of extra-biblical opinion, interpreting very simple scriptural statements into complex detailed timetables identifying this present day event with that statement in scripture.

Would it be possible to step aside for a moment and consider that some of the information that tickles our desire to be in-the-know, is at best wild speculation, or at worst, could actually be false prophecy – something Jesus specifically warned we should watch out for, and not be deceived by?

This is an area that ensures many believers will be unprepared for great change. We need to guard ourselves against the many deceptions that could potentially lead us away from the truth (reality) and into false doctrine, false prophetic expectations and even wild occultic conspiracy scenarios.

To avoid being misled we need to desire, seek and accept a love of the truth (2 Thess 2:10); and build our understanding on the firm foundation of God’s word. This is particularly necessary regarding end time prophetic events. Out there is an abundance of opinion and interpretation mixed with political ideology and even occultism all muddying the prophetic waters to lead the unwary (and often gullible) Christian astray.

Let no one deceive you.

The Death of Sunday Morning

“These are not ordinary days. God is doing a new thing, and we need to respond well. He will not wait for us at the platform while we deliberate whether or not we will get on the train. Life will not return to business as usual in 2021. Pastor, if you try to cling to your Sunday morning model, your ministry might collapse.”

Full article here, from an FAI interview with Iranian brother M.

https://www.faipublishing.org/articles/death-sunday-morning

Ready or Not?

In late March I woke with the following phrases in my head: “things are going to change” and  “are not going to return to normal”. I shared this and related things with a few friends and the leadership at our local church. Later I posted details on this blog, here.

Earlier I checked the date when I first shared the original “things are going to change” warning with those friends. It was 20th March. I also found that the next day, the 21st was the day on which Australian social distancing rules were introduced, as well as the shutting down of non-essential services, such as bars, pubs, restaurants. Church services were stopped 23rd March onwards.

I am bringing this up again because a few days ago, while in prayer, I heard a warning that greater change is coming and that the church and the majority of Christians aren’t ready for it.

While thinking about this I received clear confirmation of the warning’s validity in a video I watched this morning.* I believe both the warning and the confirmation are valid reflections of what scripture reveals about the times ahead, leading up to the return of the Lord.

Those things are going to happen. The only thing that may be contended is the timing. How close are the predicted Matt 24 events? Even if our current generation is not quite at the Matthew 24 stage, surely it can only be of benefit to act as if the timing of those events were right at our door. In fact that mindset is what Jesus tried to, instill into His followers with several of His parables after His prophetic warnings. (see Matt 24: 36 – 25:13).

Starting to prepare now can only benefit the actual generation that WILL face them – even if it’s not our own. Preparation would be a good legacy to pass on.

One thing that’s been clear to me is that so many in the church are trying to carry on with business as usual. They don’t want to acknowledge the realities of changing times and a changed world. Many oppose and protest against government imposed health related restrictions, crying “persecution” – even though the restrictions have not targeted churches or religious gatherings alone.

Just the suggestion that the inconveniences are “persecution” shows how ill-prepared they would be for REAL hardships, REAL persecution, where at worst lives are at risk, or at best believers are living under the constant threat of imprisonment. And the complete reliance on church buildings and ‘ordained’ ministry makes them extremely vulnerable when attendance of visible church meetings makes them a target; or when those things they are so dependent upon are taken away.

How will they survive without them?

It’s time to start preparing ourselves – and maybe later generations.

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*  This video is what I saw as confirming the warning I received about coming change and our unpreparedness for it. While some aspects of this talk didn’t resonate with me, I found the majority did. It runs for about 53 minutes and for the most part presents timely instruction.

https://subspla.sh/v59w49w