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It is rebellion–when pointed out that it is rebellion against God which is taking place–that insists “Oh, I’m just playing around.”
“I’m not really rebelling against God. Come on! I’m just having a little good, clean fun.”
The second type of rebellion signifies that we are in the last days (we’ll call this second type de jure rebellion because, often, the rebellious behavior is approved–even encouraged–by the government).
This is a more serious, open and unapologetic rebellion.
This is rebellion against God Himself, His Word and His Son, Jesus Christ.
“What’s wrong with what I do? Who are you to even ask? You’re a hater!”
The last days are a time of de jure rebellion; of unapologetic attacks on God Himself and God’s laws.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
The last days are all about rebellion against God. The word “apostasy” itself means “rebellion“–though the churches have labored long and hard to disconnect the two.)
This is man shaking his fist at the heavens and daring “What are you going to do about it, huh?”
This is man declaring “You think you know better than us?!? WE know what’s best!”
This is the government of man saying, “We know better what is good for us! We will make our OWN rules!”
This is rebellion on a scale of man before the flood.
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
This last stage of rebellion began when the rich and celebrated began to exalt the lifestyle of rebellion (which is the lifestyle of the rich and celebrated): homosexuality.
They began by declaring “There’s nothing wrong with homosexuality! Who are you to even ask, you hater?”
The rebellion continues and grows worse each day.
Which type of rebellion against God does the reader now observe?
It is not YET too late: there is still time to change direction (repent), place your faith for the future entirely on Jesus Christ and enter the kingdom of heaven.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. ”
–1 Corinthians 15:1-8
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”
“But take heed to yourselves: for they shall deliver you up to councils; and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten: and ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them.”
Interesting choice of words: The word Jesus used in Mark 13:9, which the King James Version translates as “councils,” is synedria. Strong’s denotes that this is a compound word.
Neuter of a presumed derivative of a compound of sun and the base of hedraios; a joint session, i.e. (specially), the Jewish Sanhedrin; by analogy, a subordinate tribunal — council.
True believers know that Jesus spoke no idle words.
It’s later than you think.
So many who sit in churches are watching for events which men have taught them will happen prophetically. Many are deceived. Some are only interested in Bible prophecy to be “in the know.” Others study Bible prophecy as an “edge” to give them enough time to “repent” before the calamities strike.
Jesus said they will have no time.
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.“
NO WITNESS IN THE APOSTATE CHURCH
98 percent of Americans who inhabit the churches do not share their testimony of Jesus with others. Will someone who allows social disapproval to stop their witness suddenly begin witnessing when it means they will lose their life?
That’s deception. That’s a lie from the enemy. That’s the flesh whispering into someone’s ear so they can sleep soundly at night. Those who will not stand up for Jesus when times are good will run from Him when times get bad.
So many who will not live for Jesus during the good times have deceived themselves: that when the bad times come, they will die for Him.
That is a lie.
So many who will not consider separating themselves from the world when times are good have convinced themselves they will do exactly that if it involves a mark on their right hand or forehead.
That is a lie too.
So many who won’t take a stand against a wolf in the pulpit firmly believe that they will take a stand when the ultimate wolf shows up.
Again, that is a lie.
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
The time is coming when God will force all those who claim Christ’s name to take a stand. Some will perform the ultimate witness for Jesus: martyrdom. Many, many more will lie to themselves–as they do today–that they will “make it right with God later.”
At the present, so many will not witness. At the present, witnessing involves telling others what Jesus has done in one’s life. How he has transformed the believer.
In the future, witnessing will involve laying down this body of flesh in order to put on eternal life.
In his first epistle to Timothy Paul instructed Timothy to charge some that they teach no other doctrine in the church that was in Ephesus. False doctrine was rearing its ugly head through the proliferation of false teaching. This false doctrine, as is always the case, was in complete contradiction to the good doctrine that God has reserved for us in His Word, the Bible. After his exhortation to Timothy, Paul then gives examples of false doctrine and its deadly effects. Paul’s commandment to Timothy to charge some that they teach no other doctrine was rooted in love for the brethren and love for God.
3As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. 5Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 8But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully. 1 Timothy 1:3-8
Those who are in positions of leadership in the church must reject fables which cause disputes to occur between brethren rather than godly mutual edification. However, in recent history some “Christian” leaders have done the exact opposite. Their support of three recent films from Hollywood geared towards the “Christian” market reveals their duplicity in the faith. Each of these films was based upon fables, things that are made up, rather than the truth from the Scriptures. Some leaders within the “Christian” community promoted the pictures, encouraging “Christians” to pay to see these fallacious films. They actually joined in making merchandise of believers, sharing in the sins of others, something Paul warned Timothy against. These fables were not fabricated out of thin air; instead the premise for the films was taken from Scripture. Like these films, much of what is being promoted within the visible church today takes grains of truth from the Bible and then puffs them up, distorting them with the foolish beliefs, vain ideologies, worldly philosophies and devilish doctrines utilized to distort God’s Word and lead many astray. This promotion of fables leads to discord and disputes among the body, where faith and love are cast aside, along with the Word of God, and instead fleshly behavior reigns supreme. Those who try to warn others with the Word of God are castigated and spurned, being labeled haters, when the truth is those who hold to these fables are the dividers and haters, rejecting biblical faith and godly fellowship which centers around Jesus Christ and His Word and results in loving edification. At the other end of the continuum of false doctrine is the teaching of the law in the place of grace and love found in and through Christ Jesus.
5Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 8But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,11according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust. 1 Timothy 1:5-11
Trying to know, love and serve God through the observance of the law is impossible. The law exposes our sin; the law is designed to show us our need for Christ and lead us to Him as we despair of ever being adequate to make ourselves worthy of the love of God and right in His sight. The law makes us feel guilty and alienated from God. It is only faith in Jesus Christ that makes us righteous in God’s sight. He is our righteousness. Those who try to resort to the law and use it to exhort others to godly living are placing a burden upon the hearts and lives of those they are enslaving with an instrument that is meant to condemn us because of indwelling sin.
“Those who exhort God’s children with the law are brutalizing them with an impossible obligation that can never be met by man. Jesus Christ sets us free from the law’s requirements and establishes us in His grace through faith.”
The law is good but we are slaves to sin and incapable of living lives pleasing to God since the law actually excites sin within us because of the depravity of our sin natures. Those who exhort God’s children with the law are brutalizing them with an impossible obligation that can never be met by man. Jesus Christ sets us free from the law’s requirements and establishes us in His grace through faith. He gives us the promised Holy Spirit and as we walk by faith in the power of the Spirit we faithfully please God and are not under the law. Self-righteousness through observance of the law feeds the flesh and brings condemnation. Instead walking in the Spirit and walking in love, which is a fruit of the Spirit, brings us out from under the law and then fulfills the heart and intent of the law. It is necessary to quote numerous Scripture to endorse the biblical doctrine that I have written.
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20
22But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:22-26
4Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another-to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6But now that we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. 7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. 13Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. 14For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. Romans 7:4-14
1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4
30But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God-and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-31that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
16I say them: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to on another so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Galatians 5:16-18
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:8
8Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Legalistic law teaching is practiced within much of the visible church today; the homeschooling movement is especially prone to this error which causes much harm. Children reared under the tutelage of the law do not learn about the love of God given to them in Christ Jesus. They do not learn about the grace of God given to them in Christ Jesus. They serve a hard taskmaster that only grimaces at them and whips them as they fail, and fail they do for the invalid flesh fruitlessly fights to control sin through the law. Unabated flesh flourishes under legalistic teaching so that all manner of wickedness abounds. These are those who have a form of godliness but deny its power. We are to turn away from these false teachers who enslave others by the wrongful use of the law because they have no confidence in the victory over sin that is ours in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:5)
There is an abundance of those who endorse fables, teach legalism and listen to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. The apostasy within the visible church is deep and wide. The false doctrines that abound are too numerous to list, but they all originate from the father of lies, Satan. He deceives and leads astray. These heresies are whispered in the ears of those who are primed for deception because they do not love the truth, God’s Holy Word, the Bible. Instead they lust after the latest greatest thing that will cause a sensation and bring them a following.
1Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines o demons, 2speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. 6If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. 1 Timothy 4:1-7
Our protection against the onslaught of false teaching is to build ourselves up on our most holy faith by godly living and adherence to the truth, which is the Word of God. We can protect ourselves from the lies of the enemy by being informed through diligent study of God’s Word and rejection of teaching that doesn’t conform to the godly doctrine of the Scriptures. That means meticulous study of the Scriptures so that we understand the Word of God by the Holy Spirit and then can reject the lies, reprove the liars, and exhort all with the Holy Scriptures of God, including our own selves.
Those who teach lies reject the words of Jesus Christ and teach doctrine that is contrary to godly living. Instead their prideful, ignorant false teaching results in disputes, arguments, envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions and useless wranglings. They are in it for the money and care nothing for Christ or for His precious flock. This aptly depicts what is happening in many churches today and throughout the “Christian” community. What a sad and deplorable situation for those who claim to be believers in Jesus Christ. We must reject these false teachers and remove ourselves from their sphere of influence.
3If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Finally false teachers and false brethren falsely profess knowledge and so leave behind the faith they once professed. This knowledge can come from seminary, theological works, “Christian” seminars and conventions. This knowledge can come from the scientific community, the popular culture, the New Age, or any other information stream that teaches what is contrary to the Holy Scriptures. This false knowledge is foolish, rejects the truth and tries to place the ignorance of man over the wisdom of God found in the Bible. The end result will be the same no matter the source, falling from the faith that was once professed. Paul exhorts Timothy, and us, guard what is committed to our trust. Guard the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. Hold fast to sound doctrine! Cling to the Word of God! Cry out to God for His protection and deliverance! These are perilous times in which we live in. Truth is condemned as false; and falsehood is elevated as truth. This is happening within the visible church. Take care that no man deceives you! May God’s grace be with us to protect and guide us in these perilous times.
20O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge-21by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:20-21
God works contrary to human nature, contrary to our expectations. In the book of Jeremiah, Judah is headed towards exile from the Beautiful Land because they had defiled it by their willful idolatry and evil behavior. Because God is merciful and longsuffering He sent numerous prophets to warn about the coming judgment, but the priests, prophets and people refused to listen and even murdered the true prophets of God.
1In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word from the LORD, saying, 2Thus says the LORD; Stand in the court of the LORD’S house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the LORD’S house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word: 3If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his evil way, that I may repent me of the evil, which I purpose to do unto them because of the evil of their doings. 4And thou shalt say unto them, Thus says the LORD; If ye will not hearken to me, to walk in my law, which I have set before you, 5To hearken to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, both rising up early, and sending them, but ye have not hearkened; 6Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth. 7So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD. 8Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, Thou shalt surely die. 9Why hast thou prophesied in the name of the LORD, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the LORD. 10When the princes of Judah heard these things, then they came up from the king’s house unto the house of the LORD, and sat down in the entry of the new gate of the LORD’S house.11Then spoke the priests and the prophets unto the princes and to all the people, saying, This man is worthy to die; for he hath prophesied against this city, as ye have heard with your ears. 12Then spoke Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard. 13Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you. 14As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seems good and meet unto you. 15But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears. 16Then said the princes and all the people unto the priests and to the prophets; This man is not worthy to die: for he hath spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God. 17Then rose up certain of the elders of the land, and spoke to all the assembly of the people, saying, 18Micah the Morasthite prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and spoke to all the people of Judah, saying, Thus says the LORD of hosts; Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps, and the mountain of the house as the high places of a forest. 19Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him at all to death? did he not fear the LORD, and besought the LORD, and the LORD repented him of the evil which he had pronounced against them? Thus might we procure great evil against our souls. Jeremiah 26:1-19
Jeremiah, God’s prophet spoke the truth to the inhabitants of Judah, yet they were not willing to listen. God sent Jeremiah with this pronouncement of judgment with the hope that the people would repent of their evil behavior and return to the Lord. The majority was incensed at the pronouncement of judgment, but God raised up those who protected Jeremiah reminding the others that a prophet had declared God’s judgment against Judah in the days of Hezekiah and the people had repented. They warned the angry mob not to murder Jeremiah and bring great evil against their souls. These princes and elders were the very ones who would be carried captive to Babylon. This was God’s deliverance for these souls who received the Word of Jeremiah and repented of their sin. The ones who preferred the heresy of the false prophets and the evil arrogance of the priests were the ones who rejected the Word of the Lord proclaimed to them by the prophet Jeremiah and they would remain in the land of Judah receiving the full retribution of the Lord against their evil idolatrous ways.
“Just as the remnant was removed from Judah and protected in Babylon, the sad reality is that those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in Him find their safety and God’s blessings by not assembling with the wicked crowd.”
1The LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon. 2One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad. 3Then said the LORD unto me, What seest thou, Jeremiah? And I said, Figs; the good figs, very good; and the evil, very evil, that cannot be eaten, they are so evil. 4Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.6For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. 7And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. 8And as the evil figs, which cannot be eaten, they are so evil; surely thus says the LORD, So will I give Zedekiah the king of Judah, and his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem, that remain in this land, and them that dwell in the land of Egypt:9And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them. 10And I will send the sword, the famine, and the pestilence, among them, till they be consumed from off the land that I gave unto them and to their fathers. Jeremiah 24:1-10
As it was in the time of Jeremiah, so it is today. There are many abroad who proclaim the imaginings of their own hearts and claim to speak for the Lord. There are many who twist the Scriptures to agree with what they proclaim and lead many astray. False teachers proliferate within the church asserting the doctrines and vain philosophies of man rather than teaching the glorious Word of God. Just as the remnant was removed from Judah and protected in Babylon, the sad reality is that those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ through faith in Him find their safety and God’s blessings by not assembling with the wicked crowd. Our loyalty is to the Lord Jesus Christ and we must follow Him, not the vainglory of man.
After God reveals to John the end-time apostate church in all of her filthy betrayal of the Lord Jesus Christ and His saints, John hears a voice from heaven warning God’s people to come out of her lest they share in her punishment.
4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. Revelation 18:4-6
The corruption of the church is roiling to a climax of complete apostasy for the appearance of the one world religious institution that rejects God, renounces His Christ, repudiates His Word the Bible, resists the Holy Spirit and instead enthralls itself with man’s musings and embraces the folly of sin, as they are led by the devil. Continuing to support this evil institution is not an option for the children of God, bought by the precious blood of Christ, filled with His Spirit and fed by the Word of the Living God. We must renounce all the works of the flesh and follow our Savior rejoicing in His grace, mercy and love given to us. Just as God’s deliverance for those who listened to and obeyed His Word spoken by His prophet Jeremiah seemed contrary to His promises for His people, the deliverance that He has for His children today is to turn away from the apostate church and find fellowship with those who see the deception for what it is, even if that means we turn from the “corporate church body”. May God bless us in our exile for His glory, praise and honor.
Those who have studied and prepared themselves well will most likely pass the tests they must take in order to complete a particular course. In science class I can tell who has and who hasn’t studied for the exams that I give. Those students who use the study guides, helps, practice midterms, homework and lecture notes can be fairly confident that they will pass the exam. Those who have neglected to do the homework and apply themselves to study can be fairly confident that they will not pass the exam. God our Father in Heaven examines our hearts as revealed in the Holy Scriptures; let’s look at those passages to find out how we can pass the tests He uses to reveal the true nature of our hearts.
1 “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’-which you have not known-‘and let us serve them,’ 3 “you shall not listen to the words of the prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put the evil from your midst. 6 If your brother, the son of our mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, 7 of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth, 8 you shall not consent to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; 9 but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. 10 And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11 So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you. Deuteronomy 13:1-11
Did the children of Israel do as they were warned? Did they reject the messages of false prophets and stone those who would lead them away from the God of heaven and earth? The prophet Jeremiah describes the spiritual condition of the people of Israel in the waning years of the kingdom of Judah.
16 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger. 19 “Do they provoke Me to anger?” says the Lord. “Do they not provoke themselves, to the shame of their own faces?” 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My anger and My fury will be poured out on this place-on man and on beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground. And it will burn and not be quenched.” Jeremiah 7:16-20
The northern kingdom, Israel, was already removed from the land due to their gross idolatry. Now it was the southern kingdom’s turn. Their rejection of God and embrace of false gods was so complete that Jeremiah was warned away from praying for these reprobate sinners. Their apostasy was so final that God determined to destroy them and the land that they inhabited.
11Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. 12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:11-12
This is a timely warning for us today. Do we love the Lord our God with all our hearts and all our minds so that we turn from the lie and cling to the truth? Are we being led away from Christ and His sure word to us by the deceitful scheming of wicked workers, by lying signs and wonders? Are those who are named “men of God”, those serving as leaders in the church, performing the Lord’s work or their own deceptive philandering? We must take seriously the many admonitions in the New Testament to turn away from false teaching and cling to the Word of God. We must examine anything that anyone says by the light of the Holy Scriptures through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Lying wonders abound leading many into error and apostasy. As we see the time fast approaching for the return of Jesus Christ the incidence of corrupted preaching and apostate teaching will continue to increase. The lies the devil tempts us to embrace are preparing the way for the son of perdition, the Antichrist. If we are not well exercised in the Scriptures, prayer and godly living, standing fast for the faith and rejecting and exposing the lie, then we will fall prey to Satan’s wicked schemes.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to who we must give account. 14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:12-16
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Hebrews 5:12-14
“Are we being led away from Christ and His sure word to us by the deceitful scheming of wicked workers, by lying signs and wonders?”
The way that we battle against the forces of darkness arrayed against us is by knowing the Scriptures so very well and relying upon Jesus Christ so very much that we are well equipped to resist the attack, fend off the attacker, and put the enemy to flight. We have weapons that are not of this world but are mighty for the tearing down of strongholds and destroying the works of the enemy.
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints- Ephesians 6:10-18
As we rely upon the Lord, His Word, His Spirit, and one another, we shall not be deluded by the end time deception that will ultimately carry the world away to destruction.
Sadly, it is apparent that many within the church today are completely unprepared to combat deception, and so they are easily fooled by the latest false teaching and the greatest charlatan that speaks great swelling words of emptiness enticing them to embrace the devil’s deceit and destruction. These ones who are so completely misled are being prepared for the coming of the Antichrist who will mesmerize them with lying wonders and wicked words leading them to embrace this one as their god.
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12
Loving the truth will keep us from this ungodly deception and prove that we are true to our Father in Heaven. God our Father put the Israelites to the test allowing false prophets with lying wonders to lead them astray in order to prove them as true or false. During these last days, the Lord God Almighty has allowed the infiltration of His church with fakes and phonies who work by the flesh and give no opportunity to the Spirit to lead God’s people to the springs of living waters that they may be refreshed and strengthened during their pilgrimage. Instead these false teachers leave them thirsting in a dry and dreary land. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior leads us from this darkness to His light and carries us along the way as we resist the work of the enemy and expose him for the vile evil operative that he is. Our thirsting hearts, resistance to the lie, and love for the truth prove our faith in Christ. Our humble obedience gives witness to the fact that we are the children of God so that we do not fail the test. Our stand for Christ gives us preparation to stand against Antichrist. To God be the glory who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior as we avail ourselves of His resources which He so generously gives us, so that we pass the test and prove that we are the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Why is there so much false teaching in the visible church? If we go to Scriptures with our question we can find the answer. Paul tells us one of the main reasons for this deception in the following verses in Acts chapter twenty:
27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves. 31 Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20:27-31
Carefully examining this passage from God’s Word we can see the motivations and methods off false teachers and God’s directions for protecting the flock from false teachers.
First false teachers are savage wolves caring nothing for the flock of God, destroying the flock, they want to have their own following and they do this by teaching contrary to what the Word of God says, perverse things that lead people astray, ultimately destroying them.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy… John 10:10
These wolves steal sheep from God’s fold for their own aggrandizement. They peddle the Word of God to draw away disciples after themselves, for their own material gain, appearing as ministers of righteousness.
For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God;… 2 Corinthians 2:27
By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; … 2 Peter 2:3
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness,… 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. Galatians 4:17
These evil workers perform the work of the devil deceiving the simple with smooth words and flattering speech.
For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:18
They are deliberate in their deception, not just wrong, but follow the desires of the flesh as Satan leads them in their apostasy. God will destroy these apostates
…for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 2:3
The passage from Acts, and the other verses, may shed light on false teachers, but we need more information to understand why false teaching is predominating within the church today. We are warned about the current situation within Christianity from the Bible in
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,…1 Timothy 4:1-2
The Holy Spirit of truth tells us that these apostates turn away from the faith and listen to devilish doctrines, spreading the lies while pretending to be genuine. They are able to make so much progress because not only are they empowered by Satan, but they also have a willing and ready audience eagerly listening to their lies.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
“It takes a mighty miracle of God to deliver the deceived from the damning deception.”
Few escape from this deadly deception. How can these escape destruction? Only by the grace and power of God in His merciful working can such be saved from the damning delusion.
19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:19-22
It takes a mighty miracle of God to deliver the deceived from the damning deception.
Another reason false teaching is endemic within the church is that the overseers are not exercising the responsibility that God has given them to watch over the flock of God and to protect them from false teachers.
1And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 You eat the fat and clothe ourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4 The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who are sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd ; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” 7 ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed my flock”-9 ‘therefore , O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! 10 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds will feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” 11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” Ezekiel 34:1-11
15 “I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. 16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” Ezekiel 34:15-16
God will judge those called to lead His flock, who refuse to do as Paul exhorted in Acts 20:27-31, to take care to protect the flock from error both from without and within, and to diligently follow the example that Paul gave them of warning and exhorting the flock to be true to the Lord Jesus Christ and His true Word. There are so few in leadership today who take this command from the Word of God seriously. Why is this one of the very last things that Paul said to the leaders in the church in Ephesus if it isn’t vitally important? Why do so many pastors and teachers quote false teachers rather than exposing them? They are showing by their actions that they are not true shepherds of the sheep. There is one who is the true shepherd of the sheep, though, Jesus Christ.
20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled the prophesy in Ezekiel 34:15-16. As Jesus withstood the false shepherds in the days of His flesh, He exposed them as evil workers, and He Himself took care of His sheep.
10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” 19 Therefore there was a division again among the Jews because of these sayings. 20 And many of them said, “He has a demon and is mad. Why do you listen to Him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the words of one who has a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?” 22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are One. John 10:10-30
Jesus referred to the Jewish leaders when He walked this earth as thieves, hirelings, and ultimately, wolves. They cared only for themselves and were just like the shepherds described in Ezekiel 34. Today, the majority of those in positions of leadership within the visible church are just like the false leaders that Jesus rebuked. They care for themselves and do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ by caring for the sheep. They don’t know His voice and don’t faithfully teach and preach the whole counsel of God like the apostle Paul. Paul was a genuine shepherd of the sheep, he knew Jesus Christ and followed the Lord’s example. Jesus is the true shepherd who cares for His sheep doing His Father’s will, being One with the Father. He does rescue His own from the wiles of the devil and feeds them in the pastures of the provision of His Spirit and His Word, the Bible.
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:9-10
In contrast to the salvation, protection and loving leadership of our Lord Jesus Christ, the vast majority of church leaders today do not reveal the false teachers by exposing their teaching and giving their names; they then become complicit in the deliberate determined deception of false teachers in the visible church. Another reason why there is so much false teaching in the visible church.
Brethren, be on your guard for deception has crept into the church wholesale. It has crept into the church through false teachers and false brethren.
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 2:1-3
6 “My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; They have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place. 7 All who found them have devoured them; And their adversaries said, ‘We have not offended, Because they have sinned against the Lord, the habitation of justice, The Lord, the hope of their fathers.” Jeremiah 50:6-7
28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Acts 20:28-30
4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 4
19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.Jude 19
Looking at these verses we can identify the marks of false teachers. They secretly bring in destructive heresies and deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Destructive heresies are doctrines that oppose the sound teaching of the Scriptures. They will rely on books and the opinions of men rather than the pure Word of God. They deny Jesus Christ by denying He is God, or claimed to be God; they say His redemptive work on the cross isn’t sufficient and must be added to by our works, baptism, the works of others, suffering in purgatory, or rule keeping. They are greedy and look at believers as a means of lining their coffers. They use books, symposiums, seminars, schools, the pastorate, videos, music, movies, supposedly “good works” and all manner of merchandise to enrich themselves. They talk much about money, using guilt to convince those who listen to them to hand over their hard earned money. They extort and abuse the elderly and those who are entering their twilight years. These are evil vile abusers of those who desire to know and obey Jesus Christ. These false teachers are the greatest hypocrites and should be avoided at all costs. False teachers lead the people away from God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and instead draw them away after themselves through their false teaching and perversion of the Scriptures. They are ungodly and count on others extending grace and forgiveness to them so they can continue in their wickedness. They encourage others to continue in wickedness and sin and don’t exhort others that the Beloved of the Lord depart from unrighteousness and sin. They can only live in the flesh since they are devoid of the Spirit and are led by the devil. God’s Word commands that we separate ourselves from these false teachers, and that means avoiding their assemblies, concerts, seminars, books, music, whatever the enemy uses to lead the vast majority of those who claim to be Christians astray.
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness: 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
“Brethren, be on your guard for deception has crept into the church wholesale. It has crept into the church through false teachers and false brethren.”
We have to remember that deception has also entered the church through false brethren.
9 That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the Lord; 10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. 11 Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” Isaiah 30:9-11
6 My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. Hosea 4:6
12 I have written for him the great things of My law, But they were considered a strange thing. Hosea 8:12
You have plowed wickedness; You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, because you trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. Hosea 10:13
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.2 Timothy 4:3-4
“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me , the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:13
10…and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for his reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11
False brethren reject the Lord and His Word, the Bible. They reject the knowledge that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and His Word and substitute the empty opinions of men which have their origins in the doctrines of demons. Rejecting God and His truth they embrace the lie, because they have pleasure in unrighteousness and therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion. They desire their own way and will not submit to God’s way. They turn away from the truth and away from God. They are of the flesh and do not have the Holy Spirit just like the false teachers. We can try to bring these back to the faith by the power of God, but if they still reject the truth regarding Jesus Christ and His Word, then we must leave them to God.
19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
Deception has entered the church through the enemy, through false teachers and false brethren. The enemy has always used this tactic against the people of God through the ages. When we read the Old and New Testament, we see prophets warning the children of God over and over again to turn away from idols and lies and to cling to God and His truth. The distinguishing marks of those who truly know Jesus Christ are their love for God, love for God’s Word and love for God’s children. Those who are false will always reject those who are true. Those who are true must reprove those who stray from the faith, seek to restore them to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and then reject those who refuse correction. May God empower us for this task as we seek to live to God’s glory holding fast to His truth, His Son and His children.