END-TIMES DECEPTION, 22.11.18
1 Pet. 1:14-16
There has always been deception, but it was foretold that it would intensify and multiply in the last days. In so many ways Church leaders have set the stage for deception, because much of it has proliferated through what has not been said/what has not been taught, along with outright false teachings.
There are antichrist spirits now, and there is incredible deception now; yet we are warned that there is more to come; in fact, the worst is yet to come. The antichrist/false prophet will “perform great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth through the signs he is permitted to perform, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image in honor of the beast” (Rev. 13:13,14).
One deception has built upon another throughout the ages. Just as later translations of Scripture omitted the second half of Romans 8:1,2, handily removing the condition re walking in the Spirit/flesh, much is omitted from current teachings. This may be one small, isolated example, but there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of similar types of omissions. It may seem quite innocuous; however there is a major difference in application: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom.8:1,NIV); “There 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” (Rom.8:1,NKJV). The omission of the second component is very significant in its implications, allowing the deceptive conclusion that there are no particular expectations on the believer, no accountability; so counter to God’s Word throughout Scripture. This Scripture is quoted universally by multiple denominations, overlooking the requirement to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh.
So much teaching grants the erroneous assumption of automatic blessings regardless of the believer’s walk with the Lord. Sinful behaviour is excused through rationalizing, justifying, and pouring God’s grace over it. This is the very definition of “cheap grace.” But this is in no way congruent with God’s Word. Yeshua/Jesus said: “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word … And I say to you that every careless word that they will speak, men will give an …. speech a man shall be condemned, but that he shall give an account for it”(Matt.12:36). And just as Yeshua, Paul taught: “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor.5:10). It will serve us well to be led by God’s Word, and not by false teachers.
Before granting everyone the right to Name-it-and-claim-it, the Word of Faith leaders fail to teach the preconditions to claiming God’s promises. Blessings require obedience. Rights to God’s promises are precluded by the covenant, by faithful obedience to His commandments, His call, His ways, which include walking in holiness. “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless” (Gen.17:1); “because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy”” (1 Pet.1:16). Careless, if not overtly deceptive teachings have evolved, and become sanctioned, eradicating the need for accountability, which includes holiness. Many denominations have done away with any such notions, replacing the call to holiness with the adulterated, distorted version of freedom and grace. Just one more element of ongoing deception.
“Now if you listen obediently to the voice of Adonai . . . . . . all these blessings will come upon you . . .” (Deut.28:1,2). “If you walk in My statutes, keep My mitzvot and carry them out, then I will give you . . .” (Lev.26:3,4). This principle of obedience > blessings and disobedience > curses/consequences did not get thrown out with the New Covenant – not at all. It is a deception which has led many of God’s people astray. “Repent and do the deeds you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place—unless you repent” (Rev.2:5). “Repent then! If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of My mouth” (Rev.2:16). Sounds like conditions, judgment, and consequences to me. . .. .
Ultimately, all will be subject to God’s judgment: “you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess—yet she is teaching and deceiving My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation—unless they repent of her doings. I will also strike her children with a deadly disease. Then all of Messiah’s communities will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your deeds” (Rev.3:20-23). “Then the king will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me! God has cursed you! Go into everlasting fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels!” (Matt.25:41). No punishment/consequences for sin? Really? How does the Church reconcile their omissions and erroneous teachings? On judgment day, God will definitely hold accountable all who have taught in such error. The leaders will be held accountable, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much of has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Lk.12:48). “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). Only through either rebellion, or blinded eyes and sticking one’s head in the sand is it possible to ignore God’s truth.
Great deception is coming in these last days, and so it is vitally important to be on the right side of God, for He knows all, and will hold us accountable: “I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. .. . . I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. . . . . But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality . . . . Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (Rev. 2:9,13,14,16). These words confirm that no one can escape from the eyes of the Lord that see everywhere, all over the world.
“While Israel was staying in Shittim, the people began to have immoral sexual relations with women from Moab. Then they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, so the people were eating, and bowing down before their gods. When Israel became bound to Baal of Peor, the anger of Adonai grew hot against Israel. Adonai said to Moses, “Seize all the ringleaders and hang them before Adonai facing the sun, so that Adonai’s fierce anger may be turned away from Israel” (Num.25:1-4). The same things that angered God in the early days must surely anger Him today, for God is unchanging. He does not swing to and fro between what He sanctions and what He condemns.
In a society where so-called Christians partake of worldly lusts of every kind on a daily basis, whether it is sexual immorality or reverencing of material things, lusting after money, power, fame, or otherwise, we can be sure that God is displeased just as He was with Israel in ancient times. To assume that because of God’s Grace, God’s people will not be held accountable for these behaviours is not only ludicrous and irrational, but delusional and foolish. Yeshua warns us to: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows” (Mk.13:5-8), for “false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Mk.13:22). What more do we need to be told?
A study of all Scriptures reveals that God’s principles, upon which His laws are based, have never, nor will ever, change. One cannot just latch onto an isolated Scripture, and name-it-and-claim while failing to understand that following God’s ways are pre-conditions to the promises. “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord“(Ps.24:3-5). Oh, that’s Old Testament, you say. . . . Yes, and reinstated by Yeshua Messiah: “He who has My commandments and keeps them . . . . I will love him and manifest Myself to him. . . . . come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:21-24). “As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Pet.1:14,15). Upon calling ourselves His; upon knowing the Truth; we become accountable for walking it out, applying it to our personal lives.
© 2017, 2nd ed., revised 2018 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
PLEASE VISIT: MENTORING CORNER for COMPLETE STUDY GUIDE on TOPIC.
PRAYER CORNER for PRAYER GUIDE on TOPIC.