I have spent much time studying the New Testament scriptures where Jesus made it a point to warn people and give details of the events He expects us to recognize today. The first of these has to do with deception. In going through the three gospel accounts in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, which all detail the narrative delivered to Jesus’ disciples, I find it to be much more than just a typical, normal deception that is part of every day life. It is more accurately described as a “strong delusion”. This gives a much more serious and threatening tone to the word–and we should really take it as such.
It is a serious mistake to underestimate the power of the fallen one to deceive us. Some of you may feel that the devil has no chance of trapping you with hs delusions because you are a born again believer and even more if you happen to be a Spirit-empowered saint, but the Bible is full of warnings specifically to believers.
I have spent untold hours studying history. One of my favorite centuries is the 19th century, as well as the latter part of the 18th century. I have read countless biographies of important historical characters of that era as well as how history unfolded during that time. Because the 19th century was as eventful as it was, any reading of the history will make mention of the different new belief systems that were formulated during that time.
This was happening at the same time that America was establishing itself as the missionary nation God destined it to become. Church history shows that there is always a counterfeit or a counter-attack of some kind that the deceiver Satan responds with to every move of God. It reminds me of the well written book by L.A. Marzulli, called “The Cosmic Chess Match.” The author goes into great detail how this principle has played out throughout history. The 19th century presented many good examples of this very thing. I won’t list all of the cults that found their way into American culture and caused so much religious confusion today. In the process of redesigning this blog, I hope to include a section designated for belief systems so that some questions can hopefully be answered that have caused confusion with some folks.
I will however mention in passing that the 19th century saw the formulation of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventism, and Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science organization–just to mention a few. The 20th century birthed many, many more.
When Jesus made the statement that we should be careful not to allow ourselves to be deceived, this was not just a gentle suggestion made to make conversation. He knew what was coming and so gave a strong warning for us to heed. This problem has only gotten more serious the closer we have come to the return of Jesus the Messiah.
I would like to give a few minutes of attention to the founder and “prophet” of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. This mainly because of a conversation Joseph said he claimed he had had with God the Father and Jesus. According to Joseph’s own account, he had attended three different churches represented by three church organizations. Joseph’s question to God was, “Which of the three was the right one?”
God the Father and Jesus who had apparently appeared to him as flesh and bone beings, told him that he should not go to any of the three churches, nor even to their theological schools because they were all wrong. According to this account, he was told that God Himself would teach him the real truth and he was to build a church organization of his own based on this new corrected Word from God. This is how the Book of Mormon came about. This all came about in the first half of the 19th century.
Many more well known cults began in the second half of the century. It seems once pandora’s box was opened, a never ending string of heretical teachings began to come on the world’s scene. Confusion and chaos was well established and was not going to going to be going away. Most of these organizations started in the United States and after becoming established, spread overseas.
I want to make it clear that my comments are not an attack on Mormon people. I have found them to be upstanding members of society for the most part. They also take a tough stand on issues that are not always popular because of the moral downhill run America is making. I do however have great difficulty with much of Mormon theology, and this is where I have had to draw a line in the sand as to where I stand with my own beliefs.
I have met many very polite young Mormon missionary men. I take every opportunity I get to spend time discussing the differences in our beliefs–not by debating, but by showing the love of God that would leave us with a roadmap–the Bible, which has never failed, nor has it ever needed to be updated or revised to correct past flawed doctrines. I have also looked for every opportunity possible to show that the Jesus I worship is not the spirit-brother of the fallen Lucifer. Lucifer is a created being and Jesus is the Creator of all there is. Quite a difference…
I have used Joseph’s supposed conversation with God as an example because in one way or another, every “prophet” that starts his own belief system makes a statement much the same as the one that Joseph made. Everyone else had been wrong until he came along. God set him aside to correct the written Word passed down to us, because it was flawed. Really!
If one thinks about it, the whole story is absurd. Not just the one told by Joseph Smith, but of every other one that thought He had been called to correct the infallible Word of God. What about the 1800 or so years of people who had no access to the “truth” that would not be revealed for many centuries yet? That means that God made no provision for all those people because they were not covered by the authority of the prophet that was yet to come. It gets worse but I’ll leave it right there for now.
The bottom line is this: Joseph Smith was guilty of the worst heresy and he took untold millions down with him. He challenged God’s promise that not one dot or crossing of a “t” would be lost from God’s Word. Heaven and earth would pass away easier than God’s Word ever failing. This reminds me of the strong warning in the last chapter of the Bible against adding or subtracting anything whatsoever from the given Word of God. No exceptions!
I find a comment made in Revelation 3: 8, 10&11 to be pretty thought provoking. See, I believe that the Church of Philadelphia was represented during the 19th century and probably to a great extent in our day as well. I believe that the Church of Philadelphia and the Church of Laodicea happen to overlap in our age. In fact, it seems the Church of Philadelphia resides within the Church of Laodicea–at least for the time being.
There is a promise to the Church of Philadelphia that does not apply to the Church of Laodicea. Here is what we find recorded in Revelation 3: 8, 10, 11:
“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my Word and have not denied my name…since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”
I believe that the “true” Church of Philadelphia–those that represent the spiritual values that Jesus is speaking of–will escape the terrible “Day of the Lord”, or as we commonly know it, “The Great Tribulation”. This is a great promise and should be foremost in our minds in this day and age when we can see the human race hurtling towards destruction.
The Church of Laodicea however will not be elibible to benefit from this promise. Take a few minutes and read the description of this church and the age that defines it. It is found in Revelation 3: 14-22. It is so very important that we read this very carefully and make sure that there is nothing about this description that fits us. The Laodicean Church will miss the Rapture and will have to deal with the judgments that are going to be unleashed on this earth. There are those of the Laodicean Church that will be gathered in Heaven as part of the redeemed, but not without paying a huge price. Most will have to die for their faith in Jesus Christ, if in fact they bend their knee before their God and Savior.
The deceptions we are facing today take many forms. Jesus mentioned those that come in His Name but are counterfeits. There have been many of these over the past few decades. I remember some unusual visitors one Sunday at one of the churches I pastored over the years. Our church had its monthly potluck after the morning gathering. Our three visitors showed up near the end of the regular morning service and invited them to eat with us. We always seemed to have plenty of food no matter how many were there or how many were prepared with a dish to add or not. These three really looked like they could use a decent meal. They were curiously dressed and so got plenty of attention, quickly being tagged “the sheet people” by the kids, and of course by the adults as well after the potluck was over. They had what appeared to be a cross between gunny sacks and bed sheets that they had loosely draped and fastened around them.
I struck up a conversation with these folks and in no time learned some pretty interesting things from them. It was astounding, to say the least. I found out that they were followers of a man that called himself “Jesus Christ Lightning Amen.” What a name!! These three (two young men and one young woman) were traveling the world singing the praises of Mr. Amen.
It seems that Mr. Lightning Amen had had a vision (or dream) one night while he was in the desert, and was given the names of all the 144,000 evangelists, and these three belonged to that elite group. Never mind the fact that the ones foretold in Revelation 7 were Jewish and all belonged to one of the Jewish tribes. I have been amazed for years how many different religious organizations try and lay claim to having these same 144,000 super evangelists as part of their organization. Man’s pride seems to know no bounds! I was also told by our special guests that they had few rules to live by, including eating no meat nor wearing anything that is made from any part of an animal. They were also not to own anything of their own, donating all their worldly goods to the organization, and the last one requiring them to live a life of celibacy for the rest of their lives on this earth. Imagine my surprise after doing some research that Mr. Lightning Amen had millions stashed in numerous accounts and in several banks. He also had a harem of beautiful women that felt privileged to attend to his every need. It was apparently no secret amongst his inner circle that he loved good steak and regularly ate just that.
The rules expected of his faithful followers to adhere to were surprising, for sure. They were not the greatest concern though. This man was one of those that Jesus specifically warned his followers of. He however was just one of a train of them sent by the evil one to deceive mankind. Millions are being deceived by these charlatans and will continue to do so until the real Prince of Peace comes and establishes order on this planet. Soon and very soon! Anyone remember that song written by Andre Crouch? I still quite often find myself singing it.
The 20th century has had enormous world shaking historical events. As time got closer to the turn of the millenium, each problem became more and more extreme. By the turn of the century, world problems were at the point to where hopelessness was more common than any hope for the future. Because I don’t want this article to get unnecessarily long, I will not get into the specifics with the exception of the area of deception that Jesus warned about. Suffice it to say that the seemed impossible world problems to solve in 2000 are greatly multiplied twelve years later. This is no exaggeration or hype. Everything that Jesus warned about in Matthew 24 is happening now at the same time. The gravity of it all has world leaders pulling their hair out because there is no apparent solution. Just in the area of the economy, over 600 upper level CEO’s have resigned their extremely overpaid positions. Why???
At this time, I’d like to bring us back to what this post is all about–deception, or as the Bible warns, a great delusion that is overcoming much of the world’s population. It is not going to get better; it will only get much, much worse. The birth pangs are now impossible to miss. If one were to look at volcanic activity alone, there are now over 60 volcanoes active around the globe, and more coming on line all the time. This is what is being faced in every other area as well.
God had no intention for us to be caught off guard by these things. In fact, He said that when we see these things, to look up because our redemption is drawing near. Are you ready for this, or have you been holding God at arm’s length?
The great prophet Daniel may have received more prophetic detail about history that was going to unfold from his day forward to the very time of the return of Jesus. In the 12th chapter he expressed his desire to have a better understanding of all he had been told. This is how it reads in verse 8:
“I heard, but I did not understand. So I asked, ‘My Lord, what will the outcome of all this be?’ He replied, ‘Go your way Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.”
Just for the record, it has not been until the last century or so that much of what was proclaimed prophetically in the Old and New Testaments made a whole lot of sense. There were a handful of great men of God that were way ahead of their time and preached about things that caused people to accuse them of having a screw loose! Yet, now they have been proven correct.
The door really opened up when Israel against all odds, became an independent nation on May 15, 1948. Until that point much Biblical prophecy did not make much sense. Now however, hundreds of intricately detailed prophecies have been in process of being fulfilled, with not one tiny detail missed. Only the Almighty God could have done this!
In order to reroute the direction of this post back to where I started, I would like to bring up the character Nimrod. The story of Nimrod, his power, and the pagan religion he instituted in the land of Shinar, is found in Genesis 10 and 11. Not many verses are used to tell his story but that does not mean that there was any less significant. Both passages are worth reading again if it has been some time since you have done so.
The first impression a person might get when reading the account given of Nimrod is that God in coming down to visit the earth noticed that man was progressing a bit too quickly and so God came up with an easy way to slow them down. Having only one language on the earth at that time, God confused them and the multitudes found themselves speaking all kinds of different languages. You can imagine the chaos. This is only part of the story though.
God saw something more than the obvious. Nimrod was not just helping man to better his station in life, he was participating in a challenge and rebellion against his Creator. I would like to share a quote from my favorite theological author, Matthew Henry. Part of what he wrote about this passage was this:
“Nimord was a great hunter; with this he began, and for this became famous to a proverb. every great hunter is, in remembrance of him, called a ‘Nimrod’. (Side note: Matthew Henry lived as a close conyemporarty of Shakespeare and so some “proverbs” have had their meaning changed drastically–as in the case of Nimrod. It is now used as a description of a real–should I say ‘bonehead’? Fitting, I think)
He was a ‘mighty hunter’, that is, he was a violent invader of his neighbor’s rights and properties, and a persecutor of innocent men, carrying all before him, and endeavoring to make all his own by force and violence…Nimrod set up idolatry, as Jeroboam did, for the confitrming of his usurped dominion. That he might set up a new government, he set up a new religion upon the ruin of the primitive constitution of both. ‘Babel was the mother of harlots’…He carried on his oppression and violence in defiance of God Himself, daring Heaven with his impieties, as if he and his huntsmen could out-brave all His armies.’ as if it were a small thing to weary my God also’, (Isaiah 7:13).”
Matthew Henry had much more to say about Nimrod but cleared up one confusing statement in the Genesis account. He says that he was a “great hunter before the Lord.” The original Hebrew, which Matthew Henry was quite studied in, says that he was a “great hunter against the Lord. This presents a much different picture than a quick read might leave with us.
There is much more to Nimrod’s “new religion” than what most of us may be aware of. It has never gone away and has caused much spiritual turmoil and destruction throughout the many centuries since he lived upon the earth. The more important thing is this though: Nimrod’s old delusional pagan religion is coming into play again in our day–and in a great way.
My next post will go into some detail about this ancient pagan belief and how it is going to corrupt our generation in an increasing manner. It already has a huge foothold around the globe–even in America.
Thanks once again for reading. This was a long post, but if you find it worthwhile, please pass it on. The posts currently are sent to two prisons and I would like to get them into more. Maybe some of you have contacts that could help with this. Time is short and scripture tells us that often we will be able literally be able to grab someone right out of the flames as they enter hell itself. Does this give you a thrill? I hope so because that is part of the reason why you and I, the Bride of Christ, are still here on this earth.
I have found that since the latest urging that I received from the Spirit of God to prepare myself to meet my Messiah face to face, I don’t have the need for a lot of “feel good” sermons or teachings. My self esteem is not based on man’s psychology but rather on what God teaches me about my relationship with my God. Americans have gotten way too soft. If we don’t get our weekly coddling from the pulpit, we go into a pit of depression! WHY?? God told us that in this world, there would be trouble. He also warned us that we would be fighting with a supernatural enemy. Yet, God said that He inside of us is much greater than the fallen one in the world. It’s high time we believe this and begin to live a life of faith as Hebrews 11 speaks about.
The Apostle Paul talks of hard training to truly live the spiritual life. He fought as one that had no intention of swinging at the air and not hitting his target. Take some time and look at how the Navy Seals train! There is a reason why they rarely lose in conflict. That is the condition we should be in, don’t you think? Let’s commit ourselves to it. I am sure that you would like to hear the same comment from the Lord that I would: “Well done good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Lord!”
Keep Looking Up! Jake
Please don’t forget the great need for prayer cover and finances for LOTS of Bibles!
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