..."and a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the way of holiness; evil minded people shall not travel on it, but it shall be for those wayfarers who are traveling toward God. (Isaiah 35:8, adapted)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Take Heed That No Man Deceive You

"For there shall arise false Christs, and
false prophets, and shall show great signs
and wonders; insomuch that, if it were
possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before." (Matthew 24:
24, 25).

In Matthew 24 Jesus gives us one of His last
discourses and it is a most earnest warning:
Let no man deceive you! Jesus mentions the
word "deceive" four times in this passage.
One mention should get our attention, two
mentions should give us pause, but 4 four
mentions should make us stop and take careful,
careful notice.

When we think about deception we often think
in terms of "the other guy" being deceived.
It is "the other guy", in the "other church,"
in "a different place" who falls into error.
Certainly is is not me and mine who are being
deceived. Often, too, we think of deception
happening outside of the church because those
that do not know the Lord are in darkness.

Jesus, however, is talking privately to his
chosen twelve in this discourse (vs 3).
Was this only meant for them? Obviously
not since they are asking Him what things
would be like at His Coming and at the end
of the world.

He speaks of a deception of great magnitude
that would come: MANY would come IN HIS NAME--
as "Christians", and MANY would be deceived.
This would not be an ineffective deception
because we see Jesus use the word "MANY" even
more times than He uses the word "deceive."

MANY shall come [falsely] in His Name. MANY
will be deceived. MANY shall be offended.
MANY false prophets shall come, and the
love of MANY shall wax cold.

There is absolutely no sign that Christians will
escape this, in fact, the deception is in the
place where it should not be--even in the
Church. It has invaded the holy place on all

This idea of deception parallels what
Jesus is speaking of here about
the "abomination of desolation" (vs 15) being
in the holy place. Deception becomes
personified.That which is not of God will
sit in the holy place just as Antiochus
Ephiphanes desecrated the temple (167 B.C.)
as Daniel predicted and just as the
Roman Army devastated Jerusalem in 70 A.D.,
and just as, if we understand scripture
correctly, a coming Antichrist will try to
deceive and devastate all that is holy.

Persecution and deception will not only come from
without but from within, just as Jesus was betrayed
by His own countrymen--even a close associate.

False Christ's (Christ means "annointed one")
will arise, claiming they are "God's Annointed"
and false prophets shall come showing great
signs and wonders, so much so that if it were
ELECT. Jesus Himself asks, "...when the Son
of Man comes shall He find faith on the earth?"
(Luke 18:8). As much as we want a massive
worldwide revival, this does not bode well
for one appearing. God is always calling,
but who will answer Him? Revival must come
in our heart and not necessarily as an
external "event." You never have to wait
for that kind of revival to begin.

The very height of folly would be to think
that you cannot be deceived. If you do think that,
then you already ARE deceived! Deception works
by slight of hand--really slight of truth--
things are not what they appear.

Behind the smoke screen, the coiled serpent
lurks ready to strike. Eccles. 10:11 says,
"If the serpent bites before it is charmed,
than it is too late to call the [snake]
charmer." We must be wary lest we be bitten
by deception before we recognize it to be

We need not be heresy hunters, but we do need
to do as Jesus tells us and take heed. Christ
would not take such great steps to warn us if
there was not a grave threat. God can keep
us, but how?

First, we need to be people of prayer. We must
continually be speaking with, and inquiring of
the Lord. We must stay close to Him in simple,
childlike faith.

Second, we need to be people of the Word of God.
As we walk more and more in the realm of the
supernatural we cannot divorce our inner
discernment of things from the written Word
of God. God has revealed all that we really
need through His Word. By the Holy Spirit,
that Word is revealed and understood. The
Living Word and the written Word of God
are always in agreement.

Seeking "deep truth" or "hidden revelation" or
"extreme prophetic" encounters, or third heaven
"day trips" can set us up for "old age" deception
quicker than fast. Soaring into spiritual realms
without being grounded in the Word of God
is just plain dangerous. As the song says, "Just a
song, before I go, a message to be learned,
traveling twice the speed of sound its easy
to get burned!" As deception and false spiritual
activity accelerates,then we must be doubly
careful to stay within the boundaries the Word
of God sets for us.

Third, we must be people of holiness. Jesus shows
us the fruit of deception: offense, hatred,
betrayal, iniquity, and love grown cold. But the
pure in heart see God! Hallelujah! They see
who God is and they know His Voice. They follow
Him as He leads them to safety. We need to
pursue holiness and truth so that there
is less and less within us that will be
attracted to the beguiling claws of deception.

Deception is very real and is coming to a
theatre near you: your mind! Seek the Lord.
Stay up to date with God. Pursue Holiness. Read
the Word. Entrust yourself to the Good Shepherd
so that you will be safe in the coming days of
deep deception.

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