When the disciples asked Jesus for a sign of His coming again, and the end of the age, Jesus replied in this order (Matthew 24)
- Verse 4 – make sure no one deceives you
- Verse 5 – Many will claim to be Me – and deceive many
- Verse 6 – 9 – natural disasters, wars, etc.
- Verse 11 – false prophets will deceive many
- Verse 14 – This gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world…
- Verse 23, 24 – false prophets with great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect
- Verse 25 – “See, I have told you beforehand.”
Can you see the BIG deception Jesus is taking about? Is He talking about Hindus and Muslims? No – they are not of the faith to begin with. He is talking to us – His sheep. We have to recognize that Jesus laid so much emphasis on deception. He said it four times in this instance. He only talked about war and natural disasters once. We are being deceived – yes, even the elect, if possible.
We all know the end is very very close – Israel is a nation again, coalition powers trying to wipe out Israel, natural disasters of immense proportions as never seen before…we are very familiar with all this. Within 100 years, mankind went from riding on horses to supersonic jets. For the first time in history, we have the means to reach all parts of the globe to preach the gospel through physical travel, social media, etc. There is no illusion among the believers that we have another millennium to get our act straight.
If we are at the very end, then what and where is the deception? Because it has to be very big indeed. Do we recognize a larger event in the faith other than the mega church, experiential explosion? Shouldn’t we look at the phenomena more closely and discern as the Bereans did – to make sure that everything is Biblical? When someone says, that the Holy Spirit is moving so powerfully at a certain place of worship, do we ask how and make sure the result is the fruit of the Spirit before we go there?
I heard this from a person recently -” I went to Pastor Abc’s service and the Spirit was moving. I couldn’t control myself. Something happened..I couldn’t stop crying.”
Another person said to me – “I couldn’t stop laughing. It was so incredible. I just couldn’t stop!”.
This is not God! This is the deception. How can we not see it?? The Holy Spirit gives us freedom and self control. Galatians 5:23 is so clear – why do we ever think we have the Holy Spirit if we have lost control?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
The Pastor pushes and the person falls down flat. Some lay peacefully still, others laugh, others cry, others bark and some others convulse. All in the same room. Does the Holy Spirit knock down people? During my Yoga days, I have observed some Indian gurus who used supernatural power to do the same stuff. Is it God? Of course not. Does it become God just because it happens in a Christian church? No. This is not the Spirit of God. If you go to India you will see Hindu priests and Yogis doing much more fantastic things. Then you will say – that is Eastern mysticism, this is Christianity. How so? Will God leave us in this great confusion? All you need to do is check out youtube for all the for and against videos. This is confusion in the highest degree – and our God is not the author of confusion – 1 Corinthians 14:33.
The four-fold test according to Zac Poonen:
Be careful if you see anything happen that Jesus did not do or Jesus did not teach. Be careful of anything you see that the apostles did not do or did not teach. Ask the question, and if the answer is in the negative, do not accept it.
We are called to walk as Jesus walked, to serve as Jesus served. Paul said to imitate him. Are we to completely ignore these commands?
Paul – the great Apostle of Christ, did not control anybody. When Apollos did not want to go to Corinth at the time Paul wanted, Paul backed down. There is freedom in Christ! We are free – the Holy Spirit will not put us in a trance where we lose control of our minds and bodies.
The feeling of peace is the other great helper to the deception. When we run after experience instead of the truth of the Word, Satan welcomes us with feelings of peacefulness and superficial joy. Only for that moment – or maybe for a day or two. So we leave our old dull church and go to the new place where its all happening. This should be a fantastic indicator of a false prophet in operation. Jesus was a specialist in losing his followers – they didn’t flock to Him after He explained to them exactly what He expected of them. Do you remember?
John 6:66 – From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.
Why? Because it was a difficult teaching. Difficult to digest.
John 6:56 – Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.
The happening church tells us that God moves powerfully in their church. Jesus tells us whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood remains in him. What more are we looking for other than for Jesus to be with us and for us to be with Jesus? Further, Jesus knew his teaching is offensive to his audience (verse 61). He goes on to say that
“The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” – John 6:63-64
Have we run away so far from His Word, that we cannot recognize the truth anymore? Are we overtaken by experiences and emotions and feelings? Does not the Word of God mean anything to the body of Christ? How can we then be the body of Christ? We are deceived. Deceived into believing we are led by the Holy Spirit. Deceived into believing we are saved. We forget that Christ came to save us from sin – not from disasters, hell or bad circumstances. But He came to save us from sin. (Matthew 1:21).
We need to repent and turn back to Christ – whose gospel is truth. Truth does not make us free. Knowing the truth sets us free.