This is the fifth part in the Bible study series: End-Time Prophecy 101. In the Olivet Prophecy Jesus said that at the end time, “false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Join us as we explore a number of end time deceptions that are already extent in our world today.
[Gary Petty] I didn’t know if how many people would come out being as cold as it is, but I guess you’re a tough bunch. Could you hear me okay in the back? Okay, good. Yeah, and we had some really cold weather in San Antonio, Texas last week. It actually got below freezing one night, and it must have stayed that way for probably four hours. The bird bath had a little bit of ice on it. We had to go out because they couldn’t figure out how to get to the water. They were all sitting and picking on the ice, so we had to go melt the ice for a little bit so they could…So, in fact we had two nights last week that it actually it went below 32, so we’ve just been suffering. It has been tough. Well we’ll go ahead and open with prayer, so if you’ll all bow your heads.
Father in heaven, we thank you for your blessings and for being here tonight, and we ask You to help those that are here and all those that are on the hook up that we can come to a deeper understanding of Your way, a deeper understanding of this very important topic, Father. You warned us that there would be a lot of deception at the end time, and of course there’s always been deception ever since Adam and Eve were deceived in the Garden of Eden. Father, You do give us through Your Spirit the ability to perceive deception, to withstand it. But at the same time, we have to be able to submit to that because deception has a pull, it has an attraction to it. We ask You to please help us tonight as we understand the world we live in. We understand what is ahead to come in prophecy and how to be prepared for those things, so we could heed the warnings that You give us. We praise You, we thank You, we ask all this in Christ Jesus’ name. Amen.
In the Olivet prophecy, Jesus said that at the end time there would be many false christs, many false prophets. He says, if it were possible, they would even deceive the very elect. In other words, the only way that anyone is not going to be deceived by what happens is that God is going to help us not see it, or see it and reject it. We’re going to say, “Okay, that is deception. We’re going to reject it.” Deception is an interesting thing. The person who begins the deception is doing it to harm others. They actually deceive people either to get something for themselves or to hurt others. Once they deceive people, those people deceive others but they don’t know that they’re deceiving people. They think they’re telling them the truth.
Once a deception gets big enough, it just seems it’s accepted. If you tell someone that is a very conservative Protestant or a Catholic and you tell them that they should not keep Christmas, they’re appalled. Now, they’re not trying to deceive you with Christmas. They haven’t made it up. In fact, it’s all they’ve been taught since they were born, and so the deception has become part of who they are.
What I want to talk about tonight is just four ways which deception is prevalent in all societies and how you and I can face deception today. When I’m talking about deception here, I’m talking about being deceived to go against God. Then we’re going to look at these four ways, and I just want to review a couple of Scriptures that talks about the great deception that happens at the end time with the beast of false prophet.
So how could we be deceived? How are people deceived? How is the average person deceived? Once again, they grow up in it, so they don’t know they’re deceived. Why don’t they know they’re deceived?
Well, the most common means of deceit, and remember when I say deceit, the people propagating it most of the time don’t know that they’re propagating a falsehood. They believe it’s true. You always have to trace things back to their originators, where do they come from? The people who actually knew what they were doing was wrong. The greatest deceit that we face every day in our lives is I call conventional wisdom. You may have heard this term before. Conventional wisdom, anybody know what that term means? What’s conventional wisdom mean?
Well conventional wisdom basically is a shared belief. It’s a shared set of values. It’s a shared set of how problems should be solved. This is accepted by almost everyone, therefore it is conventional, okay, conventional wisdom. So people believe and it’s something that if you talk to most people in any society, and it depends on what society you’re in.
If you would have been born throughout much of the Roman Empire in the 1st century, you would have thought that gladiatorial games were good for society. The people go into gladiatorial games and watching people kill each other, the conventional wisdom said, “This is good. It gives us a way to punish criminals. It gives us a way to supply entertainment for the masses, and it gives us a way to teach manly, the manly arts of courage.” People actually thought it was good. If you lived in the 1st century, you would have believed that the most modern convenience you could have in your home is running water, and running water came into your home through lead pipes.
There’s an awful lot…in the cities in the 1st century, there’s an awful lot of people that have mental illnesses or suffer from the diseases – they didn’t know what was causing it – that we now know is lead poisoning, but the conventional wisdom was, this is the most modern thing you can have, and it’s good for you. How good could it be to have water running into your house? You could take a bath. You could be clean, you could drink water. You won’t have to go out and share water at the community, the well or the community area where the water would come in. You and I live in a world of conventional wisdom, and that conventional wisdom changes as society changes.
In the 1920s there was conventional wisdom that a woman could not go out in public to a beach unless she was wearing a full bathing suit that was a skirt. A skirt, it would be what many people would consider today a pretty formal dress, but conventional wisdom said men couldn’t go out unless they had a two-piece bathing suit on, too. That was the conventional wisdom. To not do that you would be arrested.
Now the conventional wisdom today is if you would tell people, a man, that he needed to wear a full bathing suit that covered his chest and came down to his knees, he would say, “You’re weird.” If you told a woman she couldn’t wear a bikini, they’d say, “You’re weird.” Conventional wisdom changes, but the thing is, that’s what most people believe. We could be very…the problem with conventional wisdom is that it becomes very difficult for us to resist it because not that many people could be wrong.
My mother was a nurse, a registered nurse. Back when she was a nurse in the 1950s, for a small period of time, she had to work in a mental institution. I remember as a child she told me where there was…all the people in there of course had different mental illnesses, but she said, “There was one man that was there because, well… you know.” I didn’t know. She said, she finally said, “well, he was a homosexual.” I had no idea what that meant. “All right. Well, go ask your dad.”
Now, if you don’t think homosexuality is good, you’re a homophobic which means what? A phobia is a fear, unreasonable fear, it is a mental illness. So if you go back far enough in the lifetime of people even in this room, there was a time where homosexuality was considered a mental illness. And there were psychologists who would declare that person is mentally ill. Now, if you don’t think it’s a good thing, you are mentally ill.
Now, think about how that goes over time. Eventually they have to train our children not to be mentally ill which means you have to…the conventional wisdom becomes a norm and it becomes an enforceable norm. We have to understand the conventional wisdom of any age. Every Christian in any age has had to fight the deception of conventional wisdom, and it’s so hard. It’s when your kid looks at you and says, “But I don’t understand. Nobody in my school believes that.” How hard it is for us as human beings to go against conventional wisdom? That many people can’t be wrong.
It’s interesting in 1 Corinthians 3:18 1 Corinthians 3:18Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
American King James Version×. Now, Paul here is talking about deception and look at the context at when he puts this. “Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness.’ And again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, and they are futile.’ Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours.”
The conventional wisdom of that age was basically Greek philosophy that he had to deal with. He was writing to the church at Corinth, which sits right in the middle of that, practically, in Greece, and that’s what he had to deal with.
If you read through 1 Corinthians, part of the problem he deals with is Jews want a sign from God, but the Greeks, they wanted wisdom. They wanted to be able to argue this in the context of the conventional wisdom of the day, and to talk about Jesus Christ as being resurrected was considered absolute foolishness, foolishness to them. We can’t. We have to be very careful about conventional wisdom and how it affects us and how it affects our children.
The second kind of common deceit I want to talk about is the deceit of sin itself, and actually I want to talk about lawlessness. Well we say, “Well, how can sin deceive us?” Unless you’re just a lawless person, if a person is a thief and they like stealing, they think stealing is good, they are deceived by sin, but I’m not going to be deceived by sin. What happens with sin is we become deceived by the fact that the rewards, the immediate rewards are so good that we’re willing to pay what we think are the long-term consequences.
You see kids do that. I had a daughter that would reason out things and she would always, you could see her. She’d reason out and finally she’d decide, “Oh, the short-term consequences are worth it.” Or short-term rewards are worth it. The consequences aren’t as bad. So we always had to come up with consequences for her that were different than the other kids. They had to be bad enough for her to say…now, when she was little. When she grew up, she wasn’t this way. And to say, “Oh, those consequences are not worth the short-term gain.”
There’s a great deception in that. You say, “Well, I’m not a thief, but I’m not paying any of those federal income taxes because those income taxes, they go to help President Obama, and I’m against President Obama.” But Jesus said, “Pay your taxes.” Now what will happen is we’ll deceive ourselves. We’ll twist that around into a deception, then we’ll actually convince ourselves to go against the Scripture.
I remember a man saying one time, “I’m not going to pay my taxes. They use taxes to build military machines and they kill people, therefore I won’t participate in it.” When Paul was telling them to pay their taxes to the Roman government. They use that for just about everything our government uses taxes for.
There is a lawlessness. We appear to be keeping the law, but underneath, we’re actually not keeping the law, and it’s very deceitful because, since it appears we’re keeping the law, we think we’re okay. Look at James, James 1. Look what James tells the Church and he’s writing to the Church at large here. James 1:21 James 1:21Why lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
American King James Version×in the King James Version, this is translated a little strange.
“Therefore,” when you see therefore, you’re following a Greek line of argument. Therefore is like the summation. Okay. Everything before this is leading up to this point. “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness.” Overflow of wickedness? Other translations have it different, but it just means just uncontrolled wickedness, uncontrolled evil, uncontrolled law breaking. “And receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls, but be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Now if you notice, what we read in 1 Corinthians, Paul said, “You will deceive yourselves.” Our greatest challenge with God’s Spirit is we should be able to see a deception coming, whether it’s from Satan or another person, but we don’t. A lot of times we don’t, and the reason why is we deceive ourselves. We deceive ourselves because of our own desires, or motivations, or weakness at the time. And all of us have times and cases in life where we’ve done something, only later to say, “Why in the world did I do that?”
And you could trace it back to Satan or another person, and you went along with it, even though there was something inside of you saying, “I shouldn’t do that.” He says, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he’s like a man observing his natural face in a mirror. For he observes himself and goes away and immediately forgets what kind of man he was, but he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” That’s a very interesting point. Because he’s writing to the church. He says, “If you slander, if you gossip, if you lie about people, if you do the sins of the tongue,” he says, “well, you deceive yourself.” So you’ve now deceived yourself. Sin deceives us.
The second way that we can be, we have to fight all the time being deceived is sin itself. We have to know what sin is, and what we generally do with sin is we have what we consider the big sins and the little sins. The big sin is to commit a fornication. The little sin is to look at pornography. We tend to take sins and we make them big sins, little sins, and yet they’re both sins before God. In fact in Ephesians 5, Paul tells them to be careful about being deceived by empty words.
The third deceit, a way we could be deceived is by false teachers. People who come along and seem to have a real sharp argument. False teachers, they will claim some kind of secret knowledge or superior understanding. They’ll have an argument that seems to make sense, and yet, subtly it moves us away from some basic concept of the Scripture. Paul has to warn the church about that in Colossians 2. He warns them in Colossians 2:8 Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
American King James Version×. We can see that these four ways we’re talking about every Christian has always had to face, and we have to face today.
Colossians 2:8 Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
American King James Version×, it says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit.” And empty deceit, he calls it empty because it seems to have substance to it but it’s empty. He says, “according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world and not according to Christ.”
In Romans 16, we get a little bit of a description of what motivates false teachers. If you really want to understand what motivates a false teacher, read the book of Jude because that letter really tells us what motivates false teachers. Now, I say that – understand a false teacher could be false and not know it. If that false teacher was deceived, he doesn’t know. If he doesn’t know, he’s very sincere. The sincerity of a false teacher sometimes is what really can win people over because they actually believe it. There’s people that have died for their beliefs, absolutely sincere, and yet their beliefs were wrong.
So the false teachers will create disciples who buy into the deception, don’t know they’re deceived and they then pass it on in their sincerity. Sometimes you can catch the originators of the deceit because there’s certain traits they have, like it says here in Romans 16:17 Romans 16:17Now I beseech you, brothers, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them.
American King James Version×. “Now I give you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you learned and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.”
So ever since the very beginning, we’ve had to deal with people who come in with some kind of false doctrine. And they will seem to smart and they will take people who are simple in the truth and they will lead them out and that doctrine is against what God teaches. False doctrine, we have to be careful about that.
Now, a last theory I want to talk about is in 1 Timothy 6:6 1 Timothy 6:6But godliness with contentment is great gain.
American King James Version×. 1 Timothy 6:6 1 Timothy 6:6But godliness with contentment is great gain.
American King James Version×, Paul is writing to a young minister encouraging him about life, about his ministry, about what his conduct should be. And he says in 1 Timothy 6:6 1 Timothy 6:6But godliness with contentment is great gain.
American King James Version×, “Now, godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain that we carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men for destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
The deceit of wealth, of riches, of things. It’s funny. Wealthy people can say, “I am right with God. I can prove it by my wealth.” They’re deceived. Poor people can say, “I can prove that I am right with God because I don’t have any of those riches.” No. Because God doesn’t want people to have any wealth, so you have people take vows of poverty because it’s more holy to have nothing.
And then you turn on the television and you’ll see what’s called the “health and wealth gospel”, which is, “Do this and God has to bless you.” It’s almost like magic, sympathetic magic. If you do this, God will give you things. He has no choice. So you don’t do it because you love God; you do it because you are waiting for the wealth to come. Wealth could be a great deceiver, a great deceiver in our lives.
We have four areas, and we could see that you and I today, not even in the context of the great deception at the end time, we face conventional wisdom, sin, false teachers and wealth. Now there are certain areas of the world where they don’t have any wealth at all, so you say, “Well, they can’t be deceived by wealth.” Remember there are people that come to the conclusion, that poverty is a measure of your religious state, which neither really are. Now they can be – if you’re a thief and you’re wealthy, your wealth shows how bad your religious state is. If you’re poor because you refuse to work, that shows that you have a spiritual problem. We can’t look on wealth, either the having or lack of it, as the badge of our spiritual state.
Now, let’s jump ahead and look at two prophecies about the end time. The first one, and these are both well-known prophecies, you all know them. The first one is 1 Thessalonians 2, so let’s go to 1 Thessalonians 2. Let’s just look through this whole section here that talks about the end time.
Paul tells why he writes this to the church at Thessalonica in verse 1. “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.” There’s a false doctrine that had come into the church there at Thessalonica. And people, they were even getting letters that people had forged and said this was from some of the leaders of the Church. What they were saying is that Christ had already come, either that there was only one coming or that He had already come back the second time.
Then he says, “Let no one deceive you by any means.” He’s going to explain now so that we won’t be deceived, and what he’s going to explain from this point on did not happen in the lives of the people who first got this letter. This is what happens in the lives of the people who are on earth at the time of the return of Jesus Christ.
“For that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.” A lawless person, and this lawless person is revealed, and so in order not to be deceived, we have to look for this person. In my lifetime, I’ve seen all kinds of people with this name people stamp on them, “The lawless person is this person or that person.” No, if you read through this, this lawless person, we will know if we know the Scripture.
“Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” They say, “Well, nobody is going to follow anybody that says they are a god.” What if a person claims that they are the second coming of Jesus Christ? Well, that’s a God, is it? That’s God in the flesh. Notice what it says. It tells us how we’ll know this man deceives people.
He sits in the temple of God. He proclaims himself to be the greatest leader, religious leader on the face of the earth, and we’ll see through this that the whole world is deceived. That’s why we know that this isn’t any person that’s lived so far because the whole world has never been deceived by a singular person yet. The whole world, all religions are going to flock to this person.
He says verse 5, “Do you not remember when I was with you that I told you these things?” Those people in Thessalonica. “But now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness.” This lawlessness will be a mystery. This is important. In other words, it will appeal or appear to be good.
If this was just a person who walked around, if this was Adolf Hitler, he wouldn’t deceive the whole world. This person will appear to be good as a religious leader, and so but there’s a mystery to it because underneath there’s a lawlessness, one of the things that deception happens is through sin. He will deceive people by causing them and promoting certain kinds of sin.
“The mystery of lawlessness is already at work, only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” Now there’s a whole school of thought that says that this was Nero. It doesn’t make any sense because Christ didn’t destroy him in His second coming.
Okay, so this person has not come on the scene yet. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.” This person is going to do such great miracles through the power of Satan, it will appear to be good. He’s going to do miracles that will change the ideals of conventional wisdom. He’s going to deceive people into believing a new set of conventional wisdom.
What if someone started healing thousands of people, and I don’t know what these lying wonders are but let’s just make one up. What if this person started healing thousands of people? What if every place he went, everybody in the hospital jumped up and ran out and was healed? Lying wonders that will deceive people.
He says, “And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” They did not love the truth. For you and I to face the deception that’s coming, for you and I had to face the deception we face every day. We have to, one, “Love God with all our heart, and all our mind, and all our soul, and love our neighbor as ourselves.” And we have to love the truth. If you don’t have a love of the truth, then eventually the falsehood will take over.
“And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” In other words, God will actually put upon them just a total absence of any relationship with Him. They will believe the lie. And He says, “You want the lie that much? You live in the lie.” And they will have no concept of God, of the true God. They will be totally, completely engulfed in the deceit that they actually were attracted to it.
This is what’s so dangerous about deceit. You and I are attracted to these things all the time. We’re attracted to conventional wisdom. We’re attracted to sin. We’re attracted to false teachers. We’re attracted to wealth. We can be attracted to all these things. Well, at the end time, the whole world is going to take on a different viewpoint that includes all these things, and it will have an attraction even to the people of God, if we’re not careful, because that’s the only reason, if it was so obvious, Jesus would say, “If it were possible, even the elect will be deceived.” But He says He’s going to keep us from being deceived as long as we’re right with Him.
So what is it? What can we look at in these four areas to say, “Okay. This is the way the end time Beast and False Prophet, this is the way this is going to play out.” Well let’s go to Revelation 13. Excuse me.
Revelation 13, we read through this, and sometimes we want to know some of the little details in here, and we can miss what’s staring us in the face. So I want to look at what’s really being said in some of these verses and the context of the deception of the Beast and False Prophet, or here they’re revealed as two beasts.
First one, John says, “Then I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having 7 heads and 10 horns, and on his horns were 10 crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.”
This Beast is going to have all the components of Daniel 2, when you see the four great empires of Daniel 2. So it’s going to have all those components, but it’s also going to have the component of iron in it. Okay. The component of iron, and it’s going to have a weakness to it. Because it’s like iron mixed with miry clay. When this beast comes on the scene, it will bring peoples together who will not totally come together. So there’ll be a great weakness to it, but there will also be this great strength. And the reason why is it gets its power from the dragon, and it’s common knowledge, in the Scripture, the dragon is the symbol for Satan. The great deceiver, and he is called the deceiver of the world, is going to use this person and this system that this person is going to rule over to deceive the world.
He goes on and he says, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” They marveled and they followed the Beast. “So they worship the dragon who gave the authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” Here we have an interesting conventional wisdom.
This is the greatest army the world has ever seen and nobody could defeat this army. Now, every empire in its hay day had the greatest army. The United States right now still has probably the greatest army in the world, but we’ll never be able to hold on to our empire over time. We are an empire, we just don’t like to admit because we’re not an empire people, but after World War II, it sort of got shoved on us. And we now have an empire that we’re trying to maintain. And empires try to regulate world commerce. That’s what every empire has ever tried to do, tries to regulate world commerce so they get a big chunk of it.
So you’re going to have a conventional wisdom that “who can’t stand up to this beast?” But as we go through here, you’re going to see, this isn’t…Okay, let’s take Nazi Germany because that’s a good example of a power that is so evil that even the countries that align themselves with them, Italy wanted to get out of it after a couple of years, it couldn’t. Finally in 1943, they just switched sides. They just switched sides to the allies. There were actually tens of thousands of Italian soldiers, people don’t realize, who died fighting for the allies. Many of them as partisans. They went underground and tried to fight the Germans as partisans because why? The system was so evil, they couldn’t live with it.
Nobody wanted the world economy that the Germans were going to establish, and that’s what they wanted. The Germans and Japanese want to establish a world economy. This is different because as we go through here, you’ll see that a lot of people in the world are getting a benefit from this Beast.
So we have to be real careful because if you’re looking for it, we think the Beast is going to be entirely Genghis Khan. No, Genghis Khan didn’t do any benefits for any of the people he conquered, all right. Go back to the Roman Empire, the Roman Empire always preferred you align, you becoming their ally, than conquering you. They always preferred that. “Become our ally, and you will be a preferred nation and we will have free commerce,” because the Romans promoted free commerce. One of the reasons Roman Empire fell was because inflation, and they didn’t have an economic system that understood inflation. There was no concept of inflation but they had it because, why? Everybody that became Roman made their own coins. Every town, every province, so there’s enough coins flowing around, pretty soon you have so many coins that prices went up, and no one could figure out why the prices kept going up, so certain areas they suffered inflation.
The conventional wisdom is going to be, this is good for the world, so we keep looking for, “Oh, okay. Someone evil is going to come along and he’s going to just start killing people.” People are going to die and yes, he’s going to kill people, but this is going to have a mass attraction. This is going to be the great deception here, plus the military power is so great that people say, “Nobody can make war. We might as well become allies.”
Let’s go on, verse 5. “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for 42 months.” Remember we went through the book of Revelation, this 42 months, this three-and-a-half years appears over and over again. It’s the last three-and-a-half years that leads up to the return of Jesus Christ.
“Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” This is a massive change in power until the world is all trying to cooperate with this person and the system that they have.
“All who dwell on earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of the Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.” The patience and the faith of the saints is that this system is going to persecute the saints and we’ll have to be patient that Christ is going to return, and He will destroy that system.
Now we do know that part of the Church is taken to its place in the wilderness but part isn’t. It’s persecuted. It says this right here. It says it in other places. So what we have is a change in conventional wisdom.
I was listening to something the other day, it was very interesting. A woman, she was being interviewed and it was a conservative talk show host but he was…this person was I think a doctor from a major…not a medical doctor but from a major college or university, and she was talking about what the new world is going to look like in 10, 15, 20 years. Now she didn’t have any idea how it was going to get here or to there but she was describing it. She said that because of global climate change and overpopulation, we were going to have to stop thinking like nations and we’re going to have start thinking like a species so that we survive or we will become extinct. So we’re going to have to work together as a species, human beings working with other human beings. And what she described sounded great. People loving each other, caring for each other, sharing the wealth so that the poverty, the people of poverty are brought up so that everybody has land, everybody can grow their own food, everybody gets solar panels so that everybody in the world stops using coal, everybody gets clean air, everybody gets roads. It was just amazing.
I was like “Wow! Yeah, it sounds like when Christ comes back.” But of course her concept is, “We have to create a government that will do that.” The guy, “How’s that going to happen?” “Well, we don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe the UN will do it. Maybe something new will come along.” Okay. “But there has to be a way to stop war. There has to be a way to stop crime. There has to be a way to stop dictators. There has to be a way to stop the crazy guy in North Korea.” How do we stop those things?
Well, we create some kind of system that creates a conventional wisdom that stops war. If you start a war, all the nations gang up on you. Well, who’s going to fight the world? Things change. That is a conventional wisdom that is going to grow, that kind of thing. It seems good. If you said, “Well, I don’t think that’s good.” Then what? You like war? You like crime? You like poverty? Well name something that’s worked, and that’s actually where they have it right. They’ll say, “Name something that worked.” Since they reject God, they don’t understand the reason nothing’s worked is because God hasn’t been involved in it.
All man’s activities and government has failed, and He told us they would fail. They’ve all failed. They will all continue to fail. This viewpoint is, since everything fails, we’re going to have to think so far out of the box, we have to create something new. In every nation, this will appeal to younger people because they look around and say, “Nothing really works. Nothing really works.” So there’ll be a new conventional wisdom.
Now this conventional wisdom won’t last very long, and the reason why is, it will fail. And it’s satanic, so its elements will be against God, but people won’t see that. And we’re going to have to be careful because one of the things about this conventional wisdom is it’s going to promote the brotherhood and love of human beings towards other human beings. Don’t you love this person down here on the street? Well what are you going to say? It’s like the argument, “Don’t you love homosexuals?” Well, the moment you say, “Yes,” they say, “Well, then you can’t condemn them.” Well, you can’t say no.
This new conventional wisdom is going to change the world. It is going to happen very quickly because underneath there’s already going to be such a great discontent with the way things work. Communism doesn’t work. We’re finding out that this global capitalism doesn’t work. Dictatorships don’t work. Socialism doesn’t really work. Nothing really works.
The United States is the best there is, and I don’t think any of us will say, “Wow! This really works.” Right? It’s really flawed, and this is the best we can come up with, and it will fail. The United States will fail because the seeds of its own failure were sowed by the men who did the Constitution because they were men who had a corrupt human nature. So in its very creation, it’s doomed to fail.
So new conventional wisdom is going to grow and in this conventional wisdom, there’s going to be a hatred towards people who believe in the Bible as literal. I’m not saying they’ll hate people who believe in the Bible.
If someone is talking about a Muslim, my one daughter has a friend that’s a Muslim. They are very good friends, and this girl has no hatred towards Christians. She has no anger towards Christians. She gets along. Most people don’t even know she’s a Muslim. But now if I use the word fundamentalist Muslim, what do you think? We’re scared to death of them, aren’t we? Because they’re violent. They take a literal translation of the Quran. They want to go kill the infidels.
You know that Sabbath keepers now, for the most part, we’re not really lumped in with cults as much as we used to. You know what we’re lumped in with? Fundamentalist Christians. There will come a time when conventional wisdom says, “Fundamentalism is evil. It is cruel. It promotes hatred against homosexuals. It promotes hatred against girls who get pregnant out of wedlock. It promotes hatred against all kinds of people.” And so fundamentalism is going to become, as far as this conventional wisdom is, a very evil thing. So don’t be surprised someday if you’re lumped in with Muslim terrorists.
I don’t know this is the way it’s going to go. I’m telling you this is the direction it’s headed in. This conventional wisdom…people still think a lot of times that the Islamics are the great danger and somehow Revelation 13 applies to the Muslims. It does not. It applies to a different system. It’s going to come out of the old Roman Empire.
Look at verse 11. “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke as a dragon.” This is very, very important because this second person which has a system that he’s over looks like a lamb. Who is the great Lamb in the Bible? It’s Jesus Christ.
This is a Christianity or in a form, an appearance, it looks Christian. You can apply that term to…biblically, you can’t apply it to Hinduism. You couldn’t apply it to Buddhism. You couldn’t even apply it to Islam. That is a description. It looks like it’s Christ-like. But what it teaches is from Satan and this is where this sin comes in. It will be lawless. I’m not saying it won’t have laws. It will have laws.
A number of years ago, they had a big contest of who should write the next Ten Commandments because the first ones are out of date, and Oprah Winfrey was voted to do it. I think she did it. I think she actually wrote Ten Commandments we all shall live by. There’s going to be, in this conventional wisdom, there’s going to be a lawlessness against the law of God. Will it be wrong to steal? Yes. Will it be wrong to murder? Yes, unless the state allows you to do it, but yeah, they’re not going to have people walking up and down the street just shooting each other.
There’s going to be all kinds of laws, but the lawlessness will be towards God and towards His way. It’s interesting, Emperor Augustus of the Roman Empire tried to pass all kinds of laws against adultery because he thought there was too much adultery going on when he took over the empire. So he tried to enforce morality and found out that he couldn’t because people had committed adultery anyways. Because how does the state stop people from committing adultery? Arrest everybody and throw them in jail? What are you going to do with them? There has to be a moral reason, a religious reason, a belief in family that cause the people not to commit adultery.
Now notice it says, “He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who are dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound would be healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.”
He calls down fire from heaven. How do you argue with that? The Beast army is being attacked by some nation, and they don’t even have to fight. He goes out and calls on god, declares that this Beast or himself is Christ incarnate. You think, “Well how can anybody get away with that?” There was that camp. How many know about the Shroud of Turin?
Okay. Some people think it was the death shroud of Jesus; it wasn’t, but they think it was. There was an attempt a number of years ago to get the Catholic church to give them DNA because they wanted to try to clone Him so they could have Christ back. Of course they said no. People are looking. They want Christ to come back. Here is a perfect chance for that to appear to have happened, or at least some form of god because it says he’s going to be worshiped, the first Beast is going to be worshiped.
And he says, “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he has granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling them who dwell on the earth to make an image of the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, and the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would be (not) worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead.”
In other words what we have now is a total false religion pretending to be Christian. This is why he says, “If it was possible, even the elect would be deceived.” How many of the elect would be deceived by Hinduism? How many of the elect would be deceived by Islam? You see what I mean? It has to appear Christian or the elect could never be deceived by it.
So this conventional wisdom, this lawlessness, and this false teacher is going to create something that looks like this is what Christianity was supposed to be all along, right? If I get Cuba and the United States to get along, I could do anything. No, I’m saying that’s the Beast I’m just saying. I shouldn’t have said that because then someone will say I said that. I didn’t mean that that’s the Beast. What I’m saying is, you could see how a leader can overnight become very, very popular, right? What if you’re doing that all over the place? Every place you go, you solve world problems.
Let’s remember this last one now, verse 17, “That no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name.” So you have the mark or the name or the number, you have to have one of those three things. “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, it is number of a man, his number is 666.” And there’s all kinds of things that we’ve talked about. If you really want to understand 666, watch the Beyond Today Program that Steve Myers did, and then you’ll understand everything you want to know about 666. But notice – it’s wealth.
At the beginning of the Tribulation the whole world will be in absolute chaos, absolute chaos. Remember when we went through the outline of Revelation? The four horsemen ride before the Tribulation begins. One-fourth of the world dies. One-fourth of the world dies. There’s going to be economic collapse. There’s going to be poverty. And these two individuals together will bring about economic stability to a world that’s in collapse, to where there’s not only lines for gas for those who could get it, there’s lines for bread.
What if you lost your house, your job, your car, and you… and your wife lost her job, and all of a sudden you and your two kids are sitting out on the street, and it’s a wind chill factor of 30 below, and someone says, “I can fix this for you. Come on, we have a shelter set up because we believe in the love of Christ.” And they take you in. And they say, “Now, receive this mark or this name or whatever.” Because it says three things, you’re…you’re going to receive one of the three. “Receive this, do this and you get this credit card, and we’re going to put you on public assistance, and we’re going to get your house back because we’re going to be taking care of the banks.” How many people would say, “Thank you, Lord?”
You have to understand the world in which these people…because they come on very quickly. This all happens very, very quickly, and they’re not very well organized in many ways because they only last three-and-a-half years. It’s not a well-organized thing. That’s why it’s feet of clay and iron. The chaos of the world propels this, and when it happens, this conventional wisdom is going to make a lot of sense.
People can be helped. People are being saved. Starving children aren’t dying. And guess what? There’s no wars going on. Peace, peace, and there is no peace. We got the wars under control except for a few wacko people, like the Russians, maybe we’re having a hard time with the Russians. The Beast is still fighting them. Maybe they got the Russians involved, who knows? They get everybody basically in at one point. For short period of time it’s like, “Oh, good. Everybody’s involved.” Then it falls apart.
It looks like, when you talk Gog and Magog and from the east, it looks like eventually. Am I still on? It looks like eventually, nah, the whole eastern part of the world says, “Nah, we don’t like your system.”
It’s been a long day. I thought, “I can’t hear myself. I’m losing my hearing.” Like when someone turns out the lights, you think you’re going blind. No, we just turned out the lights. Okay, can you hear me now?
Conventional wisdom, lawlessness. Now with this conventional wisdom, there will come a belief that all religions must work together. There’s a great ecumenical system, and in this ecumenical system, anyone who says there are uniquenesses that should separate us… So you say, “No, I am not going to worship idols.” But wait a minute, you can come into our church and worship Jesus, but you know the Hindus come in and worship too.
If you talk to a Hindu, you know what’s interesting about Hinduism, I talked to a Hindu philosopher one time, and he said there are three…I went to a Hindu temple just to see what they’re all about. It’s really weird. You ought to see them do sacrifices because it’s…they had this idol they were pouring milk and juice on it. It was really strange because at least it wasn’t [inaudible]. I didn’t have to watch an animal being killed.
There are three greatest Hindus: Buddha, Jesus, and Mother Theresa. And they actually believe in one god. Then you say, “Well, wait a minute. You have 10,000 gods.” “Oh no, we believe in one god because all people, all gods are one. We’re all one. You might be an individual right now, but when you finally reach that spiritual state, you will merge into the oneness. Now, do you lose your consciousness? No, but you are one with God, therefore you’re one also.” So they actually claim they believe in one god, but they worship 10,000, over 10,000.
This conventional wisdom is going to allow these things to mingle together, and the lawlessness will say, “If you don’t agree with that, you are a hate-monger.” I think that term is really going to be a big one. You don’t love. You don’t love. Remember I said, “You’re going to have to love God and you’re going to have to love the truth.” That’s what Paul said in Thessalonians. You have to love the truth, because this is going to be against the truth. This lawlessness doesn’t mean there won’t be laws. What it means, there will also be laws against the truth.
False teachers, you have this great False Prophet that comes along, creates a new world religion that stays together for a little bit. It never really comes together. I’m sorry. In India, every time the Muslims get in charge of some place, you know the first thing they do? They go to the Hindu temples and burn it down and tear down their idols. They’re not going to stop doing that. See, underneath all this, there’s still going to be violence, and war, and fighting and all kinds of problems, but it’s going to appear that they’re really making progress.
So even though the one world religion is going to be a sham, it’s not going to be real just like the one world government is going to be a sham. It doesn’t last very long. It’s all going to be about wealth. It’s all going to be about bringing the world out of its poverty. And it’s interesting, there’s other places in Revelation where it talks about the whole world is benefited by this trade that goes on.
The Roman Empire had no trade restrictions. You could trade any place, anywhere, and you could set whatever prices you wanted. It was about as much a free enterprise system, much more than ours. You just had to pay your taxes, but it was an incredible free enterprise system.
Become our ally, your border goes down, and you could trade back and forth all you want, and you could even keep your local identity. Even keep your local religion. In fact, since you’re an ally, we’ll take your temple to your gods and build it in Rome. There was a temple to every god in every part of the empire in Rome. We’ll worship your god too, come on. They even gave special privileges to the Jews as long as they traded, made money off of them. Roman Empire was just the mafia.
So you and I have to fight every day that we could be deceived by the world that we live in because the thing that as we recognize that today, it will give us the ability to recognize the same methods of deception that the Beast and False Prophet are going to use, which are conventional wisdom, lawlessness, false biblical teachings that seem to be right, and wealth. So keep the warnings of God in mind. Keep on your knees before God. Love God and love the truth. And if you do that, you will be part of the elect, and it will be impossible for you to be deceived.
Well, thanks for coming out tonight, and I know it’s cold out there, so everyone have a safe trip home.