The Bible predicts a coming time of such religious deception that influential leaders will turn many atheists into believers.
[Darris McNeely] Your Bible predicts a coming time of religious deception. A charismatic political leader will combine forces with a powerful religious leader to bring about this new world system. These influential leaders will even turn many atheists into believers. Atheism is coming to an end.
But today people aren't getting more religious. They are becoming more secular, more agnostic, more atheistic. And, too often, those who claim a religion don't act all that religious.
What can you do to avoid such a great deception? How will you handle such a time?
Join us on Beyond Today as we discuss “The End of Atheism.”
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[Darris] There’s an old saying that in wartime, there are “no atheists in foxholes.” The idea is that in the heat of a battle when men are under attack from incoming shells and hunkered into the ground for protection—that they become believers in God and they call out to Him for protection and for help. They turn from disbelief to belief.
Well, the truth is there are still a lot of atheists in foxholes during the heat of battle. And when the fog of war lifts, people tend to fall back into the old patterns of belief, including unbelief in God or a Higher Power that governs this universe.
This was dramatically confirmed in America after 9/11 and the attacks on America by Islamic fundamentalists. For a few weeks following the attacks, church attendance skyrocketed. People wanted reassurance and answers, so they turned to religion. But this surge in religious attendance soon stopped. Fear waned and church attendance figures went back to normal. People crawled out of their foxholes and went back to former habits.
Atheism and unbelief in God has been around since the first humans. Today, atheism is popularized in media and popular culture. But atheism as a belief is heading toward the dustbin of history. The Bible shows a future time when a breakdown of world order will threaten civilization. To prevent a collapse, two powerful figures—one political and one religious—will step onto the stage. They will both wield power appearing to bring balance to the world. Religion will play a key role in this revival and atheism will not be fashionable anymore. But even in this supreme moment of human history, people will falter and they’ll stumble in belief toward God. What does this mean for you?
When I read about those who don’t believe there’s a God—it’s often because of the existence of evil in the world and especially the evil or the tragedy of a personal nature. When children are sick. When good people suffer. When God is not seen to answer a prayer in the exact manner and way that one might wish. As a pastor dealing with people’s expectations of God, I know this happens. The key to maintaining our faith is to understand why evil exists and why God allows bad things to happen. Atheism is too often a convenient crutch that we might use as we struggle to understand this often bleak world.
When we read the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, we see how atheism becomes imbedded among men.
Paul wrote to that first century group of people, he said that: “...God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them...So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:18-19, NLT).
Pause here for a moment and consider. There is no reason or excuse for any of us to not know the truth about God including His certain existence. God challenges man in His Word saying that He can be found by those who seek Him. God is not a vacant landlord with no interest in this world and human life. He is interested in you! And should you choose to seek Him, He can be found.
Let’s read on in what Paul says.
“Yes,” he said, “they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused” (Romans 1:21-24, NLT).
Now Paul was writing to a first century Roman world that was spiritually dark and in confusion. Twenty-first century American and western culture mirrors that same first century Roman world. We are on a headlong dash back to the days of Rome. Atheism today is a symptom of a world fumbling for meaning and purpose. Sin and the consequences of sin bring suffering. And suffering results in further denial and hatred of God.
God has always allowed man the choice of obedience or disobedience. Belief or unbelief. When disobedience is chosen a vicious downward cycle begins. God is forgotten and a culture develops that does not acknowledge truth. Lies about God, His existence, His nature and His purpose is forgotten.
You see, man will ultimately believe in something, even if it’s a lie. Humanity’s hard wired to seek meaning and purpose for his existence. And even atheism is a faith, a belief that there is no god requires looking at the intricate reality of life in this planet and devising a belief system that denies what is self-evident.
Paul says in this passage that God can be seen and known by His creation. To reject that truth forms a new faith system. God allows mankind the freedom to choose His way, even if it takes him away from Him as creator.
Paul’s response to this situation was the gospel of God through His Son Jesus Christ and the hope of the coming Kingdom. He showed this promise was long foretold by the prophets. God would send His Son to this earth to live a righteous life (John 3:16)and to be “raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 8:11). He said this same “power of God” would work salvation to everyone who believes—including the Gentile world (Romans 1:16). The gospel was a message of faith and life.
To the first century Roman world, this message found an audience in people who looked for hope at a very bleak time. You see, the world that was created by the yoke of Rome produced a very hard peace but little hope for men. Cynicism and hatred was a bitter fruit of the time.
Atheism today bears this trademark of hatred—a hatred for God and a hatred for religion. And we’re reaping the results of a modern world of false and failed religion. Because religion is seen as an oppressor, atheism is seen by many as a liberator.
To read what modern atheists say about religion, particularly the Christian religion, is to understand this hatred. The late Christopher Hitchens put it best in his book, “god is not Great.” Hitchens had a caustic, scathing atheism which he described as a “particular...Protestant atheism.” He railed at all varieties of religious ideas.
He said, “I leave it to the faithful to burn each other’s churches and mosques and synagogues,”…“which they can always be relied upon to do.” He somewhat prophetically even said, “people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard won human attainments.” Hitchens was correct in assessing religion would always be with us as human beings.
Hard core atheism blames religion for mankind’s problems. No better illustration of this can be found than in the spirit exhibited by the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo. In January 2015, terrorists attacked the Paris office of this satirical anti-religious magazine, killing 16 people. A year later, on the first anniversary of the massacre the cover story depicted God with a Kalashnikov rifle slung over his back, cloak and beard splattered with blood, under the headline, “The killer is still on the run.”
Bringing atheism to an end will take something bigger than what we have so far seen.
The Bible shows us how an end time false religion, inspired by the Devil himself, will finally end atheism. Yes, a false religion is coming that will be so deceiving that it will convert atheists into believers in a god. We will see in a moment how this will come upon an unsuspecting world.
But first, let me tell you about today’s free Bible study aid offer—which has everything to do with the coming false, demon-inspired faith that will terminate atheism. It’s titled: Who is the Antichrist? This publication will help you fully grasp the truth about this serious and absorbing end-time subject. To order your own personal copy of Who is the Antichrist? call us toll free at: 1-888-886-8632. Again that number is: 1-888-886-8632, or you can go online to BeyondToday.tv.
You really need this vital study aid to help you learn much more about this important Bible topic. To receive your free copy of Who is the Antichrist? call: 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv. Or, if you prefer, you can write to us at the address shown on your screen throughout the program [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
Would a dramatic miracle—a religious miracle—either strengthen your faith in God or bring you back from the edge of unbelief?
Could miracles cause an atheist to rethink his view of the supernatural and perhaps even God?
Could a coming age of miracles bring atheism to an end?
Think about those questions for a moment.
Our world has a mixed reaction to the idea of religious miracles. Many rational-minded people scoff at the idea that the laws of nature might be suspended by a power or force beyond this physical life. Many people who consider themselves even mildly religious don’t really deeply believe that a miracle could occur.
So what about you? Miracles? Maybe you just haven’t given it much thought.
Christ spoke in one verse about a time of great world trouble alongside miraculous religious events (Matthew 24:21). While in another, just a few verses later, Christ said that the days prior to the coming of the Son of Man people will be “eating and drinking...marrying and giving in marriage.” (Matthew 24:37-38) Christ uses the time of Noah and the flood when people were focused on life and were not ready when a day of judgment came. His words give the clear impression that life will be good for most in spite of other trouble or tribulation.
Now what might explain these opposing views in Scripture? Could it be something miraculous that causes a radical alteration of people’s perception of reality? Could something happen that would cause even an atheist to reconsider his belief? Let’s see.
After His earthly ministry, Christ gave further details of the world conditions at the close of this age. The book of Revelation in chapter 13 shows the rise of two distinct power centers, one is political and the other is religious. Both are called “beasts” which is a biblical image for powers and empires that impact God’s plan and His people.
The first beast derives its power from the dragon, which a symbol for Satan—it’s clearly identified earlier in the book of Revelation. The power is over many nations and peoples and there is great authority vested in this government.
The power of this person continues for three and one half years. The nature of his government causes it to make policies and laws considered blasphemous to God’s teaching and to God’s law. The name of God is abused. Any church or body that seeks to promote and guard God’s holy teaching is endangered. Even the sanctity of the angelic powers are attacked in open and brazen manners.
This world power has global influence over diverse peoples and nations. It seems no part of the world is beyond the reach of this governing power. The saints of God—His holy people, His Church—are singled out for persecution indicating they recognize the diabolical unearthly power behind this behemoth and are not taken in by its deceptive and alluring influence.
What brings this world power into place? By piecing together information from other prophecies, it appears political and economic conditions will come to a point where world order will appear to be collapsing. The world as we know it—financially secure, all systems working, the internet working, ATM machines spitting out money and a functioning financial system in place—all this will appear to be collapsing almost overnight. The comfortable, functioning, convenient global world man has created will appear to be over.
It might be another financial catastrophe. It might be caused by a significantly escalated terror attack, or something yet unseen. It could be so large that no existing government or agency will be able to correct the threat. But at the last minute, an extraordinary power, like that described here in Revelation, will rise. Order will be restored. Banks will be safe. Retirement funds will be secure. Life returns to normal, but at a cost. The cost is personal freedom and life as we know it today.
You don't think something like this could happen?
It almost did back in September of 2008. A financial crisis began in the United States and spread to Europe and other world markets in only a few weeks. Major financial houses in New York went out of business. Large American corporations neared bankruptcy, but they were "bailed out" by the government. In one weekend, Washington and Wall Street were locked in close negotiations in hopes to keep the entire western financial house operating. One report said the American banking system was within 48 hours of failure. It almost happened to you. Your ATM card would not have worked at any machine. No money. No gasoline. No groceries. Imagine the panic that almost resulted!
It didn’t happen. Order was restored. But it was costly.
Now consider something even larger happening that no one in Washington, New York, London or Tokyo would be able to sort out. And then...a solution appears. Governments recognize one person with one single power behind him with a solution that appears to be the only way forward. Order is restored, but it comes with a high cost. National sovereignty is required to this governmental system. A power unlike any the world has ever seen emerges.
And just when some might balk at what emerges, another power arises, but this power is “spiritual” in nature.
Revelation 13 shows us another beast, another power rising out of the earth (Revelation 13:11). This power appears to be like a lamb, that is a great religious power but it speaks like a dragon—meaning its words are deceptive and alluring like Satan can be. This second power centered in a world faith, will share its power platform with the political leader. And both, remember, are backed by the dragon—Satan himself. This is a church-and-state power acting in concert like no one has ever seen in modern times. We’ve seen great world powers rise for bad and good. We’ve seen Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union. We’ve see the British and American Empires. But we have not seen any act with a great spiritual, church-power alongside it. The Bible shows this will make all the difference.
What happens will even make an atheist believe!
Revelation shows the key. The second beastly power, the world religious leader, will cause the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the secular beastly power. It says that “He performs great signs, so that he even makes the fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast…” (Revelation 13:13-14).
Here are miracles that will bring atheism to an end. Here are miracles that will astound the world into submission to a power unlike any it has seen. Here are miracles that will be used to bring order to the world on the brink of complete and total disorder. Many atheists, agnostics and non-believers will become religious as they will be deceived into thinking God is working through these individuals.
On a recent trip that I had taken to Rome, I witnessed a scene that showed me how the addition of something miraculous could transform an already impressive religious rite into something so startling and dramatic that even an atheist would believe. The Pope was conducting a twilight outdoor mass in front of a large cathedral. The lighting on the church, the sound of the choir and the visuals created an awe inspiring spectacle. It was obvious those in the audience that evening were caught up in the moment, watching and marveling at the sight. Probably there were even a few atheists in the crowd. I thought, add a dramatic miracle like that described in the book of Revelation and the moment is instantly transformed. A sign like fire from heaven or another miracle could take such a routine religious ceremony and lift it beyond anything we’ve ever seen. The result will be people caught up in a deception on a global scale.
Christ said even His elect—His church—could be deceived if they are not on guard. He said “...false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
Compare this with another biblical description of a great deceiving power that says that “This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, NLT).
Miraculous powerful signs and miracles taking place in a modern world will transform the culture. There will be events happening in the skies above our heads—and not in a large IMAX movie theater—not in a 3D projection movie where audiences sit transfixed today. Everyone will see these miracles and everyone will wonder what they mean.
There will be miracles performed by this religious leader in large public displays before many thousands in person and multiple millions watching on their large screen televisions around the world. It will be bigger than life and convincing for even the unbelieving skeptic. Who does these signs will make claims to represent God, and an unsuspecting world will feel the secrets of the ages have been unlocked by this global power.
Where will you find yourself at such a moment? What can you do to avoid this coming time of great deception, “unlike any previous”? Well, in the coming minutes of this program, we are going to share with you what we know. You will want to hear it.
I’d like to remind you to request your own free copy of today’s study aid: Who is the Antichrist? This remarkable publication will give you vital keys to understand what the Bible says about this captivating prophetic subject.
Plus, when you order Who is the Antichrist? we’ll also send you a free subscription to our bi-monthly magazine, Beyond Today. This valuable publication will give you vital insight into practical teachings of the Bible. It will also help you grasp the significance of biblical prophecies—which will aid you in preparing for the difficult days ahead—and the exciting future time when Jesus Christ will establish God’s Kingdom on this earth.
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I’m joined here on the program today by fellow Beyond Today presenters, Steve Myers and Gary Petty.
The end of atheism. Atheists say that religion is seen as an oppressor. What are some examples from history, from even modern times, that might support that idea?
[Gary] Well of course what we first think of immediately is what’s happening with Islam—with the radical elements of Islam oppressing people in a most horrible, violent way. But you know, if you look at the history of Christianity, Christianity at times has been horribly oppressive. I mean think of the Crusades. So, organized religion in all different forms is known for eventually becoming very oppressive to people.
[Darris] You know, somebody said that Christianity would be a pretty good religion if enough people would actually live out its tenets and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
You know, the concept of miracles, and the Bible talks about miracles connected with these end-time personages—the beast and the false prophet. Would that be enough to end atheism or to turn a believer and would it be lasting?
[Steve] Just think of the intrigue there is even today for things that you can’t quite explain. But imagine if it was evident to everyone and they saw the reality of something phenomenal happening right before their eyes. We all say, “seeing is believing” and I think you could easily be taken in by that and when you read what the Bible says about those end times, it does say these are lying wonders or phenomenal miracles that are real miracles but they are coming from an evil force.
[Darris] From the point of view of even a believer, should a believer look to a miracle to strengthen their faith?
[Gary] You know, a miracle from God can strengthen us but even that is only short-lived. We have to have faith and a relationship with God. So miracles have their place. These kinds of miracles that are going to happen are actually going to lead people away from the true God.
[Steve] If you don’t have a relationship with God, a miracle is not going to do anything. Look at Israel. Forty years there was fire, there was clouds, there was all kinds of amazing miracles that happened and they lost their relationship—they didn’t have it. And so without that right relationship with God a miracle isn’t going to be the solution.
[Darris] What’s then is the ultimate end of atheism?
[Gary] Oh, it’s simple. Someday the entire population of the world is going to hear a majestic trumpet sound. They’re all going to look up and they’re going to see Jesus Christ coming in the clouds. At that moment, atheism will cease to exist.
[Darris] But not till then probably. Well that day may be closer than we think, but, as that day approaches, it’s important that we be ready for that. So, we want you to remember our free offers today—including our study aid: Who is the Antichrist? and our bi-monthly Beyond Today magazine. Both are yours absolutely free of charge. To order your publications, call us toll free at: 1-888-886-8632. Again, that’s 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv.
[Steve] Hi, I’m Steve Myers. I’m the pastor here at the United Church of God Cincinnati East congregation. I’d like to welcome you to come and join us on this great spiritual journey. We have hundreds of congregations around the United States and across the world. Click on the “Congregations” tab to find a church near you. We’re committed to growing in our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ as well as fellowshipping with each other.
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[Darris] We live in an age of unbelief. Attacks on the Bible and belief in God continually increase. Atheism and skepticism erode faith and the ability to discern truth.
The Bible shows a coming age of miracles that will bring an end to atheism. How will you respond to what your Bible shows to be lying signs and wonders that will deepen the world’s deception?
It’s time you draw close to God. Seek Him now, in a time of peace while He can be found and prepare your heart with truth. Prove God exists and begin today to develop a sound relationship with Him.
That’s our program today. Thanks for watching and remember to pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today I’m Darris McNeely.
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