The Bible says that great deception will be foisted upon the world before Christ’s return. Could you be deceived?
[Gary Petty] The time is now to get on your knees before the Almighty God and study this Bible because it is only through the power of God that you can avoid and stand against the coming antichrist.
Let me ask you a question. Could you be deceived? You know, we all like to think of ourselves as pretty sharp, right? I mean, nobody's going to deceive us. To deceive someone is to trick them into believing a falsehood. And when a person believes the falsehood, they actually believe it. So, they are deceived. How would you even know if you were deceived? Since you would believe it, right?
One example of deception that had far-reaching effects is the Piltdown Man. How many of you have ever heard of the Piltdown Man? Oh a few, okay. Well in 1912, this was big news all over the world. An amateur archaeologist in England claimed to have found the evolutionary missing link. And he put this together, and it was a human skull with an ape-like jaw. And some paleontologist said, "Well, you know, not sure." But basically, it became accepted throughout the scientific world. In 1953, well, they proved that the skull of the Piltdown Man was a composite of a human skull, an orangutan, and a chimpanzee. It was a fake. It was a fraud. Now, the deception fooled many top scientists, almost everyone was hoodwinked. I mean, all the major newspapers in the world carried an article about the Piltdown man. I'm going to talk about a deception today, not a scientific fraud, but one that is much more dangerous and one that's going to involve the entire world.
The Bible predicts a great deception that will come upon the entire earth before Christ's return. The Apostle John writes about the leader of this deception, and he calls him the antichrist. In fact, in 1 John 2:18 he says, "It is the last hour and you have heard that the antichrist is coming. Even now, many antichrists have come." Now, there are many antichrists then. There's been antichrists throughout history, people who are against Christ, who teach against Christ. But there is one great antichrist, that's coming in the future, who's going to be much greater, much more influential, much more powerful than any antichrist that's ever been.
Who is this great antichrist? And how can you be sure he won't deceive you? What is his message that convinces so many people? And as we're going to see, he's going to deceive Christians. How will you know that you won't be deceived? Because that's the point, you're deceived, you believe the lie. Well, we're going to look at this antichrist. And before we go to his message and his signs of who he's going to be so you'll be able to recognize him, let's look at a prophecy that's given by the Apostle Paul.
This is in 2 Thessalonians and Paul writes to the church there, he says, "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 it came from us as though the day of Christ had come." What we have here is, Paul had taught the people of Thessalonica, the Christian church there, about the return of Jesus Christ, and how when Christ returned what was going to happen and so that they would be prepared for it. And some false teachers had come along and told people "Oh, no, Christ has already come back." There are people who believe that today, he's already come back. And now Paul has to write to them and say, "Let me explain to you why that's not true." And it's very interesting because he doesn't go to all the explanations that Jesus gave in the Olivet prophecy, he talks about one thing, one thing to look for that you will know, that has to happen before Christ comes back.
And here's what he says, "Let no one deceive you, by any means for that day, this coming of Christ, will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition." There is a man that's going to come on the world scene, and you will know when he comes we're not far away from the return of Jesus Christ. It's interesting the son of perdition, the Greek word there that's translated perdition in English means destruction. This man of destruction, he goes on and he talks about him, he says, "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."
This human being is going to claim to have divinity. You say, "Well, I couldn't be deceived by that, right? I would know that when I see it." But we're going to have to look at the context in which he comes into the world and why people will follow him. Why will we follow him? We have to look at it here. Now, when will this happen? When will this happen? We say, "Well, how do we know it hasn't already happened?"
Well, skipping down here in verse 8, we're in 2 Thessalonians 2, he says, "And then this lawless one will be revealed from the Lord whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming."
Interesting, he's lawless. This man is going to be against God, against the laws of God and against the teachings of God, he is antichrist and yet will appear to be representative of God. You might say, "That's confusing. How do you pull that off?" How do you claim to be a representative of God and yet you're teaching against what he teaches? You're actually antichrist.
Well we go down a little farther here, let's see the great details because Paul fills in a lot of details here. He says the coming of the lawless one, this person who is lawless, he hates the instructions of God. There's going to be a great confusion of what is right and what is wrong here. Understand that, this has to do with, he's going to say things are right that God says that are wrong. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan. There's a power behind this and this is why people can be deceived. “With all powers and signs and lying wonders.” There's going to be great miracles that happen. “And with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth that they might be saved.” That's an important statement. “And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion that they should believe the lie.” That's remarkable. And I'm going to read this again. “And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, God deludes them that they should believe the lie.”
Why would God delude somebody? God is not in the business of deluding, God's in the business of revealing. God's in the business of opening people's minds to who He is, to truth, to reality. Well the reason why is we have to go back to that statement, "Because they did not love the truth." They do not love the truth and also because of that, they do not love the one who reveals the truth. They do not truly love God and they do not truly love Jesus Christ although God and Jesus Christ will be part of the message. I'll show you that in a minute too. Think, "But how could that be?" This deception is very, very, very tricky. And so, God sends them a delusion. You say, "Well, I sure wouldn't fall for this." Are you sure? Are you sure? We have to be very careful about this.
Now, let me mention something here that it's too big for this program so, you'll have to look this up yourself. But how would they have known the truth? How would the world have known the truth? Well, when you look in the book of Revelation at the time that this antichrist comes along God also sends what He calls two witnesses. And so there is a public battle going on between this person and these people, okay? The two witnesses. A public battle, one claiming that he's divine and two others saying, "You are not divine, and God's judgment is upon you." So the truth will be exposed to the world and according to what we will read here, most of the world accepts the antichrist because they do not love the truth.
You know the Bible contains a lot of warning information about what we're talking about today, a whole lot more than we can cover here. And that's why I encourage you to get your copy of, "Who Is the Antichrist?" This study guide will help you through this subject. And one of the things that's brought out in the study guide is that you must love the truth and you must love the one who gives the truth. To get your free copy, all you have to do is call the number at the bottom of your screen, or go to beyondtoday.tv.
Now years after Paul wrote to the Thessalonians John was given visions and revelation. And Revelation 13 is tied into this and we have to explain a few things to understand this. I mean, when we look at Revelation 13 we will see signs of the coming antichrist. And when we see these signs we'll understand his message because we need to understand his message. So let's go to Revelation 13 and let's look at what John says here. Now John gets this in a vision, okay? This comes to him in a vision.
He says, "Then I stood on the sand of the sea and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having 7 heads and 10 horns, and on his horns were 10 crowns, and on his head, a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear and its mouth like the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him power."
Okay, it's a vision. What is a beast? Who is a beast? I mean, what is this? And you know if you just took Revelation 13 and you asked me, if I didn't have any other part of the Bible, what it meant, my answer would be, "I have no idea." But prophecy in the Bible is revealed like templates. There's a prophecy given that gives information and then another prophecy comes and lays on top of it and another one on top of it. And as these prophecies lay on top of each other they build a model that after a while, you start to say, "Oh, I understand."
When we look at great empires of the world as they relate to God and the coming of Jesus Christ, we start, the first template is Daniel 2. In Daniel 2 King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is given a dream by God. He has no idea what it means. And he calls Daniel in to give him an explanation because Daniel is supposed to be connected to God. And Daniel tells him, "Here's the image that you saw. Here's the image that you saw. And this image is made of gold, and silver, and bronze and iron." Okay, well, "I still wouldn't know what that means unless God reveals it." And here's what happens, He tells him, "This image represents four empires and you're the first one." So, we know exactly when the first empire is because Daniel tells him, "You're the first," and it's the Babylonian empire.
If you read the book of Daniel, the Babylonian empire during the life of Daniel is destroyed by the Persian Empire. Oh, we have the second one. If you read a little later, you'll see that it's prophesied that the Persian Empire is going to be destroyed by the Greeks which is exactly what happened. The fourth empire, well, there is an empire that came along that was more powerful than any of these. The one of iron. The Greek Empire was destroyed and came under the rule of the Romans.
Now what's interesting in Daniel 7, which is another template that you build this model on, in Daniel 7, we are given some explanation of the characteristics of these empires as beasts, okay. So, we understand the characteristics as beasts here are symbols of characteristics. The Babylonian, we have a lion, and then we have a bear which is the Persian Empire. The Greek Empire is a leopard in Daniel 7. And then this last one is a dreadful, terrible beast, without description. Okay, that's our template.
Oh, by the way, this is really important if we're going to understand this too. This last empire is destroyed by the coming of the Messiah. So we know the last empire didn't just fade away when Rome fell, the last empire will exist at the end. It will exist at the end. And it's not a fifth empire, it is the Roman Empire. There will be some rejuvenation of the Roman Empire and the Messiah comes, destroys it, and sets up God's kingdom on this earth. That's Daniel 2. That's our template. That's a whole program in itself.
Now if I go back to Revelation 13:2. Revelation 13:2, what we just read, it talks about a beast, this horrible beast with heads and strange things. Then it says, "Now, I saw the beast, which was like a leopard." So, this beast is also like a leopard, like a bear, and like a lion. What did we just look at in Daniel? Only, this is a reverse order, the dreadful beast is first and then there's the Greeks and then there's the Persians and then there's the Babylonians because they've already happened. Now we can make sense of Revelation 13. It's talking about not only a kingdom which is the fourth kingdom but it's also going to talk about the leader of that kingdom.
When we look at the rest of Revelation, the beast of Revelation 13 is in the context of the terrible times known as the tribulation. It is in the context of the four horsemen of the apocalypse will have already happened. This leader is going to come along when the world is in the midst, not just regions of the world, the world is in the midst of war and disease epidemics and confusion and starvation. People throughout the world will be dying and they can't stop what's happening. The economies of the world are collapsing. And a man's going to come along who has such charisma, what we just read in 2 Thessalonians, such charisma, such power, and remember that power comes from Satan. He is the son of perdition, the son of destruction.
So let's go back to Revelation 13. Revelation 13 now what we have is these four signs which then tell us the message, okay? This is verse 7 of Revelation 13, "It was granted to him," oh, this is a person that not only is this beast which is a symbol of the characteristics of this empire, but it is this person, this antichrist. "It was given him to make war against the saints and authority was given to him over every tribe, every tongue, and every nation." It was granted him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. We're starting to see what's happening here. We're starting to see a political leader that comes on the scene at a time when everything is falling apart, when the world is in a mess. And he will appear to be a savior, this is part of his message. When you see the world falling apart and someone comes along that seems to have all the answers and everybody looks to him for the answers, be very careful. The second thing, this great deception, will involve persecution of the Christians that don't accept the antichrist. It's going to be easy to say, "Well, maybe I should follow him," because you're faced with persecution. You're faced with persecution. So, that's our second sign, faced with persecution.
Now, I want to mention once again our study guide and all of you that are watching, please order your free copy, "Who Is The Antichrist?" Just call the number on your screen, or you can go to beyondtoday.tv. There's so much more than what we can cover here.
Now, there's a third sign and that's in Revelation 13 and I'm going to read a couple of verses here, "If anyone has an ear, let him hear." So, he warns people and then he says, "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in the presence of the other beast." We have two people here, two people. Now there are two beasts, they're two systems but they're two individuals.
Another beast coming up out of the earth and here's what it says. "He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon." There's something important about this. Remember I said Christians could be deceived. Who is the lamb in the book of Revelation? It's Jesus Christ. That's right. But we know who the dragon is. This will appear to be Christian. It will gather all peoples together. It's going to have a message of unity and love and togetherness in a world of chaos. There's going to be a power to this message because there's going to be a religious leader who comes along and supports the political leader. If you read on through here a little bit more, it talks about how because of this religious leader, there's great miracles.
Remember what we read in 2 Thessalonians? There's all these great miracles that take place. He performs great signs so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth, in the sight of men. Oh, here we have a leader that's bringing political solutions to chaos and we have a religious leader that's performing for him and through him great miracles. He has to be divine. Understand, he has to be divine. Who does miracles? That's why this deception is going to be so great.
It's very interesting, we won't have time to go there but in Revelation 17 we have another explanation of this, another template that lays on top of it. And what we have is a beast, a terrible beast, and a harlot is riding it. And that's another whole program. Because what that is another template that explains that what we have is a political system and a religious system working together. It's important to understand the message that they're going to bring. This deception, one of the signs is it will have and involve amazing wonders and miracles. This isn't just some politician getting up there and promising something and everybody buying into it. There are miracles that can't be denied.
And I think about what would it take to get our attention today when we watch a movie with everything that goes on in a movie with special effects, this is going to make people believers.
Then we have a fourth sign. A fourth sign, Revelation 13:16, "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. And that no one can buy or sell except one who is the mark." Think about a world that's collapsing. Imagine a world that's collapsing into political chaos. There's been wars, terrible wars. Imagine the disease epidemics that are going to happen. This is like some kind of sci-fi movie, right? But this is going to happen. And there's going to be starvation not in just certain areas but the whole world. And what you have is a man who comes along and says, "I can say save you," and he begins to recreate the economic system that works. Commerce starts. You actually get food again at the supermarket. Your electricity gets turned back on.
And all you have to do is participate in the system. Participate in the system and you get a job. Well, surely, I couldn't be deceived by that. I don't know - how hungry can you get? Understand this will appear to be hope and the great deception will involve economic prosperity in the midst of global calamity. In fact this will only last a short period of time. At the end of what Jesus called great tribulation, this political religious power known as Babylon will be destroyed. And it'll be such terrible destruction, what we have is Jesus saying unless he returns nobody survives. Nobody survives.
Let's recap this for a minute, let's recap our four points here. The first one is a political leader will come on the scene who will seem to be a savior to a troubled world. So that's one of the signs. Think about his message, you'll see, you'll know what the message is. You'll know what the message is by what he's saying and what the state of the world is going to be. The second one, persecution of Christians who don't accept the antichrist. It will take great faith to stand up against this. It will take help from God. You will have to recognize what's happening. The third one, amazing wonders, and miracles. These miracles, how do you deny miracles? People will say, "You're denying God. You're denying miracles." And then number four, economic prosperity in the midst of global collapse.
Could you be deceived? You need the free study guide. Please order it. Please order the study guide. Call toll free number on your screen or simply go to beyondtoday.tv. And there you can order. You can download it. You can read it online for free. But it's free. But we better be prepared for this. This message is really as old as Adam and Eve.
The reason I say that is Satan is a real being, he's the dragon behind all this, right? He's the one who's going to be motivating this. He is the spirit of antichrist, who motivates these two individuals to create two beasts which are descriptions of world power. But it's the two people that we'll see. A political religious system described by John is Satan's final push to destroy humanity and to stop Jesus Christ. He knows Christ is coming back and this is his attempt to stop it.
And it will fail. And there will be Christians who survive and there will be Christians who stand up against this. There will be those who have the love of the truth and the love of God and Jesus Christ to reveal the truth. This deception will be overwhelming for those who don't love God and the truth. They will become an outcast in society. To follow God in this will be to be hated and persecuted, excluded from any way to make a living.
The time is now to get on your knees before the Almighty God and study this Bible because it is only through the power of God that you can avoid and stand against the coming antichrist.
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