In our daily meditations on the Scriptures, we are thinking about the prophecies that lead up to the Second Coming of Christ. The disciples asked Jesus “when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). His first warning was that there would be a time of great deception: “Watch out that you are not deceived” (Luke 21:8). We are now living in that time of deception. Our enemy, Satan, has individuals in place who have gained control of all types of positions of influence in politics, media, religion, and education. From places of authority, they promote anti-God philosophies such as evolution, but also values and deception that seek to bring society to a new level of degradation. The enemy is out to corrupt and control minds.
We are in a spiritual battle that will increase until the time Christ returns. Due to the deception tactics employed, we should get a firm grip on the truths of Scripture and give no credence to the manipulation devices of the enemy, that seen in the media, television, and the Internet. Not all we see on TV is harmful, but we should regard with a healthy dose of skepticism anything on the airwaves. All should be tested against the standard of God’s Word. Think for yourself! The Word of God tells us that we are not to believe everything we hear, but we are to test the spirits.
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).
Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh is not of God and should be seen as the spirit of Antichrist (1 John 4:1-3). When the disciples asked Christ, what would be the sign of His soon coming, as we said, Jesus talked first about deception and false religious people:
21At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time (Mark 13:21-23).
Scripture is clear that a person will come onto the world scene in the days, months or years ahead who will set himself up as a Messiah or Christ-like figure. The man we are talking about will be a master of deception, Mark tells us. He will be a charismatic leader who will solve complex problems on the world scene, perhaps even resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, because Scripture says that he will set himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God and demanding to be worshiped (2 Thessalonians 2:4). This act of desecration of the temple means that a temple is yet to be built in Jerusalem.
Revelation 13:8 tells us, “all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names are not written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb.” Doesn’t it make you wonder how so many people will be deceived into following this leader?
The best way to be kept from deception is to know the real Messiah, Jesus. When the Word of God and the Spirit of God direct our lives, we will recognize the counterfeit readily. Those who belong to the Shepherd know His voice (John 10:4). True believers will have discernment when the false Messiah comes along, and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand (John 10:29).
Prayer: Father, I want to know you and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Come into my life and fill me with your Spirit, grant me discernment and a love for the Truth. Keith Thomas