Friday, May 25, 2018
The time is short and the days are evil. Therefore, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Therefore “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10–11).
Christ is enthroned at the right hand of God having all authority in heaven and on earth. And to His true saints, to those who by faith believe the testimony of Christ, they now prepare to endure to the end of this age, when they are gathered to Him at His “glorious appearing” (Titus 2:13), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:52), when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven…with the trumpet of God” (1 Thess. 4:16), when “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15). Even so, come Lord Jesus!
But getting to that last day will not be easy. Here’s why: just as ancient Israel had to face terrifying giants, the seed of Satan, before possessing their Promised Land, so too, we must face Antichrist and 7 years of tribulation. First, we must overcome the beast’s deceptions for 3 1/2 years, then endure his wrath for another 3 1/2 years before possessing our eternal life. It’s the promise of God in Christ and we do well to believe Him and prepare accordingly.
Remember that God said “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Mal. 3:6), and that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8), and that “there is no partiality with God” (Rom. 2:11). Even after God provided for them, most of ancient Israel failed their test of faith in God at the edge of Canaan because of those giants, and disbelieving God, perished accordingly. And, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done” (Eccl. 1:9).
I have taught for many years that one of the worst satanic hoaxes to be put upon the church is that of a pre-tribulation rapture which has utterly blinded multitudes to the truth. It changes the very nature of God. False teachers have foisted this lie on the church and what’s worse is, most believe them instead of God! The end of this age will be a replay of ancient Israel at the edge of Canaan. Departures from truth since the 19th century and continuing in the 21st lead that process.
Darby’s 19th century pre-trib rapture lie was the grandfather deception that created other lies, causing much truth to fall to the ground. Many are now caught in the ungodly web of the wealth and prosperity gospel; many befriend the world in order to wage war like the world regardless of God’s command that His saints “do not war according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 10:3); many church leaders exalt the woman to offices of authority though God said “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence” (1 Tim. 2:12–14); and much more.
But God will prove every jot and tittle of His Word 100% true and infallible. And woe to them, who, like ancient Israel, complained against the Word of the Lord. You see, believing God is the seedbed of how we will endure to the end…or not. The choice is ours. God will not force anyone to believe His Word. Many Christians are like he “who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Matt. 13:20–21).
Spiritually, God’s Word crucifies the flesh. Physically, proud flesh is what must be cut away from a wound in order for that wound to heal. The same is true spiritually. The uncircumcised and naturally proud heart must, by the Sword of the Spirit, have the proud flesh of self-rule cut away. Many initially believe, but by giving themselves over to false teachings, deceptions and traditions of men, turn away from the truth, and can subsequently fall away from the faith.
There’s a deceptive teaching in the church that says once one is saved, his or her salvation is sealed, guaranteed, that nothing can cause one to lose their salvation. That sounds good, but it too is a grievous deception. While it’s true that no external force can cause the loss of salvation, one’s personal choice(s) to believe deception(s) can indeed lead to falling away from the faith.
Deception is a very powerful tool for Satan, he’s been using it for millennia. Regarding one’s faith, consider these possibilities just from the Book of 1 Timothy. Some “shipwreck” their faith (1:19); “some will depart from the faith” (4:1); some “have denied the faith” (5:8); some “have cast off their first faith” (5:12); “some have already turned aside after Satan” (5:15); and “some have strayed from the faith” (6:10). Consider the office of Deacon. God commands that such a man must not be “a novice, [new Christian] lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (3:6). Now, we know the devil is doomed to eternal destruction!
In much of the institutional church, today, the progressive slide to perdition continues. Sin and unbelief of God’s Word now flaunts itself openly as the gospel is being rewritten to allege that there is no hell. Many now believe that because God is love He saves everybody. Perversions and homosexuality are now accepted by many. A personal holy reverent fear of God is swiftly being abandoned. And this slide to unbelief and perdition began with Satan’s deceptions.
The entire platform upon which Antichrist comes is based in deception. And unless one knows God’s Word whereby deception is revealed, one is indeed susceptible to falling away. Warning! “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Culture-accommodating teachings and today’s entertainment-styled, all-inclusive happy church reveal the truths of 1 Tim 4:1.
The pre-tribulation rapture is a doctrine of demons. It is a seedbed of the soon-coming end-time offense of which Jesus warned at Matt. 24:10. Yet, to this day, false teachers continue deceiving multitudes with this false doctrine for which not a single verse of Scripture can be found! O, but those same multitudes love to believe what tickles their ears. Spiritual discernment of the truth has been exchanged by many for a lie that pleases the unbelieving mind of flesh.
What must be our response to these things? Believe and defend “the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). That’s what true Christians do though it crucifies our flesh. By faith we conform our will to God’s Word, not He to ours! God said, “keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21). Don’t miss our participation and obligation in the faith to keep ourselves in the love of God. We do that by believing Him.
Marlin J. Yoder