Friday, September 28, 2018
The New Testament is replete with the warnings, “do not be deceived”, and “let no one deceive you”, and “let no one deceive himself”. Some deceive by denying the physical Christ; others His divinity; others His miracles; yet others that His end-time teachings were dispensational and not intended for the Church but only for the Jews of Israel; and yet others, that one cannot choose to accept Christ by faith and so be saved, that if God wants you saved He will do it without your intellect, your will, your choice or your decision being involved, but don’t you believe it!
Each of the above deceptions, together with others not mentioned here, are snares designed by Satan, the enemy of God and man, to disrupt, distort, disqualify and nullify God’s truth in such a manner as to ensnare anyone by his own free will from actually believing the Word of Truth. That’s how false doctrines and traditions of men like the T.U.L.I.P. of Calvinism and the dispensational pre-tribulation rapture have taken root and ensnared people in the Church.
No one, free of the influence of traditions and doctrines of men, doing their own Spirit-led study of the Word, would believe the pre-trib rapture nonsense or the T.U.L.I.P. claims of John Calvin. Yet, by man’s pride, deceptive snares of an easy pre-tribulation rapture road to heaven, and easy way of a choice-less salvation with the false promise of once-saved-always-saved, attracts and ensnares multitudes from the burden of independently studying the Word for themselves.
John Calvin (1509–1564), not as an unbeliever, but as a so-called Christian theologian, influenced the Geneva government to murder by burning alive Michael Servetus simply because Calvin judged Servetus a heretic. Calvin’s theology, then, attempts to absolve him of hatred and murder while providing for his own eternal security. And today millions follow Calvin’s false theology. They believe salvation is not their choice; and that God saves or damns whomever He wills, and that mankind is altogether choice-less in that process, but don’t you believe it!
Godly love for all is the biblical hallmark of a Christian. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20). And “Love does no harm to a neighbor” (Rom. 13:10). “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). And Jesus said, “I say to you, love our enemies…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45). In the face of these truths, Calvin premeditatedly murdered Servetus.
One of Merriam Webster’s definitions of the word snare is: “something deceptively attractive”. And the truth is that both Calvinism and the dispensational pre-tribulation rapture teachings are deceptively attractive to the flesh. Both have ensnared many by the promise of an easier way of gaining eternal life through a will-less and tribulation-less road not found in God’s Word.
Yet, from Genesis to Revelation it’s clear that humanity has a choice to believe and obey God and His truth, or not. Man’s fall did not render him intellectually unable to obey God who said, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Gen. 4:7). Nor is humanity unable to “choose life” (Deut. 30:19), or “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Jos. 24:15), or as Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20). One’s will is absolutely clear.
For many, the testimony of Jesus Christ and His apostolic God-breathed Words, are insufficient. Church leaders and pastors trained in the tradition of their personal choice teach their subjects to approach the Scriptures from their prerequisite theological slant of this or that theologian from whom they received their theological pleasure. This should not be! And the refusal of many to protect God’s Word absent assumptions, conjecture and traditions, gives many the approval to believe according to their own pleasure, and not according to what God so clearly said.
Here’s a 03/04/2015 recommended link: https://www.charismamag.com/spirit/spiritual-warfare/22701-5-marks-of-the-false-grace-message. Warning! This good article states in part: “The number of people who subconsciously or unwittingly embrace a theology of exemption [Calvinism] is far greater than those who explicitly pronounce their agreement with this doctrine. Many subscribe to false-grace doctrines without realizing their deception.”
Equally deceptive, we live in an increasingly tech-savvy world that’s hostile to God, and seducing spirits deceive many by distraction and the cares of this life, exactly what Jesus warned saying, “take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly” (Luke 21:34).
“But know this, that in the last days…men will be lovers of themselves” (2 Tim. 2:1–2). Ours is the selfie generation, where it’s culturally imperative to be liked on social media, to do or say anything to gain “Likes”. And that imperative has infiltrated the Church and its leadership with negative results as much truth is exchanged for traditional opinion and what’s pleasing to the flesh, rather than defending the testimony of Jesus, dying to self and submitting to Christ.
The end is indeed coming as a snare, just as it was in Noah’s day, but not many are aware of it. John Calvin’s theology of a choice-less and will-less salvation, and John Darby’s dispensational pre-tribulation rapture theology, are both pleasing to the flesh, but depart from the clear teaching of God’s Word. One must deliberately twist the Scriptures to accommodate Calvin’s and Darby’s theological pleasures.
Man’s choice was abundantly on display in Noah’s day as he preached righteousness and the coming judgment for 120 years as the Ark was built. Did the people listen? No, for “there were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God [fallen angels] came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. [the Nephilim] Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown” (Gen. 6:4). And these demonic beings are returning, albeit, not necessarily in the physical form of giants, but quite possibly in alien form.
Judgment floods from heaven above and the earth beneath was unheard of. But all that changed in the space of one day, for, “on that day all the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Gen. 7:11–12). Judgment came with sudden shock and awe! By God’s promise, a flood will never cover the earth again, but this time the end will come with much blood, fire and hail.
And Jesus clearly warned, that, “as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37). Noah’s flood came as a snare – an unheard of, unimaginable snare, and none were prepared except those who had believed God and prepared accordingly. And so it shall be again at the end of this present age. It’s the promise of God and I pray you believe Him.
Marlin J. Yoder