Help for Today — Hope for Tomorrow
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[Steve Myers] The time is coming that you will be deceived. It’s guaranteed—unless…
It will be a very difficult time on the world scene and in your neighborhood, with conflicting choices that have to be made. So much so that your life may depend on what you do.
A great spiritual leader is coming. He will seem to have all the answers for your life. Amazing evidence will seem to confirm everything he does.
But that religious leader will be false. So unless you choose carefully, you will be led astray.
Will you make the right choice? How can you protect yourself from this coming evil influence? Is it possible that you are already misled? What you do can make all the difference.
On this edition of Beyond Today we’ll examine: “How to Avoid End Time Deception.”
[Announcer] Join our host Steve Myers and his guests as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Steve] Bible prophecy says that deception is a very real possibility! We’re repeatedly commanded, “Be not deceived,” so many times throughout the Bible.
Jesus Himself said that you are at risk. He warned in one of His parables that those who are misled will suffer weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:13). Another speaks of the unbelieving servant that will be cut in two and cast off with the hypocrites (Matthew 24:51). Those are scary possibilities.
Jesus warned us not to be taken in by false teachers, amazing occurrences or evil signs and wonders. Well, could remarkable miracles mislead you?
How can you avoid powerful deception that threatens your very eternal life?
I spoke with many people who are skeptical of claims of healings, miracles or any supernatural events.
[Steve] Do you believe in supernatural events?
> I do not. I do not.
[Steve] Do you believe in any of that sort of thing, supernatural events?
» Not really.
[Steve] You don’t believe in that?
[Steve] …There’s this painting in a church in Chicago that’s weeping oil. Did you see that?
» I believe that about as much as I believe in Jesus’ grilled cheeses. How’s that?
[Steve] You don’t believe in the mother Mary on toast?
> I do not.
»I would like to think that I don’t get fooled by smoke and mirrors…
[Steve] Here’s the challenge: How can you determine what is from God and should be believed and what should not be believed? How can you avoid being deceived?
Too often the genuine miracles of the Bible are looked at as quaint fairy tales. Some feel ancient primitive cultures in the Bible believed them in order to explain the mysteries of nature they couldn’t comprehend.
So today, science claims to give us the ability to explain all those wonders. Any rational mind believes that phenomena can be explained by nature—without God. But is that true?
Speaking with people on the street about miracles and phenomenon—it occurred to me that just below the surface of our modern psyche is a part of us that is attracted to the mysterious and unexplainable.
Ghosts, magic, UFOs, and witchcraft are so popular today. There are mystical elements of various religions that attract scores of new converts every year.
Religious sites like Fatima, Portugal; Medjugorje in Herzegovina are locations where the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared in the past. So today, these places draw millions of religious pilgrims every single year.
[Steve] Do you believe in supernatural events?
> Yeah, absolutely.
[Steve] You believe in that sort of thing?
» Do I believe in—? Yes, I do.
[Steve] Maybe you’ve seen pictures of maybe a statue of Mary is weeping, or blood coming out of a statue of Jesus, and that sort of thing. Do you believe in those kind of phenomena?
> Yeah, I think so. Definitely. Actually, definitely. I’ll backtrack. Yeah, I definitely do.
[Steve] Do you believe in supernatural things?
» Yeah, I do. I don’t necessarily believe in like Bigfoot, like things like that, but maybe like—yeah, yeah, definitely believe in a spiritual realm, for sure.
[Steve] But what kind of things in the spiritual realm should you believe to be real?
Are all phenomenons equal? Could you be deceived by something that looks like a miracle from God but in actuality is not? Would it lead you to follow that individual because of the wonders he can do? Is it possible that you could be misled right now?
Now, don’t take it lightly. The Bible foretells that your very life is at risk! Jesus said that “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign” (Matthew 16:4). Is a miraculous sign an unconditional indication that the person is of God? Can supernatural wonders come from a different source?
Now, many think that a miracle or a supernatural event can come only from God.
[Steve] Do you think those kinds of things, unexplainable things, are only from God?
[Steve] Do you think that it’s possible that those kind of supernatural possibilities, those phenomenon, could come from another source other than God?
» No, not really. I don’t think so.
[Steve] So if you saw something that was just astounding, just was unexplainable—how would you react to something like that? If you witnessed that yourself?
> I would not dismiss it as, you know, oh, that’s not possible.
[Steve] So then you would think that those kinds of things—God is behind those kinds of miracles?
» Absolutely, yeah.
> If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
[Steve] Well let’s consider that for just a moment. Is it really meant to be?
Is every wonder—is each supernatural event—are all miracles by the hand of God? Your Bible says, “no.” Here’s a clear example.
You probably remember the story of the Egyptian Pharaoh who enslaved the Israelites. Before he was willing to let the slaves go, the Bible records 10 destructive plagues that were brought on that stubborn ruler and his people by God.
Now here’s the connection: the Pharaoh’s magicians were able to duplicate those first few miracles! Now, that must have been impressive.
In fact, one of those events occurred when “Aaron threw down his staff before [the] Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent! Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic. They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs” (Exodus 7:10-12, NLT).
So the evil sorcerers were apparently able to copy that miracle. Many must have been convinced that the sorcerers were powerful people to be trusted.
And it didn’t stop there. Next, the first plague was replicated: “So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt. But again the magicians of Egypt used their magic, and they, too, turned water into blood” (Exodus 7:20-22, NLT).
Now there was more evidence to convince Pharaoh and the people that the sorcerers were powerful and should be respected.
Then, the next plague was also imitated—they made even more frogs appear than those God had sent. “But the magicians were able to do the same thing with their magic. They, too, caused frogs to come up on the land of Egypt” (Exodus 8:7, NLT).
Those supernatural miracles from an evil spiritual source were intended to deceive and turn Pharaoh’s heart against God. Many were fooled to reject God Himself because of these events. Evil miracles—they can have that effect.
The Bible details many events like these: false miracles, lying wonders and false prophets.
And here’s why this is so critical: These events are not limited to just Bible times. So don’t be so naive—false leaders, false miracles can and do still happen today. Don’t be taken in by the deception—be sure to protect yourself.
[Steve] Would you say then you believe that there are possibilities that there’s false miracles?
> Oh yeah, I mean, like there are definitely people who, I mean in a supernatural world there’s evil, too. So I definitely believe that people can do miraculous things to kind of sway people away from what God’s trying to do in their lives. I believe that that miracle can happen from demonic sources, like whatever…
[Steve] So if there was some kind of miraculous, crazy thing that was even a verifiable miracle, let’s say, and yet it was something that was false, how would you determine one way or the other, so that you wouldn’t be deceived?
» Yeah, I’m not just going to kind of blindly follow. I’m going to really kind of dig in and ask, “Hey, what’s going on here?” you know, and really kind of get to the core…
[Steve] God certainly wants us to get to the core of truth now so we’re not led astray later. He warned His people that not all supernatural wonders are from the true God. Adding to this He says to reject any minister, any pastor, any teacher or even miracle worker who speaks contrary to His laws and His teachings.
Notice this passage: “Someday a prophet may come along who is able to perform miracles or [to] tell what will happen in the future. Then the prophet may say, ‘Let’s start worshiping some new gods—some gods that we know nothing about.’ If the prophet says this, don’t listen! The Lord your God will be watching to find out whether or not you love him with all your heart and soul” (Deuteronomy 13:1-3, CEV).
God says that even though someone’s prophecy actually comes true or a miracle happens—it doesn’t mean we should religiously follow that person. We have to step back—consider the big picture.
Jesus warned: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves…” (Matthew 7:15-16).
Dishonest teachers, priests and deceptive leaders have wrong intentions and actions that go beyond whether their prophecies or miracles actually happen.
Imagine this: Christ even described some of them who even cast out demons and did many wonders in His name. But, they were evil. He said, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:23).
Think about that for a moment. Someone could be doing great signs and wonders in the name of Jesus and yet they are wicked. What would you do?
> Well, if they’re trying to get me to follow them personally, that’s not what I believe in. I believe if they’re doing something that leads to Jesus, then yeah, I’ll follow them in their pursuit of Jesus, because it’s not about them, it’s about God.
[Steve] …what would it take to convince you?
» You just said it. If I see it with my own eyes, I might believe it.
[Steve] What would it take for you to buy into something like that?
> I guess it would take experiencing myself, you know, something supernatural that has no explanation.
» If I saw somebody even supernaturally heal someone, that wouldn’t make me follow them. It’d definitely be with the message that they come bearing.
[Steve] How would you know the difference then, whether to follow somebody and believe it or not?
> I wouldn’t know the difference. I’d have to take a chance.
[Steve] It is possible to know the difference. Even if the message sounds good. It may seem biblical. The miracle is real. But following a distorted version of Christ will lead down a dangerous path. Could you be following a distorted version of Christianity? You don’t want to leave it to chance.
In a prophecy for our time, Jesus warned, “False christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
Christ had just finished saying, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). You, He said—you—you disciples. When Christ says ‘you,’ He’s not talking to the world in general. He’s not talking to everybody. He’s talking to His own followers—He’s talking to you!
He also gives the specific deception that you need to notice.
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:5).
That’s a powerful warning for all Christians. Christ’s direct warning is this: Beware of people who mislead you about Jesus! Now could it be possible that you’re already following a wrong Jesus, contrary to the truth?
Christ warned His disciples and He is alerting you and me—that people would try to deceive us about Him and His message. He went on to talk about how the “many”—not the few—would be misled.
So you should ask: is my Christianity the true faith that Jesus taught? You need to know. Christ gave that warning: don’t take your religion for granted. I hope you’ll take time to seriously consider the possibility that you might be misled. It’s time to examine what you believe and why you believe it.
I’ll have much more to say on what you should do in just a moment.
Now notice how critical it is: The apostle Paul expands on Jesus’ warning and told us to watch out for a specific person.
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ… that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-9).
This evil, sinful man will come with the power of Satan. He’ll use every kind of influence, including miraculous and wonderful signs. It will look good. It will seem righteous. There’ll be a great revival of what appears to be a wonderful Christian religion.
But, it will be lies. Would you follow a leader like that?
[Steve] Let’s say someone did something amazing, phenomenal, just unexplainable but yet miraculous—would you follow them?
[Steve] Would you follow them?
» If someone makes me to trust him, maybe I will follow.
[Steve] Would you follow someone like that?
> I think it depends on things. Is, what kinds of things he make me to believe.
» It’s hard to wrap your head around something like that, and so if it happens in a situation where it’s easy to understand and it’s more tangible, yeah, I would.
> Yeah, I would follow him.
» Maybe if he convinces me something good, I can—I think this man is good, I think I would think he is a good leader.
[Steve] So if a guy was in front of your own eyes, and you actually believed it, do you think you’d follow him and do what he says?
> If the guy was in front of my eyes, yeah, I would believe him.
» If a supernatural event happens, I’m looking for it to have purpose, not just to be a cool event kind of thing.
[Steve] These miraculous events will certainly have a purpose. Part of that reason is described here: “The coming of the man of sin will fit how Satan works. The man of sin will show his power through all kinds of signs and wonders. These signs and wonders will lead people astray” (2 Thessalonians 2:9, NIRV).
In other words, the intended aim of theses miracles is to deceive—to lie. They’re called false miracles and “lying wonders” because their whole purpose and intention is to deceive.
So you should expect that many different supernatural signs and wonders will occur. They’ll be real to our senses and perception. Apparitions, supernatural encounters, great signs, and a seemingly impressive religious leader will all be pieces to the end-time puzzle.
But that’s not all. People are led into a false religious system—away from the God of the Bible and the truth of Scripture. An alternative false hope through the signs and lying wonders will be accepted by the masses and lead to destruction. Now that’s on the horizon.
But God’s Word says there is an even more subtle way that deception is impacting you right now. “The secret power [or mystery] of evil [lawlessness; wickedness] is already working in the world” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
A sign that Jesus gave was that many Christians are deceived today.
Is it possible that you’ve already been led astray? Counterfeit truth has been around from the beginning.
The apostle Paul warns all of us: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
These false apostles talk about Jesus, but don’t understand Christ’s true message. He said they’ll look like angels of light—and that most people will believe them.
Jesus Himself taught the true gospel and warned about false Christianity. He said, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it” (Matthew 24:23).
Do you see the astonishing meaning? Jesus is telling us that most of Christianity today has been hijacked by false teachers and empty religion. He specifically warned against those who simply talk about Him. True followers won’t listen to such teachers.
Christ was concerned whether or not people understood and believed His message. Don’t listen to someone who only talks about the personality of Christ! Don’t listen to a man who says all you must do is accept Him and believe in His name.
Does your minister teach about the spiritual significance of the seventh-day Sabbath? Does your clergyman preach about observing God’s Holy Days and how to understand the plan of God that’s revealed in them? If you haven’t been taught about the significance of God’s spiritual law and how it applies to you today—you’re being deceived. The time is now to understand these things and the full truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.
Now how can you determine if you’ve been a part of the kind of Christianity that Christ warned about and how can you avoid becoming deceived?
Well here are two steps the Bible gives for us to take:
First, love the truth
To avoid being taken in by deception, we must know the truth, believe the truth, live the truth and love the truth.
The Bible tells us deceit is happening right now and it will come to a crescendo in the future:
“He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies” (2 Thessalonians 2:10, NLT).
God makes it clear that if you’re to avoid deception and be a true follower—you can’t just claim to be Christian. Do you know and understand the truth? Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).
That means the Word of God—the Bible—must rule our life. Well how can you know if it does? Here’s an example. Jesus said He is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). That means we love that truth. We then worship and celebrate His day—the Sabbath—from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
So it’s clear that to avoid being led astray we must be Bible believers. We must read our Bibles. If you do, you’ll begin to discover the other distinctive truths that Jesus taught. God tells us to learn about those truths and to love them to the point that they change our lives. Now if you need help with this—order our study aids to assist you in understanding your Bible.
Now the second step to avoid deception is to stay close to God by obedience, prayer and Bible study.
There was a group of people in the New Testament who were praised because they “were more open-minded.” “They listened to the message with great eagerness, and every day they studied the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was really true” (Acts 17:11, GNT).
Studying the Bible with that purpose to learn and obey is a key to avoid deceit. Then we must follow what the Word says. It tells us that “Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did” (1 John 2:6, TLB).
Do we say we’re Christian? That means we must keep His commands and live as Christ lived. We’re told, “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (2 John 1:6).
In the Bible, the word walk is often used to refer to a lifestyle—how we live our life. If we walk according to God’s Word, it means we apply it, and we put it into action. So, to walk with God means that we obey His commands and we imitate Jesus’ example.
This would include the observance of the seven annual festivals that were kept by Jesus—the ones that He commanded the New Testament Church to celebrate. These festivals reveal God’s plan of salvation. Do you know about them? Do you observe them?
I hope you’ll truly hear the message of Christ and study your Bible to see if what I am saying is really true.
These two steps: loving the truth of Scripture and staying close to Him in obedience are a sure way to prevent deception today and the possibility tomorrow. No doubt, there will come a time when amazing miracles will convince even the skeptics. Will they convince you to follow those who perform them? The antidote to those lying wonders is to be one of those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Many will believe that the miracles they see and think are of God. Don’t be taken in. Ask yourself: Are they teaching God’s laws and fulfilling His will? Or are they using miracles to trick people in supporting a government and a religion that are actually opposed to God, opposed to His law and His plan.
Study God’s Word. Examine the evidence and remember: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20).
God doesn’t want you to be misled. You can know the truth if you’ll study God’s Word in-depth and believe what He says. Always love the truth and it will show you how to live a fulfilling, satisfying life in every way and avoid deception.
To help you avoid deception and learn what’s revealed in your Bible, we have published a helpful Bible study aid: Who is the Antchrist?
I hope you’ll order your free copy to help you put Scripture together so you can prove the truth for yourself. As you use this study aid alongside your Bible, you will be amazed at how plain the truth becomes!
Who is the Antichrist? will give you vital keys to understand what the Bible says about deception and prophecy.
For your free copy, call: 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv .
You’ll want to discover more about what the Bible has to say about the time of the end—how it will impact you and what you can do about it. So be sure to act today.
Plus, when you order, Who is the Antichrist? we’ll also send you a free subscription to our bi-monthly Beyond Today magazine. It will help you understand how the Bible explains the meaning of world events and God’s purpose for your life. It will also help you grasp the significance of Bible 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 earth.
So, to order your free copy of Who is the Antichrist? and receive your free subscription to Beyond Today magazine call: 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv .
Take advantage of our free offers and be sure to tell your family and friends about us. Tune in again next week for another edition of Beyond Today and join me in praying, “Thy Kingdom come.” Thanks for watching.
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