Jesus warned of end-time false religion. Could you be a part of it?
The "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" are familiar to readers of fiction - and of the Bible and to readers of newspapers! Increasingly a somewhat distorted form of this famed Bible expression is applied to the very real horrors that beset our world. But did you know that the first of the "horsemen" is interpreted by Jesus Christ (in Matthew 24) as - false religion? And that he there referred largely to false Christianity? That he warned us to steer clear of it?
How can you recognize this end-time substitute Christianity? And is it possible to know what is the true faith taught by Jesus?
There's plenty of religion about! Indeed, psychologists tell us that everyone, even "atheists", have some form of it. Is all religion "OK"? Can you pick and choose your beliefs as in some vast religious hypermarket? A Russian Communist Party boss once said "Look at all the world's religions. The message is love your neighbor. We have the same goals". Hindu, Buddhists, Christians, Jews - and Communists. There is no difference in basic ideology, he says. Is this true? Do all roads lead to God? Does the form of your religion matter?
There are three or four dominant "world religions", each claiming divine inspiration. And each includes amazing diversity of belief. But you dream up some other concoction of religious ideas - and it's likely someone has arrived ahead of you! Whatever it is, you are likely to draw a following.
Christianity stakes its claim to a special relationship with the Creator. Yet the Saviour's name is attached to all kinds of conflicting beliefs. And in this ecumenical age almost anything is acceptable! You believe in infant baptism? Fine. But it's fine, too, to believe baptism is only for adults or only by immersion. You believe in an annual Lord's Supper, but your best friend goes to Mass daily. Still fine. You confess only to a priest, but your neighbor only on her knees privately to God. Again, OK. Some Christians will worship only with head covered. Some must remove footwear. Some use a rosary and venerate Mary, while others perceive the latter as idolatry. Most observe Christmas and Easter but a few don't, instead choosing the Holy Days revealed in Scripture. An increasing number speak in "tongues" - but many won't.
Can all these varied beliefs within Christianity be authentic? Does the Holy Spirit lead us in opposing directions?
Miracles And Things
A recent Christian phenomenon is the growth in "charismatic" churches. This movement - notably the so-called "Toronto Blessing" - cuts across denominational lines, uniting such diverse churches as Roman Catholic and Pentecostal. It's often accompanied by "speaking in tongues", by healings, by "prophetic utterances". Is this a genuine movement of the Holy Spirit? Is God, as many claim, pouring out His Spirit to unite the Church before the return of Jesus Christ?
It's a claim often made by charismatics. But if true, you can discard your Bible! For the Bible writers pen a vastly different scenario for the end-time prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
The apostle John warns us to "test the spirits". And the measure to test against is the Word of God. Are these preachers turning men and women to obey that Word? For this is crucial. And crucial to your salvation.
Recently a famous evangelist published a book in which he asserts: "The true test of a prophet is that what he says will come to pass". Is that what the Scriptures teach? Back in Deuteronomy 13:1-5, in fact, God warned against prophets who successfully perform a "wonder", or predict a sign. But they turn God's people away from God's Law! So seriously does God regard their activities that He demanded the death penalty for them. So seriously that He ejected ancient Israel from their homeland, and Judah from theirs for seventy years, because of neglect of His Laws.
Do "charismatic preachers" know their Bibles?
For example, how many "charismatic preachers" actively proclaim God's seventh-day sabbath? How many observe God's festivals and renounce pagan festivals? How many reject the fundamental satanic error of the immortal soul, with all its dependent heresies - hell fire and purgatory, going to heaven when you die, prayers to the saints, prayers for the dead, All Souls Day etc.? You would be hard put to find one! How many decades of Bible research does it take for them to tumble to these clear truths? Or have they discovered them, and knowing they are true reject them?
What about the evangelist I've just referred to? He believes, contrary to Scripture, that billions are even now burning endlessly in hell. He quotes the Old Testament - but rejects God's requirement in those same Scriptures that His people keep the seventh day as a rest day. And he observes the various Christian - but unbiblical - "holy days". Etc.
The fact is, God reveals truth to those who hunger and thirst for it. And it's likely that He initially implants that hunger! The vast majority of mankind are deceived, blinded by Satan. It usually is no fault of theirs: born into a Hindu or Muslim family there is little opportunity to learn of Christ. Growing up in a Communist or even a nominally Christian society, they carelessly accept these beliefs as the norm - and are thus blind to Bible teaching.
The devil, like a roaring lion, seeks to devour God's people. He uses all kinds of subtle and plausible devices to turn us aside from God's way revealed in the Christian Bible and to blind mankind to truth. Even real miracles.
Modernize Deuteronomy 13 and what do we have? The perspiring evangelist struts across the stage. "Be healed!" he roars into the microphone. "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus - heal this poor child!", he intones. The child straightens and discards her crutch. A miracle. Perhaps a real miracle from a compassionate loving Saviour in response to faith. But a miracle that in the eyes of the audience authenticates all the false teaching the preacher stands for!
Jesus once posed the question: "When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8) The implication of His accompanying illustration was that He wouldn't find much! Other Bible prophecies (e.g., Amos 8:11) predict a "famine ... of hearing the words of the Lord". A time is coming when the true Bible teachings will be suppressed. God will not then speak to men! Ultimately, He won't even hear prayers (e.g., Jeremiah 7:16).
As Bible prophecy foretold, myriads worldwide are responding to "another gospel". The stage is set for a satanic world religion. A universal occult religion is imminent that reflects elements from the major religions. and which is accepted because worshippers are duped by "great signs" (Revelation 13:11-14).
Those who are deceived by it will eventually find that they are, in fact, worshipping Satan himself. Note Paul's warning: "The coming of the lawless one, by the activity of Satan, will be with all power, and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception, for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
And John, prophesying of the same time, said: "Men worshipped the dragon [Satan] for he had given his authority to the beast.... And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev 13:4,8).
We live in the last days. Harsh times lie in the near future. Especially, the modern descendants of ancient Israel - the Jews and the Anglo-Saxon peoples - will suffer terrible degrading enslavement in the years ahead at the hands of the armies of a Satan-inspired alliance. It is vital that we remain vigilant, serve one another, support one another, love truth, put aside all petty dispute - and wholeheartedly serve our God and our Saviour.
Is your name written in "the book of life"? If you have not personally responded to the true Gospel now is the time. Jesus Christ won't turn away anyone who comes to Him. But you must come on His terms! He requires repentance - the turning from human traditions and from sin - followed by baptism.
If you don't have our booklets What Do You Mean - "Repent"? and Coming To Baptism, write for them now. There is no charge. But what they tell you is priceless!
To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.
For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM. Excerpt from New Horizons Issue 16, July/August 1999. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
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