Matthew 24

“What I say to you, I say to all, watch” Mark 13:37

Shortly before Jesus’ death His disciples asked him, “When are you coming back and what will be the signs (leading up to) of your return?”

“Watch,” He said, “Don’t be deceived.”

Strange answer. Note he didn’t say to them, “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got this. Not your problem.” He said just the opposite. Pay attention. Look forward. Be ready. Keep watch. Pray. See to it. Be careful. Watch. Be alert. Be on guard. Continually.

So, what are we to watch for? By what or by whom might we be deceived? And in case we think that somehow the Church won’t be deceived, Jesus goes on to say that even the elect will be deceived if this were possible. (Mt 24:24, Mark 13:22) I (personal opinion based on 45 years of study) take that to mean that Christians will come very, very close to believing the lies of the antichrist.

“When you see all these things begin to take place, stand up, lift up your heads for your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:28) We are all to watch for the convergence of signs that lead up to the Second Coming of Jesus. He gave the example of the fig tree, when the branches are tender and the leaves start coming out, you know that summer is near. For us in the upper Midwest, it’s when we see a robin or a dead skunk in the middle of the road that we know spring is here. Jesus was very angry with the religious establishment of His day for not acknowledging Him as the Messiah. He said that they knew how to read the signs of the sky, “Red sky at night, sailors’ delight…” If they could discern those signs, He asked, then why, since they studied the scriptures, did they not know He was coming at this time? (Mt. 16:2-3) We are in the same position today. As the Church, we are supposed to know our Bible and God expects us to know the signs of His return.

What about deception? The world value system is constantly trying to suck us in: abortion is OK, sex outside of marriage is OK, LGBT community is to be protected, all religions are the same, Jesus Christ is merely a moral teacher with one point of view, everybody gets to Heaven and there is no Hell. Not true according to the Bible. It was bad enough when Christians were merely thought of as stupid, checking their brains at the door of the church, but now the Christians of this world are being increasingly viewed as hate mongers. We were warned that we will be hated because of Jesus Christ ((LK 21:17)

We are told in three gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) that false messiahs (saviors) will arise and say, not necessarily that they are Jesus Christ, but that through them you will be saved. History is full of false religious leaders leading their flocks astray. God told Jeremiah to point out the lies of the religious establishment in Jerusalem. Some TV evangelists have taught a false gospel. Back in the 1990s the prosperity gospel was all the rage: “God doesn’t want you poor. Send us money and that will plant the prosperity seed and you’ll be financially well off.” That was followed by the “name it and claim” teaching. Lots of people believed the lies because they do not know their Bible. Jesus warns us that some of these end times false messiahs will even be able to back up their words with signs and wonders. (Rev 12:13-14, 2Thes 2:9-10) God says that we are to test for truth by asking, “Who do you say Jesus is?” (1Tim 6:3-5)

The antichrist is obviously the BIG deceiver to watch out for. He will be smooth, charming, powerful, well thought of, able to save society from its (probably economic) overwhelming catastrophe and its resulting downward spiral. And he will be utterly, completely and absolutely evil. But he won’t look like it at first. He will be embraced as a savior, rescuing mankind from a world gone crazy.

“What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man and be he god or devil, we will receive him”. Paul-Henry Spaak, UN, NATO, EU circa 1957-1960

Next time we’ll check out some of the warning signs that Jesus told us to look for. In addition to the three gospels, read 2Tim 3 & 4. What’s happening on the planet and what is happening to society are at the top of the list.

Please, neither offhandedly accept nor reject what is said in this blog. Check it out. Look it up for yourself in the Bible. If you are a child of God you are in good hands and there is the most wonderful eternity waiting for you. If you are not a Christ follower, now is a really good time to honestly explore the truth claims of the Bible.

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