We live in a scary world full of deception and because satan knows that his time is short, he’s ramping it up. Jesus warned us about these times in Matthew 24:4-13:
And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. 9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved."
In these last days, we need to be like the Bereans, who Paul encountered:
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)
We need to devote time daily to the study of the Bible, so that we have the Word of God in us in order to see if what people are saying is true. There are no perfect people, no perfect teachers, no perfect pastors, no perfect business owners, no perfect school administrators, no perfect entertainers/actors/actresses, and no perfect politicians (this one might be the truest of all). Deception is rampant in all parts of life and if we can’t recognize it, we will be among the elect who are deceived.
Let’s be like the Bereans and examine what Jesus says in Matthew 24:4-13:
1. Many will come in My name – these deceivers, false prophets and teachers will come in the name of Jesus. Some will say that they are the Christ and others will preach a deceptive message that seems to be the message of Christ. Many will be misled by this teaching.
2. Hearing of wars and rumors of wars. There are more wars right now than at any point in history and we keep hearing rumors of more. But, Jesus says not to be frightened, because this must take place before the end of days.
3. Nation will rise against nation. Again, we are seeing this escalated beyond any time in history. Particularly the number of nations arising against the Jewish nation.
4. Famines and earthquakes – these have also risen in occurrences beyond any time in history.
5. Merely the beginning of birth pangs. What we are experiencing now, is just the beginning of the end of times.
6. There will be a great time of persecution. This happened in the times right after Jesus’ death and resurrection and it will happen again in this end time.
7. Many will fall away. This is called the great apostasy. Pastors and church leaders have been deceived into thinking that deep teaching and moves of the Holy Spirit will scare people away. It has birthed into a “seeker sensitive” movement, where church gatherings look more like entertainment, than what Jesus intended when believers gather. Because our churches are a mile wide (many people attending), but only an inch deep (very little Biblical knowledge), many will be deceived (as the religious leaders were during Jesus’ three year ministry) and will fall away from the faith.
8. Lawlessness will increase. This is rampant, as we see weekly shootings and bombings that are killing thousands. We also see this in the increased number of abortions, homosexuality, pornography, gossip, envy, jealousy, coveting, and in so many other areas.
9. Because of the increase in lawlessness, love will grow cold. Love for God has definitely gone cold, as church attendance is at an all-time low and churches are closing at a record pace. Love for other people has also gone cold, as we see parents killing their kids and kids killing their parents nearly every night on the news.
10. The good news is that those who endure, will be saved. Those who are like the Bereans and carefully examine the scriptures, so they can discern false teaching from Biblical teaching, will endure.
Jesus continues His end time message in Matthew 24:24, For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, the elect.
The Greek word that is translated “elect” is Eklektos, which means chosen by God, elected by God, choice, preeminent. It gives the impression that Jesus is talking about Christian leaders. That the deception will be so devious, that even many Christian leaders will be deceived. This could also include the true disciples.
As true disciples, our job is to devote time (as much as you can) every day to the study of the Word of God. If we have a family, we need to make sure that our children are raised in the Word and in the ways of the Lord, so they will not go away from it later in life. We need to be part of a solid Bible teaching church with small group Bible studies where you are constantly rightly dividing the Word to make sure you are being fed the truth.
I was in the banking industry for a few years and I learned that the way tellers are taught to recognize counterfeit bills is to so carefully study the real thing, that they can easily see any imperfections, no matter how small. We need to so carefully study the truth of God’s Word, that we can easily recognize the slight imperfections of false teaching. If we do this, we will endure to the end.