I will be the first to admit, I am no expert on eschatology, although I do find the revelation of Jesus Christ to be amazing. I find it so not because of the apocalyptic nature often assigned to the book by Christians who study it but rather because of the fact that in spite of all the prophetic things it speaks of concerning the world, I am excited about the prophetic things it declares about us, the church – His beloved.
For the believer, the book of Revelation should not be a book of fear but one of celebration! The reason why? Because the book of revelation reveals the heart of Jesus towards us! It also shows that we will be perfected by His righteousness and we will walk into the greatest depths of glory, power, righteousness and holiness that the world has ever seen!
So why do I bring this up as someone who is not an accomplished student of eschatology? To speak to a point concerning deception and fear that often grips Christians of being deceived by the anti-Christ.
As I was reading II Thessalonians, I came across some of the writings of Paul that deal with the anti-Christ and apostasy. Paul notes in his writings that before the anti-Christ rises into power that apostasy will increase and the rejection of Christ as the exclusive means to salvation and sanctification will be rejected.
We see this happening more and more in the western church. With the introduction of universalism and the doctrines of demons that Paul talks about opening the way to challenge the institutions God has set forth such as marriage between a man and a woman and the deliberate misuse of grace as a means to justify sin rather than as a power to practice holiness and righteousness born out of an intimate love for Jesus Christ.
With all of these things going on, there has for many years been a hostile fear and protectionism that has developed in the church over doctrine. So much so, to the point that the fear has caused division in the body of Christ and often supersedes the commandment to love one another!
Church members will shred each other to ribbons and withhold honor and love over arguments of doctrine and much of it is rooted in a fear of being deceived by the enemy and ultimately believing a lie and being lost.
The truth is however, that God did not give us over to a spirit of fear, but one of sound mind and of love.
As I read these scriptures in II Thessalonians 2, it became clear to me who was in danger of being deceived, and it is NOT the Body of Christ living by faith – a new creation in Christ. As I read this, I saw parallelism between these writings and what Paul writes in Romans Chapter 1.
II Thessalonians 2:9-12
9 The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels—[all of them] lying wonders—
10 And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved.
11 Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,
12 In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.
Paul makes it very clear that those who embrace and love wickedness are the ones who will be given a delusion and God will send them a misleading influence and they will believe what is false.
We see this sentiment echoed as I mentioned in Romans 1 when Paul said that those who reject God as creator are given over to a debased mind, not merely because of sin but because of their refusal to acknowledge God and their blatant rebellious rejection of Jesus Christ. Paul outlines that no man is without excuse because the knowledge of God is born in every man.
16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,
17 For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.
18 For God’s [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.
19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.
20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],
21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.
Those who embrace and kiss the son of God, they have nothing to fear regarding being deceived by the anti-Christ, for they are born of the Spirit of God and have the mind of Christ.
Not even the demonstration of (so called) gifts, signs, wonders and miracles will sway the hearts of those who are in love with Jesus. The world that rejects Jesus Christ as Messiah will embrace a false Christ based on the demonstration of “gifts, signs and wonders” and of teachings that identify with their rebellious hearts and minds.
This should speak to us as believers that as we desire gifts, miracles, signs and wonders we must ultimately pursue love – love of Jesus Christ and of His beloved people, because out of the overflow of that love – which births the catalyst that fuels the gifts of the Holy Spirit will we see the genuine article.
We must pursue first and foremost with all fervency the God of the gifts rather than the gifts themselves. We must let unconditional love, the love of God become our doctrine and our theology.
Is it possible for the enemy to entrap us from time to time? Yes, it is possible but being tricked by the enemy and being completely deceived because of blatant and rebellious rejection of Jesus Christ are two entirely different things.
The Word of God tell us that Jesus is faithful to finish the work He has begun in us and we must by faith be wrapped up in that rather than gripped by fear that the enemy is stronger and can destroy the living truth of revelation that has been given to us by the Holy Spirit.
Don’t live in fear, for the Holy Spirit lives in you, the fullness of God dwells in you and is your teacher and guide that will lead you into all truth and understanding.
The world that rejects Christ will be those that embrace heresy, false teachings, doctrines of demons and denounce Christ.
It won’t be because they have not known who Jesus Christ is, it will be because they do and they choose not to welcome Him as Lord and savior.