During one of the private moments that the disciples had with Jesus, as they sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, they asked the Lord in Matthew 24:3 what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Before He gives them any signs, He starts with a warning to them and to all of us: “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” Astray in this sentence means to deceive or lead away from the truth. He repeats Himself in verse 11 and tells them, “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray”. The thing about deception is that it is, well, deceptive. In other words, it’s not obvious, it’s not easily discernible, and it will not be clear, unless you really look at it. I would suggest that even looking at it is not enough. You cannot stop from being deceived without help and there is only One who can help us to not be deceived: the Word! Yes, I called Jesus the Word, because that is what John called Him in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”.
Why do I say that only the Word can protect us from deception and not the Holy Spirit? Because Jesus tells us to build our house on the Rock, which is Jesus, which is the Word. (Mathew 7:24-25) Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us that “He is the Rock”! He never tells us to build our house on the Spirit. He tells us that we must be born of the Spirit, but we must build our house on the Rock! It is only the Word of God that will keep us from being led astray. So I ask another question: why does this distinction matter so much? Am I suggesting that we don’t need the Spirit of God? Absolutely not!! The Holy Spirit is our Helper, and yes, He will help us to understand the Word. However, many people in this day and age do not know the Word. They do not read the Bible, they do not read the Scriptures and therefore they do not know when they are being led astray by shepherds and prophets who twist the Scriptures to their own advantage. In the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:14 he admonishes us “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting”. Yes, there are men and women who will trick you. They will deceive you and they will lead you astray. And no, it will not be obvious. Not at first.
It only becomes obvious if you know the Word. Many of these false teachers and prophets will do signs and wonders to try and prove to you that God is with them. Signs and wonders however, do not prove anything. Jesus makes this very clear to us in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” I want you to really look at what Jesus said here. He never knew them! Yet, they prophesied in His Name! Yet, they cast out demons in His Name! Yet, they did many wonders in His Name! But He called them people who practiced lawlessness. I find this very interesting because it tells me that even though signs and wonders follow those who believe (Mark 16:17-18) they also follow those who deceive (Mark 13:22, Matthew 24:24).
In Jeremiah 23 the Lord speaks about these false prophets. How do I know He’s talking about this generation? Because he actually tells us: “In the latter days you will understand it clearly.”(vs. 20) Let me show you some of the things that God says about these false prophets: “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds”. There are many prophets out there right now, proclaiming “thus saith God”. Have they told you to repent? Have they told you to turn from your evil deeds?
It goes on. “How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another.” (Jeremiah 23:26-31) I have heard some of these prophets. They do not speak His word faithfully. They speak lies and promise us things that are so absurd that a child could tell it is deception. A child of God, that is.
In verse 16 and 17 God says the following: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you”.
Right now there is a fire upon this earth. It is happening in every nation, with every tribe and tongue. That fire is not one thing, it is many things. We see the signs that Jesus said would come at the end, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, plagues, false prophets, the list goes on and on. Just turn on the news, you will see every one of them. All these signs lead to one thing and one thing alone: Jesus Christ is wrapping things upHe is getting ready to rapture the church, thereby ending the “age of the gentiles” which He talked about in Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”. How do we know this age of the Gentiles is ending? The beginning of it started on May 14, 1948 when Israel once again became a nation. Since then God has been calling the Jews back to their homeland from all the nations that He scattered them to in 70 A.D. when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem.
If you are still with me, then please hear my cry. Read the Word of God! Be careful who you follow. Do not allow yourself to be deceived for there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing out their masquerading as shepherds and prophets. Ask the Lord if you are deceived. He will tell you. He will show you and if you are, repent! Build your house on Him, not on lies and deception.