It is my conviction in the Lord that we should very carefully consider the following passage of Scripture, and how it seems to relate to this very time, the postmodern era in which we now find ourselves. A time I might add, where there does appears to be an interesting similarity to the point of human history into which Christ first stepped, in that many will glibly say – “Jesus is coming in our lifetime.” Be that as it may, Holy Scripture does tell us about another arrival as well.

And while the ultimate fulfillment of these verses comes when the Church is no longer on the earth, this passage does indeed have a secondary application in this age of apostasy. Remember, the Bible does tell us – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12, KJV).

We now consider 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11:

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.

Look once again at verse 9 – The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders. Here we find good reason to be afraid. In this generation, you’d best be sure that you really do have a relationship with God through Christ–because these miracles, signs and wonders will look exactly the same as the true miracles, signs and wonders done by the original Apostles! As a matter of fact, the very same Greek words are used in Hebrews 2:4 regarding those done of the Holy Spirit in the first century!

Does this now give you cause to fear becoming involved in the pagan mysticism of the Emergent Church counterfeit Christian movement, or to reconsider using consumer-friendly purpose driven methods in a church, many of which originate with the business practices of the world? I believe it should! Remember, just because something appears to work–just because something looks good–it does not mean it is of God. And those who are so captivated by the quick and easy results of “hamburger-helper” teachings would do well to consider the following words from the Master Teacher Himself:

Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” (Matthew 7:20-23).

The Truth Behind Deception

Now here’s the reason people will be deceived–verse 10–from the New King James Version–and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. You see there–in the b part of the verse–because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. In the Age to come these people will be deceived–and people are currently being deceived–because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. These professing believers are going to find out the hard way that they didn’t love God’s truth enough–in the first place–to even be saved. Does that make sense now?

And no, you don’t hear this preached much these days–if at all–because frankly, it doesn’t “sell.” But if your life doesn’t start to change when you “get saved,” then you have very good reason to question whether you even got saved (see–2Corinthians 13:5). Because there is no such thing as: “I’ll accept Jesus as my Savior now, and then later on, I’ll make Him my Lord.” No, Jesus is Lord whether you accept Him or not!

So now the following should open up to you. Christ Jesus says –

And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:10-13).

Ask yourself a question; do you think Christ is coming soon? Do you realize that for over two thousand years now the Church has already been living in the end times? We have, 1 John 2:18 – Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. You need to understand that a passage of Scripture–with the Bible being a two-edged sword–oftentimes has an historical meaning, with a future application yet to come.

Can you see here: the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. Antichrists have already brought many deceptions, and these small lies are all going to lead to the big deception of the Antichrist. As a true minister of our Lord I must warn you that one thing is certain: This will be no era to remain in the romper room of Christianity (see–Hebrews 5:11–6:6).

A Lie–Have It Your Way

And now we look at verse 11 – For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. Did you ever stop and think that the delusion and the lie here just might not be a specific one, but instead, is referring to the delusion and/or the lie that a person wants to believe. A kind of “lie du jour,” so to speak, which will eventually lead all of them into the delusion of the Antichrist. In other words, for some people, they will believe what could be the lie of the carnal excesses in much of these consumer-driven church growth ideas. Yet, for others, it might be getting caught up in the insidious ecumenical movement and being seduced by the deceivers of Rome into forgetting all about the Reformation.

Verse 11 reads this way in the New American Standard Version – For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. As in all things that are false, not limiting this deluding influence to one specific lie. So, for those who are captivated by “positive” thoughts, for those who are under the sway of thinking that in this generation churches are all going to follow counterfeit teachers like Rick Warren and Brian McLaren to start working together and begin heeding the call to put away doctrinal differences to bring in the brotherhood of a peaceful utopia–I’d give the following words from Jeremiah–one of Yahweh Elohim’s true prophets some serious prayer.

Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries [a] and the delusions of their own minds. Therefore, this is what the LORD says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them…

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? (Jeremiah 14:14-15; 23:16-18).

A Word Of Caution

As I close this out, I remind you that three times in His Olivet Discourse, our Lord clearly warned us of false teachers, and false prophets and false Christs who would come. And Jesus did this within the context of His certain and literal Second Coming. You will recall that we saw that the Master said: “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:10-12, NASB, emphasis added).

If you look closely, this teaching by Christ Jesus–the Master Teacher–is actually diametrically opposed to so much of what is embraced by so many, in so many, of these seeker-sensitive churches and their counterfeit cousins in the Emergent Church movement. And you should know that much of this compromise with the world has already been dealt with long ago by the Holy Spirit, and within the very pages of the New Testament itself.

Consider this admonition from the inspired Apostle James – Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? (James 4:4-5. NKJV) This isn’t your prototypical ecumenical purpose driven emergent church word faith teaching, is it?

Do you honestly think that our Lord Jesus is going to have sympathy with those who simply will not take His Words seriously? I think not. To quote my mentor, Dr. Martin: “I risk my credibility when I state it as bluntly as this, but I’ve done my homework, and I stand by what I say.“ No–be forewarned, and come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:17, KJV)–before it is too late.

Not to be an alarmist, and not to rattle your preconceived eschatological chain, but might I remind you that the Bible does say:

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).

And could it be, that while we in the Evangelical camp have been busy congratulating ourselves on what a great job we are doing for Christ here in America, that we are inadvertently becoming yet another “ism” – complete with our own time-honored self-approved “traditions?” And, could it possibly be that Jesus really is standing back with his arms folded as He watches us–saying:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent (Revelation 3:16-19).

Stand Up For Jesus

As far as the inescapable fact that more and more sections of the Body of Christ are drifting into the biblical condemnation of the church of Laodicea–let us consider the following comment by Dr. H.A. Ironside, one of the greatest Bible teachers who ever lived. Here was a man who–with no formal training or ordination–pastored the 4,000 seat Moody Memorial church from 1930 to 1948. Dr. Ironside was telling the truth, and speaking by prophetic gift to our own timidly tepid generation, when he said:

What is needed everywhere is a great revival of decided gospel preaching, pressing home on the consciences of men and women their lost condition, despite church membership, if they have not personally received the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word says, “Break up the fallow ground”; sow not among “thorns.” We often hear people say they would like to see more old-time conversions. Well, there must first be the old-time preaching of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the lost condition of all men by nature as well as practice, until the old-time conviction will seize upon the souls of Christless men and women, and then the old-time gospel will be hailed as the only relief” (H.A. Ironside’s Commentary on Revelation, chapter 3, CD Rom, copy on file, emphasis added).

There’s a great old hymn of the Church that many of us in the Body of Christ sing, but I can’t help but wonder: Do we truly hear anymore what these words are saying?

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, And Christ is Lord indeed.

But, the question remains: How can our Lord lead His army, if we just will not follow Him?