By Dene McGriff
In the “last days” the greatest deception ever perpetrated on mankind will beguile mankind, including Christians. One great nation, headed by the antichrist, will subdue the nations of the earth and dominate the world. People will think him the Savior, the man with the answer to the world’s complex problems, and the great peacemaker in an exceedingly dangerous world cowed by the specter of terrorism and economic collapse. He will do the unthinkable and make a pact with Israel to make peace in the Middle East. One man, who claims to be a Christian and appears to be a wonderful person and great leader, comes to power with the backing of the Church only to later turn on the church and Israel in the worst persecution the world has ever seen. Although seen by Daniel 2,600 years ago, and the Apostle John 2,000 years ago, this could very well happen in our lifetime.
The Bible speaks of a period of deception, and tribulation that is without precedent. What will it mean practically? If the Bible is correct (and I believe it is), it will get to the point where you will not be able to buy or sell anything. You won’t have access to food, clothing, housing, health care, schools - nothing! If you are not a Christian (and by that I mean you don’t have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and haven’t been reborn in your human spirit), you will probably be so caught up in the deception that one day. When you are given a choice that will enable you to continue to buy and sell and live a half way normal life, you will agree to take a mark and worship the antichrist. This will determine your eternal destiny. Most will be deceived! Most will take the path of least resistance. You will be deceived if…
- If you are a Christian that has made himself at home in this world.
- If you don’t grasp your true citizenship, you will become a part of the system without realizing it.
- If you live in the wisdom of this world.
- If you live and act as if you are a citizen of this world rather than a heavenly eternal kingdom.
- If you try to straddle the fence and have the best of both worlds. What you love most will win out in the end: Jesus or the things of the world.
- If you love the approval of this world, and are afraid to go against the tide.
- If you love your life more than God.
- If you love your family and friends more.
- If you don’t love the truth as revealed in God’s Word. As the country singer sings, “you have to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”
- If you aren’t clearly standing for what God stands for.
- If you have given in to the “broad way” of thinking without questioning.
If you are a true “Christian” and not part of the apostate (fallen) “Church”, you will be persecuted by your “Christian” friends and family - people you loved and trusted--because of your contrary stand. If you are an overcoming Christian, you will suffer the loss of all things, including the rejection of those closest to you. You will be delivered up and put to death (again, these are not my words, but right out of the Gospels). This is a small price to pay for the privilege of seeing our Lord return and to be able to rule and reign with him throughout all eternity.
Revelation speaks of “witness”, “witnesses” and “testimony”. The root in Greek for all of these words is “martyr”! Revelation 12:11 tells us that “we overcome by the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony, loving not our lives unto death.” Only those willing to die for their faith will escape the great deception. This is as it has been down through history but even more so in the end of days.
The assumption in writing this book is that many who read it will be those who want to stand for what God stands for, are aware of the inevitability of deception, because they know the Scripture tells us that this deception is so good that it can deceive even the very elect (by the way, Matthew 24:22 – and the phrase “if it were possible” found in some translations is not in the original Greek text). They want to know how to recognize it. They know prophecy was written for a reason - not just for academic interest. It was written to warn us about what is to come so we will not be deceived.
The purpose of this book is to equip the believer to recognize deception and to expose the extent of deception that is already at work. There is deception in the media, the entertainment world, the news, schools, government and even church. Only those who recognize and obey His still small voice will overcome. Only those with the eyes of the “Spirit of God” will see the true picture. Only those who “have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches” will overcome. Only those who are willing to suffer the loss of all things will overcome. Only those who are built up with others in a vital “Body Life” will overcome. This is not the time to stand alone. We need one another.
Don’t depend on others to interpret the Bible for you (not even us.) Let God’s Word speak to you personally. Your only hope for avoiding deception is to know the Lord, know his Word and be closely knit with other saints. The stakes are high. The reward is great, so persist as long as you possibly can!
This book is about recognizing deception and apostasy and is a complete rewrite of a book I did 20 years ago. If we are those Christians – finally, after 2,000 years, living in the “end of days”, the greatest delusion ever to come upon the earth is coming or may already be here. How do we recognize it? How can we avoid getting caught up in it? Is there a magic bullet, some protection from its beguiling power?
The word “deceive” means "to mislead by falsehood or to delude." A good deception is so compelling that people ARE conned by it. You may think you are seeing something really good when it is evil. If you think it is going to be easy or obvious, then it isn’t deceiving. Right? So many glibly think God will take care of them when the time comes. But if you haven’t learned to get into God’s presence and get fresh revelation from Him today, I doubt that, in that day, truth will just jump up and slap you in the face and say “Here is how you are being deceived.” Deception works like the frog in the heating pot of water – the frog gets used to the gradually increasing temperature until it is too late.
That being the case, it would make sense that there is some careful manipulation being done in the world to "muddy" our understanding of both the scriptures and world events as they happen. Because the end times prophecies are going to happen in this physical world, Satan will need to deceive Christians in their understanding of Bible prophecy or their application of it to the nations and events on the earth, or both. Therefore, we need to see with increasing clarity if there is political spin, media spin and even “Christian spin” in the information fed us.
Richards J. Heuer Jr. wrote about this common phenomenon in a 1979 article entitled, "Do You Really Need More Information?" He writes:
"Information that is consistent with our existing mindset is perceived and processed easily. However, since our mind strives instinctively for consistency, information that is inconsistent with our existing mental image tends to be overlooked, perceived in a distorted manner, or rationalized to fit existing assumptions and beliefs. Thus, new information tends to be perceived and interpreted in a way that reinforces existing beliefs."
People don’t want to be confused with the facts. They want to make the facts fit their preconceived notions. That is why it is so difficult to perceive the deception. We were born and raised to believe a certain way and few can think outside the box they were raised with.
- So how do we recognize deception? How do you recognize a counterfeit dollar bill? They teach bank tellers that the best way to recognize the counterfeit is to know what a real one looks and feels like. Below is a short checklist of how to avoid deception:
- Have a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ yourself. We are responsible for our own spiritual destiny – not depending upon a relative, a pastor, priest, church or program.
- Satan is the Prince of this world. This is his territory and he is the master deceiver! Expect the media, your leaders and others to lie.
- Don’t be afraid to question information and sources. We answer to and are accountable to God alone – not to any person in between. No one will be with us at the judgment seat of Christ.
- Read the Bible. Study prophecy and expect the Spirit to enlighten you.
- Be open to see what is happening in the institutional church. If we blindly accept what our Christian teachers tell us, we may be led astray.
- Be open in your mind and heart (because it is ultimately a spiritual matter requiring revelation). We need to have an open heart so God can reveal the truth to us from His Word – not the spun teachings of the establishment sold out to the world and the State. We must be careful whenever we are reading or listening to the professionals. This information is so important we shouldn’t assume we know it all. We had better take a fresh look ourselves instead of taking the “experts” word for it.
- It is not a sin to question our Christian leaders. Bereans were praised by the Apostle Paul for holding up what he said to Scripture. If anyone tells us otherwise, we must be very careful. These are not “God’s anointed” with a corner on the truth! We have access to the same Bible and the same Lord!
The Nature of Deception
In the last chapter of the Book of Daniel, it says twice that the words of the prophecy should be “sealed up and concealed until the end of the age.” Christians have been trying their best to determine the meaning of the prophetic books of the Bible but it will only be revealed to the generation with a “need to know.” Christian writers tried to interpret prophecy in terms of their historical, political and social context. It is easy to see how things could get off.
Many of them did not intentionally misinterpret the Bible but they were trying to make sense of prophecy before the time was right. This accounts for most of the things Christians have gotten wrong. Once modern scholars got a theory down, they began to teach it in Bible Colleges and Seminaries and then passed it on from one generation to the next. What may have begun as an honest mistake, turned into a full blown false teaching that was systematized, developed, justified and taught and retaught.
Other teachings which will be covered later began with a vision, a really great idea that caught on and was developed and passed on. One example of this is the pre-tribulation rapture theory which sprung from a young girl’s vision in the 19th Century.
The nature of deception is to get our eye off the ball, to divert our attention from the real intention of the Bible. God has revealed His ultimate intention throughout Scripture but each generation needs to take a fresh look and receive fresh revelation, not just rehash all that has been passed down. How could a Bible scholar living in the 17th, 18th or 19th Century have a clear picture of the geo-political map of the 21st Century? Where was the state of Israel? For that matter, where was the United States of America?
The first assumption is that honest men in past centuries tried to make sense out of prophetic scripture, but true understand comes only to that generation with a “need to know.” Meanwhile, their teachings were set in stone only to mislead subsequent generations. I would suggest that Christians be very careful. If something is commonly taught and accepted in churches today it may well be a part of the apostasy and deception of the last days. Question it. Ask the Lord to show you if these teachings are true or not. You are responsible – not the experts, not your pastor, not the writers of books, not the teachers you like so much.
The second assumption regarding deception is that once we are in the “last days” theories and interpretations will abound leading to a two-fold danger. One is that Christians will be led astray into false or erroneous teachings that distract them from the plain truth of prophecy. The other is that Christians will become discouraged with the “hope of His coming” and will just give up trying to understand. This has happened and scoffers have arisen declaring that this is not information we need to know. It is distracting from the here and now. It is complicated, confusing and divisive. Stay away from prophecy. When Jesus returns you will know it!
The fact of the matter is that end times prophecy is hardly mentioned in churches today. People don’t want to hear it and pastors don’t want to talk about it. And if they do, they are likely to be teaching what they were taught – teachings that have been passed down for the past hundred years or so and are accepted as true. Whether you believe in the pre-tribulation rapture or not, the net effect of that teaching on evangelical Christians who accept that teaching is that studying prophecy is interesting but not their problem since they leave before the tribulation really gets going.
I wrote this book 20 years ago and I am going to rewrite it because much has changed. The church has come a long way since then – down the slippery slope of apostasy. At the same time, Israel is becoming even more of a pariah state and is censured regularly by the United Nations. The U.S. is about to sign a treaty with Iran and the civil war in Syria continues. Terrorist threats abound. Civil liberties and the surveillance state in America grows as leaks reveal more abuses. Churches come under fire from the government for their narrow minded ways. The 501c3 non-profit status may be lost unless churches toe the party line. Preaching in Canada has become hate speech and it seems America may soon follow their lead. Government lies and deception is the order of the day.
If ever there was a need for critical thinking and revelation from God Himself, now is the time. We are bombarded by media, our televisions, computers, tablets, and cell phones. Our children are brainwashed with the new curriculum of choice. Our churches entertain and comfort us, preaching their pabulum week after week. America falls deeper into an economic malaise, the global economy falters and one hears the death rattle of global debt as fiat currency flounders.
The world careens toward the precipice while Christians ignore one third of the Bible – the prophetic scriptures dealing specifically with the last days. We ignore it at our own peril. As in the days of Joseph there were seven years of plenty for people to prepare for the seven years of famine. But today we see no preparation, no warnings shouted from the roof tops – only the sound of silence at least in the West while the rest of the church in the lesser developed regions of the earth has already entered their own tribulation.
The original book, “Recognizing Apostasy and Deception” was translated into several languages and spread all over the world, this new edition will cover new ground over the next few weeks.
Dene McGriff, Sacramento