Showing posts with the label Deceivers

Preaching a Different Gospel

Paul’s Letter to the Galatians begins with a stern warning. What some believers were contemplating amounted to replacing the true Gospel with a false one. To turn from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” to circumcision and other “ works of the law ” as the basis for justification meant abandoning the Gospel preached by Paul and the other Apostles. And there is a lesson here for all followers of Jesus, a warning of the dangers posed by any deviation from the apostolic tradition.

In His Church

In the New Testament, the term “ Antichrist ” occurs only in the second and third letters of John, and the Apostle applies the plural noun to deceivers that are causing dissension and spreading false teachings in his congregations, not to world political figures. And such “ antichrists ” in the church constitute irrefutable evidence that the “ Last Days ” are underway. These troublemakers are manifestations of the “ Spirit of Antichrist ,” and forerunners of the “ Antichrist ” who is yet to come.

Key Predicted Events

The New Testament warns the disciples of Jesus about several things that will characterize the period between his first and second comings, ones that will intensify as the end approaches. They include a great many deceivers that will infiltrate the church along with deception, apostasy, the rise of an especially significant deceiver just prior to the end, and Satan’s final assault on the church.

Rumors and Disinformation

D isinformation about the return of Jesus is causing alarm among some believers .  In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul addresses rumors and even claims that the “ Day of the Lord has set in ." False information and incorrect expectations about his “ arrival ” at the end of the age are disrupting the assembly. Moreover, this false information is being attributed by some either to a “ spirit ,” word ( logos ), or a letter “ as if from ” the Apostle Paul and his coworkers.

Preaching Another Jesus

When certain “ super-apostles ” began to undermine his teachings and question his apostolic authority, Paul reminded believers in Corinth that the “ Serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness .” He warned against anyone who might appear among them, “ Proclaiming another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or a different spirit, or a different Gospel .” The Assembly must not deviate from the original message taught by the Apostles.

Howling Imposters

The final block of teaching by Jesus given on the Mount of Olives includes several warnings about coming “ deceivers ,” “ false messiahs ,” and “ false prophets ,” men and women who are intent on misleading the saints. And these warnings are reiterated and expanded in the writings of the Apostles. The Lord’s ‘Olivet Discourse’ opens with a stern warning to “ beware lest anyone deceive you .” For that matter, “ MANY ” deceivers will come and succeed at “ deceiving MANY .” Deception in the church is NOT a minor problem.

The Spirit of Antichrist

The Antichrist is viewed as a political tyrant intent on world domination in many interpretations. Whether this proves to be true, Jesus and his Apostles expressed more concern about the deceivers who will ply their trade in the Assembly. Where the term Antichrist is found, it is applied to false teachers who were infiltrating the Body of Christ, distorting apostolic teachings, and raising false expectations about the future. The “ Spirit of Antichrist ” manifests itself in deceivers, false prophets, and their deceptive activities.

The False One(s!)

The presence of false teachers in the church demonstrates that we are in the last days, and the last hour is almost upon us . In his first epistle, John declares it is the last hour, a period elsewhere called the “ last days .” As evidence of this, he points to the false teachers that are disrupting his churches. They are products and instruments of the “ Spirit of Antichrist ” that is active already in the world. And these same deceivers are forerunners of the final “ Antichrist ” who is yet to come.

Stand Fast!

After explaining the coming “ Apostasy ” and “ Man of Lawlessness ,” Paul instructs believers on how to avoid the coming deception and thereby find themselves standing “ blameless ” before Jesus when he “ arrives .” They must “ stand fast ” by adhering to the teachings and “ traditions ” of the Apostles. The conclusion to his discussion includes verbal links to his first letter to the Thessalonians. The second letter was written within a few weeks or months at the most of the first letter.