Let No One Deceive You
Love in the Time of Lawlessness
Bruce D. Curtis, MA, M.Div. ©2017
* * *
For the Bond-servants of God
And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately, saying: “Tell us when these things will be and what the sign [semeion] of thy coming and of the completion of the age?” And answering, Jesus said to them: “See ye that not anyone may deceive you. For many will come on the basis [upon] my name saying: I am the Christ and will deceive many.” “And many false prophets will rise and deceive many.” “Then if anyone says to you ‘Behold, here is the Christ, or Here’: do not believe; for false Christs will be raised and false prophets and they will give great signs and wonders, so as to deceive [planaō], if possible, even the Elect. (Matt. 24:3-5, 11, 23-24, emphasis added)
But I fear lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your thoughts may be seduced from the simplicity and purity in regard to Christ. For if indeed another one coming proclaims a Jesus whom we did not proclaim, or you receive a different spirit which you did not receive, or a different gospel which you did not receive, you bear it well. . . . For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore, it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their deeds. (2 Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15, emphasis added)
And He says to me: “Seal not the words of the prophecy of this scroll for the time is at hand. The one acting unjustly, let him act unjustly still, and the filthy one, let him act filthily still, and the righteous one let him do righteousness still and the holy one let him be made h0ly still.” (Revelation 22:11)
* * *
What a strange statement in the context of New Testament scripture that speaks of snatching one’s brother out of the fire, and of encouraging one another; and here we see the admonition to let each one do as they will, since the world’s testing is upon it. We are simply not exhorted to convince others to change their course: it is as a fait accompli.
Herein lies the challenge before the world: to choose the light or the darkness, the feit or the counterfeit. Reality or illusion? What kind of a trial would it be if everything were plain and discernible by the fleshly mind? That would make John’s statement in 1 John 4:1 somewhat irrelevant, viz.
Believe not every spirit whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone forth into the world.
It is not enough to judge by the flesh, and indeed, Paul confessed that he judged no man by the flesh, implying that only the spirit is the right basis of assessment.
The times are come upon us, and as an observer of the spiritual marketplace for more than forty years, this writer can say without question that the proliferation of pseudoprophetai is nothing short of stunning; more accurately: alarming! How can the average person without the ability to discern spirits possibly steer clear of seductive voices and teachings, what Paul called teachings of demons?
Is it any wonder that in the passage from Matthew above that Christ is shown using the verb planaō three times, and one even in reference to the Elect? No it is not. Can the Elect be deceived? It must be if Christ saw fit to mention it. 3 times: Divine emphasis.
Now several internet postings from more than one commentator have indicated that the world has had the translation incorrect in Matthew 24:4 and that in reality disciples should make sure not to mislead anyone. But isn’t that like a bit mistrustful of the Elect who were chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world? How could they mislead unless they had been misled; deceive unless they had been deceived?
Let’s analyze the parts of speech at Matthew 24:4 to show that this simple sentence had always been translated correctly. It is that important and we ought to get it right.
Blepete – Present imperative, Active 2nd person plural ‘See you’ (pl.)
Mē – Adverb, ‘lest’ or ‘not’
Tis – Interrogative pronoun, present masc singular ‘anyone’
Humas – Personal pronoun, 2nd person plural accusative case, ‘you’
Planēsē – Aorist subj. active verb, 3rd person singular, ‘may deceive’
Simple fidelity to Greek rules of grammar requires the subject of a verb to agree with the verb in person and number. Here the singular verb only agrees with Tis, which is an interrogative pronoun, and the plural pronoun “you” [humas] is in the accusative case which is mandatory for the direct object of a verb. Thus, ‘you’ is the object of the verb.
There is no other ordering of words possible in Greek than to say something like the following: “See you, lest [not] anyone might deceive you.” Mislead is another suitable rendering of the word planēsē and it indicates the result of deception, lead off the track.
Isn’t this consistent with the admonition a few verses later that even the Elect might be deceived, and since the disciples are counted in that number, appropriate to keep emphasizing the danger to them?
And again the time is upon us. If anyone were to ask you the reason why you are expecting Christ to return in these days, isn’t this a solid piece of evidence from His own words? Yes, we had false prophets in the first millennium and a half, with Mohammed and Shabbetai Zvi topping the charts. And then came the Enlightenment, and we got the Millerites with E.G. White, and also Joseph Smith, and Ba’haullah, et al.
But now we have a true smorgasbord of deception. Everyone wants the glory of the prophet’s mantle, the recognition, the following, and in the spirit of Balaam – in the words of Jude – the money as well. Yes, the internet is a veritable job board which supports “prophecy for hire.” How sad then, that Christians generally don’t have the ability to discern servants of Christ from pseudoprophetai. If they knew the voice and the words of the Logos better, it would be a veritable piece of cake.
Now to speak as if sent by Christ, when not actually sent, is to take up His name in vain, it is to seize an office, to storm the kingdom by violence, and it is to threaten to kill babes in Christ. It is a lethal, ruthless, lawless occupation, and if there will be any hell to pay on the part of folks in the marketplace of religion, it will be amongst these folks.
Woe to those who speak in God’s name without being sent. Hear Ezekiel:
The word of the YHWH came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of YHWH!’ Thus says the Lord YHWH, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like jackals among ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up into the breaches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of YHWH. They have seen false visions and lying divinations. They say, ‘Declares YHWH,’ when YHWH has not sent them, and yet they expect him to fulfill their word. Have you not seen a false vision and uttered a lying divination, whenever you have said, ‘Declares YHWH,’ although I have not spoken?” Therefore thus says the Lord YHWH: “Because you have uttered falsehood and seen lying visions, therefore behold, I am against you, declares the Lord YHWH. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord YHWH. (Ez. 13:1-9, emphasis added)
Have they no fear of YHWH? That is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). They will certainly be humbled in the day of YHWH.
As for the sheep who are lost and are listening for the voice of the Shepherd, they need to hearken more closely and discern the spirits to avoid the pitfalls of our time.
The prophecy is from the Lord Himself, maker of heaven and earth. He said many false prophets will go forth. He warned not to be deceived. Do you believe Him? Or do you believe the traditions of men? Do you believe flashy shows, large meetings, followings, proud and haughty talk, popularity with the masses?
That would be the wrong choice, for Jesus said his disciples would be hated for the sake of His Name. When have any of these falsely charismatic ministers of deception, what Paul calls pseudoapostoloi, when have any of them really sought to help you find your way to Christ the Good Shepherd? They want you to stop with them and shop with them until you drop with them. They don’t care. They will say anything, and do anything until they have not only your money but your soul. But they won’t leave Christ with the ultimate dominion. They want lordship.
Buy these books, buy these CDs, buy these overpriced survival supplies. Step aside here and sample my wares. They are daughters of Babylon – harlots of the Harlot (Rev. 17). They will tantalize with all many of interesting factoids and so-called accumulated knowledge with which they hope to wow you, but in the end, they will lead you away from Christ, away from the simplicity and purity toward Christ, and deep into their own lawlessness and disregard for the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Oh, we don’t spread fear, we just want folks to be prepared.” Right. How can such images which portray a very strong Adversary and an absentee master, Christ, possibly do other than to fill young lambs with fear? It is not possible, and they design it to do so, to incite fear so they will come to the ministers of deception to buy their goods. Is Christ oblivious to the adversary’s plan and does He have to struggle, or is He in control?
Woe unto them who make my Father’s House a house of merchandise!
No excuse. The charge is from the Lord who knows each man’s heart; nowhere to hide.
The simple question remains to Christians, how can one follow this command of Christ, obey His imperative, if they cannot discern the spirits?
This is worthy of reflection, because it involves the love of the truth, and the humility to know that we truly depend upon God’s grace and His guidance to protect us from our own foolishness, and even more so from our own desire – our desire to add more, to put our stamp on things, to lift ourselves up, and in our pride to show that we know, that we are capable, that we can fight these battles. (See Dan. 7:25)
And the simple answer to all of that hogwash is: No!
“Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, saith YHWH of Hosts.” (Zech. 4:6)
And there it is. It is pride and ambition and the love of the work of one’s hands – to be read including knowledge and ideas – that eclipses devotion to Christ and leads to devotion to knowledge of the world, knowledge of what one does, knowledge of what the Adversary is planning. And suddenly Eternal Life is slipping away. How can that be?
And this is eternal life that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
How then can it be that there is time to learn so much about the so-called giants, about the plans of Babylon, about how to cast out demons WITHOUT using the Name of Jesus Christ? There goes the time which the Lord asked you to set apart to get to know Him and the Father. Oh well, there goes growth into the Head which is Christ.
To use a commonly understood metaphor from today’s agricultural controversy: what kind of food will you produce if you apply copious amounts of chemicals on your crops? Poisonous food; and Dr. Sherry Rogers, MD wrote many books about the cancer causing effect of chemical agriculture.
So why in spiritual matters are Christians so at ease to consume McDonalds’ Big Mac theology and spirituality, toxic chemicals galore, and Round-up, by going to the agents of the adversary for spiritual food, raised on the fertilizer of demons?
In these days of internet information at your fingertips it is easy to do ‘due diligence’ on Satan’s ministers by examining their teachings, looking at the company they keep, their wealth, and many other factors which reveal the fruits of their corrupted hearts. Why not look at the experience of other Christians? But first and foremost: LOOK AT THEIR GOSPEL. That is the key which Paul gave, and Christians refuse to use it, or make excuses, to defend people they do not know, for no justifiable reason.
If people do not love the truth and are not willing to sacrifice their cherished hopeful feelings and ideas about people and things, i.e. about the creation, rather than trusting in the Creator and clinging to His love and knowledge first, then they will receive the end they deserve, the end which Paul prophesied to the church at Thessaloniki.
Let not anyone deceive you by any means [or: in any manner]; because unless the apostasy [falling away] comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, the one setting against and exalting himself over everything called God or object of worship, so as to sit in the temple of God, showing himself to be God. Do you not remember that while yet with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know the thing restraining him to be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work: only there is the one restraining just now until he comes out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord Jesus will destroy by the spirit of His mouth and bring to nothing by the brightness of His coming, of whom his coming is according to the operation of Satan with all power and signs and wonders of a lie and with every deceit of unrighteousness in the ones perishing, because they received not the love of the truth, for them to be saved. And therefore God sends to them a working of deception so they should believe the lie, in order that all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:3-12, emphasis added)
So what should that mean in the lead up to the great “falling away?” Would not believers expect to see lawlessness growing, deception growing, and the digging in of heels because people simply don’t love the truth enough to sacrifice their own cherished beliefs for the sake of their Lord?
This is precisely what they see because it is obvious that people know what they like because they like what they know. Which is to say: people mold reality to fit what they want to believe. No need to search out the truth, they already know it all and are proud of it. Christ is their meal ticket and guarantee free of any obligation. If Christ is loyal why should we have to be? And we now have a foundation for the gospel of lawlessness.
And you can bet in the days of Elijah, preparatory to Christ’s return, he will straighten out that road. The gospel will be restored even if people rail against it – especially against the obedience of the gospel.
What should really beat the drum of urgency today for people is the prophetic understanding that if they DON’T love the truth enough to diligently search it out, it will be too late when the Man appears, that SOP [son of perdition], because it will be God Himself who will place the veil of delusion upon the “comfortable in Zion” and they will fall like flies to the Lord of the Flies. And that energeia will compel disobedience.
The unrighteousness which the faux Church, faux Israel of the latter days assumed to be their free excuse for loose conduct, will verily be their undoing and they will perish in that unrighteousness.
If He has called you to be a fisher of men, then it is time “to fish or cut bait.”
If you have not hearkened to His voice then just eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you will die.
This passage in Thessalonians is hyper critical in this discussion because it decisively denies the foundation for a pre-tribulation rapture. Thus, in itself it is a key to open up the door to the synagogue of Satan, the members of which are lurking in the dark promoting this false idea of a pre-tribulation rapture so the church will be caught unawares and possibly mistake the anti-Christ for the Christ. So it will come to pass. And whether it is Tim Lahaye or L A Marzulli, they are all circling around the body like vultures to eat the flesh of the lean sheep. Fat sheep devouring lean sheep was the metaphor used by Ezekiel in chapter 34. And these wealthy servants of the adversary know no bounds in their eager covetousness and inner ardour for dominion. It is the fire of the adversary all over again (Ezek 28).
When will the Israel of God, the circumcised of heart, wake up and hear what the Lord has said to them? Come out of her, my people. Babylon will drink your blood and devour your soul.
Thus, in the period leading up to the opening of the seven seals on the scroll which the Lamb receives, we should expect the shadow of the coming apostasy. That is, we ought to expect many false prophets to go with the myriads more to come.
It is like the image of Neo in Matrix, where the agent of the system, Smith, begins to multiply, first one Smith, then two, then 2o, then hundreds, then thousands, as perfect fractal replicas of the Smith.
Few know that the Wachovsky brothers used Isaiah 54:16 as a reference for this character in the film, as it appeared on a license plate in one sequence.
“Behold, I Myself have created the smith who blows the fire of coals And brings out a weapon for its work; And I have created the destroyer to ruin.” (Isa. 54:16)
These “Smiths” who are set in opposition to the “Neos,” the new man inside, are fanning the coals for the destruction of those who cannot go through the ‘fiery restoration’ which Elijah portends, i.e. the apokatastasis. It is through fire that God will restore the purified unity of the kingdom. So now is the preferred time to put the deceivers in their place, in the fiery refuse heap of Gehenna [Heb. Ge-hinnom] where they will be reduced to ash. Go instead with the fiery passion of simplicity and purity toward Christ Jesus.
So what in the world does all of this prophecy have to do with Love in our time, and how is love related to this lawlessness?
The epitome of the Law, the Torah, is Love: love for God and love for our neighbor as our self. It is Love and Law that are inextricably linked by Christ Himself in the Matthew 24 passage, in a verse not quoted above, and it is this, verses 12-13:
Because lawlessness shall be increased, the love of the many shall grow cold. But the one remaining steadfast to the end, this one will be saved.
Yes, Law is the expression of Love; that is how it looks in society, in the kingdom, in community, in the temple with God. It is Love.
In the time of lawlessness, Love looks like rebellion against the adversary’s Man, against the son of perdition, against the kingdom of darkness. In the time of lawlessness, Love is the perfect remedy and it is those who remain in this love, under trial, hypmonē, who will be saved. Those who remain steadfast in Christ, loyal, continuing to walk in His ways under persecution, need to love enough to sound the alarm on false prophets
Is this not the word of perseverance or endurance we are to “keep” and not only to preach? Yes it is. Of this word James spoke long ago – long before would-be prophets of our time – and confirmed John’s words to the church of Philadelphia:
Blessed is the man who endures trial [hypomonē], for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which He promised to the ones loving Him. (James 1:12, compare Rev. 3:10-11)
Love is the only antidote in the time of lawlessness, and each of the apostles and prophets whose records are written here attest to that. Love for the truth, love for God, and love for neighbor, are the keys to victory for all who pass this way at this time.
Let not anyone deceive you – there is no power, no technique, no knowledge of the world that can substitute for faith, hope and love. The Spirit of God, the name of Jesus Christ, the knowledge of Most High and His Beloved, these are the substance to stand on in the time of trial during the days of lawlessness, not by might, nor by power. Love in the time of lawlessness is to stand up for little ones and point out the dangers of the ministers of deception who serve the adversary and steer little lambs subtly away from Christ and all of His blessings.
He who is faithful is calling you. Do NOT listen to other voices telling you they have another way, even if they use His name in their teaching. Of course, they will disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness, for Satan, their father, does the same. Be not deceived, the grace of God is sufficient for us and the voice of the Shepherd is leading us into the sheep fold. Do not go up another way. Cleave to the Lord and He will lead you.