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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 2

Great Deception

“And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:3-5.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things: And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” II Thessalonians 2:1-7.

Great deception will precede the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him. In fact, there has always been deception for those who love not the truth that they might be saved.

Many have already come in Christ’s name and deceived many. Matthew 7:22-23. Matthew 24:5. I Timothy 4:1. The mystery of iniquity has always worked in deception but has, in times past, been held back by divine restraint. II Thessalonians 2:7.

STRONG DELUSION

However there is a deception that is associated with and reaches its climax of delusion at the coming of Christ. This will take place when God removes his restraint and the mystery of iniquity is allowed to come forth in full manifestation. The release of this Satanic power is what brings to an end man’s day of grace. Jesus likened this day to the days of Noah when he said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” Matthew 24:37. Genesis 6:3.

Surely it is significant that both Jesus and Paul warn us about being deceived concerning the coming of Christ. It is evident the deception would have to do with Christ’s coming and the end of the age. It is also significant that both Jesus and Paul warned us of lying signs and wonders to be especially manifest before the coming of Christ. Matthew 24:24. II Thessalonians 2:9-12.

Jesus said that the deception would be so great that if it were possible it would deceive the very elect. Paul called it strong delusion. The deception will be so complete until all whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life will worship the anti-Christ beast. Revelation 13:8. According to II Thessalonians 2:10-12, all mankind who love not the truth that they might be saved will be sent strong delusion, believe the lie and be damned.

NUMEROUS

It is very plain that we have numerous forms or types of deception referred to by the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul. We might say the deception comes in two extremes with many variations in between to afford man a choice. One is the deception caused by the high sounding phrases of false teaching and the other is many lying signs and wonders including phenomena.

Knowing of the great deception associated with his coming and the end of the age, Jesus’ first concern was that we be not deceived. Before he began to deal with the question of how to recognize the signs of his coming he warns the disciples. “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Matthew 24:4-5.

Let me emphasize that Jesus said many -- not a few -- would come in his name and deceive many. He is actually speaking of those who will be preaching and saying that he (Jesus) is the Christ. The many false prophets (preachers, teachers) who will deceive many will be considered sound-in-the-faith preachers of Jesus Christ. They won’t be among the few religious quacks who have made all sorts of strange and foolish claims.

These false preachers have not appeared as false prophets to the many they have deceived. They, for the most part, are not counted among the modernists who deny the virgin birth and the atoning blood. Neither are they in the class of the Father Divines or other rank heretics who have claimed to be God.

In Paul’s warning to us concerning Christ’s coming and our gathering together unto him he said, “... be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means ....” II Thessalonians 2:2-3.

Whether we can realize it or not this is exactly what has happened. Most of our religious world is deceived on this question. God’s word spoken through many is being fulfilled. It is being fulfilled in more ways than most of us could possibly imagine. Great deception through false teaching and lying signs and wonders is on every hand. The end of the age and the coming of the Lord is, I fear, much nearer than we dare think.

UNPREPARED

Through this delusive work of Satan, religious mankind is almost totally unprepared for the things that are coming on the earth and the end of the age. By this I mean the final loosing of Satan, the coming of Christ and the end of this present world. The prophecies of Christ, Peter, Paul and the Old Testament prophets are being fulfilled. Matthew 24:37-39, II Peter 3:10, I Thessalonians 5:2-3, Malachi 4:1.

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