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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 18

Non-Miraculous Lying Signs and Wonders

Those who are deceived by signs and wonders coming forth as religious phenomena may be very much in the minority compared to those who are deceived by a far more subtle form of lying signs and wonders. The fact is many in this group discount the miraculous for today saying these things passed away with the apostles and the early Church. Many belonging to this group have been taught to believe that only the ignorant and the superstitious believe in the miraculous for today.

Knowing these things, Satan’s approach to these people is according to their own mental apprehension. The criteria or basis for their deception cannot be considered miraculous in the usual sense. The identity of these lying signs may come as a shock to many since they are not generally recognized as such. Some will utterly reject such charges thinking it is foolish and ridiculous to suggest such a thing. Truly they are lying signs and wonders.

SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY

The first lying sign that I wish to consider is false spiritual prosperity. Many believe that large numbers of church members, financial prosperity and great building programs are a sign of divine approval. To the Laodicean Church the Lord said, “Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17.

Although many Bible scholars agree this scripture is typical of and points to much of the church world in our day, very few would apply it to their own church. I agree that it does apply to much of the present day church world and is a true picture of their spiritual destitution. Yet they are deceived by their apparent success into thinking they have need of nothing.

Their worldly affluence and success had become to the Laodicean Church a lying sign. Is this not true of many today who have put millions of dollars into beautiful buildings, gathered large affluent congregations, and think they are doing many wonderful works? It cannot be denied that this has come to be a criterion or sign to many that God is with them.

Once again we have a condition that has developed as a result of wrong and over-emphasis. The minds of the people have been well prepared for this deception through development of a false sense of spiritual value. Ambitious church leaders have brainwashed the people into believing that the sacrifice of their dollars, labor and lives to build great religious empires is man’s sacred duty.

Recently I talked with members of two widely divergent groups and both of them pointed to their phenomenal growth and prosperity as proof positive that God was with them. Yet each of them considered the other as heretics. This is more or less typical of all religious bodies whose main goals are beautiful buildings and large numbers.

Success in these things is not a sign at all that God’s blessings are upon a group. Further, it becomes a lying sign to those who believe in this instead of vital Christianity which is often poor and destitute materially by comparison. Hebrews 11:37. Worldly affluence and success is the hallmark of Babylon, the great whore. This is the way she glorifies herself in the eyes of the world. Revelation 18:7.

ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT

The worldwide sentiment for church union by all supposed Christian religious bodies is another great lying sign. The fact is there has been a merger already of several groups with millions of members and the effort continues. Even the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England are countenancing the movement. The Pope said on his visit to the United States that what the United Nations was trying to do in the field of government, the Roman Catholic Church was trying to do in the spiritual.

Many hail the ecumenical movement as the fulfillment of Christ’s prayer. John 17:21. A casual reading of this chapter will plainly show that Christ’s prayer had true believers in mind and not apostate religious organizations. Unbelievers, regardless of their lip confession of Christianity, have no part nor lot in Christ’s prayer. Now, as always, there is only a remnant within the confines of the whole that are true blood-washed children of God. It is this remnant that Christ prayed might be made one even as he and the Father are one.

Most of humanity who make any claim to Christianity are still part of the world by spirit and by practice. Their profession hasn’t changed their hearts. They are equally at home in their religious organizations or the world. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is not for these professors of Christianity. Notice verses 6 and 9. Jesus specifically said he was not praying for the world but for those the Father gave him out of the world. “... I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me; for they are thine.”

It is my belief there is a true move of the Spirit based upon the Word of God that is at work to bring together out of the many divisions of religious Babylon this true remnant of God’s elect. Revelation 18:4. Jesus’ prayer will be answered concerning this true elect number. However, the labor and activity of the apostate ecumenical movement cannot be correlated with the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer.

This move of apostate Christianity getting together is, in fact, confirmed by the Bible itself Although many scriptures point to this false move of the Spirit, Isaiah 4:1 pictures this union in symbolical but plain language. “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”

These seven women represent the whole of apostate Christendom. Seven is the number of completeness. Woman is a type of the church. In this instance it is the false church because of the obvious spiritual state of these seven women. In their divided condition they realize they are a reproach in the eyes of the world. This is also true of the present day ecumenical movement. There is no justification for division within the Church of Jesus Christ. The desire of the seven women for union was to take away this reproach. There was, however, a condition to this unity -- they would continue to eat their own bread and wear their own apparel. The bread speaks of doctrine and the apparel is a type of righteousness. In this case it meant their doctrine and their righteousness, not God’s.

These seven women had no real desire for true inward change. They were completely satisfied with their bread and apparel. They wanted the respect and honor of outward union under the one name, but cared not for truth, nor Christ’s righteousness. This is also true of the apostate ecumenical movement today. Of course the one they will take hold of in quest for honor and respectability is supposed to represent Christ. This is the name they supposedly unite under. But instead of taking hold of Christ it will be Anti-Christ. This, I believe, is what the scriptures teach will happen concerning apostate Christianity before the coming of Christ. It is taking place now and those who are part of it think it is wonderful. It is another lying sign and wonder that millions believe in with all their heart.

RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

The belief in and apparent fulfillment of many scriptures supposedly relative to the restoration of Israel is, I believe, one of Satan’s masterpieces of deception. Most of the organized church world accept without question the contention that the Bible is now being fulfilled in the restoration of the nation Israel. If this belief in the return of the natural Jew to Palestine is not what they say the scriptures teach for these last days, then what we are observing and hearing about truly is a lying sign.

None can deny this is looked upon as a sign by most of the church world. I dare say millions of books, magazines and articles are written and sermons preached pointing to this as the sign of the soon coming of Jesus Christ. Old and New Testament scriptures are interpreted as having reference to the return of the Jew. If this is not the sign they say it is then it is indeed a lying sign.

It is true this doctrine was believed and taught many years before its supposed fulfillment today in the return of the Jew to Palestine. But it is also true that God often permits Satan to confirm his false doctrine, which in itself becomes a lying sign. As brought out elsewhere, we have been warned about being deceived on this very issue of Christ’s coming.

The corrupted desire of a man for a carnal, materialistic fulfillment of a mythical golden age is, no doubt, the spiritual force that begot this doctrine to begin with. Literalization and misapplication of scriptures that have its fulfillment in spiritual Israel, the Church, rather than the natural Jew became the basis for some of this teaching. I believe it is simply another expression of the spirit that was manifested at the tower of Babel. Dr. George B. Fletcher has this interesting comment on its origin:

THE ORIGIN OF PRE-MILLENNIALISM

In many nations and religions there appears the idea, in some form or other, of a golden age. This expectation is due to God’s Revelation, for as soon as sin had come into the world, hope was given in the promise of ultimate victory (Genesis 3:15). In the various religions of the pagan world there seems to be an echo of this hope. But there is something very interesting about this golden-age expectation; namely that the farther men get away from God’s truth, the more carnal and materialistic this hope becomes. The history of Israel as a nation also illustrated this fact. After centuries of servitude in Egypt and forty years of wandering in the wilderness, they looked upon Canaan as the land of rest and promise. From Hebrews 4 that appears as a mistake. That was not the rest promised to God’s people. Only those who were of faith within the nation looked for a city whose builder and maker was God, and desired a better country, that is, an heavenly (Hebrews 11:10, 16). Later after seventy years of captivity, the captives in Babylon cry, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy” (Psalm 137:5, 6). The earthly Jerusalem had plainly become their chief joy, and the hope of Israel had become the restoration of their land, city, and temple.

Chiliasm, or pre-millennialism in its simple form originated in the Jewish Apocalyptic writings of the inter-Biblical period, of which the following quotation is a sample from the Apocalypse of Baruch:

“The earth will yield its fruit ten-thousand fold, on each vine there will be a thousand branches, and each branch will produce a thousand grapes, each grape will produce a cor of wine, and those that have hungered will rejoice” (XXIX: 4-6).

The idea of a millennial reign on earth proceeded from Judaism, for “among the Jews the representation was growing, that the Messiah would reign a thousand years upon earth. Such products of Jewish imagination passed over into Christianity” (Neander’s, “History of Christian Dogmas,” Vol 1, P. 248.) (The Millennium, What it is Not and What it Is, Dr. George B. Fletcher).

Although Jesus referred to numerous things that will take place and precede his coming he makes no mention of Israel being restored. The teaching that the fig tree in the parable of Matthew 24:32-33 has reference to Israel’s restoration is ridiculous in view of Luke’s reference which adds all trees to the parable. Luke 21:29-33. If the budding of the fig tree is Israel being restored then “all trees” would mean all nations are going to be restored. Of course, this line of reasoning would be rejected by those who say the fig tree represents Israel.

A casual study of these scriptures and their context will show that it was false Christs, false prophets, false signs and wonders and the great tribulation to be followed immediately by darkened sun and moon that Jesus was talking about. As the budding leaves of the fig and all trees herald the coming of summer, these signs herald the coming of Christ. This is what Jesus was teaching. There are no scriptures dealing with Christ’s coming that point to the restoration of Israel as a sign.

Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul taught the same thing relative to Christ’s coming. Matthew 24 and II Thessalonians 2. Both warned us about false signs and wonders and being deceived by false prophets. Neither points to Israel restored as a sign. I believe this re-gathering of the Jew to earthly Jerusalem is one of Satan’s greatest lying signs and wonders.

WORLD UNION

The world today is a restless sea of troubled humanity that defies solution. More and more the spirit of the age is toward world union. World leaders say we must get together or perish. This new manifestation is simply an expression of the same spirit of Anti-Christ that has come forth in all previous world powers that tried to make the world one.

Whereas many previous world powers tried to make the world one by military conquest, this last effort will be done by political genius. With the threat of annihilation by nuclear power, the argument for world union is more convincing than ever before. Surely the handwriting is on the wall and world leaders know this. Another war between the major powers would be a world catastrophe. To man without God, world union seems to be the only answer.

After World War I, there was a move in the direction of world union through the League of Nations. This eventually failed as the memory of that war grew dimmer and the nations got busy with their own domestic affairs. After World War II the spirit of world union was revived and came forth again in its present form called the United Nations. At the present time there are over one hundred nations belonging to the United Nations. All the major powers except Red China belong and sentiment for Red China’s admission is growing every year. [Since the writing of this article, as everyone knows, Red China has been admitted to the United Nations.] The United Nations could very well become the super world government that will cause all the world to wonder after the beast and say, “... Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” Revelation 13:3-4.

The hope of a united world under one system of government is, I believe, another lying sign. It is just another hopeless illusion that unbelieving man is turning to instead of God. Although it will temporarily succeed and be hailed as the world’s saviour it will fail in the end as all other world empires have.

The spirit behind world union is the same spirit motivating church union. They will, in fact, be joined together again even as Imperial Rome married the apostate church under the reign of Constantine. I believe this is what we have in Revelation 17, where the great whore is seen riding upon the back of the scarlet colored beast.

The reason world union will be such a great lying sign is because the whole world will be affected in its desperate search for peace. Although mankind does not want the Prince of Peace, he desires peace and safety from war, famine and disease. In his carnal materialistic-oriented way of life these are the things that seem important to him. When at long last he thinks he has succeeded through world union he will indeed be deceived by earth’s greatest lying sign. This is why the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.” I Thessalonians 5:2-3.

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