As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and WHAT will be the SIGN of your coming and the end of the age?”
Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many….and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” Matthew 24:3-11
When asked about the sign of His Return and the end of the age, Jesus, interestingly singled out DECEPTION on top of a whole list of signs. This should present us a BIG hint on what we ought to be on the lookout for. Much attention is placed upon the signs of wars, rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes and pestilences. And quiet obviously, these are very real signs that we will find hard to miss. Even just last week we witnessed the catastrophic underwater volcanic eruption that caused extreme devastation to the Pacific island of Tonga. However, many Christians may not be aware that the one sign that is already so rampant in the world and even in Christian circles, is DECEPTION and is already causing so much spiritual casualties and devastation. The thing about deception, unlike all the other signs, is that we can protect ourselves against it. We can learn to deception-proof ourselves in the last days, so that we will not be deceived like the rest of the world. We cannot protect ourselves should we be hit by a super-tsunami or a magnitude-9 earthquake, but we can protect ourselves against deception. What is deception? Deception is the act of making someone believe something that is not true. It is an issue of “truth” versus “lies”. So, to deception-proof ourselves we must be so familiar with what is truth. What is truth? TRUTH is God’s revelation of who He is, what He feels about sin and how to deal with sin and overcome it. And all of Scriptures contain these revelations. Paul declared, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:17 False teachers always twist Scriptures and claim that God has spoken to them and revealed to them a new way of understanding the Scriptures. A current example is the “hyper-grace” teachers that claim that New Testament believers are not more under the law and only under grace, that the ten commandments are irrelevant for New Covenant believers. This is a “spiritual tsunami” that if believed will destroy our Christian faith. We must be extremely cautious whenever we come across such “revolutionary” teachings. Do you own research and diligent study of Scriptures to see if what is being taught is sound and accurate? Some Christians today simply take a pastor’s teaching hook, line and sinker without taking time to examine the Scriptures for themselves. This is especially so when the preacher/teacher is a very famous person and also a very powerful and good communicator. This sets them up for deception. Be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11, “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great earnestness and EXAMINED the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Can you imagine that? They did not even take the apostle Paul’s teaching without scrutinizing it further for themselves. If you want to deception-proof yourself in these last days, you need to do your own “home-work” like the Bereans and not be lazy. PRAY: Lord, I acknowledge that deception will be rampant in the last days. Therefore, I will devote myself to serious, diligent and systematic study of the Scriptures. I will saturate myself with sound doctrine and truth that has been passed down to me through the ages by faithful men of integrity and learning. Help me not to be naïve and too “trusting” of strange and new doctrines without careful examination. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Rev. Timothy Chow