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The Last Days Of The World XXVI

 Matthew 24:23-25, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”

If you thought we were cooking with gasoline up to this point, buckle up; we’re about to go fishing with hand grenades. This is where I’m going to lose some of you. This is where the angry retorts will likely commence, but as I’ve said in the past, being a Christian does not mean you forfeit your critical thinking skills or that you can ignore large swaths of Scripture just because doing so makes us more at ease or comfortable. It's crucial to engage with the text and understand its deeper meaning.

While everything that can be shaken is being shaken, while men’s hearts are failing them from fear and the expectation of those things that are coming upon the earth, the enemy and his minions will be up to their old tricks. It’s not as though they decided to take a break or downshift their aggression; rather, they will amplify it. In addition to false prophets and false christs rising up, Jesus warns that this new iteration will show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Some have taken those words to mean that the elect are beyond being deceived. If this is the case, then either the disciples He was speaking to were not part of the elect or Jesus was being inconsistent. He began His discourse by saying take heed that no one deceives you, and He was speaking to His disciples.

I know. Logic and rational thinking. It hurts, momma, it hurts.

We know that Jesus wasn’t being inconsistent. He is Lord, not some fledgling politician vying for votes telling people what they want to hear. We likewise know that His disciples were part of the elect, chosen by Christ and appointed by Him to go and bear fruit. If they were not part of the elect yet were going out trying to preach the gospel, thereby making disciples who would become elect, it would be akin to a vegan trying to sell steak door to door. When asked if the beef was tender or if the ribeye had enough marbling, the people they were trying to convince would be met with a blank stare and an admission that they didn’t know because they were vegan. Although they occasionally had a soy burger, they couldn’t offer an opinion on the beef.

John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.”

So, how do we explain this supposed paradox? How can we make sense of Jesus warning His disciples to take heed that no one deceives them, then read ‘to deceive, if possible, even the elect’ in the same discourse a handful of verses later?

Glad you asked.

The key to proper understanding is to view the entire discourse regarding the signs of His coming through a chronological prism. First, many would come in His name claiming they were the Christ, deceiving many. Then, many false prophets would rise up and deceive many. Finally, false christs and false prophets would rise up, showing great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. So what happened between false prophets rising up and deceiving many, and false christs and false prophets showing great signs and wonders no longer being able to deceive?

By this third and final wave of deception that would crash against the household of faith, those who remain are battle-tested and battle-hardened. These will be the grizzled veterans of spiritual warfare on a scale the world has yet to see. They will have been betrayed by family and friends, brothers and sisters, threatened, maligned, imprisoned, persecuted, and hated; they will have resisted both deception and deceivers, and their faith remained intact.

The lukewarm will have long since distanced themselves from Christ and the cross, those clinging to aberrant teaching will have already succumbed to deception, being dragged into the deep as though by quicksand, and those who remain steadfast and true will have the scars to prove their faithfulness.

By this point, they’ve seen it all, endured it all, and watched repeated iterations of false christs and false prophets rise up to deceive many. They’ve learned to be ever vigilant, aware of the devil’s schemes and devices. Neither signs nor wonders will sway them, for they will be fully established in truth and will have sanctified the Lord in their hearts. Those who remain will not spend endless hours riffling through the Word hoping to find an excuse for their compromise and duplicity; rather, they will be fully committed to enduring to the end and trusting in the providence of God to see them through. If it were not possible to be deceived, as some claim, why would Jesus instruct His disciples to take heed that no one deceived them?

It’s not that believers are beyond being deceived if they do not remain in Christ and make the Word of God their one and true foundation, but by this point, they will have become immune to the wiles of the devil, even when he introduces great signs and wonders into the mix. They will have become inoculated against it, and the enemy’s plans will fall flat. There is no curve ball the enemy could throw that could blindside those who endure to the end, and there are no works he could perform, including signs and wonders, to draw them away from the truth of Christ and what He said.

There’s a saying that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled is to convince the world he doesn’t exist. Perhaps the second greatest trick he ever pulled was convincing Christians that they couldn’t be deceived or were above being deceived.

If it were impossible for the devil to deceive believers, he would’ve given up on the scheme long ago. If the constant barrage of false doctrine, teaching, teachers, prophets, and christs showed no return on his initial investment, the devil would have gone on to some other plot or scheme. The reason it persists and continues to this day is because it works, it’s effective, and twice during the last days, before the third attempt fails utterly, Jesus warns that many will be deceived.

One doesn’t have to search far to see the depth and width of deception currently blanketing the Christian world. You have major denominations who once held to the tenets of the faith, encouraging, validating, and celebrating all manner of evil and aberrant behavior, with supposed leaders demonizing and vilifying those who would dare to affirm that murdering babies while in their mother’s womb is evil and sinful. None of these people see themselves as deceived, although they are, and if anyone dares to broach the topic, they’ll be quick to insist that the elect is beyond being deceived. Ergo, since they consider themselves to be elect, they can’t be deceived in their own eyes. Circular logic at its finest, but wholly unbiblical.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Posted on 21 June 2024 | 10:21 am

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