I heard the phrase “We mock what we don’t understand” several years ago in a movie entitled “Spies Like Us”. Although uttered in sarcastic jest, being in a comedic movie, it is an often true assessment of unregenerate human nature. As we listen to the mocking and blasphemous statements made against our the Lord Jesus Christ and those of us, who are called by His name, we encounter humanity mocking the God they do not understand. It is simply human to look cynically at that which we do not understand, are unfamiliar with, or have a fear of. Sadly believers can also practice “mocking what we don’t understand”, when an issue would shake us out of our sleep walk with Jesus or engender a little effort in prayer to gain God’s wisdom.
Take for instance the appearance of “blood moons”. On September 28th the world witnessed a phenomenon called a lunar tetrad. I will spare a science lesson on why the moon appears blood red, but simply put a lunar tetrad is a series of four eclipses that happen in one year. Their significance scientifically is that they are rare and they are blood red. Their significance spiritually, as examined in light of Israel’s history, is that most major moment’s of Israel’s history happened in a year with a lunar tetrad, or series of blood moon eclipses. Many believers of the Lord’s own have seen this blood moon phenomenon as more than just random, tagging it with prophetic significance. Could it be that this event is a marker signifying God’s bringing us closer to Jesus return? Maybe?
Acts 4:29-31 (NKJV) Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
A few years back I heard a brother in Christ, who was a former secret service agent working in the area of busting counterfeit money rings. The way they identified counterfeit bills was remarkable. One would think this happened by studying the trends of counterfeiters, examining their work and then seeking to spot what would be characteristic of each criminal enterprise. This was not the way they did it. The secret service would study only authentic bills, pouring over every nuance and detail of the new printings. They knew the authentic so well, it made it easy to spot the counterfeit. Do we know so little the authentic power and presence of God that we could be fooled by the counterfeit? God forbid, but lets face it, many a well meaning saint has been fooled by Satan, as he disguised himself as an angel of light.
How many a pseudo Christian cult leaders, who began in orthodoxy, have fallen off the truck to produce what we would call heretical? In America, too many to count. This should not surprise us for Jesus Himself does not regard orthodox belief, in an of itself as full proof, as His warning to the church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-5 declares. Although orthodox in doctrine, the Ephesians, who had left their first love, and were no longer orthodox in their relationship to Him. That is a dangerous place to be, for it is a place of right theology, but dead orthodoxy, as our doctrine has ceased bringing us into an encounter with the Living Word; Jesus Christ. In this condition we fall into a reasoned based approach to faith. Our faith in Christ is reasonable, but it is suprarational; meaning it is beyond our normal capacity of human reason to understand or appropriate.
WE CAN’T GET FOOLED!!! CAN WE?
This is a dangerous place to remain for we get away from a living encounter with Jesus Christ. In this we lose discernment. We lose discernment because we become unfamiliar with the authentic nature of God, of which we are to be partakers of by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:4). When we lose this reality of our faith, not only do we leave on the back burner biblical miracles, signs and wonders, but become ignorant of the counterfeits among us. Hence we can be fooled, by Satan masquerading as an angel of light. We can be deceived by his servants disguised as ministers of righteousness. One need only to ponder the number 2,000,000,000 to see this truth clearly. Two-billion is the number of Roman Catholics in the world, who have some orthodox beliefs. These poor souls, being in a system that appears godly without not the real presence and power of God, have accepted doctrines of demons, that contradict their profession of orthodoxy (Next blog I will share more on these false doctrines of demons).
Of course we would say with the Ephesians, “We cannot stand false doctrine or false teaching and assume we will not be fooled or fall away, like the Catholics”. Let us who think we stand take heed lest we fall (I Corinthians 10:12).
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NKJV) The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
I realize that this passage refers to the time very close to the return of Jesus Christ and I have no desire to debate on the pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation or pre-wrath rapture argument. My firmly held desire is in the blessed Hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He will return physically to this earth for His church and then at some point, every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth with mourn (Revelation 1:7). Jesus return is personal and pre-millenial.
My desire is to extract from the above passage of scripture, that is necessary in any age. It is true in the primary sense “the lawless” refers to the Antichrist at the end of the age, but the word of God tells us in I John 4:1-3 that the spirit of Antichrist was already in the world at that time. Therefore we should test the spirit’s as by the authentic Spirit of God. It is true that II Thessalonians 2:9 declares that the Antichrist comes at the end of the age with “all power, signs and lying wonders… with all unrighteous deception”. It is equally true that Paul’s warning in II Corinthians 11:13-15 was made because false apostles had already come empowered by Satan with lying wonders, and to fool the saints. I do not believe it is too much to conjecture that if the Corinthian believers were fooled by counterfeit power, we can as well. My proposition is if we look at why the people in II Thessalonians 2:9-12 were deceived and fell away, we can avoid the potential for such a precipitous fall.
“they did not receive a love of the truth… they did not believe the truth.” When examining these verses we must understand that believing the written word of God is only the beginning of the love of the truth. We must always remember that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Our Savior is Truth personified, as He is the Living Word of God (John 1:1-5) which became flesh. As Jesus warning intimates to those in Ephesus in Revelation chapter 2, having the written word of God, understanding it, teaching it, and even living it’s precepts, is futile if what is written does not find it’s fulfillment in an going relational encounter with Jesus Himself. Let me be clear, this is not a suggestion of some esoteric spiritual knowledge apart from the written word of God, as it is read, heard or spoken, for any experience, not corroborated by the written word must be dismissed. But it is to say that knowledge of the written word of God itself, will only lead to a half baked life of faith, where we believe rightly, yet are not rightly related to Jesus in personal experience.
Having a love for the truth is seen in a deepening love for Jesus Christ, as we encounter Him in the written word of God. As we grow to know Him more, out of love we obey His commands. As we obey His commands, He manifests Himself to us by the Holy Spirit, empowering us to obey His commands further (John 14:21-23). As we seek Him further, we are instructed by the written word to go and “in our going” share the good news. We share the good news by declaring the testimony of Jesus Christ, by spoken word. We need power to accomplish this, as well as live the Christ-life, and to by faith exercising His commands… To cast out demons, lay hands on the sick that they may recover, speak with new tongues, and receive what it is that the Holy Spirit is leading us to. It is the written word of God–as it is read, spoken or heard, that leads to a deepened love and knowledge of the Truth, who is Jesus Christ.
In our culture, where the written word is available to virtually any one, Christians will declare “I love the Truth” as they lift their bible high in the air, but this is particularly short sighted. We must remember that those who heard the inspired word of God in the apostolic church did not carry around copies of the Bible. This makes Peter’s preaching, word perfect at Pentecost, without so much as a note or scroll. This is what makes Stephen’s righteous rebuke to the Sanhedrin, so much more supranational, as it was scripturally solid. It is for this reason that Paul’s perfect declaration of the faithfulness of God to save his shipmates, is an example for us. These men all loved the written word of God, as it was the truth that led them to encounter the Truth, Jesus Christ in a regular supernatural way. In the practice of the presence of the Lord they found power that kept them from error and being deceived.