Category Archives: Extreme Threats

These posts cast light on the most extreme threats facing the Church! Usually the most extreme threats are also the most hidden. Please be aware of these threats as they are extremely dangerous!

Persecution in Russia

This report came from Charisma News and was written by Jessilyn Jusitice. It details new legislation in Russia that will sweep Christian faith practices into “anti-terrorism” efforts. The Churches in Russia are calling for prayer and fasting- which, incidentally, will soon be illegal once this legislation goes into effect- and I want to encourage my brethren to share in prayer and fasting with them.

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News Link: http://www.charismanews.com/world/58320-7-000-churches-fasting-praying-over-terrifying-new-persecution-law

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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an anti-terrorism law, but for the country’s many churches, the signature sparked a demand for prayer and fasting.

The bill toughens punishment for acts deemed to be terrorism and for the organization of “mass unrest,” according to the Los Angeles Times. It would also introduce prison sentences of up to a year for those who fail to report such crimes.

Furthermore, Great Commission Ministries Chairman Hanny Haukka tells Charisma News the law entails:

Foreign guests are not permitted to speak in churches unless they have a “work permit” from Russian authorities.

If a friend or relative from outside Russia wishes to share his/her faith in your home, the guest will be fined and expelled from Russia.

Any discussion of God with non-believers is considered missionary activity and will be punishable.

Missionary activity will be permitted by special government permission. Example: If one traveling on a train shares his faith without written permission the offender will be taken into police custody for the duration of the journey and will be fined 50,000 rubles ($1000).

Offenders from the age of 14 will be subject to prosecution.

Religious activity is no longer permitted in private homes. Most churches in Russia meet in homes.
Every citizen is obligated to report religious activity (of neighbors) to the authorities. Failure to be an informant is punishable by law.

One may pray, read the Bible at home but not in the presence of a non-believing person. You will be breaking the law and be punished.

If the church has purchased property it cannot be converted into a place of worship.

In church buildings it is not permitted to invite people to turn to God. Worship services are permitted but making a non-believer a follower of Christ is against the law.

In response, thousands of churches across the country have come together to cry out to God.

“The church is appalled at the news of the new law. About 7,000 evangelical/protestant churches are in fasting and prayer at the moment over the news,” Haukka tells Charisma News via email.

Churches aren’t the only residents enraged by the law.

American refugee Edward Snowden tweeted: “#Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for #Russia.”

What’s more, critics are now declaring the Yarovaya laws, aka the “Big Brother,” laws as a sign of the end times:

If these amendments come into force, prison sentences for certain non-violent “extremist” crimes will potentially be twice as long as, for example, murder committed in the heat of passion, which carries a maximum sentence of three years.
Despite receiving nearly unanimous support in parliament, the Yarovaya laws have triggered a flood of apocalyptic commentary. Many wonder why Russia’s already excessively harsh criminal laws are being made harsher.

The only official criticism of the legislation, however, has come from the Presidential Human Rights Council, which has highlighted ways in which the proposed amendments directly contradict the Constitution and existing laws. This criticism has been almost entirely ignored.

The Duma has already passed a number of laws that have harshened Russian law in the name of fighting terrorism and extremism. It criminalized “public calls for the violation of territorial integrity” and “rehabilitation of Nazism,” a direct affront to the freedom of speech. In 2013, it passed a law that allowed the state to confiscate property from individuals affiliated with terrorists, including their relatives.

The government has long used the “fight against terrorism and extremism” to justify repressive laws, no matter how obviously senseless they may be. As a result, Russia’s statutory framework can now be effectively used to target not only credible extremist threats, but also political opponents of the state. A large group of prominent Russian lawyers decried this problem in an open letter in 2013, saying that the “parliament’s legislative work has acquired a distinctly prohibitive and repressive character.”

In response, Haukka pleads with believers around the world to join with Russian churches in prayer and fasting.

“Russia is closing down in an awful way. The new law is in total conflict with the purpose and the task given to the church by the Lord. The law will send the church back into Soviet-era Communist persecution,” he says.

Is Porn Sin?

If it came out that your pastor was addicted to pornography, would you ask him to step down?

If it came out that you were addicted to pornography, would you understand if your spouse left you for marital unfaithfulness?

Pornography is not talked about even though reports estimate that over 70% of the Church, and 30% of pastors, are addicted to it.  But it is more than that, pornography (which is adultery) is killing the Church faster than divorce and homosexuality combined because almost no one views it as even in the same league as adultery!  Pornography is right up there along with covetousness (which is idolatry) as one of the most tolerated deadly sins in the Church!

Listen up brethren.  Do you know why so many people in the Church remain addicted to pornography?

Because we do not have this:

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverted mouth, I hate.” Proverbs 8:13

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

Do you know that God hates your pornography? Or do you believe that He will simply scold you at the pearly gates and then welcome you in as a beautiful sinner that He simply couldn’t stand to live without?

Here’s what you need to understand about pornography; porn is not something outside you, like some external element of your life like food and drink, porn is the condition of your heart. That is right. Pornography is the condition of your heart. It’s not just a “reflection” of your heart, it is the condition of your heart. You lust after those who commit shameful acts with each another because your heart covets the things of the flesh.

I’m willing to wager that there are very few of you out there that understand pornography better than I do.  My corpse that hangs on Christ’s cross was addicted to pornography for more than 15 years of my life.

For far too long I would not acknowledge what I just said above because I did not understand it, and was far too prideful to admit the level of depravity that my heart still embraced. But even more than that, I would not admit the severity of God’s judgment upon my sin!

If you do not have the fear of God, you will never wholly depart from pornography, you will simply take it under control to the degree that is acceptable in your life. And if you come to God on judgment day with that heart, you will not enter His Kingdom.

Brethren, with all the love of Christ I urge you today, REPENT!

You cannot overcome this sin with the gospel of accommodation.  Neither can you overcome this sin with the gospel of legalism.  The only way for your heart to be transformed is the true and authentic gospel of Jesus Christ, full of both grace and truth- embracing both the fear of God and the mercy of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

You must repent of this sin in light of the gospel.

Magic & Sorcery- Part 2

I took quite a bit of heat over a series of posts that I wrote on my then-default-blogging-platform Xanga back when movies like Harry Potter were coming out because I tried to warn Christians about the ensuing flood of darkness that was overtaking my generation; I asked Christians to stand by God’s command to have nothing to do with magic.  Our Father in Heaven is all wise and knew that these kinds of things would usher in a generation of increasingly dark movies to feed my generation’s increasingly dark appetite.

However, on WordPress, I have only written one post on Magic and Sorcery, which addresses this topic on a more basic level, so I would encourage you to take a moment to go read that short post to help get a grasp on some of the fundamental issues that pertain to this topic.

But today my intent is to address this topic from atop a more targeted and precise vantage point.

CONFUSION:

I want to clear up some confusion first: I don’t think most people can see clearly when it comes to this particular topic because they narrow their perspective to only one element of what composes “magic”.  For example, some people only address the topic from the perspective of drugs (taking advantage of a portion of insight that is given to us by the Greek word Pharmakia), while others only understand it from the Hollywood perspective of wand-waving, potion-conjuring, broom-riding, figures of pop-culture.  And because of this last perspective, there are many people that dismiss the subject entirely as nothing more than fantasy and imagination.  Indeed, I might even go so far as to say that Hollywood’s portrayal of magic is actually working to Satan’s advantage by blinding us to how extensive sorcery actually is in the world today.

So it’s very important that we understand how extensive this topic really is and take the time to understand the many different aspects of this topic.

A WORK OF THE FLESH

Galatians 5:20

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Sorcery should not be viewed as a matter of nothing more than fantasy and imagination.  It is a very real work of the flesh.  The Babylonians used a particular form of sorcery known as “divination” that was viewed in their society to be a very sophisticated and advanced science to guide their internal policies and foreign affairs (Myers, A. C. (1987).

Sorcery is very much a work of the flesh driven by the sin of rebellion (1st Samuel 15:23).  We sometimes want to make sorcery sound very mystical and elusive, but we must not forget that it is worked by the flesh.

In many occult circles, sorcery is also referred to as “manipulation”; physical elements can be used for various purposes and to various ends.

This should bring in two important dimensions of this topic that we need to consider: first, although sorcery seeks to tap into unusual power, forces, and influences, it does so as a work of the flesh, and is, therefore, not divine- this is why it is often referred to as manipulation, and, although it can offer power that we may otherwise think of as “miraculous”, it is not the power of the Almighty Creator God.  Sorcery is portrayed in Hollywood in “flashy” Harry Potter style, but we shouldn’t be deceived into thinking that it doesn’t also come disguised in modern and sophisticated wonders, just as it was in the days of the Babylonians and Assyrians.  Secondly, another dimension of this practice is drug-use.  Drugs are used world-wide to manipulate our natural physical state, and enhance various aspects of our flesh.  In fact, millions of people worldwide are “held under the sway of drugs” in a perpetually altered mental state that often times renders them “safely out of the reach of the gospel”.   In other words, millions and millions of people worldwide are in a mental state that has little hope so long as they remain under the control of an unnatural “drug”.

PRESENT IN THE END-TIMES

Another dimension of this topic that we need to be aware of is that God tells us that sorcery will be prevalent world-wide in the end times.   We condescendingly believe ourselves to be too enlightened for sorcery in our developed 1st-world countries because we have accepted Hollywood’s veiled picture of sorcery.  But God sees the world differently:

Revelation 9:21

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

God sends great plagues to punish the world and wipe out vast multitudes of people because of their great sins; at this time the earth is full of demonic worship, idols of wealth, murder, various immoralities, thefts, and… sorcery.   After God’s punishment is enacted upon the world, He sends out the call to repent for these sins and the world still refuses to acknowledge God and repent!

Sorcery is very widespread according to God’s Word, and deeply ingrained in the peoples of the world.  This alone should tell us that our modern definition of “sorcery” is fatally flawed.

We need to understand that sorcery is a work of our flesh and includes (but is not limited to) much of modern-day pharmaceutical practices.

For example, modern pharmaceutics have the following attributes:

  • the pharmacy industry boasts that they have extended human life expectancy beyond 100 years of age, the specific limit God put on mankind (here the sin of rebellion to God manifests itself)
  • pharmaceuticals try to make ourselves immune to diseases and viruses that were put here as part of the curse (again, defying God’s punishment).
  • many athletes look to illegal pharmaceutical concoctions to enhance their physical performance (which is an example of how drugs are connected to the works of the flesh).
  • And in many foreign cultures (and more discreetly in the American culture), pharmaceuticals are used in various religious and sexual practices (again, connecting itself to the works of the flesh and immorality).

Inevitably this discussion will incur the wrath of many who will rush to defend our use of modern medicinal pharmaceutics.  With outrage many people’s first reaction is to force an extreme position upon anyone that begins to consider what I’m talking about here in order to paint the whole concept as extreme.

I’m not condemning with a broad stroke all medicinal practices; there are many natural remedies that have proven themselves in study after study to be more effective than many modern drugs (although many of these natural applications are quickly dismissed by the big pharmaceutical companies).  And I’m aware that there are many medications that can help alleviate pain and save lives.

What I think is important is that Christians broaden their perspective on this subject and begin exercising discernment, because, as many beneficial medications that there may be, there are that many and more that we should have very serious concerns over.  An example can be found in a recent analysis of modern medication that found over 88% of modern medication is psychotropic in nature, and we know that various sources are now indicating that these drugs are having devastating effects on people’s mental faculties.

So I hope my purpose in writing this is not lost; my intent is to encourage us to broaden our perspective, not to apply blind prohibitions on all medications period.  That would not help us because there are elements of sorcery that go beyond the pharmaceutical realm as well.

ALL THE NATIONS DECEIVED

The book of Revelation contains the word “sorcery” 4x more than any other book in the Bible, 30% of all references to the word in the Bible: whereas we view sorcery as a thing of the past because of our warped understanding of it, God reveals it as very much a thing of our time!

In the Revelation of God’s judgment upon Babylon, we find the following scripture:

Revelation 18:20-21, 23-24

“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.

And the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.  And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.”

 

The Bible makes reference to Babylon as the “Great City” in which all the various wealth, immoralities, idolatry, and spiritual harlotry come from; her archetype is the ancient nation of Babylon who was the seat of the deceiving spirit of Babylon that Revelation talks about.  Babylon claimed “I AM, and of my increase there shall be no end”.

The scripture tells us that Babylon deceives all the nations by her sorcery; it is important to understand that one element of sorcery is that it deceives people to give worship to demons, and, ultimately, to the anti-Christ.

The following article written by Russ Wise takes an in-depth look at the rapidly growing occultism among the American youth.  He looks at everything from the cult and occult practices of white and black magic, to Satanism; Russ Wise looks at various ways in which openly overt forms of sorcery have already taken root in American society.

Jeff Harshbarger, who wrote “Dancing With The Devil”, is an occult member who was saved by the Lord; he wrote that “Our society is submerged in the occult; Harry Potter has filled the minds of our children for a decade and vampirism meets our teens with the illusions of grandeur. Witchcraft went mainstream decades ago, and Wicca is its offspring”.

I am very grieved because we can see our children being openly led captive by these abominable sins and our parents are the ones that have abandoned them to it!  It seems’ Satan has run an extensive TV, movies, video games, and music PR and recruiting campaign; even some of the most popular musicians, like Jay-Z, and other actors are unabashedly involved in the occult, and are actively promoting these things with their music.

One of the most in-depth articles to address this issue is written by Jason Barker.  I encourage you to read it.

LYING SIGNS AND WONDERS

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.

~2 Thessalonians 2:9–10

For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”

~Revelation 18:23–24

 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.  Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.  The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.  I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed.  And all the world marveled and followed the beast.  So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’.

~Revelation 13:1-4

 

The culmination of sorcery will be in the coming of the anti-Christ; his rise from the midst of the people will be surrounded with many great and powerful signs and wonders.

Unlike Jesus who would not accept Satan’s offer to give Him his throne and authority over the nations of the world, the anti-Christ will receive from Satan power, a throne with dominion, and great authority.  He will strike fear in the hearts of the people so that they will say “who can make war with the Beast”, and when he receives a fatal wound, he will be healed.  This is the culmination of his sorcery, and it is the deceiving sign and wonder that causes all people (except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life) to worship Satan and the Beast.

This is one of the problems that I have with today’s teaching regarding the power of the anti-Christ.  We often diminish the signs that he performs: many teachers latch onto the word “lying” signs and wonders and change that word to mean “counterfeit” signs and wonders.  I disagree.  I believe they are deceiving signs and wonders that will cause the world to worship the beast and Satan, and that is exactly what the Bible tells us here.

The end result of sorcery is rebellion against God and worship of Satan.  And that is the end result of the Anti-Christ’s lying signs and wonders.

THE LAKE OF FIRE

Revelation 21:8 & 22:15

But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

“Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”

 

God saw fit to include those who practice sorcery in the list of people that will have their part in the lake of fire that burns forever.  He has reserved a kind of special judgment that we cannot speculate on in any other way right now than to say that they have been named for eternal punishment.

SUMMARY

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

~Revelation 9:21

 We have an extremely narrow view of sorcery in the modern era, thanks in part to Hollywood.

It is important that we understand that God called them to repent for their “sorceries“.  There are many forms of sorcery.  And when we look at scripture we see that sorcery is quite extensive in the end times.

My exhortation is to encourage you to carefully consider what the scripture teaches about sorcery because it is important that we know and understand what these things are.

 

EXTREME THREATS: The Wolves- Part 6

This is the final post in this series on the wolves spoken of in Matthew 7 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5).  I have felt urged to give attention to what the scripture says about these wolves because of how serious their threat is to the church. 

We’ve now come to the 2nd chapter of the 2nd Peter; this whole chapter is given to the topic of false teachers and the damage they will do to churches that they sneak into when left uncontested.

Forewarning of havoc

1But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

The Spirit testifies in Peter the same warning as we have received from Jesus and the same warning as we have received from Paul regarding the falling away; these wolves are already among us, but they are guaranteed to come in greater force and will lead a great many into their destructive way.

We see that they will secretly introduce destructive heresies to the church.  These wolves bring in the doctrines that teach the children of God to walk contrary to His word and holy calling.  By their deception sin is accepted, lawlessness abounds, and the true self-less love of Christ will grow cold in the hearts of many.

They cause the way of truth to be distorted and even hated and it is because of these false teachers that we see many people spewing hatred against the call to walk holy before God (1st Thess. 4:1-8).  Though God has commanded His children not to love the world or the things of the world (1st John 2:15), false teachers entice unstable souls through the lusts of the flesh to once again love the world and the things of the world.

And the Holy Spirit bears witness that false teachers will exploit and deceive through covetousness; with covetousness in their heart they will take advantage of the covetousness that rests in the hearts of those who listen to them and their deceptive words.

The destruction of False Teachers and deliverance of the Righteous

4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.

The promise is that God, who did not spare the fallen angels, will not spare these false teachers, but will deliver them over into chains of darkness to be reserved for judgment; God will spare the righteous and deliver them from His impending wrath as He consumes all those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and who despise authority.

We’re reminded that these false teachers presume what they do not know and are arrogantly self-willed, even speaking evil of dignitaries.  A lesson to the wise to warn us should the seed of despising authority begin to be planted in our hearts!

The Depravity of False Teachers

12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

The Spirit reveals something to us when it speaks of their carousing in the daytime; these false teachers have no shame for many of their sins.  Many of them do not seek to hide or cover up their shameful deceptions and destructive ways, but run openly in them.  As the wolves in our time begin to move about more freely, we are seeing how they are no longer ashamed or afraid to deny sound doctrines and teach lies or even to deny Christ Himself as the One and only way.

Instead of being without spot and blameless, as Christ presents the Church (Eph. 5:27), they are spots and blemishes running freely about in their deceptions as they fellowship with you.  Their eyes are full of harlotry as they have denied faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ and welcomed in the spirits of error and sin.  Because of this they cannot cease from sin and they entice unstable souls who do not know sound doctrines nor stand firmly on the foundation of Truth.

The Spirit again reveals through Peter that they have hearts trained in covetous practices as they are consumed by all kinds of greed (for sin, money and wealth, power, fame and glory, etc).

Their Deceptions

18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

Again the Spirit reveals that these false teachers speak many beautiful but empty words; their words being devoid of truth will instead allure their victims through the lusts of the flesh and lewdness.

And we receive a warning from the Spirit; it is revealed that they will allure even the ones who have actually already escaped from those who live in error.  We should take very seriously with a sober mind the warning that these false teachers will deceive Christians (the only ones who have escaped from error) and cause them to err through the lusts and lewdness of the flesh.

This is one of the reasons why I am do deeply grieved by how lewd and sensual pastors have become because I see wolves enticing away y brethren into all kinds of lusts of the flesh (whether sensual or of greed and wealth).

This condition, having once escaped the corruption of this world and again becoming entangled in them again, is far worse than if we had never escaped them in the first place.

A Final Word of Exhortation to the Brethren

Who among us can say that they did not need the warning of the Holy Spirit but were wise enough in their own understanding to resist the deceptive ways of the false teachers?  Their way is hidden in secrecy and craftiness under the veil of darkness, but, we are not left as blind children groping in the darkness, rather, because of the mercy of God and the Holy Spirit who now dwells in us, we are the children of Light, even now capable of exposing the deeds of darkness (Eph. 5:11).

When I first read these warnings in 2nd Peter 2, I was startled and deeply troubled as I feared that I was beginning at that early time in my life to go astray; I want to encourage and exhort my brethren to first turn these things we have seen from the scriptures inward and put to death any seed of the flesh by which Satan may be given place to deceive you in your own life.  Having done this, then to take of these scriptures as a sword with which you can defend yourself from the onslaught of the enemy.

We are in a day when sensuality rules, even having blinded many, and the way of truth is hated for its purity.

Consider your ways and test the spirits; do not be deceived by anyone, rather, in understanding, gird up your mind and be sober!  May the grace and peace of Christ be with all the brethren, Amen!

EXTREME THREATS: The Wolves- Part 5

In this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4), we’ve been taking a look at the scriptures concise revelation of the false prophets whom Jesus called “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15ff).

Our purpose has been to turn your eyes first of all inward, to examine yourself and repent of whatever you have seen that is wrong in your life and faith, and secondly outward, to be able to examine and discern false teachers by their fruits as revealed in the Word of God.

In our last post we observed Jeremiah’s prophecy.  Now in this post I want to begin with a prophecy from the prophet Micah.

~Micah 3:5, 11

5Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who make my people stray; who chant “Peace” while they chew with their teeth, but who prepare war against him who puts nothing into their mouths: 11Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, “Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.”

The prophet Micah reveals another fruit of the false prophets; not only do they declare “peace”, they make war against anyone who does not feed their system.  They judged, teach, and divine for bribes, pay, and money.  They are servants of the wickedness of mammon, and to anyone that would deprive their mouths of mammon, they make war!

Micah reveals that they are so fat from their dealings that they chew their food even while declaring “peace”.  They are prophets of excess, and they profit from their prophesying!

I heartily submit to the Lord’s blessed words that whomever declares the gospel shall make his living from the gospel, and I happily aid all those who declare the gospel (1st Corinthians 9:14), just as brethren have aided me in declaring it.

Thus by the wisdom we have been praying the Lord would bestow upon us, we will be able to discern the difference between those who live off the gospel, and those who judge, teach, and divine for a bribe, pay, and money—between those who live by the gospel, and those who make war on those who do so, and between those who serve the gospel and those who serve mammon (money)!

~2nd John 7-11

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.

9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Anyone who does not confess that Jesus the Christ (the Messiah and Son of God) came in the flesh is an antichrist and a deceiver, and there are many that have gone out into the world.

I want to warn those in the West not to look down at this and scoff, saying, “well duh! That’s obvious!”  For there are many of these in the East, and in the West, there are many, many, many teachers that believe this, either secretly or publicly.

Likewise, John says “do not receive him or greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds”.

Our response to the departure of the doctrine of Christ is a total turning away.  We are not to receive anyone that has departed from the doctrine of Christ, even into our house or our greeting.

Even at this, there are some that would seek to deceive by rejecting this commandment and saying that it is not necessary to be so careful and that it would even be mean to reject someone; these people might say that this doesn’t literally mean what it quite literally says.  Will you be deceived?  I pray not—do not be caught up into their errors!

And lastly,

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

~1st John 4:1-6

Not every spirit is of God; there are many false prophets that are in the world, and indeed, there seem to be many more added to their number daily.

John reveals to us the Spirit of God from the spirit of the Antichrist; the Spirit of God confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, while the spirit of the antichrist does not.  Be careful not to think that this is a pass-all secret question.  There are certain false teachers that confess that Jesus came in the flesh, but yet they deny other things.  I once had a seminary teacher that believed that Jesus was born in the flesh but was not God until His baptism.  Other missionaries I’ve met believe Jesus came in the flesh, was born of the virgin Mary, (etc) but teach men to seek after material gain, wealth, and power, or submit the gospel to the wickedness of the culture and even to idolatry!  Certainly these who lead others to idolatry are not true teachers of the Holy Spirit.  What is revealed to us here is that of the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Praise the Lord for He has revealed to us by His grace and mercy the plotting of the enemy and granted that we may overcome by faith if we remain true to Him!

EXTREME THREATS: The Wolves- Part 4

In this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) we’ve been taking a look at the wolves spoken of in Jesus’ prophecy from Matthew 7:15ff.

I pray that you will be equipped by these scriptures and the Holy Spirit with wisdom to discern this extreme threat that I believe we are facing, just as the early Christians also faced, in our time today.

This is a most solemn and somber address and I likewise pray that it will be carefully considered with the weight that it deserves.

~Jeremiah 23:9-17, 20-23, 26, 30-32, 36

9My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the Lord, and because of His holy words. 10For the land is full of adulterers; for because of a curse the land mourns. The pleasant places of the wilderness are dried up. Their course of life is evil, and their might is not right.

My heart is broken because I look around and see vast numbers of prophets and teachers speaking by their own hearts according to their own desires, and perverting the Word of God to do so.

Now, just as it was then, God’s prophets have become like drunken men before the world (Acts 2:13; 1 Cor. 2:13)—the world says we speak foolishness in their sight, and it is to them as though we are as repulsive as drunkards overcome by wine!  We must be prepared to be hated for the name of Jesus Christ because of His Word.  When we prophesy we will be called fools and even heretics because of it!

11For both prophet and priest are profane; yes, in My house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord. 12“Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery ways; in the darkness they shall be driven on and fall in them; for I will bring disaster on them, the year of their punishment,” says the Lord. 13“And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria: they prophesied by Baal and caused My people Israel to err.

Again a warning; let no profane things dwell in your heart, for you are the Temple of the Lord, and it is an abomination in God’s sight to bring the profane into His house!

Our day sees pastors clamoring to see who can push the envelope with profane behavior. Their speech, conduct, and even appearance is consumed with the same common and profane qualities of the world, and it seems they love to have it so!

But you are the house of God; your heart is His holy temple.  For this very reason we ought to examine ourselves to know what kind of holy conduct we should conduct ourselves with, and pray to the Lord our Savior, for it is He that is able to preserve us and keep us from stumbling (Jude 24) and present us blameless in His sight.

14Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they also strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah. 15“Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets: ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem profaneness has gone out into all the land.’ ”

It is the work of God’s ministers to strengthen and equip the body for every good work, and it is the work of the false prophets to strengthen the hand of evildoers so that no one turns back from his or her wickedness.  They provide excuses, reason, rationale, and even false grace to sin!

Yet there is not excuse for sin, nor does the scripture ever accept any excuses for sin because you are not defeated by your sin, if indeed you are born again by the incorruptable seed of Jesus Christ, because He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world!  For “shall I sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not!”  Therefore, make no excuse for iniquity, for there is no excuse acceptable to God for iniquity.

Many souls have been bound in sin by the false teachings of these wolves because they were deceived by perverse doctrines of demons that excused their sin and even deceived them into thinking that God expects them to sin and thus does not really care that  much!

We need to put away all such doctrines that teach us that God wills you to sin and thus hinders you from victory; all such doctrines are the doctrines of the demons, who want you to sin!

Indeed, test yourself to see if you have a “sin that just keeps hanging on”; examine your doctrine to see whether or not you have one that permits, excuses, or creates a cavalier attitude towards sin, because that is likely one of the reasons your sin remains.  Likewise, examine to see whether or not a doctrine has taken root that teaches you to handle sin through the law or in the flesh apart from the grace, faith, and power of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.  Such doctrines as these are likewise doctrines of demons. 

16 Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17They continually say to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You shall have peace” ’; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates of his own heart, they say, ‘No evil shall come upon you.’ ”20The anger of the Lord will not turn back until He has executed and performed the thoughts of His heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly. 21“I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. 22But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings. 23“Am I a God near at hand,” says the Lord, “And not a God afar off?

How many souls have been ravaged by these wolves who make them worthless by teachings that did not come from the Lord?

The Lord of hosts says, “Do not listen!”

We’re a generation where “speaking from the heart” is very popular and we need to be reminded that the carnal heart is very depraved and knows only deceptiveness when sin is full grown in it (producing death).  Except by the mouth of the Lord, we would not know truth, thus it is by the mouth of the Lord that prophets who speak the truth speak!  Do not listen to someone merely because “they speak from the heart”, rather, listen if they speak from God! 

These false prophets say, “no evil shall come upon you”, and they encourage you to indulge yourself in the dictates of your own heart, yet the anger of the Lord will not turn back from them because of the wickedness they are being taught to do!

Then Jeremiah says, “In the latter days you will understand it perfectly”!  This revelation of how bad things will be in the latter days tells us of a time when churches do not care to rebuke sin, a time when it is more palatable to excuse sin and “give grace” (though it is not grace) than to overcome sin by faith; a time when “if they had stood in His counsel and caused His people to hear His words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings”!

Oh why wont the teachers stand in the counsel of the Lord and cause the people to hear the Word of the Lord?!

26 How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart

They prophesy lies.  What they say is not true and does not come from God.  Do not charge their lies to God’s account!

30 “Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who steal My words everyone from his neighbor. 31 Behold, I am against the prophets,” says the Lord, “who use their tongues and say, ‘He says.’ 32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” says the Lord, “and tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies and by their recklessness. Yet I did not send them or command them; therefore they shall not profit this people at all,” says the Lord.

Content not only to lie, but these false prophets also steal God’s word from their neighbors hearts.  Now this beholds the false prophet as your neighbor!  They are reckless and cause error to come upon God’s people.  There is caution given to us in the scriptures, and these men and women do not heed it!

36 And the oracle of the Lord you shall mention no more. For every man’s word will be his oracle, for you have perverted the words of the living God, the Lord of hosts, our God.

Finally, the oracle of the Lord is mentioned no more, for every man’s own word is his own oracle, for the words of the Living God have been perverted!

My brethren, heed these words of God; read them and understand them with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.  May your eyes be opened to know truth and discern righteousness.  Let your ways be kept true and your foot never to stray from the path of righteousness.  Amen!

EXTREME THREATS: The Wolves- Part 3

In this series on The Wolves (Part 1 and Part 2), I’ve asked that we take a look at the scriptures in the Bible that warn us and teach us about the false teachers and false prophets that will come in the end times.

Jesus warned about their coming in Matthew 7 and likened them to wolves in sheep’s clothing, and Paul reveals that perilous times are coming and a great falling away in which false teachers will come according to deceitful spirits and the doctrines of demons to turn people away from the faith; the conditions and sins of the time are revealed explicitly in these passages.

With great clarity we see the scripture revealing the wolves by their fruits; it is, therefore, important that we know these conditions and be able to discern the fruit of these false teachers in order to turn away from them, just as the scripture likewise commands us to do.

And that is my first point: what is the proper response to false teachers?  To my knowledge, I only know of two responses the Bible gives to the kingdom of darkness.

  1. Expose it by the light of the word of Truth: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
  2. Turn away: “Having a form of godliness but denying its power.  And from such people turn away!” (2nd Timothy 3:5).

To my knowledge the scripture doesn’t ask us to sit at the table of wolves and try to gradually win them over in subtle variations or degrees.  The Bible does talk about bearing with your brothers in love and patience- I am not talking about dealing with the brethren, therefore, please do not apply these things to the brethren.  This is why I encourage you to pray to the Lord for discernment in these matters because you need to know if you are dealing with a true brother or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  By the scripture and the Holy Spirit, these things are revealed (not by man’s devices).

Now, Paul gives the following charge:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. ~2nd Timothy 4:1-5

We must understand the condition and climate of the times Paul is talking about; we’re warned that they will not endure sound doctrine and they will gather to themselves teachers that are pleasing to their own ears.

Of this I must earnestly warn my brethren; nothing is easier to do in our age than precisely this!  If a Church disagrees with us, we can simply drive our car to another church, and if there are no churches that we like, we can go online or to the TV!

Understand me clearly when I say that these things are not always wrong.  I believe there comes a time when you must get in your car and drive away from some churches that have gone apostate.  There are some preachers online that are very beneficial.  However, this makes it very easy for us to customize what we hear to our own liking, and that is deadly to our faith!

Regarding the times we live in, I believe we are in a time when people will not endure sound doctrine.  They crave fanciful and complicated teachings (fables) that depart from the sound truth of the scriptures, and they do not know the scriptures well enough to discern the truth.  This is a generalization, for I have met Christians of righteous zeal and holy conduct filled by the Holy Spirit, who listen to sound truth even when it may be personally painful.  But, today is a day when we are so enlightened in our own estimation that we are too good for the teachings of the scriptures.

It will suffice for now to say beware of this; examine yourself to check and make sure that you’re not becoming hardened to sound doctrine.  The grace of God permitting, I will do the same and we will be spared by His mercy to walk pleasing in His sight even in this wicked and perverse generation!

6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” 7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

~1st Peter 2:6-8

You are picking up by now that I am not aiming this post entirely outside—that is to say that I’m not directing this post at “the preachers” and “the teachers”, which can be a vaguely anonymous collection of people, rather, this post is also aimed directly at “you” (whomever you are), and me.

All of us must come before the “stone of stumbling and rock of offense” and love Him for it!  We must look upon the chief cornerstone and see Him precious and love Him for all that He is.  Every one of us has been called before Him at the pronouncement of the Kingdom of God, but it remains to be seen who will be arrayed in fine linen garments and who will be stripped naked and found in their shame!

To us who believe, O how precious He is!  But to those who disobey, He is a mighty stone of stumbling and a rock of offense!

I aim this at “you” and me because it is by this that we must check ourselves!  The Lord has given me a call to preach against disobedience and warn the church to reconcile themselves while the time is called “now”; I have battled in myself to wage this war and cut from me every unwholesome thing and remove every sin according to the grace of God by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, and I exhort you, brethren, do not resist the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, nor defile the sacrifice of Christ.

Therefore, I will encourage you all to give attention to sound doctrine and to apprise yourself of the Word of God by the Holy Spirit.  Be watchful in all things, and endure the coming trials with the joy that is set before you because of Jesus Christ our God and Savior.

Grace and peace to all the brethren and the power to endure, amen!

EXTREME THREATS: The Wolves- Part 2

In Part 1 of this series we began with the prophecy of Jesus in Matthew 7:15-23 wherein Jesus forewarned of ravenous wolves who would come in sheep’s clothing to destroy.  He said, “You will know them by their fruits”. It is possible that some of the traits we’ll examine are overlooked by some Christian in false teachers because they themselves are trying to justify the same qualities in their own life; that’s why this is important that these scriptures first expose our own lives and lay our own hearts bare before God.  When we find ourselves excusing these qualities in pastors, we need to ask “why”, because the scripture certainly never excuses them.

Now we are going to begin learning from the Word of God regarding some of the things these wolves do and some of the characteristics that they have.  But, from the outset, I want everyone to know that this is in no way a comprehensive examination of all the scriptures that help you identify the wolves—to find that, you’ll have to read the Bible.

 

~Galatians 1:6-10

6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

The context of what is happening here is clear; there were teachers perverting the gospel of Christ.  This isn’t simply another religion or man claiming to be Christ (though that’s talked about in other scriptures), this is addressing teachers that take the stamp of the gospel as their own but pervert it.

Something that has troubled me deeply is the catchphrase of our generation, “well, we’ll just agree to disagree”, which is used to kill any serious discussion that could lead to corrected doctrine.  Doctrinal integrity and the earnest desire to perfect our own doctrines is very much needed in our generation.  The wisdom of this catchphrase recognizes that there is a point in which two individuals may disagree and through discussion have refined their beliefs to a point where they still cannot agree, but they do not believe each other to be heretics, and thus agree to accept their disagreement.  This is good, providing the doctrines they disagree on do not introduce dangerous heresies to the church, but I want to caution against using this all too often because the ramifications of teaching a perverted gospel are serious (v9).

Likewise, he writes, “You ran well.  Who hindered you from obeying the truth?  This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.  A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (5:7-9); the consequences of receiving such perverted gospels are serious because leaven (representing deception/sin) spreads throughout the whole lump and it hinders its receivers from obeying the truth.

In the first post I wrote that the wolves are considered an “extreme threat” because they’re the only threat listed in the scripture to compose the perilous times of the end.

I want to look at these prophecies regarding the latter times:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, ~1st Tim 4:1-2

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. ~2nd Timothy 3:1-7

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. ~2nd Thessalonians 2:3-4

My hope in writing this is that you will take it as seriously as it is written in the Bible; this very seriously states that there are some who are of our faith that will fall away and depart from it, and we’re seriously warning not to let anyone deceive us regarding this point because this great falling away precedes the “man of sin” (whom we recognize as the Anti-Christ).

This is brought about by deceiving spirits, doctrines of demons, lies, the destruction of the conscience, and a whole host of carnal sins; we do ourselves great danger when we accept and tolerate the plethora of sins that we see rampant in the church by not taking up the spiritual powers that we have been given to overcome and conquer sin together as a church. It’s necessary to make sure we understand that these things are perversions of the gospel of Christ; they may happen collectively (in other words, you may see all these traits together at once), or they may happen selectively (in other words, you may only see a few of these traits together).

I want to encourage you to consider all the traits listed in those passages above; they are considerable.  But I’m going to examine one characteristic as an example.  In 2nd Timothy 3:4, we see that these false teachers will be “lovers of pleasure rather than of God”.  Consider what churches and pastors we see in the U.S. today that are building themselves on the topic of sex; the pastors write book after book on the topic of sex, with God and the scripture thrown in the mix to make it “Christian”, and churches host event after event and publicity stunt after publicity stunt centered on the concept of sex.  Now, take away the topic of sex, and what would these churches have?  If you burned away all the “pleasures” these churches try to offer their members in the fires of persecution, would they remain faithful to God because of their love for Him?  These churches stamp the name of Christ and His gospel on their work but are, at their core, a total perversion of the gospel and denial of Christ.

Likewise I pray Paul’s admonition that you “be not deceived” would not escape your notice; many people are teaching many things about the end time and the deceptions that are coming (some denying it, and some turning your attention to fruitless matters).  Do not be deceived by anyone.  These times will come.  They are coming quickly.  And you need to be on guard because it is becomes of these things that the faith of some will be overthrown and there will be a great falling away.  Don’t be arrogant in thinking yourself above these things and thinking that you can just continue to coast along as you have been.

As we continue to learn the scriptures warning about the ravenous wolves that Jesus foretold would come, I want to exhort and encourage you to spend your time praying about this subject.  You must ask for righteous judgment and wisdom to discern the nature of these things because no man, blog, or book can depart these things to you, only God by the Holy Spirit.

I likewise encourage you to carefully and patiently apply God’s righteous judgment and sound wisdom of discernment to your own life.

Lastly, note Paul’s command in 2nd Timothy 3:5 to “Turn away” from all such people as he has just described.  Do not take part in fellowship with those who are walking in the darkness, having their consciences seared, or taking part of the doctrines of demons!  Surely this leaven will spread if you do!

To all my most beloved brethren in the world over, wherever and whomever you may be, grace and peace to you in the fullest of the Holy Spirit, Amen!

EXTREME THREATS: The Wolves – Part 1

I have felt compelled for some time to write about the wolves that are tearing the church apart and overthrowing the faith of the multitudes today.  But I have been strained for some time to write about it because I cannot seem to put into words the things I feel the Spirit urging in my heart.  I’ve tried, but to no coherent avail.

This is an extreme threat because it is the only threat that is listed to compose the perilous times that the scriptures have forewarned us about.

And the reason my spirit is so frustrated is because this perilous threat is taken so… cavalierly.  So many people treat it as though we have no threat at all, or that if we just ignore it long enough, this seemingly gigantic problem we face will just go away.

I’m here to tell you that when you hear the wolves howling and the lions roaring, you don’t just ignore the problem and hope they go away!  If you do that, you or someone else you know and love is bound to get eaten!

I want to say from the beginning that the answer is to prepare ourselves and become obedient to the Word of God.

That having been said, here is the opening prophecy we need to heed;

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?” ~Matthew 7:15-16

 

We are told both that these false prophets will come to us appearing to be innocent, but are inwardly devastating, and that we will know them by their fruits.  These men, though they dawn the appearance of innocence and goodness, have departed from the way of truth and have become hungry and greedy; they hunger for their own desires and will not tolerate anyone depriving them from satisfying the depravity of their own heart!  Look at how it manifests; it manifests in the fruit of their own work!

Herein is my first exhortation; the church must wake up and discern with righteous judgment!

Can the church discern that pastors, who cuss, write book after book about sex, and are obsessed with real-estate and success, are not producing Godly fruit?

I hope we pay attention to Jesus’ description that they are ravenous.  These men and women are not innocent.  They are looking to feed their own appetites and to do so they will overturn every hindrance that has held them in check for times past.

Prepare Yourself in the Word of God…

 

15 Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ~2nd Timothy 2:15

There is no era past in Christian history, except for the dark-ages, where Christians could recite data from their favorite sports star, but could not name the books of the Bible, or could recite from their heart entire movies from Hollywood, but could not tell you from their heart the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond one or two verses.

It’s not to say that the academic or intellectual knowledge of raw Biblical information equates to sound faith (it does not), however, it is to say that there is a zeal for God that is not in accordance with the true knowledge of God that does not save men’s souls (Romans 10:2).  It is also to say that there is an approving that is necessary of the workmen who labor in the Kingdom of God, and a message that is necessary to bring the knowledge of the truth that does lead to salvation.

I know of no other time when faith in the Word of God was so little, or belief that such a thing as truth even exists was so low.

Herein is my second exhortation, which comes from Paul’s exhortation: be diligent to show yourself approved to God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.

This is an era where “Bible search engines” have replaced “rightly dividing the word of God”.  You can now make the Bible say anything you want it to by refining your word search in terms of “translations” and purpose.

Young men and women; it is imperative that you slow down and study the Word of God the old-fashioned way, you know, by reading it.  We young men, especially, have to turn off our TV’s, computers, phones, and tablets, and go into our quiet spaces to pray and diligently study the word of God.  Beginning from the basics, we must be prepared to defend the faith!

Conclusion…

We are going to move on to study the Word of God and the warnings we have in the Word of God regarding the false teachers and deceptions that will come upon us suddenly.

I pray that you will be equipped by the Word of God to discern and identify these false teachers and stay far away from they, for if we are going to overcome and be victorious in this dark generation, we are going to have to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves”!

EXTREME THREATS: The Lightning from the East Cult

Lightning From the East

(Cult)

Lightning from the East

Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”  1 Peter 5:8

Today there exists a cult entangling millions of followers in Asia and spreading even to the West in a belief the says Jesus Christ was insufficient to take away our sins and has returned a second time in the form of a woman to get it right.

As I’ve worked in China I have encountered more and more from this cult and I believe they are an extreme threat to Christians in Asia, especially to new believers still yet young in the faith.

The following is a quote from a minister with first hand experience of one of the most Satanic cults I’ve ever heard of:

This satanic cult, ‘lightning of the east’, is one of the most evil and deceitful cults I’ve ever seen in China.   They are positively wolves’ in sheep’s clothing; they attack Jesus Christ, twist and defraud the Bible, destroy families and lives, causing great hurt and destruction to Christians who have bought by the precious blood of the Savior!  They are devils dressed as ministers of light, workers of Satan, false prophets after the way of Balaam.  May the Lord have mercy upon the elect that they may be able to discern, to reject the lies and the deceitful words from Satan, May our brethren returning from ~~~~~~~~~~~, be on the alert!  May those that were deceived quickly repent and return!

This cult has various names, “The Congregation, Church of Almighty God, Seven Spirits Sect, New Power Lord’s Church, True Light Sect, or True Way Sect”, but it’s more common name is “Lightning from the East” or “Eastern Lightning”.

Founded in 1989, they’re currently boasting about 300,000+ followers.

According to first-hand information, Lightning of the East has gone through 4 strategic stages and is entering into a 5th, as of yet, unknown stage of strategy.

The first stage was just simple indoctrination and bribery.  “Literature” would be passed around and often times money passed along with the literature.  They twisted the scriptures, but to those who knew the Bible, this stage was extremely easy to spot as a “cult”.  This began about 7 years ago.

The second stage began using methods of violence; they would trick people into going to remote places and areas and then capture them.  They would poison them, beat them, cut off ears, break thighs, and use cudgels to inflict pain in an effort to force people to join them.  This began about 4 years ago.

These first two stages were extremely easy to spot as “cults” and weren’t particularly effective.

In the third stage, they turned to more subtle and sly measures of sexual seductions in an effort to “dirty” reputations and blackmail people into joining them.  Key in the development of this stage is that they have begun targeting ministers.  They ignore “weaker” members of the Church and focus all of their attentions onto the leaders of each congregation.

They try to get these men and women, or their family members into compromising situations to “defame” them and dirty their names and reputations.  This stage was relatively successful, unfortunately, and they apparently learned a lot.

Most common is that the seduction will come from a woman or man that is eager to hear the gospel.  They have heart-wrenching stories and backgrounds, and know the lingo to appear “sincere”.

They have now established HQ’s in Xi’an, Shang Xi, and An Hui with areas of influence in many other cities.  They’ve established 12 divisions, including one dedicated to gathering experience, learning from them, and creating new methods to be distributed in “handbooks” and other forms of literature to their members.

Including one handbook dedicated and entitled “how to attack Church leaders”.  And they have begun issuing rewards for bringing in certain key Christian leaders and elders.

In this phase and every phase following, the Christian’s ability to discern is critically tested; being able to know a true seeker and Christian from these cult members is not easy.  This is a cult that tests a person’s ability to discern.

The fourth stage has become exceedingly sly and should alarm every minister and Christian in China.  Unfortunately, for the sake of time, I can’t relate every story that has been recounted for me, but I assure you that the language, phrases, and attitudes that these people display are identical to that of every faithful Christian I’ve ever known.

The growing awareness among the Christians in China is that to recognize these people will require great Spiritual discernment.

During this fourth they have began sending out spies to congregations; often disguising themselves as people that have “escaped” from other cults.  These people come declaring that they have no knowledge of the Bible, but earnestly desire the way to eternal life.

One testimony recounts that a spy spent 9 months in a fellowship simply “learning” and getting closer to them.  Ministers faithfully ministered to these spies, even baptizing them and praying with them in the name of the Lord.

Later, after a while, the spy went back to his “hometown” to relay the information gathered to their HQ and draw up a plan of attack.  The spy returned from her visit home with news of a great number of “believers that have not had the full revelation of God given to them and are in desperate need of the Truth, lest they be led astray”.  The member pleaded with the Church to send it’s best ministers to help these people.

Eventually, and willingly, this Church obliged.

This is important to note; they have specific guidelines on how to target the most valuable members and leaders of each congregation, and strict instructions to ignore weaker members.

Included in this criteria is to observe “what books the member reads”, if the member reads books that adhere to teaching the truth, that person may be qualified as a target, but if the person is already reading books that teach lies or falsehoods… or even from other cults, they are to be ignored.  This is specifically, accurately, and intentionally designed as an attack on the Church.

For of the best leaders in this Church were led back home to Xi’an where they were met with praise and adulation; people claiming to have received visions of them coming.  They brought them to preach and teach to “unbelievers”, who repented and “believed”.

Then they separated them, saying, “you have such a great gift from God, it’s an unwise use of your gift for you to all minister in one place, you must each come with us to minister to more people”.

After dividing them, they allowed them to successfully minister, and even “co-minister” with other “ministers” (that was part of the reassuring claim- there’d be other ministers there).  At every step, there is a “legitimate need” and a very impressive measure of successful ministry.

Then comes the testing.  They will bring in demonic-possessed people and ask them to cast them out.  Twisting the scriptures to pressure them; they will bring in “sick” and ask for healings.  They will bring in “doubters” and “unbelievers” and ask them to liberate them.  Suddenly, these ministers (after so much success) cannot; then they’ll bring in someone else, another “minister” who is able to cast out demons, heal the sick, and convert the lost.

This is when they begin to try and indoctrinate them.

Eventually resorting to violence, sleep deprivation, seduction, sensory stimulation, starvation, and other forms of brain washing.

The four ministers mentioned above were kidnapped.  They are an example of 4 who eventually escaped, the last one (one of the women) was held in a cave for 5 months straight.

When she escaped, she had to beg on the streets for money for several days just to find food and call her home.  She was unrecognizable.  And she was absolutely and utterly confused.

In the fifth stage they have begun to evolve even more.  This stage is brand new and undefined, except for two new developments;

  1. They are now sending other members of the cult on “follow up” visits to people who “escape” (or are allowed to escape after they withstand the treatment long enough).  They try to convince them that this was for their own good.
  2. They are moving into “the West”.  They have already moved into New York and Toronto, and are producing a great deal of literature now (but, not as much online).

Here are some names of their writings: “The voice of God in China”, and “Lightning of the East Members Handbook”, which is an insiders document only.

BBC DOCUMENTARY

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