Bible and Theology
End-Times Questions: How Can I Guard Against Deception?
Sep 3, 2022
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NEW BOOK FROM DR. MICHAEL YOUSSEF

Get your end-times questions answered in Dr. Youssef's book Is the End Near? Learn more at IsTheEndNearBook.com.

No one but God in heaven knows the day and the hour that the end times will begin.

 

Our world is already being prepared for the Antichrist. There are countless forces today that would normally oppose each other—yet they have joined forces in their opposition to Jesus Christ. They are united in their denial that Jesus is the only way of salvation.

Even the Christian world is not united about Jesus's claim to be the only way of salvation. A 2018 survey conducted by Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research found that many Americans who claim to hold "evangelical beliefs" have shockingly unbiblical notions about Jesus and salvation.

The Bible tells us, "'There is no one righteous, not even one;' . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10, 23). Yet a majority of self-described "evangelicals"—52 percent—agree with the statement, "Most people are basically good."

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). And Peter declared, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Yet a majority of self-described "evangelicals"—51 percent—agree with the statement "God accepts the worship of all religions."

The gospel of John declares, "In the beginning was the Word [i.e., Jesus, the Son of God], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). And Jesus Himself told the religious leaders who sought to stone Him and kill Him, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). In other words, Jesus claimed to be the eternal God, the Maker of the universe, in human flesh. Yet a huge majority of self-described "evangelicals"—78 percent—agree with the statement "Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father."

Could this survey be accurate? Do more than three-quarters of "evangelicals" believe that Jesus is a created being and not Almighty God in human form?

What Does "Evangelical" Mean?

Part of the problem is that many people use the term "evangelical" so loosely that it has lost its meaning. I've heard people in the media use "evangelical" when referring to Christians in general, or Protestants, or even politically conservative Americans. But the word "evangelical" has a specific definition. An evangelical Christian is a person who believes in the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God.

The word "evangelical" stems from the Greek word euangelion, meaning "gospel" or "good news." Rightly speaking, evangelicals are people who believe salvation and forgiveness come through Jesus alone. Authentic evangelicals believe in the authority of God's Word over every aspect of life. To claim to be an evangelical while denying that Jesus alone is the way to God and heaven is not merely a self-contradiction—it's heresy.

No wonder there is so much confusion in the church today. Clearly, there are many people in the pews—and, tragically, many in the pulpits—who espouse beliefs that come not from the Bible, but from the world.

Anyone who places tradition, personal opinion, or rationalism above the authority of God's Word is no evangelical.

Anyone who claims that humanity can be "saved" through social programs, political agendas, or progressive education is no evangelical.

Anyone who de-emphasizes the horror of sin and the need for the atoning cross of Christ is no evangelical.

Anyone who denies that God poured out His wrath on His crucified Son for the sake of lost humanity is no evangelical.

Anyone who calls the atonement of the crucifixion an act of "cosmic child abuse" by God the Father (as several self-styled "evangelicals" have said) is no evangelical.

Anyone who denies that people need to undergo a personal conversion by repentance and faith in order to receive eternal life is no evangelical.

A true evangelical is a true Christian. A false "evangelical" is a false "Christian"—and Jesus and the letters of Paul, Peter, and John repeatedly warn that we should beware the false teachings of false "Christians." If you do not believe the foundational Truths of the Bible, then no matter what you call yourself, you are not a true Christian.

If you are not a true Christian, then I urge you to repent and come to Him on His terms and receive salvation.

Don't Be Deceived

No one but God in heaven knows the day and the hour that the end times will begin. But the apostle Paul tells us that the world is being prepared to welcome the Antichrist during the last act of the human drama:

Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

When he appears, the Antichrist will offer a message that the masses are eager to hear—a message that people are basically good, that all religions lead to the same destination, that those who claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven are narrowminded dogmatists. The Antichrist's message will be just what the masses want to hear. And he'll back up his claims with wonderful deeds. He will fix the broken economy, bring peace to troubled regions, and win the adoration of the masses.

Once he is firmly in power and crowds are worshiping him—he will turn, suddenly and viciously, on all the true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:15, that is when you will see "standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation.'" As Paul said, he will set himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. He will accompany these claims with fake "signs and wonders," fake "miracles," so that he will appear to possess superhuman power.

But where will he get all of his power? From Satan, of course. Satan is a spirit. To accomplish his goal, Satan needs a warm body—a human being—to be his spokesman. So the Antichrist will be possessed by Satan. He will do Satan's bidding, opposing God by denying Christ and persecuting true Christians.

Revelation 13:3 tells us, "One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast." This is a reference to the Antichrist and the false "miracles" he will perform.

Note the way John carefully words that statement: the Antichrist "seemed to have had a fatal wound." There was an appearance of a fatal wound, then that apparent wound was healed, as if by a miracle. This suggests that the Antichrist will fake his own death and resurrection, which will cause the whole world to be amazed. This "miracle" will cause people around the world to follow the Antichrist.

Notice that this satanic "miracle" of "death and resurrection" is a mockery of the true miracle of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything the Antichrist does will be a counterfeit of the true works of Jesus Christ. The Antichrist will try to steal the glory that rightfully belongs to Jesus.

Stand Firm to the End

I won't sugarcoat the Truth. I will tell you plainly that being a Christian in the end times will be incredibly difficult. It will mean being hated and persecuted for your faith.

But I guarantee that even if you are hunted down, abused, and killed for your faith in Jesus, it will have been worth it. You will have eternal life with Jesus in heaven. When He returns, you will be full of joy at His appearing while the unsaved world despairs. Only Jesus offers true security in a collapsing world.

Most important of all, you will have the honor and privilege of being a partner with God in the final destruction of Satan. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 16:20, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." Imagine, God has promised to crush Satan under our feet! What a thrill it will be to take part in the annihilation of our ancient enemy.

If you have never received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I must ask you: Do you really want to gamble with your eternal soul? Or do you want to settle your eternal destiny here and now?

Come to the only one who can save, the one who died to deliver you from death to life. He will give you His peace and joy. No matter what the future holds, you will be secure forever in His hands.



Dr. Youssef's book Is the End Near? answers your most pressing end-times questions. Learn more at IsTheEndNearBook.com.