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Be Not Deceived
Part 4 Final - Choose Truth
(Note: Except where otherwise stated, Bible references are taken from the New King James Version – NKJV with the Holy Names inserted. The author for emphasis has sometimes shown parts of quotations in bold or block capitals.)
Yahshua’s teachings in Matthew 24 and 25 on the end of the age forewarn His true followers of the events that will precede His return, so that they will not be deceived or caught off guard. In spite of this there are contradictory theories in religious groups regarding the sequence and timescale of these climactic events, and the preparation that is required. Some for example believe that Yahshua’s second coming will be in two parts. His first appearance being before the Great Tribulation when believers will be suddenly taken away in the rapture to heaven and then return with Him at the end of the Tribulation to take part in His millennial reign. On the subject of preparing for His coming, many claim that if you simply ask Yahshua into your heart, you will be ready to meet Him.
As explained in Part 2 of this series, whenever doctrines are contrary to what Yahshua said, it is safest to allow the words of Yahshua to be the arbiter. In Matthew 7:24-28 Yahshua said that His words are the only firm and sure foundation on which to build our lives. If we really desire to base our beliefs on the truth, and to avoid being deceived, we must always remain firmly fixed to His words, and ignore the contradictory deafening noises of popular religious organizations. In Revelation chapter 5, it is Yahshua who takes and unrolls the scroll that sets in motion all the apocalyptic events. He is also the One who revealed to John on the isle of Patmos, “the things which will take place after this,” Rev 1:19. Yahshua is without doubt the highest source of reference on the subject of end-time prophecy.
Eve succumbed to the deceiver because she was more interested in having her own way and in listening to the voice of a stranger than in standing firmly on Yahweh’s words. Let those who believe they are Yahshua’s disciples, take note of what He said and avoid the delusion and confusion that is rampant in the world. Yahshua said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away,” Matt 24:35. Yahshua’s words will be dependable to the end when all other words have ceased. His words will be your constant source of light that you may “walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,” Eph 5:15.
In this fourth and final part, we shall consider the rest of Yahshua’s response to His disciples who desired to know all about the signals that would precede His coming. His words recorded in Matthew 24:15 - 25:46 will be used as the basis for discovering vital truths that ought to be of paramount importance to all believers who desire to be ready when He returns.
The Great Tribulation (Matt 24:15-28)
Yahshua made a prophecy that the abomination of desolation mentioned in Daniel 9:27, 11:31 and 12:11, would be a significant sign pointing to His return. He said, “when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place … then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be, Matt 24:15, 21.
The abomination of desolation refers to a loathing, degrading and despicable violation or misuse of the sacred Jewish temple in Jerusalem. Such an event occurred in 167 BC when a Hellenistic Syrian ruler by the name of Antiochus Epiphanes, determined to humiliate the Jews and crush ruthlessly all Jewish opposition to his authority. He outlawed Judaism and set up a statute to Zeus in the Jewish temple, where he also built an altar over the altar of burnt offerings, and thereon sacrificed a pig to Zeus. Pagan rites, orgies, and festivals were performed in the Temple grounds in contempt of Jewish worship and customs.
Yahshua would have been aware of this incident, but was referring to a future event. Many speculations have been made of the actual episode to which Yahshua was alluding. Among the more popular are the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and the Dome of the Rock that was built in 688 AD, on the desolate site of the Court of Gentiles on Mount Moriah as a tribute to Mohammed. None of these potential contenders for the prophetic ‘abomination of desolation’ fits Daniel’s detailed prophecy, which included a seven-year agreement with Israel that would be broken at the time of the desolation. On the other hand, all of Yahshua’s comments in verses 15-31 about this special time, confirm that He was describing occurrences that would predate His second coming.
Yahshua warned His disciples that at that time,
There will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened, Matt 24:21-22.
Since Yahshua has said the intensity of this tribulation will be unparalleled for all times, one can safely conclude that He was referring to the apocalyptic events recorded in Revelation. He said, “For the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.” He did not say that the elect would not go through those difficult times. Yahshua’s comments here suggest that believers who are alive at this time would be going through the Great tribulation, but this will be substantiated later.
During this time false messiahs and false prophets will be prevalent who will perform “great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect,” Matt 24:24.
Yahshua added, “See, I have told you beforehand,” Matt 24: 25. Yahshua knew that except He forewarned His followers of the spectacular wonders that will be performed by these pseudo prophets, many persons would believe that such extraordinary feats were of Yahweh. In order to be prepared for that time of great delusion, it is necessary to heed Yahshua’s warning and be on guard from now. One cannot assume that all miracles are the work of Yahweh, for even “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light,” 2 Cor 11:14. In his epistle to the Thessalonians Paul said, “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,” 2 Thess 2:9-10a.
Yahshua said in Matt 7:22- 23 that many who will claim to have “prophesied, …cast out demons …and done many wonders in [His] name” will be told, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Your belief must not be based on the manifestation of miracles but rather on the evidence of obedience to the words of Yahweh and Yahshua. Satan and his servants can perform wonders and know the word but do not obey it. Therefore obeying Yahweh and Yahshua implicitly is the best antidote for deception.
The Coming of the Son of Man (Matt 24:29-31)
There would be no need for Yahshua to provide the warning in Matt 24:15- 28 if His followers who are alive at the time of these happenings would not be going through the tribulation. As if to clarify this and put the timing of these occurrences beyond all possible doubt, Yahshua continued in one unbroken link from the Tribulation to explain the next series of events. He said:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other, Matt 24:29-31.
Nowhere has Yahshua mentioned or even hinted that prior to this dramatic advent of the Son of Man, He would have come to take away His saints. This is quite clearly the time - the only time - when saints who are alive will be caught up to meet Him.
This passage is pivotal in telling us what will take place and when. In these verses, Yahshua has brought together His prophecy of the Abomination of Desolation, the tribulation and His second coming. The one leads on to the other. In Matt 24:15, 21 He had said that the great tribulation would follow the Abomination of Desolation. Now He tells us that immediately after the Tribulation there would be visible phenomenal heavenly signs. As in a theatre when the lights are dimmed or turned off so as to spotlight the actors, so too the luminous bodies in the sky would fail or fall. Awesome dramatic upheavals that were never witnessed before would occur in the celestial bodies. Then He who is the Light of the world would appear visibly and suddenly for the whole world to see. Luke adds that “as the lightning that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day,” Luke 17:24. With a loud trumpet blast, His angels would gather His saints from every corner of the globe. ‘The Day of Yahweh’ would have begun. This information by Yahshua in conjunction with His remarks in Matt 24:15-22, confirms most definitely that
The abomination of desolation to which Yahshua referred has not yet taken place.
|(It also follows that in order for the abomination of desolation to come to pass, the|
|temple in Jerusalem will have to be rebuilt, and sacrifices reinstituted).|
|The great tribulation is yet to come and will take place shortly after the|
|abomination of desolation.|
|There is only one ‘second coming’ of Yahshua and only one gathering of His saints|
|when He comes.|
|The heavenly bodies will signal His coming “immediately after the Tribulation.”|
|This will not be a quiet event. His angels with a great noise of trumpet will gather|
|His coming will not be a secret. “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye|
|will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will|
|mourn because of Him,” Rev 1:7.|
By accepting what Yahshua has said, we can be sure of the events and their sequence which will herald His coming. His word is the dependable foundation, which we can use as our basis for understanding other prophecies, such as those by Daniel. We do not have to be in the dark like those who disregard Him or His words, and try to put pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together, which He has already done for us, so that we would not be deceived.
That great day of trumpets to which Yahshua referred can be compared with Rev 11:15 when the seventh (last) trumpet sounded:
|For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed|
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Eloah and of His Messiah, and He shall reign forever and ever.”
The time would have come that Yahshua “should reward [His] servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear [His] name, small and great,” Rev 11:18b. This is the same event referred to by Paul in 1 Thess 4:16-17 where he wrote:
For Yahshua Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of Yahweh. And the dead in the Messiah will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet Yahshua in the air. And thus we shall always be with [Him].
Those who believe in a heavenbound rapture of the saints often quote this very important verse by Paul. Paul never said that the saints would be caught up before the tribulation, or that the saints would then go to heaven and escape the tribulation on earth. He merely said they would be caught up together … in the clouds to meet Yahshua in the air. In 1 Cor 15:51-52 Paul wrote:
We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Paul said that the living and dead saints would be changed “at the last trumpet.” Yahshua’s infallible statement in Matt 24:29-31 of when and how He would reward His saints is confirmed in the book of Revelation and in Paul’s writings. None of these evidences suggest a heaven-bound rapture that will take place before the tribulation.
Once again as we saw in Part 2, except we give priority to Yahshua’s words, there is an open thoroughfare for all sorts of conflicting and erroneous teachings. Those who believe the saints will not be in the tribulation will not be prepared for the severe testing that is ahead, and about which Yahshua has warned us. There is grave danger in assuming that there will be an escape route out of the tribulation when, in Matt 24:9 and Rev 6:11, we are told many saints will be martyred at that time. On the other hand you do not need the possibility of an imminent rapture as the motivation to be constantly prepared. We have seen recently how changes can occur suddenly without warning on a global scale. It is not beyond belief that within a very short space of time there could be a dramatic acceleration of events that in rapid succession would trigger the fulfilment of the outstanding stages and usher in His return. Meanwhile, life continues to be uncertain while death is sure, and for some persons may precede Yahshua’s return. When a saint dies, his/her next moment of consciousness will be to meet Yahshua in the air. Therefore there is a constant need to be ready to meet Yahshua at any time.
Yahshua has warned us of the sequence of events. We do not have to waste time considering other possibilities that might be at variance with His words. If the words of the Son of Yahweh are not reliable then no other words can be trusted. Those who prefer man-made explanations to the words of Yahshua are deceived, and will find out the truth when it is too late to correct the errors they had accepted.
Be Ready (Matt 24:32-25:46)
Yahshua did more than just tell us the succession of incidents that would pave the way for His coming. In Matthew 24:32 to the end of chapter 25, He told us what we should do in the interval. Yahshua’s underlying message to all of His disciples is to be ready for His appearing. He said, “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only,” Matt 24:36. There are many who in the past have predicted when Yahshua would return, and they all have been proved to be wrong. In spite of this, other persons believing they have obtained some special insight or revelation continue the fallacy of making this forecast. As they will never know more than Yahshua and the angels, they too will turn out to be false prophets. Yahshua has not commanded us to find out the exact time when He will return. His command is that we must “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect,” Luke 12:40. He gave warning signals that will give an indication of His imminent return, but He emphasised that we must be ready.
He gave many examples to stress His central message of watchfulness. He cited the case of an evil servant in Matt 24:48-51, who became selfindulgent because his master had delayed his coming. For such persons Yahshua said there would be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” His message here is that we must not be lulled into a state of complacency because His coming appears to be delayed. Instead, we must be on guard, for He is surely coming and will appear at a time when many are not expecting Him.
He next gave the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matt 25:1- 13. The five foolish and five wise virgins were waiting together for the bridegroom. The foolish were deluded and careless. They thought they were completely ready with burning lamps until the crucial time of testing came and their lamps were without the necessary ingredient.
The interval in which they could have rectified their error had passed. At the critical moment for which they had been waiting expectantly, they were denied entry. They were no longer torchbearers who could point the way to Yahshua who is truth. Their lights had gone out. They were in darkness like those who had no lamp. Their profession (lamp) was but a futile show. How sad it will be when many who had assumed they were ready, will hear the stern and chilling voice of the Bridegroom saying, “I do not know you”! John made this invaluable assessment:
If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yahshua the Messiah His Son cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 1:6-7.
Your eternal destiny is too important to be gambled on popular and false assumptions. It is not what you think or what the crowd says that matters, but what Yahshua has said and will say to you on that day. It is safest to heed now the voice of the One who will be your Judge. “On [Yahshua] the solid rock [you must] stand. All other ground is sinking sand.” Be not deceived!
In Matt 25:14-30 Yahshua gave the parable of the talents, in which the master distributed varying large sums of money to his servants, then went into a far country. Each servant had enough money and time in which to be profitable. On his return, they each explained what they had done with the master’s money. Two of the three servants had doubled their initial sum, but the third, who was fearful, did not invest his, and still had only the original amount.
It is implied in this parable that Yahshua is that Master who was “travelling to a far country.” Before leaving this world, He gave to His disciples of all ages His truths, gifts, salvation and the promised resources of the Holy Spirit, which all have great value and potential, that must be put to work. When He returns He will be looking for fruits from His investment in us. This will be the final evidence of those who had utilized all that He had given, and those who had not. Yahshua said in John 15:5b-6,
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
He cursed the fig tree that seemed from a distance to be flourishing but was in fact fruitless. It withered. “The unprofitable servant” was cast “into the outer darkness.” (Matt 25:30) Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of Yahweh underfoot? (Heb 10:29) As part of your preparation for His return you must be constantly watchful to ensure your lives are bearing the fruits that are the product of the ‘Vine’ to which you profess to be connected. Yahshua said, “by their fruits you will know them,” Matt 7:20.
Yahshua will expect His people to be much more than nominal believers. Contrary to popular teaching, ‘asking Yahshua into one’s heart’ is no guarantee of obtaining eternal life. An awareness that one is travelling in the wrong direction is only the pre-requisite for beginning the pilgrim journey and does not by itself get you to the final destination. In Mark 10:17-22, the rich young ruler asked Yahshua what he needed to do to have eternal life. Yahshua’s answer said nothing about a vague asking Yahshua into his heart, but instead was specific about what the ruler needed to do. Yahshua’s price was too high. The ruler walked away.
Those who really desire to have everlasting life must be willing to put to good use Yahweh’s free gift of salvation and to walk in obedience to His words as Yahshua had repeatedly taught. Yahshua expects the seed of His word in us to germinate and grow into trees of righteousness, producing fruits with seeds that keep on multiplying to the day of His return. Anyone without fruit (the evidence of having been connected to Him) will be discarded like a withered branch. “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Matt 25:30b. There is no easy way into the kingdom. Only full compliance with His words is guaranteed to produce fruits in your life from which you and others will benefit, and Yahweh glorified. Yahshua is coming for fruits! Nothing else will do. Be not deceived!
In Matt 25:31-46, Yahshua said that He would separate the people of each nation in the same manner that the shepherd separates his sheep from goats. They will be judged by the things they did or failed to do. The favoured ones will be those who demonstrated love in practical ways by providing for the needy. Those who did not respond to the needs of others will have no part in the kingdom. This introduces yet another important basis for selection that is often overlooked. Yahshua has put great emphasis on the subject of love. He has said that the first commandment was to love Yahweh and that the second was to love our neighbour as ourselves. He explained in the parable of the Good Samaritan that our neighbour is anyone with whom we come in contact. Elsewhere He had said we should love our enemies. Therefore there can be no justifiable reason to ignore those who are in need, whether friend or foe. His instruction to love is as much a part of His commandments as anything else that He taught. If we really love Him, we will demonstrate in practical ways our love to others. He said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments,” John 14:15. If we fail to do what He says, it is proof that we do not love Him, and we will be finally barred from His presence as if we had done some other sin. Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness, for (that is what) sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violation of Yahweh’s will by transgression or neglect - being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will), 1 John 3:4 Amplified Bible. There are no degrees of sin. There is just sin, which is failing to do what Yahweh and Yahshua have commanded.
Loving Yahweh with all of your heart, soul and mind, and your neighbour as yourself are the two greatest commandments. Loving Yahweh entails loving His Son whom He sent. Loving Yahshua necessitates taking heed of His words and doing what He said. To His followers of all times, His challenge is, “If you love Me, keep My commandments,” John 14:15. In other words, loving Him is demonstrated not by our lips, but by our lives. He also warned all of His followers that “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?’ And then I will say openly (publicly), ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands] ’,” Matt 7:22- 23 Amplified Bible. It is not what we profess that matters most but what we do in obedience to Yahshua and Yahweh. Loving Yahweh is not complete until we show love to all of our fellowmen – even our enemies, just as He said and did.
This is further proof that there is no short cut to the kingdom. Throughout His ministry, Yahshua mentioned many things that could hinder us from gaining eternal life. Except you walk on His straight and narrow path to the end, you will not enter through the final gates into His ‘City’. The pilgrim road involves much more than an emotional attachment to Yahshua or selective obedience to some commands. It demands total submission to all of His instructions. The rich young ruler, like the foolish virgins, lacked just one thing! Just one thing can keep you out of the kingdom. Those who have patterned their lives according to all of His words will be selected for eternal life. Others will not.
In all of these discourses we are hearing from the One who will be our Judge. It is like being told beforehand by the examiner the questions that will be asked in an examination. You will have no one but yourself to blame if you still do not make it. No one who is determined to pass an examination will at the same time skimp on preparation, or will have the mindset to do just enough to scrape through. The eternal consequences of getting it wrong are too severe to substitute the vital clues that Yahshua has given to us with false assumptions of others, who will not have the final word.
When He comes, it would be futile to ask Him why He had shown up at a time that did not fit in with your theology or expectations. The mistake would not have been His but yours. It was in order to prevent such unpreparedness by His followers that He cautioned vigilance. “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your [Master] is coming,” Matt 24:42.
Yahweh loves the people He made, but detests the actions of those who despise His or His Son’s words. The day of His wrath is coming. This is not just an Old Testament doctrine. Yahshua said,
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of Yahweh abides on him, John 3:36.
In referring to the punishment that awaits sinners, Yahshua said in many places, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth,” Matt 8:12, Matt 13:42, Matt 13:50, Matt 22:13, Matt 24:51, Matt 25:30 and Luke 13:28. The future is dismal for those who despise Yahshua’s words.
When He returns He will not be the celebrated babe in the manger that the world sings about at Christmas. He will only bring peace on earth after “His enemies are made His footstool,” Heb 10:13, and the earth is cleansed from every trace of sin. His enemies are all those who have not obeyed Him. No sinner will inherit the kingdom of Yahweh. Therefore, any sin in your life, whether by commission or omission, must be forgiven before you see Yahshua. This is only possible by vigilance in comparing your words, deeds, thoughts and beliefs with His, and then confessing your shortfall (sins) to Him and turning away from them.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9.
Obey His Words
We have shown from the beginning and throughout this series of articles that disobeying the words of Yahweh and Yahshua has been the main reason why man has been deceived and has strayed from their Maker. What began in the Garden of Eden has been continued and exacerbated with each successive generation. Man has habitually substituted the thoughts, words, standards and commands of Yahweh with their own. Most of the leaders in Christendom have opted for messages that are popular or traditional, and have avoided or evaded the truth. They give the impression that their emphasis is on maintaining and defending their preferred set of doctrines at any cost with pride and prejudice, rather than in fearlessly declaring the infallible truths of Yahweh and Yahshua. They and their adherents have chosen the broad way that Yahshua said leads to destruction, rather than Yahshua’s straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life. They speak in endearing terms of Yahshua the Messenger, but ignore His message just the same. They call Him “Master” but do not allow His words to be the basis of their beliefs. They give precedence to the misunderstood words of Paul the Apostle or to the twisted, unfounded and pagan beliefs of their churches, above the words of their Saviour. They “reject the commandment of Yahweh, that [they] may keep [their] tradition,” Mark 7:9.
In spite of their disbelief of or indifference to the words of Yahshua, His words will be their judge and will remain even when heaven and earth have passed away. His Word is the Truth. There is no other sure foundation. Satan has fed the world, including religious organizations, with lies and deception. He has continued the work he had begun in the Garden of Eden by distorting the truth but presenting his version in an appealing and convincing mode to those who are gullible and are not firmly grounded in Yahweh’s truth. Yahshua’s caution to His disciples over two thousand years ago is particularly valid today as we near the time of His return. “Take heed that no one deceives you,” Matt 24:4.
We must not be like Eve, Esau, Judas and the Prodigal son who chose the short-term gain and lost that which really mattered. We must take heed now to that voice which we shall hear at the end, to reward or punish, instead of the voices that will all be silenced when Yahshua comes. We must not be like the deluded homosexual priests or any other disbeliever who think they will somehow gain eternal life while gratifying the flesh in complete disregard or defiance of the consistent teachings of the Bible. “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matt 16:26.
You cannot be too careful to ensure that you will spend eternity with Yahshua. The foolish virgins thought they had done enough and were wrong. The evil servant imagined time was on his side; the lazy servant with the talent could not be bothered. Whether through their ignorance, negligence or defiance, one way or another, those who fail to take heed of Yahshua’s instructions, will be told “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” Matt 25:41.
To those who believe that Yahshua is their Saviour and feel some emotional attachment to Him, yet ignore His words, He is saying, “Why do you call Me ‘Master, Master,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46.)
When Yahshua returns, the protective covering of organizations to which you have belonged, the superficial airs of being a believer, positions you have held and the good opinions that you or others have had about you will be stripped away. You will be on your own without props before the Judge. His penetrating eyes will see YOU just as you are. There will be no valid explanation you will be able to offer to justify your condition then. The error of Eve in disobeying Yahweh, the popular erroneous doctrines of Christendom, the magnetic pull of the misguided world, the compelling force of your weaknesses and the sinister powerful trickery of Satan will be of no importance in your defense. The Judge will not be concerned about the hindrances that had come your way, but only the decisions you had made. Your choices will be weighed against the alternative paths you could have taken that are in
Adam & Eve leaving the Garden of Eden
accordance with Yahweh’s word. Perhaps for the first time you will be unable to escape the reality of your true condition when you will see yourself as if looking in a mirror.
If you waited until then to measure yourself on Yahweh’s scale of truth, it would have been too late to rectify what is wrong. Now is the best time to be rid of the false ideas you have nurtured about yourself, flawed doctrines and standards of righteousness, and the deep-seated defects that you have overlooked. They are all loaded with the potential to finally separate you from Yahshua.
We can all be deluded if we look at the faults of others and ignore our own. Vigilance demands a regular scrutiny of our beliefs, thoughts and deeds to ensure that they conform to the high standards Yahshua has set. It requires the humility to understand that our best efforts are inadequate without the constant help, strength and guidance of Yahweh through His Holy Spirit.
One song says “there is none so blind as he who will not see.” In a sense perhaps the most detrimental deception is that which comes from within. Lives have been shattered without hope of a change because persons were incapable of seeing their own shortcomings, and were content to keep on blaming others for their predicament.
How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,” when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye, Luke 6:42.
The problem is very great when one cannot see, feel or accept the error of their ways. No one can convince such a deluded person of a need to change.
You cannot afford to ignore the warnings of the Bible and to assume that all will be well. It is time to take stock of yourself and of your beliefs and to see if you “have forsaken the right way and gone astray,” 2 Peter 2:15.
Your awareness of the preponderance of errors in the teachings of Christendom or other religions does not make you spotless or absolve you of your individual responsibility. Yahshua has no favourites other than those who obey Him. “Yahshua said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed’,” John 8:31. To His disciples He said, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you,” John 15:14. Pause for a moment and consider this: Would Yahshua really call you ‘friend’?
“The great dragon … that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan (is the chief adversary) who deceives the whole world,” Rev 12:9. Since creation, he has been planting seeds of doubt into the minds of people so as to turn them from obeying Yahweh. He has been doing this by twisting the words of Yahweh to convey his own message that would appeal to those who will listen to him. As he asked in the Garden of Eden, he is still asking people today, “Has Yahweh said?” Or “Is it true that ...?” He then places into their minds strong reasons why Yahweh’s word is not true. Sadly the majority of people believe his lies, even those who claim to be worshippers of Yahweh. But all power does not rest with Satan. Though it may sometimes seem that you are helplessly trapped by his cunning devices, you are told to “submit to Yahweh. Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” James 4:7. The devil will be punished for deceiving the world, but people will also be punished who allowed Satan or anyone else to deceive them. It is your responsibility to accept for yourself the truths of Yahweh and Yahshua and not to yield to strong delusions from any source. “Take heed that no one deceives you,” Matt 24:4.
You Too Can Fall
Peter was always at the forefront to show his loyalty to Yahshua. Spurred on by his enthusiasm he had no hesitation in refuting Yahshua’s prediction to the disciples that they would all fall away.
Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Yahshua said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matt 26:33-35)
In this particular instance, Peter was so sure of his devotion to Yahshua, that he did not take heed of Yahshua’s words. He thought he knew himself quite well, and therefore did not listen to the One who knew him even better. He demonstrated his resolve and attachment to Yahshua when he cut off Malchus’ ear in defense of Yahshua. Up to that point he was
Peter’s denial of Yahshua
proceeding in his characteristic impulsive, leading and positive manner.
Then when Yahshua was arrested Peter’s stumble began. Matthew tells us, “Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard,” Matt 26:58. He began to distance himself from the One whom he loved. At the courtyard Peter sadly discovered that he was not as strong and assertive as he had always been. His zeal gave way to cowardice. He began to think more in his own interest with less attachment to Yahshua. He who had said to Yahshua, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Matt 26:35), He denied with cursing and swearing that he had known or had anything to do with the Saviour.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall,” 1 Cor 10:12. Even you can fall. You have no strength in yourself. Be not deceived. You are only strong when you keep close to Yahshua and take heed of His words. Remember, “He who endures to the end will be saved,” Matt 10:22. Peter fell but repented, got to his feet again, met the risen Saviour, and thereafter to the end of his life, was used mightily in Yahweh’s service.
Be careful that you not fall. But if you do, remember to be like Peter. Repent and continue the journey with your eyes, ears and mind riveted upon the risen Messiah, to your journey’s end. Never distance yourself from the only One “who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 1:24.
In Revelation 16:15, Yahshua said, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
Yahshua also said in Mathew 24: 32-33 , that in just the same way nature gives telltale signs of the changing seasons, so we will see visible evidences of His impending return when the things He had predicted in Matt 24:1-31 begin to come to pass. On an unprecedented scale there will be lawlessness, false doctrines, teachers and messiahs, wars, famines, natural disasters, epidemic diseases and intense tribulation. They are the warning signals that the end is near. Most of these are already happening and are accelerating towards the apocalyptic events that will culminate in the angelic trumpet blast announcing the arrival of the King of Kings. Countdown has quite clearly begun with the sudden, unprecedented, and massive upheavals that are shaking the secure foundations of life on this planet. The stage is set. Like a whirlwind, the remaining events that will bring us to the final cataclysm can occur swiftly without any further warning.
His coming will be as a thief in the night for those who are not ready and are not observing the signals. The warning signals on our highways tell us of impending dangers but they do not compel us to take action. The response is up to you. Deluded or blind persons ignore the highway signs at their peril. Deluded and blind ‘believers’ who ignore the words of Yahshua are heading for utter damnation. There is simply no way to obtain eternal life whilst ignoring what Yahshua has said.
There is no safety in the misguided crowd. In the days of Noah, the majority of the inhabitants on the earth laughed at Noah and his message of doom, and carried on their lives as though he had not spoken. For over two thousand years, Yahshua’s words have been largely ignored and despised even by many who claim to be His followers. For the majority it has been ‘business as usual.’ As the flood eventually came, so one day Yahshua will surely return in the way He has said, and it will be proved conclusively that He was right all the time. It will be too late then for earth’s inhabitants to change their way of thinking or for preachers to correct their false theology. You do not have to wait until Yahshua returns to heed His message. Noah and his family escaped the final destruction by obeying the words of Yahweh. Will you escape the final damnation by choosing to give priority to, and to live by the words of Yahshua before it is too late? Be not deceived! His word is truth. Choose it.
-Elder Buel Hallpike
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