Gen. 2:25 π Gen. 3:7 π Prov. 22:2 π Joel 2:28-29 π Mal. 4:6 π Mt. 6:24 π Mt. 10:28 π Mt. 11:15 π Mt. 13:22 π Mt. 13:36-43 π Mt. 13:38 π Mt. 13:43 π Mt. 16:16-17 π Mt. 24:4; 2nd π Mt. 24:12 π Mt. 25:41 π Lk. 8:11 π Jn. 1:1-4 π Jn. 1:14 π Jn. 4:23 π Jn. 4:24 π Jn. 6:63-64 π Jn. 6:66 π Jn. 6:67 π Jn. 6:68-69 π Jn. 7:38 π Jn. 16:13; 2nd π Jn. 18:37 π Acts 2:1-4 π Acts 2:16-18 π Acts 20:27 π Rom. 5:12 π Rom. 6:13 π Rom. 8:14 π 1 Cor. 3:16 π 1 Cor. 10:21 π 1 Cor. 13:12 π 2 Cor. 3:6 π 2 Cor. 3:17 π 2 Cor. 11:3-4 π Gal. 1:10 π Gal. 2:6 π Gal. 6:8; 2nd π Eph. 2:1-2 π Eph. 2:2 π Eph. 5:6-14 π Eph. 6:12; 2nd π Phlp. 2:15 π 2 Ths. 2:3; 2nd π 2 Ths. 2:3-12 π 2 Ths. 2:4 π 2 Ths. 2:6-7 π 2 Ths. 2:7 π 2 Ths. 2:9-10 π 2 Ths. 2:9-12 π 2 Ths. 2:10 π 2 Ths. 2:11-12; 2nd π 1 Tim. 4:1-7 π 2 Tim. 2:15 π 2 Tim. 3:1-9 π 2 Tim. 3:2 π 2 Tim. 4:1-4 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π Heb. 4:12-13 π Heb. 5:9 π Heb. 6:1 π Heb. 6:9 π Heb. 12:9 π Heb. 12:22-23 π Jas. 1:21 π Jas. 1:22 π Jas. 3:9-10 π Jas. 3:15 π 1 Pet. 1:14-15 π 1 Jn. 3:8 π 1 Jn. 4:3 π 1 Jn. 4:6 π Rev. 1:18 π Rev. 2:6 π Rev. 2:15 π Rev. 3:22 π Rev. 14:1-5 π Rev. 14:4 π Rev. 17:5 π Rev. 20:2-3 π Rev. 20:11-12
Because the “church” has too often failed to walk in spiritual truth but has instead invested itself in pagan, carnal and even demonic deceptions and practices, the prophecies that speak of the end times are often misunderstood or even dismissed or denied. One concept that is almost completely ignored by the prophecy industry prognosticators is the existence and work of an age’s zeitgeist. Zeitgeist is a German word that refers to the spirit of the time or the general characteristics of a particular period, especially the predominant attitudes, actions and traits that produce a movement or philosophy that strongly shapes the history of that particular period. When viewed in this light, the New Testament, and even the Bible as a whole, can be seen as a history, a spiritual unveiling, as well as a prophetic foretelling of the work of some of these zeitgeists. And when we recognize that God is Spirit ( Jn. 4:23 , etc.) and that we who believe in Christ are enabled to wrestle against the spiritual forces of evil who are in rebellion against God ( Eph. 6:12 , etc.; top), we can then see and rightly expect that there must be a tremendous conflict whenever and wherever these titanic forces collide. It is also not at all unlikely that human blood will be shed in such instances.
In the New Testament, this concept is not found in a single word as it is in the German language and so, when the concept is touched upon, both the spirit and the historical period are often spoken of. But it is done so from a much different perspective than that from which men are accustomed to looking at current events, history and the future. That is, usually the spirit or the historical period is either colossal in scope or one that only God (or someone receiving revelation from Him) could grasp or at least see as through a glass dimly.
For example, Paul wrote,
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” ( Eph. 2:1-2 )
Here is a clear reference to a zeitgeist, a predominant spirit of an historical period. But what is the historical period? The period begins with the Fall of man where shame ( Gen. 2:25 , 3:7 ) and death ( Rom. 5:12 ) came upon mankind. This influence continues in the life of each and every human being who follows the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air. This historic period will continue until the devil and his angels are removed from this earth. ( Rev. 20:2-3 , Mt. 25:41; top ) This is indeed a huge historical period and it is in this light we can most readily see the war between God and Satan into which every human being is born. The spirit ruler of the kingdom of the air works in those who practice disobedience to God. In contrast, Jesus,
“once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.” ( Heb. 5:9; top )
As a result, we are called to live
“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” ( 1 Pet. 1:14-15; top )
“He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” ( 1 Jn. 3:8; top )
Since death came into the world because of sin, in order to destroy the devil’s work, it was necessary for Christ to take from the devil the “keys” (unlocking mechanisms) of death and hell – which we are told are now in the possession of Christ and God. ( Rev. 1:18 ) Paul also wrote,
“The one who sows to please his sinful flesh nature, from that flesh nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” ( Gal. 6:8; top )
It is the person who obeys and caters to his own sinful nature who will receive eternal destruction but it is the person who obeys and seeks to please the Spirit of God who will receive eternal life. This is how we demonstrate which spirit we submit ourselves to, whose kingdom we belong to and in whose army we serve as a soldier. Paul wrote that we could either yield our bodies to sin as instruments of unrighteousness or we could yield our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. ( Rom. 6:13 ) He did not list any other options and the New Testament is replete with warnings that we must and indeed can serve only one of these two masters. ( Mt. 6:24 , 1 Cor. 10:21 , Jas. 3:9-10 , etc.; top) It is only to be expected that the end times will be a more blatant clash between these two.
If we wish to apprehend the notion of what these zeitgeists do, we must think large, even huge. We must paint with broad strokes and picture the over-arching trends or the underlying attitudes of a large number of people and not those of just a few leaders. The leaders only represent or “ride upon” the movement of the spirit within the people they lead.
Consider the civil rights movement. This movement has had expression in both the U.S. and in South Africa. It is based on the idea that all men are created equal and thus should have equal rights to the basic opportunities of life. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are probably the two most prominent leaders of those movements but to think that they could have accomplished anything of value without large numbers of people agreeing with their words and actions is to completely misunderstand human history and human nature. Nor is it to be supposed that the spirit of liberty and equality that was the largest driving force behind this movement was the only spirit operating within or upon those people.
The civil rights movement in the U.S. has roots that go back to (and beyond) the Civil War of 1861-65. Both sides of that war claimed to be primarily “Christian” – that is, they prayed to the same Christ and God that they both read about in the same Bible. Thus the Civil War has at least two primary spirits simultaneously at work. The first is mammon. The North produced industrial wealth that quickly demonstrated its true nature in unrestrained capitalism and oppression of the common working man (a form of disguised slavery). The South pursued its wealth through agriculture, primarily cotton, but it too demonstrated its true nature because it was built on undisguised slavery. The North spoke forth against the undisguised slavery and many abolitionists came to prominence. The South defended their state’s rights to practice what they believed was best for their economy and the North responded with the need for the Union of states (the whole country) to remain in control rather than the individual states. Only when God deemed enough blood had been shed to satisfy His righteous judgment and justice did the war come to an end and slavery was abolished.
It is not as well known that slavery was an issue that almost divided the original constitutional congresses. The issue was never really addressed and certainly never resolved (at least “legally”) until the Civil War. But the seeds of the idea of liberty were certainly and clearly implanted within the immortal words, “...all men are created equal...” – words that were initially penned by someone who owned slaves! Yet in this long, drawn out struggle that spanned generations, we can see the spirit that sought to oppress and enslave men and the opposing spirit that sought to liberate them from the tyrannies of other men.
In the New Testament, we find that the spirit of liberty is the Spirit of God who is without partiality toward men. Paul wrote,
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” ( 2 Cor. 3:17; top )
He also wrote,
“God shows personal favoritism to no man...” ( Gal. 2:6; top )
Thus we can see that the Spirit of God was at work in the men who worked, fought and died so that other men might be free. This is not to say that all men who sought this liberty were necessarily godly or righteous men or that the methods they used were always godly methods as indeed one driving force behind the war was the spirit of mammon and too many on both sides of the war were demonically inspired by hatred. Rather, it is to say that the Spirit of liberty moved upon many men to alleviate the oppression and bondage of other men even as the demonic evil spirits worked to maintain their oppression and wreaked death and pain alike on those who fought for and against liberty. Since we struggle to even recognize and perceive these titanic spirits, we do well to remember that, since we always see as “in a mirror dimly” ( 1 Cor. 13:12; top ), we ought not suppose ourselves able to completely understand and judge the intricacies of the movements of these zeitgeists – and certainly we will not see well apart from the illuminating aid of the Holy Spirit!
Though we cannot know all there is to know about these zeitgeists, we should take care to know what the Scriptures have to say about these beings. Paul spoke of a certain set of demonic beings he called “the rulers of the darkness of this age.” ( Eph. 6:12; top ) These rulers are those who disseminate the deceptions of Satan throughout the human race. Again, we must think large so that we can see the over-arching trends which these beings work to produce in individuals and in human history.
- The first of these beings would be the spirit of spiritual idolatry or religious prostitution. It is convenient (if not exhaustively correct) to name this spirit “Babylon” or false religion as it is most commonly obeyed through ritualism, hypocrisy, legalism and traditionalism. ( Rev. 17:5; top ) It is this spirit which has produced the vast number of modern “churches” and denominations that devote themselves and their resources to false religious practices which war against the genuine life which is lived in and by the Spirit of Christ and God.
- The second of these beings could be called the spirit of displacing Christ because it seeks to get human beings to put anything (literally, any person, place or thing) in any place that rightly belongs to God, Christ or the Holy Spirit. John called this being “antichrist” ( 1 Jn. 4:3 , etc.) and this being is expert at causing humans to “assemble” in groups that have some man or “doctrine” (teaching) ruling or presiding in the place where Christ should rule. This spirit is also the key influence behind those groups that tolerate one another’s sins by calling it “Christian unity” and this tolerance is then used to disguise their abomination and apostasy. It is in this latter sense that this spirit can also be called “the spirit of error.” ( 1 Jn. 4:6 , 2 Cor. 11:3-4 , etc.; top)
- The third of these beings is mammon or wealth. It is not just a question of possessing wealth as God calls wealthy people to follow Him as surely as He calls poor people. ( Prov. 22:2 , etc.) Rather it is a question of misusing wealth and this spirit causes people to invest in things that cater to or pamper their flesh nature or to propagate, support and perpetuate dead religious works. ( Heb. 6:1 ) This spirit causes people to bear bad spiritual fruit ( Mt. 13:22 ), to utilize material (and not spiritual) wisdom ( Jas. 3:15; top ), to fall victim to various religious financial scams and to otherwise use their material resources to further spiritual deception.
- The fourth of these beings depicted in the New Testament is the spirit of fearing man. This being works, using both deception and intimidation, to cause people to care more about pleasing men than pleasing God ( Gal. 1:10 ) and to be more concerned about what men can do to them than about what God could do to them. ( Mt. 10:28; top )
These beings are the evil zeitgeists who have been working their schemes “behind the scenes” throughout the so-called “church age” and have produced varying degrees of abomination in every denomination and in every generation since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. ( Acts 2:1-4; top )
The end of the current age will be marked with deception. Jesus said,
“Watch out that no one deceives you.” ( Mt. 24:4 )
And Paul wrote:
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion (apostasy, falling away) 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. Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power (mystery) of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of His mouth and destroy by the splendor of His coming. The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth, but have delighted in wickedness.” ( 2 Ths. 2:3-12; top )
Lawlessness is perhaps best captured in the phrase “what is right in one’s own eyes.” It is not, as many suppose because of the deceptive use of the word “iniquity” in the KJV translation of many verses, rampant and unrestrained evil. Rather it is relativism, seeking to follow what is right and good and true in one’s own opinion rather than in accordance with God’s word and revelation.
As we examine Paul’s prophetic description, we find a different picture than what is often painted by the prophetic prognosticators.
- Paul clearly warns of “the apostasy,” the great falling away from the faith. (v. 3 ) This will not be accomplished apart from the name of Christ but rather by using His name to accomplish one’s own purposes.
- The “man of lawlessness” (v. 3 ) – whether this phrase in this passage refers only to one man who rules the world (the so-called “antichrist” of end times prophecy prognostications) or whether this phrase in this passage refers to a general description of the average man of the time is an unresolvable argument –
- seeks to sit as God in the temple of God. (v. 4 ) And here is another controversy – whether this “temple” is a rebuilt facsimile in literal Jerusalem, Israel or whether this “temple” is a veiled reference to the temple of God that is the body of Christ ( 1 Cor. 3:16 , etc.) is also an unresolvable argument.
- Paul said that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” (v. 7 ) This spiritually concealed “secret” that would only be revealed and exposed for what it is whenever God knew it was time, was already working in Paul’s day and
- this work would continue, being restrained in some way then but in unrestrained ways in the last days (v. 6-7 )
- When this lawlessness (pursuit of and preference for what is right in one’s own eyes) is unrestrained, there will be rampant lying signs and wonders. (v. 9-10 )
- Lawlessness is unrestrained because the people who claim the name of Christ do not love the truth (v. 10 ) in spite of the basic fact that He is the king of truth ( Jn. 18:37 ) who, by His Spirit of truth, leads all His genuine followers into all truth. ( Jn. 16:13 )
- Those who use His name but do not love the truth are given over to powerful delusion so that they will take their rightful place among those who perish in God’s righteous judgment of all evil and wickedness. (v. 11-12; top )
Paul also wrote:
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. ( 2 Tim. 4:1-4; top )
This shorter description has the same time period in view. Men will be lawlessly religious – there will be a great number of teachers but these teachers only soothe and stimulate the ears and, because truth is not followed, genuine godliness and righteousness will not be produced or practiced. The people have turned away from the Spirit of truth and have instead embraced the myths these many teachers are putting forth. The spirit of error has lured the people away from the Spirit of God and have caused them to fasten themselves to a supposed “man of God for the hour” to listen to his teachings and to follow (at least as much as they desire to) his precepts. All this occurs even as those who do still have the love of truth (that produces spiritual ears that enable one to hear and obey God’s truth) pursues God – even as the vast majority of those claiming the name of Christ pursue error and ultimately, eternal destruction.
In the face of this apostasy, this falling away from the faith while retaining the name of Christ and God, the true follower of Christ and God must always stand ready to preach the truth and to speak forth the Word of God. This is not a listed set of static facts but the spiritual life of Christ and God manifested in the words the genuine disciple speaks as the Spirit comes forth from the depths of his or her being. ( Jn. 7:38; top )
We must come to recognize that the Bible must not be confused with the “Word of God.” How can such a “blasphemous” suggestion be made? Because the Bible says that the Bible is not the Word of God! Consider:
“For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” ( Heb. 4:12-13; top )
The Bible that sits on our table or desk is a man-made product produced from dead tree parts, dried ink pigments and, if you have a leather cover, dead cow skin, all of which will burn away if dropped into a fire. Some versions, like the original Scofields, are heavy enough to wield as a club but these can only and at best be called a blunt instrument! The Bible is an it - note well that the Scripture here says the Word of God is a Him to whom we will give account. No Bible will ever sit on any throne of judgment over any man. Only He, the Word of God, will do that. ( Rev. 20:11-12 , etc.; top)
“Lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.” ( Jas. 1:21; top )
Anyone who has a Bible implanted somewhere in their body will soon suffer severe medical complications! And not even the latest and best of modern medical science can implant a Bible in a man’s soul!
When Jesus taught the parable of the sower (or soils), He clearly said,
“The seed is the Word of God.” ( Lk. 8:11; top )
Under the modern foolish religious mythology, one can almost see the sower reaching into his seed bag, pulling out pocket-sized New Testaments and throwing them onto the ground!
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” ( Jn. 1:1-4 , 14; top )
John makes it abundantly clear that the Word of God is Jesus Christ Himself. No Bible sits as part of the Godhead, no Bible participated in creation and no Bible lights up the hearts of men. When all this was written, there was not even that collection of writings we commonly call the New Testament, let alone the Bible as we know it today. Why, one has to even wonder how those millions of believers in the 1st and 2nd centuries (like the millions of believers in Russia and China under the Communists) could even have been saved without a Bible – let alone, overturn their world (or spiritually thrive in spite of persecution).
The Bible is God’s word of truth that must be rightly divided ( 2 Tim. 2:15 ), rightly applied ( Jas. 1:22 ), rightly nestled in the whole counsel of God ( Acts 20:27 ) and brought to life by the Spirit of truth ( Jn. 16:13 ) or else the word of truth we hold in our hands becomes just another dead letter that kills those who hear it. ( 2 Cor. 3:6; top ) In other words, the Bible is the “door” by which we can come into contact with and enter into obedience to either the Spirit of truth or the spirits of error and deception. In fact, when we blithely claim that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, we propagate another one of the propaganda myths of Satan which the many hearers of the many teachers opt for in place of the truth – all while the truth remains something which we are progressively brought into by the Spirit of truth. The war between the Spirit of God and the spirits of deception is both intricate and without end until the return of Christ.
It is one thing to peer into the gloomy mists and recognize the identity of the various zeitgeists the New Testament gives us insights into. But it is another thing to bring this large scale information down into practical applications. That is, it is all well and good to recognize the large scale influences at work in a time period, but it is to our advantage and safe-keeping if we can recognize how these huge spirits are influencing me or the people around me so that we can be wary, vigilant and diligent against the schemes of the devil and the demonic against the people of Christ and God, particularly as we enter into the period the New Testament calls “the last days.” It is sufficient and satisfactory to the intellectual consumer to know the various zeitgeists and their characteristics but it is the spiritual individual and warrior who knows the weapons and tactics of the enemies of God who is able to overcome their negative and evil influences!
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth – men of depraved minds, who, as for the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of these men, their folly will be clear to everyone. ( 2 Tim. 3:1-9; top )
Because this description says “People will be...” (v. 2 ), most assume that only certain groups will match this description. This view fails to consider how even each individual will manifest many, or even all, of these characteristics. And just as “lawlessness” is much more readily recognizable in this world and time when called by its philosophical name “relativism,” this description from two thousand years ago is more readily recognizable to us by its “secular” psychoanalytical label of “narcissism.” At the time of this writing, narcissism is being found in (depending on what statistics one encounters) anywhere from 2 to 10% of the world’s population and this number is growing in staggering proportions because it is, in reality, a demonic scheme to de-volve the human race into something subhuman. The sin of self-love, also labeled empathy deficiency and malignant self-love, is a broad spectrum of behaviors and attitudes that incorporate spiritual elements. Some researchers see a distinct connection between religious “Christianity” and narcissism and see it as almost entirely a “Christian” disease! Indeed narcissism (malignant self-love) may be the ultimate expression of the “strong delusion” that God sends upon those who refuse to love the truth so that they might be saved. ( 2 Ths. 2:11-12; top )
In this passage, every element of narcissism – and lawlessness! – is listed here. Also visible is the attitude of having the right to control others and abuse them because they don’t live up to the religious standards espoused by the narcissist. And this simply points to the hypocrisy which is an integral part of self-love – the standards imposed on others is simply inapplicable to the narcissist who lives in a fantasy world of self-exaltation that ignores (or accuses others of) their own sins! If you, the reader, believe you are involved with or connected to someone who matches the description given here by Paul, you will need to deeply seek God as to what steps you will have to take to keep yourself in obedience to the will of God for your own life.
Let us take a look at the major ways in which psychology has observed the behaviors of what they call narcissistic personality disorder:
- projection (accusing others of what they themselves do),
- above the law (rules apply to others and not to the narcissist
- pathological lying,
- word salad (lengthy seemingly intellectual diatribes that literally mean nothing)
- historical revision,
- gaslighting (flattery or derision used to control),
- smear campaign (especially if someone recognizes the truth about the narcissist),
- manipulation, control and coercion,
- abuse (physical, emotional and/or psychological),
- flying monkeys (conned allies to further abuse against the victim).
It is in recognizing how the demonic spirits lure an individual into the sin of self-love that we can come to recognize how to overcome. The process of succumbing to the demonic spirits and becoming ensnared in malignant self-love is a mirror image of the process of submitting oneself to the Spirit of Christ. If we submit ourselves to Christ and God in spirit and truth,
“Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?” ( Heb. 12:9 , Jn. 4:24; top )
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” ( Gal. 6:8; top )
The sin of self-love is incrementally entered into and becomes the bondage of malignant self-love that the world knows as the personality disorder of narcissism. It is a most deadly trap.
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good servant of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself rather to godliness.” ( 1 Tim. 4:1-7; top )
The apostasy, the falling away from the faith, is being enacted within the walls of most “churches.” It is a wielding of supposedly “delegated” authority in the name of Christ and God, an authority the New Testament knows only as “Nicolaitan.” ( Rev. 2:6 , 15 ) Cult leaders are expert in wielding this kind of authority and bear striking resemblances to the descriptions of narcissists, the practitioners of the sin of malignant self-love. The zeitgeists are producing demonically owned and driven ear-scratching teachers whom the people love to listen to – just as Paul predicted. ( 2 Tim. 4:3-4; top )
When people assumed Jesus’ disciples were drunk with wine, Peter preached on the day of Pentecost,
“No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on My servants, both men and women, I will pour out My Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.’” ( Acts 2:16-18 , Joel 2:28-29; top )
The Spirit of God is and has been at work in every age but was especially poured out on all flesh at Pentecost because Christ was crucified, resurrected and glorified. This same Spirit is available to all those who will submit to Him.
Then He left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” ( Mt. 13:36-43; top )
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” ( Mt. 11:15 to Rev. 3:22 ) was a primary and unique feature of Christ’s preaching. The ear that hears what God is saying is one of the most important things that accompany salvation. (see Heb. 6:9; top ) Yet in modern churchianity even the notion that anyone is supposed to hear the Lord for oneself is explained away or ridiculed, especially since those people who begin to hear the Lord for themselves quickly develop ideas that are anathema to the “church.”
In spite of churchianity’s attempt to downplay and dismiss the need to hear the Lord for oneself, this facet of salvation remains a key ingredient of the gospel and a core element of the genuine resurrected life in Christ. Jesus described His own teachings when He said,
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” ( Jn. 6:63-64 )
Belief (or faith) is intricately wrapped up with spiritual hearing. Immediately after Jesus said this,
“many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” ( Jn. 6:66; top )
Jesus – instead of apologizing and begging those who were leaving to return and remain – turns to the twelve and invites them to leave too!
“Do you also want to go away?” ( Jn. 6:67 )
This question evokes Peter’s declaration,
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” ( Jn. 6:68-69 )
In Matthew’s account, Jesus responds to this statement (or a similar one) by saying,
“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” ( Mt. 16:16-17; top )
Peter had spiritual ears to hear that Jesus was the Messiah and he believed what he heard and acted accordingly – he did not abandon Jesus but remained at His side.
The parable of the wheat and the tares likewise shows the similar yet diametrically opposed natures of those who obey the flesh and those who obey the Spirit. Jesus said,
“The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.” ( Mt. 13:38; top )
The flesh is that which listens to and heeds (obeys) the demonic voices and the spirit is that which listens to and heeds (obeys) the Spirit of Christ and God.
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” ( Rom. 8:14; top )
If we dismiss the spiritual elements of these verses we have condemned ourselves to error and deception and are living life as a tare. We cannot ignore the spiritual aspects of our existence and be either healthy or safe in this age of spiritual deception. Paul wrote,
“that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” ( Phlp. 2:15; top )
Paul also wrote,
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. [Those who obey the spirit called the ruler of the kingdom of the air – Eph. 2:2 ] Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), proving what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’” ( Eph. 5:6-14; top )
The book of Ephesians, being the “highest mountain peak of the New Testament,” stands as the clearest expression of how to live the genuine life of Christ. The first half of the letter is all about what God has done and is in Christ while the second half focuses on our responsibilities for our own actions after we have received the life of Christ. This book stands as the best and shortest treatment of how to overcome the end times zeitgeist that opposes the people of Christ.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with Him 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. ( Rev. 14:1-5; top )
In the end times, while many are displaying the narcissistic personality of Satan and deception (especially relativism) will run rampant ( Mt. 24:4 , 12 , 2 Ths. 2:9-12 , etc.), many true followers of Christ will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father ( Mt. 13:43 ), the hearts of the fathers will be turned to the children and the children to the fathers ( Mal. 4:6 ) and the complete number of the redeemed remnant will stand with Christ on Mt. Zion (the assembly and ekklesia of the firstborn – Heb. 12:22-23 ) and will honestly and righteously go wherever He leads them. ( Rev. 14:4; top )
We have spent a lot of time looking at how the one Spirit of God stands in stark contrast to the various manifestations of evil that have arisen over the millennia of mankind’s existence as recorded in the Bible. We could probably spend even more time but this study should be sufficient to enable the reader to see the bigger picture. Only as one submits oneself to the one Spirit of God will anyone be able to find the truth against the backdrop of deceptions that abound in these last days.
We must relinquish all the things we think we already know back into the hands of God. And we must allow Him to retrain us, showing us what part of our knowledge was gleaned from demonic influences and human philosophies and what part of our knowledge was truly gleaned from our following His Spirit of truth. We must cling to the Lamb and we must persevere in living according to His standards of righteousness, truth and love or we too will be lost with those who have never loved God, truth or mankind. The choice is ours.
Let he who has ears hear.
- The Eternal Gospel - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) Sometimes when we read the book of Revelation we can easily miss some detail or fail to grasp the profound significance of some sparsely described event – even about something as important as the eternal gospel of Christ.
- Destroying the Lies - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) When God showed John that Jesus intended to destroy the works of the devil, He meant it. We do well to believe it.
- A Very Large Picture Bible Bullet: Ephesians 3:10-11 - Neil Girrard Just what have the people of Christ demonstrated to the world?
- Four Kinds of Enemies; Lords of Darkness - Neil Girrard Once we know that there are spiritual beings who wield deception against us, it is highly significant that Paul differentiates four types of Satanic beings.
- Lawlessness That Abounds Bible Bullet: Matthew 24:12 - Neil Girrard The simple mistranslation of one Greek word may be responsible for much misunderstanding of our responsibilities before God.
- The Inerrant Word of God - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) Paul’s prophecy that many will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables is being fulfilled in mainstream “Christianity” on such a widespread scale that it is all but impossible to conclude that this is the time of the apostasy.
- Narcissism: A Spiritual Perspective - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) Sam Vaknin’s picture of the false self of narcissism presents good insights as well as exposes the schemes of the demonic to separate the narcissist away from Christ.
- 1. The Wheat and the Tares; The Sons of the Devil - Neil Girrard Jesus’ analogy about the kingdom of heaven with some special emphasis on how it will be at the end of the age.
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