What Child is This?

by Wendy Wippel

Wendy Wippel is a molecular biologist who specializes in genetics. The following are excerpts from an article in The Lamplighter magazine. Used with permission.

Fresco in the Shepherd’s Field Church in Bethlehem.
Photo by Bill Rudge.

It’s the Christmas season, and amid the baking and the bustling and the bows, it’s easy to lose sight of what the fuss is all about — a baby. As the old carol asks, “What child is this?” There’s a lot riding on your answer. Because that baby is the central figure of human history. Human history, in fact, is divided into two eras (BC and AD) by His existence. (Your birth date? Counted from His.)

• He never traveled more than 100 miles from home, but His followers permeated every country in the world with His story.

• He never wrote a book, but more have been written about Him than anyone else in history, by far.

• The first book about Him, the Bible, has been translated into more than 500 languages, and portions of it into more than 3000 languages.

• He had only 12 disciples, but billions of people discuss His teachings every day.

• He was homeless during His public life, but most of the world’s most beautiful buildings were built in His honor (Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey, Hagia Sophia, Chartres, St. John’s Cathedral, and so on.)

• He died as a criminal, but today thousands of names of cities and countries memorialize His life. (San Salvador, for example, which means Holy Savior.)

• He never married, but more wedding vows have asked His blessing than any other.

• He never had kids, but there’s a really good chance you’re named after one of his family or his friends.

• Untold numbers of people throughout history have willingly gone to their deaths rather than renounce His name.

Jesus is recognized by skeptic and saint alike as the turning point of history. What child IS this? We’ve had 2000 years to speculate: A really moral man? A great philosopher? A champion of social justice? A pacifist? A mythical figure? A revolutionary? An example for all of us to follow?

Those really aren’t the right questions, though. The real question is “Who does He think He is?” And Jesus, tellingly, said none of the above. Jesus said that He came to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus said that He came to “give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). In fact, He said that He came specifically for one moment in time, His crucifixion (John 12:27).

What child is this? We all have to answer that question for ourselves. And eternity rides on our answer. Why? Because God created humans to be with Him. But you probably know what happened next – Adam and Eve disobeyed the one rule that God established, and humanity became tainted with sin. And as descendants of Adam and Eve, we inherited that condition. We’re all SIN positive.

The problem is that sin can’t survive in the presence of the holiness of God. But that same God still loves us and wants us to be with Him. So Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost. We’re what was lost (John 1:12; 3:16).

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s great for you, but it’s just not my thing.” Or, “I have my own faith.” Or, “We all worship the same God.” Then what child is this? One that made some pretty amazing statements:

I am the way, the truth, the life. No man comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6). All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me (Matthew 28:18).

Nobody else said things like this. Not Mohammed. Not Confucius. Not Buddha. Nobody. People these days say that makes Christianity exclusive. Except that Jesus also said that whosoever believes in Him can have eternal life. Whosoever.

So what child is this? You can call Him a liar. You can call Him a lunatic. Or you can call Him Lord. “Undecided” isn’t really an option. He didn’t mean for it to be.

Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be the Messiah, a Messiah described in Isaiah as “wounded for our transgressions,” whose chastisement made peace for us with God. Jesus said that He came to give us life as a ransom for many. Nobody else said that. Nobody.

That’s what sets Jesus apart. Only He laid down His life for your sins and mine. And when He died on that cross (a fact documented in Roman records) it would have certainly seemed that was the last history would hear of Him.

But the cross that He died on is now the world’s most common symbol, engraved on tombstones, mounted in and on churches, scattered on hillsides and hung around a whole lot of necks.

So what child is this? That’s the question. And the answer … God, in the form of Jesus, left heaven to seek and save that which was lost, meaning you and me. When He died on the cross, God was saying that He loves you. He Himself came to earth to give His life as your ransom. It was the God of all the universe, whispering into your ears, “I do.” And that God, who still loves you, stands at the altar, waiting for your answer. He’ll wait. He has all eternity to do so. Do you?

Are You Honoring His NAME?

by Bill Rudge

No one wants his name disgraced. A bad name is a curse, while a good name is a blessing. People live and die to protect their name, their testimony and the reputation of their family. Likewise, the Lord defends the honor of His name:

I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).

While many today attempt to silence or profane the name of the LORD, we as believers should acknowledge and reverence His name in both words and deeds….

  • The third Commandment is: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). First Chronicles 17:24 tells us His name should be “magnified forever.”
  • The prophet Ezekiel states: “Thus says the Lord GOD, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name…” (Ezekiel 36:22-23).
  • David said to Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts” (1 Samuel 17:45). Solomon built the house (Temple) for the name of the LORD (1 Kings 8:20). Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal in the name of the LORD (1 Kings 18:20-39).
  • The Psalms frequently mention the name of the LORD. A few examples follow:

I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High (7:17).
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God (20:7).
From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised (113:3).
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD (118:26).
Our help is in the name of the LORD (124:8).

  • Proverbs 18:10 tells us that “The name of the LORD is a strong tower.” Micah 4:5 states: “We will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever.”
  • Psalm 23, which you have probably read or recited many times, says: “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (verse 3). The Lord’s Prayer starts out: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9).
  • Jesus told His disciples to ask of the Father in His name (John 15:16; 16:23-27). The Apostle John tells us that his Gospel and the miracles of Jesus he recorded were “written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).
  • Acts 2:21 promises: “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Acts 4:12 tells us there is salvation only in the name of Jesus for “there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
  • The Apostle Peter said to the crippled man: “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk” (Acts 3:6).
  • At Damascus and Jerusalem the Apostle Paul was speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord (Acts 9:27, 28). Paul said to the slave girl possessed by a spirit of divination: “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (Acts 16:18).
  • Colossians 3:17 exhorts: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” James 5:14 instructs: “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

His Name the Only One

In every way possible we as believers should respect and reverence the name of the Lord – just as we hope our children will honor our name! We must also trust in, pray in and be witnesses in the name of the Lord.

Ask yourself one crucial question: Do my words and behavior honor or dishonor the name of the Lord?

One day the profanity and blasphemy of God’s name will cease. The day is rapidly approaching when:

The LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one (Zechariah 14:9).

The Power of Words

Words of Encouragement vs. Discouragement

From a Young Age

When Karen was 17 and I was 18, we committed our lives to Jesus Christ. Less than two weeks later, at that young age, we ran away and got married. We could have easily failed, both in our Christian walk and our marriage, had it not been for the encouraging words of Rev. Guy Bongiovanni and Rev. Roger Shaffer. They and others at Farrell Christian Assembly and First United Methodist Church of Sharon, Pennsylvania, as well as those from various denominations, encouraged our growth in our faith and knowledge of Scripture. As a result, we have served many years in various churches and ministries—most of those years here at Bill Rudge Ministries.

Have we faced times of discouragement and difficulties? Yes…a plethora of times! There were those whose goal, it seemed, was to discourage us from obediently serving Christ and to dissuade us from following Jesus’ call into ministry. But the encouragers (through God’s Holy Spirit) superseded them and God accomplished His work in and through this ministry, built from day one on God’s Word and the leading of His Spirit.

Peter and Paul; Nero and Herod

During the first year of my new life in Christ, I worked with two other young men, considering them Peter and Paul because of their strong commitment to Christ. By word and example they encouraged and strengthened me in my faith. However, after a few months, they moved on and were replaced by two men I regarded as Nero and Herod—constantly seeking, through lying words and dishonest behavior, to oppose and undermine my faith in Jesus Christ. Needless to say, it was a challenging time in my early Christian life! However, that year revealed to me the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error—between those who love Christ and those who despise Him—and the deadly effects of discouraging words versus the lifelong benefits of encouraging words.

Impact of the Tongue

Powerful

The average tongue is about four inches long and weighs about two ounces, yet it can be as quick as lightning, as sharp as a blade, and as devastating as a natural disaster. Friendships have been ruined, reputations tarnished, lives destroyed, families devastated, and churches split by the tongue. Social media can intensify and magnify the potential benevolent or malevolent use of the tongue.

Words are like arrows shot from a bow—once released they cannot be taken back. It may take months or years (if ever) to bring healing to a situation caused by careless or foolish words. That is why Scripture admonishes us to guard our tongues and speak words of wisdom and healing instead of foolishness and hurt.

While most Christians would never strike someone with their fists, many carelessly abuse and inflict pain on others with their words. Yet it is often more difficult for victims of verbal abuse and gossip to recover from a damaged reputation or a broken heart than from injuries caused by a physical attack. Virtually everyone has at times either spread or listened to gossip. Most people also know from firsthand experience the pain of being victimized by gossip—whether the information was true or not. So too we all remember times when we said something about someone else we later regretted. Gossip is like a stone thrown into a pond, sending ripples outward.

Poisonous

My friend and coworker in ministry, Jim Weikal, comments on the power of the tongue with the following words: A bullet fired from a deadly weapon can never be retrieved by the shooter. The speeding lead projectile quickly hits a target, hopefully not an innocent victim. In a similar fashion, a word fired off in anger toward any person cannot be retrieved either. The ears of the person send the voice to the brain where the content, intent and tone of the words are indelibly recorded to be played over again and again.

Anger is often the spark that ignites the tongue to spew its deadly poison. Words can be so hateful and venomous that no apology will erase the mental scars and emotional harm. Physical scars from a cut heal on our bodies leaving clean skin, but verbal scars caused by angry words don’t heal so easily, perhaps never. Remember, from our mouths come blessing and cursing (James 3:10). Ask God that your tongue be one known for speaking blessings.

Almost Upon Us!

by Bill Rudge

    In 2003, Karen and I were fleeing the California wildfires through a canyon.
The flames were closing upon us, but somehow we escaped. Shortly thereafter,
that canyon was consumed by the fires. In the same way, many prophecies
concerning the end times are close upon us.

    For over 40 years I have attempted both to alert and prepare the Body
of Christ for what is coming. End time prophecies are lining up in this
generation! Just a few more steps and we will be at Revelation 13: unable to
buy or sell without a mark in the right hand or forehead. All that is needed is
a global leader to rise up using available technology to enact total control and
domination, “protecting” us from a global crisis – real or fabricated.

    Multitudes of people are wandering aimlessly, caring only for today, and
disregarding what is coming upon this earth – just as in Noah’s day (Matthew
24:37-39). The many “signs of the times” being fulfilled, reveal just how
close we are to Christ’s coming. This is not a day and age to be lukewarm,
but to remain faithful, know Scripture, have discernment and stand strong as
witnesses for Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word.

God’s Promise

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and loving kindness
will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house
of the LORD forever.

The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.  Matthew 6:9-13

Riches Untold

    1 Peter 1:6-7  …now for a little while you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

    Romans 8:18  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Scriptures of Encouragement

     Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
    Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble, for the LORD your God goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.
    Isaiah 41:10  Do not fear, for I am with you; I will strengthen you, surely I will help you….
    Philippians 4:6-7  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
    Jeremiah 29:13  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
    Isaiah 40:31  Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
    Psalm 118:24  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

     Psalm 121:1-2  I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
     1 Corinthians 15:57  Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
    Romans 8:28  God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
    2 Timothy 4:7-8  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.
    Romans 8:37-39  …we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come … nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Eternity

    Revelation 21 and 22  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, or crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God. On either side of the river was the tree of life. Blessed are those who have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without cost. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Knowing Him

    John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
    John 17:3  This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
    Ephesians 2:8-9  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
    1 John 5:11-12  And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
    Romans 10:9-10, 13  If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.

May you be strengthened by the love of Jesus. Never give up. Always have HOPE:

Hold on to the promises of God (Revelation 21:3-4)

Opt to trust in God through all the challenges you face (Isaiah 40:31)

Place all your cares and concerns upon Him (Psalm 46:1-3)

Enter into the loving hands of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35)

God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on Him, because they trust in Him.  Isaiah 26:3

© 2023 by Bill and BJ Rudge

Mystery Babylon

by Bill Rudge.

The name “Babylon” traces its origin to “Babel,” which symbolizes idolatry, sorcery, immorality and rebellion against God. Babylon was founded by Nimrod and was the site of the first organized system of idolatrous religion exemplified in the Tower of Babel (Genesis 10:8-10; 11:1- 9). It was there God confused their language and scattered them over the face of the earth.

Babylon is used in the book of Revelation to exemplify the apostate church and religious system of the last days, through which all nations will be made drunk with the wine of her immorality (Revelation 14:8; 17:2; 18:3, 23).

Mother of Harlots

Illustration by Pat Marvenko Smith. Used with permission.

Babylon the Great is a mystery that will be revealed in the end times as an ecumenical amalgamation of the universal apostate church, false religion and New Age spirituality. She is rightly called the Mother of Harlots because all false religion can be traced to her. Dr. T.V. Oommen, a research scientist and biblical scholar, originally from India, studied the history of religions. He told me he was convinced the origins of all idolatry, the occult and false religions (cults) stem from Babylon and the Tower of Babel.

Harlot is a metaphor for idolatry or religious apostasy. This spiritual prostitute will intoxicate the leaders and inhabitants of the earth with her abominable and blasphemous teachings and practices. Revelation 17:15 identifies the “many waters” on which the great harlot sits as “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues [languages].” Her association with the kings of the earth reveals the scope of her influence. That this woman sits on the beast indicates the Antichrist will initially support her (Revelation 17:3). The apostate church will cooperate with the False Prophet in forcing people to receive the mark of the beast on their right hand or forehead and will influence the masses to worship the Antichrist and his image.

Apostate Church

The Antichrist will use the apostate church to help catapult himself into power and to unify his global kingdom. However, he will hate this materially wealthy, morally corrupt and politically influential apostate church, and will bring her to a sudden end (Revelation 17:16-17). Her destruction probably occurs after the Antichrist desecrates the rebuilt Temple and proclaims himself to be God! He not only breaks his covenant with Israel, but also turns on the apostate church. Tolerating only himself to be worshiped, he will destroy anything that even remotely resembles Christianity.

This is the frightful (but just) end of the apostate church. Designed to be the bride of Christ, a light and evangel to the world, the apostate church has become a spiritual prostitute, involved in every loathsome practice imaginable, being “drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6).

Soon after the destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18:8- 9), the Antichrist, False Prophet and the kings of the earth and their armies will meet their end at Armageddon during Christ’s Second Coming. In contrast, true believers will rule and reign with Christ during the Millennium. The faithful will inherit all God has prepared for those who overcome (Revelation 21:7).

The Gong Show (November 1984)

This video was recorded in November 1984 at Case Avenue School. The Gong Show was sponsored by Teen Life and Kids Life (a division of Bill Rudge Ministries), featuring local talent.

The Gong Show was an amateur talent contest that ran on NBC in the mid 70s. If the act was “gonged” it was out of the running. The acts that remained competed for judge’s votes. The winners were chosen by the highest score from the judges.

The Perfect Storm for Deception

Photo by Heather Heutsche

As a new Christian in the early 1970s, I read accounts in the Old Testament about the immoral and idolatrous acts of the Israelites – and the resulting judgments. I thought to myself, “How could God’s people be so foolish as to participate in such wicked and rebellious behavior, and do so repeatedly?” Yet today, such behavior is the accepted norm in far too many churches.

As the world increases in defiant rebellion and refuses to repent of its obsessive appetite for immorality, many in the church not only accept, but endorse, celebrate and even participate in these practices as the Israelites did with the idolatrous Moabites (Numbers 25:1-3). The prophet Ezekiel said, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing – the great abominations which the house of Israel are committing here, so that I would be far from My sanctuary?” (Ezekiel 8:6).

Israel’s apostasy caused God to distance Himself and no longer hear their prayers. The Israelites turned to spirits and mediums for guidance and listened to false prophets who led them astray – to their eventual destruction. I think the Lord is likewise appalled by what is going on in many churches today! Some beliefs and practices are so appalling that I can not even put them in print. Are we, by our detestable practices, driving the Lord from our churches and our land? Have we so lost the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and the authority of God’s Word that we must resort to entertainment to draw a crowd? The nineteenth-century pastor Charles Spurgeon said, “The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them.”

Truth has stumbled in the street as our culture drifts further and further from God’s Word. It seems obvious that as one biblical principle after another is cast to the wind, and one virtue upon another is trampled to the ground, there is a parallel loss of God’s blessing and protection as calamity after calamity confronts our nation, and one freedom after another is taken from us. Many have so little spiritual discernment that they will not understand until all is lost!

To reverse the chaotic state of our country, we must cry out to the Lord, truly repent and turn from the wickedness that is enveloping our society and infiltrating the church. If the body of Christ does not sincerely repent and purify herself, be assured that even greater judgment will come to America and persecution to the church. We must change our course before intensifying darkness on the near horizon completely overwhelms us.

For many years I have warned about increasing apostasy in the body of Christ and issued a call to return to biblical Christianity. Jeremiah prophesied God’s impending national judgment on apostate Judah for 40 years before it came to pass through the invading Babylonians. Some may not believe God’s prophesied judgments are coming to this generation – but unless we truly repent, they will!

Age of Love, Peace and Unity

The Bible foretells a blessed age to come of love, peace and unity. However, before Christ’s Millennial Kingdom comes, Scripture warns of an unprecedented time of deception. No warning is more stressed concerning the time before Christ’s return than that of deception and delusion: false teachers, false prophets, false prophecies, false signs and wonders, false unity movement and false peace. All this will lead to the ultimate false messiah in the diabolical reign of the Antichrist, and his accomplice – the supreme false spiritual leader, identified as the False Prophet.

No wonder Jesus’ foremost admonition in the Olivet Discourse is to beware and watch that no one deceives you. Paul the apostle foretells that before Christ’s coming there will be a great apostasy and the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) will be revealed. A strong delusion will come upon all who do not love the truth and they will believe Satan’s lie that the Antichrist is the promised Messiah and Savior of the world.

It is obvious that the world is being prepared for the deceptive and seductive reign of the Antichrist who will receive his authority from Satan. He will usher in a short-lived, false peace before he proclaims himself to be God in the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. He will seek control over, and worship from, every human being on earth (2 Thessalonians 2; Revelation 13).

A Powerful Delusion

False prophets, influenced by demonic entities, will perform impressive miracles to validate their lying messages. There will be an escalation of false signs and wonders, as well as strange phenomena.

Today, many Christians and even pastors lack discernment – deficient in knowledge of prophetic Scripture, devoting little time to the study of God’s Word and prayer, while spending too much time in unprofitable activities, sometimes engaged in behavior which compromises them morally. They are not prepared, nor are they preparing the body of Christ for what is coming. Their focus is on “pleasing themselves and people” rather than contending “earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints” (Jude 3).

Is it any wonder that people today are increasingly rejecting biblical truth while embracing atheism, paganism, mysticism and occultism; throwing off moral restraints to follow a path of wanton pleasure. With the need for spiritual discernment disregarded, we are living in an ideal environment for the perfect storm for deception.

While the Bible and faith in Christ are systematically removed from today’s culture, there is an insatiable appetite for sorcery, supernatural phenomena and powers, as well as growing violence and sexual immorality. Today’s generation is being programmed through movies, music, the printed page, media and the Internet. Consider the influence of alcohol, mind-altering drugs, the growing popularity of mind-body-spirit healing techniques, and meditative practices to achieve altered states of consciousness. No wonder Paul wrote that a “deluding influence” will come upon them in the end times and they will believe what is false (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

What do you think this generation will do when the Antichrist appears, whose coming “will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10)? Of course they will idolize him, for just as Revelation 13:8 states, “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast [Antichrist] – all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life….”

Examine Scripture

Since Jesus and the apostles warned about apostasy and deception in the end times, why are so many pastors accepting or endorsing unbiblical and anti-biblical teachings under their watch as shepherds?

Several years ago I performed the wedding of a professor from an elite university. Attending the wedding was an out of state pastor. At the reception she told me of her concern for the Church and how attendance was dwindling. Continuing in conversation, she informed me that she believes in evolution and accepts virtually all beliefs and lifestyles. She also told me about several techniques she had learned and was teaching to her congregation – techniques that were pure New Age spirituality.

I told this pastor she needs to examine, in context, the prophecies of Jesus and the apostles concerning Christ’s second coming. I assured her that just as the prophecies of Christ’s first coming were accurately fulfilled, so will the prophecies of His second coming. Besides, Jesus and the apostles precisely foretold the spiritual condition of the Church in the end times. She was unfamiliar with Paul’s prophecy in Second Thessalonians chapter 2 about the great apostasy and strong delusion, yet she is part of its very fulfillment. I pray God opens her eyes and the eyes of all pastors and believers to have discernment and to stand strong for biblical Christianity in these times of compromise.

Warnings

Do those who distance themselves from the clear teachings of Scripture, and who embrace today’s corrupt culture not realize they are actually fulfilling end-time prophecy? Are they unaware of, or simply ignoring:

  • Jesus’ warning of false prophets, false christs and of being lukewarm (Matthew 24:5, 11, and 24; Revelation 3:16);
  • Paul’s warning of apostasy (falling away from the faith), false signs and wonders, deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 9-12; 1 Timothy 4:1);
  • Peter’s warning of false prophets and false teachers who introduce destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1-15);
  • Jude’s warning of godless men who change the grace of our God into license for immorality (Jude 4);
  • John’s warning to not be deceived by false signs and miracles (Revelation 13:13-14 and 19:20).

The beliefs and practices of many Christian leaders and their followers exemplify what God’s Word warns believers to come out from. This is not a day to drift from Scripture or to accept so called “new revelations,” but a critical time to remain firmly grounded in the Bible, lest the prophecies of falling away from the faith become true of you, your church or ministry.

A Word to Pastors

As Shepherds, you are responsible to the Lord regarding what you teach and what you allow in your church. Protect your flock from false teachers – from wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Develop discernment through consistent, deep Bible study and prayer. Resist the temptations of greed and immorality. Don’t be consumed with desire for pleasure, popularity and power.

Don’t fade into the pages of lukewarm Christianity as did the Laodicean church whom Jesus warned would be vomited out of His mouth (Revelation 3:16). Note that our Lord extended mercy and offered restoration to the Church at Laodicea: “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

Take a few minutes to ponder Jesus’ parable of the faithful and the wicked servants the master put in charge of his household (Matthew 24:45-51). When the Lord returns, may you prove to be a wise and loyal servant.

Do not let a fearful day of reckoning await you because you built your own kingdom on earth, twisting God’s Word to condone your beliefs and lifestyle. Rather, receive honor in Christ’s Millennial Kingdom because you remained faithful to Him and His Word.

Remember, the days in which we live require much faith, courage and discernment which come only through knowing Scripture and being led by God’s Spirit!