Last week I talked about bowing a knee to other gods. I am pretty sure that most people who go to church would never say they bow to idols and the thought of someone saying they are bowing to another god is pure absurdity but thinking you have not bowed a knee to other gods because you have not bowed to an actual idol is not really what we are talking about even though many do elevate statues of so-called great men and women in their traditions to a level of worship. For example, the seminary I went to had three idols that I remember, two Wesleys (Charles came later) and a Francis Asbury on a horse of which you can buy two of them at the campus store for one special low price of $44.99 with free shipping. The worship of man has plagued the church for centuries. It is not just the Catholics who do this (even though they say they don’t) as I used to belong to a denomination (Free Methodist) that basically idolatrized John Wesley and also to a denomination that named themselves (Wesleyan) after John Wesley. Both these denominations were void of the Holy Spirit even though they prided themselves as a holiness movement. They definitely did not move towards holiness. Look at most denominations, even independents and there will be a man / women and their embraced teaching, other than Jesus, somewhere in their history or even present day that have led to idolatrous worship. Most churches have done this. I have already talked about buildings that people worship. Deuteronomy 31:29 “For I know that after my death you are sure to become utterly corrupt and to turn from the way I have commanded you. In days to come, disaster will fall on you because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord and arouse his anger by what your hands have made.” Jeremiah 32:30 “The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth; indeed, the people of Israel have done nothing but arouse my anger with what their hands have made, declares the Lord.”

        Today I want to look at just how easy it is to bow a knee to other gods as you just saw. This is done by bowing your knee to other gospels, not necessarily to actual statues. Most people who affiliate themselves with a particular church do so without really understanding exactly what they have committed their lives to, both in this present life and the eternal one to come. This infiltration happened almost immediately after the early church started and no that is not because we serve a weak God but because the church is made up of stubborn and obstinate people just like Israel was who refuse to follow God’s word wholeheartedly. Paul told us these two things (he said more) about this rebellion. First, he said Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” Not only do most not equate these great men in history as idols but most do not understand that much of their teaching equates them to savage wolves as many have led the church astray with their false teaching. They actually believed they were on the right path. There is only one way and if the Spirit was leading, we would not have ended up with so many ways. Instead of teaching the words of God, they taught their own words about the word of God of which man then accepted as truth. They even wrote them down and most churches have an extra book clearly stating their distinctions stating what they believe and what they don’t believe along with the bible. Their ideas usually came in opposition to the other words men were teaching around them. They made sure that people knew that we do not believe as they do. The Reformation was opposition to the Catholic church, but it did not point us back to God’s word but through further division led the church away from truth. Rebelling against the truth led to a powerless church. This was due to the lack of the Holy Spirit, so efforts were manmade, not Spirit-led. There were also doctrines of demons and the church was led by the wrong spirit because they did not test them against scripture. 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Paul also said Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! 9 As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!” Peter said 2 Peter 2:17 “These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” Jesus warned us Matthew 24:4 “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.” When you change the words of the Messiah by adding to and taking away, you then make yourself out to be the Messiah with your own words and churches around the world do this. So don’t just think about those who actually say they are Jesus and there are those who do. Daniel warned us this rebellion and desolation would happen and as we see in Revelation. Daniel was told Daniel 8:26 “The vision of the evenings and mornings that has been given you is true, but seal up the vision, for it concerns the distant future.” John was told Revelation 22:10 “Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near.” The words of Revelation are not way off in the future as were the words of Daniel, they are here now.

        Since the time of Paul, the church has turned away from the truth to follow man-made gospels and the gospels of demons. The two are intertwined and are very hard to separate unless there is a complete turning from wicked ways. There is enough truth mixed in to keep people coming back but that is not the gospel as the gospel is all truth. The church did not heed the warnings and very quickly became like Israel. Nehemiah 9:29 “You warned them in order to turn them back to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, of which you said, ‘The person who obeys them will live by them.’ Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen. Jeremiah 32:33 “They turned their backs to me and not their faces; though I taught them again and again, they would not listen or respond to discipline.” Zechariah 7:11 “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. 2 Chronicles 29:6 “Our parents were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord’s dwelling place and turned their backs on him.” 

        Even during my short lifetime, I saw a swing from legalism to an apathy towards the word of God. Apathy is defined as “a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.” Sure there was lots of enthusiasm for so-called worship, especially in later years, but not God’s word. So much effort was put into the worship part but because God’s words were neglected and God was not interested in the noise of our worship or our prayers. What we are told in Revelation describes the church today. Revelation 3:1 “I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. 3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”

            A return to following the word of God in this day is looked upon as strange, even ridiculous as the pendulum swung so far over away from legalism that the amount of apathy is pathetic. Legalism was just as wrong. I am not talking about a return to legalism (Following the rules through man-made efforts, thinking their own efforts with what their hands could make would draw them closer to God) but a return to the living words of God through repentance, so that the kingdom comes near. This return and kingdom coming near then means God turns His face back to shining on us, which in turn means He will dwell among us once again and also means that once again we can be clothed with power from on High to go and do as Jesus did. Jesus said Mark 1:15 “The time has come, the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” If we would get rid of our wicked ways, then the church will do as Jesus did and look like the church is supposed to look. This is what the church was supposed to look like. Matthew 4:23 “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Not only did Jesus do this, but He also sent out His disciples to do the same. Matthew 10:1 “Jesus gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy (how about a pandemic, cancer and more), drive out demons.” Mark 6:12 “They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” That’s what preaching should look like and the signs that will follow, yet most people in the church will tell you that is not possible, even those who do not believe that the power gifts have ceased, do not really believe.

             Though I have talked about this before I want to single out a cancer in the church called dispensationalism. While there are many other cancers, this theology has its tentacles throughout the church. I grew up in the church and even in a Methodist tradition and dispensationalism was there. I talked about watching a movie called Thief in the Night when I was less than ten years old. I was born in 1963. This was a horrible movie and left lies about God’s word imprinted in my mind. It should not have been shown to children. When I returned to an empty house that meant the rapture happened and I was left behind just like the movie. It wasn’t until this journey I have been on did I realize this was not biblical but lies from satan. These were other gospels that had infiltrated the church. One writer (2012) said “It's been 40 years since the release of a film that wrecked havoc on the sleep of millions of souls in America and around the world, a film that combined religious themes with the chills of a horror film. No, not The Exorcist (1973). But a year before that: Long before millions of readers were getting worried about being left behind, scores of viewers fretted about the ramifications of A Thief in the Night.” I believe at the time it was used as a Billy Graham evangelistic tool; scare you into being saved. The end times was not really talked about so the rapture must have been true. Some have been touched by dispensationalism a little but many churches have really gone all in with its doctrines of demons. Even churches who do not buy this dispensational view can leave people confused, as I was and uncertain about what the bible really states. When you use the word dispensational, you usually think Israel, rapture, tribulation and millennial kingdom. The strange part is this theology is divided on the gifts of the spirit because you have Pentecostals and Baptists believing the same end-time doctrines yet part ways on the gifts of the spirit. This makes no sense at all since the millennial kingdom is supposedly coming in the future. Aside from the charismatics, the power gifts have been said to have ceased. This doctrine of demons is called cessationism.

            I have a picture of a Trojan horse outside the walls of a fortress representing the church. They are saying let us in and the church did and now it has infiltrated and destroyed much of the church. It was as simple as watching a movie or reading a book by Hal Lyndsey called the Late Great Planet Earth (1970). Dispensationalism started with a man named John Darby in the 1800s. Be careful which John you listen to; stick to the John in the bible. Oddly this man at least from an article I read said “the church is in ruins” and "the Christian is directed to turn away from evil and turn to the Scriptures.” It was said that “What separated Darby's dispensationalism was his novel method of biblical interpretation, which consisted of a strict literalism, the absolute separation of Israel and the church into two distinct peoples of God, and the separation of the rapture (the "catching away" of the church) from Christ's Second Coming. At the rapture, he said, Christ will come for his saints; and at the Second Coming, he will come with his saints.” Not only did he divide Israel and the church, he divided the bible into different dispensations. In his ignorance, he made the church even more evil with his other gospels. His thoughts were magnified in the Scofield Reference Bible. Be careful with study bibles as what is written at the bottom is not the word of God. Men like DL Moody also promoted these teachings and the promotion of dispensationalism continues to this day.

             Obviously from this little bit of information this is not a discourse on dispensationalism but just a pointing out that this is what many have bowed their knee to. Just a little common sense and reading scripture shows you very quickly that much of what is taught is not the way, truth or life and you don’t want any part of that horse. There are not two distinct sets of people. Paul said Galatians 3:26 “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” We learn from Israel, at least we were supposed to which is why satan has people believing in two sets of people. Literalism can also get you into a heap of trouble when it comes to the bible. The bible is the living word of God, not a book so you have to not only read carefully but listen carefully. Peter said about Paul’s writings 2 Peter 3:16 “He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.” If you notice with dispensationalism it is usually Paul’s writing that has been so greatly distorted. There is a lot of the bible that you cannot read literally. 

        I am pretty sure most people have heard of the rapture. Some agree, some are unsure and others don’t know and some refute it. One person describes it this way. “The consensus is the rapture will plunge the world into utter chaos as those left behind deal with this catastrophic event. Hundreds of millions of people vanish. Since the rapture occurs all over the planet in less than a second, some will be in bed, some eating lunch; others will be sitting down to relax at the end of a workday. Millions of traffic accidents because of cars left with no drivers. Plane crashes all over the planet because aircraft suddenly become pilotless. Fires break out as planes crash into residential areas — more housefire start when cooking pots are left unattended because homes are void of inhabitants. The ensuing chaos rages out of control as many emergency personnel is no longer with us.” If you are chuckling to yourself as you read this, you get it. Anne Graham Lotz (Billy Graham’s Daughter) said “Institutions will collapse. Banks will close. The Stock Market will plunge. Planes will fall out of the sky. Cars will crash on the road. Government in America at every level will disintegrate. Families will be torn apart. In the unprecedented turmoil, our nation will be vulnerable for our enemies to seize the moment and attack us. There will be mass chaos, confusion, fear, grief, despair, anger, threats, danger… judgment.” Notice this isn’t from the bible. If you still are not sure, Kirk Cameron, Nicholas Cage have been in movies called you guessed it Left Behind. There have been many movies made and books written. Time Lahaye followed Hal Lindsey and wrote the Left behind series and tribulation books. One source said the Left Behind series sold 80 million copies. He has a big voice but now that he is dead, we know what God’s voice will say to him for leading millions astray with his false teaching. Tim Lahaye pastored the Shadow Mountain church and then David Jeremiah followed Tim Lahaye at Shadow Mountain. Here is what David Jeremiah and this church believes. “One of the coming great events in the fulfillment of prophecy concerning the church is the personal, bodily return of the Lord to remove from the earth His waiting church and to reward them according to their works. Another event yet to come is the seven-year period of tribulation during which the judgements of God will be poured out upon the unbelieving world. These judgements will climax with the return of Christ in glory to the earth. He will destroy His enemies and restore Israel to her land. Christ will then establish His thousand-year kingdom in which the saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth. At the close of the thousand year reign the unsaved dead will be raised and committed to eternal punishment and the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God.” Jeremiah believes the rapture will come in his lifetime.

             Last week I said that satan uses the subtle and the absurd. Well, this talk about the rapture is absurd. What they have done is taken all the passages that are really talking about the final return of Jesus and fit them neatly into their own theology. You see if the rapture happened the way they said it would, the church would be gone. That means no God, no Jesus, no Holy Spirit. That would be it. Everybody in the church would be taken and get their new heavenly bodies. Then Jesus is going to come back to a destroyed earth, rebuild it, sit on David’s throne and set up His kingdom with who? You can’t be saved if there is no church and you can’t make it through the tribulation. All the people who received their heavenly bodies will be pretty disappointed to have to return to earth and do it all over again. Much of this comes because they have followed the Jews teaching; the ones who crucified Jesus because they do not believe He is the Messiah! I don’t believe Jesus is on a pogo stick coming back and forth to earth, and neither are His people. 

        The rapture is closely tied to what they call the tribulation, that seven year period of total chaos and the wrath of God. Of course the rapturists don’t want to be here for that so they say come to our church and go with us. They say the church will never feel God’s wrath but a disobedient church will. Ezekiel 24:13 “‘Now your impurity is lewdness. Because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed from your impurity, you will not be clean again until my wrath against you has subsided. 14 “‘I the Lord have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign Lord.’” Well the problem is this view of the tribulation again is not biblical. Just because you go to church does not mean who will be protected. If you have followed false gospels, you have already been deceived. That’s actually the tribulation. This means God has allowed the enemy to destroy you just like Israel and Judah for their rebellion. Jesus warned us not to be deceived. Mark 13:20 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them.” Revelation 7:14 “I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This tells us clearly that we will go through tribulation but we must stand firm on the words of God and not turn away. This cannot happen if the church is gone. The audacity to say that church will not face persecution / tribulation when Jesus himself was persecuted and people around the world have suffered greatly for their faith, shows the dispensational tribulation to be a made-up doctrine.  Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

        If you read scripture, the bible clearly says Jesus is coming back and there will be trials and tribulation. When Jesus returns, that’s it. James 1:12 “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. Revelation 22:7 “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.” Stick to the bible, not books about the bible. One person said about the Late Great Planet Earth, “This book practically replaced the Bible in the fundamentalist church I attended in the 70’s.” As I said earlier they have replaced the second coming with rapture and left very few verses that actually talk about the second coming. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.” Even though we are told no one knows when this will happen many have said they do know, and people listen to them. This is where the literalist gets into trouble. Matthew 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Yes the movies show peoples clothes left behind and this passage is fodder for them but is that really what it is saying. This passage is talking about being ready because like the flood, it will happen quick and many will be swept away. The passage goes on to say 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” That is the true meaning of the thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:1 “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness.” This is how we are supposed to live. Peter said 2 Peter 3:11 “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” Yes I grew up fearing something that was never going to happen but what this deception does is it takes your eyes off the prize and you do not seek the truth if you fall for these lies. One person described “The Late Great Planet Earth as: “Idiotic, gullible, credulous, superstitious, fanatical, irrational, etc.” “Pure bunk” They said “I read this book in 1971. It was pure bunk back then and it’s even purer bunk 35 years after its publication. All of its ‘predictions’ didn’t happen. Yet the author continues to be admired in fundamentalist circles. What does that tell you?” Some reviewers characterized Lindsey as a snake-oil salesman and a scam artist.” Many have been scammed that’s for sure!

        The dispensationalists have Jesus coming to earth part way (hence the caught up part), then going back to heaven, then coming back to earth all the way and setting up His kingdom and then having to leave again because as this church states “We believe that after the Millennial Kingdom period, satan will be loosed for a short amount of time, after which Christ will put down all sin and wrong. We believe that shortly after the Millennial Kingdom, Christ will judge all sinners, sending them to the Lake of Fire, where satan will be cast, and that Christ will then bring about a new Heaven and a new Earth.” There is always a lot of talk about the millennial kingdom but none after that because nothing fits with their doctrines. Revelation 20:7 “When the thousand years are over, satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9 They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves.” So you have all these people who are going to be deceived that had already received their new heavenly bodies but then came to earth to reign with Christ but then were going to be deceived again. Then Jesus would return again to take us home??? While Revelation does talk briefly about a millennial kingdom, you have to be very careful here which is why literal interpretation of apocalyptic writing like Daniel and Revelation can be very dangerous. Yes, Revelation and Daniel can be confusing, This is why we must no longer rely on man but on the Spirit of God. John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.” Revelation was written to the church. Revelation 1:1 “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

        Many believe in the millennial kingdom way off in the future, even the Mormons and the Jews but here is the problem. Scripture tells us that the kingdom was already here and available to all who believe. Luke 1:31 “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” Luke 11:20 “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus even said Mark 9:1 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” Jesus preached Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” If the Kingdom is now, then we should be doing as Jesus did, at least seeking to do as he did. Those who believe the kingdom is way off in the future, then have to have doctrines to match their teaching. They say there will be peace in the millennial kingdom but the peace Jesus talked about is not the peace the Jews and the dispensationalists were looking for. We must repent so the kingdom will come near. Jesus is already King of kings!

        Cessationism says there is no power available to the church as described in Corinthians. They say (bible doesn’t) some of these have ceased, that is the ones that do not line up with their theology and doctrines but nowhere does it say they were supposed to cease. Power was only removed due to rebellion but we will get it back when we return to God’s word. All these will once again be seen. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Imagine a church where this is happening. Actually you do not have to imagine just read about it in the gospels and Acts. Millions have been taught to believe there is no power and the powerless church is how it is supposed to be. This would then make sense if the kingdom is in the future when Jesus comes again to this earth as a human. The problem is millions of lives have been lost to satan because the church is powerless to defeat him, even though Jesus said we would have power and authority to defeat him. We lost that power when we rebelled and followed other gospels like dispensationalism and cessationism to name a couple. This makes Paul’s prayer even more important to us today. Ephesians 1:17 “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Daniel’s prayer is also extremely important in light of our rebellion. Daniel 9:4 “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. 7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame—the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you. 8 We and our kings, our princes and our ancestors are covered with shame, Lord, because we have sinned against you. 9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you. 12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing on us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem. 13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. 14 The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. 15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong. 16 Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us. 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”  

        The other side of the coin are the charismatics who say they believe in the gifts but what they are seeing looks nothing like Jesus. Lots of babbling, some falling to floor and the list of nonsense goes on and on. Before I go on, here are just a few from churches in my own town just so you now how prevalent dispensationalism is. Pentecostal - PAOC beliefs- 5.8.2 THE RAPTURE - The rapture, the blessed hope of the church, is the imminent coming of the Lord in the air to receive to Himself His own, both the living who shall be transformed, and the dead in Christ who shall be resurrected. 62 This event takes place before the wrath of God is poured out during the tribulation. Believers then will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to be judged according to faithfulness in Christian service. 5.8.3 THE TRIBULATION - The tribulation will be a time of judgment on the whole earth.64 During this period the Antichrist will emerge to offer false hope to the nations. 5.8.4 THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST - The return of Christ to earth in power and great glory will conclude the great tribulation with the victory at Armageddon, 66 the defeat of Antichrist and the binding of Satan. 67 Christ will introduce the millennial age, 68 restore Israel to her own land, lift the curse which now rests upon the whole creation, and bring the whole world to the knowledge of God.” Another independent church- “We believe that this present age will end with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, first to receive His Church unto Himself and then to establish His throne upon the earth and to reign in righteousness over it for a thousand years.” Another that is also vague but the word imminent is usually a giveaway. 9. THE FUTURE We believe in the personal, bodily, imminent and glorious return of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the bodily resurrection of the just and unjust; in the eternal blessedness of the redeemed; and in the judgment and conscious, eternal punishment of the unsaved.

        The problem for this false teaching is that God already set up His kingdom, showed us what to do and empowered us to do it and then return for those who obey. That is actually the Blessed hope not the Rapture. Titus 2:13 “the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Another problem is there is a lot of talk but no power. 1 Corinthians 4:20 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” The power to defeat our enemies is the key and the church doesn’t have it. At this point you need to be searching for it and not accept the empty ways handed down to us by our fathers. You need to understand that there is much more to the church than you have been taught and most of what you have been taught are other gospels. Jesus said Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” That is not happening. The truth is the church that follows other gospels is not the church. This powerless and captive church in desolation is not how it was supposed to be. All you have to do is look around at the churches around you. The common element that is missing is power, even if they do not follow dispensationalism. Dispensationalism is just one of the many false teachings in the church, but it shows just how easily the church has bowed a knee to other gods / false gospels. This is a cunning deception by satan. He wants you to go to hell with him. Revelation 12:9 “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 12 woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” 

        Due to our rebellion God has allowed our enemy satan to take over the church just like He allowed Babylon to destroy Israel and even Judah. There is good news in this because like the Babylon of the Old Testament, Revelation tells us Revelation 14:8 “A second angel followed and said, “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” We must repent and if we do not, scripture makes it clear that when we disobey God will punish us and it is severe. Even though He is a merciful God and patient, he will not leave the guilty unpunished. Nahum 1:2 “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger but great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished. Exodus 34:14 “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 6:13 “Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. 14 Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; 15 for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.” Deuteronomy 4:25 “After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you.” We were warned. Mark 13:1 “As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” 2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?” 5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” Unfortunately, the church / people, which is the temple of God has been decimated just like the first two temples because the church refused to listen and obey. 

        Daniel warned us. Daniel 7:21 “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the holy people and defeating them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.” Daniel 9:27 “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” Matthew 24:4 “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “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. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

        The abomination that causes desolation is already in place. People in the church are under delusion and are being deceived by the millions. 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when people 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.”1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” The church is already in tribulation and feeling the wrath of God’s anger due to our disobedience to His word. The church has been decimated during this tribulation. The talk about pre or post tribulation is nonsense. satan has thoroughly deceived the church to look at something in the future that is never going to happen because it is already happening. Again such cunning deception. People are dying without knowing the truth, only to hear later depart from me, I don’t know you. Instead, the church should be turning from these wicked ways and repenting so the kingdom will come near. satan knows what will happen if the church turns from their wicked ways and is once again clothed with power. So many in the church are walking on a path that leads to death because they refuse to listen to God’s word. If the church would once again fear God, we would have knowledge and wisdom. Proverbs 2:16 “Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18 Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.” Jesus said Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Luke 13:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ 26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” This should put the right kind of fear in us.

        satan knows the only way to defeat him is if we have power from on high. There is no power if we follow other gospels as we have clearly seen in today’s church. We need to return to the truth. As you can see around us, chaos is everywhere. People are fed up with the pandemic and that is definitively understandable as we all want to move on. The problem is we are in a pandemic. People are protesting the government as if the government can do anything about it. Yes, they have tried to curb the deaths but they can do nothing about stopping the pandemic. People are rallying against the government because they want their lives back. Many of these people don’t really believe there is a pandemic. They sound like Kenneth Copeland way back at the beginning shouting at the virus and saying it was over, meanwhile almost 1 million Americans have died since. Yes the fringe has found a powerful way to make a point but what you do not see is a return to God’s word, the One who actually controls the pandemic. The church from the beginning is weak. I struggled at the beginning when they said the church is nonessential and I felt I was going to stand against that but that quickly changed and I realized that was not the way to go plus that would be against scripture. I also know that the church isn’t essential as it now stands. Getting together as a group and then going home is not essential as there is no power whatsoever to heal or cast out demons. But the church could be essential beyond imagination if we would simply turn from our wicked ways. Yes, there are far more problems in the church than just dispensationalism. This just shows how the church has fallen for satan’s deceptions and is under God’s delusion because the church has bowed a knee to other gods and just how weak and pathetic the church has become. 

        If we do return, there is a promise that God gave to David but don’t wait till it is too late. If we do this what we see in Joshua will apply to the church also. Joshua 1:7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Each generation only has the life they live whether it is a few years or a hundred, so you choose life because eternity is forever and this life is just a blimp on the journey. There are false teachers and preachers everywhere. The church has been thoroughly infiltrated by the enemy. Many follow men like David Jeremiah and John MacArthur who are thoroughly convinced that dispensationalism is straight from the words of God. Yet this pandemic clearly has shown who MacArthur is and his lack of spiritual power. That is obvious since he is a cessationist. He does present himself with authority of which is loves to parade but you don’t have to listen long to see that he believes the bible should say what his theology and doctrine dictate it to say. David Jeremiah has a gentle but commanding voice. As I listened to one of his interviews, people wept and nodded their heads in agreement all the while being deceived with what he was saying. The Jeremiah you should listen to said, Jeremiah 33:17 “For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18 nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’” 19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “This is what the Lord says: ‘If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, 21 then my covenant with David my servant—and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me—can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. 22 I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars in the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’” This is a promise that tells us even though the church has fallen just like Israel and Judah there will be a remnant that is saved. God will not break His promise to David, yet we will feel God’s wrath if we do not follow the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Malachi 2:5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin. 7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the Lord Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”

        Most people do not get their truth from the bible, they get it from books written by men and women about the bible. Books like The Great Late Planet Earth and Left Behind were treated the same as scripture but if you knew scripture you would throw them out. The same can be said for the charismatic movement and others. When the books do not line up with scripture, the bible is changed. Millions of dollars are spent on Christian books and preachers and teachers all love to make a profit from them but if people would spend more time in God’s word and less time in books about God’s word, there would be less chance of you bowing your knee to another gospel. My goal is for you to read the bible. If you are reading what I am writing, then you are searching so don’t stop your search as God will keep His promise and you will find Him. You will then get to the point where the bible is your source of life and then you will guide others to the truth. We are all called to be priests and we are all called to go in the power of the Holy Spirit but at this present time and that time is coming to an end, we must understand the magnitude of the deception and delusion in the church. I try very hard to make sure my sermons are filled with scripture and not my words and yes I am well aware that the bible can say anything you want it to say, so test the spirits. How do you interpret scripture correctly? First you read it and then listen and let scripture interpret for you. If you don’t understand something that’s okay; understanding will come later. Understanding the Old Testament helps you understand the New Testament and vice versa. God will show you the false but don’t fall for it. Like I said I was messed up by the Thief in the Night and years later during seminary it was really confusing when the whole Toronto Blessing Revival took place. God is faithful and His words are true and you can stake your life on them. Like the rapture and this false charismatic movement, God’s word showed me this was not of God but satan. satan knows people are desperate for God so he deceives them into thinking God is moving in powerful ways but they forget to test. We are told 2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”

             My journey has taken me through dispensationalism, the charismatic, church growth, the dead church, the holiness church, that was not holy and I am thankful for that journey but now I wait and I know that God is faithful to those who seek Him. In a promise God gave He said if you seek me, you will find me. Jeremiah 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” So I wait. Is it hard, yes and no. It is hard because the days go by and the loss is high but at the same time I believe God will do as He said. Romans 4:18 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” 38 And, But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” 39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Micah 7:7 “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” In the end “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.” But not everyone will receive eternal life. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Make sure you have not bowed your knee to another.