I NEVER KNEW YOU
I NEVER KNEW YOU Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The church world that we know, particularly the Charismatic world, is going to be divided, I believe. There will be a despised remnant whom the majority of the churchgoers, as well as the secular population, will not understand. The majority will become the False Prophet mentioned in the Book of Revelation, the beast coming out of the earth. One of the characteristics of the despised remnant will be that they are seeking to meet the needs of God rather than the needs of man.
Table of Contents
Meeting Man's Needs or God's Needs? God's Great Plan Requires Our Barrenness Antichrist and the False Prophet Antichrist The False Prophet I never knew you Using the power of the Lamb without the Lamb The False Prophet gives life to Antichrist Commanding Stones To Be Made Bread You Shall Not Surely Die
I NEVER KNEW YOU
"Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" Matthew 7:21-23—NIV)
I have been very concerned, and I know you have too, at the turn things have taken in the Christian churches. We have become man-centered. The Gospel of the Kingdom, which is a hope for a glorious future, especially for those who are suffering, has become a way of helping us have a prosperous, successful, fulfilled life in the present world.
Can you remember some of the old hymns, how they spoke of patiently following the Master: "Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No, there's a cross for everyone and there's a cross for me"; "I'm going through, Jesus, I'm going through. I'll take the way with the Lord's despised few"; "I have decided to follow Jesus. Though none go with me, still I will follow."
Can you remember these? What has happened to them?
The popular Christian books of today are those that offer formulas for a happy marriage, how to have an improved love life, or how to make more money. I do not say there is no need for advice for married people, anger management, or financial counseling. But how many books and seminars have as their topic the happy, successful person as compared with those that tell of God's need for His people to come to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ? How many stress the need for patient, stern obedience to God?
Would such books and seminars attract anyone?
God was not created to meet our needs. We were created to meet God's needs. God needs a living temple. God needs a helper suited for the Lamb. God needs a body for His Christ. God needs brothers for the Lord Jesus. God needs people who can judge mankind and the angels as well. God needs a material expression of Himself, a fullness of Christ. God needs! God needs!
How concerned are you with God's needs? Or do you see Christ as the means of getting what you desire?
God has a huge plan, a blueprint for bringing into existence a world of perfect, total love, joy, and peace. I think God envisioned the new world of righteousness even before He created, through Christ, the angels and cherubim
Here's the rub. In order to create such a world God needs a royal priesthood, a holy city, that can govern the new world, maintaining iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern, strict obedience to the Father. Such a priesthood cannot be formed in any manner other than by bringing its members through barrenness, through deprivation, through the removal of reliance on the world for security and survival, through complete purification from sin, and finally through the destruction of self until it is Christ who is living rather than the individual.
The royal priesthood will be God in Christ in the saints governing and blessing the saved of mankind. This is the Kingdom of God.
Notice how God deals with the royal priesthood to teach them dependence on Himself:
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers. Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:1-3—NIV)
Notice also that when God is forming the members of the new Jerusalem, the tabernacle of God that will dwell among people on the new earth, He causes them to suffer barrenness. God intervenes in the normal course of their lives, as He did with Abraham and Sarah, Elkanah and Hannah, Zachariah and Elizabeth, so when they bring forth the Glory of God it will not be by human means but Divine intervention. God wants His Glory to be revealed in humans, and this requires considerable pain and stress on the part of the chosen humans!
But the fruit proceeding from the suffering one is abundant—worth waiting for!
"Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:1—NIV)
Is God dealing with you in this manner? Then rejoice! You yet shall be part of the new Jerusalem if you wait patiently for God and do not break out of the prison He has placed you in.
"O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise your foundations with sapphires I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. (Isaiah 54:11,12—NIV)
What are we saying? We are saying the Lord is looking for those who will forget about most of the unscriptural notions of today's Christians and return to the Lord, separating the precious from that which is worthless. Those who do this will be a minority, a Gideon's army. But it is these who finally, through the Presence and Power of God, will win victory for all Israel.
The church world that we know, particularly the Charismatic world, is going to be divided, I believe. There will be a despised remnant whom the majority of the churchgoers, as well as the secular population, do not understand. The majority will become the False Prophet mentioned in the Book of Revelation, the beast coming out of the earth. One of the characteristics of the despised remnant will be they are seeking to meet the needs of God rather than the needs of man.
If we were students of Church history we would be aware of the uniqueness of our day. Never before have so many believers been introduced to the workings of the spirit world. Over the last fifty years divine healing, tongues, prophecy, miracles, have come into the possession of an increasing number of God's flock.
We now are at a crossroads. Should we attempt to use our spiritual gifts to improve the condition of the world, or should we turn back to Jesus Christ and allow Him to use us to meet the needs of God? The difference between these two approaches is the difference between the Holy Spirit and the False Prophet, between Jesus Christ and Antichrist.
We are at this fork in the road today. Which way should we go?
And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. (Revelation 13:1—NIV)
Our interpretation is as follows: the dragon is Satan. The sea represents the mass of mankind. The beast coming out of the sea is the great impostor, Antichrist. The ten horns symbolize Antichrist's power in the world. The seven heads speak of perfect wisdom. The ten crowns portray the authority in the world that God has assigned to Antichrist in order that God's great plan may be carried out.
I think Antichrist, as revealed in world government, is the spirit of libertarian democracy, the rule of man as distinguished from the rule of God.
At the beginning of the nation of America two forces were active. One was the Christian force. The other force was that of revolt against the authoritarian governments of Europe. Thus our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written by men who, although heavily influenced by their Christian heritage from England, were nonetheless seeking human freedom of expression rather than righteousness and obedience to God.
For two hundred or so years there has not been clarity, it seems to me, on the enormous gulf between the pursuit of righteousness and the pursuit of happiness. Up to the present the Christian force has been accepted as somehow part of America, somehow part of democracy.
Now, in 1998, the social fabric is ripping. The rights of man are prevailing over the rights of God, as we see in the legalizing of abortion and homosexuality. The Christians are losing ground inch by inch. They are seeing their values despised, trampled under foot.
We are at the point where God and Satan are facing each other. The force of God (Christianity) and the force of Satan (the "rights" of people) have been mixed together in America, somewhat indistinguishable in one melting pot, so to speak. This no longer is the case. Definition is upon us.
Antichrist emerges from the "sea," that is, from the multitudes of mankind. So it is today that we see in the nations of the world a desire for man to govern his government. Rule by the people sounds so right, so noble, so Christian. Actually it will never work.
Libertarian democracy will always lead to anarchy as various groups and individuals force their way into the leadership vacuum and seek the power to control other people. Of course the political leaders will mouth the acceptable shibboleth that all they are doing is "for the people," but the same selfish disregard for the actual welfare of the people prevails as fully as it did in the oppressive European monarchies. Nowhere can self-seeking be seen more clearly than in political leaders.
Government by the people makes it possible for Satan to impose his will because there is no statesman, no leader with principle and integrity, installed by Divine appointment. The ambitious men and women climb the ranks by currying favor, lying, and treachery, with Satan working in the midst. Principle and integrity are often disregarded if not scorned.
The only form of government that will bring righteousness and justice is a monarchy in which the king is God-fearing, strong, just, and merciful, seeking the good of his kingdom while ruling with an iron hand.
Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. (Revelation 13:11—NIV)
Antichrist is man attempting to be his own god in the political-social realm. The False Prophet is man attempting to be his own god in the spiritual realm.
The False Prophet comes out of the earth, that is, out of the soul of man. He "had two horns like a lamb" meaning he is seeking a double portion of the power of the Lamb, that is, of Jesus Christ. But he speaks with the voice of the dragon, of Satan. The voice of the dragon always accuses the saints and always says "you shall not surely die." We shall hear both of these aspects of the voice of Satan with increasing clarity in the days to come.
One may wonder, "How could people seek and exercise a double portion of the power of the Lamb, of Christ, and yet be of Satan?"
For an answer to this question, look again at our introductory Scripture:
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" (Matthew 7:21-23—NIV)
Can you see from the above that you can prophesy in the name of Jesus, you can drive out demons in the name of Jesus, and you can perform many miracles in the name of Jesus, while calling Jesus Lord! Lord!, and still not enter the Kingdom of Heaven?still have it true of you that the Lord Jesus never knew you?still be considered an evildoer?
That it is possible to use the power of the spiritual world in Jesus' name and still not be known of Christ is a fact very much in need of publication in the Charismatic ranks.
As God and Satan are facing each other in the days in which we live we will witness a tremendous rise in man-centeredness in the governmental-social realm and a tremendous rise in man-centeredness in the Christian realm.
But what about the other religions? Believe me, during the titanic spiritual struggle of our day the religions other than Christianity, in spite of their claims and sword-rattling, are bit players in the scenario. The struggle is between Christ and Antichrist, the Holy Spirit of God and the False Prophet.
What will be the outcome of the man-centeredness in both the governmental and spiritual orders? You guessed it. The two will join ranks!
Now, let's take a closer look at our Scripture and give it some careful thought.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:22,23—NIV)
How can this be?
How can a believer call Jesus "Lord" and work miracles in His name, and then be rejected?
God will honor the name of Jesus. If we are religiously ambitious we can use the name of Jesus to heal the sick, raise the dead, work other miracles, speak in tongues, prophesy, and do all else than can be performed by the faithful.
There are principles that can be exercised in the realm of spirits. They work even though the minister is not in touch with the Lord; the Lord does not know him or her.
We see this in the so-called "faith" ministry of today. It often works! It is not faith in the Lord Jesus but faith in faith.
Some of the proponents of this Christless practice say that the Bible and Jesus are one and the same. Therefore if you speak the words of the Bible you are speaking the words of Jesus. All you need is faith to believe what the Bible states will come to pass. If you want to be popular and make a lot of money, this is the way to go. People will be healed. The deaf will hear. The blind will see. So what is the problem?
The problem is that of placing the head of man on the Body of Christ. Antichrist is the attempt to be like Christ and yet maintain one's self-will. Antichrist is not the opposite of Christ but the imitation of Christ. Antichrist is the worship of self.
The Charismatic people of today, in fact Christian people throughout the centuries to a great extent, have not been taught clearly that it is not enough to work the works of God. Rather we are to work with God as He does His own works. This is what Jesus did. To work the works of God apart from God is the False Prophet.
Let's look at our passage once more.
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21-23—NIV)
There are two aspects we must consider, found in the above passage.
First, we must be doing the will of the Father.
Second, we must not be evildoers. We must be keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
It is not enough to "make it work." We must be doing the will of God and we must be living a righteous, holy life if we expect to have fellowship with Jesus Christ..
"But isn't it God's will that people be healed?" Right here is the problem. Much of today's Christian ministry proceeds on the assumption that we know God's will.
"Isn't it God's will that everyone hear the Gospel?
"Isn't it God's will that everyone be saved?
"Isn't it God's will that everyone be healed?"
This is how a great part of the Christian ministry operates today. We are trying to do God's work without knowing for sure what God is saying; what God is doing. This is never the way of Jesus Christ or of the Holy Spirit. This is the False Prophet.
We are blind leading the blind. We do not know what Christ is saying today. We read the Bible and suppose we know what to do. We don't, in numerous instances. We are guessing. We are making assumptions.
Because it is possible to use the name of Jesus apart from Jesus, any enterprising person can go forth and do "great things for God." He will be acclaimed in this world. He very well may be rejected by Christ in the next age because he was not doing God's will, only what he supposed was God's will.
This is to put the head of man on the Body of Christ. This is the False Prophet.
In the hour in which we are living God is ready to demonstrate unprecedented power. As we have stated, the Charismatic movement will be divided into two camps.
There will be a minority, a remnant who will go to the cross with Jesus. They will be blind and deaf to mental reasoning and impressions. They will look to Jesus for every decision of life. God will judge them until all worldliness, sin, and self-will have been driven from their personality.
They may not be fruitful in the beginning, or they may. Who can tell what God will do with an individual? But in the end they will possess all things.
In the meanwhile the majority of believers will be learning how to work the spirit realm. Miracles will be commonplace. How wonderful! We can go forth and do great things in the name of Jesus. This "successful" group will not tolerate the idea of suffering, of patient waiting on the Lord. They are upbeat, enthusiastic. Their assemblies are exciting places to go. They are expert in marketing techniques. They are on the move for God and the communities are responding.
Meanwhile the remnant are patiently listening for the voice of the Lord, who keeps pruning and chastening them. They know what it means to carry the cross behind Jesus.
Which group are you in? Which group do you want to be in?
In the last days democracy will prevail, in the major countries, over other forms of government, as I see itover all forms of socialism, totalitarianism, monarchy, and feudalism. This is because Satan can make the greatest inroads with human beings when they are not being restrained.
Recently a friend applied to the state in which we live for a license to provide day care for small children. She was told there must be no restraint on the children, no spanking, no "time-out" procedures. The misbehaving child must be diverted from destructive behavior with an interesting activity or permitted to vent his rage by pounding on clay dough.
Much of my life has been spent working with children. I know from experience how totally impractical this is. There are children whose willful behavior cannot be diverted and who will destroy the social environment if not restrained.
What is the source of this impractical set of rules? It is none other than Satan who knows what a prey to demons the human being becomes if he or she is not restrained at an early age.
Such restrictions accompanying a license are utterly reprehensible and destructive. It is the Antichrist spirit, that of man making himself god. The god within the human must be permitted unhindered expression. The result is an open door for Satan and his demons to enter.
We can see the result of contemporary educational psychology and curricula in the schools in America in the present hour. How long will it be before teachers must carry guns and wear bulletproof vests in order to protect themselves?
Think of it? Grade school teachers carrying guns and wearing bulletproof vests! Teachers having to hide their coffee for fear a young student will put poison in it! What a wonderful, democratic nation—an example for the other ignorant, misled countries to emulate? God help us in our blind pride!
At each new instance of violence in the schools society cries "Why? Why?"
The answer is, the immorality in America is removing the shield against satanic activity. There is no possible answer to the violence of the schools except a return to prayer, moral behavior, and the Scriptures. Since this is not an acceptable alternative the destructive behavior will increase. But the leaders and teachers will keep projecting the image of the glory of America while all around them is corruption, suffering, and death.
In the scientific disciplines truth is sought through means of research and experimentation, the testing of hypotheses, the statisticians employing null hypotheses, let the bodies fall where they may, so to speak. But in the social disciplines bias and persuasion are employed so the preconceived agendas may be carried out. Thus the social scientists are ever learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth concerning human behavior, precisely as the Scriptures state.
As we have said, there are two massive forces coming to maturity in the world, forces of which the seeds were planted from the beginning of time. The one force is self-centeredness in the governmental-social realm. The other major force is self-centeredness in the spiritual realm.
In addition to these forces there is another force that will finally prevail. The third force is God in Christ in the believers who have turned away from self-rule and are utterly dependent on Jesus Christ for their every move, their every decision. Though the self-centered forces will seem to prevail in the world, and the despised remnant will be driven into hiding, in the end all that is self-centered will be shaken and removed and God will roar out of Zion, His true Church.
The Book of Revelation points out that the False Prophet, man-centered Christianity, will assist Antichrist, the man-centered social order. The first beast of Revelation will be assisted by the second.
He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:12-17—NIV)
You can see from the above that the False Prophet, the second beast, will make it possible for Antichrist, the first beast, to succeed. It is the False Prophet who will make the people of the earth worship the first beast. It is the False Prophet who will perform great signs. It is the False Prophet who will deceive the nations into setting up an image in honor of the beast. It is the False Prophet who will force people to receive the mark of the beast.
Now you can see the reason for the following passage.
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Revelation 14:12,13—NIV)
Today Dispensational teaching is advising us that we do not have to keep the commandments of God. This is the spirit of the False Prophet. Of course we have to keep God's commandments! Of course we have to remain faithful to Jesus!
We must die in the Lord. We must count ourselves crucified with Christ. Only then will we be able to rest from our own works during the night when no man can work, and yet bring forth the deeds of God.
You may think, "Christian people will never support the secular government in this fashion. Christian people would never use the name of Christ to work miracles and support Antichrist."
When religious people think they are doing God's will, and they are not accustomed to waiting on God until they know what God's will actually is, then they are capable of anything.
Consider the scribes and Pharisees, the chief priests and elders of Israel. They were of God's chosen people. They were thoroughly convinced they were doing God's will. Do you suppose they had any idea Jesus was the Christ who was to come?
The Jews were so utterly perverse they tried to kill Jesus for reminding them that Elijah and Elisha sometimes ministered to people who were not of Israel. The leaders watched Jesus carefully to see if He would heal someone on Shabbat. The members of God's chosen nation sought to kill Lazarus because people were believing in Christ because of his being raised from the dead.
Finally the custodians of the Law actually given by Jesus on Sinai cried out for His murder.
So don't be too quick to assume what Christian people who are ambitious but not hearing from Christ will do under certain circumstances.
As I see it, the majority of the Charismatic people will end up cooperating with a humanitarian leader who asks them to help him end the problems of the world. It is but a step from such cooperation to the persecution of those weird people who are more intent on worshiping God than they are on solving the problems of the world.
Do you want to see a picture of what God expects of a Christian assembly?
And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." (Revelation 15:2-4—NIV)
This is a picture of what a Christian assembly should look like. Every member is standing before the Throne of God. They have been made as transparent as glass because the Divine Fire has driven worldliness, lust, and self-will from them.
They have gained victory over the beast, his image, and the number of his name.
The beast is the spirit of man-centeredness, man making himself God. The image of the beast probably is money, in line with the image of gold set up by Nebuchadnezzar. We notice that Charismatic people are attempting to use faith in Jesus as a means of becoming wealthy.
The number of the beast's name is 666, a trinity of sixes. Six is the number of man because man was created on the sixth day. 666 is man making himself God.
God has has given harps to the true Christians. He Himself has become their Song.
They sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb, not as in that wretched Dispensationalism that seeks to separate the Lamb from Moses, the Christian Church from God's previous work with His timeless saints.
They praise, worship, and adore God, recognizing that He alone is holy and that all nations will come and worship before Him. God's righteousness has been revealed in Christ and those who belong to Christ, while the wicked have been judged.
This is a true portrayal of the exemplary Christian assembly.
Go to any Christian gathering today. What will you find? The accent is on people, what people plan to do "for Christ."
It is not often one finds an assembly, seminar, or convocation where God is adored. Time may be set aside for praise and worship but it is clear there is a human agenda. To just wait on the Lord without making plans to save the world seems to be difficult for us.
I personally am sick of hearing what people are going to do. I want to hear about the wonderful works of God and how the nations will finally come and worship before Him.
You know, it is not our responsibility to save the world. Our responsibility is to adore the Lord and to obey Him implicitly.
We see, then, that self-centered Christians will be deceived into supporting the Antichrist government.
Already in the United States we have a government which has legalized abortion and homosexual unions. What is next? In today's paper we find a publisher in China producing a book that describes the alleged immorality of the leader of a democratic nation and a professed Christian. Can you imagine with what reverence the Chinese people will regard this statesman? The Chinese leaders are tough and wise and in some instances have rejected Christians because of their immorality. All nations recognize and respect virtue and China is no exception!
Please do not interpret the above as an endorsement of the torture and murder of Christians and other people who disagree with Chinese policy. The Chinese leaders responsible for atrocities will answer for their practices in the Day of Judgment. Nevertheless, I think the dynamics are as stated above.
It is not possible for many of our political leaders to stand before the Throne of God on the sea of glass mixed with fire. They do not have the harps of God. Yet they sometimes are referred to as being Christians.
Things are on the road toward definition.
Political parties in power always seek to present an image of a prosperous country. They will work together with any religious group that enhances that image and that claims to seek the welfare of mankind.
Often, however, as we read in the Bible, the true prophets of the Lord proclaimed doom. Think of Jeremiah, for example. The kings of Israel had their palace prophets who kept on speaking of good things to come from the Lord. These prophets the kings favored. The true prophets were often imprisoned or slain.
So it will be in the near future. The man-centered churches will cooperate with democratic government to bring peace and security to the world. But the despised remnant, those who are hearing from Christ, will speak of God's concern with righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. They will be sponsoring a negative image as far as the government and the majority of Christians are concerned.
How do you think an Antichrist government will act toward those who are proclaiming the words of God rather than speaking of glorious bridges to the future where mankind is living in peace and prosperity? How do you think the leaders of the self-centered churches will act toward those Christians who are prophesying against the government, not cooperating, endangering those who are endeavoring to serve Christ without hearing from Christ?
How did the palace prophets receive the true prophet of the Lord? How did the chief priests and elders receive Christ Jesus? How did the Jews receive the Apostle Paul? Did they not incite the political leaders against him?
As you may have concluded by now, Antichrist and the False Prophet will persecute viciously those who do not cooperate with the formation of a bright new world.
The Antichrist spirit will be personified in the kindest, most generous, capable administrator you can imagine. He (or she) will be personable, attractive to young and old. But in his (or her) heart will burn the fires of Hell, the life of Satan. However, only the remnant, those who are living close to Jesus, will be able to see past the benevolent, gracious appearance.
There is one thing carrying our cross does for us, it enables us to keep from being deceived.
One of the three temptations that all sons of God must overcome is that of commanding stones to be made bread, apart from the prompting of the Lord.
Jesus had been without food for many days. He was in an inhospitable environment.
At this point Satan provoked Christ to work a miracle. "If you are the Son of God, turn the stone into food."
The Lord's response was, "Man does not live by food alone but by the Words coming from the mouth of God."
The point is, we are not to use the gifts of God to provide our needs. God will nourish us according to His will.
During their wilderness journey the Israelites were deprived of many creature comforts, including the food of their choice. All they had to eat was a light kind of wafer termed "manna." We mentioned the manna previously in this essay.
God desires that we learn to live, not by our trust in the things of the world but by our trust in His provision. Whether they enjoyed it or not, the manna was always there.
In recent years, as the knowledge of spiritual gifts has increased, there are Christian leaders who see the possibility of using such power to enhance our lives in the present world. Thus we have the "faith" and "prosperity" messages. These are early forms of the False Prophet.
Antichrist leaders will not be slow to see the possibilities in such power. They will enlist church people in the attempt to meet the needs of mankind.
Jesus prophesied that those who believe in Him will perform the same works He did, and greater. We are coming to the fulfillment of this prophecy.
God wants to pour out unprecedented power in our day. But God knows that such power tends to corrupt His servants.
Even William Branham was finally deceived by the acclaim of Christians and lost the purity of his ministry by regarding himself as a great prophet.
Audrey and I were at a meeting in Long Beach, California. Brother Branham told the audience that his advisers were not content that he pray for only a few people during the service. He must have a healing line like the other healing evangelists.
At the meeting we attended, Brother Branham divided the service into two parts. During the first part he ministered by revelation to a handful of people. It was glorious.
Then he had us sing "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name."
After that he had a healing line. In the line were two acquaintances of ours, a father who never had been sick in his life (according to his testimony) and his son who was severely mentally retarded.
When the two came before Branham he prayed for the father. When I saw this I knew his advisers, though not intending to, had put out the eyes of the man with the spectacular word of knowledge. He was as Samson grinding at the mill of human opinion.
Suppose in the future, God gives you the gift of multiplying food, as God will to some in the last days ("The works that I do you shall do").
Let us then suppose God tells you not to use your gift until He directs you to do so. When people found out you had the means to end the problem of hunger in the world, how do you think they would respond? How do you think an Antichrist government would respond?
How do you think the Christian leaders would respond? The Jews tried to make Jesus a king but He refused. Yet with His power He could have turned the Roman Empire into a model kingdom. He could have fed the starving, abolished slavery, and brought peace to the world.
You would be terribly pressured to use your gift for the benefit of mankind just as William Branham was pressured by those who traveled with him.
You probably would give in to the social pressure and try to use your gift apart from the Lord in some socially sensible and defensible manner.
God has lost more than one servant because their gift led them astray. God does not like to lose servants!
Jesus refused, as hungry as He was, to turn the stones into bread. He could have! But apparently the Father said "no."
If you and I are going to escape being drawn into the Antichrist-False Prophet duet we will have to resolve with steel hardness to never, never, never exercise any gift we have been given apart from the direction of the Lord. We must be prepared to resist all pressure no matter who the pressure is coming from, though it be the highest government official or all the Christian leaders in the land.
We are not among those who are trying to save the world. Rather we are trying to please God, to worship Him, to always do His will without complaining, to be the slaves of Jesus Christ.
Truly the world has awful needs, physically and spiritually. It is not our responsibility to meet those needs. Our responsibility is to worship and serve God.
If we do we will find that by following God strictly and sternly we have become a greater help to mankind than would have been possible had we attempted to meet the needs of humanity in our own strength and wisdom.
What I am saying here may sound correct and easy to practice but the pressures of Satan and human flesh make such rest in God very difficult to find and keep.
Yes, God wants to entrust awesome gifts to us in these days, and we should be praying for rain in the time of latter rain. But most importantly God is seeking servants who will not move according to human reasoning but will be led by the Spirit of God in all they do.
Now we come to the greatest of the problems facing American Christians. Satan is telling us we shall not surely die if we disobey Christ, if we walk in the flesh. And we are believing it! The scriptural truth is that salvation is not a ticket but a process, and that process can be aborted by our unwillingness to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
Satan has been so successful in blinding the believers and their leaders to what the New Testament states clearly that they absolutely reject the fact that an individual can make a profession of Christ and then fall away from God. They are incorrect in this, as the future will reveal. This is the work of the deceiver.
Satan has been condemned to the Lake of Fire. But Satan knows it is given to the saints to be the judges of men and angels. Therefore Satan is attempting to convince God's judges that no matter what people (or angels) do they should never be severely punished.
But God's judges who sit with Christ on the great White Throne will not be moved by human judgment or mercy. They, like their Lord, will judge with righteous judgment for they will listen for the judgment of God. To such it is given to forgive and retain sins, to open and close the doors to the Kingdom of God, to eternal life. Those who intend to be part of this royal priesthood, to whom the thrones of judgment are to be assigned, must learn now to listen to God and follow His Word and not be moved by the spirit of humanism that has so heavily infiltrated Christian thinking.
The greater part of the Charismatic movement will accept the satanic doctrine that man must not suffer (in the hopes that Satan will not suffer). The majority are so accustomed to leaning on human reasoning they can be deceived readily. The believers act according to how they feel and what their traditions teach. They are ignorant of the Scriptures, as can be seen by their acceptance of the doctrine of the "pre-tribulation" rapture—an unscriptural teaching that any high school student with a working knowledge of the New Testament could refute with ease.
The doctrine of the "rapture" is based somewhat on an interpretation of symbols rather than the writings of the Apostles. Everyone knows that the interpretation of symbols must be based on the clear scriptural teaching of the Apostles. Doctrine simply cannot be derived from an interpretation of symbols, such as the male Son of the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, or the deliverance of Noah and his family.
The despised remnant will hold firmly in mind that God is as severe as He is good. They will utterly reject the idea that people will never suffer.
Some of today's false teachings are drawn from the idea that those who make a profession of Jesus Christ will never suffer.
When Satan in Peter tried to stop Jesus from going up to Jerusalem and making an atonement for the sins of the world, Jesus recognized the source instantly. Wasn't Peter being a friend? Yes, in the human sense. No, in terms of God's plan to redeem the world through the blood atonement. Thus it is true that human love will always, without realizing it, tend to destroy the greater good that God intends. That which appears to be merciful and compassionate is actually destructive.
The teaching that no Christian need be concerned about the Judgment Seat of Christ is based on "You shall not surely die."
The overemphasis on God's love and the rejection of His severity proceeds from "You shall not surely die."
The Dispensational teaching of a state of grace that prevents God from seeing our actual behavior is derived from "You shall not surely die."
The extension of imputed righteousness far beyond its appointed bounds is founded on "You shall not surely die."
The concept of "eternal security" is the outcome of "You shall not surely die."
The notion that we not obligated to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles is related to "You shall not surely die."
The doctrine that if we have faith we will not suffer comes from the same source as "You shall not surely die."
Thus we see that a significant part of the doctrine of the Christian churches is coming from Satan. The Bible has been replaced by the traditions of the believers, traditions that reflect the desire of Satan to influence God's judges to the point they no longer will be able to judge the angels or themselves. Why will they not be able to judge the angels? Because they themselves are committing the sins that began with the angels. They are powerless to judge because they themselves are guilty!
This is what Satan desires: one great soup of people who serve Christ with their mouth but whose hearts are worldly, lustful, and disobedient to the Father.
Satan has largely accomplished his goal in the Christian churches of our day. We do not know the Lord. We are preaching a man-made gospel with no Divine fire in it. We have lost the axe head, borrowed from the saints of the past, and are trying to chop trees with the helve. We are going forth without Christ to save the world, not because we fear God and desire to serve Him but because we want to shield people from Divine judgment.
We have turned the Great Commission into a message to sinners that if they will make the right profession they do not have to keep the commandments of Christ. Furthermore, God will never punish them no matter what they do, and certainly Hell and the Lake of Fire are out of the question. A loving God would never do this to them.
But the hard words that Jesus spoke concerning what He will do to people at His return were spoken, for the most part, to His servants.
We are in deception. Satan has done a masterful job of leading the believers astray.
Today the Spirit of God is looking for those who will turn away from the multitude of "exciting" projects to save the world, who will return to the worship of God through Jesus Christ, who will humbly wait for His Presence and guidance.
If you intend to seek Christ you better not expect other Christians to cheer you on. They may say you ought to get busy and go out and save souls from Hell. It doesn't matter whether or not the sinners serve God and live a righteous life just as long as they are not punished. This is pure humanism, placing the interests of people above the interests of God.
God has not called us to shield people from His wrath. God has called us to faithfully bear witness of His Person, will, way, and eternal purpose in Christ, so those who choose to do so may turn from their wicked ways and enter righteousness and eternal life.
Eternal life is not a gift that is given to those who profess faith in Christ but then do not turn away from sin. Eternal life always is the result of righteous, holy behavior. It is those who do the will of God who live forever.
It is the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb. God's goal for man never, never changes. The amount of grace available and the demands on us increase from covenant to covenant. But God's heroes of faith began with Abel, not with the Apostles of Christ.
Will we ever come out of the present mess? Perhaps a few of the Christians will hear the voice of the Lord and turn to Him. But any believer can choose to turn away from trying to do the work of Christ apart from Christ, can come quietly to the Lord and listen for His voice.
It is not important that we work miracles or prophesy. But it is extremely important that we do the will of God. It is extremely important also that we are not evildoers.
One thing is of supreme concern—that Jesus knows us.
If Jesus does not know us, then all is lost as far as we are concerned no matter what we may have seemed to accomplish in His Kingdom.