THREE TEMPTATIONS(Taken from "The Salvation of Our Spirit"; and "God's Battle Against Rebellion and Sin,"excerpts from, What I Have Learned From the Lord.)Copyright Š 2012, by Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
There are several passages in the Bible informing us that in the last days the power of the witness of God's people will be overcome by Antichrist.
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)
It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. (Daniel 8:10)
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 13:7)
Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:7)
"The saints will be handed over to him."
"It threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them."
"When the power of the holy people has been finally broken."
"Will attack them, and overpower and kill them."
"To make war against the saints and to conquer them."
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
When God permits the power of the testimony of Christ to be removed, then the Antichrist, the secret power of lawlessness, will be clearly revealed so all the world can understand what is of Satan and what is of God. The demons will be unveiled so people can perceive who is behind what is taking place in the world.
The difference between good and evil is not clear today, especially in America. The entertainers perform in a lewd manner and the American people cannot recognize that they are looking at the antics of demons.
The above are a needed warning to us at this time, because it is now that God's people are being overcome and the testimony of Christ destroyed. We can see this happening in our country, can't we.
There are three ways in which the Christian witness is overcome. They are the tree temptations of every son of God, including the Lord Himself.
The first temptation is that of bread. I believe this can be expanded to finding our survival and security in the world. I think we need to understand that the spirit of the world is of Antichrist, that is, against Christ. We are seeing this hostility to God increasing in our country every day.
England and America used to be friendly toward and respectful of Christians and their values. That era seems to be over.
One aspect of the world culture is that of electronic communication devices. While these can be used for good, they are bringing the values of the world, of Antichrist, into the living room of the American people.
The games and social networks that the children and young people are addicted to emphasize the values of Antichrist, particularly violence and witchcraft as well as immorality. Every day, it seems, the electronic devices are becoming more sophisticated.
The children in the public elementary schools are being indoctrinated in the beliefs of those who seem to be confused about gender. Since it requires both man and women together to compose the image of God, I believe Satan is using the gender confusion to attempt to destroy the image of God.
As far as abortion on demand is concerned, here is a worldly, Antichrist value that seeks to destroy people before they have an opportunity to live in the world. This is murder; and doubly unfortunate because God said many that are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom.
There are two primary gods in America at this time. One is sexual lust, pleasure, and entertainment. The other is money. Money is the only god that Jesus stated is served instead of the true God.
The people of the world find security, survival, and pleasure by striving to acquire more money than they need. Money is a substitute for trust in God. Yet "In God We Trust" is stamped on American money. Kind of ironic, isn't it?
I think the Christian churches need to be reminded that they are not of the world. The Tent of Meeting, of the Book of Exodus, represents the Christian churches. They are the Lampstands of God. Even the Levites, who were especially holy, were not permitted to see the inside of the Tent or any of the holy furnishings. This area and its articles were for the descendants of Aaron to utilize and were holy.
So it is true that the Christian churches are the prophets of God. They are to be anointed with the Holy Spirit, just as the Lampstand of the Tent of Meeting employed burning olive oil to provide light in the Holy Place.
The churches, and the Royal Priesthood who form the churches, are holy. They are not part of the world. They are not to look to the world for assistance. The Lord Jesus Christ is among the Lampstands. They are to be separate from the world and clean from all the filthiness of the flesh.
When Jesus was tempted with bread, He said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God." I have been busy the last few years endeavoring to learn how to live by every Word of God.
God always is speaking to each person. We are to keep looking to God to find out what He is saying to us as an individual right this minute. We are to commit all our ways to the Lord and keep looking to Him for wisdom and strength in all that we do. This is becoming increasingly easy for me to do as I grow older, because I do not have in myself the wisdom and strength I need for the daily tasks that confront me.
This reminds me of retirement. Retirement is a worldly value. It is true that God limited the years in which a Levite or Priest was to serve. This is because they represented God and were not to be young and foolish or old and lacking in mental prowess.
But in the Western nations the idea is to work hard and save money so when we are in our sixties we can relax in front of the TV or lying on the beach. We have a person in our church who has retired from her position and now is serving as our pageantry leader and performing other services, instead of traveling around the country in a vacation trailer doing nothing of value. I myself am in my eighties and am still pastoring and writing, as you can see.
The idea of working so that one day we can no nothing but pamper our flesh is not of the Lord Jesus Christ. Older people have a lot to give to those coming up. They are not to be off to some pleasure resort where they can play Bingo and gamble. This is the Antichrist spirit of the world and it is an abomination to God.
It is true that if Christian people do not keep pressing forward in Christ, when they grow old their faculties wither and they have nothing to give to the young Christians who need the benefit of their experience in Christ.
We are to live by every Word of God to us, as well as by eating food. God has something for us to learn and do every day of our life. There almost always is someone we can help, even members of our family if we are compelled by circumstances to live with them. But to lay around doing nothing of significance is to invite the decay of our faculties, mental and physical.
Still, this is the American Antichrist idealto lay around all day watching the television. Christ will hold us to account for wasting our talents, the Kingdom resources we have been given.
Fellowship with the world is one of the three ways in which Antichrist conquers the saints, just as they have been conquered in America and Europe today. The fervent adherents of the Muslim religion are entering the Western nations with the intention of supplanting our values with their own.
Because we Christians of America and Europe, largely because of false teaching, are not serving Christ as we should, not obeying Him day and night, the Muslims are able to enter the land that God has given us and spread their laws and customs.
We already have lost the power of our testimony. The Lampstand of our testimony has been removed. We are objects of scorn to the demons as they gratify their lusts through our bodies. Antichrist and his minions are being revealed.
When I see the antics of today's entertainers and witness their blasphemies, I can recognize that they are inspired by demons. So can you if you pray and listen to the Words of God to you right now.
A little slumber, a little folding of the hands, and America and England will be Muslim nations. Then we will discover too late the difference between Mohammed and Jesus of Nazareth. American women are not going to be happy being treated as a possession like a horse, or beaten with a stick. Young girls can be murdered by their relatives for being seen with a boy.
The second temptation is that of gaining power and influence in the world, so we can obtain whatever we desire. The Lord Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world if He would worship Satan.
I believe in our day that some people actually worship Satan so they might prosper in their activities and gain prominence. Then they can enjoy their prostitutes and other opportunities that wealth and fame can gain for them.
Today we are the beginning of the political activities that will culminate in the election of someone to be President for the next four years. The money that is spent, the vitriol as the candidates accuse each other, the "dirty tricks," as one candidate named what goes on behind the warfare, reveals that people, men and women alike, have a tremendous hunger for power and the benefits that go with the office of the President.
People have a desire to govern other people and to use them for their own ends. The candidates for President speak great swelling words of how they will benefit the country. It may be true that one or two of them are sincere. The remainder will do whatever is necessary to gain power and remain in power, regardless of the impact on our nation.
The striving for power is as true in the realm of church activities as it is in the secular world. It may be noted that most, perhaps all, of the Christian denominations, began with apostles who were hearing from God.
The beginnings are fruitful, but soon the desire of man to organize what God is doing ("let us build three tents"!) provides the opportunity for people who want ecclesiastical power to promote themselves in the organization.
What once was a fiery, holy movement of the Spirit of God eventually becomes an organization in which there are advantages to be gained as one moves up the ladder of power and prestige. An examination of any of the major denominations of today will show how far the organization has drifted from the simple prayer and obedience of the founders.
I don't believe there is a single exception to this drift away from the immediacy of the Holy Spirit. The desire for power and prestige overcomes the good intentions of God's people.
And thus the Christian witness is overcome. Of course, the organizations speak of how we all are to go forth and "save a lost and dying world; how we all should have a passion for souls." But the organizational yearly reports record the number of members gained and the money that was raised.
Have you ever read an organizational report that recorded how many people forgave their enemies; how many have denied themselves, taken up their cross and followed Christ; how many were delivered from lying, or drunkenness, or adultery, or haughtiness? Neither have I.
Many aspects of Christian growth (except in numbers and giving money) would be difficult to record. But this is the true index of success, not how many members the organization gained or how much money was raised.
We cannot have fellowship with the Statement of Faith of an organization, only with God, the Holy Spirit, and the living Jesus.
Sometimes Christian organizations have served Satan. Certainly when the Catholic leaders conducted the Inquisitions they were doing the work of Satan, not of Jesus Christ.
But we can find the same spirit of Satan and of murder in a humble building in a village, where elders strive for preeminence by harming each other. Or where the Muslims, in the name of God, murder Christian worshipers.
Wherever Christian people strive for advantage over other people, the Christian testimony is destroyed and Antichrist is revealed.
The third temptation of Christ occurred when Satan brought Him to the roof of the Temple and suggested that He prove His Sonship by jumping offinto the Kidron Valley of garbage, I guess. Satan quoted the Ninety-first Psalm about the angels keeping us from stumbling.
Every son of God is tempted in this manner. It is the invitation to presumption.
Jesus responded by reminding Satan that we are not to put God to the test.
How much of the two thousand years of Christian activity has been carried on by fleshly ambition rather than by obedience to Christ? Actually, I believe very little of what has been done, including the building of cathedrals, the killing of South American Indians so mission stations could be established, the intervention in politics in Europe, has anything to do with the Lord Jesus Christ.
How much Christian work is carried on by the ambition of religious people? The idea is that if we decide to build the Kingdom of God, God will assist us. Even though we have no idea what Jesus desires, we pray that God will assist us. This is presumption. Don't wait for God. Jump off the roof and God will save you.
I am of the belief that every Christian organization should shut down and pray until the people hear from God. I realize how impractical this would be in America, since I am the pastor of a denominational church. My point is not how practical or impractical would be, what I am saying is we may not know what we are doingwhether or not it is what God wants.
My personal consecration is to do nothing until I have heard from the Lord. As you can imagine, it requires years of mistakes before we are hearing correctly and not lapsing into passivity or ambition. I started out with this attitude toward major decisions, such as should we accept the pastorate of our present church. Now I am down to asking the Lord what I should eat each day.
You see, I am trying to live by every Word of God.
When I hear what the organizations are saying, when I see the plans to spread the Gospel, I am not gaining the impression that anyone actually is hearing from Jesus. I believe they are making assumptions.
One reason is this: Each organization is pressing for members, for proselytes. The emphasis is to obey the Great Commission and go forth and save souls.
The first problem is, the Great Commission is not about saving souls but about making disciples, teaching them to obey Christ's commands. But what happens is that the organization is intent on building churches and adding numbers of people. In addition, more often than not they are teaching people they do not have to obey Christ's commands because they are "saved by grace."
It seems to me that Christian organizations often do not adhere to the Scriptures. This obviously is true when the ministers preach grace-Heaven-rapture instead of deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ at all times.
Secondly, when we listen to the Holy Spirit today, He is not speaking about going forth and saving souls. He is exhorting Christian people to confess and turn away from their sins. Perhaps if we did this, as happened in the Book of Acts, the Lord would add daily to the churches such as should be saved.
I do not expect to live to see the day that any significant number of Christian churches turn their attention to building up the members to the full stature of Christ instead of pleading continually for more members. All of us understand that one believer who is sold out to God will accomplish more in the Kingdom than ten thousand church-goers milling around and complaining about one thing or another.
We all understand this is true but do not act like it.
A study of the Bible will reveal that the people usually were backslidden, whether under Moses or under the new covenant. But God chooses one here and one there, a Noah, a Moses, an Elijah, a Jeremiah, a Paul, a Watchman Nee, an Oswald Chambers, a Tozer, and does more through that individual than all the rest of the believers put together. Yet we keep on talking about more people and more people. It is presumption, moving ahead when God has not spoken.
How does this stress on numbers to the detriment of quality affect the testimony? It destroys the Christian testimony, preparing the way for the triumph of the Antichrist world spirit.
One may notice today that while the organizations still herald the need to gain more proselytes, the churches are declining in the number of congregants. If a believer were to be on the witness stand and say, "I am not lying, I am a Christian," you would hear sniggers throughout the courtroom. This has not always been true in America and England but it certainly is true in America today. The testimony has been destroyed.
People hear the television evangelist who is pleading for money so he can build his own kingdom. Their response is scorn. They sense he is not speaking from Jesus Christ. He is presumptuous. He is taking the Lord's name in vain.
I have no doubt many Christian churches of our day will support our present President (January, 2012). Yet our President condones abortion and homosexual behavior. Have we any idea what we are supporting? Do we not care anymore? Has the Antichrist world spirit overcome the testimony in America? It sure looks like it.
We understand, therefore, that we are living in a day in which Antichrist very skillfully is beginning to destroy the Christian witness.
It is my understanding that the great Spring Revival, symbolized by the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, will be given great power by the Lord and authorized to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness to every nation on earth.
When this refreshing takes place, and it certainly cannot be far off given the events of our time, it is my point of view that most of the people living on the earth will receive Christ as their Savior, if not their Lord.
But after that, the love of the majority will grow cold because of the abundance of lawlessness. Then the Christian witness will be destroyed and Antichrist will be revealed.
I read in some translation of the Book of Daniel that Antichrist will build a statue of himself standing on the gable of the Temple in Jerusalem where Christ was tempted, demonstrating that man is his own god. Also, I think Antichrist will sit on the Mercy Seat of a restored Temple in Jerusalem.
Antichrist will be a man (or woman) whose god is power. Although he will cause many to blaspheme, his end is certain. He will be thrown into the Lake of Fire by one angel of God when Christ next appears.
Let each one of us who truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ be wary of being too involved in the Antichrist world spirit. Let us avoid the lewd entertainment that is prevalent, keeping in mind that sexual lust is a powerful temptation.
Let us be careful with the use of electronic communication devices, that we use them to build the Kingdom and do not waste time with them. Paul exhorted us to redeem the time, to make every minute count for Christ.
Let us resolve, as much as possible, to look to the living Lord Jesus for all that we do throughout every day and night. There are great needs of all kinds in the world today. We cannot feed every starving child; we cannot heal every sick person. But we can make sure that we are doing every day with all our heart that which Christ is expecting of us.
If we do our best in Jesus each day, then the blood of earth's perishing will not be on our hands, and we will not be rebuked by the Lord Jesus for having wasted the resources He has given to us.