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Almost two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesian church:  Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.[1]  If Paul thought those days were evil then, what does he really think of what we face now?  He wrote to Timothy:  But mark this:  There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.[2]

What is the power of godliness that Paul spoke of?  Is it not the power to be like a god, the power to do miracles as Jesus did and even the greater things?  Yet these people mentioned by Paul value godliness, that is, having the characteristic of God—appearing to be carers and lovers of others, while they really only love themselves.  Lovers of money, so much so that they hoard enough to donate to charities so that they appear to be charitable.  They disguise the list of what Paul used to describe with an outward appearance of caring for the people around them, when really they are not. 

Above all else, what they do not want is the power of God in their midst to do miracles.  Enough to believe in miracles and speak of miracles, but they are not really interested in miracles.  And if you think that Paul was speaking of people outside of the church, he probably was.  But for us, who now live in these last days, the tragedy isn’t that Paul was right, the tragedy is that these very people now fill the church of Jesus Christ.

People who have a godliness, a piety, a holiness, a morality that upholds good character and condemns what it deems as sinful, such as abortions and sexual immorality, and yet deny the very power of God for the church.  Deny the importance of the words of Jesus, deny the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit for the disciples for today, and deny that the words of Jesus are truth, even though they may be politically incorrect and offensive.  And because they themselves cannot speak in new tongues, drive out demons or heal the sick with the laying on of hands, they deny others from doing the same by legislating against it.  Legislating by putting into place rules upon rules that decide who can do what and when.  

The religiosity of organised denominational religion speaks for itself the loudest through the lack of testimonies of daily frequency and common miracles of the blind seeing, the lame walking, the deaf hearing, the dead being raised, the food multiplied, the storm calmed, rivers and lakes crossed by people walking on water, and demons driven out.  The silence of testimony is deafening—for all the godliness they try to display with their special vestry garments, rituals and grand architecture that stand empty whilst the poor, hungry and destitute lay on the streets.

Perhaps Paul did know that they would be in the church, which is why he wrote to us, not to Timothy, because he was speaking these words about the last days:  Have nothing to do with them.  For Paul would not have told us to have nothing to do with sinners that are in the world, no, after all that would contradict the command of Jesus to “Go into all the world, and preach the Good News,”[3] and the fact that Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”[4]  You see, these people are not godless, no; they are godly, having a form of godliness.  It is just that they deny its power.

For all their faults, they are relatively harmless, for their godliness avails for them nothing because they deny the power.  They will die like any man, even though they have a form of godliness, for God has said, “You are ‘gods’… but you will die like mere men…”[5]  To them applies the words of Jesus when He said, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.  If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces,”[6] more than they do to those who are godless.  Being godless, they do not have to deny the power of God because for them there is no God.

Paul wrote:  The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness…[7]  The godless deny there was ever God in the first place, and the wicked forsake God whom they already know.  So, the wrath of these last days is because of the godless and the wicked.

You see, neither the false prophet nor the beast is godless, no, indeed, for one of them declares himself to be God in God’s temple.  They are not godless, but wicked, that is, God forsaking.  In nature, the godless and the wicked are so similar that Paul describes them as if they are one and the same, but they are not, just similar in that they are both given over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.  They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practise them.[8]

The greatest of the godless and the wicked will be the two individuals who will be the beast and the false prophet.[9]  The individual who will be the beast will, as Daniel wrote for us, “do as he pleases.  He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.  … will exalt himself above them all.”[10]  …He will utter proud words and blasphemies and … exercise his authority for forty two months.  He opened his mouth to blaspheme God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and to slander His Name and His dwelling place (the church) and those who live in Heaven.  He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.[11]  And he received authority from Satan.[12]  Men worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshipped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast?  Who can make war against him?”[13]

This individual will make an alliance with another individual who is named in Revelation by John as another beast, coming out of the Earth.[14]  This latter individual is like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.  He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf (that is, the authority from Satan). … 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.[15]  This latter beast is the one who introduces the mark of the beast, that is, the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. His number is 666.[16]  See what John 6:66 says.

So, as much as Paul warned us of the nature of the people in these end times, they are thankfully godless, without power, and godly, without power.  Whether they are godless or godly, they are both without power.  Paul was not shown what John was shown in the Revelation, a type of person far worse than the godless and the wicked that Paul knew and forewarned us of.  He never saw that in these last days there would emerge the worst of all evil—godless, wicked man with the power of God.  Godliness but denying its power is one thing.  What you as the elect of the Holy Spirit will have to contend with are people with power like God’s without any godliness, or in short, power without godliness.

The purpose of the restoration of miraculous power to the church of Jesus Christ is so that the antichrist of our day, unlike the antichrists of the days of John the beloved, will not only have a tongue to deny that Jesus is the Christ,[17] but also he will be given the miraculous power to do signs, wonders and miracles to convince people that he is speaking the truth and so deceive them utterly.  They are deceived because they do not know the Scriptures or the power of God,[18] for if they did know the Scriptures, they would be able to recognise him as the antichrist.  And if they knew the power of God, they would have known that Jesus rebuked the sons of Zebedee for asking this question:  “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from Heaven to destroy them?”  Jesus replied them, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of, for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”[19]  Do you see the words “you do not know what kind of spirit you are of…”?  John must have understood this rebuke later, for he wrote for the church in 1 John 4:2-3:  Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist.  And in 2 John 7:  Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world.  Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.

However, the greatest of them all, the Deceiver and the Antichrist, the man who will be the supreme of all antichrists and the supreme deceiver, will not only deny Jesus has come in the flesh or is coming in the flesh, but he will do what none of the others have done.  For none of the others had power, real power to do signs, wonders, and miracles and call fire down from Heaven in the sight of men, but the Antichrist will.  With that power, not only will he deceive as he exercises the authority that the first beast has received from Satan, but he will go forth and with the beast he will even fight against the very physical arrival of Jesus Christ.  Then I saw the beast and the kings of the Earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the Rider on the horse and His army.  But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.[20]  And if we are standing on the Mount of Olives to welcome Jesus Christ, who then do you think will they be fighting against first?

So then, gird yourselves and continue to practise the words of Jesus until the Father sees it is time to grant you what you have asked for—the Holy Spirit without limit, for it will be a battle unlike anything since the Creation of the world.  So be awake and alert, the days of great evil are upon us, and the “days of distress unequalled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equalled again,”[21] have begun.  Distress because evil and wickedness are increasing, yes, but worse than that, distress because God’s wrath is being poured out now upon the godless and the wicked, and it will be our job to stand to take the wrath of God and to protect those who are meek and mild, who are defenceless, while at the same time fight off the godless and wicked.

So, it is not for nothing that the Holy Spirit warned us that we are to walk the razor’s edge.  Who is up to such a task, if not for the presence and election of the Holy Spirit, to do the things that Jesus has been doing, to destroy the works of Satan and to take God’s wrath at the same time?  It is sheer foolishness to even think that anyone is up to such a task, but then fools for Christ’s sake are what you are called to be, with foolishness so absurd that it might just please God enough to send Jesus Christ back in our days.

For you are not raised on milk and vegetables to live a quiet, holy life and hope for Heaven through death—but on meat and the product of marrow, to live the life more fully to await Christ and defy even death.  So make certain your election, having consolidated what you have to consolidate, now stand up and face the enemies, that unholy triad of Satan, the beast and the false prophet.

And if any of you are wondering what authority does Satan give to the first beast and that the second beast will exercise on his behalf…  It is the authority to delay and prevent the return of Jesus Christ in the flesh, for Jesus said, “All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Me. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”[22]  Satan has no other authority, none whatsoever, not even to accuse us, though he does try.  All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Jesus and only Jesus.  Not even the authority to lie, even though it is Satan’s natural language and he is the father of all lies, for the spirit who came forth and said, “I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,” submitted his proposition not to Satan, but to God, and it was God who said, “You will succeed in enticing him.  Go and do it.”[23] 

So that from that moment, even lies have to be sanctioned by God’s authority for His purpose, for a lie is only a lie if it does not come to pass or if there is no record that testifies to its truth.  Sometimes a revelation or a prophecy that takes time to be fulfilled may appear to be a lie, but if it is fulfilled, then even a false prophecy becomes true, for it is God who fulfils the words and predictions of His servants as well.[24]  And it is now God who sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie…[25]  God does not lie, but He has authority and power to help those who love the secret power of lawlessness to believe the lie.  Thus, the only authority left for Satan is the authority to delay and oppose the arrival of Jesus Christ for his own sake.  For God is perfect, merciful and compassionate, and He gives even His enemies the right to defend themselves, even His power.

But rest assured of this, if you use the powers you have, what may not yet have manifested, to prepare the world for the arrival of Jesus Christ so that He receives a welcome fit for the King of kings, you will be kept saved.  So, stand firm to the end; stand firm even if you have to walk the razor’s edge and take on the powers of God’s enemies as well as the wrath of God on His enemies until Jesus arrives.  For Jesus has called you to have faith in Him so that you will do what He has been doing and even greater things, for He is returning from God’s side to Earth.  Amen.


 

[1] Ephesians 5:15

[2] 2 Timothy 3:1-5

[3] Mark 16:15

[4] Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32

[5] Psalm 82:6

[6] Matthew 7:6

[7] Romans 1:18

[8] Romans 1:28-32

[9] Revelation 19:20

[10] Daniel 11:36,37

[11] Revelation 13:5-7

[12] Revelation 13:2

[13] Revelation 13:4

[14] Revelation 13:11

[15] Revelation 13:11-14

[16] Revelation 13:17,18

[17] 1 John 2:22

[18] Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24

[19] Luke 9:54-55 with subtext

[20] Revelation 19:19-20

[21] Mark 13:19

[22] Matthew 28:18,20

[23] 2 Chronicles 18:21

[24] Isaiah 44:26

[25] 2 Thessalonians 2:11

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