Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. – Matthew 24:4 & 5
I rarely have the opportunity to step on everyone’s toes. When I do have it, I examine my motivation carefully. I am not attempting to place myself above everyone, but I do believe that drawing attention to Jesus Christ in the battle against deception is of greater importance than whatever one or another person might think of me. With that disclaimer in place, let me begin stepping.
Is Obama or Trump the Anti-Christ?
The fact that Christians have been attempting to answer this question or even asking this question is the first great deception. Why are those identifying themselves as Christians bothering to consider this question? What purpose will it serve to specifically identify a single individual as the Anti-Christ? How will it prepare us for any end times event? What could we do to stop it, make it come about or effect it in any way? This is a deception because it draws our attention away from the fact that there is an overwhelming and much more dangerous Spirit of Anti-Christ worldwide. Your neighbors, your parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, your children, and even you are embracing this Spirit of Anti-Christ on a daily basis. Our (including myself) daily sins of rebellion are against Christ and therefore Anti-Christ. We create idols and distractions for ourselves on a daily basis many of those idols and distractions are even in our churches. Rather than worrying over who is the Anti-Christ, we need to be examining and exterminating the Anti-Christ within ourselves.
Both Obama and Trump Are Stumbling Blocks
I was a very strong and outspoken opponent of former President Obama and his policies. Toward the end of his term, however, I started to realize that he and his policies were only significant in the grand scheme of things, because he widened the gap between the two world views of conservatism and progressivism. Those who espouse the view of progressivism supported and defended him vehemently. Those who espouse conservatism fought against Obama and progressivism with equal vehemence, and I was one of them.
President Trump has been and will continue to make that gap even wider. The two of them are stumbling blocks because those who identify themselves as Christians have been led into the fray. Those who identify as liberal or conservative Christians are continuing to be dragged in deeper and rushing, while carrying a heavy stone, to make sure they sink.
Jesus’ Kingdom Is Not of This World
Why are Christians fighting on either side of this great political gap? What stake do Christians have on policies coming from either the progressive or conservative camp? Will Jesus’ sacrifice be nullified if religious liberty is compromised? Will Jesus’ resurrection be of less importance if liberalism gets its way? I am not saying that we do not have a duty to speak out against immorality and deception or lend support to those who do speak out against those things, but in the end, changing political policies in this world is not our ultimate calling. For Christians, our kingdom is in Jesus regardless of what political climate or under what regime we find ourselves.
Our Christian Duty Is Proclaiming the Truth
Before we go any further into a discussion of truth, I want to define it. To define truth, I’m going to focus attention on two passages of scripture from the book of John.
John 1:1-5 gives us an extraordinary view of the Truth. Take a look:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
You don’t read the word truth in there anywhere, do you? Hold onto that thought and examine this second passage from John 14:6:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
The first scripture identifies the preeminence of Jesus with the Father from the beginning. That is why the entire passage is in past tense. It identifies Jesus as the power of God’s Word in creation. John is drawing a distinct parallel between God speaking creation into existence and Jesus being the Word which God spoke. Life and light came to mankind through Jesus. Jesus’ light shined in the darkness and darkness was unable to comprehend or overcome it.
Jesus Is the Truth; the Word Is Truth
Let’s draw the two passages together. It’s not difficult for those who are regular students of the bible, because these are not isolated passages taken out of context from the whole of scripture. If you study the scriptures, you will find this parallel over and over again.
Having existed from the beginning, along with the Father, Jesus, as a part of the work of creation, is in a unique position to know everything, just like the Father. It takes very basic logic to deduce that the one who puts something together and makes it function knows more about what was created than anyone who comes along later to examine, analyze and theorize about it.
Therefore, regardless of what correct or incorrect conclusions mankind draws, we will never know as much truth as Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is imperative that for us to know Jesus and consequently understand, even a portion of the truth, we must ground ourselves in the Word of God, which is the ONLY truth. That truth will stand alone and shine light through the darkness whether it is understood or not!
Truth and the End Times
I believe that those who are speculating about when and how things are playing out and going to play out are looking at the wrong signs, being led to stumble and causing others to stumble along with them. Am I looking forward to the rapture? I am. Am I looking forward to Jesus’ return? I definitely am. Do I think it is coming soon? I think it could come this afternoon, tomorrow, next week or at any time. I don’t believe that because of any particular set of signs being fulfilled and their meanings, but because of a great spiritual separation, which I believe to be intensifying.
In the midst of this great separation between conservatism and progressivism, there is a greater separation forming between the true sheep of Jesus and the apostate church. There are those who identify as Christians but are still hung up in the kingdom of this world (not just in the U.S., but worldwide) and those who are hearing the call of the Shepherd and turning toward Him. As tribulation (testing) intensifies, that separation will grow wider.
Those Straddling the Gap Are in the Most Danger
A cowboy friend put things into perspective for me more than a year ago. Though I didn’t fully understand it at the time and he probably didn’t either, Buddy said something to me that stuck with me. It’s pretty simple, but very profound. He said, “I think Hillary and Trump feed from the same trough.” It was that statement which started me thinking about what was really going to happen if/when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. From that, I began to see the broader picture at work and began to withdraw, even to the point of removing myself from social media for several months.
The understanding that the true sheep need to get a handle on is that President Trump isn’t going to change what is really taking place in our world. President Trump is not a new Cyrus that is going to set the world right again. Obama’s continuing legacy, found in his supporters, is not going to have any effect on what is really taking place. What is really taking place is a dividing of those in the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of Jesus. Those who continue to try to straddle that gap are in the most danger as that gap widens.
Let me issue the same challenge which Joshua issued to the people of Israel: "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve!" - Joshua 24:15
Focus On Jesus
I’m going to wrap up with an exhortation to all who are reading this. Those who are sheep will hear Jesus’ call in these words. This is the exact same parable that Jesus gave His disciples after talking to them of the end times in Matthew 24 and I think it has double meaning for us. To wrap up this post, read these words, put them into your heart and apply them to your life.
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
“Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.” – Matthew 25:1-13