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HEART Christian newspaper | September 19, 2019

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The great delusion

Gardners World

Rebellion – not revival – is a key sign of the times

By Charles Gardner

 LONDON, July 5, 2019

 We are living in times foretold long ago. A time marked by rebellion, lawlessness, deception and fake news – all signs of the last days which will ultimately usher in the Lord of glory.

But before he comes, there will be a ‘falling away’ or ‘rebellion’. Please note: not revival, but rebellion! Right now we are witnessing the early rumblings of the great shaking that will prepare the way for the coming of the Lawless One, the Man of Sin, the anti-Christ. (See 2 Thessalonians 2.1-12)

He has not yet been revealed, but there is an anti-Christ spirit at large preparing the way – wreaking havoc and setting the scene, by creating chaos and anarchy, for the coming of one who will appear to have all the answers. But he will be a false Messiah – a great deceiver.

The ‘falling away’ of the King James Version is translated ‘rebellion’ in modern versions, and I don’t think it refers only to believers backsliding and betraying one another, although that is surely part of it, as our Lord clearly indicated. (See Matthew 24.9-14)

I also see it as a more general rebellion, pertinent to the emergence of the climate change campaigning group ‘Extinction Rebellion’ (the clue is in the name) that brought London to a grinding halt, with considerable police co-operation and hardly a whimper of opposition from anyone. Even a squabbling Parliament for once agreed with each other as they meekly acceded to their demands. Not content with that, they now threaten to bring Heathrow to a standstill over plans for a third runway.

Verse 11 of Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians referred to above tells us that God sends a “powerful delusion” to those who refuse to love the truth “so that they will believe the lie”.

People are being utterly deluded by what they are constantly hearing from the media, on TV, in the streets, shops and schools, and even in churches. Nothing is normal anymore.

We are increasingly mesmerized by the lying mantra suggesting that so much of what was once held sacred – the family, Christian devotion, tolerance and respect for authority – is now discarded into the dustbin of history.

And what was once unthinkable, we must now treat as perfectly normal, or else we are written off – at best – as unloving bigots, though some, including magistrates, doctors and nurses and school governors – are either being sacked from their posts or are being threatened with such action.

Like the proverbial frog who doesn’t think of jumping out of water being gradually heated up to boiling point, we have become so lulled by all this propaganda that we haven’t the wisdom, clarity or courage to question it.

Forced to pick up a women’s magazine while my wife Linda tried on dresses at a shop in Newark, I read an article on a celebrity called Clare who is ‘married’ to a lady called Alice. I then read another piece about a naked bike race in London! You couldn’t make it up. The idea is that it demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists who are apparently made up of flesh and blood and have no other protection – though a suit of clothes and the odd helmet might help.

All of which naturally reminds me of the Hans Christian Andersen story about The Emperor’s New Clothes. Promised a new suit of clothes that would be invisible to everyone else because they were stupid and ignorant, no-one dared to comment when the naked king finally paraded through the streets in his splendid new ‘garments’ – except a small child, as yet unaffected by the ruse.

We are being horribly hoodwinked. And whoever is fooled by this anti-Christ spirit, or with the Man of Sin himself when he is revealed, will tragically miss the greatest event of all – when the Lord Jesus will destroy him with the splendour of his coming.

It’s a question of whether we are wise or foolish. Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool, who stored up many possessions for himself, but was not rich towards God. Just as he had set out his plans for how he was going to take life easy – eat, drink and be merry – his life was taken from him.

And in the parable of the talents, the Lord showed that he was interested in how we invested our money, gifts and abilities, reaping more than we had sown if we do it wisely. To those who followed his advice, he will say: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.” (Matthew 25.23)

Talking of investment brings me neatly back to the subject of delusion. Today’s banks are generally filled with computers which the few remaining visible staff have to spend all their time showing customers how to operate. In addition, these harassed employees are reduced to putting all their efforts into doing themselves out of a job by encouraging customers to do their banking online.

What sort of mad world is this? There was a time when union leaders would get their members out on the streets at the prospect of being replaced by robots. The work ethic is God-inspired. God made man in his image, not robots.

Yet in the midst of so much deceit and confusion, I perceive a great openness to the gospel. In schools across the country, through a wonderful project called Open the Book, thousands of children are now hearing the gospel through Bible stories brought to life through drama.

God has set before us a choice of life or death. Do we want to be a rich fool who had nothing to give God, or a wise servant whose treasure was already in heaven when he was welcomed into the eternal kingdom? You choose.

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