The Religion of the Last Days, the New Age Movement and the Return of Christ – Program 2
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1994|
|There are certain signs that will be characteristic of the people and religion when the rapture is near. Learn what those signs are.|
Reading the Signs
We’re talking about the characteristics of the people and the religion of the last days, along with the New Age Movement and the return of Jesus Christ. I think they all go together. Where we are going is taking a look at history from Jesus and the apostles’ perspective and seeing where they are saying history is headed.
Do you recognize that every one of the theological persuasions that talks about eschatology or the “last things,” that all of them agree that the denouement, the wrap-up, the final culmination before Christ will physically descend to earth is going to be when a man goes into the Jewish temple and proclaims that he is God and the world follows him, is deceived, and worships him? All theological persuasions state that when that happens, it will not be too much longer—three and a half years—until Christ will physically come and defeat that man and the armies of the world that are in rebellion against God.
Now, between the time that Jesus left and this end point, where are we on the spectrum? We are looking at the verses that Jesus and the apostles gave us to where He talks about “in the last days,” various things will happen. And I’m asking you to see how close are we to the wrap-up point, and then from our theological perspective, the tribulation time period and right in the middle, when the Antichrist goes into the temple and proclaims himself to be God. We believe that at least three and a half years before that the rapture will have taken place.
So, another way of looking at when will the rapture come, or how close are we to the rapture, is again, very interesting to look at evil. What is the progression of evil as outlined in Scripture, because if we are very close to the wrap-up point, then we know that the rapture is even sooner where Christ comes and takes away the Church. So I think it’s a very interesting discussion, don’t you?
Let’s take a look, and we’ll just kind of rehash the first couple of points we looked at. The first point of the characteristics of the false religion of the last days, number one, people will depart from the faith. We looked at 1 Timothy 4:1-2: “Now, the Spirit speaketh expressly” I mean, we need to listen up—“that in the latter times”—there’s that word, latter times—“some shall [what?] depart”—they will leave; they will go away—from “the faith.”
And we said that the faith there means the content, the basic beliefs, the content of what makes Christianity Christianity: the doctrine of the atonement; the virgin birth; the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture; the Trinity; the deity of Jesus Christ. All of these main doctrines, bodies of information that make up the content of Christianity, the Holy Spirit says that in the latter days, people will depart from those doctrines, from that content.
Second is that they will, in the latter times, depart from the faith, “giving heed to seducing spirits.” Number two, evil spirits or demons will seduce people. And I told you last night that when I was in seminary, and I looked at this verse, I thought I would never have to deal with it. In the last six or seven years I have half of our programs dealing with people that are getting their information from demons. Our society is permeated with it. I’m going to talk more about that in a little bit.
But number three, people will also follow doctrines made up by demons. First Timothy 4:2: “Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits” and then “doctrines of demons.” I remember when we did a program with Jose Silva, that this fellow has only gone through the sixth grade. And as we were sitting there, he was quoting some Bible verses to us, and then he was twisting those Bible verses. And if I hadn’t done the study ahead of time, I wouldn’t have known the answer to it with all the education that I’ve got. They were stumpers for me. I had to pray about them and I had to think about them and I had the answers ready.
But when I was doing it I thought, “How does a guy, with a sixth grade education, that very seldom reads the Bible, how does he come up with these show stoppers? How does he come up with these things that are so hard for people that are Christians for all of their life to figure out?” And it dawned on me, I think that the Holy Spirit showed me that he’s getting… he got Silva Mind Control from the spirits, but the spirits also gave him these questions. The demons have been sitting around through history, looking at the Old Testament. They have been pondering the Scriptures for thousands of years and they’ve been thinking, “How can we twist it?” And when they get these neat little packages that they twist, they give them to a guy that’s got a sixth grade education and he spouts them off. You have doctrines of demons, and we went through some of those doctrines last night.
And then the fourth thing, 1) people will depart from the faith; 2) evil spirits or demons will seduce people; 3) people will follow the doctrines made up by demons. And then, people will not put up with those who teach sound doctrine—that’s number four. Second Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” To endure means “to stand, bear or tolerate.” They won’t stand it. They won’t bear it.
We talked about such things as the Masonic Lodge and pastors that have gotten kicked out of the church because they came to their congregation, presented the truth. And the guys in the Lodge that were members of the church said, “Forget it,” and they bounced the pastor. They do not want to accept sound doctrine. And there are others.
Then number five, people will choose churches that preach what they want to hear, not the truth they need to hear. Where did you get that? Second Timothy 4:3: “They will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts”—their own desires, what they want to hear—“shall they heap [gather] to themselves teachers.” They’ll pick out Christian pastors, so-called, on the basis of, do these guys cater to them? Now, that’s a terrible thing. It’s also a dangerous thing. You might pick out a guy that’s going to tell you what you want to hear and go to hell.
Remember, I had a prof that wrote the book Damned Through the Church. And I wonder how many of you are sitting in churches away from here where you have heard stuff that you thought was the Bible because the guy went to seminary, had a couple of big degrees, and he’s been spouting stuff to you and you don’t even know that you’re lost, going to hell, because they have been giving you stuff that kind of tickles the ears of people. Before we came on tonight I prayed that if you were in that condition that God would open up your spiritual understanding to realize that you’ve been deceived and you are on your way to hell and you need to accept Christ tonight.
I remember when people have been in our services and they have understood that point and they start to shake. And they say, “You know, I wasn’t even going to come tonight, but I came, and the fact is, God showed me that I was a dead duck. I’m a sinner and I never ever put my faith in Jesus Christ personally. I thought I was just going with the rest of the crowd.” As I told you, Jim Kennedy and Billy Graham, they told me that a majority of the people they preach to that come to their church or come into the crusades who call themselves Christians, they would say are not born again at all, and they don’t even know it. It’s a dangerous thing. But the Bible says people will choose churches that preach what they want to hear, not the truth that they need to hear.
And number six, people will base their religious beliefs on fables or fairy-tales. And this is where we need to pick up tonight. Turn to 2 Timothy 4:4. Here the apostle Paul says that, “They shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall be turned unto fables.”
“Unto fables.” What’s a good fable? Well, if you read that book, The Last Temptation of Christ, you will see that Nikos Kazantzakis who wrote the book The Last Temptation of Christ and Martin Scorsese, the director for Universal that made that film, they picked up on the heresy that probably the majority of our seminaries that have the name “Christian” on them are teaching our guys about Christ, the deity of Christ and so on.
It’s very similar, again, to what you saw this very month in Newsweek magazine where they consulted—they went to the theological “gurus”—and they said, “Well, what do you guys think about Jesus now?” And primarily they said, “Well, you know, it’s hard. We don’t really know too much about him at all. It’s just bits and pieces.” In fact, we have the Jesus Committee [Seminar] voting on what they’re going to accept and what they won’t accept.
Martin Scorsese took Nikos Kazantzakis’ book and he wrote a film where he had Jesus passing off the scene, and then he had the disciples sitting around the campfire, and the next day they would go and preach to the people. And they would gather around the campfire the next night. And so, as they were gathering around the campfire each night, and after the meetings were over, the disciples were having dialogue and the dialogue went something like this: “Hey, Peter, what can we have Jesus do so that the people will think it’s a real special something tomorrow?” And James could say that to Peter and Peter would think and say, “Well, you know, it might be nice if we had Jesus feed 5,000 people. Do you think they would like that? A lot of them are hungry, they’re poor, and I think that would kind of grab them, don’t you think?” “Yeah, that sounds good.” And they would kind of vote among themselves and they’d add a few more things to it, and then the next day they’d go out and they would tell that story.
Or the apostle Paul. They have the apostle Paul preaching, and the apostle Paul is standing in front of a crowd and he thinks up, “You know, it will really be nice if we had Jesus come forth from the dead, because they’re interested in everlasting life. And, of course, all the disciples knew that Jesus would do that”—according to the book. And so, the fact is, they just cooked up that, too!
Now, today, that filters down in the churches where, because the laypeople don’t know the theological language, they can say, “You know, Jesus was a great moral teacher.” Well, who’s going to disagree with that? Nobody. See, you put your impression on that: “He’s God.” But they didn’t say that. All they said was, “He’s a good moral teacher.” What they meant, He’s a good moral teacher like Confucius was, and Buddha or Gandhi were good moral teachers, too.
Jesus is not special. I mean, did they say that? No, they didn’t say that. But “Jesus is a good moral teacher.” But the crowd thinks, “Well, he’s talking ‘God.’” No, they didn’t say that. They don’t talk about the virgin birth: “No, Joseph and Mary, they had this child and he was special and he had a sensitivity toward God. And the fact is, he talked about loving one another and we need to emulate what Jesus did.” Well, who’s going to disagree with that?
The problem is, what they gave up was the virgin birth. They gave up the fact that all men are sinners and Christ had to go and die on the cross for the sins of the world or we were going toward hell. They gave up the fact that Jesus, when He died on the cross, was put into the grave, He arose again and He’s living now. They don’t believe in the substitutionary atonement, and they don’t believe in the resurrection from the dead. They just believe that Jesus was a good moral teacher. It’s a fable. And they teach it and a lot of people don’t even know the difference.
The Bible says, “They shall turn away their ears from the truth.” It’s interesting that if you hear that line long enough, when you hear the truth, it doesn’t sound like the truth to you anymore. And when people hear what orthodox Christians have believed for 2,000 years, they say, “What’s that?”
I had a professor by the name of John Warwick Montgomery. He debated the “death of God” theologians while I was in college and in seminary. And I remember one time he had a debate with a fellow by the name of Fletcher who taught situation ethics, and he was also professor of philosophy and religion, and he was supposed to be a Christian in terms of his background. And when Fletcher was in the debate, Montgomery had him where he came to a dead stop, and I remember Fletcher saying, “What are you talking about? What is it that you are saying?!” Do you know what he was talking about? “Jesus is God. He arose from the dead. There are eyewitnesses that wrote the accounts.” Fletcher said, “What’s that?” And Montgomery stopped and said, “And you teach philosophy of religion and you have not even been acquainted with orthodox Christian beliefs? And he hadn’t.
People will turn away from the truth. In contrast, the apostle Peter states in 2 Peter 1:16, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
The seventh point: there will be ministers, there will be pastors, there will be priests, there will be false teachers and false prophets in the so-called “Christian” church, the church that has the name “Christian” on the door, they will say, “We don’t even believe in Jesus Christ.”
Second Peter 2:1-3 says that there were false prophets also among the people, talking about Israel, “even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily [secretly] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying”—here it is—“even denying the Lord that bought them.” They’ll even deny the Lord. And they’ll bring in damnable heresy.
What’s a damnable heresy? It is a theological line that is heresy that, if you believe it, it’ll damn you. They don’t preach anything that the people that listen to them can get saved. They are preaching damnable heresies.
I had a debate with one of the bishops in the Episcopalian denomination by the name of John Shelby Spong. Archbishop of Saint John, the Cathedral in Newark. It’s a very interesting cathedral, if you’ve ever seen it when you go into Newark. In fact, it’s a huge, gorgeous, beautiful cathedral. It rivals Notre Dame. But on Easter Sunday, they had a witch giving the Easter service. Now, John Shelby Spong was the first Episcopalian bishop to ordain a homosexual into the ministry of the Episcopal denomination, and so I had a debate with him, when Dr. Walter Martin was living, in Dallas. Brought everybody together; Walter from California and John Shelby Spong from Newark, and we met in Dallas and did the taping there.
My first question was this. “I’m so glad that you can be with us tonight, Bishop Spong. And you know, I enjoyed the friendship backstage, but I’ve got to ask you a tough question. You know, friends can be friends but sometimes we have to be friends and disagree.” Whenever you see Ankerberg say that in a debate, with a smile on his face, just realize, I’m going right for the heart. The fact is, I said, “All of your constituents and a lot of people that have read your books, they want to know this: Since you deny that Jesus Christ is God, since you deny that Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, since you deny that He was put into a grave and rose on the third and He’s living now, and since you deny that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and since you deny that there’s a heaven, and since you deny that there’s a hell, why is it that anyone should call you a Christian?”
That was my first question. I thought it was a good one. Got things going very quickly. He does not believe in those things, and yet he is a bishop in the church. With friends like that, you don’t need a whole lot of enemies, do you?
People that wear the collar, people that have the title of “minister,” deny Jesus Christ is God; deny His work on the cross; deny that He has any saving power to forgive you of your sins. The apostle Peter said the Church is going to have a bunch of them, as it switches over. And then the whole Church, so-called, during the tribulation, will hold on to that.
Now you say, “Is that true?” Well, let’s just think about it. Think about all the little churches across the country. And you went into all those little churches and all the guys that have come out of the seminaries and you asked them just one question, “Do you really believe that Jesus Christ is God?,” do you think we’d get up to 50% of them saying yes?” A lot of surveys say we wouldn’t get up to 50% now in this country. There will be ministers who even deny Jesus Christ, His deity and His death on the cross.
And then 2 Peter 2:2 says, “And many shall follow their pernicious ways by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” Do you know what? It’s not the atheists today that are knocking Christianity, it’s the guys in the Church that are calling themselves Christians, like Bishop Spong who says, “We don’t believe that any more.” Why would the atheist have to knock Christianity if you’ve got the guys that are the ministers and the bishops saying, “We don’t believe it and we’re trying to get our people to go away from that, too”? “And many shall follow their pernicious ways.”
And then there’s a whole crowd, it says in verse 3, “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you.” The NIV kind of straightens it out and says, “In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with stories that they’ve made up.” Now, a lot of people really thought Robert Tilton was terrific, okay? Maybe you do, I don’t know.
People say, “Why do you name names, John?” You know, I found out that when the government finds out that somebody has laced some pills with arsenic or with cyanide, think what you would feel like if they said, “I want to put out a warning now that somebody has tampered with a certain kind of medicine in this country, but I don’t want to offend anybody, so I’m not going to tell you what it is. I’m not going to tell you which category of pills that they are, but I just want you to know somebody has put cyanide in some bottle of pills.” You say, “I want to know, what’s the label? Is it aspirin? It is this, is it that? What is it?” See? You want to know what the label is. So I just tell you.
When Robert Tilton was preaching, I think that this verse, “In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with stories they’ve made up” fits him. Made up stories. He was saying, some of you that don’t have any money, I mean, he had programs where he said, “Now, tonight I’m only talking to all of you that are broke,” okay? “And I want you to know that the fact is that if you’re broke, I want you to still write me a check for $500. Just those of you that are broke. If you’ve got money, we’re not talking to you. But if you’re broke, I want you to write me a check for $500. And here’s what’s going to happen. Just like the prophet came to the little woman who had the son and she had no food, the prophet says, first of all, ‘Give me all the oil that you’ve got.’ She says, ‘I have got any. Just this little bit.’ He said, ‘Give me what you’ve got.’ And when she gave the oil to the prophet, what happened? That jar of oil just kept on expanding and expanding and expanding. God miraculous met her needs.” And he said, “Look, I’m the prophet. You give me $500 that you don’t have and God will expand your money and give you money that you don’t have.” Checks poured in all over the country.
I remember we had some of our people that had gone to a seminar. We told them about how God promises to bless giving, but also the fact of some of these devious ways that people have, you shouldn’t fall for it.” And they were in one of the seminars in Dallas. And they stood up right after he gave his speech. He had just said, “Look, we want everybody that’s going to give $1,000 just to line up along the walls here. One guy said, “Can I say something before you do that?” He said, “Sure.” And so he stood up and he said, “Everything that Robert Tilton said tonight is wrong biblically,” and he spent ten minutes telling them why. Robert Tilton said, “Thank you very much.” He sat down. “Now, all of you who want to give $1,000, just line up along the wall.” And they all lined up to give $1,000.
People want to get. They want to use God like a big computer in the sky. You put the slot in, God gives you back your reward. People today want to command God to do certain things. It’s never, “Lord, what do you want?” It’s, “I’ve decided that this is what’s going to happen. If I can just have enough faith, it’ll happen.” The magic formula.
That’s witchcraft, by the way. Did you know that? Witchcraft is taking the formula, saying it, to manipulate reality. That’s what witchcraft is. White witchcraft is when you use the formula, they say the little words, to manipulate reality so that good will come out of it. Black witchcraft is when you do it to hurt somebody, put a spell on them or something. Either way, you’re manipulating reality and you have the power inside of you to do it. And today a lot of people in the Church are saying, “You’ve got the power. It’s your faith. If you have enough faith, you can manipulate God and God will pull the trigger on whatever you decide.” That’s garbage, biblically.
But there will be ministers, pastors, priests, false teachers who deny Jesus Christ, His deity. In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with stories they’ve made up.
Number eight, the last days will be dangerous days or perilous days. Turn over to 2 Timothy 3:1, 4: “This know also, that in the last days”—there it is again—“in the last days, perilous times shall come.” What does “perilous” mean? It means “terrible,” or “exposed to danger, harm or injury.”
Well, do we have those kinds of days today? Do we have dangerous times? According to the federal statistics, violent crime has increased more than 580 percent since 1960. Births to unwed mothers are up more 425 percent.
Don’t you love watching the news just before dinner? Darlene, Michelle, and I, we were sitting there three nights in a row. We all made it home, had dinner, and we had the news on. The first ten minutes of the news, all it does it document: “This guy got murdered. “This guy got bumped off” and “this person was held up and robbed over here.” “Couple of missing children and they were abused and…” etc. The first ten minutes, all it is this catalog of the crimes that happen in the neighborhood. Even Michelle said, “You know, it’s not the greatest thing to listen to while we’re having dinner.”
I remember when we went into Houston for one of our television programs and the fact is, there on the news every night, we couldn’t help but see they had this, like a thermometer like when you have a fund-raising deal and you’re going toward a goal. But the fact was, their goal, their thermometer was: How many people have been killed compared to last year? It’s like, some of you haven’t been killed out there and you’ve got to work with us here so we can get up there. Every night, there were people that were murdered and they were keeping track of it. We have a violent society.
“In the last days, perilous times shall come.” Why? It tells you why: “Men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection.” In other words, they wouldn’t care if they killed you rather than smile at you.
You know, it has been very discouraging to read of the kind of crime that is taking place without feeling. Right here in Miami, a German tourist, driving through the streets, her vehicle is bumped from behind by a couple of young men. They pulled her out of the car, robbed her, then, as if for sport, they ran over her in front of her three children and her mother.
In Oakland, California, two women are running down the street. One is chasing the other. People do not know the reasons that they are chasing and running, but someone trips the person that is being pursued. The pursuer then pulls out a knife, jumps on the person on the ground, and repeatedly stabbed the first woman. And the crowd gathered around and said, “Kill her! Kill her! Kill her!,” like fans cheering in a football game.
In Washington, DC, an eight-year-old boy picked up his baby brother of just a few months and swung him around until he bashed his brother’s head into the wall and killed him. The young murderer told the police, “I was just playing.”
Today, we have people without natural affection. They don’t even have any idea of right or wrong. There’s no wonderment concerning life. If they kill you, they kill you. There’s no concern. It’s like there’s no conscience. Perilous times result, because you have a society full of those people. The Bible says we would have it; we’ve got it; and it’ll get worse.
Number nine, people will have an outward appearance of religion, but no inward reality. This is very interesting. It goes along with the pastors that don’t believe in Jesus. It goes along with the fact of people picking out churches that will cater to themselves. What happens?
This characterizes what happens to the congregation: the people think that they’re godly; they go to church every Sunday. You say, “Are you a Christian?” “Sure, I grew up in America. Aren’t I a Christian?” And the fact is, they go and they think they’re swell. But the Bible says that these people “have a form of godliness,” 2 Timothy 3:5, “but they deny the power” of Christ. And the apostle says, “Turn away” from those kind of people. They’re religious, but they’re dead on the inside. They’re happy with their religion, but they’ve got no reality of Christ.
Have you ever talked with a person that’s very religious and you come to realize, they don’t know Jesus at all? They’ve got all the trappings, but they don’t know Jesus at all. The Bible says we’re going to have congregations full of such people. What a terrible thought. Every once in a while, by mistake, somebody invites me into a liberal church. And, I mean, you just sense it. You just sense it. These people don’t know the Lord any more than dead ducks do. I mean, these people do not know the Lord, but they think they do. Do you know what I preach on? Something like the “Four Laws” or “The Roman Road.”
Point One: God says, “All have sinned.” When the Bible uses the word “all,” does that include both you and me? “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, we’re all sinners.”
Point Two: The Bible says we get something for our sin. We get “wages.” What are wages? “Well, when I work, they pay me.” Yes, those are your wages. God says, “For your sin, the wages of the sin is going to be death.” What’s death? Hell, separation from God, forever.
Point number three: But that’s not the end of the message. He says He is offering you a gift. “But the gift of God”—it’s not something the pastor’s got, not that the Church has got— “the gift of God”—and God wants to give that gift away—“is eternal life.” Would you like to have eternal life? “Yes. How do you get it?”
It comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus went to the cross and He died for your sins because you’re a sinner, and without Him doing it, you wouldn’t have a relationship with God. You couldn’t have a relationship with God. And then to say, “Jesus says, ‘Whosoever may come. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord.’”
If you know that you’re a sinner, if you know that He died on the cross for your sins, if you know He’s got the gift and you want the gift, then you call and by faith put your faith in Him and He’ll give you forgiveness, a relationship with Him, and that gift of eternal life. You can have it. How many of you want it?
And it’s amazing. Half of the congregation will accept the Lord that morning. You knew it, you just didn’t know how many. But they’ve gone to that congregation all of their life. But they never had the reality of knowing Christ. Is that you, tonight?
Number ten: Paul says the summary of things is this—2 Timothy 3:13: It won’t get any better, only worse and worse. Where do you find that? Second Timothy 3:13. “But evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Society says we’re getting better. We’re going to the New World Order. We’re going to have a new plane, a new utopia where we’re going to take this evolutionary jump in religious thought. And the fact is we’re going to love everybody. And the thing is, society is getting better. If we just put enough money toward it, the fact is we’re going to solve our problems. God says no. As we go toward the end, it’s going to get “worse and worse.” That’s not very optimistic, but that’s what it says.
Point eleven: To people in the last days, the doctrine of the second coming of Jesus Christ will be a joke, 2 Peter 3. A characteristic of the last days is, people will think the doctrine of the second coming of Jesus Christ is a joke. Peter said, “Knowing this first, that there shall come, in the last days”—what? —“scoffers.” What is the definition of scoff? It means “mocking contempt, scorn, derision, to jeer as a result of doubt; cynicism or irreverence.” People, when you say you’re interested in studying prophecy, you believe that Jesus Christ is going to come again, what do they do? How do they look at you? Our culture and our society looks at those people like they’re Martians that stepped off a rocket from Mars. “You believe in what?!” And people, in the ministry today, if they deny that Jesus is God, what do you think they think about the doctrine of the second coming of Christ, His returning to earth? They make jokes about it. They’re scoffers.
Point twelve, people, as we go along, will abandon true Christian faith and begin to follow a substitute Christ. Take a look at 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day”—that’s the Day of the Lord, when God’s judgment falls—“for that day shall not come,” the judgment will not come; Christ is not going to return to earth and put His feet on the Mount of Olives, according to Zechariah 14:4, “until” what? —“until the apostasy takes place and goes into full bloom.” And he tells you what “full bloom” is going to be; what the end of the road, what’s going to happen before Christ comes back and straightens this mess up. “That day will not come except there come first of all a falling away,” the apostasy. You can have the name “Christian” over the mantel, but the fact is, there’s not going to be any reality there because they will have departed from the content of the faith.
Point thirteen. And then, it says, “except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” First of all, the apostasy comes and then the apostasy culminates or ends centered directly on a man who walks into the temple and says, “I’m God.” And goodness’ sakes, the world believes him and worships him. I used to think that was crazy. Not any more. The definition of Antichrist: let’s take the word “anti.” It’s got two meanings in the Greek. “Anti” obviously means “against,” and for sure, the Antichrist will be against Christ and all that He stands for, right? But what’s the other one? “Anti” also means “in the place of” or “a substitute.” The Antichrist is going to be against Christ. But the way he is going to go about being against Christ is he’s going to come and take Christ’s place and be a substitute Christ. And the world will worship him.
Now, that sounds really dumb, doesn’t it? Let me see if we can make you a little more aware of what’s going on. Let’s take a look at 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
Take a look at Revelation 13:8. I’ll give you point fourteen and then I want to see if I can prove this to you. There Revelation 13:8 has another verse that used to shake me, and I couldn’t figure out how these things would come about. Take a look. Revelation 13:8. It says, “And all”—that’s the thing that got to me—“all that dwell upon the earth shall,” what? You see, what I couldn’t figure out, when the Bible talks about the entire world worshipping this Antichrist, I could have thought, “following him,” “obeying him.” But “worshipping” is religion.
How do you get all the atheists over in Russia to worship somebody? How do you get all the agnostics, the Buddhists, the Hindus in the Far East to worship somebody? How do you get all the skeptics in this country, the scientific materialists, how do you get them to worship somebody?! I’ll tell you how. And we’ve got a crowd of them right now.
Here’s a fellow by the name of Andrija Puharich. He holds 50 medical patents in this country. He’s a genius. And yet, he has been dabbling in the occult, and he has had contact with the spirits out there, and he writes today, “I am personally convinced that superior beings from other spaces and other times have initiated a renewed dialogue with humanity. While I do not doubt their existence, I do not know what they look like, how they live, or even what their goals are with respect to humankind.” All he knows is he’s had contact with them and he believes in them.
Think of a Christian, when we say something, they want all kinds of evidence. This guy, 50 medical patents, a genius in the scientific world, and he says, “I’m convinced,” simply because he’s had an experience with them.
Bernie Segal is our top medical doctor at Yale University right now. If you would send your son to Yale for his degree in medicine, Bernie Segal is the top professor. In his best-selling book, Love, Medicine and Miracles, and in other places, he writes like this, and he tells you how he got into spiritism. He doesn’t call it spiritism. Here’s how he says it. “I approached this exercise [of meeting these intelligences from other spaces] with all the skepticism one expects from a mechanistic, secularistic doctor.” And Bernie Segal says, “Still, I sat down, closed my eyes and followed directions.” You see, you don’t even have to believe that it’ll work today to get into the occult. Here’s a secularistic, mechanistic doctor that says, “I didn’t think it would work.”
It’s like Kubler-Ross at the University of Chicago—atheist, skeptic, doesn’t believe anything. She said, “But I tried it and, voila! It worked!” Bernie says, “Still, I sat down, closed my eyes and followed directions. I didn’t believe it would work, but if it did, I expected to see Jesus or Moses. I mean, who else would dare appear inside a surgeon’s head. Instead, I met ‘George,’ a bearded, long-haired young man wearing an immaculate flowing gown and a skullcap. It was an incredible awakening for me because I hadn’t expected anything to happen. George was spontaneous, aware of my feelings, and an excellent advisor.”
Now, Bernie Segal in his best-selling book, says—because George is now his advisor—“The goal of medicine is to have people reach a light trance state.” Did you know that? Sometimes called the “alpha state,” which is the first step in hypnosis, biofeedback, yogic meditation, and the most related forms of mind exploration. “With guidance and practice,” —remember, I told you my dad came down with cancer. Went down to the University of Chicago. He didn’t go to a grass hut, he went to the University of Chicago and the medical doctor said, “Plus all these and the pills and so on, I want you to meditate 15 minutes a day and I want you to get in touch with your ‘higher self.’” Segal says, “With guidance”—from the doctor in occultism—“with guidance and practice, meditation can lead to breathtaking experiences.”
See, everybody’s having a mystical experience in the secular world today. I don’t know if you know this. Bernie Segal had one, and he’s saying he wants to lead you into one because once you get into one, then you’ll know what he’s talking about is true. “With guidance and practice, meditation can lead to a breathtaking experience of cosmic at-oneness and enlightenment. Among many psychological techniques applied to physical illness, the most widely used and successful has been the one called imaging or visualization.” You didn’t know that was the medicine you would get when you went to your doctor, did you?
Dr. Norman Shealy was a doctor that was teaching at Harvard. I saw him one morning when I tuned in to Jane Pauley when she was on the “Today Show.” I had Norm Shealy come to the program as a result of what I saw. Norm Shealy was interviewed by Jane Pauley. She went to his office and here this neurosurgeon did a diagnosis of a patient. He wrote it down. And then, before he went any further, he picked up his phone and he called a psychic one thousand miles away by the name of Myss. Miss Myss. She picked up the phone and he said, “I’ve done my diagnosis. Now I want you to do yours.” And she goes into a psychic scan and scans the patient a thousand miles away in Norm Shealy’s office. The cameras were on her. And then she gave her diagnosis, and Norman Shealy said that, unless her diagnosis matched his, he did not go forward.
I thought, “Well, that’s interesting. Teaching at Harvard.” So I had him on the program. He was the founder of the Holistic Health Association in this country. Over 640 doctors like Bernie Segal and Norman Shealy at Harvard, neurosurgeons, heart surgeons. The best we’ve got!
Now, here’s what was in the introduction of Norm Shealy’s latest book which has become a best-seller if you go into the holistic health stores. The introduction says, “If the new mental factor in medicine sounds new, it is not. In most places across the world there are no modern hospitals and folk healers and shamans”—what’s a shaman? It’s a witchdoctor. Any time you see “shaman” just say “witchdoctor.” “In most places there are no modern hospitals, and folk healers and shamans still account for most of the medicine practiced on the face of the earth.” Did you know that the witchdoctor was practicing medicine?
“These techniques, while they employ various esoteric”—that’s secret—“methods rely heavily on the powers of the consciousness of the healer and the healee, the power of the mind has been the veritable backbone of shamanism”—witchcraft—“whose history extends for fifty thousand years.” And in this neurosurgeon’s book from Harvard they say this, “From this perspective”—from the witchdoctor’s, for fifty thousand years—“we are treading old paths, we are rediscovering ancient truths”—did you know it was a truth? —“about ourselves which we have almost forgotten in this age of science.”
Bernie Segal thought that he would quit medicine because his mystical experience was so good and he was having such success with other things he thought he would give up medicine. But this is what “George” persuaded him. Segal said, “I was still toying with the idea of a career change, which I told George,” his spirit guide. “George explained that I could do more by remaining a surgeon than by changing myself. I could help my patients mobilize their mental powers against disease. I could combine the support and guidance of a minister or a psychiatrist” —I would have put “an occultist”—“with the resources and experience of a physician.” Under the cover of a doctor, you give them occultism. “I could practice ‘clergery,’ a term my wife coined. George says you can go anywhere in the hospital. A clergyman or a therapist can’t. But you are free to supplement medical treatments with love or ‘death and dying’ counseling in a way that non-physicians are not. George has been an invaluable companion ever since his first appearance,” Bernie Segal says.
Let me just finish it up with what Andrija Puharich says. “Considering that I’ve had two years of intermittent experience”—of contact with the spirits—“I am remarkably ignorant about these beings. On the other hand, I have complete faith in their wisdom and in their benevolent intentions”—their “loving” intentions—“toward man.” The spirits all come to people today and they say, “Well, we really are here to help you. We love you. Just follow what we say.” “I’ve had complete faith in their wisdom and benevolent intentions toward man and living things on earth. My lack of hard knowledge about them is a kind of deficiency that does not erode my faith in their essential pursuit of the good, the truth, and the beautiful.” He says, “So I trust them.”
Now, the Bible says there’s going to be a worldwide deception. What I see today, is Bernie Segal had the mystical experience; Norman Shealy had the mystical experience. Shirley MacLaine was a skeptic. She met a fellow that was a channeler that had a demon, and the demon was speaking through this person. And the demon knew she was skeptical, and so Shirley was talking and the demon said to her, “What would we have to do to persuade you?” She said, “Well, I can’t see you. All I can do is hear you.” She said, “I would like for you to leave his body and come over here and pick me up and carry me around the room.” The demon said, “No problem,” and did that. And she was carried around the room.
Now, let me ask you this; if that had happened to you, would you have believed? You see, I don’t know if you know this, but the Bible is talking about that as we get toward the wrap-up, that those that claim to be anti-Christ and then the Antichrist himself are going to be able to do that. Take a look at what the Bible says in Revelation 13:12-13: “And he exercises all the power of the first beast”—this is the false prophet of the first beast— “before him and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.”
Verse 13: “and he”—that’s the false prophet of the beast—“doeth great wonders”—that’s miracles—“so that he can even make fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast which had the wound by the sword and did live.” But you’ve got the miracles here. You’ve got the miracles here.
Take a look at 2 Thessalonians 2. Look at what it says the Antichrist is going to do. “Let no one deceive you,” verse 3, “by any means, for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first, the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God. He is going to sit as God in the temple, showing himself that he is God, proclaiming himself that he is God.”
Go down to verse 7, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains”—the Holy Spirit will do so—“until He is taken out of the way.”
But look at verse 8: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
Verse 9: “The coming of the lawless one”—look at this now—“is according to the working of Satan with” what? “all power, signs and lying wonders and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth.”
Today, we have over 1,000 channelers in Los Angeles alone that the demons are speaking to the people and giving them these mystical experiences. We have pictures. When Rajneesh was in Oregon, the little god-man from the East, he would go, he would walk in, and come in his big Rolls Royce. And as soon as he would get there, the pagoda would have 10,000 people, the ashram would have 10,000 people. And as soon as he would walk on the stage, all 10,000 people would immediately have an out-of-body experience or a mystical experience. They would see colors. They would see all kinds of great things. And they thought it was him giving it to them. No. It was the demons just ticking off the neurons in their minds giving them these, making them think that.
There’s a person by the name of Sai Baba in India right now. Tal Brooke, who went to Princeton, got on LSD. While he was on LSD picked up some spirits that said, “Go to the East.” He went to the East. He went into India. Sai Baba met him. He became his assistant. When Sai Baba met Tal Brooke, Tal says he had a short sleeve shirt on. He took his hands, he waved them, and he said, “Here is some food. Eat it.” He said one time the premier of India came and there was over a million people in Sai Baba’s presence, and Sai Baba waved his hands and he gave him a ruby.
I believe Sai Baba is going to come into America some day, just like the other god-men from the East have come. Let me ask you this: What do you think it would be like if Sai Baba came into a high school audience here in Boca Raton and he says to your teenagers in the city, “Listen, I want you to believe on me. I’m the god-man. I’ve got powers.” They’d all laugh. He would say, “But wait a minute.” And he’d come over to a person and he’d say, “Will you believe on me if I do this?” He waves his hands and says, “I’ll give you this diamond.” Do you think our kids would believe on him?
I’ll give you another one that’s happening today in the East. Here’s what I think is going to happen in the United States. When the channelers have been on Donahue and on Oprah and some of the other talk shows, the demons have been saying some day they’re going to have their own TV show here in this country. The channelers. Why? Because they’re so entertaining.
Here’s what I think they’ll do. Think of seeing a television program in this country where the channeler says, “I know a lot of you Americans are skeptical about this, but I want to help you out. I want you to close your eyes and I’m going to count to three and something will happen. Just trust me. So close your eyes.” And so the millions of people that are watching—this is the first program; all of them are skeptical—they close their eyes and he goes, “One, two, three.” Snaps his fingers. And everybody that’s watching that program has a mystical experience or an out-of-body experience. He snaps his fingers, and it all stops. He said, “See? Now, join me tomorrow. Tell your friends. Tune in and we’ll do it again tomorrow.” How big an audience do you think he would have the second day?
And he does it the second day; and he does it the third day. After a month of doing that, how big a show do you think they would have? How big a viewing audience would they have here in skeptical America and how many of those people would be skeptical if they were having the out-of-body or mystical experience? They would be deceived. Americans don’t care what’s happening, they just want something to happen! They don’t care where the power comes from. If you tell them, “I can do this,” they’ll believe whatever the guy says. I think that’s coming.
And I think worldwide, all of these people that are picking up spirit guides, and as I said, Silva’s got seven million people in America that have gone through his. Then you’ve got Erhard Seminar Training, then you’ve got this group and that group and the other group and everybody’s got the steps, the path, the technique—and they all work!
It used to be that it was very hard to get demonized. Today, you can just say the magic word and it seems like immediately you pick up a spirit guide. We’re teaching our kids in kindergarten through the New Age stuff that’s coming into our schools. Our kids are picking it up as early as kindergarten. We’re demonizing a whole generation.
But the thing is, there’s going to be somebody that comes along—this one, the Antichrist—and he’s going to say, “I am the ultimate. I’m really God. And let me prove it.” And he gets on CNN worldwide and he can wave his arms and everybody across the world will have the mystical experience. And he’ll make fire come down from heaven. And he can stop tanks; he can stop bullets; he can do whatever with signs and wonders and he’ll say, “I’ve got the power. Believe on me.” And the world will go for it.
Now, the Bible—what I’m going toward is, the fact is, the Bible says all this is coming. But what it dawned on me one day is, we’ve got people today that are already doing what the Antichrist is going to do that the Bible says is the wrap-up of evil. Namely, he is going into a building some day and he’s going to say to the world, “I am God” and they’re going to believe him! We’ve already seen Shirley MacLaine stand on national television and say, “I am God.” And five million people started to follow her. Not in the sense that Jesus said “I am God,” but in the sense where, “I am God. You are also God. We’re all part of God and you just need to actualize your godhood.” There’s a switch.
And, of course, when everybody is actualizing their part of godhood to find out that they’ve got these latent powers inside of them that really come from the demons and no power of your own, the fact is, there will be one man that will come up to the pulpit and he’ll say, “But I am the ultimate teacher. I want you to worship me. And if you worship me, I’ll take you to that next evolutionary plane.”
And it dawned on me, we’ve got thousands, millions of people across the United States, millions of people across the world. Here’s where the atheists and the skeptics tune in. Now we’ve got people in Russia doing ESP experiments. We’ve got the CIA doing ESP experiments. We’ve got people that are cultists all around the world that are experiencing these out-of-body experiences. We’ve had, besides the doctors and people like Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, people like Muller at the United Nations, the second in control before he died., he had the mystical experience and he was spreading it around to all the delegates at the U.N. “you need to have this mystical experience.” And boy, once you have the mystical experience, it persuades you that this philosophy is correct. But it’s a lie. It’s a deception!
What I’m saying is that the Bible says, “That’s the wrap-up!” And we have hints of it right in our own culture today, something that 20 years ago we would have all thought was nuts!