"JESUS IS COMING! Jesus is coming! We must get ready! We must get ready!" You would expect these words from a preacher. But, instead, Satan is the speaker. He has called an important meeting of all his executive devils to plan the last great deception of man. "Jesus is coming!" he exclaims. "We must find a way to deceive the world. Are there any suggestions?" Hands fly up all over the assembly. Fallen angels, who have spent thousands of years tempting man, are eager to share ideas on how to trap the human race. These masterminds of deception are happily involved in planning a great, masterful delusion to falsify the coming of Christ. Every man, woman, and child will be duped by their persuasive powers. Everyone, that is, except those who have built a firm foundation upon the Scriptures. For "none but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict." The Great Controversy, pp. 593, 594. The devil is planning one last massive attack against man. The Bible speaks of it. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:15). "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" (chap. 24:11). "And no marvel; for Satan him self is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). Climaxing the book of Revelation is a description of the greatest deception in the history of the world. The entire population will wonder after the beast, who gets his authority from the devil himself. All the world will be deceived except one small group. John refers to them as those who "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Rev. 12:17). Jesus calls them God's "elect." "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24).
Perhaps you are sitting smugly in your chair thinking, I won't have a problem with deceptions. I have the truth about prophecy. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has had it for more than a hundred years. The early church fathers figured all this out. I can't possibly be deceived!
Don't be so sure! Do you honestly believe that Satan is naive enough to carry out his deceptions the way you think he will? Are finite men conceited enough to think they can outsmart one of the great est minds in the universe?
Too many times people tend to study the charts and examine the diagrams someone else has prepared and never study the Bible for themselves. Out of this surface study comes speculation. Such as, "When Russia and the United States get into such and such an alignment you'd better watch out!" or, "Those Arabs and Jews are at it again. This is Armageddon for sure!"
It is this speculative thinking, based on superficial Biblical knowledge, that lulls people into a false sense of security. Many sit, like the Peanuts' character Linus, holding their blanket of teachings and speculations in their arms and feeling secure that they know exactly what will happen. This is the "Seventh-day Adventist security blanket." But the security it brings is false!
It will take more than a shallow study of last-day events to become one of God's elect. The elect of God are a select group. Select because of their diligent study of the Word. Satan knows that if he can lead a Christian to neglect Bible study, he has him. "Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he in vents every possible device to engross the mind." —The Great Controversy, p. 519.
This is why study of God's Word is so important. It is not a way to pass the day; it is the Christian's survival kit. With this concept in mind, Paul's words to Timothy take on new meaning, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, . . . rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
A knowledge of God's truth is essential. Why? "So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested."—Ibid., p. 593.
Our Lie Detector
Isaiah tells us, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). God's Word becomes our lie detector. Only with a genuine understanding of what the Bible says can we detect the devil's lies.
When he comes our senses will tell us, "This must be Christ! Look at all the wonderful things he does and says!" All logic will confirm what we see and hear. But we cannot depend upon logic or senses. We must depend upon God's Word.
This is why every Christian must know the truth for himself. He cannot depend on friends, for they might fail. He cannot depend on books or articles, for they could be erroneous. He can't even depend on the leaders of the church, for they may be deceived. The only thing he can count on is his Bible, and he must know what it says.
After Christ talked of false prophets and teachings, He told a parable. "All who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won't collapse, for it is built on rock. But those who hear my instructions and ignore them are foolish, like a man who builds his house on sand. For when the rains and floods come, and storm winds beat against his house, it will fall with a mighty crash" (Matt. 7:24-27, T.L.B.).*
I believe that in Christ's parable of the houses the two men involved built their houses side by side. They were the same type of structures. But there was one very important difference. One man was impatient. He didn't bother to build a foundation but threw his house together quickly. The other spent time digging down deep through the sand and the earth until he struck solid rock. It was upon this rock that he built his foundation. Both houses appeared the same until the storm came. As a result of wind, rain, and flood, the house with the firm foundation remained while the other was destroyed.
Many do not see the importance of diligent Bible study. They are content to dig a little here and there, barely scratching the surface. But there are some who are not content with a shallow understanding of God's Word. These are the ones who dig deep into the words of God until they have found a firm foundation.
Certainly every believer today knows that deceptions are coming. But few realize the strong possibility of their being deceived. A time is coming like no time this world has ever known. Our only guideline will be the Bible. This Book is our lamp, our light. It is our detector of deception. It will be impossible to distinguish Satan's counterfeits without a deep understanding of its contents.
When the winds of deception blow upon us and the rains of uncertainty beat down, it will be painfully obvious who has built on the rock of the Word and who hasn't. It will be seen who it is that has been clinging to the false promise of a speculative "security blanket" rather than searching the Bible under the guidance of the Holy Spirit for understanding of what is happening and what is yet to take place.