“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
In his rant against God (as he sees Him) in 2015, Stephen Fry said “If I died and it was Pluto, Hades, and the twelve Greek gods, then I would have more truck with it.” Stephen was ranting, but the God in his mind is not the God of the Bible…it is the same God in his mind, but not in reality. Slandering the Character of God and casting doubt upon the integrity of His word was Satan’s strategy in Genesis. The first humans took the bait and it would appear Stephen has also, hook, line, and sinker.
People want revival, but what we are seeing is a revival of the old belief systems, and a resurgence of the old gods of mythology. They are popular in today’s world because you can manipulate and appease them.
The once firmly Lutheran nation, Iceland, again in 2015, planned to build the first major temple to Norse gods in 1,000 years. Construction was to begin in February of that year on the island's first major temple to the Norse gods since the Viking age. Icelanders could once again publicly worship at a shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg. Worship of the gods in Scandinavia gave way to Christianity around 1,000 years ago but a modern version of Norse paganism has been gaining popularity in Iceland.
The phenomenon of not putting up with sound doctrine, turning to teachers that say what their itching ears want to hear, and turning aside from the truth to follow myths is not only an activity gripping the world; it has also affected some in the church, certainly in recent years. Prosperity teaching is taught by those that are lovers of money which is the root of all kinds of evil. There are false teachers that love the sound of their own voices, and that have no understanding of God or His Word; they spread dissention and division among God’s people. Having spoken about endurance, Paul writes (2 Timothy 2:11-14), “The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”
2 Timothy 4:3 speaks about the hearers, but it also has something to say about time, and teachers.
The ‘hearers’ say to the ‘teachers’ as they did in Isaiah’s day – “They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.” (Isaiah 30:10). There are seers and teachers that are more than happy to oblige.
Collusion with Delusion
“For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11)
Thessalonians speaks about another ‘time’ sequence – the coming of the lawless one. The present time of turning against God is preparation for the turning from truth when the work of Satan will be openly displayed in all kinds of miracles, signs and wonders, reminiscent of the days when Pharaoh’s magicians worked their works in the land of Egypt. The Satan of the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures is the Satan of the New Testament or the Christian Scriptures. Some Christians differentiate the God of the Old Testament as being a different God to that of the New Testament. However, the God we meet in the Old Testament deals with Pharaoh in the same way that the God of the New Testament deals with people with a similar mind-set as Pharaoh. That is not surprising because it is the same God. The purpose of the miracles, signs and wonders is to deceive.
How does God deal with Pharaoh? God says to Moses, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” (Exodus 7:3). However, when we read 1Samuel 6:6, we discover that it was Pharaoh that hardened his heart. What God did was to confirm, to establish the hardening that had taken place in Pharaoh’s heart when he resolved to ignore and disobey God.
If we turn back to 2 Thessalonians 2:11, it says, “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” God’s reason for sending the delusion was because they were already unreasonable in their assessment of the truth…they already believed the lie and so God established them in their belief. They are perishing, as Pharaoh and his army perished, because they believe in every sort of evil that deceives. And so it is that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have… But have what? “But have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). God no longer restrains them from wickedness but rather gives them over to it, as it is explained in Romans 1:24-25, “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator…”
Many are deceived, and are being led down various garden paths to oblivion. All is vanity and hot air. Many just want their ears tickled, and so they run after teachers that are not teachers but merely ticklers. Those in the church that are chasing around for teachers that tickle their ears are already deceived. They are open to deception and will fall for the lie as Adam and Eve did in the Fall. The blindness spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:10 will be a self-imposed one because of their refusal to “love the truth and so be saved.” I have met such people in the church, among those that ‘love’ Israel. They love Israel but deny the Deity of Yeshua. You can show them the Scriptures but they remain unpersuaded and they stand firm in their belief that Yeshua is no more than a man. When the lawless one comes, they will attribute deity to him.
“Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” (1 Timothy 1:7)
The God Delusion
There are people claiming to be Christians that gain a following by gathering people around them, those people that chase after them and that want their ears tickled, and in some cases at least, they teach what appears to be a corrupt form of Judaism and not Christianity at all. Others give out false teaching under the umbrella of ‘church’ or ‘fellowship’. It is not Biblical, and they abuse the Word of God by denying the Deity of Christ. So you have people that want their ears tickled, and you have people that want to do the tickling…both are deceived; both are deluded. Ministers and Bishops in the mainline churches have been known to deny the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection. False teaching goes right across the board.
The Tickler and the Tickled
An example of deception in the ‘church’ is one from New Zealand where a man named [Apostle] Brian Tamaki, founder and current leader of Destiny Church, which is a group of Pentecostal Christian churches in that nation. His self-importance shines like a morning star. He appointed himself Bishop of his 15 churches (back in 2015), and he attracted quite a bit of attention from the media due to his outlandish ideas. A shining example of his runaway tongue was his prophesy that Destiny Church would soon be ruling New Zealand – we are still waiting for the fulfilment! Having said that, I have not kept up with the activities of this “church” or its illustrious leader. Perhaps he was referring to another New Zealand, one on a different planet. Either way, their teaching is not from the Bible. A further strange idea of his was in getting the men of his church to swear their allegiance to him by wearing rings with his name on them. Back in 2008 it was reported that Destiny Church was planning on building a holy city in South Auckland. When during his teaching, he stated that there was no bodily resurrection of Christ, some people became concerned, and so he backtracked from that position. Taking a different tack, he began stating that Christians are spiritually the same thing as God. He has even claimed to be the “Tangible Expression of God”. That is to put himself in place of Jesus. Warning: Therefore, “Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.” (Hebrews 13:9). To quote a verse we have used already—“Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” (1 Timothy 1:7)
We go back to September 6th, 1994, in the USA when Harold Camping's followers gathered inside Alameda (California) Veterans Memorial Building. The purpose of their gathering was to welcome the return of Christ. It was an event that Camping had promised for two years. Followers dressed children in their Sunday best and held Bibles open-faced toward heaven. When the event did not occur, Camping did what deceivers do; he made new calculations; and the tickled/deceived did what they do…they continued to follow this guy.
Camping busied himself in more deception by broadcasting that the rapture would occur on May 21st, 2011. He broadcast this message for months on his radio programs, stressing that the end of the world would begin on that date. One vulnerable young listener was 14-year old Nastya Zachinova. She lived in the Republic of Mari El in Central Russia, and she listened to all the terrible things that Camping said was going to happen in the world. “She took this date too close to heart,” said Nastya’s mother. On May 21st, Nastya committed suicide. She never heard the good news of grace in Jesus Christ. She only heard the misguided teaching of someone who did not know what they were talking about.
Jesus said that what is in a man will come out of Him (Matthew 15:18-20). If the truth is in us, the truth is what will come out of us, through our lives and in our speech. What does God desire of us? “Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.” (Psalm 51:6). To achieve that end, God has given us His Spirit who will lead us into all truth (John 16:13). The Spirit is with us, and He is in us (John 14:17). “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8).
True disciples of Jesus/Yeshua do not deceive and give false teaching—“Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:2).
Deception in the world is taking many forms today, as is the case with the BLM group. Their interest and aim quite simply, is to tear down western culture and society like they tear down statues and monuments. BLM is a deception. They simply want to destroy. Franklin Graham reported that a Black Lives Matter leader in New York said, “If this country (US) doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.” That is advocating violence and anarchy. There are moves to remove figures of Christ from churches. It is not really the statues that offend, Jesus Himself is an offence to those that are lawless. Petros… ‘Rocky’ (Peter) said: “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they disobey the message” (1 Peter 2:8). These destroyers and anarchists are proving themselves to be sons and daughters of the Man of Sin. They are haters of God and lovers of themselves (2 Timothy 3:2). It will all end in tears. The prophet Daniel speaks of a stone that becomes a great mountain and fills the whole earth, after causing the collapse of all the kingdoms of this world (Daniel 2:35).
Lord, to me Thy ways make known,
Thou my Saviour art alone,
All the day I wait for Thee.
Lord, remember in Thy love
All Thy mercies manifold,
Tender mercies from above,
Changeless from the days of old.
Just and good the Lord abides,
He His way will sinners show,
He the meek with justice guides,
Making them His way to know.
Grace and truth shall mark the way
Where the Lord His own will lead.
If His Word they still obey
And His testimonies heed.
Blessings and shalom