Deceived and being deceived: Trumpets sometimes blow wrong notes

“If the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?” (I Corinthians 14:8). 

A woman in a friend’s Sunday School class took exception to his reading a passage from The Message, the paraphrase of Scripture from the highly esteemed Eugene Peterson.  “It’s evil,” she said.  She will not be back to that church.

And if you think she’ll be spreading the word that that church is liberal and has gone over to the dark side, I’m betting you’ll be right.

An evangelist asked a man what translation of Scriptures he was reading from. “The NASB,” he said.  “The MacArthur Study Bible.”  “That’s a terrible translation,” he said. “It’s wrong.  And wicked.” Just so easily does he dismiss the work of hundreds of biblical scholars who know far more about Hebrew and Greek and the ancient manuscripts than that evangelist (or this preacher!) can learn in several lifetimes.

One of two things is true.  Either the attacker is correct and the overwhelming majority of God’s redeemed are deceived.  Or, the attacker has been deceived, is seriously misguided, and is now slandering a huge part of the family of God.  The latter, I believe, is the case.

Speaking of deceiving and being deceived…

The Friday June 22, 2018, issue of our Clarion-Ledger carried a full page advertisement from some end-of-the-world people who did not name themselves other than to give their website– www.worldslastchance.com.

According to these doomsdayers what we are on the eve of beholding is “the 7 prophetic trumpets outlined in the Book of Revelation.”  These trumpets “represent the Father’s last call of mercy. His final effort to awaken humanity from spiritual blindness and to prepare us for the Second Coming of His Son.”

The seven trumpets are found in Revelation chapters 8-11.  For two thousand years, scholars and laypeople alike have read those passages and wondered at their meanings.  Some have come up with interpretations and possibilities, but the centuries (and history) have not been good to their theories. But now, apparently, someone has it all figured out.  Enough so that they are willing to fork out thousands of dollars to alert humanity to the coming disasters.

In the first trumpet, one-third of all trees and all crops will be destroyed. (Revelation 8:7). The second trumpet (8:8-9) says a third of all shipping vessels and sea life will be destroyed.  The third trumpet (8:10-11) will destroy all fresh water sources.  The article omits the fourth trumpet (8:12) which is going to take away one-third of the sun, moon, and stars.

At this point, after the fourth trumpet, the article says “The powers that be will utterly panic.”  Boy, I’ll bet that’s right.  And before they can recover, God’s fifth trumpet will sound–ushering in “the most horrifying event in human history: a celestial (sic) invasion of demons posing as ‘aliens.'”  While Revelation 9:1ff calls these locusts, we will grant they are demons.  Why the article’s writers decided they will pose as aliens is anyone’s guess.   And they are celestial?  Meaning “from heaven”?

And here’s where it gets interesting…

The demonic aliens will force humanity to rush to a world leader, none other than Pope Francis himself. The head of the Roman Catholic church will emerge as the leader of the world.  And the writers of the article even tell us what the Pope will do.  “The first thing on Francis’ agenda will be the exaltation of Sunday as a universal day of worship.” The writers reveal their bias when they point out that in reality “Sunday is a counterfeit day of worship and has nothing at all to do with the biblical Sabbath.”  Okay. We have some legalistic Judaizing Adventists’ getting their licks in, looks like.

All we have to do is start worshiping on Saturday.

The result of all this is to split the world into two camps: the majority following the Pope and a small remnant choosing to worship on the Sabbath.  Believe it or don’t.

At this point, the article says “Is your jaw on the floor?”  Well, sort of.  I’m amazed at the sheer foolishness of this. But let us continue…

The article urges us to go to their website “to learn more about the lies that you have been told by every organization that you thought you could trust.’  Every organization?  Every one? Even the PTA?  The American Automobile Association? Sams Club?

It ends by agreeing that many people will call them crazy. “But what if they are right?” they ask.  “Crazy just might save your eternal soul.”

Get that?  Moving the day of worship from Sunday to Saturday “just might save your eternal soul.”

The article forewarns us that “there is so much more we want to share with you.”  Uh oh. They’re not through yet?

We’re due…

It would appear that about every three decades someone comes along with God all figured out.  In the late 1980s, a fellow named Edgar Whisenant invested a fortune to announce that he had it all figured out and Jesus Christ would return in 1988.  He was dead certain and backed it up by spending untold amounts on pamphlets and publicity to alert the world. His pamphlet “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988” was printed in the millions.  Alas, when the year came and went, he said he had miscalculated and the Advent would be in 1989.  Eventually, he said, “Well, soon.”  He died in 2001.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses leadership used to come up with dates with a certain regularity.  But when the 1976, I think it was, event did not come off as they had promised, we are told that one million members of that heretical cult bailed out. They’ve not done it since, having finally learned their lesson.

Listen. I’m all in favor of the Lord’s return.  Scripture promises it and I believe Scripture.  But what I do not believe are all these know-it-alls who are smarter than the Savior who said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

A couple more thoughts…

–When you read such articles as this one in last Friday’s paper, look at it closely and you will often find their bias.  The writers of the above piece are Sabbath-worshipers apparently angry that most of Christendom does not buy into their slant.  Neither did the Apostle Paul.  He said, “So let no one judge you in food or drink or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (Colossians 2:16-17).   A Seventh Day Adventist tried to argue with me that Paul was talking about a certain kind of sabbath and not the weekly day of worship.  But read it in context and you’ll see he says no such thing.  He says “sabbaths,” plural.

Our Lord said it like this: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).  That surely is a warning not to let the emphasis get out of proportion as the Pharisees and others had done.

–Christians do not worship on the Lord’s Day only.  We worship every day.  We worship on Saturdays and Sundays and Mondays and so forth.

–I’d love to see a little humility in prophecy interpreters.  After all, a little historical perspective should convince them that all who have come before them have gotten it wrong.  And yet, stick around and watch, because every few years another group will arise with all the answers and more knowledge than Jesus and they will dupe the unwary and call you demonic for opposing them.  When their dates come and go with nothing happening, they suddenly go silent. What you’d like to have would be a full apology from them for all the people they have slandered.

Don’t hold your breath.

–I’ve told here how a member of one of my churches kept after me to let her teach a class on Revelation.  According to my friends, this lady had it all figured out and had the charts to back it up.  I was warned, “She runs off those who disagree with her, so if you give her a class she’ll kill it.”  Finally, I said to her, “We will let you teach Revelation on two conditions.  First, we’ll give you the room but you’ll have to build your own class.” (This way, she would not be destroying a class that was already in operation.)  “And second, at the end of each session, you must say to your class, ‘That’s how it seems to me; I could be wrong.”

She was horrified at the suggestion she could be mistaken. And that’s why she never taught her class in our church.

–In the last chapter of 2 Peter, we’re told that “the untaught and unstable” twist Paul’s writings and get things from them never intended.  In so doing, they “twist (these) to their own destruction.”   At the time this epistle was written, as far as we know the Revelation of John had not been given or penned.  But you can just imagine how much more could be said about how “the untaught and unstable twist” the Revelation to make it say what was never intended and in so doing, they pervert the faith of the unwary and easily duped.

“Even so, come Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20).

 

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