559: Apostasy and Deception are Key Signs of the End
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Three Questions and One Long Answer
We find the Olivet Discourse recorded in three places in the New Testament: Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21. The entire teaching is Jesus’ response to some questions asked by His disciples after they were admiring the beauty of the Temple. But Jesus did not specify which answer corresponded to which question. He just answered them all at once, in one long narrative. Let’s look at a combined account of these questions.
(MT) Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple —(LK) how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations. (MK) One of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” (MK) And Jesus answered and (MT) said to them, “Do you not see all (MK) these great buildings? (MT) Assuredly, I say to you, (LK) the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
At this point, the disciples’ understanding of the future of Israel and their own lives was shattered. Everything in their religious life was temple based. And the thought of the temple being destroyed was beyond their comprehension.
So they came to Jesus privately for more information or a clearer explanation of what He just said.
(MT) Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives (MK) opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew (MT) came to Him privately, saying, (LK) “Teacher, (MT) tell us, when will these things be? (MK) What will be the sign when all these things (LK) are about to take place? (MT) And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
But even in this narrative, you can see Jesus laying the groundwork for the end times and revealing to us the Seven-Year Tribulation Period and the Second Coming of Christ. But for us today, we are going to focus on two major characteristics of the end times, and these are deception and apostasy. Jesus tells us to beware of deception and Paul speaks of the coming (and now here) great apostasy. And both are telltale signs of the end times.
Jesus’ Blueprint for the End
First, look at what Jesus said about deception during His Olivet discourse.
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many” – Matthew 24:3-4.
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold” – Matthew 24:11-12.
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” – Matthew 24:23-25.
And then the Scriptures speak of a great apostasy, a falling away from the faith, that will happen at the beginning of the end, right before the revealing of the antichrist. I believe we are witnessing that apostasy today.
Let no one deceive you by any means; (why) for that Day (the coming of the Lord) will not come unless the falling away (apostasía) comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
Now the Spirit expressly says that (when) in latter times (what) some will depart from the faith (apostasy), giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who (1) believe and (2) know the truth – 1 Timothy 4:1-3.
And one more…
But know this, that (when) in the last days (what) perilous times will come: (described as) For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having (what) a form of godliness but denying its power (dúnamis). And from such people turn away! – 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
There is so much more we cover in this message. So join us as we look for His soon return.