The Tribulation will arrive when the restrainer is out of the way.
"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (2 Thessalonians 2:7-11)
But for now, the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. First let's look at the indicators of this terrible precursor of how the lawlessness is appearing.
On the Asian continent there is a man called Joseph Prince. He is 50 years old, and is the senior pastor of New Creation Church in Singapore, one of Asia's biggest churches. His website states that 30,000 attend weekly. His TV program Destined to Reign is broadcast in more than 150 countries. He has preached at Joel Osteen's Lakewood facility in Houston, at Hillsong's facility in Australia, as well as in South Africa at the Two Days of Hope Conference. Joseph Prince is big.
Joseph Prince's teachings are bad.
He is a rising star in the Word of Faith movement but has been more successful in crossing over into conservative evangelicalism, says Pastor and discernment specialist Justin Peters.
"He is very articulate. He goes deeper than Joel Osteen, deeper than Osteen's happy talk and platitudes. He has some working knowledge of the biblical languages. A lot of people who want to go deeper than Osteen, they turn to Joseph Prince. He takes many things out of context and flat out stating things as fact that factually are not true. He twists the doctrine of grace, takes it to extremes, often been charged with being antinomian (against the Law), holding a distorted view of grace, preaches easy beliefism along with the prosperity gospel. He is definitely a false teacher." (source)Here is a specific example of how Prince distorts grace. Prince was on stage with Joel Osteen and Osteen's wife Victoria on TBN television in October 2012. There, Prince misdefined repentance. He said,
"The word repentance is from the Greek word metanoia, which literally means change your mind. Preaching the word without using the word repentance, people's minds are being changed all the time From thinking negatively to thinking positively."
So in effect Prince was teaching that if we go from being a negative thinker to a positive thinker, we have repented. Mr Peters explains Prince's mistake in the clip I'd linked to above that,
"there is a grain of truth there. The word repent does come from the Greek metanoia and it does mean to change one's mind. But it's not from going from pessimist to optimist. Genuine repentance is a change of mind but it is granted by God and results in a change in your heart, in your whole being. Not just being a more optimistic person but an acknowledgement of being a sinner, that sin is heinous, and understanding the holiness of God. When God grants repentance, our mind changes and our heart changes. There is a fruit from that repentance. John said we will bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Not that we work to repent but when God grants it there will be fruit in our lives appropriate with repentance. Prince has a minimalistic and distorted view of repentance." (Source, Peters above).Here comes the part of the precursor to the antichrist's lie (that he is God and deludes the whole world). Joseph Prince preaches that you can pronounce yourself clean. In his devotional this week, he wrote,
"You see, as believers, when we received Jesus, His blood cleansed us from sin as well as sickness. (Isaiah 53:4–5) But we keep hearing people pronounce sin, sickness, poverty and death over us. We keep hearing people tell us that we are unclean, undeserving, poor, weak, and that it is only natural that we grow old and sickly, and die. God is waiting for a priesthood that will rise up and pronounce His people clean!"First: Jesus did not clean us from sin and sickness. He forgave our sins, and He cleaned us from the influence of sin and sickness. Only Jesus is free from sin and sickness. We won't be free from sin and sickness until we receive our resurrected body at the rapture. That's why we need the Holy Spirit now on earth, to help us resist sin. We are not free yet because we live in the same sinful flesh as we lived in when we were born and before we came into repentance and into Christ's atoning kingdom. Philippians 1:29 reminds us that it has been granted to us to suffer. So does Peter in 1 Peter 4:12. There are many verses which remind us that it is our portion to suffer these things.
Second: I don't hear 'people' telling me I am poor, weak and unclean. I don't go around telling my friends they are poor, weak, or unclean. I usually tell them they are great, smart, successful and powerful. And they tell me the same. It is what people do. Who I actually hear telling me I am poor, weak, and unclean is Jesus, in the bible. His word tells us that we are these things, even after salvation. Yes, post-salvation we're His children, heirs of His kingdom, but we are not free from sin yet, and therefore not free from its effects. Moreover, we still live on a sinful earth with all its accumulated effects of sin. While we are on earth, we remain conscious of our sins. If we were free from sin, why would we need to pick up our cross daily (Matthew 16:24).
"EVERY new man is two men—every Believer in Christ is what he was and not what he was—the old nature and the new nature exist at the same time in each regenerate individual. That old nature the Apostle calls a man, because it is a complete manhood after the image of fallen Adam. It has the desires, the judgment, the mind, the thoughts, the language and the action of man as he is in his rebellious estate. He calls it the “old man,” because it is as old as Eden’s first transgression."
Third: God does not wait for people to do things before He can get on with His plan. God is sovereign, He does what He wills, when He desires. (Psalm 115:3).
So you can see that Mr Prince has taken verses out of context and preached that our words have a power that they do not have. We are not little gods, pronouncing each other clean. Prince concludes his scripture twist by claiming: "God has cleansed you, so pronounce yourself clean! Right now, put your hand on your heart and pronounce good things over yourself. Say, “I pronounce myself clean, righteous, healed, whole and prosperous by the blood of Jesus!” By your word as a king-priest, every assault against you shall be settled!"
By His standard, we should be able to life a teflon life, impervious to the effects of sin, never having a sickness and prospering in all we do. That is some power that Prince ascribes to us, some grand power! That is the power of God, in fact, and it is the lie. We do not have that power. Satan wants us to think we are like God. He said in the beginning, "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5).
Satan is deluding great swathes of peoples that they have God's power to pronounce things that only God pronounces and thus be like God. That is the lie that is coming out of Asia.
On our continent we have a plethora of false prophets declaring that if we but speak with enough faith we can stop God's plan and so doing be like little gods. Joel Osteen makes that claim. He explained in one of his motivational speeches he delivers weekly from the Lakewood facility in Houston, that:
Such power this puny human has! I can stop God's plan with a few "negative words"! Osteen codified his false doctrine in his new book titled "I Declare", stating, "Now you can take charge of your future with the help of Joel Osteen's latest book-I Declare."
However, God's word says we are slaves. We are either slaves of sin or slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:16-18.) Slaves cannot and do not 'take charge' of their own future. God is in charge of that.
Angus Buchan is another person who preaches a false message. His story is heartbreaking because unlike some others who know they are lying, it seems that Buchan is wholly sincere and likely unaware of his falsity. His message is sweeping Africa. He preaches kingdom now, revival now, and calls for Holy Ghost miracles on a constant and common basis. Yet the word of God says not to call for signs. The use of signs was when the Lord was working with the apostles to validate their ministry. (Mark 16:20). Yet the signs themselves were never to prove faith and are not the final arbiter of having faith.
As Let Us Reason Ministries explains the purpose of signs and wonders, "Scripture and history prove that signs and wonders do not instill faith, just the opposite, lack of faith prompts one's desire to see signs and wonders. John 12:37- But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him. John 4:48- Then Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe." Jesus was disappointed that it took the miraculous for people to listen to his teachings or follow.... Seeing a sign was never a assurance of belief for the individual."
Below, 2009, and below that, 2013.
Hillsong in Australia is another place where a continent has been taken over by false gospels racing across the land like a tsunami. Wikipedia explains, "Hillsong Church is a Pentecostal megachurch affiliated with Australian Christian Churches (the Australian branch of the Assemblies of God) and located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Brian and Bobbie Houston began the church in 1983 as the Hills Christian Life Centre in Baulkham Hills. Hills Christian Life Centre later merged with Sydney Christian Life Centre at Waterloo. Over 21,000 people attend services each week." Below, inside Hillsong, Wikipedia photo
Asia, Africa, America, Australia...the deceived are falling down in great numbers.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." (Isaiah 14:12-15)
Satan's lie "weakened the nations", did you catch that? He purposed in his heart that he was like the Most High, and lied to Adam and Eve that if they partook of the fruit, they would also be like the Most High: he said so in Genesis 3:5,
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
That is satan's goal, to be like the most high. The nations will be so weakened by so many individual's own exaltation and the diminishment of God's stature that when the antichrist comes, they will be ready to believe the lie.
Again, what is that lie? That antichrist is God. (source)
Why is this tsunami-lie of having personal power only God has racing around the globe? Why are so many false prophets abounding? First, because Jesus said it would be so. (Matthew 7:15, 24:5, 24:11)
Secondly, look at this incident from 1 Kings. The host of heaven are gathered around His throne to the right and to the left.
Gills explains: "Now therefore behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these thy prophets ... That is, suffered the lying spirit to suggest a lie to them, and sent them strong delusions to believe that lie, whose minds were disposed at any rate to flatter Ahab, to whom they told it; which was the way designed to bring him to the ruin appointed for him."
The Lord put a lying spirit into the mouth of the prophets and notice the second half of the same sentence: "the Lord has declared disaster for you." Believing the false prophets seems to only enhance the conditions which allow the strong delusion to take hold and will in fact become a judgment upon them all. It is the way designed to bring ruin upon them. They want flattery (you are little gods with powerful words), they believe this lying delusion and so they will become ruined when the final lying lie uttered by the antichrist comes about.
The final lying delusion, THE lie will culminate in the Tribulation, as I stated at the beginning. It is not happening now. But the speed with which the false prophets are heaping up multitudes of flattering believers upon themselves is amazing, just like Ahab and his flattering prophets. It is occurring because though they received the truth, the love not the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:10b). And look here-
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, (2 Timothy 4:3).
If you are heartbroken as I am by seeing those pictures of the multitudes believing the lies the false prophets are enticing them with, then please continue to pray. It is a most effective weapon in the arsenal of God's army.
In my personal opinion, the false prophets are abounding with a lying spirit in their mouths because it is a judgment upon the world, and a significant condition that is readying for the antichrist's appearance. Your thoughts welcome.