|"For the time will come when they will not
endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to
themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away
their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
It was difficult for us to bear what we were seeing and hearing with our own eyes and ears. Recently, Wanda and I tuned in to TV's Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). A prosperity preacher named Rod Parsley was entertaining a huge crowd of thousands that filled an immense auditorium. In his smartly tailored suit, sweating profusely, his tie loosened, flailing away with both arms and working the crowd like a carnival pro, Parsley had these well-dressed people jumping up and down, shouting and hurrahing with all their might. The throng were exuberant and celebrating. They sure liked what Parsley had to say. It tickled their ears—and aroused their greed.
The Devil Stole Your Stuff
What we saw that night on TV was the most sickening staged performance we had ever witnessed occurring inside a church.
"The devil," Parsley boldly announced, "has taken your stuff and now you're going to get it back. We're going to kick the devil."
Suddenly, from the front of the auditorium two actors dressed in costumes like devils burst down the aisle and headed toward Parsley. The theatrical preacher militantly kicked his leg and shoes at them as if he were Kung Fu martial arts fighter. Soon, the two would-be imps were groveling in retreat. The crowd stood and cheered.
Then, Parsley ordered the two, defeated "devils" to bring out the "stuff." They slinked out behind a curtain and a moment later came back in, dragging along a whole wagonload of gaily wrapped gift packages. The two "devils" offered all the gifts to Parsley.
"Jesus Came to Get Your Stuff Back!"
Pastor Rod Parsley ran to the wagon and began grabbing the packages and tossing them into the audience. The people almost went wild with ecstasy as the sweaty-browed Parsley shouted, "Jesus came and died on the cross to get back your stuff from the devil. Well, here it is!"
It was a fascinating, if disgusting, spectacle. Of course, Parsley's weekly crowd-pleasing antics are only one of the many circus-like sideshows the world can view on the boob tube, especially on Paul and Jan Crouch's TBN network. Sometimes, the hoopla on Christian TV rivals the performances and extravaganzas staged by the Hulk Hogans of professional wrestling, and such entertaining events as rodeos, tractor pulls and stock car racing.
I doubt, however, that Hulk Hogan, the wrestler, takes himself seriously. Certainly, one's eternal destiny does not hinge on the results of a tractor pull or a tilt between two comedic wrestlers. But the Rod Parsleys of this world claim to bring men and women spiritual knowledge and spiritual truth. This is serious business of eternal significance.
The question, then, is: Did Jesus our Lord really come to earth and suffer unthinkable agony, being nailed to the hideous cross, so that you and I could get back our "stuff"—the material things which prosperity preachers contend the devil stole from us? Did Jesus really give Himself over to the Jews and to Pilate to painfully die at Calvary merely so that you and I could fatten our bank accounts, move into a fancier home, drive the newest auto, or shop for the coolest gadgets at the mall? Is that really what Christianity is all about?
Some say that as long as the name of Jesus is given credit or preached by a minister or evangelist all is well. If so, then Pastor Rod Parsley cannot be faulted. He did tell the thousands of people there live and watching on TV that it was Jesus who died on the cross so they could get more "stuff." He did preach the name of Jesus.
But, was what the popular teacher preached about Jesus true? Is this what Jesus meant when He commanded us to go and preach the Gospel to all nations, to every creature? Are we to assure lost souls that Jesus died on the cross so they can possess a bunch of earthly "stuff?"
Jesus, Jesus Everywhere...But No Real Jesus
Jesus this and Jesus that. Jesus, Jesus everywhere. But no Truth. That's the New Spirituality that has quickly grasped the jugular of the masses. What's more, according to Pope John Paul II, Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, and others, this new spirituality allows for a Jesus that enters the hearts of Christians, Buddhists, Moslems, and Hindus alike. As I previously documented in Power of Prophecy, Billy Graham says that when people faithfully follow after the idols and gods of their own cultures, they already are saved and have "Jesus" within whether they know it or not.
Billy Graham's "Jesus" is incredibly broad-minded and flexible, isn't he?
|Billy Graham's "Jesus" is flexible and nonjudgmental. Graham says that devout Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Jews, and nature worshippers already have Jesus within, whether they even know His name.
Meanwhile, in New York City, a new Broadway play is under production, a play in which Jesus is depicted as a homosexual who lustily enjoys sex with John, Matthew, and other disciples. Yes, today's "Jesus" is, indeed, flexible and broad-minded.
Who would have ever thought that Jesus would be so widely admired, loved, and accepted? Why, no one is opposed to Jesus anymore! I suspect that even atheist Madelyn Murray O'Hair—wherever she may be in hiding—can manufacture a "Jesus" acceptable in doctrine and conduct to atheists everywhere.
The Pope Eyeing the World
In a recent edition of Time magazine (April 13, 1998), a rather odd picture of Pope John Paul II was published. The picture showed the Pontiff with his hands and fingers over his eyes. The caption read: "The Pope keeps his eyes on the world."
The picture and its captioned message were of great symbolic significance. The Catholic establishment and its Pope are, indeed, eyeing the whole world.
In the year 2000, the Pope intends to dramatically usher in his new image of Jesus. The new Jesus of Catholicism is an ecumenical being. According to the Pope's own public statements and his New Catechism, the new Jesus allows Hindus, Moslems, and Jews, African tribalists, voodoo practitioners, and others to continue worshipping their own gods and idols. As the Pontiff explains it, all who follow after the "light" they have received—whether it be Christian or heathen light—are saved.
Amazingly, the New Catechism grants all men and women who worship any god full and unreserved membership in the Catholic Church. Thus, the devout Jew, Moslem, or Hindu, achieving salvation through good works, is automatically a bonafide member of the Roman Catholic Church—whether he or she knows it or not.
The Age of Jesus
|A few years ago during a visit to Israel, Russia's former Communist dictator Mikhail Gorbachev said that Jesus was "one of the worlds most famous Socialists."
Ours is truly the Age of Jesus. Long-haired, Christian rock music stars prance half-naked on stage, black Gospel singers jive and shake with the beat of the music, and inside the walls of fine, giant cathedrals and churches, millions of people are now laughing, roaring, creaming, rolling, rocking, swaying, jumping, cheerleading, marching, and mosh dancing to the name of "Jesus."
This modern-day "Jesus" is popular! No doubt, about that. Country music entertainers, pro football athletes, and championship boxers alike cheerfully give him glory and credit him with their successes and victories. Evangelists like Oral Roberts and Kenneth Copeland declare that if it weren't for Jesus, they couldn't afford those private executive jets and big mansions. "Jesus is the reason we're rich," they say.
Yes, the whole world is smiling and happy over what Jesus is doing in their lives—blessing them with money, power, fame, and worldly possessions.
Not surprisingly, the new Jesus that has arisen is a sparkling creation. He's all loving, He never condemns, He's nonjudgmental, sends no one to hell, and wants everyone to be happy and rich, forever and ever. His followers even have the new "Bible" versions to describe His remarkable new features.
But Some are Sobbing
But, while most of the world loudly and openly trumpets the name of Jesus, hidden and secluded in their prayer closets and kneeling quietly beside their beds in the privacy of their homes are the broken-hearted, sobbing voices of true Christian believers. Blood-bought, born again Christian believers. King James Bible Christian believers.
They number only a few and are despised by the majority of people. Aching inside and ashamed at what they see happening to the name of Jesus, their Lord and Savior, these mournful Christian believers know that there is "another Jesus" (II Corinthians 11:4) and "another Gospel" (Galatians 1).
They also remember the warning in II Thessalonians 2 that the "strong delusion" is to overtake the whole world in the last days. Though they be few in number, with one voice this tiny cadre of dismayed, but trusting, Christians earnestly cry out and beg the real Jesus, God of all: "Lord Jesus, please, come quickly."
The Octopus Rises—in the Name of "Jesus"
I hereby prophesy that the name of "Jesus" will grow bigger and bigger in the coming months. You see, the octopus beast is now rising up from the sea (Revelation 13:1); only, he doesn't look like a beast. Surprisingly, the beast doesn't appear to be a monster at all.
Slouching toward Jerusalem, intent on his prize, the beast of Revelation has not come breathing fire. He has no scales, no horns. Instead, he is a rewarder who bears gifts for all and promises universal prosperity and good times. He loves all mankind and touches everyone's life equally with his angels.
In the eyes of the vast multitude, the beast is not a villain. Shockingly, to the world he looks like—looks just like "Jesus!" Not, however, the Jesus of the Bible, but a Jesus of their own imaginations, of their own inventions. Yes, the representative of the dragon whom the whole world—except for a few blood-bought Christians—is destined to worship as their God and master appears to be "Jesus." The same "Jesus" they're regularly hearing about in their apostate churches, the same "Jesus" whose name is today a popular household word. The very same "Jesus" who is beloved by all, admired even by the worst heathens.
They Believe in Fables
Sadly, the Bible prophesies that in the last days, the masses will gladly accept and worship this god of New Age forces, this strange, other "Jesus." Loving and embracing the Lie, they are destined to reject the real Jesus, the one who died on the cross for their sins, the merciful Savior who pleads with them to take up the cross and follow Him.
The real Jesus of the Bible said we gain true prosperity by storing up treasures in heaven. He invites whosoever will to drink of His eternal living waters and be saved. But few want this kind of Jesus. This real Jesus they scorn and reject, accepting instead another Jesus, one more suitable to their modern tastes and lifestyles. Cavalierly tossing out the Truth, the masses entertain and rejoice in fables. This brings the Apostle Paul's prophecy in II Timothy 4:3-4 to pass: "And they shall turn their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables."
Friends, the counterfeit is at hand. What a deceiver he is, for he speaks like a lamb and comes in the form of "Jesus" (Revelation 13:11). But this universally acclaimed deity is "another Jesus," a false type of Christ whom the whole world has already begun to warmly embrace. Thus, we are witnessing today the remarkable fulfillment of prophecy. Now, more than ever, let us be sure of our salvation, and let us prepare ourselves and our families for the dreadful, near future sure to come.
"And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
(II Thessalonians 2:8-12)