Text: Rev 22:16-21
Summary: The real battle is between the true Light and the counterfeit light. The best way to ensure that you and I won’t be deceived by an antichrist is to know the true Christ.
Father, we give you praise. We pray, Lord, that you would meet us. We pray that you would send your Holy Spirit. We want to exalt the name of Christ so that we would all be edified. Thank you, Lord. Speak to us today, we want to bring this worship time to you now. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Let’s read from Revelation 22:16
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Father, we just come into your presence. And we praise you for who you are, for what you’ve done and for your love that you’ve poured out on us by sending your Son. Lord Jesus, we thank you for your sacrifice. We thank you for laying down your life voluntarily. For bearing all the reproach of the hatred of this world and the religious system. Thank you, Lord, for doing it because you saw the joy set before you, you saw each one of us, our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. You sacrificed. You went through all of that suffering because of your love for every single person who is gathered today in your name. Thank you, Lord. We pray that you speak to us today as we speak about self deception and judgment. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen
We’re living in a very interesting time. And as I prayed through the last few weeks, two words just keep coming back. The first word is deception. And the second word is judgment. Deception and judgment. We all know that satan has deceived the whole world. And we also know that judgment begins with the household of God. And so these two words keep coming back to me. Judgment and deception.
If you look at the news, there are two camps of people. One camp says that we should all shelter at home for as long as it’s needed, and it would be safe if we waited until a vaccine is released. And so that would be sometime in the next year, maybe 18 months from now. And we have another group of people who say this is not that serious. What’s more serious is the economy crashing and me not being able to pay my bills. And I think we just have to say that it’s a confusing time.
Clearly there’s deception involved. I think those who are saying, yes, let’s shelter in place for as long as needed, we are not considering the plight of a single mom who’s raising kids and they are paid hourly. That family cannot go on another year or 18 months of lockdown. It’s just unthinkable and so that person will say, I will risk it. I need to pay for my mortgage. I need to put food on the table. And so we just need to see from another person’s point of view in these times especially when there’s so much confusion involved.
Clearly there’s deception and I just want to put some interesting details that I’ve heard from other people. Corona has six letters. If you add up all the initials, C being the third letter of the alphabet, what you get is 66. And so 66 and six letters, is 666. Is that just a coincidence? Or is there something more to it. And then they changed the name from coronavirus to COVID, which if you look at the initials, it is Certificate of Vaccination ID. Is that just a coincidence that they conveniently changed the name to COVID-19?
There is clearly deception and there are people on both sides and we don’t know what the truth is anymore. Is this a bio weapon? Is this a natural virus that just occurred and popped onto the scene? Is it from the Wuhan bio lab? Is it from a wet market? Everybody is telling different stories and somebody is lying. And somebody has only partial truth and all of us, we are still groping in the darkness. So there’s deception involved.
The other word that comes to mind is judgment and judgment begins with the household of God. We know that there is a final judgment that is coming upon the whole world. And this final judgment is primarily directed at the non believers and God’s enemies. And God is so gracious, that even in the midst of the final judgment, the Day of the Lord, when Jesus has arrived, even in that final moment, people will turn from their sin. It’s like the thief on the cross, they will call upon the name of the Lord as they see such terror raining down on earth. And God in His mercy, He will save even non believers in the last moment.
But the fact that judgment begins with the household of God, in times like this when the judgment is clearly global, it is a worldwide judgment, in a time like this, we have to know that God is communicating mainly to His Church. The Day of the Lord, the final judgment, God is interested in only one thing. Salvation. He doesn’t want anyone, even the most vile atheist who has committed crimes for their whole lifetime and has done such horrific things, God even wants that person to repent, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, and be saved.
So why does judgment begin with the household of God? God doesn’t want anyone in His Church to miss heaven. He wants everyone in His Church to be saved. So in times like this, we have to look in the mirror especially as believers and say, what is God communicating to us? Because there are many people who are just going to church, and just going through the motions and they assume they know Jesus.
But in the end they will be surprised when Jesus says, I don’t know you. This is a time when we should be looking in the mirror, the Church of God should be looking in the mirror and saying, do I know the true Jesus? Or am I following a false Jesus of my own imagination, a religious Jesus that has been presented to me, and it is not the true Jesus?
And actually the two words are very connected, deception and judgment. Because even many believers will be deceived by the antichrist. Lowercase a antichrist and then the capital A Antichrist. Many believers will be deceived by a false Christ. And so I propose that we should not do it like the 1980’s Pistons, who are all about defense with Rodman, Laimbeer and Joe Dumars. It’s not about defense because we can know all of satan’s schemes and say, okay, I see you coming that way, I’m gonna block you. I see you coming this way, I’m gonna block you. That’s not the way to go to heaven.
We have to go the Golden State Warriors method, we have to win with offense. You have to know Jesus, the true Jesus. And that is your defense. Because if you know the true Jesus, you will never be deceived by a false Jesus. Because antichrist, of course it means opposed to Christ. But satan is a lot more clever than that. Another nuance of the definition of antichrist, opposed to Christ is one definition, but the more fitting description, is to be in place of Christ. Somebody who looks like Jesus on the surface, and yet is not Jesus. That is the mission of the antichrist. He wants you to follow a counterfeit Jesus.
There are many titles for Jesus in the book of Revelation. You have Alpha and Omega. You have the beginning and the end. You have the first and the last. You have the root of David. You have King of Kings, Lord of lords. You have Word of God. You have Lion of Judah. You have Lamb of God. But the one that really stood out to me in light of deception and judgment is in Revelation 22:16. The last one there in the verse. The bright morning star.
It is a battle of light and darkness, but actually it’s really a battle of the true light versus the counterfeit light. A real light and the false light. And when you look at both, they are both bright. They are both shining. They’re both attractive. You wonder, why do people become satan worshippers. That was not their entry point into satanism, it was something very attractive. It was gaining knowledge and wisdom. It was something that was very appealing and they were learning so much about reality and about life.
Satan doesn’t doesn’t show his cards. And so you enter through a shining light that is very attractive. And once you know Jesus He wants to set the record straight. He is the bright morning star.
Morning star is another name for the angels. They are called morning stars, and Lucifer, out of all of the angels, he was the brightest among all of the angels. That’s why he’s called Lucifer. He is the shining one. That was his nickname. That was his name given by God. You could say that he is a bright morning star. He is shining. He is brilliant. 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that satan masquerades as an angel of light.
Because we wonder, going back to the Genesis story, how was Eve deceived by a serpent? Adam and Eve, if you think about how much wisdom they had. We look at them and say, oh they must be so primitive, they can’t even sew their own clothing. They don’t even know about electricity. We just assume all these things that they are just like primitive beings. That’s how we view them, but think if you had an audience with God for 24 hours a day, and you could ask Him all the questions that you ever had. And Adam and Eve had this kind of relationship. God walked amongst them. They are far wiser than you and me. Adam and Eve had a level of understanding of reality in this world that we only are just barely scratching the surface.
We have to just humbly admit that. And how did Adam and Eve get deceived, being so enlightened because they’re in God’s presence and they could ask Him whatever they wanted? Oh, can you tell us God about the stars? And think of the incredible lecture that God could give to Adam and Eve about the stars, or about the sun, or about the moon, or about human nature. Think of just incredible wisdom and enlightenment Adam and Eve could receive from the Lord because they’re in His presence.
And how, in the midst of their incredible insight and wisdom, how are they deceived by a serpent? It’s interesting, if you take off the blinders and you just read the Bible with fresh eyes. It is amazing what the Lord will show you.
Because we were always taught from a young age, if you’ve been at church, we’ve been taught that Eve was deceived by a serpent and satan came in the form of a serpent. If that’s true, when God curses the serpent, why did he start descending and then he’s on the ground, and his belly is on the ground? That means he wasn’t like that in the beginning. So he’s a different kind of a being all together.
When Eve first meets satan, we just have to read the Bible with fresh eyes. If satan is so brilliant, would he choose a serpent that’s slithering on the ground as his disguise? If he’s called an angel of light and he can disguise himself, do you think among all the disguises, he would choose a slithering being? Which doesn’t even make sense because God when He curses him, then he slithers, so he didn’t slither in the beginning. So we don’t know exactly what form.
When satan comes to Eve in Genesis 3:1, the original Hebrew word is ‘nachash.’ This means serpent in its noun form, that’s the translation. But the verb form of ‘nachash’ is to divine. A diviner is somebody who practices divination. It’s somebody if you met this person they would tell you so much about the future. They will give you so much insight. You’d be so captivated by this figure who is telling you all the things you ever wanted to know. Because satan was there in the beginning. He knows how things are. He’s a created being but he was there far before you and I came into existence.
So satan is brilliant. He is a deceiver, he is discerner. He is a diviner, and he is somebody who if you’re in his presence, you’re not seeing the red suit and the pitchfork. You’re seeing somebody so captivating. And I just want to caution you. I know we can become experts at satan. We can become experts at Illuminati, and Freemasonry, and all the false religions, and all of satan’s schemes.
And I know how it happens because it’s so interesting. There’s so much truth in what you’re seeing, because that’s how satan gets you. He dangles a carrot, you go a little step further. And in the beginning, it seems harmless. And at the end he reveals his cards. Satan as a diviner. I think clearly he’s not a serpent when he comes to see Eve. Whatever he is, he is really paying attention. Eve is really captivated. Eve is slowly being deceived. And we don’t know how long this conversation is. The Bible just records a very short conversation but we don’t know how much satan was throwing truth mixed with lies in that conversation.
And we just have to see if Eve, a woman who was in the presence of God, a woman who could ask God about the heavens and the earth, about the moon and the stars and the sun, and all the heavenly bodies and the angels and the living creatures and the elders that are in the throne room of God, if Eve, who had that kind of audience with God could be deceived, how much more you and I? We should just humbly say we are not smart enough to know the truth, and to tell the truth from a lie. We’re not smart enough.
We should just take it as a given that we are being deceived. That if satan is deceiving the whole world, just one one tip I want to give, if satan has deceived the whole world, then whatever the whole world believes is probably a lie. Not one hundred percent. But I think if you just hold this as a litmus test, you will see that it’s true. Whatever the whole world believes is probably a lie. Because Satan has deceived the whole world. So if the whole world believed in evolution, and even many people in the church believe in evolution, probably it’s a lie. And probably it’s deception. Because we know that God created us just speaking through His mouth.
I just want to read Job 38:4. This is after all of the testing of Job. Finally, Job has an audience with God. And here’s what God says.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, 7 when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Again, the morning star and the angels sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. And I wonder how many of us in the midst of God putting Job in his place, if we were in Job’s shoes, how many of us would lift up our hand and say, Lord, actually, you’re wrong. There’s no foundation that we’ve been laid on. We’re on a spinning globe. And we would repeat what the scientists have said.
I think God is so clear in His word, that the point of Job 38 is Job just puts his hand on his mouth. We think we’re so wise, that if we had an audience with God and God is teaching us, we would raise up our hand and say, God, actually I know more than you. I know better than you. I’ve been trained, I have so much internet access and I’ve studied my whole life, I’m smart. And we would put God in His place, because that is how knowledge puffs up. We should just humbly admit that we are not wise, that we are so susceptible to be deceived. Just humbly admit that no matter what we’ve learned, it may be a lie, much of what we’ve learned.
And even intelligent people talking about COVID-19, who is telling the truth? Can you tell? We cannot tell. And who is the most susceptible to deception? I think it’s everybody on this call. We are so highly educated. We are so wise in our own eyes. We are the most susceptible to deception. On top of that, many of us are well churched. So who is the most susceptible to deception? It’s us. We should just humbly admit that we are the most susceptible people on this earth to be deceived.
Deception and judgment. Judgment begins with the household of God. What is God’s judgment against His church? Are you following the true Jesus? Do you know for a fact that you’re following the true Jesus? That’s the only question that matters. You may be deceived by many things, but this one thing you can’t get wrong. Are you following the truth Jesus.
If you are so confident in your knowledge, likely you’re the kind of person who will never question, am I following the true Jesus or not? If you’re humble and you say I’ve been deceived about so many things. Maybe this most critical thing I’ve been deceived. This most critical thing, maybe I’ve been deceived.
If we’re humble, we would say, I am so susceptible to be deceived. And you will ask the honest question, am I following the true Jesus? Because when judgment happens on the whole world as it is today and it’s not the final judgment, and so God’s judgment, in this case, is on His church worldwide. At a time like this, we should be asking, am I following the true Jesus?
One way to tell if you’re following the true Jesus is Revelation 22:17.
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
One way to know to test yourself whether you’re following the true Jesus or not, is you are thirsty for Him. You desire Him. The Spirit of God is saying, come Lord Jesus, come upon this earth. The true Bride of Christ that has prepared herself is saying, come.
And as believers following the truth, the true Jesus, we are thirsty for Him. We desire Him. That is what it means to be a believer who is following the true Jesus. The counterfeit Jesus, you’re not all that excited about His return. You’re actually very comfortable in this world. If you had a choice, you would want to live to be 100 years old, because you want to maximize this life.
I don’t know about you, but I am ready to go at any time. As God is my witness, I ask on a regular basis, Lord, can you take me? I don’t want to be here, even a day longer than I need to be. I just want to fulfill my assignment, and then take me. There’s nothing in this world for me. I know it’s all deception. I know it’s all deception.
And we want to get there, that you’re thirsty for His return. You desire His return. That’s how you know you’re following the true Jesus. You have nothing else on your bucket list. Only Jesus. That’s how you know it’s a true thing. The counterfeit because it’s fake, there’s no draw to it. You’re not drawn to an idol because it’s counterfeit. You’re not drawn to any inanimate object, you’re not drawn to anything that’s not real but the true Jesus.
The Spirit in you is saying, come. If you are the true bride, welling up from within you is a desire, come Lord Jesus. And because you’re thirsty, you’re not satisfied in this world. Of course you have Jesus. Of course you see through a dimly lit mirror. You see just parts of Him and you see parts of the kingdom. But you’re thirsty for the fullness of it. And so for the believer, we are thirsty for Jesus.
And so the battle that we’re in is not primarily light and darkness. In the end, yes it is light and darkness. But it is the true light and the counterfeit light. And satan is a brilliant shining angel who fell. And there’s much about him that is brilliant and captivating, and it draws people, that’s how he deceives. In the end he will come upon the scene and he will send his Antichrist, and he will be such a brilliant person. Whoever this person is will be so brilliant, so captivating, so cool that the whole world will flock to this person and say, can you save me from this world? And you will not realize that it’s counterfeit. That is, that he’s holding his cards back and his true cards will be shown at the end. He doesn’t have a full house, he’s got nothing.
So at a time like this, there is widespread deception. Also, there is judgment upon His church and ask the Lord this week, am I following the true Jesus. One way to tell is, do you desire Him? Do you desire His return? Is there a growing desire that you can’t wait to leave and be with Him fully? That is a mark of a believer. The Spirit in you is crying out for Him to come. The bride says, come. The thirsty are coming to Him. Are you thirsty for Jesus, do you desire Him? Let’s pray.
Father, you created this world to be full of light. And in the Garden of Eden, you were the source of light. And there was no darkness. There was no deception, there was no shadiness, there was total integrity and righteousness. And Adam and Eve had an audience with you. They could ask you whatever questions about the universe. And still, because satan masquerades as an angel of light and because he’s such a brilliant person, satan came to Eve and deceived her, and only in the end, he showed his cards. He’s a phony and a liar.
Father, we pray that we will not be deceived along with this world. We pray that you would reveal the true light of Jesus Christ. And our best defense against deception and falling away, is a strong offense. Jesus Christ, you are that offense, and we come to you. You are the true light. And if we know the true light, we will never be deceived by a counterfeit light. If we know the true Jesus, we will never be deceived by the Antichrist.
The whole world is deceived. Many people in the church are deceived. They’ve been given a false Jesus. And those of us who are so wise in our own eyes, who’ve been taking and eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we don’t even humbly ask you, day by day to lead us not into temptation and to lead us away from the evil one. We don’t even humbly ask you to protect us from deception because in our own self, we think we’re so wise and we can tell what is true from what is false. Forgive us of our pride. We are so proud, Lord. We are so trusting in our own wisdom. Forgive us, Lord.
There is no wisdom to be found in ourselves, there is no wisdom to be found anywhere on the face of this earth, wisdom comes from you. It is a heavenly gift. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Lord, help us to turn to you. Help us to admit we are not wise, we’re so susceptible to be deceived, a liar could be lying to our face, we wouldn’t even know it. We can be following the false Jesus, we don’t even wonder and ask. Lord, in this time, you’ve given the church just a precious time to repent of our pride. To admit how susceptible we are to deception, and to ask for the true Jesus to come and save us.
And this true Jesus, we want to hold on to you. That is why you’re judging the church, you don’t want anyone in the church to miss heaven. That is why you’re judging the church and giving advance warning to the church before the final judgement. Lord, you don’t want anybody to lose heaven. And so we want to follow and hold on to the true Jesus who will take us all the way to heaven. Lord, I come in the power and authority of Jesus, I bind and rebuke every false christ, every devil that is deceiving your church. I bind and rebuke you and I cast you into the abyss.
I pray that the Bright Morning Star, Jesus, that you would rise in our hearts. As we eagerly desire the coming day of the Lord. We thirst for that day. We long for that day, we desire that day. There’s nothing else, Lord, except fulfilling the will of God, accomplishing whatever purposes and assignments you have for us. As soon as we’re done, Lord, take us home. We don’t want to stay a day longer, because that is a day that we might be deceived. Lord, we want to stay close to you and be taken home. Lord, come quickly. Lord, come quickly. Lord, we’re living in days of deception and lawlessness, come quickly. Lord, we desire you. We are thirsty for you. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen