Allegheny Valley Church Of God
"Many Shall Come In My Name..."
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." (Mat. 24:4-5)
So Jesus begins his discourse on the course of the age that we have named "The Olivet Discourse." Along with all the other signs of "the beginning of sorrows" (wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences etc.) there will be an exponential increase of those who come in the name of Jesus but are really deceivers.
The common understanding of this is people who claim to be the incarnation of Christ or his forerunner. There have been a number of them: Jim Jones, David Koresh, William Branham (claimed to be Elijah) and so forth. There is currently a guy in the Philippines who claims to be Christ incarnate, another in Florida. They have followers who support them (quite well). I don't know why it seems that these "christs" have very expensive tastes and adherents who are willing to foot the bill. Mansions, jets, helicopters, body guards; everything a self respecting christ should have. Then there is the Jesus look-alike from Siberia, an ex traffic cop who got anointed somehow. Then there are and were the gurus, like Bagwan Shree Rashneesh. He's dead now, so I guess he wasn't the second coming. While most believe that these are the ones Jesus referred to I just see them as clowns. It doesn't take a theology degree to dismiss these guys as side show acts. I don't think this is what Jesus was referring to. Even the modern day cults are easy enough to spot.
I believe the real danger lies in the "Christian" ministers who are billed as evangelists and teachers who openly say "Jesus is Lord" that very subtly preach damnable doctrines in the name of Jesus. These are the deceivers who "creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts," (2 Tim. 3:6) When confronted on the Larry King show a number of years ago smiling Joel Osteen claimed he didn't know if an atheist would be sent to hell. "I don't know their hearts," he said. You can watch it here. A so-called Christian pastor who doesn't know that an unbeliever is going to hell? One who has 40,000 on a Sunday morning and millions more by TV. The average American won't follow some guru but will listen to a culturally current motivational speaker who mentions Christ once in awhile.
Another is the poster boy for American apostasy Rick Warren. Here is a man who was invited to pray the invocation at the first inauguration for our current Marxist president and used the Muslim name for Jesus, Issa. It was probably a payback for allowing Barak Obama to come and campaign at Saddleback Church. His mantra is, "Let's all work together to get things done." He'll yoke up with Muslims, Mormons, Hindus and anyone else striving for world peace and safety. In the name of Jesus he is promoting a syncretistic mindset that will eventually lead to a one-world religion for the good of mankind. This is totally opposed to the teachings of Christ and the Christian church, yet his "Purpose Driven Life" was one of the greatest sellers in history.
Remember Jim Bakker? He was disgraced when it was revealed he was being unfaithful to his wife and ripped off a bunch of people in a pyramid type scam that he could not sustain. After serving a term in prison he wrote a book entitled "I Was Wrong." I remember thinking, "Thank God he's repented." But, alas, he's at it again. Now, among other schemes, he's selling survival kits for the coming tribulation. $3000 gets you 7 years worth of food for you and your significant other. Of course you'll have to by the solar generator and water treatment pitchers to be able to take the contaminated water and cook the stuff. And if you give so much you'll get a replica of the statue of Jesus that is being erected at his compound in Branson. Just what we all need, in the name of Jesus.
We could go through a long list of "word faith" teachers who promote the idea that Jesus' death on the cross was not enough to pay for our sins. They have him descending into hell to be tortured by the devil and his angels. I guess they ignore the Biblical truth that there are no devils in hell (hades), but why trifle over details. In the name of Jesus they deny the atoning death of Christ on the cross and make him a puppet of Satan. Not only that but they make one's financial and physical well being or lack thereof a test of a one's faith and relationship with God. They have millions of followers who not only listen to their drivel but pay to do so.
Then there is the apostolic crowd, the Todd Bentley's and Rick Joyner's and the like who promote esoteric doctrines and experiences and don't really spend too much time on doctrines that are essential to our faith. They shake and rattle and roll and look for gold dust and angel feathers and tell lies about so-called "miracles" that never happen. All in the name of Jesus.
Even Billy Graham, who is esteemed as the grandfather of modern evangelism, has recently, on Robert Schuller's "Hour of Power" denied the necessity of faith in Christ for the forgiveness of one's sins. You can see it here. All in the name of Jesus.
It's interesting to me that all of these "Christian" leaders seem to have one thing in common: they are extremely wealthy. While Dr. Graham has managed to keep his life pretty in check and low key, the others brag about their jets and live in mansions and compounds that would make a movie star blush. All paid for by their followers, many of whom live on the fringe of poverty. Somehow I can't see Jesus owning his own multi-million dollar jet, a fleet of Bentleys and Mercedes cars, and, of course, the body guards, or "armor bearers" that no self respecting bishop would be without.
It's no wonder the church in America is so messed up and distracted. The deceivers have come in the name of Jesus and are deceiving many, and we pay them very well to do it.
Wake up, Christian! Turn off the tube and open up your Word and get with some folks who believe what the Bible says. Test the spirits, don't take anything at face value but study to show yourself approved. Judgment is coming to the house of God, in fact is already here and getting more intense. Know what you believe and why you believe it and stand in faith waiting for the second coming of our Lord.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.