That the world in the last days will irrevocably turn its back upon truth and righteousness and opt for a false peace, and thus reap God's judgement and its destruction, is one of the clearest teachings in the Bible. Yet at the same time it is one of the most puzzling revelations of the stubborn perverseness of the human heart. Men and woman everywhere long for peace, but the path that must be followed to reach it is repugnant to human pride. Mankind is like a terminally ill patient who desires the cure the doctor offers, yet finds the prescribed medicine ("repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" - ACTS 20:21) too distasteful to swallow - and take a sugar-coated but deadly pill instead.
Even with all the evidence we have given, it may still seem unbelievable that Antichrist could so thoroughly deceive mankind. Once again it will help to turn to a man whose rise to power continues to intrigue and mystify historians. Adolf Hitler emerged suddenly out of obscurity and rose to a power unequaled in modern times. He deceived not only Germany but nearly the entire world for a surprising lenght of time. There is no rational explanation.
Film footage of the public appearances of Hitler with their pageantry - solemn marchers carrying huge banners displaying the swastika, and fanatically repeated "Sieg Heils" from hundreds of thousands of throats - reveal an unmistakable but mysterious religious element. Demonic? Without doubt. Hitler evoked a spontaneous mass hysteria that bordered on worship. William Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, who went to Germany in 1934 to report on what was taking place, wrote in his diary at the time:
today, as far as the vast majority of his fellow-countrymen are concerned, he (Hitler) has reached a pinnacle never before achieved by a German ruler.
He has become - even before his death - a myth, a legend, almost a god ... (1)
There was a twisted genius in Hitler that accomplished some great things. Between 1933 and 1937, while the rest of the world was still wallowing deep in the Depression, Germany's unemployment dropped from 6 million to less than one million. National output doubled. The Volkswagen went into production and the world's first highway system, Germany's famous autobahn, was begun. So much good camouflaged the evil. Simone Veil, who spent time in Auschwitz, where most of her family died, confessed: "We had great difficulty believing that people were actually being killed. Nobody imagined that there could be a plan for extermination." (2)
After a honeymoon of peace, love and brotherhood, the terror of Antichrist's rule will make Hitler's rule seem benevolent. Those who refuse to worship him and submit to the new world order will be summarily executed - and the whole earth will know and approve. After all, mankind will have just experienced the incredible disappearence of millions of people. Fear of being snatched from earth will keep everyone in line - for awhile.
The most fascinating aspect of Hitler's deception was the heavy "Christian" element that was involved - an element that will be absolutely essential under Antichrist. Most of the church in Germany went happily along with the new order. Hitler promised "liberty for all religious denominations," much like the promises now being made in Eastern Europe. In his March 23, 1933, speech, when he took over as dictator, Hitler praised the Christian faith and promised to respect liberty of conscience. A few excerpts from his wartime speeches reveal an incredible pretense of being on God's side:
1940: "We pray our Lord that He would continue to bless us in our battle for freedom..."
1941: "We believe we shall earn the blessing of the Supreme Leader...the Lord God has given His approval to our battle. He will be with us in ...the future."
1942: "And we will pray the Lord God for that, the salvation of the nation ..."
1943: "We will continue to give our whole strenght to our nation this year. Only then can we ... pray to our Lord God, that He will help us as He always has ..." (3)
Thousands of German pastors joined the newly organized "German Christians' Faith Movement," which supported the Nazi doctrines and promoted a "Reich Church" that would unite all Protestants under the state. A minority of pastors, led by Martin Niemoeller (who had originally welcomed Hitler to power), realized at last that Hitler's "Positive Christianity" was in fact anti-Christian, and so opposed the Nazification of the church.
The "Reich Church," formed under leaders picked by Hitler, was formally recognized by the Reichstag on July 14, 1933. On November 13 a massive rally was held in the Berlin Sportpalast by the "German Christians' Faith Movement." Leaders of the rally proposed abandonment of the Old Testament and revision of the New Testament to fit National Socialism. Resolutions called for "One People, One Reich, One Faith," an oath of allegiance to Hitler to be signed by all pastors, and the exclusion of Jewish Christians by all churches. The Gestapo's reign of terror against followers of Christ began with the arrest of 700 pastors in the fall of 1935.
Always the justification under Hitler as under Constantine, was ecumenical "unity." We are hearing the same appealing slogan today - nor can the tide of ecumenism be stemmed. Those who oppose it are accused of being narrow-minded bigots. Truth, which we are not to sell at any price (Proverbs 23:23), is already being bartered for a humanistic and mythical peace and unity.
All the time that he was deliberately moving to destroy Christianity and replace it with his neopagan occultism, Hitler continued to pretend that he was the champion of real Christianity. The following excerpt from a speech by Hans Kerrl, Nazi Minister of Church Affairs, reveals how blatant the lie can become while still being eagerly embraced by "Christians":
The Party stands (for) ... Positive Christianity, and Positive Christianity is National Socialism ...
National Socialism is the doing of God's will ... God's will reveals itself in German blood ... That Christianity consists in faith in Christ as Son of God makes me laugh ...
True Christianity is represented by the Party, and the German people are now called by the Party and especially by the Fuehrer to a real Christianity ...
The Fuehrer is the herald of a New Revelation. (4)
We are reminded by the homage afforded to cult leaders that the world remains vulnerable to delusion. The Dalai Lama. for example, is highly honored worlwide by political and religious leaders and greatly admired by the masses. Yet his public claims are similar to those which will be made by the Antichrist; That he is the 14 reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama and that he is literally "God." He proposes to bring global peace through a heavily demonic Yoga visualization technique into which he is initiating tens of thousands of persons around the world. For this he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989! This forerunner of the Antichrist continues to be feted by the Roman Catholic Church, which previously gave Hitler its blessing.
With all genuine Christians removed from earth and the Holy Spirit no longer convicting consciences, mass deception will be a thousand times easier for the Antichrist than for Hitler. Almost any "positive" belief will be acceptable that supports the delusion of infinite human potential, builds up self-esteem and self-worth, and concerns itself with social justice through humanistic efforts. It is already a crime punishable under the Genocide Treaty, which was recently signed by the United States, to suggest that any religion is wrong. To be ecumenical and "positive" is required by international law. It is but a small step to Antichrist's harsh rule.
Today's "Positive Christianity" - which, like Hitler's dresses occultism in Christian language - has virtually taken over in America and is now being expored into Eastern Europe. Those who promote Positive Thinking, Possibility Thinking, and Positive Confession are among the most influential radio/television preachers and church leaders in America. Any correction is rejected as "negative ." As for "new revelations," the Charismatic movement is spawning "prophets" whose pronouncements are being blindly followed by growing numbers of Christians even though the "prophecies" often contradict the Bible. Like the world, the church too is being set up for a great delusion.
Even for many evangelicals, "faith" no longer requires God as its object, but is touted as a "positive" power of the mind that creates what we firmly and sincerely believe. Thus what we "pray " for will come to pass, not if God wills it, but if we can only believe it will happen. "Your unconscious mind ... (has a) power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough," (5) promises a "Christian" leader whose writings are read each month by 16 milion persons. His protégé, one of the most popular promoters of this occultic delusion that "faith" is a force wielded by our minds, explains this seductive gospel enthusiastically:
What is the magic ingredient that can insure success and eliminate failure from our lives? It is FAITH! Possibility Thinking is just another word for faith. (6)
You don't know the power you have within you!... You make the world into anything you choose. Yes, you can make your world into whatever you want it to be. (7)
Enticed by such false teaching, Christians begin to view prayer as a religious technique for getting their own way. They set their sights upon what they want, then try to have "faith" to make it happen. Seminars in How To Write Your Own Ticket With God (8) by thinking certain thoughts, speaking certain words, or visualizing goals are eagerly attended by thousands.
Today's false gospel is spawning "Christians" who have been attracted to a "Christ" who has the attributes of Antichrist. This widely-presented false "Christ" no longer calls sinners to repentance before a holy God but excuses ungodly behaviour as a psychological problem resulting from traumas suffered in childwood. Instead of requiring his disciples to "deny self and take up the cross," he teaches them to love and accept themselves and to recognize their inherent "self-worth." Nor does this "Christ" promises the "meek" that they will inherit the earth, but offers "self-assertion" training. Instead of blessing those that "mourn," he warns against "low self-esteem" and promotes a new "positive self-image." And rather than promising heaven to the "poor in spirit," this false "Christ" offers to the financially poor the enticing gospel of a hundredfold return for gifts to certain ministries.
Furthermore, the dynamic, motivating hope of Christ's imminent return is being denied by many who claim to belong to the Lord. That Christ will come back to earth visibly and in person is a view that is increasingly rejected in favour of some kind of "spiritual" second coming. Popular author M. Scott Peck, though a New Ager, professes to be a Christian and is so accepted even by evangelicals. He speaks for a growing sector of the church:
When I think of the enormity of the changes required (for global peace) ... it sometimes seems that a virtual Second Coming is required. I am not talking about a bodily second coming. In fact, I am profoundly pessimistic about a church that would sit around passively waiting for its messiah to appear in the flesh.
Rather, I am talking about the resurrection of Christ's spirit, which would occur in the church if Christians took him seriously. (9)
Here we have one of the most persuasive New Age lies that was ever inspired by Satan. Many Charismatic leaders are now promoting the idea that the second coming is not the return of our Lord personally in His resurrected individual body to earth, but the attainment by His spiritual body, the church, to a higher spiritual state evidenced by great signs and wonders. A leading New Ager presents this lie persuasively:
So as we accept Christ in our hearts ... not just a simple emotional emotional conversion that the electronic evangelists calls for, but a radical transformation of consciousness ... we experience the coming of Christ, now ...
There is no Second Coming of Christ, that is a false concept ... There is only, as the Bible puts it, the coming of Christ, through you and me, as we ascend in consciousness ...
The final appearence of the Christ will not be a man in the air whom all must kneel ... (but) an evolutionary event ... A new race, a new species will inhabit the Earth - people who collectively have the stature in consciousness that Jesus had. And in that process the kingdom of God will truly be established on Earth under the rule of the Christ in the hearts and minds and souls of all people. (10)
How diabolically clever! The author does not argue as an anti-Christian but as a true Christian. He does not reject the Bible but claims to correct a false interpretation of the Bible. His thesis is very persuasive. To rise to the full stature of one's innate perfection seems far more ennobling than to repent of one's rebellion before a holy God. And this thesis fits perfectly with the Antichrist's probable claim that he is the reincarnation of the Christ's spirit that was in Jesus - a "higher state of consciousness" into which he promises to lead the world.
The Roman Catholic Church, by its dogmas, also denies the rapture. The best that most Catholics hope for after death is to awaken in purgatory, a place where they must suffer for their sins for an indeterminate lenght of time, depending upon how many indulgences they have earned and how many rosaries and Masses and alms and good deeds others perform for them after their death. Thus the teaching that "the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17) must be ignored or reinterpreted. After all, some good Catholics may have to spend several thousands years in purgatory, others only a few days or weeks. The Church has no clear guidelines to say how long anyone will be in there. Therefore all Christians could not be resurrected at once and, together with the living believers, taken to heaven simultaneously, as the Bible teaches.
Moreover, the Pope has apparently received a most interesting "revelation" from Our Lady of Fatima: that a great disaster is coming which will transform human thinking and catapult him into a position where he will play a key role in bringing order out of chaos. It sounds very much like the mass disappearence of millions in the rapture. Malachi Martin, "former Jesuit and professor at the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical Institute," writes:
John Paul is waiting. God must first intervene, before John Paul's major ministry to all men can start ...
He is waiting ... for an event that will fission human history, splitting the immediate past from the oncoming future ...
John Paul's waiting and watching time will then be over. His ministry as the Servant of the Grand Design will then begin ... when the fissioning event occurs ... (11)
As we have seen, the rapture of the church will be a "fissioning event" indeed! Unity and peace will not come as "Our Lady of Fatima" has revealed, but that will not matter. The disappearence of multiplied millions will create the opportunity which both the Antichrist and the Pope await. Neither will realize that Christ has taken His bride home to heaven, but they will know that their time has come.
The great delusion will be furthered by the spurious "Holy Spirit" which is so evidently operating within the Charismatic movement - a movement that includes an estimated 10 million American Roman Catholics. One of the first "prophecies" that was spoken at the inception of the Catholic Charismatic movement, which began in the mid-1960's promoted the delusion that "what Mary promised at Fatima is really going to take place." (12) The "gift of tongues" was received spontaneously by many Catholics as they were engaged in unbiblical prayers to Mary; "With Tom N. it was as he was finishing his rosary ... with sister M., it came as she knelt in silent prayer to the Blessed Vergin," (13) The general effect upon Catholics of the "baptism in the Spirit" has been to increase their heretical devotion to Mary and to make the many other abominable dogmas of Romanism all the more acceptable and meaningful. (14) The "spirit" that endorses such delusion will also endorse Antichrist.
That spirit operating through Catholic leaders is already deceiving Protestants. This was demonstrated again at "Indianapolis 1990," an ecumenical Charismatic conference on "the Holy Spirit and World Evangelization" where Roman Catholics had the largest representation among the 23,000 in attendance. Charisma magazine reported enthusiastically that the "Roman Catholic (evangelism training) session ... was centered on leading people to salvation in Christ, not on persuading them to join the Catholic Church as was feared by some people." (15) That session was, however, a dishonest misrepresentation. One wonders why those who claim miraculous gifts of the Spirit so often lack the discernment to know that they are being deceived.
Tom Forrest, a priest who directs Rome's "New Evangelization 2000" from the Vatican, used all the right evangelical terms when speaking before the joint Protestant-Catholic audience. He drew applause from Protestants when he called for "Christian unity" in "World Evangelization." But when he spoke to a Catholic-only workshop he let it be known, to repeated loud applause from fellow Catholics, what he really believed:
Our job is to make people as richly and as fully Christian as we can make them by bringing them into the Catholic Church ... our visible sacraments of salvation. I like saying those words ... "Our visible sacrament of salvation." That's what the Church is, and ... we have to be evangelizing into the church ...
No, you don't just invite someone to become a Christian, you invite them to become Catholics. Why would this be so important? ... there are seven sacraments, and the Catholic Church has all seven ... we have the body of Christ, we drink the blood of Christ. Jesus is alive on our altars, as offering ... We become one with Christ in the Eucharist ...
As Catholics we have Mary ... Queen of Paradise ...
As Catholics - now I love this one - we have purgatory. Thank God! I'm one of those people that would never get to the Beatific Vision without it. It's the only way to go.
... our job is to use this remaining decade evangelizing everyone we can into the Catholic Church ... and into the third millennium of Catholic history. (16)
....Contact with demonic spirits is accellerating, making both the world and the church of our day far more vulnerable to satanic deception than was the case in Hitlers's time. Involvement in the occult, Yoga, and other practices from Eastern mysticism and New Age philosophies is even greater today than in Hitler's Germany of the 1930's. The United Nations has a Meditation Room containig Babylonian occult symbolism, where followers of all religions, who visit by the hundreds of thousands each year, may awaken the "god within." The Pentagon has its own Meditation Club, which seeks to prevent war by creating a "psychic peace shield" around the earth with positive thoughts. The Soviets have a similar program. Dabbling in the occult in order to "develop human potential" has gained a large following among political leaders.
... Through his pursuit of the occult and New Age medicine, Prince Charles, the next King of England and thus the next head of the Church of England, has concluded that all religions are basically the same. He considered himself to be psychic and believes in guidance from the spirit realm. The Queen (also involved in spiritism) and the Prince both believe that he, Charles, "is the Chosen One - placed in line for the throne through a divine, preordained plan." (21)
Prince Charles is representative of many other prominent world figures who are also involved in the occult and anticipate the coming of a humanistic one-world religion. Scientists, too, are supporting the belief in psychic forces. Foundations of Physics recently published an article by Princeton University researcher Roger D. Nelson to the effect that scientific experiments demonstrate that the human mind can influence computers at a distance. (22)The increasing openness to paranormal events and alleged psychic forces is an important preparation for the coming Antichrist, who will manifest such powers to a degree never before known.
... What these seducing spirits would teach in the last days, Paul warned, would be "doctrine of devils." Both the world and the church are being deceived for the epitomy of diabolical delusion, which is yet to come. It is not difficult to see the day when untold millions of such spirit guides will identify the Antichrist as the Christ and wil be believed. What a setup!
(1) - Wiliam Shirer, Berlin Diary, as quoted by Gerard Suster in Hitler: The Occult Messiah (New York: St. Martin, 1981), pp. 140-141
(2) - Time, August 28, 1989, p. 43
(3) - Taken from a German condensation of Hitler's key speeches that has not been translated into English as yet
(4) - Dave Hunt, A Study Guide for The Cult Explosion (eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1981), p. 121
(5) - Norman Vincent Peale, Positive Imaging (fawcett Crest, 1982), p. 77
(6) - Robert Schuller, "Faith, The Force That Sets You Free!" Possibilities, September/October 1988, p. 22
(7) - Robert Schuler, "Possibility Thinking: Goals," Amway Corporation tape.
(8) - The title of a booklet authored by Kenneth Hagin
(9) - M. Scott Peck, New Age Journal May/June 1987, p.51
(10) - John White, "The New Age and the Second Coming of Christ," Body, Mind and Spirit, November/December, 1988, pp. 48-53
(11) - Martin, The Keys of This Blood, pp. 639-56
(12) - Edward D. O'Connor, C.S.S., The Pentecostal Movement in the Catholic Church (Ave Maria Press, 1971), p. 58
(13) - Ibid., p. 128
(14) - Ibid., pp. 166-67, etc.
(15) - "Ready to Evangelize the World: 23,000 charismatics gather for Indianapolis '90" Charisma and Christian Life, October 1990, p. 25
(16) - "Roman Catholic Double-Talk at Indianapolis '90," Foundation, pp. 14-16, excerpts from talk by Fr. Tom Forrest to the Roman Catholic Saturday mornig training session
(21) - John Dale, The Prince and the Paranormal: The Psychic Bloodline of the Royal Family (W.H. Allen & Co. Plc., 1986), pp. 14-18; US, January 14, 1985, pp. 18-19, etc.
(22) - "ESP exists, scientists reports," The Orange County Register, April 1, 1990, p. A10