Take Heed No One Deceives You

Take Heed No One Deceives You
Matthew 24:3, 4: “Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them: ‘Take heed that no one deceives you.’”
In response to His disciples question regarding ‘the sign of the times’ Jesus answers with this warning: “Take heed that no one deceives you”. The word ‘deceive’ in the Greek is ‘planao’ which literally means ‘to cause to roam from safety, truth or virtue, or go astray’.
What Jesus emphasises before He begins His explanation, is that deception will mark the end times and will increase in the earth to the extent that even God’s elect will be led astray. As this age draws to a close, satan and the hordes of hell are unleashing an unprecedented tidal wave of deception in the earth in a final push to capture the hearts and minds of men and women. As I conduct research on global issues at the Family Policy Institute, I am amazed at the rising level of deception around the world that has penetrated even the Church of Christ. The recent US presidential elections were regarded by many Biblical Christian leaders in America as the most deceptive in their history. The liberal media-machine in the US virtually ran the election and violated every ethical journalistic standard to actively campaign for Barack Hussein Obama.
For those of you not familiar with the journalistic code of conduct, the media’s task is to objectively report the news – fairly and honestly without taking sides. During the past US election the liberal media didn’t even attempt to hide their bias, blatantly manipulating information to control their preferred outcome. The liberal media did such a good job promoting their candidate, they succeeded in deceiving millions of American Christians into supporting a man they didn’t really know. I personally saw reports of Christians claiming that Obama was their ‘Jesus’ in other words ‘their saviour’ and witnessed a CNN report of art works of Obama portrayed as a Christ-like figure
The media’s success in portraying Obama as a messianic figure with Christ-like qualities, inspired comedy routines in the US suggesting he was born in a manger and which included a skit of Obama turning water into wine. Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, who called Judaism ‘a gutter religion’, said at a rally, “You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process they didn’t care anything about. That’s a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking.”
A victory sign was placed in the window of Obama’s campaign headquarters in Lake City, Florida, that read, “To God be the glory. Great things he has done. Obama, thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=80294
Why was the liberal media so successful at selling Obama as the saviour of America? The answer is quite simple. Because they spent the last eight years portraying George Bush as the devil incarnate and the reason for all of America’s problems. Inspired by Obama’s success, our own presidential candidate, Jacob Zuma, has made several comparisons between himself and Jesus hoping to draw parallels between his perceived sufferings and that of the Son of God. In Matthew 24:5 Jesus warns “For many will come in My Name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” I personally have nothing against Barack Obama or Jacob Zuma. I just don’t believe they are capable of bringing about the change people are seeking if Jesus Christ is not the central focus of their lives. In fact, Obama’s central focus appears to be on himself and his ability to change America and the world through public policy and government programmes.
Obama said in an interview with CNBC that Jesus was not the only path to God – there are many paths – and that hell wasn’t a real place. In Senator Obama’s book he mentions that his mother made him read from the Bible, the Koran, and other writings from the world’s major religions. This is why he proclaims that there are many paths to God and that Jesus is not the only way into Heaven. Incidentally, this is also the view of Barack and Michelle Obama’s closest friend and mentor, Oprah Winfrey. Obama said he supports special rights for homosexuals because he is informed by the Sermon on the Mount rather than some obscure passage in Romans. I quote, “I don’t think same-sex unions should be called marriage, but I think it is a legal right that they should have. If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.” The obscure passage he is referring to in Romans is the most eloquent and powerful argument in the Bible condemning the sin of homosexuality.
Romans 1:24-27: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleaness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonour their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the Truth of God for the lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women, burned in their lusts for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”   
Obama’s distortions of Biblical Christianity prompted Dr James Dobson to publically criticise him in what he referred to as Obama’s ‘fruitcake Christianity’. Barack Obama is also the most pro-abortion president-elect in America’s history. He voted four times in the US Senate to defeat a measure that protects the life of a baby that survives a botched abortion.  Michael Gerson of the Washington Post writes, “Obama’s record on abortion is extreme. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion – a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called “too close to infanticide”.
 Obama strongly criticised the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion. And now Obama has oddly claimed that he would not want his daughters to be “punished with a baby” because of a crisis pregnancy – hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.
Then there are numerous reports of Obama’s relationships with shady and questionable characters whom the media refused to investigate. Some facts about Obama, deliberately ignored by the liberal media, are that he began his campaign for the presidency just 143 days after becoming a US Senator which means he has virtually no experience; he has no foreign policy experience, no military experience, no economic experience, no executive experience and has never authored a Bill. When Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin, was chosen as John McCain’s running mate the media launched an unprecedented attack on her and her family after learning she was a pro-life evangelical Christian mother of five. They mocked her ‘lack of experience’ even though she was the most popular governor in the US – all the while ignoring the fact that she had more executive experience than Obama himself. The Democratic Party went as far as comparing Obama to Jesus and Sarah Palin to Pontius Pilate in a campaign commercial. 
Despite this, millions of American Christians, including millions around the world, believed the lie of the liberal media and, by so doing, rejected the warnings of Scripture. The US media was filled with reports of Pastors and whole churches setting aside a day of celebration and thanksgiving for Obama’s victory. Among those praising the heavens for Obama’s victory was Pastor Larry Younginer of suburban Atlanta, whom the Chicago Tribune reports kneeling at his church and praying the day after Obama’s victory, “Lord, we have again come to You, and You have heard our cries from Heaven, and You have sent us again from the state called Illinois a man called Barack to heal our land.”
As a consequence of this media-driven deception, a Pew Poll in the US recently revealed that 79% of Catholics and 57% of Evangelicals believe there are multiple paths to salvation. Compare this with Acts 4:12 which emphatically declares: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved”.  The nature and essence of deception has not changed since the day satan deceived Eve into disobeying God’s instructions. In Genesis 3 the serpent does not influence the women to reject God’s instructions outright. Instead he cunningly manipulates and twists the Truth of God’s Word to achieve his evil agenda. The essence of deception, therefore, is contained in these four words: ‘Hath God indeed said?’
All of deception has its origin in twisting, manipulating and challenging God’s Word. With deception so pervasive in society today, how can we, as Christians, ensure we are not deceived by the ideology of the world system? Colossians 2:8 issues this timeless warning: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” The key to staying true to God’s Word is our focus. The US Elections were deceptive because the media successfully diverted America’s attention away from Obama’s lack of experience and lack of political achievements and focused their campaign on a deceptive portrayal of Obama as the saviour of America and the world. Apart from Obama’s ability to deliver a great speech, the media has not yet provided a single reason why he is qualified to be the President of the United States. 
Barack Obama’s deception lies in the fact that he believed his own PR and focused on his own exaggerated abilities to bring about change. Jacob Zuma supporters believe he is the saviour of South Africa’s poor and destitute and they must, therefore, get him elected as president at all costs. These people are all labouring under a deception because the focus of their redemption is directed in the wrong place. Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Consequently, the only way to insulate yourself from the deception of the world system is to steadfastly keep your focus on Jesus. As in the Garden, the devil’s strategy is not to persuade you to take your eyes off Jesus altogether but rather to shift your focus ever so slightly. If Jesus Christ is not the central focus of your life or the life-decisions you make, you can easily be led astray. All the enemy has to do is to get you to move Jesus slightly off-centre or slightly out of focus to lead you down the path of destruction. If you are not already convinced, allow me inform you about a few strategies that are actively working to take the focus off Jesus. In the US, and increasingly in South Africa, there is a sustained campaign to not only remove Jesus as the central focus of Christmas but to remove Christmas from Christmas. The media reported on the annual switch on of the ‘festive lights’ not the ‘Christmas lights’ as it was previously known. Many companies are now wishing their clients ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s greetings’.
The Daily Telegraph in Britain reports that a school in England cancelled its usual Christmas play in favour of a three day Eid al Adha celebration. In the US nativity scenes or crosses are banned from public places and this is enforced by law. Christmas trees are now called ‘Holiday Trees’. Commenting upon the imminent passage by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution called ‘Combating Defamation of Religion’, Chuck Colson warns that Islamic nations, led by Saudi Arabia, are cleverly acquiring the power to criminalise any speech or behaviour they deem insulting to Islam, the only religion explicitly mentioned in the resolution. Their real aim is to criminalise Christian missionary work and the spreading of the Gospel of Christ in Islamic nations. At the same time Saudi Arabia is pouring billions of dollars into Islamic schools around the world to convert westerners to Islam and advance their ideology.
The prominence of Interfaith Movements is another strategy to dethrone Christ. Jesus is relegated to just one of many ‘great’ religious figures and His message is diluted to accommodate alternative views. All of these initiatives have one thing in common and that is to take our focus off Jesus. That’s the primary purpose of false religions. The reason you and I need Jesus as our central focus in everything we do, is that we cannot trust ourselves to make decisions without Him. Jeremiah 17:9 declares: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
God’s Word warns us about the condition of our own hearts and the hearts of men in general. How then can we trust ourselves or others without the steady and guiding Hand of God in our lives? Our focus will determine our path. Where our eyes and hearts are focused will ultimately determine our direction and destination. South Africa is already in election mode. That means deception will increase exponentially as we move closer to Election Day. Every politician will suddenly become the staunchest Christian fighting for Christian values and defending the Name of Jesus. They will show up in churches lamenting the moral collapse of our nation and promising to restore Biblical morality to save our nation from impending doom and chaos. Tragically, the very politicians who will use the things of God to woo the Christian vote, are the ones responsible for the state of our nation. Over the past five years in Parliament most of these leaders advanced a philosophy that is blatantly anti-family, anti-Christian and anti-God.
Not surprising then that a recent Human Sciences Research Council survey revealed South Africa’s political leadership was grossly out of touch with the values of the majority of its citizens. When election time comes around, they simply transform themselves into paragons of virtue and strut around deceiving whomever they will.
 2 Timothy 3:12, 13: “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
Deceivers open themselves to deception literally becoming ambassadors of the father of lies – the devil. Keeping our focus on Jesus amidst the prevailing toxic environment of lies and deception is like the captain of a ship at sea sailing in total darkness. He knows he has to keep his gaze locked on the lighthouse to prevent his vessel from running aground. When you feel like a ship lost at sea in total darkness, Jesus Christ the Son of the living God is your most faithful source of light. Psalm 119:105 says: “His Word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.” As the world grows darker, His light gets infinitely brighter. If you steadfastly keep your eyes on Jesus – the Light of the world – there is no fear of losing your way despite the darkness and the storms of life. Jesus Christ is the only real true guarantee against the lies and deception of the world system. Make sure you never take your eyes off Him, whatever the circumstances.