End Time Deceptions

English
(Revelation 12 & 20, Ecclesiastes 9, Genesis 1 & 3)
Year: 
2018
Quarter: 
2
Lesson Number: 
9

Copr. 2018, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society,  unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

 

Introduction: Do you sometimes have a difficult time measuring danger?  When the Internet first began, I made sure that all sorts of contact information for me was available because I thought the Internet was the future of information sharing. Now, I realize that I should be careful about having too much information on the Internet because criminals can use it against me. Think about Facebook. It is a tremendous tool to increase intimacy with your friends from the past. They can “join” your life even if they are thousands of miles away.  Facebook does not give us this great gift for free. Instead, it sells information about us to people who are not our friends. Have you seen this before? Something that seems so friendly and benign has an ulterior motive?  Our lesson is about that this week. Let’s plunge in to our study of the Bible and learn more!

 

  1.    Satan

 

    1.    Read Revelation 12:7-9. Is Satan real?

 

      1.    What, according to these verses, is his work? (To lead “the whole world astray.”)

 

    1.    Read Revelation 20:1-3. What has happened to Satan here? (God’s angel stops Satan from his work of deception.)

 

      1.    What do these verses in Revelation 12 and 20 tell us about Satan and his work? (Satan is real, his work is to deceive us, and that work is ongoing.)

 

    1.    Read Genesis 3:1-3. Is this really a snake that is talking to Eve? (Did you notice that both Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 refer to Satan as “that ancient serpent.” Satan is assuming the appearance of a beautiful snake to try to lead Eve into sin.)

 

      1.    Why would Satan take this approach? Why not come to Eve and say, “I’m the opposition party. God has not trusted you with the truth or let you be like Him knowing good and evil. Why don’t you join my side, the side of knowledge, truth and justice?” (Satan’s failure to take this approach shows us that part of Satan’s deception is masking both his identity and the nature of his work.)

 

    1.    Read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. What are we told here about Satan’s masking activities? (He wants us to believe he is an “angel of light.”)

 

      1.    What point does this establish about “end time” deceptions? (Satan started his deceptive work here by masking his identity. We should expect that he will continue.)

 

      1.    Do you know people who do not believe that Satan exists?

 

  1.   Spirit Guides

 

    1.    A few days ago, I listed to a prominent Christian medical doctor. He had a patient who died. After the patient had been dead for 40 minutes, the Holy Spirit inspired the doctor to try to raise him to life. He prayed and shocked the dead person, who revived and two days later regained consciousness.  The patient reported that he had gone to hell, and that experience caused him to convert to Christianity. What should we think about this story? I do not doubt the honesty of this doctor.

 

    1.    Read Ecclesiastes 9:5-6. Does this settle the matter in your mind?  That the “dead know nothing?”

 

    1.    Let’s explore Solomon’s total message. Read Ecclesiastes 9:1-2. Is this consistent with the rest of the Bible - that the righteous and the wicked share a “common destiny?”

 

    1.    Read Ecclesiastes 9:3-4. Does the Bible in other places teach that the dead have no hope?  That a “live dog” is better off than a righteous person who has died?

 

    1.    Read Ecclesiastes 9:7-9. Does the Bible in other places teach us that our lives are meaningless - and being meaningless is God’s intention for us? (If you are a long time reader of these lessons, you know that I think no serious Bible student would cite this chapter for proof of the state of the dead.  Solomon is depressed, and the Bible records his depression to give hope to those who also suffer from this disease. If we believed Solomon intended this as truth about life and death, we would conclude that our life here is meaningless, we should just have a good time now because whether we are good or bad our reward is the same. None of this is otherwise taught in the Bible.)

 

    1.    Read Genesis 3:2-5. What fundamental lie does Satan tell Eve? (He denies that the penalty for sin is death. God, on the other hand, tells Eve that death is the result of sin. Unlike Solomon’s depressed statements, this is a theme of the Bible: death follows sin.  If sinners live forever as spirits or forever burn in hell, then Satan was right and God was wrong.)

 

    1.    Read Ezekiel 18:19-23. What does this say happens to a “soul” who sins? What does this say is the result of right living? (This contradicts Solomon regarding whether our decisions make a difference when it comes to our eternal destiny. It also says that souls who sin die, they do not live forever.)

 

    1.    Read 1 Timothy 6:12-16. Who, alone, is immortal? (God! Satan, fallen angels and the souls of sinners are destined for death, not immortality. We are offered “eternal life” when we confess that Jesus is Lord.)

 

    1.    Read 1 John 5:10-12. What do the righteous have that those who refuse to accept Jesus are denied? (Life. This is the “testimony God has given about His Son.”  This is not a statement arising out of depression. Those who accept Jesus have life. Those who do not are denied life. If you are a serious Bible student you should stop citing Ecclesiastes 9 and cite this text instead.)

 

    1.    Let’s get back to our Christian doctor. How do we explain his report? Is it possible that he raised this fellow from the dead? (Yes, the Bible provides several examples of this in both the Old and New Testaments. See, 1 Kings 17:19-22; 2 Kings 4:32-35; Acts 9:40-41; Acts 20:9-12.)

 

      1.    Is it possible that the dead man went to hell? (The texts we read reveal that death is the end for the wicked death. They do not have a continued life as a spirit or otherwise. Consider this from a lawyer’s point of view. Lawyers judge the reliability of testimony based on the ability of the witness to perceive what happened. The doctor is only relating what he was told by a fellow who was in a coma for two days and whose brain was deprived of oxygen. That is not reliable testimony. It certainly should not cause us to disbelieve the plain teachings of the Bible.)

 

  1. Evolution

 

    1.    In recent lessons we have studied the deception that the theory of evolution poses to God’s creation account. How do we explain scientific evidence that both the heavens and earth are very old?

 

    1.    Read Genesis 1:1 Do the heavens and earth have a beginning? (Yes.)

 

    1.    Read Genesis 1:2-3. Does this description say that the earth was created during the creation week? (Just the opposite. It suggests that the earth pre-existed the creation week. It was already “formless and empty,” had a “surface of the deep” and involved darkness and water.)

 

    1.    Read 2 Peter 3:5. What does this suggest about timing? (Peter says that God spoke the heavens into existence. However, the way this is written seems to say that the earth was formed after the heavens.)

 

    1.    Read Genesis 1:4-5 and Genesis 1:14-19. When did God create “signs to mark seasons and days and years?” (He did it on the fourth day of creation.)

 

      1.    What does that tell us about time and the first three days of creation? (It allows for the possibility that the first three “days” were not measured the same way they were after the fourth day of creation.)

 

    1.    Read 2 Peter 3:8. What does this say about God’s timing? (A “day” for God is longer than our traditional day.)

 

    1.    Read Genesis 2:4 in the King James Version of the Bible? How does it use the term “day?” (It reflects that the Hebrew word (yom) for day is used here. The NIV translates “yom” as “when.” What this shows is that even the creation account uses “yom” (day) to mean something other than a 24 hour period.)

 

    1.    If it were true that at least some of the “days” of creation were not 24 hour periods, would that undermine the importance of the Sabbath? (No! Even the Sabbath is used in a context other than 24 hour days. See Leviticus 25:2-4. God’s point is to memorialize His creation on our seventh day. This is independent of how many hours were in each creation day. While I am still studying this issue, my concern is creating unnecessary conflicts between the Bible and science.  We must not undermine the Bible and God’s claim as our Creator based on things we do not understand.)

 

    1.    Friend, will you keep your eyes open against deception?  Will you measure everything you understand by the Word of God? Why not, right now, make that an essential part of your life?

 

     Next week: America and Babylon.