The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 3, Deceitful Prophets

Paul Derengowski, ThM

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come” (2 Thess. 2:1-2).

A hallmark of lawlessness are the number of false prophets or teachers that precede it. In the Apostle Paul’s day, as in ours, there were numerous individuals parading about sharing what they thought they knew about Jesus Christ, particularly as it related to his Second Coming.

Many Christians at the Thessalonica Church apparently were disturbed with the “revelations” that these self-proclaimed prophets were telling them.

The Lord had returned and the Christians missed it! Now, the Christians were in despair.

Paul, though, assured them not to be in a constant state of fear, because not only had not Jesus returned, the false prophets knew nothing about the conditions that would precede the Lord’s return, part of which included their predictions and teachings that would lead the people astray.

Today is no different, as we live in a day that is unprecedented with false prophets, false teachers, and false religions in abundance.

Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Word-Faith (Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, Jim Bakker, Joyce Meyer, Mike Murdock, Jessie Duplantis, Andrew Womack, Larry & Tiz Huch, Joseph Prince, Marilyn Hickey, et al), Oneness Pentecostalism (John Hagee, T. D. Jakes, Irvin Baxter, Jr., et al),  Seventh Day Adventism, the Church of Christ, Roman Catholicism, the Church of Scientology, Unitarian Universalism, Unity Church, the New Atheism (Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Bart Ehrman, et al), Neo-Paganism, WICCA, Free Masonry, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Sikhism, and so on and so forth.

The list is virtually endless with the number of voices contending for the hearts, minds, and souls of men, women, and children, all who claim to know something about Jesus or which promote false doctrines, prophecies, and beliefs that culminate in lawlessness, unbelief, and rebellion against God Almighty.

Add to the list the number of social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), where everyone can be their own religious or theological authority, spouting one damnable doctrine or belief after another, and one has the making of a hellish hodgepodge that only the most hardened antinomian could fully appreciate.

It is no wonder that Jesus would say, “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it” (Matt. 7:13).

The narrow gate, of course, was Jesus himself, with the wide gate being all the alternatives to Jesus, which would include many caricatures of him that many would believe to be true, but ultimately would and will lead those that follow them to “destruction.”

Jesus continued, “For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matt. 7:14).

Literally, the way to eternal life, found only in Jesus Christ, is narrow and difficult, with only a relatively few in number who actually discover it.

Devin Patrick Kelley, an avowed, mouthy, atheist–who some falsely reported that he taught Bible classes in church–carried out the end result of his belief, which was to commit an act of senseless murder.

Yet, what he did is the natural result of all of the aforementioned, when faulty beliefs systems are allowed to be carried out to their logical conclusions.

It is why Jesus would also say to “Beware!” of the Devin Patrick Kelley types.

They are “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15).

Ravenous wolves are all about maliciously destroying, murdering, or killing their prey, but doing it while looking like one of the sheep in the flock.

Murder reigns deep in their hearts, even though they want to be thought of as spokespersons for God.

Nevertheless, a person would know them by their fruits (Matt. 7:20), but only if a person is paying attention.

A mindful individual must be religiously discriminatory, in other words, as opposed to being religiously tolerant and diverse.

The wicked irony beneath the murderous intent of those trumpeting religious tolerance and diversity is that one day they will stand before Jesus and proclaim, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?”

Jesus will then turn to them and reply, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:21-23).

What we are now reading, watching, and hearing from south Texas regarding Devin Patrick Kelley is only a tip of the proverbial iceberg of things that have happened in the past and will continue–increasing to a fever pitch–into the future.

Lawlessness and senseless murder, particularly Christians with a biblical worldview, will precede the coming of the day of the Lord.

That said, there will also be Christian apostates and imposters, who will be accomplices to the moral, societal, and spiritual lawlessness that will eventually encompass the world, ushering in the “man of lawlessness.”

See The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 4, The Apostasy for a discussion of Christendom’s role in introducing the Antichrist.

Previous: The Mystery of Lawlessness: Part 2, God’s Role

About the Author


President, Christian Apologetics Project
PhD Candidate, Northwest University (2018)
MA Apologetics w/ Honors, BIOLA University (2005)
ThM, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2003)
MDiv, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (2000)
BA Pastoral Ministry & Bible, Baptist Bible College (1992)

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