Lesson 24
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Our last study contains a review and an invitation. A review of the gospel is necessary because the gospel propels us to a decision.  In due time, we either accept or reject the gospel because of basic internal needs to resolve conflicts.  Some people try to avoid difficult decisions by putting them far into the background of consciousness.  They say, “I’ll think about this tomorrow.”  Postponement, though, is really a decision, too.  It is a mild rejection.  Suppose you asked someone to marry you.  Any answer other than “yes” is actually rejection, isn’t it?  The danger of postponement is that it easily leads to greater rejection until we are firmly decided. In the case of the gospel, we must listen to the Holy Spirit.  The more we reject His promptings, the more difficult to respond.

This lesson also contains an invitation to attend this prophecy seminar again.  If the Holy Spirit has impressed you that this message is important, you need to hear it again for two reasons.  First, your understanding of the gospel will increase 100% the second time you hear it.  Details will become much clearer and more meaningful.  Secondly, knowing what Revelation is about, you need to find an interested friend and bring him or her to hear this message.  “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’  Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”  Revelation 22:17

The proclamation of the gospel

The full gospel must reach every person before Jesus comes.  John said,  “Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth – to every nation, tribe, language and people.”  Revelation 14:6 Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come.”  Matthew 24:14 The question is, “who will help spread the gospel?”  We know the 144,000 will lead the way during the shaking and the trumpets, but they can’t do the work alone. They need the help and support of the remnant!

What is the gospel?

Would a counterfeiter print a $9 bill?  No.  People would immediately recognize the folly.  A $9 bill couldn’t be a counterfeit since $9 bills don’t exist.  Thus, a counterfeit has to be an imitation of something that exists.

The devil has counterfeited the gospel and his imitations are in every land.  In America, the devil’s counterfeit of the gospel is almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Many people honestly believe Satan’s counterfeit gospel.  Jesus understands.  He looks from upon the earth with love at those living up to all they believe to be true.  In His great mercy, He accepts those who do not know the truths of the gospel.  Jesus does not hold a person responsible for truth they don’t know.  James tells us that sin is held against us when we know better and then refuse to do it!  “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”  James 4:17

The Lord loves the people of earth with a love beyond human understanding.  Those living up to all they know to be right glorify God and He is pleased.  Peter says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” I Peter 3:12 Because truth has been obscured from most people by Satan’s devices, Jesus is going to enlighten the entire world with the gospel in the near future.  Those who are sincere in heart will receive the full gospel and the remnant will be made up.  Those who recognize the confirmation of the Holy Spirit will move forward and receive the gospel truth as it reaches every nation, kindred, tongue and people!  Thus the remnant will be gathered together in one body.  Jesus said, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.  I must bring them also.  They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.”  John 10:16

The net effect of the gospel will be to unify those who hear the voice of Jesus into one large group called the remnant.  This will finally be accomplished during the trumpets.  People will receive the gospel by faith, obey the commandments of Jesus as the first angel’s message commands or they will reject the gospel or receive the mark of the beast.  There will be no middle ground.  The rapid sequence of events coupled with rigorous laws requiring Sunday observance in America will push everyone to a rapid decision

What are the gospel and its counterfeit?

In a sentence, the gospel is the complete story of salvation.  The gospel explains the role of our Creator, the nature of man, the sinless life of Jesus on behalf of man, the work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary as our mediator and the second coming.  If you look closely at the previous sentence, you will observe God’s great love expressed through the five fundamental teachings of the gospel.  They are easy to remember when you begin them with the letter, “S.”

1.      Salvation by faith

2.      Sanctuary in heaven

3.      State of the dead.

4.      Second coming of Jesus

5.      Sabbath worship

The devil has distorted and ruined each of these elements as far as possible.  We will briefly survey each of the counterfeit elements of the gospel within the Christian world:

Counterfeit 1

One of Satan’s most powerful counterfeits is that salvation either comes by obedience to God or by intellectual assent to what is true.  Satan’s trickery on this subject is very subtle.  He can actually deceive an evil person into thinking he is righteous!  For example, Satan led the Pharisees to think they were righteous even though they were far away from the kingdom.  Jesus said, “on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”  Matthew 23:28

Asking a person what he believes is not enough.  The Pharisees thought they were righteous.  So, to see what a person actually believes, we have to do some fruit inspection.  Jesus said, “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”  Matthew 7:17 The problem is that what people say and what people do may not be consistent.  Notice the two extremes examples.  The first example describes a religious type we’ll call, “workers.”

A worker can say,  “I’m saved by faith,” while at the same time, be working his or her way to heaven.  People having this problem are usually identified by zealous and/or rigorous obedience to the teachings or ideals of their denomination.  Workers tend to see sin as acts of commission, sins or wrongful deeds acted out.  Living by the rules is very important to these people.  In their hearts, they have confidence that they are saved because they are obedient to the rules.  They look at themselves and see very little wrong.  Workers, in a day to day living, regard obedience as the primary process through which salvation occurs even though they say, “salvation comes by faith!”

The Jewish religion at the time of Christ typifies this great deception.  The sin that blinds these people is pride.  They can’t see why they don’t have salvation!  After all, they don’t see anything wrong with themselves!  These people tend to criticize those breaking the rules but rarely speak about the greater sins of omission.  Here is a paradox.  Workers tend to see the violation of rules as great sins while disregarding the spiritual or physical needs of those around them.  Jesus said to the Pharisees,  “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.  You should practice the latter without leaving the former undone.  And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”  Luke 11:42,46

The coming exam will overtake these people.  Workers will not be able to obey God; for civil laws will become so strict that obedience will be impossible!  (Remember how Hitler threatened the Germans if they should help an enemy of the Reich?)  To avoid suffering and possibly death, the workers will have no option but to worship the beast!  When the great religious organizations of the world merge as a result of the great destruction of the trumpets, whose rules will the workers, follow?

The tragic point with this deception of Satan’s is that he makes obedience of greater importance than the purpose of obedience!  Jesus said of the Jews,  “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”  Mark 7:7,8

On the other hand of the scale, Satan has another counterfeit about salvation that is equally dangerous and perhaps more widely received in America than the worker concept.  In brief, this counterfeit holds that if you believe you’re saved, - you’re saved!  In general terms, this doctrine teaches that obedience to the Ten Commandments is unnecessary, even more, an insult to God’s salvation.  The Christian is under grace, not under the law, and his primary duty is to love his neighbor as himself.  By simply assenting to the fact that Jesus died on Calvary, one may have salvation, full and free!

We call these people, “Thinkers.”  Thinkers tend to enjoy their religion more than workers because their religion is people-orientated.  Whereas, workers are quite critical in nature, thinkers are generous and casual about behavior.  The thinker’s gospel has very few limitations.  Righteousness that comes with intellectual assent is simply a gift from God, so take it, and join the church.  The heart of the thinker’s gospel is the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have him do to you.”

The thinker’s gospel sounds good.  This is why it is so popular in America.  The thinker’s gospel has transcended mainline denominations and has become the dominant theme of 20th century Protestantism.  This point is proven by asking, “What theological differences exist in day to day living between Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians and all others in America?”

Certain characteristics of thinkers and workers have been presented in the extreme to demonstrate the kind of people such theological processes produce.  What we do reflects what we believe!  Old Testament history clearly tells us that Israel vacillated between these two poles.  The reason Israel was so unsteady is that they forgot that salvation comes through a love – faith relationship with God.  Loving Jesus for all that He has done comes first.  Having faith in Jesus means doing, going and being as He directs.  The faith relationship requires prayer and study each day to know His will and Satan offers a million diversions to prevent us from spending time in either.

Satan has cleverly counterfeited the gospel of the workers and thinkers by using partial truth in each case!  Don’t be fooled.  Either doctrine is deadly.  The simple truth about salvation is this:  salvation by faith means a complete surrender of the will to Jesus.  It means to be, to do, and to go as Jesus directs the life.  True salvation produces a life of action.  Obedience comes as a result of salvation – not salvation as a result of obedience!  Look closely at Hebrews 11 and you will observe that each of the great men and women in this Hall of Faith was obedient to God’s commands!  Paul says of Abraham,  “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’  Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.”  Hebrews 11:17-19

The old gospel favorite by James Sammis and Daniel Tower,  “Trust and Obey”, sums up the gospel very well:

“When we walk with the Lord

In the light of His Word,

What a glory He sheds on our way!

While we do His good will,

He abides with us still,

And when all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey,

For there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus,

But to trust and obey.”

Counterfeit 2

Knowing that Jesus, our High Priest, is conducting a very special service in heaven is crucial to understanding what is going on in heaven at this time.  This wonderful truth has almost been totally obscured by Satan.  He has led most Christians to ignore the Old Testament sanctuary services by causing them to believe the ceremonies were only for the Jews.  For this reason, most Christians never investigate this subject.  Since the rituals and ceremonies attached to the earthly sanctuary is not part of Catholic/Protestant heritage, most Christians are unsure why Paul directs us to the heavenly sanctuary in the book of Hebrews.  Paul clearly says,  “The point of what we are saying is this:  We do have such a high priest, who sat down at right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man.”  Hebrews 8:1,2 Since the sanctuary in the wilderness was a model of the real one in heaven, shouldn’t we understand what the services meant?  Since Jesus is our High Priest, shouldn’t we understand why we need one in the heavenly sanctuary?

Satan doesn’t want us to know about the sanctuary in heaven, for if we don’t know about the true tabernacle in heaven, we don’t need to understand the importance of 1844.  If we don’t know about 1844, we don’t know when the “appointed time of the end” began.  If we don’t know when the appointed time of the end began, we won’t suspect the coming wrath that occurs when Jesus opens the fourth seal.  Neither will we suspect the rapid and climactic culmination of earth’s events that occurs during the trumpets.  If we don’t understand the Old Testament trumpets that warned of the approaching Day of Atonement, we can’t understand the purpose of Revelation’s trumpets.  Even worse, Revelation’s story makes no sense apart from the work of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary!  Satan had led Protestantism to believe that the Law of God and the Law of Moses were nailed to the cross.  By doing away with both, the purpose of both has been forgotten.

Counterfeit 3 

The third truth that Satan has counterfeited is the truth about death.  Satan has led most of Christendom to believe that when a person dies, he really doesn’t die!  On the surface, this counterfeit may not seem too bad.  If you have ever lost a loved one or close friend, there may be some consolation in the idea that they may better off in heaven.  On the other hand, if you lost an enemy, there also may be some consolation in the idea that he is worse off than before!

But the issue of consolation is not the essence of the matter.  Two elements stand at the heart of this matter.  First, Satan has caused many people to distrust God, even to the point of hatred, by leading them to believe in the doctrine of eternal torment.  By misrepresenting the character of God before the human race, Satan has blinded many to the loving character of God.  (Remember, he deceived one third of the angels too!)  Secondly, the idea that people go to heaven after death gives credence to spiritualism, psychic powers and so-called “metaphysics.”  Through mysterious supernatural manifestations, Satan is already deceiving a large number of people.  But his best demonstrations are yet to come!  He will cause apparitions of deceased people to appear on earth!  These apparitions will be nothing less than demons in the form of human beings sent throughout the earth to deceive people into believing that Satan is God.  John saw these apparitions and said,  “They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.”  Revelation 16:14

Again the point must be made.  Satan has strategically set the stage for his final deceptions.  Since most people would rather depend upon their senses than trust their knowledge of the Word of God, they will be easy prey.  When these demons appear, they will be an overpowering deception.  If possible, the remnant could be deceived, too!  When they come, these counterfeiters will appear to be just as real as your Mom or Dad.  How can you argue that the dead know nothing when the form of a dead person stand “in the flesh” before you?  The Bible is clear that the dead are dead.  “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know knowing.”  Ecclesiastes 9:5 Jesus said that when He comes, “those in the graves will hear his voice.”  (See John 5:28 and I Thessalonians 4:15-17.)  You can anticipate that the devil will use the lying testimony of many apparitions to disprove the Word of God.

Counterfeit 4

The fourth deception of the gospel that Satan has given the Christian world is the truth about the second coming of Jesus.  He has many Christians either believing that there is a “secret rapture” or that the second coming is in the distant future.  Both of this counter-

feit doctrines have the same effect.  Most Christians are either unaware of the coming tribulation or they believe they will be spared the awful agony of the testing time that is coming upon the whole world.

The secret rapture counterfeit hold two fatal flaws.  First, this doctrine eliminates the urgent need to understand Revelation and the timely preparation for the things coming upon the earth.  Since many Christians believe the rapture occurs before the second coming, they are lulled into false security by thinking they have nothing to prepare for. Secondly, and even worse, is that when Satan comes, this group will likely receive him as “the Christ” because the second coming hasn’t taken place!  The net effect of this deception is that when the trumpets begin, these people will be immediately be overwhelmed, and in great panic they will go along with the idea of appeasing God through legislative action. 

In the other camp, many Christians scoff at the suggestion that the Lord is about to return.  They see no reason for all the excitement.  They say, “all things continue as usual – why all the fuss?’  These people are content in their spiritual poverty.  They have no idea of the things coming upon the earth, and even worse, they don’t want to hear about it!  They like spiritual programs that feature talented singers and gifted speakers with clever ideas.  They don’t want to hear about the coming wrath of Jesus.

So, Satan has the Christian world convinced that they are either safe from the tribulation, due to the rapture, or that life continues as usual – no worry.  Unfortunately, his deceptions are widely accepted.

Those receiving the everlasting gospel are not focused on gloom or doom.  These people are focused on the greatest and most awesome event in earth’s history: the revelation of Jesus at the second coming.  These know that the testing time precedes the second coming, they know about the future rise of Babylon and the appearing of Satan claiming to be God.  They know that their faith will be fully tested – yet they are positive about their relationship with Jesus and they have peace in their hearts, for they claim the promises of God.  They are committed to being “over comers” because they “have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to them.”  They walk by faith and they will be prepared for a mighty work when the trumpets sound.

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