Monday, September 17, 2012

“If it were possible …”

There seems to be a certain complacency amongst some of my fellow Christians that in the last days, “the very elect” will not be deceived because it will be impossible to deceive them. They count on the Lord’s words:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (New Testament Matthew 24:24)
Some seem to think “the very elect” are immune to deception because they know the truth; they have the gift of discernment; they are in tune to the things of God. Others take comfort in the backup alternative that “very elect,” trusted leaders will never be deceived. Thus, they think, the rank-and-file should not be unduly concerned. If they themselves are not “elect” enough, their leaders are. Therefore, the safe and sure course is to “Follow the Leader.”

But what if the signs and wonders are so GREAT that EVERYONE would be deceived—even the very elect—were it not for direct, personal revelation from God exposing the deceptions? In other words, full-scale deception will not be possible ONLY because God will intervene.

We might think this creates but two categories: 1) deceived followers of false Christs and false prophets; and 2) “the very elect” who are not deceived (and who reject the false Christs and false prophets) because they are able and willing to receive personal revelation. But what if there is a third group constituting an unsuspected peril for the rank-and-file Christian? What if there are some “very elect” who, with their eyes opened to the deceptions, choose, for whatever reason, to side with the false Christs and false prophets? Or seek to become one?

Is that why we have been counseled innumerable times not to trust in the arm of flesh? Why we are tutored, often in painful ways, to learn how to recognize and listen to the voice of the Spirit? Is that what the gift of the Holy Ghost is largely about?