Category Archives: Watchman Warnings

Our Adversary, the Devil

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“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

This grave warning concerning the devil was given not only to young Christians, easily subject to temptations, but also to “the elders which are among you” (v. 1). It often seems, in fact, that Satan’s greatest victories are won when he can cause the fall of a Christian leader, thereby not only destroying that leader’s influence for Christ, but also giving “great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14). The devil is a roaring lion, but he doesn’t come as such. If he did, the intended victim would flee.

He is, above all, the one “which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9), “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). As he did with Mother Eve, the “subtle” one will insidiously appeal to our pride, or our aesthetic sense, or our appetite, or our desire for material things.

Peter could speak from bitter experience. Satan had desired to “sift you as wheat,” Jesus had told him, but he foolishly boasted that he would stand true (Luke 22:31-34).

No wonder Peter could warn with such urgency: “Be sober, be vigilant.” Note particularly that, in the context, he is especially warning against greed (1 Peter 5:2) and pride (vv. 5-6). We must not allow Satan to “get an advantage of us,” Paul says, “for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). Though Satan is deceptive and powerful, we need never fall to his tempting if we simply—along with staying sober and vigilant—“submit [ourselves] therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). HMM

Do Not Add to God’s Word

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“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18)

This very sober warning right at the end of the Bible was given by Christ Himself (note verse 20) to indicate that the written Scriptures were now complete, and it would be a serious sin for some pseudo-prophet to come along presenting some alleged new revelation from God. That this warning applies to the entire Bible, not just to the book of Revelation, should be obvious but is made especially clear when it is remembered that Jesus promised His chosen disciples that the Holy Spirit “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,” and furthermore, that “he will guide you into all truth: . . . and he will shew you things to come” (John 14:26; 16:13).

This special revelation to the “apostles and prophets” of the New Testament would constitute the “foundation” of the church, and would be complete when the last of these “holy apostles and prophets” were gone. (Study carefully Ephesians 2:19–3:11.) When John completed the Apocalypse, he was very old; all the other apostles and prophets of the New Testament had already died (all by martyrdom), so God’s written Word was now complete. No new revelation would be needed before Christ returns. We shall do well if we just learn what we already have received from His holy apostles and prophets.

Note also the emphasis on “the words,” not just the concepts. God was able to say what He meant, and we are wise if we take His words literally. Jesus warned about “false prophets” who would come after He left (Matthew 24:24), and there have been many of these through the centuries. The Bible as we now have it is sufficient for every need. HMM

Spirit of Anti-Christ

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“And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3)

The four passages in the New Testament that use this term are unique to the apostle John (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7). The term itself is a transliteration of the Greek compound word anti plus christos, meaning one who is “against” Christ.

John distinguishes between “the” Antichrist (1 John 2:18) and the “many” antichrists against whom we are continually fighting today.

“And this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3)

Although a sincere Christian should be aware of the Antichrist (the “man of sin” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10), far more caution is urged to identify and fight the spirit of antichrist that is already here!

To begin with, it should be noted that there is no specific word for “spirit” in 1 John 4:3. The English word is supplied by the translators to clarify the obvious meaning of the text, that it is the attitude or character of antichrist of which we are to be wary. Those who have this spirit are liars (1 John 2:22), mainly because they refuse to accept the truth that Jesus is the Christ.

Further rejection of that truth centers around denial of the incarnation of Christ, that Jesus is the Creator God come in human flesh (1 John 4:3 and 2 John 1:7). Those who would deny that truth embrace the very core of all lies and become anti Christ.

Such persons are like the thief and the robber who harm the sheep (John 10:1), embrace another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), and teach other doctrines (1 Timothy 1:3-7).

From such as these we are to turn away (2 Timothy 3:5). HMM III

The Integrity of the Written Word

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“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deuteronomy 4:2)

In addition to the numerous times when the writers of the Bible asserted that what they wrote came directly from God (e.g., Leviticus 1:1; Jeremiah 1:4; Revelation 1:1), there are at least four warnings against tampering with these revealed words.

The first is our text above, in which Moses commanded neither to add to nor diminish from anything he had written. This warning was supplemented later with the following: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32).

Moses was the first writer of the Bible and it was appropriate that he should give such a warning. The last was John, and his warning was even more severe, at the very end of the whole body of Scripture. “If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Since John was the last apostle, it is clear that this warning is against any later attempt to add some new “revelation” to the now-complete Word of God.

Then, very near the middle of the Bible, there is this: “Every word of God is pure: . . . Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5-6). And remember also the words of Christ: “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). So don’t mess with the Word of God! HMM

Many False Prophets

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“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

There is an unusual emphasis in the New Testament about false prophets. The Greek word pseudoprophetes appears 11 times and has no corresponding word in the Old Testament.

Of the 298 usages of “prophet” in the Hebrew Scriptures, eight of them are connected to “false” prophets, and only in relation to visions and dreams. In the New Testament, the pseudoprophetes are workers of “miracles” and “signs and wonders.”

John gives the warning to “try the spirits” because many false prophets are now here. Prior to Christ’s coming, the false “dreamer” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5) would readily be exposed when his prophecy did not come about. Such a false prophet was to be executed!

But the prophets of the “last time” (1 John 2:18) will perform great wonders (Matthew 24:24) and can “seduce . . . even the elect” (Mark 13:22).

Here’s the problem: They come from among Christians! Peter warns us in 2 Peter 2:1-3 in five ways:

• They come from a “Christian” background.
• They deny the biblical Lord Jesus in some way.
• They will become very popular, especially with emotionally motivated people.
• They will degrade doctrines of the Bible.
• They will stimulate greed to attract followers.

We are warned to test every one of them, and when they do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, we are to reject their teaching and not have any fellowship with them (2 John 1:9-11). They are dangerous (Matthew 7:15)! HMM III

Where is Jesus Now?

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“Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:26)

The above warning was given by Christ in His famous Olivet discourse about His future second coming, right after He had predicted that many “false Christs” would first come, deceiving many (v. 24). That prediction has been fulfilled many times during the following centuries, but He Himself has not yet returned, in spite of the claims of these latter days.

However, His present location is no secret. After His resurrection and final instructions to His disciples, “he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). We must remember that He arose bodily from the grave, then ascended bodily to God’s throne, and that “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven” (Acts 1:11), will return. Until He returns, therefore, He is seated bodily at the right hand of the presence of the triune God in heaven. In fact, there are no less than 21 references in the Bible to the Lord Jesus now being at the right hand of God.

It is not strictly correct to say or sing that Jesus can come into our hearts, unless it is clearly understood that He is there symbolically in the presence of the indwelling Spirit of Christ. In this way, “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts” (Galatians 4:6) so that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17).

In the physical sense, however, the Lord Jesus Christ, still in His physical, but now immortal, body, is at “the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3) and will remain there until He returns physically back to fulfill all the remaining promises in the Scriptures and to establish the kingdom for which He created us. HMM

The Gods Shall Perish

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“Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.” (Jeremiah 10:11)

This is a unique verse. Jeremiah, the second-longest book in the Bible, is written in Hebrew except for this one verse! Why would Jeremiah make this remarkable exception here?

This verse was written in Aramaic, which was the official language of the great Babylonian empire—the world’s chief nation at that time. The Babylonians, as prophesied by Jeremiah, were soon to be used as a weapon in God’s hand to punish His chosen people, carrying them into exile and captivity, and the main reason for such punishment was apostasy. God’s people had corrupted the worship of the true Creator God with the teachings and idols of the Babylonians and all the other nations around them who had rejected God.

Jeremiah had repeatedly condemned this apostasy, showing that God’s people were to be punished by the very nations whose religious philosophies had so attracted them.

But those nations needed also to understand that this was not because of their own strength nor the merits of their own gods. Thus, Jeremiah appropriately inserted a special word to be conveyed to the Babylonians, in their own official tongue. Only the true God, who made the heavens and the earth, is in control of the heavens and the earth.

The same type of warning, delivered in the “official” language of the modern world (“science?”), is needed even more today than it was in Jeremiah’s day. Today’s “gods”—Marx, Darwin, etc.—are even less deserving of trust than Zeus or Baal, and yet professing Christians have gone after them in droves. It is urgent that we call them back to the true Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, urging them—before God’s judgment falls once again—to repudiate every vestige of evolutionary humanism. HMM

Pride Goes Before Destruction

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“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

This is the middle verse of the entire book of Proverbs, and, in view of the obviously structured original verse divisions throughout the book, it may well have been divinely designed as such. In any case, the sin of pride is so deadly, it is appropriate that a solemn warning concerning it should be placed here right at the heart of God’s book of true wisdom.

The sin of pride was the primeval sin of Satan: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Ezekiel 28:17). It was the sin by which Satan led Adam and Eve to fall. “Ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5), he had said.

It is always the “easily besetting” sin of Christian leaders, especially those who have assumed such leadership prematurely. “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6). Even Jesus was 30 years old before He began to teach.

Though pride is not named as such in the Ten Commandments, in reality it is implied in the very first one. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). The essence of all false religion is evolutionary humanism—worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

Pride and unbelief are two sides of the same coin. When men and women refuse the word of their Creator, it is fundamentally because they want to be their own “gods,” as did Adam and Eve.

Human pride is the hidden root of humanism, and of evolutionism, and of “every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It is the very essence of the sin nature which we have inherited from our first parents.

How carefully we need to guard against this secret sin of pride. If we do not, it will inevitably lead to humiliation and defeat. HMM

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