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Category Archives: Return of Christ

The Truth or a Lie

In my last post, I talked about the rise of satanic activity in the Last Days before the return of Christ.  The enemy’s kingdom will perform many impressive miracles – counterfeits of the true miracles of God.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

That’s what’s happening when people go to witch doctors, shamans, or psychic healers.  It’s the same when people go to “faith healers” that don’t use the name of Jesus.

They’ll say that it’s the power of love that’s going to heal you.  No, it’s the power of Satan.  No matter what they call themselves, whether it’s healer, shaman, or witch doctor; without Christ, they rely upon the power of the devil.

Satan also knows what’s going on.  His servants are watching pretty much everyone.  He knows that your boss just got done interviewing a blonde for the secretarial position.  Then you go to a psychic on Friday.

“I need a relationship in my life.  Do you know if I’m going to meet anyone soon?”

The psychic then consults with her “spirit guides.”  (demons)

“The spirits tell me that you’re going to meet a blonde on Monday.  A lovely blonde is coming into your life.”

So you walk into work on Monday.

“Look at that.  They were right.  They really can predict the future.”

No, they just have a good communication system.  It has nothing to do with predicting the future.  Only God knows the future.  He knows it ahead of Satan.

If Satan had known the future the way that God does, he wouldn’t have crucified Jesus.  He would have seen that one coming a mile away.  The fact is, he’s very limited, but he plays really good tricks and mind games.  Paul does his best to warn us so we can be ready for them.

Along with the miracles of Satan, there will be every sort of evil that deceives those that are perishing.  At first glance, we might feel sorry for them.  If they’re being deceived then they don’t know what they’re doing.  How can they be held accountable?

But the Scripture goes on to say that they perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  That’s why God allows the miraculous, powerful delusion of Satan.  They’ve already chosen not to believe the truth of God’s Word.  The reason why they were deceived is that they didn’t want the truth.

So God said if you don’t want the truth, let Me give you something to believe in.  I’ll allow you to believe this lie if you’d rather.  Never get the idea that they’re perishing because they didn’t know.  They’re perishing because they refused to believe the truth.  And when the lie came along, they found it so much more comfortable.

I don’t know why people would rather embrace the lie.  I’ve seen and read about some of the crazy things that people do as they try to get healing, fame, and money.  Why don’t they just trust Jesus?  They probably stumble over it because it’s too easy.

They’d rather fly around the world and go see a doctor in Hong Kong who has them take special herbs that cost $500,000, but they won’t trust Jesus.  I don’t understand it.  They get a lie instead, and that’s what kills them.

As believers, we need to stand our ground in trusting the truth of God’s Word.  That’s what will see us through in these perilous times.

Question: How far have you seen people go in order to refuse the truth?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

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False Signs and Wonders in the Last Days

We’re continuing to look at the Apostle Paul’s insight into life in the Last Days before the return of Christ.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
II Thessalonians 2:9-12

Paul goes on to tell us that these times will end in a Day of Judgment.  Of course, that’s what Jesus taught as well.

According to this passage, Satan will be very active.  There will be all kinds of unholy signs, wonders, and miracles.  There’s going to be a display of Satan’s power like never before.

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:8

I like what Paul says here because it tells us the triumph that Christ will have over the lawless.  But there’s more to look forward to.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing.  They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Paul says that there are going to be counterfeit miracles.  That gives me hope, because if there’s going to be counterfeit miracles, then there’s going to be the real thing, as well.

Remember what Jesus said.  The wheat and the weeds are going to grow together, blossom together, and mature together.  That means that if Satan is doing his worse, then God will be doing His best.

Some people ask, “How can Satan do miracles?  What kind of miracles does he do?”   The same things God does.  Satan can perform healings as well as other powerful signs and wonders.  Even today we’re seeing a rise in these things.  There are psychic “hotlines” throughout many different media outlets that attract thousands of people.

Maybe you thought that Satan could only do bad things.  Let me explain it to you.

Pretend that I came to your house tonight under cover of darkness.  While you were asleep, I broke into your house.  I then proceeded to empty your wallet, your cash box, and other valuables.  Let’s say that I stole a thousand dollars from your house.

You wake up in the morning and you’re horrified.  You see the window broken into and all your money is gone.  Later on that day, we run into each other.  You exclaim, “You don’t know what happened to me last night!  I was robbed.  A thousand dollars was taken.  Somebody broke in and stole my money.”

What if I then tell you how awful I feel about your loss?  I tell you that I just feel like blessing you.  I then reach in my wallet, and I take out the thousand dollars I stole from you and say, “Here, you take this with my blessing.”

You’ll then walk away thinking that I’m the most wonderful person in the world.  You never realized that I was the one who took your money to begin with.  I stole it from you, and then I gave it back.

In the same way, if Satan stole your health, he can give it back if it suits his purposes.  Don’t be deceived by the traps laid out by the enemy in these Last Days.  Only Jesus Christ is The Healer.  He’s the only One worthy of putting our trust in.

Question: How have you witnessed a rise in demonic activity in our generation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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The Rise of Lawlessness

In our study of Second Thessalonians, we’ve been talking about the lawlessness of mankind being uncovered in the Last Days.

Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?  And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.  For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
II Thessalonians 2:5-7

It’s clear from this section that Paul’s merely reminding them of the things he taught when he was with them.  He apparently told them what was holding back the lawlessness.

It’s also clear that the secret power of lawlessness was already at work 2,000 years ago.  What Paul literally says is that the secret power of lawlessness was already energized.

I’m reminded of a parable of Jesus (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43).  He said that the church and the world were going to grow up together.  These two kingdoms would grow in power and mature side by side throughout history.  The seeds that were planted by the enemy already had lawlessness working in them.

According to Paul, there’s something holding back the full force of this lawlessness.  Most of the modern translations add a lot of preconceived ideas to the text.  What Paul literally said in verse 7 is the restraining will continue until it is removed from the midst.

I believe he’s talking about the laws that govern us.  Back then; they had a system of government where if you disobeyed the law, you paid the penalty for your actions.  But more and more, around the world, it now seems that laws don’t mean anything.  The lawmakers tell us that it’s how you interpret that law that matters.

My wife, Cheryl, was called for jury duty a number of years ago.  She was selected to hear a drunk driving case.  It was clear from the testimony that the man was drunk, and he was driving.  He could have very easily killed somebody.  Thank God, he was caught before he did any damage to himself or others.

As they were discussing the case in the jury room, an interesting thing started to happen.  All of these jurors started seeing themselves on the stand.

“Well, I drink sometimes, and I’d hate to have a policeman take away my license because I got caught.”

“Maybe we should let this guy go because nothing happened and nobody was hurt.  After all, there was no accident and no damage.”

Those who know Cheryl understand that she has a very prophetic ministry.  If you can imagine how Elijah would’ve responded to all this, you’d be pretty close to what actually happened.

Cheryl’s response was that the question is not what we would do.  It’s not even about what we would want to happen if we were caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

The question is; was he drunk?   Was he driving?  If so, then he’s guilty, whether or not you do it as well.

They did find him guilty.  But please understand that if there wasn’t a Christian on the jury, then the outcome might have been very different.

Lawless man says, “I know what the law is, but I wouldn’t like that law if I were the one driving.”  What we will find is that this what it’s going to be like more and more in the last days.

Yes, there might be laws, but they’re going to be followed less and less.  Paul is saying that lawless man is going to be uncovered for what he really is.  In the last days, we’re going to see an increase in lawlessness the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

That’s why, more than ever, we need to trust the Lord for our safety, protection, and provision.

Question: How have you seen a rise in lawlessness over your lifetime?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2018 in Faith, Return of Christ

 

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Have You Set Yourself Up as a God?

In my last post, I talked about lawless mankind setting himself up as a god in the church.  This is to happen in the Last Days, which I believe we are currently in.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
II Thessalonians 2:4

I mentioned that some believe this verse is talking about the Temple in Jerusalem.

Let me ask you a question.  What if you heard on the radio that the Jew’s just finished a secret reconstruction of the temple?  Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they took over the whole Temple mount and expelled all of the Moslems who are now in control.

My question is this – would that be God’s Temple?  The answer is simple.  No, that would be the Jew’s Temple.  They could begin offering up sacrifices, but it would mean nothing to God.

No fire would fall from heaven to consume the sacrifice.  As far as God is concerned, it would be just another building.  It wouldn’t be God’s Temple.

What Paul is talking about here is that lawless man, who sets himself up against God, will even get into the Church.  I’m going to say something now that’s going to get some people mad at me.

Think about it, man setting himself up against God.  There are Churches across the country today who decide what to do as a Church by having a vote.

Did they pray about it to see what God wants them to do?  Do they say, “Let’s have fasting and prayer for wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit?”

No!!  What do they do?  “Let’s vote on it, and then we’ll submit it to the finance committee, and then the finance committee will vote on it.”

“Do you think we should have an evangelistic outreach in our neighborhood?”

“Well, I don’t know.  This church building could sure use another coat of paint on it.  Maybe we should do that first and then in a couple of years we’ll see about reaching our community.”

“Why don’t we pray about this?”

“No way!  I put my money into this building, and I’m going to decide what will happen to it.”

Sad to say, this is how many churches around the country are operating.  This is not what I read in Scripture as a Christ-centered church.  God wants a praying church where our goal is to hear God’s will.

It’s a church where the leadership has the freedom to seek God.  Then, as godly men and women (who are actually doing the work of the ministry) bind their hearts together seeking God, they’ll see the Spirit of the Lord leading and directing their steps.

That’s the way it should be, but there are churches over which man has become the head.  Mankind has set himself above God in God’s Holy Temple.  That’s a scary thought.

I don’t want to find myself in the position of telling God that I can run His Church better than He can.  I believe this is what Paul was talking about in the last days.  People are going to be running their church, the way they want to, giving no thought to what God says.

They have set themselves up in God’s Temple, effectively proclaiming themselves to be God.  I believe that many church people in the USA have placed themselves in a very dangerous position.

Question: How have you experienced man running the church in place of the Holy Spirit?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2018 in Ministry, Prayer, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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Mankind Exalted

I’ve been going through the epistle of Second Thessalonians.  In my last post, I began talking about the “Man of Lawlessness”.  I said that this verse could be talking about the lawlessness of mankind being revealed for what it truly is.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
2 Thessalonians 2:3

Paul tells us, in these writings, that as we approach the end, lawless man will finally be uncovered for all to see.  There will be no question about the evil within.

It will be crystal clear that mankind is lost and in need of a Savior.  That’s why he also calls mankind doomed to destruction.  This literally means that without Christ, mankind is the child of ruin or child of loss.

But Paul doesn’t end his discussion there.  He goes on to describe why mankind will be so lawless in the end times.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
II Thessalonians 2:4

The first thing we’re told is that mankind opposes God, or sets himself opposite to God.  I believe that this is a description of lawless mankind as we see them in the world today.  They set themselves in opposition to God.

As a matter of fact, it’s not just our God, but anything that’s even called “god”.  These arrogant, “learned” men and women don’t believe in the supernatural anymore.  They say it’s only childish superstition.

Not only do they oppose God, but they exalt themselves over what is called God.  That’s humanism, pure and simple.  “God is dead.  I’m God now.  I’m on the throne.”

That’s lawless man in a nutshell.  Scripture warns us that it will get to the point where this worship of lawless man even sets itself up in God’s Temple.

There are some people who say that this is talking about the Temple in Jerusalem and that the Anti-Christ is going to set himself up as God in that temple.  I wouldn’t be so dogmatic as to say that’s impossible, but I don’t believe that this verse supports that argument.

Scripture itself points me in this direction.  In Paul’s writings, the only times he ever uses the term “God’s Temple”, is if he’s talking about one of two things.  The first is the body of Christ as the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The second is the believer’s physical body as God’s temple since the Holy Spirit dwells in each of us.

So in Paul’s mind, personally I am God’s temple and collectively we are God’s temple.  Those are the only two ways Paul uses the term “God’s Temple.”

If that’s the case, then this is talking about a large segment of the church in the USA.  In my next post, I’ll go into this in more detail.

Question: What do we need to do in order for the Holy Spirit to lead the church?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2018 in Ministry, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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Lawless Man

I’m continuing to look at Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians.  In my last post, he predicted a major falling away of the church.  I believe that this was fulfilled during the Dark Ages.

I now want to look at the other things predicted in this epistle.  Here’s the passage we looked at in the last post.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
II Thessalonians 2:1-3

Paul says, in verse 3, that the man of lawlessness is going to be revealed – the man doomed to destruction.  Most people believe that he’s talking here about a man that we term the “Anti-Christ.”

As I read this section of Scripture, I’m not 100% certain that Paul is talking about a solitary man.  One reason is that the word he uses here for man, is the Greek word, anthropos.

When it says the man of lawlessness, he isn’t using the Greek word, aner which means a male.  The word anthropos is where we get our word anthropology.  It’s a more general word used to mean mankind.

Anthropos is not a word that you usually use to mean a man but a group of men.  If I say something like, “The American man is independent,” it’s obvious that I am not talking about one person, but a group of people.  In the same way, it looks like Paul is talking about lawless man, as lawless mankind.

He writes that in the Last Days lawless man will be uncovered.  I believe that he’s talking about the fact that without Christ, human beings are a lawless people.  In my own desires and wants, I’m lawless.

I don’t want anybody to tell me what to do.  I want to do what I want to do.  But when I came to Jesus, that all changed.  I had to submit to Him as Lord.  My will is not supreme anymore; it’s the Lord’s will.  I had to turn it all over to God and establish Him as King.

What about the rest of humanity?  It’s clear from Scripture that anybody who hasn’t bowed their knee to Christ is lawless.  The problem is that our society does such a great job of covering it up.

We’ve created laws on the outside that hold many of our evil desires in check.  There are laws that tell us not to get drunk and drive a car, or we’ll be punished.

Laws are holding most of us back from doing the things that our natural inclinations would cause us to do.  But, as we approach the Last Days, mankind will be uncovered for what he really is.  Even now it seems that the trend is to enact laws that give us more and more permission to act lawlessly.

Society likes to think that man is basically good.  They teach that it’s the environment or upbringing that creates criminal or abusive behaviors.  If we could only do away with poverty, neglect, and prejudice, then society would be a utopia.

Unfortunately, this is not the answer.  It’s clear from Scripture, experience, and history that man is basically evil.  The more freedom and opportunity we’re given, the more depraved we become.

It’s only the life-changing power of a holy God that can make a person a “new creation.”  Only when God’s laws are written on the tablets of our hearts will we truly live up to the high standard of righteousness we were created for.

Question: What examples have you seen that reinforce the fact that Man is basically evil?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2018 in Return of Christ

 

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Paul Explains the Second Coming

We’re continuing to look at Christ’s return, explained by Paul in 2 Thessalonians.  In my last post, we saw that his reason for writing this is to spur us on in our work for the Lord.

Paul goes on from there and starts to give the Thessalonian church some more information regarding the Last Days.

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
II Thessalonians 2:1-3

We need to understand what Paul is saying here.  The first thing we see is that he uses three different terms for the same thing.  He calls it the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, our being gathered to him, and then, later on, he calls it the day of the Lord.

It’s easy to see that Paul isn’t saying that the Lord’s coming is one time and the gathering up the saints is another.  On the contrary, our being gathered to the Lord and the coming of the Lord is all the same in Paul’s mind.

He then goes on to tell the church not to let anyone deceive them in any way.  He doesn’t want anybody to push them off track and out of the truth.

He shares that they haven’t missed the coming of the Lord.  Certain things must happen before the return of Christ.

As an apostle, Paul knew that it wasn’t even going to be in his lifetime, because Jesus had already told this to His apostles, and Paul was in contact with them.  I have no doubt that he knew Jesus’ teaching on this subject.  Jesus had taught His apostles that they wouldn’t be alive on the earth at the time of His return.  (Luke 17:22-25)

Without even checking into it, he could tell that the letter that was causing all of the fuss in Thessalonica was a false teaching.  It was not to be taken seriously.

The question most of us want to ask is; “What kind of things will happen before Christ appears?”  The answer to that question will help us to see how close we are to the end.

He says, first of all, that there’s going to be a rebellion that occurs.  So we must ask ourselves; what’s the rebellion?

The Greek word there literally means a defection from the truth.  We’re not in the Last Days until people turn away from the truth.  Personally, I believe this has been fulfilled already.  I believe the defection from the truth is what we look back on now and call the Dark Ages.

At that point, the true Church was just a little, tiny flicker of a spark.  During that time in history, there was a great falling away from the truth.  But, since then, God has been restoring the things that were lost.

The Lord has started restoring evangelism, teaching on healing, tongues, and faith to the Church.  That’s why I believe that we have already gone through that falling away and are preparing for the final harvest.

Question: How close do you think we are to the return of Christ?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2018 in Encouragement, Return of Christ, Revival

 

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