Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast. – Revelation 13:11-14. (Bold Emphasis Mine).
Miracles, signs and wonders! What an age we live in! Mankind has always been enthralled by spectacular sights and sounds and those things which catch the senses a little off-guard. Today especially we live in a time when the sensational is almost addictive, to say the least.
Whether it’s in our sports, no matter the sport; the more exciting the better, and especially when we are witnesses to feats of prowess and spectacle. All a person today has to do is a little research to see just how much the economy is affected by major sports like football, basketball, hockey, boxing, auto racing and even the Olympics. Watch any televised event and you’re sure to see stadiums completely full of spectators that paid top dollar for the opportunity to witness the event.
If you are able to ask any of them or possibly take a survey, see how many are there hoping to see something out of the ordinary, something beyond spectacular. The number of people who admit that is pretty high, I would imagine.
Another arena of course is the entertainment industry. Especially today with the state of the art technology applied in special effects, you can make just about anything seem not just real and alive onscreen, but beyond amazing when compared to the real world. Explosions are bigger, more dramatic, flights of fantasy take you to places most minds can’t imagine, action greater and more heroic than anything the average person ever sees in their lifetime. No wonder theaters and especially studios are always competing for the next biggest and greatest box-office event. It’s literally a race to see who will garner the next largest payday and we the public are the ones spurring the studios on.
The spectacular and sensational has so captivated our societies that if we can’t have it on the big screen, in the big arena, then we will purchase the biggest television set with the greatest sound system so that we can experience in our homes anytime we want. The greater the sensation and the more of it, the better.
It truly reminds me of someone who is addicted to something. Those addicted to alcohol or drugs find that after the initial few times of feeling “sensational” it takes more of the product to get the same results and then more and more after that. So it seems with our lives in general. Each event, has to outdo the last one or we lose interest quickly, so we push the promoters to give us something more, something greater. Like drugs or alcohol, our bodies, our minds, our SENSES become acclimated to each succeeding dose to the degree that we just have to have more.
I’m sure giving in to the senses has been our weakness leading to our spiritual downfall ever since the very beginning. After all, if it wasn’t for the fact that the forbidden fruit “was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise,” I’m sure that Eve wouldn’t have tried it and then given it to Adam to try, no matter what that old serpent said (Genesis 3:6). Yep, I truly believe that we are always searching for that next great sensation.
Of course, it didn’t stop there. All through the Bible and the history of mankind and especially concerning the ancient Israelites, we see the evidence of their natures being carried away by the newest and most forbidden sensation. They were constantly looking to false gods, idols made of stone, wood and metals for their next great “fix” even though they had all the miracles enacted right before their eyes for so very long.
Which leads me to a type and shadow of what is to come in the future. We saw it in Pharoah’s court during the time that God called Moses to lead the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. That story can of course be found in Exodus chapters 7-8. When Moses and Aaron finally confront the Pharoah, demanding that he free God’s people from slavery, Moses and Aaron performed miracles to confirm that their message was not from themselves, but rather from the God they served. I’m sure Pharoah was a bit impressed that these simple people could do “magic” like that but on three occasions, Pharoah’s magicians appeared to duplicate the same things. So in a way, Pharoah didn’t get “excited” enough to change his mind.
So you might be asking how the magicians of Pharoah’s court could duplicate the same signs that Moses and Aaron performed? For that I went to Got Questions.com which had a very concise answer that I love.
There are two possible answers to this question. The first is that the magicians received their power from Satan. Although not as powerful as God, Satan, formerly one of God’s highest angels, has the power to deceive, emulate miracles, and even tell the future with a certain degree of accuracy (see Luke 4; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Acts 16:16–18). Satan may have given Pharaoh’s magicians the power to duplicate some of the signs God performed through Moses and Aaron.
The second option, and the more probable, is that the magicians simply created illusions. Through sleight-of-hand and conjurer’s tricks, they deceived their audience into believing that they were performing the same miracles as Moses and Aaron. The first illusion, that of turning the staffs into snakes, may have been performed by snake charming, which was widely practiced in ancient Egypt (and even some today). There was a way in which snake charmers could cause a snake to stiffen like a staff and relax on command. Since the magicians were summoned after Aaron threw down his own staff, they would have had time to prepare the trick in advance. As for turning the Nile to blood, only dye is needed to make water run red. The frogs may be a more complicated illusion, but, just as modern illusionists can pull rabbits out of hats, Pharaoh’s magicians could have summoned frogs.
Whether they were creating illusions or performing actual miracles, the Egyptian magicians were eventually stymied by God’s power. They were unable to summon gnats (Exodus 8:16–19), turn the sky dark (Exodus 10:21–23), call down hailstones (Exodus 9:22–26), or duplicate any of the other plagues. God’s power is great enough to defeat both man’s conniving and Satan’s power with ease.
Now Paul wrote to Timothy, his protégé concerning situations and circumstances like this.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was. – 2 Timothy 3:1-9 (Bold Emphasis Mine).
Pharaoh’s magicians were ultimately exposed as failures when they opposed the truth. But, you might be asking what does this have to do with anything? It’s a fair question. Pharoah wasn’t impressed in the least, at first. It was only after the miracles and signs became greater and more fantastic that he finally believed, but even then, he hardened his heart and he reneged on his agreement with Moses and Aaron and then took out after them to his own destruction.
There’s coming a time most likely in the very near future if the things we see around us in the world are any indication in which the same or nearly the same situation as what Pharoah went through will affect this world. The sad truth of the matter is that the world in it’s present state is ripe for deception! The world is looking for something sensational. The church isn’t giving it to them and so just like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the world is telling the true church, show us a sign from Heaven if what you say is true. We can only give them the very same answer that Jesus did because they are not wanting to depend on FAITH which it takes to enter into Christ Jesus’ Redemption.
Jesus told the religious leaders back then and I believe the Holy Spirit is telling the world and the religious who are in love with the things of the world the very same thing for the very same reason:
But He sighed deeply in His spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation.” – Mark 8:12.
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given . . .” – Matthew 12:39; Luke 11:29.
Jesus had already demonstrated countless miracles yet the religious crowds wanted something more sensational, something coming from Heaven to prove His claims. The sad truth is, they wouldn’t have accepted Him even then, just as Pharoah rejected the truth. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day could also cast out demons and such evidently, so to them Jesus’ miracles weren’t sensational enough and yet when He healed the blind and cured leprosy, their only concern was Him doing it on the Sabbath! God was manifesting Himself in front of them and they were too blind to see.
We have someone right now most likely in the shadows, just around the corner, waiting for his opportunity to deceive and his deception will be great and supremely sensational!
The False Prophet will have the power to perform great miracles. Imagine the astonishment of all on earth as great streaks of fire blaze across the sky.
The False Prophet will counterfeit God’s miracles by calling down fire from heaven (Revelation 13:13). In the Old Testament, calling down fire from heaven was often used to execute God’s judgment. Fire and brimstone fell on Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19:24. In Leviticus 10:1-2, fire consumed Aaron’s sons when they violated God’s commands. Elijah triumphed over the prophets of Baal when the fire of the Lord fell from heaven and consumed his sacrifice (1 Kings 18:38). And during the Tribulation, fire will proceed from the mouths of God’s witnesses (Revelation 11:3-6). Whatever God does, Satan is the master counterfeiter.
To a large extent, the Christian Church of today has increasingly placed emphasis on things like worldly prosperity, political activism, media attention, and emotional religious experiences. Meanwhile, emphasis on solid Biblical doctrine has been steadily declining. This has created an environment ripe for deception, and the prophecies indicate that the deception will be successful:
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie. – 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11.
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. – 2 Timothy 3:13.
My point and my concern is this; I truly believe God is still performing miracles EVERYDAY through His Holy Spirit and it just takes our eyes to be opened and our ears to hear them. They aren’t all sensational in the sense of being “in your face” so to speak. You have to have a heart for the Lord to recognize and realize them and many of them are also spiritual, but they are all around us.
We have God’s Word to instill faith within us, to encourage us, to enable us no matter the circumstances that surround us, but if we are a people that is always going to be looking for and trying to identify the next great sensational sign from Heaven, then we are no different, none whatsoever than that wicked and perverse generation that Jesus came to reach.
Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and He has risen already and is living and ready to come back. His Word says that, it is His promise and that of the Father’s to His children. The only sign I am truly looking for is the sound of the trumpet and a mighty shout of Jesus calling His children to meet Him in the air. It could happen at any moment. There are no signs preceding the event. We are told to be ready and watching and the Apostle Paul goes so far as to say, Therefore comfort one another with these words. – 1 Thessalonians 4:18.
Don’t be deceived, as Christians, disciples of Jesus, test the spirits to see if they are of God. The Lord freely gives His children discernment. So, I’m comforting you with these words, and as James writes in his Epistle, Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. – James 5:7-8.