Summary: Don’t be deceived by false teachers. Don’t be fooled by their words. Don’t be fooled by their works, and don’t let them dominate your life.
Harold Urey, a nuclear physicist from the University of Chicago, played a key role in researching the potential of the atom. As a result, he was invited to speak all over the world. He had a chauffeur who took him to his various banquets and engagements, but before long he got tired of giving the same talk. So one night he came up with a novel idea.
He asked his chauffeur to change places with him. The chauffeur had heard the speech so many times that he was capable of giving it himself. Urey told the chauffeur, “No one knows what I look like and I think we could get away with it. You know the speech well enough now to give it like I do.”
So the next night, the chauffeur gave the speech. It was flawless. The chauffeur had done a magnificent job, but there was one hitch. The speech was followed by a question and answer session.
One pompous professor stood and asked a very technical question. Urey’s stomach knotted. He knew there was no way his chauffeur could possibly answer the question. The charade was about to be exposed.
However, the chauffeur remained steady and calm. He eyed the arrogant professor and said, “I’m very surprised that you would ask such an easy question. The answer is really quite simple. In fact, the answer is so obvious that I’m going to ask my chauffeur to answer it for you.” (Bible Illustrator)
Do you know that chauffeur was pretty smooth? And the Bible warns us of certain smooth-talking speakers. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). 1 John 4 says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
False prophets are dangerous deceivers, and they can come right into your home every day through your TV set, your radio, and the Internet. Be careful that you don’t believe everything you hear, because some of that stuff can ruin your life, even if it does come from an entertaining speaker with a lot of charisma.
In fact, there is coming a day when a great speaker will mesmerize the entire world. The Bible tells us the ultimate false prophet will have everybody fooled during the days of the Great Tribulation to come. He will cause the physical and spiritual ruin of many, and he illustrates how false teachers work today.
If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Revelation 13, Revelation 13, where we see this man in action and hopefully learn some things to keep ourselves from being fooled by smooth-talking charlatans today.
Revelation 13:11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. (ESV)
The first beast came out of the sea (vs.1). This beast comes out of the earth, and he is smooth. He looks like a harmless little lamb, but he is a fire-breathing dragon – his words will burn you in the end.
Revelation 13:12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. (ESV)
The first beast is the revived Roman Empire with its ruthless emperor, who dominates the world during the Great Tribulation. This second beast is his minister or propaganda, his PR man, like Goebbels was for Hitler. He will make the evil dictator, the antichrist himself, look good to the world. More than that, he will make him look like a god to the world, like the world’s savior.
This PR man for the antichrist will be so smooth, that people will worship the man who tyrannizes them. Lit., they will bow down and kiss the ground he walks on. This 2nd beast will make evil look good!
When I was a little boy, my mother would drag my sister, my brother and me around shopping all day. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do, but I always went along, because mom always stopped at a restaurant to get something to eat after she finished her shopping.
It was the best part of the whole day, especially if we went to a cafeteria! Those were the days before the big buffet restaurants, like the buffet at the Golden Coral, which are so popular today. In a cafeteria, you paid for each item you took, but the food was all laid out before you, and you could choose whatever you wanted.
On one such day, I chose spaghetti. It was close to the beginning of the food line, and I was hungry. Besides, it was and still is one of my favorite foods to eat. There is only one thing I like better than spaghetti, and that’s steak. And wouldn’t you know it, down the line was the best looking “steak” I had ever seen. The cafeteria employees had dressed it up to look so tender and juicy, it made your mouth water just to look at it.