Summary: What pleases the ear is not always sound doctrine; yet, what pleases the ear is what people want to hear. What is sound doctrine regarding Jesus' return?
Illustration: What sounds good does not always end up being good.
By the time the Nazis came to power in January 1933, the German people were totally fed-up with the incompetence and corruption of law enforcement under the Weimar Republic. Hitler, on the other hand, posed as a champion of law and order, and he dynamically promised to bring order out of chaos. The police, and most of the people, wanted to see crime brought under control; and thus, they embraced Hitler’s promise of an empowered police force, which was supported by a strong centralized government. Hitler was true to his word; under the Nazi government, police became more professional, better coordinated, and more effective. Crime, which had been rampant under the Weimar Republic, was brought under control and eventually it was almost totally wiped out by the Nazis.
As a part of the Nazi plan for improving local law enforcement they slowly made it an arm of the central government and they shielded the police from excessive public criticism by encouraging the press to be a bit more positive. The people did not object to this; after all, we find happy news to be preferred over negative news. The Nazis also gave the people a sense of security by augmenting local police manpower with paramilitary organizations, which were much like our Department of Homeland Security. The Nazis heightened law enforcement effectiveness through government funding and through the establishment of a process of centralized control and communications. The central government also became very active in police training and even embedded government people in all local police forces, which is exactly what our federal government is doing. All of this made the police far more effective and crime went down significantly: most of the people were happy with the new law enforcement.
What Hitler promised the people sounded so good against the backdrop of crime and chaos plaguing the German public. The German people felt helpless in a world of organized crime, drugs, rape, murder, and extortion; and, when Hitler promised them total security in exchange for a minimal loss of freedoms the people welcomed him with open arms. The people greedily accepted Hitler’s promises without ever considering the consequences. Yes, Hitler’s police force did lower crime. In a short time, however, local police became an arm of the central government and they were given almost free reign in conducting arrests, incarceration, and the treatment of prisoners. In time, the wonderful sounding words of Hitler, which had made the people so happy, turned into chains that totally bound the people. In fact, the police were even given the right to take "preventive action," that is, to make arrests without the evidence required for a conviction in court; actually, court supervision became a thing of the past. Hitler’s promises sounded so good, and the initial results of having Nazi police was very positive, but in time Germany became a prison instead of a country. So you see; what sounds good is not always what is good.
The promise of a pleasant end-times
It is common for a man to desire praise, which is exactly the weakness a fast talking car salesman will use to sell a man what he does not need. It is also common for a woman to hunger for romance, which is exactly the weakness a silver tongued devil will use to seduce her. We are all vulnerable to that which sounds good; it does not matter if you are a sports fan, who wants to hear their team praised, or if you are philosopher, who wants people to recognize your wisdom. All of us are subject to being influenced by those who will tell us some version of what we want to hear. Let’s face it; a Svengali could not sell worthless snake oil if it were not for the fact that people will eagerly believe what is pleasing to their ears.
A successful silver tongued preacher will take the time to know people, and then preach exactly what it is people want to hear. In most situations hearing what we want to hear is relatively beguine, as far as our life is concerned. There are preachers who know people want a “Santa Claus god” and so they preach a fairly harmless foolish like “name it and claim it.” There are times, however, when preachers influence people to believe something that can eventually have a major impact on their relationship with God. Right now, we are living in a time when people are caught up in a relatively new doctrine, one that could dramatically impact their eternal life. The doctrine itself is not heresy, but in adopting this doctrine people are subconsciously being told to ignore other parts of scripture. That is right; preachers are telling people what they want to hear and in so doing they are ignoring instructions for us to be prepared.