Howling Imposters

Jesus warned his disciples about coming “deceivers,” “false Anointed Ones,” and “false prophets” intent on misleading them, warnings reiterated and expanded in the writings of the Apostles. He began his Olivet Discourse with the stern warning - “Beware lest anyone deceive you,” for “MANY” deceivers would come and “deceive MANY.”

Charlatans have come in his name, “deceived many,” and otherwise slithered their way into the Body of Christ over the centuries, targeting the “Elect” for deception, and even using “signs and wonders” to hoodwink as many disciples of Jesus as possible - (Matthew 24:4-11, 24:23-24, 24:26).

Wolf Howling - Photo by Анатолий Чесноков on Unsplash
[Photo by Анатолий Чесноков on Unsplash]

Their lies include false information about the return of Jesus, claiming that he “
is here” or “there,” “in the wilderness” or “in the secret place.” They set false expectations about the imminence of that day, declaring time and again that the “season has drawn near.” They arrogate to themselves the knowledge that even the “Son of Man” does not possess - (Matthew 24:23-26, Luke 21:8).

They spread rumors about “wars,” earthquakes, and similar calamities, pointing to them as “signs” of the rapidly approaching “End.” Nevertheless, wars, seismic activities, and famines occur regularly, however, they are not indicators by which we may calculate the proximity of the last day.  As Jesus said, the “End is not yet” - (Matthew 24:4-6).

The activities of deceivers spread “lawlessness” and turmoil in the Body of Christ. So much so that the “love of many grows cold,” causing many saints to forsake the Apostolic teachings and traditions preserved in the New Testament.

The warnings of Jesus are echoed in Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians when he described the coming “Man of Lawlessness” whom he links to the “Apostasy.” He will be energized by Satan and employ “signs and lying wonders” to deceive many. He will “seat himself in the Sanctuary of God,” the naos theou, a term Paul elsewhere applies to the Church.

His deceptions and supernatural signs will cause many to perish because they “welcomed not the love of the truth.” The key to avoiding this apostasy is to “hold fast” to the teachings of the Apostles – (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

Paul warned Timothy that in the Last Days, Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons.” Sound teaching will be rejected since many believers will prefer bizarre experiences, sensationalism, and esoteric knowledge over the rock-solid principles of Scripture - “Having itching ears, they will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts and will turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to fables - (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 4:3).

Moreover, “evil men and HOWLING IMPOSTERS will become worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” The Greek term translated as “howling imposters” or goétes originally referred to what anthropologists would label ‘sorcerers,’ ‘witchdoctors,’ and ‘shamans,’ practitioners of rituals and incantations intended to manipulate spiritual beings, and often accompanied by moanings and loud utterances - (1 Timothy 4:1, 2 Timothy 3:13, 4:3).


Peter likewise warned of false prophets who would infiltrate the Body of Christ, coming to prominence in the Last Days when they will fleece the flock of God:

  • But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their lascivious doings by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of. And in covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” – (2 Peter 2:1-3).

They will be driven by the desire for financial gain, “making merchandise” of the saints. The description fits the popular ‘Prosperity Gospel’ quite well, a deception whereby preachers promise unwary believers material abundance and good health if they give money generously to their “ministry,” a seductive lie but “destructive” heresy.

Snake Slithering - Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash
[Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash]

The warnings of the New Testament are consistent. Rather than promise any final super revival, endless good times, and prosperity to the Church, Jesus along with his Apostles warned of the coming Apostasy and the invasion of the Church by many deceivers and “
false prophets.”

While the Body of Christ has been plagued with false teachers since its inception, there has been an increase in their numbers and effectiveness in recent years. They have flooded the Church with covetousness, degraded and perverted the Gospel into a narcissistic self-improvement program, and imported occult ideas, terms, and practices into the Body of Christ, including mysticism, astrology, numerology, and other forms of divination.

The warnings of Jesus, Paul, and Peter are unfolding before our eyes, and apostasy is well underway as they predicted. Only time will tell if this is the final “great falling away” and the time for the appearance of the “Lawless One.” In the meantime, are we heeding the many clear warnings of the New Testament?

  • Seated in the Sanctuary - (The Man of Lawlessness will be unveiled when he seats himself in the House of God - 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
  • The Apostasy - (Paul warned the Thessalonians of the future apostasy which he linked to the unveiling of the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Destruction)
  • Stand Fast! - (Believers prepare for the Apostasy and the coming Man of Lawlessness by standing firm in the apostolic tradition)



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