Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Of course such behavior is not entirely unprecedented, historically speaking, but both the intensity and the pervasive nature of it seem to be particular markers of this day and age that many prophecy scholars agree may well be “end times,” aka “last days,” and “end of the Church Age,” as prophesied in the opening verses.
Suffice it to say, such “spiritual malware,” so to speak, can infect us not only in secular but also in spiritual circles. As prophesied in Paul’s letter to Timothy:
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Timothy 4:1)
So, also clearly, we need our discern-o-meters turned on high and our spiritual firewall in good working order, a firewall that is a supernatural protector to help block the bad programs and programming, one I would call the “Berean Firewall” (definition, below).
Fortunately, Jesus saw to that for us (also below).
FIREWALL: A firewall as in computer security is “the software that monitors traffic in and out of a private network or a personal computer and allows or blocks such traffic depending on its perceived threat (source).
Synonyms: barrier, bulwark, fireproof wall, fire wall, security system, wall, baffle, protective armour, bulkhead, cyber security.
BEREAN: a believer in the early Church located in Berea. As noted in Acts 17:11 (emphasis added):
The people of Berea were more open-minded than the people of Thessalonica. They were very willing to receive God’s message, and every day they carefully examined the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true.
You might say they had already installed a kind of firewall of protection around their minds and hearts as, even then, all sorts of temptations, lies, and demonic influences were infecting the Church.
THE BEREAN FIREWALL
By relying on that kind of “spiritual firewall,” God’s Word, the Bereans were less likely to succumb to the deceptive influences ever ready to infiltrate their minds and work their way into their hearts and spirits.
The necessity of guarding minds, hearts and spirits with knowledge of God’s Word is also cited here and goes for us, too:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Because, as David penned in the Psalms:
The sum of (God’s) word is truth… (119:160)
In chapter 4, v. 1-3, of John’s Gospel, he expands on how to recognize the deceptive spirits:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (emphasis added)
HOLY SPIRIT INSTALLED
Just as literal firewalls we purchase are installed into computers to filter out malware and spyware, we have the Holy Spirit, installed in us, as it were, when we are born again* to help us establish a spiritual barrier– bulwark, baffle, protective armour–against the thickening darkness of deceit and temptation swirling about in every nook and cranny of our world today, a world that is, prophetically speaking, fast falling into the soon-to-be-revealed hands of the Antichrist (whose spirit has preceded him, as noted in the verse above), who will be inhabited by the Father of Lies himself, Satan.
The spiritual firewall, however, was purchased for us by Jesus’ death on the cross.
After His death, resurrection, and ascension back into heaven to clear the path of reconciliation with God for us, He also sent another gift, the Holy Spirit, to remain with us as another advocate and helper. As He put it:
If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be[c] in you. (John 14:15-17)
When we yield to this Spirit, the “Advocate whom the Father (sent) in (Jesus’) name, no matter the intensity of the time we live in, He will “teach (us) all things and will remind (us) of everhything (Jesus) have said to (us)” (John 14:26).
Like the Bereans who firewalled the deceptions already abroad in the world of the early Christians by relying upon the bulwark of God’s Word, we are encouraged to use the same protection to cypher the error in the world today because the clarity and truth of God’s Spirit will ever–and forever–override the confusion and deception of the world’s wannabe god and his minions stirring up destruction down here.
I mean if you think about it, they keep trying but inevitably fail, as history attests.
Otherwise many moons ago humans would have been wiped off the face of the earth in evil’s quest for ultimate dominion and control.
In short, follow those Bereans.
For a little encouragement amid the fray, may I recommend this Word for starters:
Why do the nations conspire[a]
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains
and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.
He rebukes them in his anger
and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.” (Psalm 2:1-6, emphasis added to my favorite part)
Because, you see, a Very Wise Person once told me: “When the rubber meets the road, the issue will be Jesus Christ (the King) and Jesus Christ alone.
And He and all who choose to put their trust and faith in Him, win, in the end (as detailed in the back of The Book).
And our real enemy, & human cohorts, does NOT like that.
But at least for his human cohorts, the door of salvation is still open…
However, according to prophecy scholars, it may not be for much longer.
*For information on how to become born again and filled with the most powerful firewall, the Holy Spirit, who inhabits not only God’s people but also His Word, read here.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (Jesus, as quoted in John 14:27)