"But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, 'This man is the great power of God.' And they heeded him BECAUSE HE HAD ASTONISHED THEM with his sorceries for a long time." Acts 8:9-11 Deception... A very dangerous thing to do is to believe that every supernatural sign or wonder is "the great power of God." What would you do if you saw miracles? Would you believe that the person creating the "miracle" was a "great power of God” as they did? It's vitally important to get this straight because "the last days" are prophesied to be characterized by deception. When the disciples asked Jesus what would be the signs of his coming, hear the first thing he said: "Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?' And Jesus answered and said to them: 'TAKE HEED THAT NO ONE DECEIVES YOU.'" Matthew 24:4 The first and most important thing needed to know about the last days is that it's going to be a time of great deception. And so it is! How are people deceived? They are deceived when they see something supernatural and automatically assume that it is of God. Brothers and sisters, not every sign and not every wonder is of God. In fact, signs and wonders can be so powerful that they could deceive even believers: vs 24: “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to DECEIVE, if possible, EVEN THE ELECT." Consider some of the signs and wonders of our generation. Take, for example, the "apparitions of Mary." A supernatural appearance of someone supposedly from heaven happens in front of people and they just naturally believe it's from God. No, these apparitions are absolutely NOT from God. The person appearing in the apparitions is NOT Mary the mother of Jesus. How do we know? We know by what the apparition says. She tells people to wear images of herself, she wants shrines built in her honor. No one from heaven would ever say such a thing. She draws people to put their faith in her, and makes promises of protection and favor and even salvation to whoever will wear the images of her. This is blasphemy. Even Jesus himself never told us to make images of him and build shrines to him. One of the chief characteristics of Satan is that he is a deceiver, and he deceives through supernatural acts. Apparitions are actually demonic beings directed by Satan himself. Satan's greatest desire is for people to worship him. He even tempted Jesus to worship him (Matthew 10:8-9), and Satan gets worship through these false apparitions that convince people of a lie. Because they saw an apparition, they will now bow down before images of that apparition, thinking it's Mary the mother of Jesus. The Scriptures call this idolatry. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; YOU SHALL NOT BOW DOWN to them nor serve them." Exodus 20:4-5 But all this doesn't mean that God doesn't do miracles. He surely does. He heals, he restores, he does wonders. So how will a believer be able to tell what is from God and what isn't? The believer must discern by what is said. If what is said contradicts Scripture, then the one performing the sign is NOT of God. GOD WILL NEVER CONTRADICT HIS WORD. "But even if we, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be ACCURSED." Galatians 1:8 Pretty strong language, showing how terrible this is in the eyes of God. Here is a very serious word for anyone left behind after the Rapture and who will live during the days of the Great Tribulation. Recognize Satan. Recognize the man Satan will empower during the Tribulation - the man we call "the Antichrist." He will do great signs and wonders: "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, WITH ALL POWER, SIGNS, AND LYING WONDERS..." 2 Thessalonians 2:9 This man will want worship. And he will be empowered by Satan to do the signs and wonders that will convince the people that he is the Messiah. Then he will go into the Temple and demand worship: "...who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." 2 Thessalonians 2:4 He isn't God. He is the Antichrist, embodied by Satan himself. If you're here then, recognize him for who he really is! Then refuse his mark on the hand or forehead, and refuse to bow to him. It will cost you your life, but will ensure your eternity. However ...those who do bow to him, will spend eternity in hell. Choose wisely.