Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; he had two horns like a lamb, but he sounded like a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He also performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth before people. - Revelation 13:11-13 HCSB

One of the most frightening trends I see in Christianity today is the tendency to emphasize the emotional and experiential aspects of religious awe. I find this terrifying because I believe it is one of the needed steps toward the worship of another – notably the Antichrist.

Wicked people, under evil spiritual influences, try to get humans to accept their teachings by appearing to adhere to the same beliefs their targetsdo. In the case of the False Prophet, he will look like a lamb but sound like a dragon. As our Master stated, “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves.”[1] This is why we must not believe every spirit, but test them to determine if they are from God.[2] It’s not that I’m advocating a paranoid or suspicious attitude. We should eagerly welcome teaching on worship and prayer but examine the Scriptures daily to see if the things we are being taught are actually so.[3]

One of the teachings we hear a lot today is that since God is all around and in us, we should seek to “feel” His presence within as we pray. We are told that we should think of God, or visualize God either in us or in the room with us. We are urged to use our imagination in this manner so that we can more fully realize His presence. This will seem particularly comforting to some believers, especially when they are in a crisis but since when are our emotions the most reliable guide – especially in times of grief?

Here’s the problem. If you can localize God “within you” and worship Him, if you can localize God “within the room” and worship Him, what’s to stop you from localizing Him “within another” and worshipping Him? What’s to stop you from localizing Him in a certain building or tree for that matter?

The emotional appeal of this technique will be particularly difficult to resist as one watches another heal from a fatal wound only to perform great signs and cause fire to come down from heaven. In that moment, when we are asked by a False Prophet to worship a conquering hero, we must cling to the Scriptural teaching: will God indeed live on earth? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain Him, much less any temple we may fashion.[4]

[1] Matthew 7:15

[2] 1 John 4:1-2

[3] Acts 17:11

[4] 1 Kings 8:27; 2 Chronicles 2:6; Acts 7:48-49