The first thing I read from the Bible today was this verse: “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). It was timely for me to read this as Paul infers that there is an incorrect way to explain Scripture. This leads me to a question I was asked yesterday:

“Hi Pastor Rob, Gary Ablett Snr has posted a half-hour video on end times. He may be a bit off track with some of his views. I would be interested in your thoughts.” So, here are my thoughts.

Firstly, Gary was a fantastic footballer! Probably one of the greatest AFL players of all time. He is a four-time All-Australian and three-time Coleman Medallist. He was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame and was named in the AFL Team of the Century.

Now, I know a few things about football, and I could go on the Internet and find out more. But I would not upload a 27-minute video of me talking about footy. I’d leave that to Gary. But these days, every man and his dog can talk about the Bible, whether they’re qualified or not. They’ve done the research (read, google-search) and, as Gary says, “I haven’t said anything that I can’t back up with solid evidence.” The “solid evidence” turns out to be three messages from NZ evangelist, Barry Smith, who passed away in 2002.

In the 27-minute video titled What’s really going on and who’s behind it all,” Gary says, “I’ve studied a lot of end times Bible prophecy, and it’s all happening right now.” He talks about the Illuminati takeover of the world, a New World Order and the antichrist, and his belief that COVID-19 is human-made. My intentions for writing this blog are not to criticise Gary Ablett. He is my brother in Christ, and I don’t doubt his sincerity. But I believe he is sincerely wrong. So, let’s take a look at what the Bible says about these things as I seek to be one who “correctly explains the word of truth.”

End Times

The “end times” are frequently spoken of in evangelical/Pentecostal churches, but this expression is not found in the Bible. The Bible does talk about the last days, however: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Acts 2:15). These words were quoted from the prophet Joel by the apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost in AD 30. So, the last days began approximately 1,990 years ago. The writer of Hebrews says the last days began with Jesus (Hebrews 1:2). Are we living in the last days? Yes, we have been for quite a while!

Sadly, much of what has been taught about the so-called end times is frankly wrong. The foundation for “modern” Bible prophecy interpretation was laid in the 1800s by John Nelson Darby of the Plymouth Brethren. The 1909 publication of the Scofield Reference Bible caused Darby’s views to go mainstream.

John Nelson Darby became the Plymouth Brethren’s dominant personality but, in 1845, disputes over doctrine split the Brethren. Darby’s followers formed a closely-knit federation of churches and were known as Exclusive Brethren. This cult still exists today, although it has suffered further splits over the years. The “prince of preachers,” Charles Spurgeon, also claimed Darby’s teachings to be false. And so, much of the modern understanding of Bible prophecy originated from a heretical cult leader. These false interpretations of Scripture were then popularised by books and movies (like the Left Behind series) and perpetrated by many preachers.

The Illuminati

The Illuminati was founded in Bavaria on May 1, 1776. However, unlike Gary Ablett’s claims, they were not dedicated to global domination. Its purpose was to discuss what was at the time dangerously radical ideas (secularism and women’s rights). Carl Theodore, the Duke of Bavaria, banned the group in the summer of 1784, and three years later, the society was no more. Now, if you go online, you’ll find that you can join the Illuminati. There’s an address in Nigeria, and they want your money! Other than that, the Illuminati only exist in the minds of conspiracy Christians.

New World Order

Gary Ablett spoke of the “New world order” “so they can put Lucifer on the throne of the world.” The Bible doesn’t mention a new world order either by word or concept. It’s just not there!

In fact, the only thing that comes close to a new order is found in Hebrews 9:10: “They are only a matter of food and drink and various ceremonial washings—external regulations applying until the time of the new order.” Hebrews is a beautiful reflection on the Old and New Covenants (Testaments) and why the “New” is better than the “Old.” In chapter nine, the author compares the Old Covenant worship practices of animal sacrifice, various gifts & ceremonial washings with the New Covenant based on the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus ushered in a new order of worship. At the end of this age, God will create a new heaven and a new earth and lead us into a new era (Revelation 21-22; Mark 10:30).


Many Christians believe in the arrival of a man who will lead a one-world government that brings in the “New world order.” I wrote about this fictional character in a blog recently, so I won’t say too much here.

In short, anyone who opposes Christ is the antichrist. But these people are not the same as the Beast of Revelation 13, who is often mistakenly called the antichrist. The Beast is not a person – people rarely crawl out of the sea sporting seven heads with ten horns! The Beast is the Roman Empire of the first century which, amongst other things, persecuted God’s people, especially during the reign of Nero. Nero Caesar’s name has a numeric value of 666. It could be said that any world system that stands opposed to, and persecutes, followers of Jesus is an antichrist system. But a man who will lead a one-world government is a mythical figure and the figment of an overly fertile imagination!

COVID-19 manufactured

Gary Ablett says COVID-19 is Human-made and deliberately released to crash the global economy, introduce a cashless society, Mark of the Beast, WW3, and reduce the population to 500,000. Apparently, it will be easier for the Illuminati to control half a million people rather than 7.7 billion!

This conspiracy theory first surfaced in March, stating that COVID-19 was made by scientists and had escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began. On April 16, the U.S. government said it was investigating this possibility. A group of researchers compared the genome of this novel coronavirus with the seven other coronaviruses known to infect humans: “Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus.”

But why let the facts stand in the way of a good conspiracy!

Gary makes many other claims in his video:

Antichrist will make a seven-year peace treaty with Israel and the Arabic nations.

The Jews will rebuild their temple.

The antichrist will set up his image in the temple.

A global economy and cashless society are coming and will be controlled by the Illuminati.


Gary Ablett and I find strong agreement with his love for Jesus and looking forward to his return. Like Gary, I want to see people discover God’s love for them and the forgiveness and freedom that Jesus gives. But scaring people with baseless claims that vaccines will kill us and change our DNA forever (what both?) is not the Christian way.

Times of crisis, including Pandemics, always see a rise in conspiracy theories. And so, what we’re witnessing now is nothing new.

Consider the yellow fever outbreak in the USA in the late 1700s. We now know that Yellow Fever is a mosquito-borne virus probably carried to the US from Africa via the slave trade. But at the time, all sorts of theories were circulated. Some said it came from the vapour of rotting vegetables or the ash of a volcanic eruption in Sicily. It wasn’t until 1901 when Army physician Walter Reed demonstrated that yellow fever came from a mosquito bite, and a vaccine did not appear until 1937.

Blame the Illuminati

When medical science can’t immediately provide all the answers, some people will make up their own. In the late 1700s, conspiracies abounded about a secret Cabal named, The Illuminati, which was behind the pandemic.

Now, an actual group called the Illuminati was founded in Bavaria on May 1, 1776. They were not dedicated to global domination. Its purpose was to discuss what was at the time dangerously radical ideas (secularism and women’s rights). Carl Theodore, the Duke of Bavaria, banned the group in the summer of 1784, and three years later, the society was no more. That should have been the end of it, but sadly that’s not the case.

Historical Hysterics

In 1890, the New York Herald European edition ran an item suggesting that the electric light was somehow responsible for a global influenza outbreak.

The 1918 flu pandemic was blamed on German Submarines. In the 14th Century, the Bubonic plague was blamed on the Jews, acting on behalf of the Muslim prince of Grenada, who had bribed the lepers to contaminate public fountains and wells to kill the Christians.

Fast forward to 2020, and we’re inundated with fake news and conspiracies about the Deep State, 5G, vaccines, and face masks.

Fake News

In March, Facebook rated as false more than forty million posts about the pandemic. Many of these posts are shared countless times by well-meaning people who don’t take the time to check their facts. I’ve been inundated with these during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider the following conspiracies that are all incorrect:

  • The virus emerged from a secret laboratory outside Wuhan, China.
  • The coronavirus vaccine already exists and is being withheld.
  • Bill Gates is out to plant a chip in people using the vaccine.
  • The swab test for COVID-19 plants a chip in the roof of the nasal cavity.
  • The United States government created the virus.
  • The metal wire in some face masks is really a 5G antenna.
  • Directives to wear face masks are illegal, and the fines are also unlawful.
  • Businesses refusing cash are part of the push towards a cashless society and one-world government.
  • Forbidding churches to meet is a sign of targeted suppression of the church.
  • The introduction of 5G broadband and radiation from cell towers equipped with 5G technology is the real culprit.
  • Plus, the virus doesn’t exist, it’s harmless, it’s an excuse to limit our freedom; it’s being used for population control to stop global warming (which doesn’t exist either).

These and other statements that are circulated on social media as facts are simply wrong. What’s needed is wisdom, caution, and diligence. Christian people should be leading in the spreading of truth rather than dissemination of conspiracy rubbish.

Check the Facts

Rather than blindly believing and sharing, take time to do due diligence. Make use of fact-checking organisations like PolitiFact, Snopes, Media Bias/Fact check, and others. And be aware of what kind of website you’re gleaning information from. I’ve seen people quote The Babylon Bee, The Borowitz Report, or Weekly World News to prove a point. These are satirical sites that deliberately produce tongue-in-cheek articles. They use parody, mockery, or sarcasm and are not meant to be taken literally.

You Shall Not Lie

After all, what is a conspiracy theory but a lie? It comprehensively and grievously violates the Ninth Commandment. “You shall not bear false witness,” a command that forbids “Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbour.”

A conspiracy theorist bears false witness against his neighbours — against his fellow citizens. He accuses them of grievous sins, he destroys their good name and can even incite violence. Christians should be above such things but sadly are often the ones who are deceived by them and broadcast them to others.

Mandatory Masks

I’ll finish with a comment on wearing face masks. In Victoria, mask-wearing is now mandatory (from 11.59pm Wednesday, July 22). The wearing of masks has been heavily politicised in the USA. In Australia, I’ve already seen (even Christian) people react to this mandate from the State government: “Directives to wear face masks are illegal, and the fines are also illegal,” wrote a Christian evangelist on Facebook this week. This is simply wrong. Making masks mandatory is not against the law. Under Australian law, private landowners or occupiers can take reasonable steps to protect themselves, their employees, and people on their property. So, it is legal for businesses – including cafes and supermarkets – to make it a condition of entry that customers wear a mask and sanitise their hands.

This law is similar to the ones that mandate wearing a seatbelt when in a vehicle, having appropriate clothing before admittance to some venues, or the “No hat no play” rule in schools. Wearing masks is a directive of the Chief Medical Officer and needs to be followed. Failure to comply can lead to a fine. There’s nothing illegal about it. It’s for your good and the good of others.

While some people will be exempt from wearing a mask for medical reasons, most people will need to wear one. It’s a small, temporary inconvenience that can save lives and slow the spread of this virus.

Christians need to lead the way, loving their neighbour as themselves. Please, don’t mistake the inconvenience for oppression. And PLEASE stop buying into and spreading lies.

It’s a question I thought I should get some feedback on before taking things any further.  It all came about when I recently received an email from The Order of Illuminati’s League of Billionaires (I presume they are the billionaires because I’m certainly not).  According to this email I am now amongst the privileged few to belong to the one percent that controls the other ninety nine percent.”  Because of this my “destiny to wealth and greatness has today been fulfilled by The Great Owl.”  It goes on …

“You have been cleansed and picked amongst the struggling billions of humans and have today been set aside for greatness, fame and unending gratification.  You are amongst the chosen ones and will someday rule your country.  The Owl welcomes you to the Table of the Privileged.  Welcome to The Order Of Illuminati.”

The invitation was sent by Prof. Sylvie Letreux (Zone HQ Rec, The Order of Illuminati) and gives an email address in the USA.  As soon as I respond I will be initiated into the Secret Order and then I “will immediately be assigned a Sponsor. A Sponsor is an Older Member that will invest in your Business, Organization, and Projects in Millions to bring you up to sudden Fame and Limelight. Your Sponsor can also wish to give you a famous job in a Globally recognized Organization upto the Level of a Director. The Baseline is to bring you up to Fame and Peace.”  All I need to do is send my C.V. to the Illuminati email address.  So, should I join the Illuminati?  I’m thinking “no” for three reasons:

Firstly, the email is obviously a scam.  The spelling and grammar is terrible and most certainly not written by an educated or wealthy person.  I didn’t click on the email address because it probably contains a virus.  At the very least it smacks of a scam from somewhere in Eastern Europe or North Africa.  This may sound obvious but Australians lost $229 million to scams in 2015.

Secondly, the promises of “sudden” wealth, greatness, power, fame and unending gratification appeal to our base human nature that is at war with the spiritual nature we receive in Christ (Galatians 5:17).  While God is certainly not against these things (there are plenty of godly people who are famous, wealthy and powerful) they should not be things we seek in and of themselves.  As the Bible warns, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced (Lit. crucified) themselves with many griefs.”   Wealth, greatness, power and fame are huge responsibilities and unless you have the character to undergird them, they can ruin you and others.

My third reason for not joining the Illuminati is that it simply doesn’t exist – at least not any more.  The Bavarian Illuminati was an Enlightenment-era secret society founded in 1776 to oppose superstition, the restriction of information, religious influence over public life and abuses of government power.  It took the Owl of Minerva (The Great Owl) as its symbol, according to Greek and Roman mythology, was a mark of knowledge and wisdom.  At its peak the Illuminati had about 650 members (although some in the group claimed it was more like 2,500).  The Bavarian Illuminati was plagued by internal power struggles, indiscretions and divisions and eventually declined in the late 1700s.

In the centuries since that time the existence of the Illuminati has been written and spoken about by a number of people, not least some Christian ministers and ministries.  But there is little or no evidence of it being a large, secret organisation that controls banks, businesses and governments all working behind the scenes to bring about a New World Order.  Christians who believe and teach this have a very unorthodox view of Scripture and Bible prophecy that is based more upon novels like The Left Behind and The Last Jihad series rather than the Bible.  While these may be a good read they do very little (other than entertain the reader and make the author very rich) to increase one’s knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.

Today there are some small groups that claim to be descended from the Bavarian Illuminati but they are anything but secret.  In fact they publicise this in order to gain more members.

The email from the “Illuminati” finished as follows:

“This is your Destiny. You had a strange dream recently. It was the Owl that visited you.”  Indeed I often have strange dreams but they usually follow a late dinner of a pizza with too much cheese!  As for what The Great Owl thinks?  I couldn’t give two hoots!