Deception: A Characteristic Of The End-Times
Warnings Against End-time Deception (Mt. 24:3-4)
Miraculous signs do not necessarily prove a message true
How Does Deception Enter?
Primarily through pride. Behind all deception is pride. It opens us up to deception.
Examples of pride opening the door to deception:
The pattern of Lucifer: pride of beauty and wisdom ⇒ turned in rebellion ⇒ ended in deception
Lure of Cults: “We are a super group. The real overcomers. Join us”, “The church did not get it done so here we are. We are going to get the job done”. “If you want to be right you will join us”, “You shall be as God”. Usually critical of previous generations and Christians but don’t produce the fruits. This appeals to pride.
Error Through Prophecy
- All prophecy should be judged by the standard of Scripture. Let 2 or 3 prophets speak and let the others judge (1 Cor. 14:29 ) Do not quench the Holy Spirit. Test it and hold on to what is good (1 Thes. 5:19-21). Do not let prophecy terrorize or dictate to you. Prophets are not dictators.
- All prophets should be willing to be judged by the standard of Scripture (Isa. 8:19-20). Any prophet who is not willing to be judged by the standard of Scripture should not prophecy.
- Warning against occult seances (Isa. 8:19-20)
Examples Of Being Mislead By Prophecy
- Going beyond proportion of faith (Rom. 12:6) – People who start in faith, get puffed up and go beyond their faith. For example: “There is going to be a great revival – and it’s going to start in our church”. The first may be true but the second part may not be true. Don’t go beyond your allotted faith. Do not be so exhilarated that you depart from what the word of God and the Scripture and the Holy Spirit actually give you.
- Various different kinds of fortune telling. (A divining spirit – Acts 16:16-19) – A prophecy that was true but not from God. Every word she said was true but it was a divining spirit talking. Fortune telling is ultimately a lie mixed in with the truth. The truth is the bait that gets you hooked to receive the lie (a snare). Don’t be mislead by the idea that “If it’s true then it must be from God”.
- A church holds a bazaar and has a fortune teller. The pastor went in to have his fortune told and the fortune teller says that his wife is going to get cancer. The wife gets cancer but fortunately with the help of prayer and medicine she eventually gets healed. She spoke the truth but it wasn’t from God.
- A christian woman went to a fortune teller and the fortune teller tells her she is going to be a widow “your husband will be killed in an accident”. Less than 2 years later the husband is killed in a traffic accident. The woman was tormented with guilt… “Did I open the way for my husband to be killed by going to that fortune teller”.
- A personal experience: A spiritist confesses to Derek Prince that she has repented and is being prayed for for deliverance. During a short break during the deliverance meeting, she suddenly says “I see you in a car and it’s wrecked against a tree”. Being on guard Derek Prince says “You divining spirit, I am not going to be in any car that is going to be wrecked against a tree. I don’t accept that”. Derek Prince reiterates “I am inclined to believe that if I had accepted it, it would have happened. It was Satan’s destiny for me. Just as you can receive God’s destiny by opening up to what He says, you can receive Satan’s destiny by opening up to what he says”. Don’t accept Satan’s destiny for your life.
- A businessman gets into the occult: He was in his office phoning long distance to a lady who was a spiritist. She was persuading him that she knew things by supernatural means. So he said to her “Tell me what’s behind me right now in my office”. She said: “A camel”. He had a big picture behind him of a camel in his office and that convinced him “This woman’s got the truth”. And he became involved in the occult.
- Persons with both true and false spirits. One is the Holy Spirit and the other is not. A person who gets an interpretation – sometimes it’s right on and at other times it’s off. Sometimes has the right Spirit and sometimes another spirit. If you mix the two spirits and don’t eliminate the wrong one, ultimately it will corrupt the work of the good one. When serving the Lord do not mix 2 kinds of things (Deut. 22:9-11). Sow your vineyard with mixed seeds and you get a crop that God does not accept as holy. Wearing partly linen and partly wool and you are in 2 different spiritual worlds. Linen is a type of spiritual purity. Wool is a type of human effort that generates sweat. We have to examine ourselves. Are we sowing with mixed seed? Is there the good and also the false? Am I wearing a mixed garment? Partly the righteousness of Jesus and partly my own fleshly nature. Ultimately, the blessing of God will not remain on that which is pure and impure mixed.
How To Be Free From Deception
- It is only by God’s mercy that we can be faithful (1 Cor. 7:25). We are dependent on the mercy of the Lord. When we become arrogant and self-confident that we can do without God’s mercy we are in great danger of being deceived.
- Cultivate humility and fear of the Lord (Ps. 25:8-9, 12-14). God teaches the humble. All true wisdom and all true knowledge both proceed out of the fear of the Lord (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7). The condition for receiving truth from God is humility and the fear of the Lord. There are many blessings attached to the fear of the Lord.
- Base everything on the Scriptures – first the general revelation which is in the Scripture, then we can seek for special revelation (personal). We are not entitled to expect personal revelation if we are not living in general revelation. A person has no right to go to a prophet for a word from God if he is not living in the revealed truth of Scripture. If you live according to the general revelation then you can expect personal revelation when you need it. But if you ignore the general you are insulting God. “God give me a special word”. God says, “Why don’t you read my Bible”. A Christian who ignores his Bible has no right to hear from God.
- Focus on Jesus (Rev. 19:10). It’s the essential nature of prophecy. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit (the essence) of prophecy. All true prophecy in one way or another points us to Jesus. True of every prophecy in the Old Testament and should be true of every prophecy given by the Holy Spirit in the church. It should point us to Jesus and exalt Jesus. The Holy Spirit will glorify Jesus in the church. Concentrate on everything that glorifies Jesus and the Holy Spirit will be happy to be there. Anything that diverts peoples attention from Jesus and turns them off into secondary issues and does not give glory to Jesus is not from the Holy Spirit. A sure test. You may make a lot of noise in church but do not glorify Jesus (John 16:13-14)
- Leave the initiative with God (John 5:30). Sit there quietly and let God give you revelation when and where He pleases. Jesus said, “As I hear I judge”. The pattern of Jesus is to hear then judge. Don’t get ahead of God. Guard yourself from pride. A weaned child waits for mother to give food at the appropriate time (Ps. 131),
- Beware of fantasy. There is a spirit of fantasy taking millions of people over mainly through TV. Young people today don’t know if what they are seeing is real or fantasy. Stay within the guardrail of Scripture if you have a vivid fantasy. Fascinate: from the Latin word which means bewitch.
- Keep it simple and plain. Don’t be super-spiritual. Keep it simple (2 Cor. 11:2-4 *) and plain (2 Cor. 3:12). In the Old Testament it was veiled and had truths in signs and types and allegories. It was not fully unfolded. But in the New Testament we present truth in great plainness of speech. Do not use fancy psychoanalytic terms. If it is lust its lust.
- Exercise your senses for discernment (Heb. 5:12-14; Phil. 1:9-10). To have discernment you have to practice and exercise your senses discerning between true and false, spiritual and soulish. Soulish means emotions. What appeals to your emotions may not touch your spirit at all. A lot of worship today is soulish. We need to be sensitive to the difference.
- Cultivate the love of the truth (2 Thes. 2:9-12). Why did they perish? Because they did not receive the love of the truth. If you refuse the love of the truth, you are bound to perish. Love of the truth means finding out the truth for yourself, searching and seeking the truth. Those are the people who won’t be deceived. Cultivate the love of the truth. Give time to finding out what is the truth. Take time with the Bible in the presence of the Lord.
*Betroth: in biblical culture a betrothal was binding – but not marriage. You couldn’t consummate the relationship, but it was as authoritative and legal as marriage. Similarly, the church today is betroth to Jesus, but the wedding supper of the Lamb hasn’t come. Loyalty is being tested. The church that is loyal to Jesus will be The Bride. The church that abandons loyalty to Jesus will be the harlot, the false church.
(The analogy of betrothal or engagement is used to understand the Christian walk with Jesus. When a man and a woman are engaged, they agree to be committed and loyal to each other until they are married at a set date. If one part is disloyal to the other, for various reasons the engagement is cancelled and there is no marriage. Likewise, in this earthly life, if a professing Christian walks in disloyalty and disobedience to Jesus, neglects, disregards or rejects the teaching, guidance and pleading of the Holy Spirit and the written word the Bible, then the betrothal is called off, the wedding feast of the Lamb is cancelled and the door is shut for that individual. Mt 25:12).
(Condensed from “Take Heed You Are Not Deceived” and outline – by Derek Prince)