Latter Times Deception
Part 2 of 2
God's word warns us very clearly that this would not only come from the outside but also from within.
Jesus said: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." Matthew 7:15
Jesus warned us that the false prophets would look like sheep, but they are truly wolves inside. The only way we know if they are true is stated by Jesus in the next verse:
"You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them." Matthew 7:16-20
I heard this analogy once and it helped me tremendously to understand this scenario, and I hope it does the same for you. Sheep are very vulnerable to attack by predators because they have no real way to protect themselves. Sheep are very docile animals and are prone to attacks. Imagine a wolf in sheep's clothing. To the sheep, the wolf in sheep clothing looks like a sheep. However, a sheep dog is used to gather the sheep, and also to provide an alarm when the sheep are being attacked. If the sheep dog was to use only its eyes, it may be fooled by the wolf in sheep's clothing, but the sheep dog relies on its sense of smell. And when the sheep dog smells the wolf, it sounds an alarm in the form of barking, a warning that something is among the flock that is not a sheep. The sheep dog knows the true nature of the wolf in sheep's clothing.
Now imagine with me many of the leaders of churches across America and the world who have no clue about the wolf in sheep's clothing, because they do not understand the truth about deception. They are completely insensitive to discerning the wolf in sheep's clothing. They cannot tell the fruit of the wolf in sheep's clothing, because they themselves don't know the truth. If the leaders don't know the truth, how can they be the sheep dog and sound the alarm.
I see the sheep dog in this analogy as the shepherd of the flock, who not only should understand the trickery of the devil (deceiving spirits and doctrine of demons), but also teach the sheep about the deception. When Satan sends his wolves in sheep's clothing, the shepherd should sound the alarm and bark very loudly so that the sheep will not be harmed.
The Lord warned us about this in Isaiah:
"His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant; They are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber." Isaiah 56:10
Jesus knows those who have not taken the time to seek Him for the understanding of these deceptive traps in the last days. He knows those who are not preparing the flock for the wolves that are to come. The Lord views these men (these watchmen):
This is warning to all who lead sheep in these last days; to wake up and seek the face of the Lord and repent for walking on eggshells and not declaring the whole counsel of God. We cannot allow the sheep to be without understanding and we cannot allow the wolves to destroy them and us.
Paul gave a very startling truth in the book of Acts about the wolves that come from the outside and the inside:
"For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore, take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock." Acts 20:27-29
Paul was an Apostle of the Lord who never declared anything less than the whole counsel of God. Paul taught everything he was told by the Holy Spirit to the elders and the saints. The whole counsel that Paul taught included the deception that would come from false prophets and false teachers (wolves in sheep's clothing). Paul then graciously, yet with authority, warns them to take heed (meaning watch closely) over yourselves (the elders) and the flock (the sheep in that Ephesus fellowship) which the Holy Spirit had ordained. This is a very important truth and distinction. These elders, overseers, shepherds were not voted in by a group of saints, did not hold the post of elder in the fellowship with a term. They were chosen by the Lord God, ordained by Paul through the Holy Spirit's guidance, to be the overseers of the saints. If this was properly done today within true fellowships of the Lord Jesus, there would be much less deception. However, when people pick their overseers, they pick ones that meet their needs and fill their ears with what they want to hear. This is why there are so many false teachers across the land. Their ministries are large, have much money, big buildings and businesses, but they were not ordained by the Lord God. Paul spoke of this in 2 Timothy:
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Paul now warns again in Acts 20:
"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock." Acts 20:29
Paul warned them that the wolves would come from the outside in sheep's clothing and do all they can to destroy the flock. This is why Paul did not shun teaching them the whole counsel of God. So the elders warned the saints and, through the teachings of Paul and the continued teaching from the Holy Spirit (to the elders), they would be able to withstand the attack. Could you imagine Paul leaving them with little or no truth/knowledge of the deception to come, knowing that the wolves would come to cause harm? This is why Paul taught the whole counsel of God. Paul led them to understand the deceptions to come and, via the Holy Spirit, put shepherds in place who would seek the face of God for guidance and the gift of discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12) to protect the flock. The shepherd and the sheep could then discern the wolves in sheep's clothing and sound the alarm.
However, even more alarming was the attack from within. Paul goes on to say:
"Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw the disciples after themselves." Acts 20:30
Men will rise up among the flock speaking perverse things. Perverse here means to distort/misinterpret the ways of the Lord in order to draw (turn away) saints from the flock unto themselves. This is a startling truth that cannot be overlooked or underestimated. It is a clear warning. A warning that, when not heeded, has fatal consequences. The spiritual lives of sheep are at stake. Keep in mind that some will depart from the faith. There is nothing we can do about the some who depart because scripture declares it will happen, as mentioned in the beginning of this article.
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrine of demons." 1 Timothy 4:1-5
At New Life Fellowship, we have experienced this firsthand. Fortunately, the whole counsel of God was given and there was complete unity amongst the saints and elders. With that said, some still departed from the faith. Although this saddened us, we learned that some will follow the deceptions no matter how hard you try to show them the truth. Let me also say from this experience, women as well as men can be a wolf in sheep's clothing, used by Satan to bring heresies, false doctrines and false prophetic utterances to draw away disciples unto themselves.
Regardless of the outcome, we must expose the entire plan of Satan that seduces the saints away from the faith and to doctrine of demons. We must sound the alarm and warn all to be prepared and protected by the truth of God's word. By no means am I promoting the spending of time searching for doctrine of demons or seducing spirits. No, rather let us all spend our time with the Lord in prayer, in knowing the truth in God's word, and the truth will shed light on the deception.
Latter Times Deceptions
"Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." 1 Timothy 4:1
There are two main forms of deception that are targeted to those who are in the faith. Keep in mind that a person cannot depart from something if they were never in it. How can one depart from a room if they never entered that room? The same applies here. How can one depart from true faith in Jesus Christ/true Christianity if they never were a true believer/true Christian? This scripture gives us a clear understanding that once saved, always saved is not true. Some will depart from the faith. This is a biblical last day fact. The essence of this scripture is about a falling away from true faith in Christ. The two main strategies that pull people away are described as:
Both of these very deceptive plans of trickery, without a doubt, and will cause some to depart from the faith. Since we know this to be true, what must we do to ensure we are not deceived? We must understand the very plans of trickery that will try to pull us away so we may stand against them. The only way to do this is to understand the truth in God's word. The truth will shed a bright light on the error and the trickery so we can see clearly what to do, and so we don't fall prey to the deception. The Lord told Hosea:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." Hosea 4:6
Once you read this article, I believe you will agree that most professing Christians (apostates and even Spirit filled Christians) lack the knowledge and truth about the schemes and plans of trickery that are against them. However, scripture is very clear and concise that some will depart from the faith by the two aforementioned satanic strategies. These two strategies, deceiving spirits and doctrine of demons, are utilized through two main forms:
Departure From The Faith - ReligiousDeception
Satan's tactic is to do all that he can to make sure that you never come to the understanding of true salvation in the Lord Jesus. He does all he can to try and stop everyone from truly understanding godly sorrow which produ ces repentance and leads us to true salvation in Jesus Christ. This is Satan's first priority. Unfortunately, many believe his lies even though they have had ample time to believe in the truth. Jesus said:
"...but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son." John 3:18
Many do not believe because they believe the lies. They believe there is no need to have godly sorrow for our sins since God does not exist.
However, Satan's plan is different for those of us who have seen the truth, believe it, accept it, have been born again and now walk in that truth. His plan is to make you completely and utterly ineffective in your walk. He goes to great lengths to achieve that goal and, again, it is unfortunate but some will depart from the faith. This departure from the faith is quite concerning to the Elders at New Life Fellowship. One of our responsibilities is to warn as many as we can about these deceptions. We know that not everyone will be able to endure, but we will do all the Lord wants us to do to help every believer not be deceived.
Deceiving (seducing) Spirits and Doctrine of Demons
The two strategies recorded in 1 Timothy 4:1 that will pull people away from the faith are deceiving spirits and doctrine of demons. In the King James Version, deceiving spirits are called seducing spirits. The greek word for seducing is "planos" and it means - "roving" (as a tramp), that is by implication, an imposter or misleader - deceiver/seducer. The word seducing brings us a stronger meaning, because it seems like someone is trying to get us into their trap (as a tramp) in a sensual way. Seducing spirits are demonic spirits that desire to trick us in any way possible to fall away from true faith in Christ. However, a seducing spirit, as with any spirit, does not have a body and it needs a body to perform its actions. So I can say, with much accuracy, that today seducing spirits are at work in the so called teachers, pastors, religious leaders and so called saints who lead people in various forms of religious doctrines. This is also part of the trickery. Jesus said:
"For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24
False christs and false prophets will bring a level of destructive heresies and false doctrines led by seducing spirits, that some will follow and believe and, if possible, even the elect. These false christs and false prophets are in many different religions that mask themselves as part of Jesus. Keep this in mind:
"...knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." 2 Peter 1:20-21
All true prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men spoke only what the Holy Spirit told them to say and write. This is vitally important. Any other spoken word that claims to be from God that is not from the Holy Spirit is false. And its intent is to pull us away from the truth in Christ. Here are some truths about our Lord Jesus. Any other doctrine that says otherwise is a false doctrine and a doctrine of demons.
Any doctrine that contradicts these main truths about Christ is a lie and a false demonic doctrine. This being said just so you completely understand. The greatest trickery is using men and women who seem to be godly people and outwardly possess a form of godliness. They are false christs and false prophets.
They can be men and women. These false christs and false prophets talk much about love, use scripture to fulfill their lifestyles and even perform signs and wonders. They are human vessels used by seducing spirits to teach false doctrines that deceive people.
"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covertness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgement has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." 2 Peter 2:1-4
Again, there is no denying that false prophets and false teachers will arise and they will secretly bring in destructive heresies. Notice the way they bring in these heresies; it is in secret. The secrecy is not always behind everyone's back. It may start in a small prayer meeting, elders' meeting, through not so obvious church questionnaires and church bulletins. It can be blatantly in front of all suggesting, in some way or another, a denying of the Lord Jesus Christ. A heresy is not just a "sect" or a group of people. While it is true the greek word for heresy can mean a "sect", its root meaning is - properly a choice. When dealing with doctrinal heresies, it is a person or group who picks and chooses the scriptures that best fit for them or best fit their congregation. Primarily, it excludes all other scriptures that may specifically pertain to a specific subject. When the whole counsel of God is not presented, it is a heresy; removing key parts of scripture to deceive people into believing another doctrine. The Lord calls this a destructive heresy. It distorts the truth and causes destruction to those who believe it. Notice also that the false prophets and false teachers even deny the Lord who bought them. Anyone who denies any portion of scripture to fit their needs, in any way, is denying the Lord Jesus.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14
Jesus is the Word which became flesh. Any denial of Jesus' word, in any form or fashion, is a denial of Jesus Christ. It is a heresy. It is so very important to believe every portion of the Lord's word so that when it is denied in any way, we will know that it is a lie. When we understand that it is a lie, it cannot deceive us. Any denial of scripture is a doctrine of demons.
Just like Christ, who has His true prophets, true teachers, true men of God, who deny themselves, forsake all, pick up their cross and follow Him; Satan has his own people who bring in false heresies and false doctrines, and who are being led by seducing spirits. These people who Satan uses, in most cases, are completely oblivious that they are being used by him. They actually believe that they are doing God's work which adds to the trickery.
"But evil men will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." 2 Timothy 3:13
The false teachers and false prophets of today are continually being deceived and deceiving others. The greatest trick of all is they don't even realize it.
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works." 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
Since Satan is able to transform himself into an angel of light, he gives his ministers the ability to deceive people into believing they are ministers of righteousness. But as God's word declares, their end will be according to their works. We cannot be fooled into thinking that deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons don't exist, because they do exist. More importantly, these spirits and doctrines need a spokesperson in order to express themselves. They need bodies. Satan uses men and women to seduce some from the faith with doctrines of demons.
Part 2 to follow.....