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TITLE: DECEPTION WITH A CAPITAL D
Subtitle: If You Were A Lion Trying To Slip Up On Your Prey, Would You Roar?
The following verse of Scripture is interesting for several reasons, but I suspect that most fail to grasp the full force of what it implies:
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" 1 Peter 5:8 (KJV).
May I submit to you that the descriptive term "roaring lion" is intended to capture our attention because of its incongruity? Lions on the hunt do not roar! Common sense tells us that roaring would frighten away the intended prey, so what are we to make of this statement? Perhaps some additional information will help shed light on the larger truth behind it: Naturalists have observed lions in the wild and filmed them for programs such as are seen on the TV "Discovery Channel," and it seems that one of the more frequent times that roaring occurs is after the kill is made! Once food is available, stealth is no longer required and feeding becomes quite noisy. Roaring and growling then becomes a signal to the other animals that Leo is eating and they are, at least for the time being, relatively safe.
So a roaring lion is a "safe" lion--not an immediate threat. It is not on the prowl, hunting for its next meal and takes no pains in concealing its presence. That being the case, what are we to gather from the devil being "like a roaring lion...seeking whom he may devour"? Deception, deception, deception! What better way could the devil choose to disarm and deceive the sheep than to provide them with a diversion? Keep their attention focused upon the "roaring" and lull them into a false sense of security while he sneaks in from behind.
What mental image pops into your mind when the devil is mentioned? A hideously ugly monster dressed in red tights, with horns, hooves, pointed tail, and pitchfork. Right? But where is this description found in the Bible? My friends, it is not in the Word of God and comes to us courtesy of some overactive imaginations--apparently concocted during the Middle Ages. But it suits the devil's plan perfectly! The cartoon concept of such a monster coupled together with man's natural inclination to sinful behavior, provides the "roaring lion" cover Satan has used to good advantage for millennia! "Why, the devil is on the other side of town in the gutter with the rest of the sinners," is the false image he is still employing to perfection. Yet, the truth is almost stranger than fiction and many of you will be shocked at what I am about to say, but has it ever occurred to you that from the beginning of the Church until now, Satan and his demons have been among the most influential and famous preachers in the world? I am as serious as a kidney stone! Let's use our heads for something other than to keep our spines from unraveling--the lion feeds on sheep, not crocodiles! Why should the devil waste time and energy on that part of the food chain in which he has no interest whatever? From the fragmentary glimpses we have of him in the Bible, it seems that he is locked in a cosmic struggle with Jehovah over the very title of "God" and devotes his unwavering attention to those of us who are God's sheep. In ways we cannot fully fathom, any disobedience--any deviation from God's will for our lives that he can elicit from us--is his goal. So when he can lull us into a false sense of security by thinking his location is where we "hear the roar," the task of devouring us is made that much easier. The Word of God has a great deal to say about false teachers--wolves (or in this case, lions) among the sheep. And to devour as many as possible, they must take great pains to stay under cover. Maintaining the outward appearance of a sheep is paramount to successful raiding of the flock. Plus operating as a pastor/teacher affords them the greatest opportunity to inflict as much spiritual damage as possible.
Deception is the devil's middle name! It is his modus operandi--his stock and trade. That is why the New Testament is filled with warnings about being deceived. Here are just a few examples:
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
And cast him (Satan) into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Insert mine).
Of course there are many more that could be added, but these selections clearly make the point. The devil is our adversary and he is using every dirty trick at his disposal to catch us off guard and entice us to evil. When we yield to the temptation and thereby sin against our Lord and Savior, we make the devil's day!. He cannot force us to sin, but he can sure push in the direction we are leaning. And the more completely he can "devour" one of the sheep, the more hurt He causes the great heart of God. But there is a much more sinister and downright brilliant ploy to be found in Satan's bag of tricks--one that is seldom, if ever, recognized by God's people: sin that does not appear to be sinful. Let me explain what I mean. Anything that fails to be in 100% conformity with God's will is, by definition, sin. The Greek word hamartano , often translated "sin" in the New Testament, has a primary meaning of "missing the mark." Doing the right thing the wrong way (having a wrong motive, for instance) is sin. A fleeting immoral thought or a momentary flare-up of unjustified anger are just as sinful in God's sight as one of the "big" sins (big in our eyes) of murder or adultery. God does not categorize nor "assign quality points" to sin--there are no big ones or little ones. Each and every failure to conform completely (100%) with His will is SIN! Period! And once we understand this concept--that we are by nature and practice sinners--God's grace extended to us will stand out by contrast. But what about sin that does not appear sinful? Has it ever occurred to you that we can engage in "spiritual activities" which are, in actual point of fact, sinful? Prayer is something that spiritual people practice--a concept taught throughout the Bible--but can prayer ever be sinful? What about selfish prayers? What about praying for things contrary to God's revealed will? Now let's turn the heat up a notch. What about worship? Can it ever be sinful? How about a wrong heart attitude or motive while worshipping? What about placing an inordinate emphasis upon the Holy Spirit? Do you realize that we can sin by emphasizing the Holy Spirit, thereby unintentionally placing Christ in a subordinate position? Col. 1:18 says:
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence" (KJV, emphasis mine).
You see, at this present time God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are intentionally "taking a back seat" to God the Son! And until Christ delivers the Kingdom back to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24), He will not be subject unto Him (vs.28)! During this time the Holy Spirit is the power behind the throne. In John 16:13-14 the Lord tells us that the Holy Spirit will not promote Himself:
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come, (14) He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (KJV, emphasis mine).
So those who place an inordinate emphasis upon the Holy Spirit and His gifts are on shaky ground, at best! And what better scheme could Satan and his lions use to seduce Christians than by pretending to be the Holy Spirit and preachers? Think it is impossible? Notice in the following verses that Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light and his "ministers"--literally his assistants (demons) are transformed into "ministers of righteousness"--pastors/teachers!
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:14-15, KJV)
It appears the main reason people cannot bring themselves to face this reality is due to a basic misunderstanding of the nature of the adversary. It is inconceivable to them that demons can (and do) worship God and praise His Name, while at the same time Satan masquerades as the Holy Spirit--working miracles and seducing believers through incredible spiritual power and emotional bliss! Demons are the disembodied spirits of fallen angels--those who joined with Lucifer in his rebellion against God. And, according to the Scriptures, under the right circumstances some of them will acknowledge God's superior status! In Mark chapter five, we have the account of the man of Gadara, filled with a legion of demons, who worshipped Jesus Christ.
"But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,  And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.  For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.  And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many" (Mark 5:6-9, KJV emphasis mine)
What is worship? The word translated "worship" is proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from Greek 4314 (pros) and a probably derivative of Greek 2965 (kuon) (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (literal or figurative) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore) :- worship. Therefore, to worship does not necessarily mean a demonstration of reverence from the heart. In the case of demons, it is merely an acknowledgment of superiority. But will demons actually praise God? According to Acts 16:17 they will. The "damsel possessed with a spirit of divination" followed Paul, Silas, and Timothy for days shouting and calling attention to them:
"The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.  And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour" (Acts 16:17-18, KJV emphasis mine).
Why do you suppose the Holy Spirit included these incidents in the Bible? Do you not see that it is for the purpose of showing us the treachery and extreme deceitfulness of our enemy? Notice too this statement:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Tim. 4:1, KJV emphasis mine).
This brings us to the main point I want to make about deception--the individual being deceived is clueless!. This is such a simple concept, yet profoundly applicable to the present hour. Millions of professed Christians are in the jaws of the lion while listening to others roar! They are so sure that all is well and secure that they have not noticed the long teeth of some of their leaders. It is absolutely inconceivable to them that a "brother in Christ" could actually be a demon masquerading as a preacher and out to do them and their Church spiritual harm. Yes, I know this is a very uncomfortable thing to contemplate--but it is vitally necessary that we explore the evidence. Slowly, almost imperceptably, the last 150 years or so have seen a steady increase in what we will call "experience-driven" Christianity. It began, more or less, with the "new measures for a new theology" of evangelist Charles Grandison Finney--equating results with the moving of the Holy Spirit in revival. In other words, the Word was preached and decisions were made--therefore the Holy Spirit must have been at work. It is understandable how the pragmatic conclusion was reached, but overlooked in the equation was the fact that human methods were employed. Psychological pressure was applied and the passing of time revealed that most of the decisions did not last. But a precedent was set and the damage done--the desire for results overruled common sense and the methods are still with us today. To whom then must we attribute the "results"? God does not tie slipknots, so what other conclusion can we reach but that Satan seizes these opportunities to plant tares among the wheat? Lions 1, Christians 0.
Also during this same general era another movement began that would prove to have far-reaching consequences. Men began to "rediscover" the gifts of the Spirit--speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophesying, etc.--and the war was on between those who accept them as genuine and those who are convinced they are bogus. God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) and the very fact that a division in the Body of Christ took place at all should alert us to its origin! The better part of two thousand years passed without these gifts being practiced and yet, when they were "rediscovered"--this obvious fact of history was ignored. If they were valid and had not ceased (as "cessationists" insist, based upon 1 Corinthians 13:8), where were they during the interim? Oh well, that must be just a minor oversight! But rather than approach the subject from the usual cessationist point of view, I want to look at it from an entirely different angle.
The Bible gives us the last chapter of God's plan for planet earth and we already know from the prophetic Word how things are going to wind up. 2 Tim. 3:13 says, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse deceiving, and being deceived." 2 Thes. 2:9 says of antichrist, "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders." The Lord in Matthew 24:24, says of this time, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." So can we not see that deception and "signs and wonders" will be the order of the day? Are we beginning to see a trend here? Are we so naive as to think that the deception and lying wonders will begin abruptly with the revelation of antichrist? Surely not! Conditioned reflex insures the desired response from a specific stimulus, so it just stands to reason that the devil will have been working on the project for many, many years! He has and the deception is blinding untold numbers of believers to the truth.
You see, personal experience has become the determining factor
in this system of belief, rather than the inerrant and infallible Word
of God. It is totally inconceivable to them that the wonderful and powerful
and undeniable manifestations they have been experiencing can be anything
other than the working of the Holy Spirit. But I humbly submit to you this
is the case! I know that by now some of you are at the boiling point, but
I urge you--for your spiritual welfare--hear me out. Satan's deception
must, of necessity, involve
that which closely (if not precisely!) mimics the work of the Holy Spirit--otherwise
it would not fool anyone possessing even a cursory knowledge of the
Bible. The devil seeks to take the place of Christ--that is what the Greek
prefix anti in antichrist means: "in place of Christ," not
"opposed to" as it ordinarily means in English.
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS, BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT!!!!----What Scriptural reason can any of us give to say that Satan cannot duplicate miracles of the Holy Spirit if God allows it? With God's permission, he certainly controlled the weather and killed Job's children, called fire down from heaven and burned up Job's sheep and servants, and made Job ill with boils all over his body! And if he can make someone sick, is it such a great stretch to contend that he can heal them as well? I am convinced that Christians have placed limits on him that are not according to the facts! He is the most powerful angel God created and is obviously capable of whatever God will let him do. Therefore, by what Scriptural logic can anyone prove that the spiritual gifts as manifested today are of the Holy Spirit and not Satan? Please do not try to appeal to the fact that Christ is honored and His Holy Name magnified in and through what takes place, or how wonderful you feel because that is not Scriptural grounds for proving anything. And as I have already shown, Scripture gives us instances where demons worshipped and testified to Christ's power to save. To the best of my knowledge, the one and only "test" the Word of God provides for us is found in 1 John chapter four and verses 1-3, which is as follows:
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:  And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
Notice that this passage is phrased as a command--not a suggestion--so unless and until some godly person(s) with no ulterior motive apply this test to the spirits of tongues, prophecy, etc., their authenticity is very much in doubt! If the Holy Spirit is actually at work, He will gladly confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, but if not.........????? What do you have to lose but some potentially misplaced faith?
As I mentioned earlier, my contention is that the Word of God has been abandoned in favor of experience. However, it is understandable that those who have the undeniable power and spiritual ecstasy of a supernatural force at work in their lives, will be highly resistant to claims of it being counterfeit. Their attitude is that 1 Corinthians 13:8 cannot possibly mean the gifts ceased, because they are still experiencing them! Never mind the fact that the gift (or exercise) of tongues is not mentioned again after 1 Corinthians chapter 14. Never mind that the gift of healing clearly ceased while Paul was still alive! Philippians 2:27 records that Paul did not heal Epaphroditus when he was "sick nigh unto death". 2 Timothy 4:20 tells us that Paul left Trophimus behind, sick at Miletum. If he still possessed the gift of healing, why would he allow such a thing? My friend, those "sign gifts" had already fulfilled their intended purpose--which was to authenticate the gospel message to God's covenanted people, Israel. The gifts of prophecy and knowledge only continued until the canon of Scripture was completed and then they too ceased. The Word of God, both Old and New Testaments, was finally complete in written form and the gifts were no longer needed. Everything that God wants one of His sheep to know is contained within its pages and it is our textbook and guide in both faith and practice.
My job speciality in the Air Force was missile guidance and the old "MACE" system I worked on was one of the forerunners of modern cruise missiles. It employed a radar "map-matching" system backed up by a gyroscopic inertial platform. And in training on the system, I learned the gyro is a very interesting critter in that it always maintains the same relative position, once it reaches maximum spin velocity. No matter how the missile might pitch, roll, or yaw--the gyro will always stay in the same position relative to the earth and provide a stable and reliable reference for the guidance system. Later on in my work experience, I calibrated and maintained process instrumentation in a nuclear power plant--instruments that the plant operators used to monitor the various parameters of the reactors and associated systems. And a saying was constantly repeated to the operators: "Trust your instrumentation." Pilots are taught very early on in their training that they must not "fly by the seat of their pants" like in the old days, because it can get them killed! A nasty little fact of aeronautics is that, under the right conditions--fog, clouds, darkness, etc--a pilot will "swear on a stack of bibles" that he is flying straight and level, when in actual point of fact he is upside down or headed straight into the ground! That is why airplanes are provided with an "artificial horizon" instrument, controlled by a gyro, to help the pilot keep track of the actual attitude of the craft with reference to the ground. Unfortunately, pilots have been killed because they chose to trust their instincts rather than believe their instruments.
In a similar sense the Bible is God's gyro for the believer. No matter what the world, the flesh, and the devil throw at us, God's Word never moves! It says what it means and means what it says. And when we make the mistake of trusting our instincts--our experience--disregarding and/or reinterpreting the Word to bring it into confomity with the direction our flesh wants to go, we will usually wind up in a heap of trouble. And as lovingly as I know how, I must insist that many of you are "flying by the seat of your pants" and deceived.
We asked for permission to reprint articles found on the following web site, but since the main article ("I Speak In Tongues More Than You All") is in book form and still being sold, the best we can do is provide a link. The on-line book was written by a Frenchman and translated into English. He is a former Charismatic and thus writes authoratively on the subject--plus his exegesis of Scripture is outstanding. Please do yourself a huge favor and read all the articles ( Five or six total and by far the best I have ever read), then refute them if you can:
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as yoSalvation Pageur personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our now.
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