Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

Yesterday’s post is just one example of the difference between man’s human wisdom vs. “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:4)

When we read and study the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 2 we see and understand “the spirit of this world” vs. “the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.” (See 1 Corinthians 2:12)

The Bible teaches us to “speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy [fn] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:13)

Paul goes on to instruct us: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

This is why those who are spiritually discerned can think that there is nothing wrong with homosexual behavior (or any other type of sin). It appears to be “foolishness to him.” And, as the verse above states, “nor can he know them.”

Paul concludes the chapter with:

1Co 2:15

But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

1Co 2:16

For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” [fn] But we have the mind of Christ.

Having the “mind of Christ” means that the indwelling Holy Spirit enables us to discern good from evil. Even as Christians, we may not want to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit within on certain issues, but the guidance is there for us to behold and utilize if our free will allows it to sink in.

Years ago at my former blog I wrote a blog post entitled “Recognizing Spiritual Delusion.” It contains important information for every Christian believer who may be struggling with the secular tug-of-war between human wisdom vs. God’s wisdom in the Bible.

The essay discusses the rise of false prophets and the increase of spiritual delusion that will take place the closer we get to the end times.

Once born again in Jesus Christ,  it is ESSENTIAL for Christians to study God’s Word so that they will not fall into such spiritual delusion and thus be taken away into heresy and apostasy.

It is my hope and prayer that visitors here will take the time to read this essay!

In Christ’s service,

~ Christine

*******

Recognizing Spiritual Delusion

When it comes to studying and understanding the “shadow of coming events” predicted and prophesied in the Bible, no one does a better, more accurate job of communicating exactly what Scripture reveals than Dr. Ed Hindson. If you go to that website and read his impressive resume’, you will, without a doubt, see how knowledgeable he is regarding end times events, Scriptural truth, and biblical prophecy.

One chapter, in Dr. Hindson’s book Antichrist Rising, has stood out in my mind over the past few days. It is the chapter called, “Rise of False Prophets.” The Bible informs us that false prophets and teachers have always been with us. Knowing God’s Word is essential to being able to spot them. We are warned, however, that as the end times draw closer and closer, there will be a rise of false prophets in the world. So, how do we recognize them and most importantly, avoid being caught up in their deception?

According to the Old Testament (OT), we are told that true prophets of God must do three things in order to be considered genuine:

1. must speak in the name of the Lord, not some other god.

2. must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

3. must give predictions of future events that come true exactly as stated.

Ed Hindson writes:

One of the most scathing denunciations of false prophets in all of Scripture is delivered by the prophet Jeremiah. In his time, Jeremiah had to deal constantly with false prophets who opposed his ministry, contradicted his message, and even conspired to have him killed. They kept telling the leaders of Jerusalem that the people had nothing to fear from the Babylonian invaders, but Jeremiah knew differently. Jerusalem was on the verge of destruction, and the people were about to be taken into captivity for 70 years.

“My heart is broken within me,” Jeremiah confesses in his agony over these false prophets who “…follow an evil course and use their power unjustly” (Jeremiah 23:9,10). “Both prophet and priest are godless,” the Lord responds (23:11). Then He tells Jeremiah His opinion of these false prophets:

Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD (verse 16).

I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied (verse 21).

I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? (verse 25)

Yes…I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues….Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams….Because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God (verses 31, 32, 36).

Jeremiah could not make his complaint any clearer or his case any stronger. God is against those false prophets whose spiritual delusion causes them to invent their own message apart from God’s truth. The Bible presents these people in seven categories…

Before I post those categories, I want to mention a few things that are crucial to this message.

In OT times, the Holy Spirit of God would “come, minister, and then depart from” the prophets of old. Any basic study of the Bible would bear this fact out. The fact that God is depicted as “being with a prophet or person,” but then “leaving that prophet or person” shows this to be true. He is often called, “The Spirit of God” for “The Spirit of the LORD.” For example:

Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Jdg 3:10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.

Today, the Holy Spirit works both outside, in the world to influence the unsaved towards repentance and acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior; as well as inside each saved believer. When a person is born-again (see John 3),  the Holy Spirit resides within the heart of each believer. According to the Bible, Jesus told us that on the day of Pentecost, He would send a Helper for the disciples (and for us today as well):

Luke 11:13   If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Notice that Jesus mentions we must ask for the Holy Spirit to indwell us. After repentance of our sins, we ask Jesus Christ into our hearts and he resides there in the form of the Holy Spirit. Jesus refers to Him as “another Comforter.”

Jhn 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

Jhn 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Jhn 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

Jhn 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

When Jesus was here, physically on earth during his 3 year ministry, he could only be present in one place at a time. After defeating evil, sin and death on the cross for the sins of the world, and His subsequent resurrection to life, he ascended to the Father and now resides at the right hand of the Father in heaven. The Comforter (Holy Spirit) can be in all places at all times and thus indwells each believer in Christ.
We are then promised that He will never leave nor forsake us.

Hbr 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

This is why, no matter what happens to us on this earth, we can have the peace that surpasses all understanding precisely because we belong to Jesus! We can have absolute faith in Him! He’s such an awesome Savior and Lord!

Now, back to the topic of this post.

I left off just before sharing the seven categories that false prophets and teachers can fall into:

Hindson:

1. Self-deceived. Some false teachers may be sincere, but they are still wrong. They have deceived themselves into believing their messages are true. As Jeremiah points out, their messages come psychologically from within their own minds and are not from God.

This is why I have stressed the point that the Holy Spirit of God will not lead you into thinking that contradicts Scripture! The “messages” may come “psychologically” from within one’s own mind, (or, even worse from demons), but they are not from God if it contradicts God’s Word!

Hindson:

2. Liars. Some false prophets are deliberate liars who have no intention of telling the truth. The apostle John says, “Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the anti-christ – he denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).

Now, admittedly, deliberate liars are easier to spot. However, sometimes the lie is so subtle, that even Christians can be fooled if they don’t have a firm foundation in the truth of the Bible. Notice in Ed Hindson’s second definition of a true prophet, he states:

2. [A true prophet] must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.

God’s revealed truth in Scripture is the operative phrase. Anyone can read, study and even teach from the Bible. But if their ideology does not match up with God’s revealed truth in the Scriptures, then beware! You may be led astray from a false teacher!

Hindson:

3. Heretics. These are those who preach heresy (false doctrine) and divide the church. Of them John said, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us” (1 John 2:19). The apostle Peter said, “There will be false teachers among you. they will secretly introduce destructive heresies….These men blaspheme in matters they do not understand” (2 Peter 2:1, 12).

The phrase, “blaspheme in matters they do not understand” could refer to those under delusion and/or deception. We can all recall several examples of blatantly obvious heretical movements. The Jim Jones cult, the Heaven’s Gate group, and David Koresh. However, there are more subtle groups that would qualify as being called “heretical.”

Hindson:

4. Blasphemers. Those who speak evil of God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, the people of God, the kingdom of God, and the attributes of God are called blasphemers. Jude calls them godless men who “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand….They are clouds without rain…trees, without fruit….They are wild waves of the sea…wandering stars” (Jude 10,12,13).

We even have a recent example of these types of people! Look no further than This debate between the “Rational Response Squad” and two Christian evangelists.

However, some examples of “blasphemers” are not always as obvious as the atheists who participated in that debate. The ability to subtly “speak abusively against whatever they do not understand.” can apply to false converts, as well. They are often referred to as “sheep in wolves clothing.”

Hindson:

6. Seducers. Jesus warned that some false prophets will appear with miraculous signs and wonders to seduce or deceive the very elect, “if that were possible” (Mark 13:22). Our Lord’s implication is that spiritual seduction is a very real threat even to believers. This would account for the fact that a few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults.

Did you catch that? It bears repeating:

A few genuine but deceived believers may be found among the cults!

Now, I am often accused by gay theology proponents of “being judgmental,” or “displaying hate,” or “not being willing to discuss our differences,” or “not living in harmony with,” or “not being willing to accept that which they are preaching,” or “not being willing to compromise,” etc. I could go on and on, (as one well-known blog is named).

But now, we have an example of someone in the gay christian movement who demonstrates, through his own words, his unwillingness to compromise. Besides, it is not written in the Bible anywhere that we should compromise on any issue regarding the Gospel of Christ!

Here’s Mel White’s “gospel”:

“I will sit down with anyone who comes to the table with certain basic positive assumptions about us: that we are here, millions of us, and have the right to be; that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride; that on average we live productive and responsible lives; that we are perfectly capable of loving, committed relationships and are as equipped as heterosexuals to have families of our own; that uncounted millions of us are people of faith who serve our faith communities with creativity and commitment and patriotic Americans who serve our nation with courage and with honor; that we don’t seek “special rights” just the rights and protections guaranteed all Americans by the Constitution. Our dignity, our integrity, our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.”

Gcmwatch quote:

(Our bold.) What is there to discuss, when he demands 100% concession from us?

Can you see, now, why groups like the “Equality Riders” cannot possibly reconcile with Bible-based Christian believers? Their leader unequivocally states that in order for us to do so, it would require 100% concession (a.k.a. compromise) to his ideology.

It ain’t gonna happen…people.

Why? Because there will always be a remnant of the faithful who will never compromise God’s Word! That’s why!

Hindson:

7. Reprobates. This term means “disapproved,” “depraved,” or “rejected.” Paul refers to those who have rejected the truth of God and turned to spiritual darkness. Consequently, God has given them over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28 KJV). They have so deliberately rejected God that they have become “filled with every kind of wickedness” (verse 29). As a result, they are “God-haters” (verse 30), whose behavior is “senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (verse 31). These people are so far gone spiritually that they know it and don’t care. In Jesus’ own prophetic message, the Olivet Discourse, He warned, “Watch out that no one deceives you….Many will turn away from the faith….And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people….For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles” (Matthew 24:4, 10, 11,24). Our Lord warned His disciples of the possibility of spiritual seduction by false prophets.

There are different levels of reprobation going on out there. From the most severe kinds of reprobation to the more subtle, and perceived “harmless” type like Mel White’s Equality Riders.

Hindson writes:

The Bible describes Satan as the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and pictures him as the ultimate deceiver. His name means “accuser,” and he is depicted as the accuser of God and His people (Revelation 12:10). he is opposed to God and seeks to alienate people from the truth. He misled the fallen angels (Revelation 12:3,4). He tempts men and women to sin against God’s laws (Genesis 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 6:9). He denies and rejects the truth of God and deceives those who perish without God (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Ultimately, he inspires the false prophets and the very spirit of Antichrist (1 John 2:18-23).

The Bible clearly warns us that in the last days people will “abandon the faith and follow deceiving [‘seducing,’ KJV] spirits and things [‘doctrine,’ KJV] taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). These false teachings will come through hypocritical liars whose minds have been captured by Satan’s lies (1 Timothy 4:2).

Thus, the process of spiritual deception is clearly outlined in Scripture:

1. Satan – Father of lies
2. Demons – Doctrines of Devils
3. False Teachers – Messengers of Deceit

The term angel (Greek angelos) means “messenger.” God’s angels are His divine messengers (Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 1:1), and His true prophets and preachers are called the angels of the churches (Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). By contrast, Satan is pictured as a fallen angel, the leader of other fallen angels, who deceives the world (Revelation 12:9). He is revealed as the ultimate power behind the Antichrist and the False Prophet who deceives mankind with false religion (Revelation 13:14, 15). Thus, the messengers (angels) of deceit are Satan-inspired false prophets and teachers whose messages are the very spirit of Antichrist.

A century ago, A.T. Pierson, the Bible teacher who often spoke for Charles Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, wrote,

“Evil spirits acquire their greatest power from their subtlety. They are masters of the art of deception, and aim to counterfeit that which is good rather than suggest what is obviously and wholly evil.

A Christian friend once wrote something that was quite simple, but extremely profound (paraphrased below)!

“The greatest deception is not believing that we can be deceived.”

So, as Christian believers, how can we be guaranteed not to fall into deception?

1. The first step, of course, is through repentance for all sin and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior over our lives.

2. The second step is to read and study Scripture; but the most important point in this second step is what Dr. Hindson stated, “we must have a message that is in accord with God’s revealed truth in Scripture.”

3. This leads to the third step. It is knowing and recognizing the seven categories (discussed above) and the types of people who could lead one into spiritual deception and delusion.

Hindson shares why we must be spiritually discerning:

The lure of false doctrine is that it presents itself as the truth. It appears as a corrective measure to established doctrine. It is propagated by those who are certain they have discovered some new revelation of truth or a better interpretation of old, established truth. Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is wrong.

This is Satan’s oldest trick. He appeals to our self-conceit and leads us into self-deceit. When he first approached Eve, Satan questioned the integrity of God’s command and appealed to her selfish desire to be like God – the same desire that led to his own fall. And there is something selfish enough in all of us to want to believe that we can know what no one else knows. C.S. Lewis said,

“What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could “be like gods.”…Out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we can call human history…the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Today, the seduction is even more subtle than Hindson states here (IMHO). We could take one line from above and add to it:

“Either way, they are convinced they are right and everyone else is “intolerant,” or “hateful,” or “uncompromising,” or “out of harmony with,” or, as Mel White stated above regarding his non-biblical view that ‘that our sexual orientation, too, is a gift from our Creator who is pleased when we accept the gift with gratitude and pride,’ and ‘our unqualified acceptance by our Creator are not up for debate.’ “

In the second post on this topic, I will cover warnings that once spiritual deception sets in, it leads, ultimately, to spiritual darkness.

Some thoughts to preview:

1. Pride and arrogance are the sins that lead a person to become spiritually deceived.

2. Satan tempts us with our own self-centeredness and lures us into spiritual darkness with the bait of our own pride. The Bible calls this the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16 KJV).
3. Having been hooked by our arrogance, we are reeled in by our ignorance.

I know. All of this is so devastating and heart-breaking to read. However, there is hope!! It is found in none other than Jesus Christ and His Word, the Bible. Anyone can come out of spiritual deception and darkness! It’s happening every single day!!

I sincerely believe that some people just don’t even realize that they are being deceived. Others, however, know it full well. But for those who may be currently studying under any number of ‘sincere’ preachers who have gotten off the theological track because they don’t know enough theology to realize their errors, you can give them a “test” to see if they are worthy to be in the mission of preaching the Gospel message of Christ.

Just ask them if they are willing to be checked, according to the absolute truth of God’s Word, on the accuracy of a certain doctrine, point, sermon or message that they have preached.

As my pastor has told us several times, he is only human and can make mistakes. That is why our “plumb line” to stay on track when it comes to sharing the gospel and God’s Word, is to stay true to it (utilizing the proper apologetics tools of exegesis, hermeneutics, Sola Scriptura, and Scripture interprets Scripture), to the best of our ability.

If a preacher or leader says that they are not willing to do this, (and/or are also not willing to back up what they have said with Scripture) that could be a good indication that they may be in danger of being off of the proper theological track.

Bottom line? My faith has to be anchored in the truth if it is going to do me, and others, any good. The same is true for you!

In the next section, Hindson mentions that “once theological error falls into ‘ecclesiastical cement’ it is virtually impossible to eliminate it.”

Once a false doctrine is accepted, it can be organized and perpetuated by a religious body, then perpetrated by a false defense (apologetic) which is based upon a false premise. It is then when we see such groups fall down that slippery slope as they accept false doctrine [no matter how much biblical Scriptural truth has been shown to them and has exposed their error(s)] as their “new truth.” They can organize it, categorize it, debate it, systemize it, teach it, and/or demand it; but that doesn’t make it true!!

When it comes to false teachers, the real problem is that the love of their own, skewed, erroneous teaching may drive them to the point where they will refuse to repent of it, even when their error is exposed!

The Bible says, “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Ephesians 4:18).

Quotations Source: Antichrist Rising by Ed Hindson Copyright 2003 Ed Hindson; Published by 21st Century Press, Springfield, Missouri U.S.A. pp. 40-48 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever or stored in any database or retrieval system without written permission except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews.

 

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