Part 7 – Satanic Deception of Believers in Modern Times

This Article is part of a multi-part Study Series called SATANIC DECEPTION TODAY.

The continuing attack of the Devil as the cunning arch Deceiver will intensify upon virtually the whole of Christendom as we press toward the close of this age of today’s “dispensation of the grace of God.” Satan is working through his army of deceitful ‘lying spirits’… attacking the ‘minds of all men’ but then especially believers, even ‘spiritual’ believers, influencing them and their religious organizations with “false doctrine.” These ‘false doctrines’ are ‘religious ideas’ designed to cripples believers, robbing them of who they are in Christ… to frustrate the going forth of “the gospel of the grace of God.”

As I said earlier, there are three kinds of people;

1) The majority of mankind are unregenerate people whose minds have been blinded by the Devil. They are deceived already, thus keeping them from the offer of God’s love and the real liberty by salvation in Christ.

2) Then there are the saved but “carnal” Christians who, though they are fully endowed by the cross-work of Christ, they are unintelligized, being still fleshly and superficial. They are easily deceived by God’s apparent promises of external reigning over the nations with the blessings of health and earthly wealth that really are for Israel ONLY. These are unintelligized believers as to the genuine ‘spiritual’ eternal blessings that they have by their union with and in Christ, and our high calling to “the heavenly places” in Christ. They are largely the victims of ‘false teachers’ who themselves have been seduced by ‘lying spirits.’  

3) Then there are the “spiritual” believers who do see the truth and grow, but still they can be deceived if they do not yet understand the ways and wiles of the devil that work toward their being deceived.

The carnal or fleshly believers who seek external blessing (money, healing, and such) are most vulnerable since they live by externalities, that is by what they can see, touch, and feel. Being superficial, they have never come to know, understand, and trust ‘deeper spiritual truths’ we learn from Paul’s epistles. Thus, Paul says;

18 While we [the spiritual believers] look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 (KJV)

We are to value and look for our home “eternal in the heavens” (2Cor 5:1b) and live accordingly.

So, there are some believers more than others who will be specially attacked in the ‘mind’ by the ‘lying evil spirits. These believers need the light of the truth of God to expose Satan’s ‘deceptive workings.’ Then they may pass safely through the trial of these ‘last days’ before the Rapture of “His body,” being able to endure in peace and rest. We are then enabled to serve God in reaching those lost souls whom God has “foreknown” (Rom. 9:29-30), that they may escape the hour of ‘great trial’ that is coming upon the earth in the Tribulation period. Paul wrote; 1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 Timothy 3:1 (KJV). I believe we today live in those “last days” before the Tribulation period.

Those under attack includes those who say and claim to be ready to ‘follow the Lord at any cost,’ and yet they do not realize their unpreparedness for contesting with the Deceitful Satanic spiritual ‘Powers’ of the unseen world. There are many believers who are full of false religious mental philosophies that were formed in them in their earlier years as Christians when they were falsely taught. These ideas can hinder the Holy Spirit of God from preparing them for all they will meet of the enemy while the Lord would have them to press on to their goal of heaven in righteousness. These wrong concepts rob them also hinder others when such deceived believers share these ideas using out of context, undispensational, Scriptures as if they apply today. They need to know and understand the workings of God and the spiritual world during today’s “dispensation of the grace of God.”

Let’s now look at four false religious ideas that lull many believers into a false sense of security,’ thus giving ground to the Deceiver who find them as easy prey. Clinging to the trust of God for today, as found in Paul’s epistles to the members of “the body of Christ” is our guide and protection.

  1. Some are deceived relying upon the false notions such as those who say; honest souls cannot be deceived.” This is a false idea that many believers have embedded in their minds, thinking that honest seekers after God will not be allowed to be deceived.’ So, they do not press on in Study of the Scriptures “rightly divided” as they should. This s one of the Deceiver’s great lies. Sadly, many are lulled to sleep relying upon such false ideas more than knowing and relying upon the Holy Scriptures for themselves.

It is by such false notions that Satan lures believers into a ‘false safety.’ This is proven by the past two thousand years of church history. For every ‘wile of error’ throughout the period unscriptural ideas have taken hold of ‘devoted believers’ who were ‘honest souls.’ The errors among such believers and their groups are well-known to this present generation, having begun among “honest” people. All were sure that, knowing the sidetracking of others before them, they would never be caught by the “wiles of the Devil.”

  1. Many are and will yet be deceived by the Devil’s “lying spirits,” as he counterfeits the workings of God. Just consider the well-meaning but deceived Pentecostal / Charismatics of the past 100 years who take Scripture out of context and value supposed superficial “blessings” and their ‘sensual feelings’ over the inner working of the Lord. 16 … we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV).

Such people have been Satanically enchanted or seduced into seeking so-called ‘manifestations of the spirit’ – never questioning, Which Spirit in Involved. Unknowingly, they seek and listen to ‘lying spirts’ as they manufacture prophesies, so-called ‘words of knowledge,’ and extra-Biblical revelations, that Deceive them…. which also crush the hopes and hearts of other victim believers. Unknowingly, they seek the works performed by ‘Evil spirits,’ who seduce them into seeking outer physical blessings, physical healing, and such. They refuse to recognize Paul’s words that tell us these so-called “gifts of the Spirit” that were legitimate ONLY during the Acts period, WOULD CEASE, once the written words of Paul’s 13 epistles ‘completed “the word of truth” for today. Paul speaks clearly of this.

8 Charity [love] never faileth: but whether there be PROPHECIES, they shall fail; whether there be TONGUES, they shall cease; whether there be KNOWLEDGE, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that [Paul’s written Scriptures] which is perfect [i.e., complete] is come, then that which is in part [God’s use of the ‘partial knowledge’ that came by the knowledge gifts of v8] SHALL BE DONE AWAY. 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 (KJV)

Sadly, Pentecostal Charismaticism mysticism has permeated much of Christendom, eventually poisoning the fundamentalists Bible folks who at one time did cling to BIBLE truth alone. But now most of them embrace many of the Satanically inspired Charismatic dogma at least in part. With that they have also weakened the believers by starving them of the Pauline “the word of truth… rightly divided” (2Tim. 2:15).

  1. Then of course there are the ever-present legalistic sects’ of Christendom who promote the false doctrine of ‘law-keeping’ among Christians today in order to for one gain God’s blessings. Thus they deny the already bestowed blessings of the freedom from “the Law” (Rom. 6:14) and all the blessings gained through faith alone in the finished Cross-work of Christ alone.
  2. Then also there is the lying idea that ‘faithfulness to the light is enough to safeguard’ against the Devil’s Deception. We need to know that to be ‘true in motive’ and ‘faithful up to the light,’ is not in itself a sufficient safeguard against Satan’s Deceptions. We also cannot rely upon ‘honesty of purpose’ as guaranteeing protection from the enemy’s wiles (tricks). We must take the warnings of “the word of truth” while watching unto prayer. The fact is that Christians who are true, faithful and honest can be deceived by Satan and his deceiving ‘lying spirits,’ for the following reasons.

We know that when a man believes to be saved, he becomes a child of God by the regenerating power of “the Spirit of God” giving him new life as he trusts in the atoning work of Christ. Yet, he does NOT at the same time receive ‘fullness of spiritual knowledge and understanding,’ neither of God, of himself, nor of the Devil and the Devil’s workings.

The mind of man, which by nature is darkened (Eph. 4:18) and under a veil [blinded] as created by Satan (2Cor. 4:4). This mind is only renewed, and the veil of darkness destroyedup to the extent that the light of truth of “the word of God” penetrates it. And this is only according to the measure in which the man is able to apprehend it. Thus, I often pray asking the Lord to increase my capacity for understanding spiritual truth.

“Deception” has to do with ‘the mind’ when a wrong thought is admitted to the mind under the deception that it is truth.’ We see this in James’ description of temptation to sin (James 1:13-15). Since ‘deception’ is based upon ignorance, and not moral character, a Christian who is true, honest, and faithful up to the extent of the knowledge that he has, is still open to deception in the sphere where he is ignorant of the ‘deceptive devices’ of the Devil. Paul wrote to and of believers saying;

11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11

We are liable to be deceived by the Devil due to our ‘ignorance of his devices (ways)’ versus God’s ways.

  1. The thought that God will protect the believer from being deceived if he is true, faithful, and honest, is in itself a ‘deception.’ It throws a man off guard, ignoring that fact that there are conditions on the part of the believer which have to be fulfilled for God’s working.
    1. First, after our salvation by faith in Christ alone…  God does not do anything instead of or in place of any man, but rather only by the man’s intelligent co-operation with Him.
    2. Neither does God undertake to make up for a man’s ignorance … when in fact God has provided all the Biblical information needed for him (2Tim. 3:16) … which will Prevent Deception.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)

  1. Consider that Christ would not have warned His disciples, “Take heed … Be Not Deceived,” if there had been no such danger of the Devil’s deception, or if God automatically undertakes to keep them (us) from deception apart from them taking heed and having knowledge of the danger at hand.

The knowledge that IT IS POSSIBLE to be deceived keeps the mind open to the truth of the written light of God.” This is one of the primary conditions for ‘the keeping power of God’ whereas a closed mind is closed to light and truth of God. This would guarantee deception by Satan at his earliest opportunity.

As we glance back over church history and watch the rise of various heresies that came by the Devil’s delusions as they have sometimes been called. We can trace the deception to its beginning with some crisis.’ Often it was a crisis in which a man’s life that brings him to give himself up to full abandonment to the Holy Spirit, and in so doing he also opens himself to the ‘Other’ Supernatural Powers Of The Invisible World.

The reason for the peril of such a crisis is that up to this point in time, the believer likely formerly used his reasoning faculties in judging right and wrong, and obeyed what He believed to be the will of God from Biblical principle. But now, in his abandonment to the Holy Spirit, he begins to obey an unseen (spirit) personage, submitting his faculties and reasoning powers in ‘blind obedience’ to that which he believes is ‘of God.’ In such a case, the will is then surrendered to carry out the ‘assumed will of God’ at all costs, and the whole being is made subject to the powers of the unseen world. The unintelligized believer of course purposes that it shall be to the power of Almighty God, not even considering that there are other spirits and powers in the spiritual realm, and that not all supernatural events are of Almighty God. They never realize the fact that absolute surrender of one’s whole being to invisible forces, Without Knowing How To Discern the Contrary Powers of God and Satan. This is the Gravest Risk to an Inexperienced, Unintelligized, believer.

Then there is the question as to whether this surrender to obey the Spirit is one that is in accord with Scripture. This should be examined in view of the way in which so many wholehearted believers have been misled. Consider how the sincere founders of Mormonism, Adventists, Jehovah’s Witness, and other cults were all ‘deceived’ by Satanic lying spirits. Note also that ideas that are ‘apparently Scriptural’ are not necessarily ‘dispensational,’ not applying in every dispensational age as see here; 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14 (KJV) Thus, Scripture is often dangerously misapplied, causing of complete wreckage in the lives of many.

So, is the phrase ‘obey the Spirit’ Scriptural? Many take that idea from this verse.

32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost [a witness], whom God hath given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:32)

This verse mistakenly gives rise to the expression “obey the Spirit.” As is so common, many ignore context and become confused. It was used by Peter before the Acts 15 council at Jerusalem, while Israel was still under the Law. Nowhere else in Scripture is this thought given, certainly not in Paul’s prison epistles to the Gentiles. In Acts 5:29 Peter clarifies who we are to obey. Here Peter expresses his thought another way;

29 Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29

So, to place the Holy Spirit as the object of our obedience, rather than God the Father, creates the danger of leading the believer to rely upon and obey ‘a spirit’ in or around him. But we ought to apply the revealed will of God as seen in the written word of truth to our lives today. The Holy Spirit is the means through Whom God and His word are made known, as written. The work of the Holy Spirit is revelation of “the word of truth” to the believer.

13 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 [of the Father], that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come [from Scripture]. John 16:13

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 1 Corinthians 2:10 (KJV)

The Holy Spirit should never be thought of as the object of the believer’s worship. That would be a place the Holy Spirit does not desire and it is not the purpose of the Father in heaven that the Holy Spirit should occupy that place. Today, the Holy Spirit teaches and confirms the Biblical TRUTH of the Scriptures rightly divided.” The Holy Spirit does not instruct us Except To Shine Light On The Scriptures. In this way, the Holy Spirit’s work is to guide or lead believers into the ‘knowledge of their union with “the Son and the knowledge of the Father in heaven… while He as the Holy Spirit remains in the background.

Sadly, Pentecostal Charismatics often teach that we should “obey the spirit” but this is dangerous. If a believer who is untaught in the Scriptural statements of the fact concerning the work of the Triune God, he may make “obey the spirit” his supreme purpose. Then, the Deceiver will aim to counterfeit guidance’ to him as if it were from the Holy Spirit … further leading believer astray. We are to judge all things by the words of Scripture “rightly divided” (2Tim. 2:15).

15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things …. 1 Corinthians 2:15 (KJV)

The spiritual believer today is to use his reason and judgment by his renewed faculty of the soul’s mind (1Cor 2:15). We today as Gentile grace believers of “the body of Christ” during this age of “the dispensation of the grace of God” should know who our Apostle is, and that his epistles are where we get our written instruction in righteous living. We Gentiles have our own “Apostle to the Gentiles,” Paul.

13 I [Paul] speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles …  Rom. 11:13 (KJV)

Cautioning us, Paul wrote of Hymenaeus and Philetus (see below) who obviously had refused Paul’s prescribed way to “study.” Paul points out the danger of believers following these men who have erred, who no doubt had becomedeceived’ to fall away from the truth by heeding ‘lying spirits.Every human since Adam is or has been “deceived,” until they received, then to remain in God’s light of truth.

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain [empty] babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17And their word will eat as doth a canker [as ‘gangrene’]: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection [rapture] is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:15-18 (KJV)

Just imagine, Hymenaeus and Philetus were telling the saints that they had Missed The Rapture and were now living in the Tribulation period. What a Devilish disheartening lie. This was bringing utter confusion to the saints, contradicting Paul’s clear teaching of the Rapture and it’s timing as seen in 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, relative to the appearing of Antichrist.

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him [at the Rapture], 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as [if it was] from us, as that the day of Christ [2nd coming] is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, [‘departure first’ by the Rapture] and that man of sin [The Antichrist] be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (KJV)

This Pauline Scripture, correctly seen, is a great proof of the Pretribulation Rapture thatHymenaeus and Philetus had lost sight of... due to the Devil’s deception. They and many forsook Paul and the Holy Spirit inspired words Paul wrote to and for us.

(Portions of this Study are adapted from “War on the Saints,” by Jessie Penn Lewis and “Earth’s Earliest Ages” by G. H. Pember.)