The enemy of our soul is the master deceiver. He is the father of lies, and he is good at it. He started his plan of deception in the Garden of Eden and he has not let up ever since. His time is limited, and he knows that, so his master plan is to deceive as many people as he can into following his ways instead of the plans and purposes of God.
The Bible has plenty to say about the dangers of deception. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were repeatedly led astray by false prophets who said the things they wanted to hear rather than proclaiming the true message of God. Jesus warned his disciples to watch out for convincing counterfeits so that they would not be deceived. The apostle Paul implored the churches to beware of people who teach things that are contrary to the gospel and to stay away from people that deceive with their “smooth talk and glowing words.” (Romans 16:18) All of these warnings hold true for us today, and even more, as the return of Christ draws near.
“For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.” – Matthew 24:23-25 NLT
In the Book of Revelation, we are told about the ultimate deception of the anti-Christ that will come. He will deceive those who live on the earth because of the signs that he is permitted to perform. (Revelation 13:14) Then once he’s got everyone’s attention and they are all amazed and eager to follow him, he will demand worship (Revelation 13:8) and force anyone that wants to buy or sell to receive his mark on their hand or forehead. (Revelation 13:17)
By this time, God has already marked his chosen people with his seal, and now the enemy will mark the rest with his. And to receive this mark will be to proclaim allegiance with the enemy of God.
Although the end time’s deception will be the ultimate deception, there are false teachers today that are paving the way. Christians need to be aware so that they will not be deceived. With all the information available to us and the abundance of people claiming to teach the message of God, we need to be able to recognize the difference between God’s truth and the devils lies. The only way to do this is to spend time in the Word of God and to ask the Holy Spirit to give us discernment. It is much easier to recognize a counterfeit when you are confidently familiar with the real thing.
Watch out for any supposed teacher of the Bible who:
- Appears to be teaching the Word of God but does not live a life that lines up with it.
- Waters down the Word of God so that people will be comfortable with the message.
- Focuses the attention on themselves and their words rather than directing it to God and His Word.
Do not be deceived! God has given us the truth in His Word, and He has given us the Holy Spirit so that we can discern between God’s truth and the enemy’s lies.
Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world…Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. – 1 John 4:1,5 NLT