Understanding Deception in the Bible! Can a True Christian be Deceived? Part 6
(ver 1.2) This is now Part 6 in a series of very advanced Bible lessons about the subject of deception. I have uncovered a lot of new information in this series and today’s lesson is some more information on the subject using the Bible to help answer and clarify a comment that I got recently. In today’s lesson I will focus on a very important question that was raised when someone told me that a Christian cannot be deceived because God will not permit them to be lost. That is a very common doctrine of theology in many churches, but is that what the Bible actually says? If you have not read this series from the beginning, I would suggest that you go and start reading from “Part 1” first. I will warn you up front that this will be a long lesson. I have a lot of things to cover today. But, if you read it all I believe you will learn much more than just the primary subject about deception. In one of my last Bible lessons I taught about Understanding Bible Prophets, what they are, why they exist and what they can and cannot do. In that lesson I paraphrased a verse that Jesus gave as a warning to us (the church). I thought it was a valid paraphrasing, but my commenter thought otherwise and told me why they thought this was wrong about what I said. I basically said a Christian could be deceived, so Jesus was warning us to be careful. I basically took the scripture personally and felt like this was God speaking to me. But, my commenter had a different point of view using a very different perspective of the Bible and tried to teach me how they understood the Bible. I want to say first that I believe my commenter was a Christian and that we are both climbing the same mountain to reach the peak of knowledge and understanding. However, our views of the scriptures were clearly from very different perspectives, like me being on the north side of the mountain and them being on the south side of the mountain. What I was looking at was not what they were looking at so this will at times cause many of the theological differences to occur within the Body of Christ. The only legitimate way to resolve these types of conflicts is for each party to change positions in order to try to gain the view from the other side of the mountain and then combine the two realities into the view from the top of the mountain. Maybe you do not understand mountain climbing. At the early altitude you are many times within the tree line and you have to rise beyond the trees to finally be able to see out. Then as you ascend your view becomes increasingly different until you reach the top and can see in 360 degrees of every side. In between the bottom and the top there are varying stages of revelation, the higher you go is based upon how much you know and have seen. I’m sorry I like mountains so I may have used this analogy before in another blog. When I was younger I liked camping in Colorado on the top of the mountains. The views were so awesome and the lessons of life are clearly learned from the things that God has created. I believe the world was created by design and that nothing occurs by chance or accident. We therefore, have to become smart enough to learn the lesson that God is trying to present to us with creation while simultaneously giving His written Word first priority in everything. Here were all of my commenter’s words that were shared with me.
In the initial paragraph of this week’s publication you state that, “Jesus also warned us that even the very elect could be deceived by their trickery, Matt 24:24.” KJ
Actual quotation from Matthew’s text: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
Readers need to know that this verse indicates, “IF POSSIBLE!” In other words, God does not allow this to happen to those who are truly saved nor does he even make it possible. However, he is using this language to cause the reader to understand the intensity of deceit that will be in the world during the last days.
Those who abide in Christ and have the Holy Spirit will not be taken captive by the world. The “perseverance of the saints,” is made possible through the indwelling Holy Spirit… “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil 1:6 KJ
We’ll I read their comment and I know why they said what they did, but the root of the problem is that there is more than one truth in the Bible and it appears to me that my commenter might have been closed to try to see the other scriptures found in the Bible from my view point. This is why we have so many Christian denominations in the world today. One church likes the view from their side of the mountain that they are climbing on and another church stays on the other side of the mountain loving their limited view of the same verse and we have isolationism occurring from our limited perspective view of the Bible. I have said this repeatedly and I will continue to teach it until we all get it, “there is more than one truth in the Bible and we as believers must see them all in order to view the complete actual truth”. No church should exalt one truth and claim that is ALL of the truth that is necessary for you to know. When people do this that is a very serious misrepresentation of God and the Bible and it oversimplifies them both. It is also a common ploy used for deception by Satan. The devil will tell someone one thing so that they ignore the other more important things and he then has them defeated and they do not even understand that they are in this condition. This was Satan’s approach with Eve when she was deceived in the garden. God said “Do not eat or you will surely die”. But, Satan never mentions that part of the subject. Satan says “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”. That was a new truth that replaced what God said in Eve’s mind. God never told Adam and Eve about what the consequences of death meant and Satan avoided the subject by telling them something else that sounded good on the surface. This was a tricky way to deceive someone, if you ask me. It is also the first time Satan deceived anyone in the Bible so it would be a very good future lesson to explore in this series.
You see I do not deny my commenters scripture references, I just have a problem with the fact that they have ignored the other parts of the Bible in order to interpret them in the way that they have. If we do not use the entire Bible to interpret the Bible we are doing nothing but promote the selective isolated doctrines of men and that is foolish. I tried to explain to my commenter that the law of gravity is a physical law of truth that states it is impossible for a man to fly. So the law of gravity was a valid truth that ruled men for thousands of years. Man believed this truth and lived by this law until finally they discovered another greater truth. When mankind learned of the law of aerodynamics and how that it supersedes the law of gravity this new truth allowed man to fly like a bird. So both laws are great truths, but one truth causes the other truth to become minor or insignificant when viewed and applied correctly. This is how the Bible is written. The Bible contains many truths, with some of them being dependent horizontal truths while other truths are independent vertical or hierarchical truths. Ok, I probably went over the head of many readers with that last statement, but this is an advanced Bible study so I will say things occasionally to get you thinking about old concepts in new more complex ways. Please just try to understand that one truth can supersede another truth. Let me give you a Bible example for what I am trying to say; the Bible says “The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has freed us from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:2). This is exactly what I was attempting to say with the example of gravity and aerodynamics. The law of Life in Christ is a much higher law of truth that has nullified the law of sin and death just as the law of aerodynamics has nullified the laws of gravity. I hope you understand these truth concepts, they are very important to know. Let me start by giving you the actual verse that I paraphrased again and show you what Jesus says:
Mat 24:24 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.
Ok here is the exact words written in the KJV ible and we need to actually see what it says. My first point is to notice the words “it were” are in italics and that reveals to us that these words were not written in the original Greek language and they have been added by the translators so we should technically ignore them. So the original verse says “If possible, they (the false Christs and false prophets) shall deceive the very elect”. I immediately wondered who my commenter thought the “very elect” were if they are not Christ’s church. Then I began to wonder what do the words “If possible” mean? According the Strong’s the Greek word translated as “If” is a particle of conditionality. In other words if this is true this occurs, if this is not true then something else occurs. This is a classic programming paradigm called If Then Else Logic and if you are not a programmer you probably do not have a clue what I just said. Nevertheless, the word “If” is always a conditional statement where something else either given or implied is a determining factor for whether what is stated can or cannot occur. Going back to my programming paradigm, when a compiler comes to an If statement a test is made in order to determine the next instruction to execute. When a test occurs, the next instruction that is executed is based upon resulting True or False condition of the test. Do you understand this? You do not have to be a computer programmer to understand this is how you behave every day. If you are hungry you get something to eat and if you are not hungry you don’t. The term “If” certainly does not mean it is NOT POSSIBLE for this to occur. You cannot get that from the definition of the word at any time. The term “possible” is a Greek word (G1415) that means “powerful” or “capable”. We know from the Bible that with God all things are possible. So we must determine what the word “If” coming before the word “possible” can mean. God uses three other Greek words in the New Testament for “impossible” and these are G101, G102 and G418. If God knows the difference between what is possible and what is not possible, I believe that He knows which word to use in what verse. I would suggest that you go and search the New Testament for G1415 (possible) and G102 (impossible). If you look up the definitions of these two words they are actually very revealing. Impossible is a word of “weakness” and possible is a word for “strength”. Which one is God? All things are possible with God meaning all things are strong with God. However, the Bible says “It is impossible for God to lie”. So God displays “weakness” when it comes to speaking lies. These are fascinating concepts that many Christians have not considered. Weakness is a positive when it comes to sin. But, strength in virtue and truth must be admirable. Because the word “If” occurs before the word “possible” God is saying this is possible but it has specific conditions which must be present to cause it to happen. This is a very simple way of saying you can be deceived under the right conditions. According to my commenter, they said it is not possible for a Christian to be deceived, because God would not allow or permit this to occur. I assume from their logic that they believe God controls the outcome of everything based upon the very popular Sovereign God theological doctrine found within many churches and they must feel that man has no further contribution to make to determine their eternal destiny. Go back and read my commenter’s words again.
Readers need to know that this verse indicates, “IF POSSIBLE!” In other words, God does not allow this to happen to those who are truly saved nor does he even make it possible. However, he is using this language to cause the reader to understand the intensity of deceit that will be in the world during the last days.
Hopefully you can see what they are trying to say? My commenter said “IF POSSIBLE” could be substituted for GOD does not allow this to occur”. Wow, is that what it really said? I am really not sure how anyone can arrive at that conclusion or interpretation of the verse, but obviously that is what they said. That is not what Strong’s said the words meant. Since Strong was a Greek and Hebrew expert I rely on his expertise more than my own or the opinions of people who leave me comments. In other words I’m not going to try to say what the verse says without some collaborating and supporting evidence from someone who is or was smarter than I am. If God tells me in another verse in the Bible that it is not possible for a man to be deceived, then that would be the best. If Strong, Thayer or Nave does not say that either then I just cannot override their expertise with my opinion of what I think it means. So whenever someone says “In other words” you better be careful that what is being stated is an actual equivalent phrasing for what was actually stated. The only way that I know of to how you can legitimately do that, is for you to look up all of the words in a dictionary or a thesaurus and then to see what they mean and if they are really valid synonyms. This is just basic Bible study guidelines and rules to follow. I’ll ask you again “What do the words If Possible mean”? Does it mean it is not possible? I do not think so. God tells us in other places in the Bible “It is impossible for Him to lie” (Heb 6:18). God obviously knows when something is possible and when something is not possible to occur and He knows when to use what word for either case. My commenter seemed to think that God wrote it this way to emphasize a point. But, I still think that this is trying to interpret the Bible in isolation without using the other verses found on the subject to help us to understand what is actually being communicated. For example, if you search the Bible you will find that these exact same Greek words translated as “If Possible” are used in other verses in the N.T. If you go and look at one of them they ought to show us if God uses the words in the same way in order to determine if God is being consistent with His words.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
As you can hopefully see if you try to say “If possible” means that it is not possible, you must use that logic in this verse also in order to be consistent. So if you try to apply that logic to this verse in Romans, you would make it say “God does not permit you to live peaceably on the earth with all men. I do not think that this is what this verse is saying, do you? Do you understand this logic? Can you find anywhere in the Bible that it says “God does not permit” when used with the words “If Possible”. If it were not possible for a Christian to be deceived then why would God not tell us that anywhere? I think that would be a very good thing to know if that was actually true. Another point that I want to address is the implied statements being made by my commenter. My commenter implies that they are the “true Christians” and therefore they cannot ever be deceived. Since my commenter did not tell me otherwise I have to assume this is what they meant by examining what they have said. If this is what they believe, I feel very strongly that this is an extremely dangerous theology to base your faith. This would be a great theology if they were right, but if they are wrong then what guarantee do they have that they are not deceived already. Since Bible doctrine and theology is a moving target based upon your current knowledge, there is technically no one that can guarantee what they are preaching today is what they will preach tomorrow exactly. I do not know if you understand that statement or not? Truth is a complex subject and many people want to base their eternal destiny upon their limited knowledge of the Bible and God just might show you a new Bible verse tomorrow that completely changes your theology. Since neither you nor I are God we must be open to learning more at all times and this reality alone should cause us to change our theology as we all attempt to get to the summit of the Bible knowledge mountain. What we all need to do is to research the Bible to figure out the actual truth the best way that we can using all of the information that we can obtain on the subject. Study to show ourselves to be approved a workman that will not be put to shame because we rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). So that is what I will try to do again today. You see, I am smart enough to know that I do not know everything. I also think that God is still revealing new things every day. So these two beliefs lead me to be open to change.
Bible study is a rules based system of learning. In other words if you do not know the rules you cannot follow them and therefore there is no way that you will figure out what the truth is. I will not try to give you all of the rules for Bible interpretation today; I have tried to do this in many other Bible lessons so go and read them to learn the correct way to interpret the Bible. I will give you a secret that I use to study the Bible constantly and this may help you if you apply it. When you study a subject search the Bible for the words that you are interested in and find all of the Bible verses that contain those words and then go read what they say. If God uses the same Greek or Hebrew word in every verse then you can be assured you are learning about the exact same subject. Therefore what God says in each verse applies to what is said in every other verse with that same word. This is just a very basic Bible study methodology. You see I know for sure my commenter did not do this or they would have seen what I am going to show you today about the subject of deception. Another Bible study basic is for you to look up the words that you are reading in a Greek or Hebrew dictionary to see what they mean in the original languages. Many times English words have changed and the meanings are no longer the same. For example, in the King James Bible many times the Greek word “agape” is translated as “charity” and this is a total inaccuracy using modern day concepts of the English word for charity. Agape is the Greek word that describes “the God Kind of Love” and that is an important difference between the English word and the Greek word. In fact in the Bible there is more than one Greek word translated as love, how are you going to know the difference if you do not go and search for it? Let me give you the Greek Word definition for “deceive” as it is translated in Matthew 24:24. I think I have given you this definition before in previous lessons, but this is so important that I feel it needs to be restated:
From G4106; to (properly cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue): – go astray, deceive, err, seduce, wander, be out of the way.
You should see by the definition of this Greek word translated as deceive alone that it causes major problems for my commenter’s theology. To roam or to go astray is a clear description of someone who once was on the path of safety, virtue and truth and they have now wandered from it to become lost. Uh oh? It is very clear to me that the Greek word definition shows someone who once knew the truth, but wandered away from it. Are you a Christian today? If you are then it is because someone presented you the truth and you decided to believe it. Can you knowing the truth now choose to walk away from it? According to the definition of this word it is more than possible. The definition of this word “deceive” says people were in the town of Truth and they wandered off and got lost and now cannot find their way back. What are we going to do with that information? Can you see and understand how to apply this? Do you remember when Jesus said “I am the Good Shepherd? Do you know that we are His sheep? Do you know that His sheep can wander off and decide not to follow the shepherd? According to my commenter’s theology this is not possible, because every one of God’s sheep must have a tight choker collar around their necks with a leash that is tied around the shepherd’s staff, so they cannot stray and get lost. The only way to keep a sheep from straying is to tie them and no shepherd that is good will do this to their animals. Please go search the web and see how shepherds lead their sheep. If you want to learn more on this subject you can read my lesson on “Understanding Sheep in the Bible”. Jesus told a story of a sheep getting lost and Him having to go out and find it (Mat 18:12). Jesus is using a story with natural symbolism to convey a spiritual truth about God and us His people. If you look up the words in this verse you will see “go astray” is the same word translated as “deceive” in Mat 24:24. Uh oh? Therefore, we are talking about the exact same subject, yes in both verses? In this story Jesus says He will leave the 99 to try to find the 1 who was deceived to stray. Who is guarding the 99 while He is out looking for the one that was deceived? Can a wolf come and kill one of the 99 sheep while Jesus is looking for the one? Could the wolf already have killed the one sheep that left the safety of the shepherd? Why did God allow one sheep to leave and become deceived? Oh, yea God is sovereign, omnipotent, omniscient and is omnipresent. If that was all of the truth then why did God use such human examples to describe Himself when He possessed such gret deity qualities? If God is permitted to use all of His supernatural powers then it would be impossible for any of His sheep to get lost in the first place. Since He clearly tells us that a sheep left the flock and must be searched for this tells us God is not in control of what that sheep did. That sheep was deceived to leave the safety of the flock and the shepherd and that is not good for them. I believe that God chooses not to use His supernatural powers by His own choice. If you can find me scriptures to contradict this belief, I will be happy to change. But, I believe that this is the only viable explanation of how a human example of a shepherd losing a sheep could apply to God. If God does not give His sheep the freewill choice to leave, that would make God a controlling manipulator. If you are a married person, is that the kind of spouse that you desire to be married to? I do not think so! Otherwise I have no explanation of why Jesus used this example to describe Himself and us His sheep. Just notice the story of the sheep and see that Jesus says there are 100 sheep and one is deceived and has been lost because they wandered off by their own choice or will. This is what Jesus is teaching to us; His sheep have the right to leave and they can be deceived. Do you understand this?
Let’s back up in the chapter of Matthew and read some other words that Jesus spoke before this statement in Mat 24:24 in order to examine the context of the statement. If you go back to the first part of the chapter you will see Jesus describing things that will occur in the last days. Since we are living in the last days I believe that means whatever Jesus is about to say applies to us. The disciples then come to Jesus privately in Matthew 24:3 and ask Him, when will these things occur? Who is Jesus speaking to in this chapter? My commenter thinks that Jesus is only speaking to the readers, whoever they are. I do not know about you, but I am reader? I wonder if my commenter is also a reader. I guess they think they are not? Since I know of hardly any unsaved people who read the Bible, I’m not really sure who they are thinking Jesus is speaking to. God says in Matthew 24:3 that He was speaking to the disciples and they were the founding fathers of the church. But, my commenter has determined Jesus was speaking to someone else. However, here is the beginning of Jesus’ answer to the “disciples” question:
Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Wow, this is obviously a hard saying if Jesus the Son of God is speaking in private to only His own disciples. Jesus clearly says “Beware” and “do not let anyone deceive you”. Does Jesus ever say “It is impossible for them to be deceived”? Is Jesus speaking to the founding fathers of the church? Obviously Jesus does not even come close to saying they cannot be deceived. If Jesus warns His personal disciples, His inner circle of 12 students not to be deceived, it is very obvious to me that they could easily become deceived at any time going forward from that warning. What is a warning? A warning is like when you tell your children do not touch the stove because it is hot. When you said that did you mean it was not possible for them to touch it? Obviously that was not why you warned them not to touch it. This is really not that hard and it only takes a little common sense to see that Jesus would never warn His disciples of something that was not possible to occur.
This revelation alone disqualifies the “Predestination” theology. This knowledge alone invalidates the “Once Saved Always Saved” theology. Here Jesus is speaking to many of the future writers of the New Testament and He says you better be careful or you will be deceived. I will tell you this directly, if it was possible for the disciples to be deceived, then any regular Christian today is in dire straits if they think they cannot ever be deceived. These are very strong words and very important words for you to understand. I also want to point out that this Greek word translated as “deceive” is the exact same word found in Matthew 24:24 so Jesus is definitely giving you relevant information that you need to know about the subject of deception in the last days.
Let’s explore the same information found in Matthew, but this time read it in Mark. Many times one writer will phrase the text in one way differently than the other or they will give you the same information with different words. Plus I like to find two or three witnesses in the Bible to everything that I teach in order to help establish the truth. So let’s turn to Mark 13 and read what Jesus says there:
Mar 13:5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:
Mar13:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
If you continue to read down in this chapter you will again see that Jesus is speaking of the last days. Since I believe strongly that we are living in the last days, I believe that if you do not take this warning personally as a True Christian that you can be deceived very easily. Every word of God is written to you personally and this verse does not say “If Possible”. It says “Take heed” and that is something that you are required to do, not God! Too many Christians want to put the responsibility all on God. God will not permit me to be tested. God will not permit me to be tempted. God will not permit me to be deceived and that is just not what the Bible says anywhere. Jesus would not have given us a warning if it were not possible for us (the church) to be deceived. If you ignore these Bible verses and think they do not apply to you, I’ll say it again you are in trouble. Think with me for a second and determine who was present to hear these words of Jesus. Weren’t Judas and the other 11 disciples always present when Jesus spoke? What did Judas do? You probably know that Judas betrayed Jesus and turned Him over to be killed for silver. Was Judas deceived? Absolutely, Judas was deceived. He heard the exact same words of truth that Peter heard and every other disciple heard and he still decided not to believe in them and do his own thing. You can clearly read in the Bible that Satan entered into Judas and this caused him to betray Jesus. It is very clear to me that Satan was present to cause any disciple to fall into deception that would permit him to do so. Only Judas because of his greed for money was motivated to ignore his eternal outcome for a monetary short term gain which he soon regretted. However, if one disciple of the twelve can be deceived every disciple can be deceived. If any disciple can be deceived then you can be deceived.
Think with me for another moment about what Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 knowing the context of the verse are about the end time events. Jesus said beware of the “false Christ”. This is a direct reference to the coming anti-Christ which is probably in the world today somewhere. We know there have been foolish men who have claimed to be the Christ and they have caused many to die and be lost. But, if the anti-Christ is a false Christ and Jesus is speaking a warning to the church, what is going to happen when he shows up doing great signs and wonders that only a supernatural being can do. I believe that many Christian will buy into his false message based upon his overwhelming knowledge of how to deceive people. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 that it is possible for even the elect to be deceived, they should be careful not to allow this to happen.
My commenter said that a “True Christian” cannot be deceived and by this they imply there are false Christians in the world. They further imply they are one of the “True Christians” that are incapable of being deceived. This is of course a very convenient theology to believe in with great personal benefits. It is no wonder that so many Christians have bought into this philosophy. Now whenever, anyone comes up as having been deceived, they can simply say they were never a “True Christian” in the first place. Of course this is not true using the definition of the word “deceive” that we found. Jesus warned us of the coming “False Christs” and the “False Prophets” who will deceive many. By definition a false prophet is a man who says he is a prophet but who is not. It is the same with a false Christ. Finally, a false Christian is one that says they are a Christian and they are not. I do believe that all of these exist in the world today right now. Both the true and the false must coexist in the world simultaneously by simple logic and reasoning.. However, I am not addressing false Christianity because they are already deceived. You do not ever warn someone about something they have already fallen into, right? You can only try to help them out of their pit of deception if they are interested in getting your help. If not, they will remain in the their deception and be content. So by simple logic found in Matthew 24:24 we can determine that Jesus cannot be speaking to anyone, but a Christian who is walking in the Light of Truth. This would be someone who knows the truth, but chooses to walked away from it to do the wrong things.
Let me talk to you about some modern day preachers that have been deceived. I know of several and I could name their names and you would know who I am talking about, but I will not do that. You will probably know who I’m talking about anyway because they were in the news. Anyway one preacher had a national TV ministry and a major Bible school and obviously was doing great things for God when one day he was discovered with a prostitute. This was not good news for his church or his wife and family. Was he just a false Christian or was he a Christian who was deceived? Remember the definition of the word “deceive” from Strong? I recall that “deceive” seems to be defined as someone who was safe in the truth, but who has now wandered off from it. Was this famous preacher a false Christian or just one that knew the truth and decided to do the wrong things anyway? Do you see how complicated this subject really is? I believe that you cannot say this preacher was not a Christian to begin with or that he was a false Christian based upon the fruits that he had exhibited. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits. But, even a preacher, saved and filled with Spirit of God can be deceived to do the wrong things. Plus the fact that this preacher asked for forgiveness and the Bible says that when you do this God will forgive you (1 Jo 1:9). Let me say that deception comes in varying degrees. I believe that any Christian can be deceived to sin, but not be lost completely if they turn and see their mistake and repent. If my commenter thinks they are a perfect Christian that never sins, they are definitely deceived. If they think that it is impossible for them to sin, again there is deception that has already occurred and they better wake up soon. Let me say again that any Christian is capable of sinning and knowing this fact alone we should realize that Satan is out to try to trick us into going back to what our flesh use to want to do all the time; whether it was drugs, sex, cigarettes, alcohol, food or whatever.
Another preacher that will remain nameless had a 5000 member church in the Bible belt of America. His TV ministry was seen nationwide. I went to his church and I saw all of this first hand, so this is not hearsay or speculation. I saw the church and the ministries grow, I saw the salvation of many people while I was in the church. People would get saved in almost every service. I felt the power of God present and things were happening supernaturally so God was present. I sat under the anointing of God and felt the power of God present so I know he was a Christian. I could hear the sermons and read the Bible verses that were being taught and they were sound doctrine. However, over time I saw a change occurring in the senior pastor and the church. He eventually left his wife and married another woman and began to preach some really strange things. There were many personal and church related problems and issues and this senior pastor soon left his new wife and married another woman. The church went from over 5000 members to it is non-existent today. That church went from awesome to nothing in a very short time all because of one man being deceived by Satan. There was clearly a level of deception that had taken place to take this senior pastor from a great man of God to his downfall. All of these examples are warnings for Christians today. I could give you many more examples, but that is just pointless. Just understand that if it can happen to a major church pastor, it can happen to you. If it can happen to a disciple of Jesus it can happen to you.
Let’s go through some Bible verses in the New Testament and see if God says if a Christian can become deceived or not? You are going to have to read your Bible and study it, but they are not complicated if you can open your spiritual eyes and see what God is saying. I will only focus on scriptures written to the church. The Church is the target readers of the Epistles. All of these letters were written to True Christians for instruction and for correction and that is what I hope they do for you today.
1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
1Co 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
These are three direct witnesses that convey the message that Christians can be deceived. You do not write to anyone in the Church and tell them not to fall into deception if it is impossible for them to do this. That would be stupid for God to do. Do you understand that? Are these the Words of God written to you and I? I believe they are. I’m sure there are some people who can explain away what the Bible says, but I choose to take the words of the Bible to be truth. I want you to see that three times God writes to the church and tells them it is their responsibility not to fall into deception. If God could stop it from happening, He would not warn you that it could happen. If you look up the Greek word translated as “deceived”, you will see that it is the same one used by God in Matthew 24:24. Therefore, these verses apply to the subject given and it clearly tells us based upon context that a Christian can be deceived. Let’s go though some more scriptures that say this also using some different phrasing.
Eph 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
Here are three more direct witnesses from the scripture that clearly say “Let no man deceive you”. Notice that none of them said “God will let no man deceive you”. These words are clearly written to the church and the Apostle John even calls us the “children” of God. It is self-evident that even real Christians can be deceived by an active or inactive participation of their own freewill. If you let someone deceive you, you can make the right choices to keep from being deceived. This is a clear assignment of self-responsibility. If God says “Let no man” there is an alternative outcome to being deceived and it comes back to a conditional statement of dependency upon what you do or permit to be done. Therefore, it is an act of your will or the omission of action by your will that causes you to be deceived. Wow, that is an important statement to learn. Let me give you a funny example. When my wife was young her mom would make her a sandwich and she would need a drink or something and have to get up from the table to get it and when she came back someone had taken a bite out of her sandwich. Well this was a cruel joke by her dad, but she got the point very fast. She never left her food again on the table if she got up to get something. It is like the old saying fool me once shame on you, but fool me twice shame on me. I guess what we need to do as Christians is to learn what we need to do to keep the devil from taking a bite of our sandwich and then keep him from doing it ever again.
Deception is a very important subject and that is why I teach on it so much. It is critical for you to know as much as possible on this subject so that you understand how deception can come so that you will be able to avoid it. Deception will come to you in many forms, in many ways and for many purposes. But, one of the ways is through men who wear sheep’s clothing, but are the hidden wolves underneath (Mat 7:15). God would not warn Christians Not to be deceived, if it were not possible. This is just basic reasoning and logic using simple Bible study techniques to help discover the truth. What we as Christians must realize is that we are in a spiritual warfare for the eventual outcome of our eternal spirits. Satan is highly motivated to deceive even “God’s elect ones”. Satan has the knowledge, power and experience to do it and he does not need God’s permission in order to try to do it and this is what you need to know today.
I’ll end this lesson today with another set of witnesses found in the Bible, but these are a little bit different in what they say and how they say it. But you will still notice that they are definitely written to the Church and spoken by Jesus to us. These verses have some very profound words within them and they definitely apply to the subject of deception, even if the word does not appear in these verses. You see there are more rules to Bible interpretation than what I can tell you about in this one lesson. You will just have to read what Jesus is saying and then figure out how it applies to God, to you, the church, Satan and the subject of deception.
Rev 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev 2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.:
Why does Jesus speak these 6 times about “those that overcome”? Do you understand that these are all promises or rewards from God of something for something? In other words every one of these promises are conditional. It is totally depends upon the fact that if you qualify for the promises then and only then will you be rewarded with the promises. Do you understand that all of these are the words written to the Church? Are not these people the True Christians who have been given these messages? Maybe you think that you are not in the same church as these people that Jesus is speaking to, and if that is the case you are in trouble. I believe Jesus is making a very serious point by repeating this phraseology this many times. Jesus is clearly saying that you have a Major Responsibility to become an overcomer. What does it mean to be an overcomer? Wow, I guess that is something not too many Christians understand unless they were in the military or played a competitive sport or had cancer and finally got a clean bill of health from their doctor. You see an overcomer is only someone who is victorious. Clearly an overcomer is a winner of a battle or conflict. These statements have vast implications written on them. It means you can be a failure by default. It means that you can be a quitter by choice. It means you can be defeated by your enemy. It means you can stray from the narrow path and follow the crowd down the wide path to destruction. These verses tell me that a Christian can be deceived and not be victorious. It is your choice, your will, your decisions and your actions that will either cause you to win or to be defeated. If you follow God and the truth of His word this will never happen, but if someone comes to you with a great false message and you follow that, you have left the truth and been deceived and God will let you go. It means you are in trouble if you believe that God is not going to allow you to be deceived. I do not see anywhere in these verses in Revelation where God guarantees you victory if you quit or don’t fight or don’t want to win, what do you think God is going to do about that? Do you believe that God is going to override your desire to do your own thing to force you to His things? If you think this you are clearly mistaken. God is not going to make you do the right things. God will not force feed you so that you grow in the truth. All God can do is send someone like me to try to steer you back into the right path and if you refuse to listen I’m sorry but there is nothing else He will do for you.
God expects you to do something and you need to learn what that is. One of the first major prophecies in the Bible is one found in Genesis 3:15 where God says “The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent”. I know I paraphrased again. But, that was the verse in a nutshell. We all know the serpent is Satan, but few understand who the Seed of the Woman is referring to. If you want to learn who this is you can read my other Bible lessons to find out for sure. But, I will tell that this woman is the church and she is the one that God expects to be victorious. To be under someone’s foot is a symbolic sign that they are defeated by that person whose foot is on them. You can see this many places in the Bible and one place is in Joshua where God told the nation of Israel everywhere the sole of your feet tread I have given to you. Well Israel is a natural typology of the church in this example. Just as Joshua fought to take the promise land, we are forced to fight a spiritual battle to possess God’s promises. What did we read in Revelations 6 times? We read conditional promises? Was the Promised Land conditional for Israel in the O.T.? What if they had not fought the giants, they would have died in the wilderness like everyone else and missed out on the promise. Hopefully you can understand my point.
You see in Romans 16:20, God writes to the church and says “The God of Peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly”. According to this verse in Romans, we are the Seed of the Woman that was prophesied about in Genesis 3:15. It is the feet of the church that God is going to use to bruise the head of Satan. If this is true, then we as a church have a role of responsibility to participate in its fulfillment. I know there are many Christians who believe God controls everything that happens in the world. These Christians have been deceived already into believing they have no role to play, no responsibility for anything and no accountability if it is not done. It is what I preach to be a “No fault” Christian religion. No matter what happens, it was not my fault. I never planted the seeds that caused that to happen! I never stopped it from happening, but that was not my job! I wonder how these types of Christians get up in the morning and do anything all day long. If everything is completely up to God, it would seem to me that we should not try to do anything all day. It would be best, if we all become vegetables and stayed in bed until God bruises Satan’s head and then comes and takes us all away. You see while Christians believe this C.R.A.P. (Christian Reasoning Applied Poorly) they fail to know that God is waiting on them to become strong enough to fulfill what He has planned. Is God waiting for the church? Is that possible? When God describes to us that He has long patience as He does in James 5:7 that is a clear revelation that God is not controlling everything that happens and He is waiting patiently for something to occur in order for the end to happen. If you do not understand what that is, you better learn it quickly because the end is coming soon ready or not. I plan on me being one of the ones that is ready for the end so if you care to join me let’s work together to fulfill the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. It is only when the church is victorious over Satan that Jesus can look at us as being the overcomers as He clearly stated 6 times that He was looking for in the book of Revelation.
If you have read this entire lesson and still want to believe you can never be deceived, I’m not sure if I can say anything else to prove to your otherwise. Deception is a very large and complex subject found in the Bible. Because you do not understand it, you easily misapply the verses to say that it is impossible for you to be deceived. However, God is never going to force you to see the truth. God will let you go to your grave believing in you erroneous theology. But, you will have to tear those pages out of the Bible of all of the Bible verses that I have given to you today in order to still go to church and believe wrong about deception. There were at least 14 Bible verse witnesses to the fact that church members can be deceived. Since the Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established, I have given you overwhelming evidence to the truth. If you deny it your blood is not on my hands. If you have 3 Bible verses that say a Christian can NEVER be deceived, I would love to hear about them. I have gone on long enough today, so please come back next time and I’ll try to speak about a different subject that may be more popular with everyone and less controversial. Just understand my motivation for doing what I do. If I did not care, I would not try to help you. If I did not love you I would not bring you an alternative viewpoint. Do not think that I am here to criticize you; I am only here to try to help. I know I’m not perfect and I know can say things that offend people, but I do not do it to deceive you or cause you harm. If you could see my heart I think you would understand why I address the subject of deception with such a passion. God Bless!
If you want to know how to get saved and know that you are with confidence you can go to: How do I get saved?
Posted on June 1, 2011, in Advanced Topics, Bible Study and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, deception, Genesis, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Knowledge, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Satan. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.