The Depth of
By David Andrew Douglas
Deception is a tool being utilized in our modern world with deadly consequences. It is being used to manipulate individuals, society, and whole nations. It is diametrically opposed to truth. Deception has two major facets: (1) deception of others; (2) deception of self.
One of the scriptures that talks about deception of others is Rev. 12:9 – “…that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…” My first thoughts years ago about this verse were: Is that really possible? How could Satan manage that? Yahshua taught His disciples the “How” in his explanation of the parable of the sower. “…and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word (of Yah), and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19).
If anyone can be sidetracked by worldly issues from hearing and following the true instructions contained in the Sacred Scriptures, then they can be deceived. Money and material possessions are often seen as providing a sense of security. Can money buy the gifts of the Spirit? Does money guarantee safety? Scripture plainly states: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (I Tim. 6:10) So…lusting after desires of the flesh and material possessions has deceived and destroyed the lives and livelihoods of millions of individuals. All Satan had to do was sow a seed of “desire.” In Genesis 3:4, Hawwah (Eve) saw that the tree was good…and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be DESIRED to make one wise. (Gen. 3:6). She relied upon the desires of her senses/flesh as the basis for her choice… and deception, destruction and death entered.
The Apostle Paul plainly taught the Galatians that “…the flesh lusteth against the Spirit (of Yahweh), and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17). In Romans, Paul taught: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:5). Therefore we must choose the words and instructions of spirit and life… and we must say NO to the flesh! No one forces you to “feed the flesh”! You make personal choices, and your choice reveals whether you allowed “worldly things” to deceive you.
Whether it is Satan deceiving the whole world, or one individual deceiving another, the result is the same. Deception is fraud, and fraud is a perversion of the truth; and any perversion of the truth is a lie. The “father of all liars” strikes again! All because we allow ourselves to e sidetracked from the true instructions of Yahweh.
Beloved brethren, this article is specifically written to Believers first, i.e., those who are inside the assemblies; those who have a measure of enlightenment and have tasted of the heavenly gifts a loving Father has bestowed upon them. Common sense alone tells you that an unbeliever is already the victim of deception. It is of great significance that inside the body of Believers is ha Satan’s main target. The Apostle Paul was very aware of this problem 2,000 years ago, which he directly addressed in his letters to young Timothy. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” (1 Tim. 4:1).
Inside the Assembly preachers, teachers, and leaders have the most influence over the body of believers. But they are men of flesh just like everyone else, and in the last days, that certainly appear to be upon us, Paul said, “Know this, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those who are good; traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of Yahweh; having a form of holiness, but denying thr power thereof…” (IITim. 3:1-5a). Then Paul specifically warns, “from such turn away,” (II Tim 3:5b). He goes on to say (they are) ever-learning (i.e. inside the Assembly hearing words of truth, life, and spirit), and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth.” (II Tim 3:7). [Emphasis mine] Only the Spirit can reveal the things of the Spirit of Elohim. Paul is describing people who will be without the Spirit. “Now if any man have not the spirit of the Messiah, he is none of his.” (Rom. 8:9b).
My point: Anyone who thinks this does NOT include all pastors, preachrs, teachrs, and leaders in the Assembly, has already been deceived. Why? Just because someone can quote scripture and look good, does not a True Believer make! He must be ever on the lookout for “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into Apostles of the Messiah. And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” (See II Cor. 11:3-4, 13-14). Paul told Timothy, “But these evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, DECEIVING AND BEING DECEIVED (II Tim. 3:13). Take note: they are deceiving others and deceiving themselves! And all because they started listening to “deceiving spirits and doctrines of devils.” They got sidetracked by worldly issues or perhaps they got highminded / puffed up in their positions of power and leadership inside the assembly. They forgot their example set by Yahshua the Messiah. All true preachers and teachers lead by example, just like Yahshua did. Therefore they should be humble servants and not religious tyrants.
Why did the Apostle Paul warn Timothy about this problem to come? To keep him focused. Timothy ws exhorted to “preach the Word, be instant in season, ouit of season, reprove, rebuke exhort with all long suffering and doctrine,” 2 Tim 4:2. But please take notice. The very next passage is addressed to ALL laymen and to ALL pastors, preachers, and teachers. “For the time will come when theyh will not endure sound doctrine; bnut after their own lusts (desires) shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and theyshall turn away their ears from the truth, and theyh shall be turned unto fabnles (made-up stories and doctrines).” 2 Tim. 4:3-4). Everyone bears the personal responsibility to discern truth from error, and discovering the depth of deception used by Hs Satan is everyone’s job.
Have you ever really thought about why Yahshua came down so hard on some of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes and Lawyers? They were the leaders, and they were giving their “oral traditions, oral Torah,” first place over the written Torah given by Yahweh to Moses at Mt. Sinai. In other words, some of their doctrines were added by the mind of man and not by the will of Yahweh. They needed to be rebuked and corrected because they had wandered off the true path, and had perverted Yahweh’s true instructions.
And please understand that I am not talking about the oral Torah that agreed with the written Torah, but rather the doctrines of man that were ADDED for religious manipulation. Does that ever happen in our modern world? You bet! The two biggest tools for manipulation are money and religion!
Whenever anyone adds to the truth, takes away fromt eh truth, or simply hides the truth, he or she is perverting the truth. Any perversion of Truth is a weapon of deception; a lie.
Dear friends, TRUTH matters. Paul boldly warned of those who, in the latter days, will be deceived by “all power and signs, and lying wonders.” Why? Because they refused to love the Truth, and receive the promise of salvation. “Let no man deceive you,” says the Apostle Paul in 2 Thes. 2:3-12. Truth always matters to those who want to know Truth. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). The Truth is free, but Yahshua will not force you to accept His free gift.
Friends, how important is Truth to you? Let’s really personalize this. What position do you give “Truth” in your life? Only Yahshua can liberate us. He can set us free and open our understanding, increasing our knowledge. This is done through and by His Spirit dwelling in us. That Spirit, the Ruach ha Kodesh, prevents us from making serious mistakes that are based on false teachings, doctrines of man, false conclusions, and incomplete or erroneous ideas that WE dream up.
People always make choices and have ideas, and they are always responsible for them. If our ideas alter the truth for any reason, then we have been deceived. And if we act on this false information, we will deceive others. When we follow the Truth, the spirit imparts life; if following lies and deception, it leads to death.
The choices that people have made in the past are the direct causes of the conditions our world is in today. The choices that you make today will determine your future, so think and plan wisely. ~ (Mr. Douglas’s article to be concluded in next issue, Jan-Mar 2011.)