Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Deception Identification and Avoidance
Now that we have looked at one of the grand deceptions of this present day, and it has been disclosed that lies and illusions are everywhere in this world and will only increase as we near the end of the age, the great question to be answered is “How can we identify and avoid deception?”
In this book I have sought to bring to light some of the ways in which deceivers operate. They appeal to personal biases such as national patriotism and religious belief. They employ societal leaders to shepherd the masses in the direction they want them to go. They silence, ridicule, defame, or in some other way marginalize the opposition, whistleblowers, and critics. They use peer pressure and the fear of societal rejection to gain acquiescence. In essence, deceivers employ the carrot and stick approach. There is something appealing in the deception, and there are negative consequences if one should refuse to go along.
If you are a lover of truth, and are willing to stand alone, buck the tide, and endure the censure of society and whatever consequences may come, you may still be daunted at the prospect of recognizing deceptions in this world. Some may feel inadequate to do the research necessary to uncover falsehood, error, or lies. Some may deem themselves unqualified to judge hoaxes which involve technical or scientific subject matter. Some may consider themselves to be ill equipped to contend with a mass conspiracy which involves government officials, all forms of mass media, educational institutions, school text books, and the collusion of men and women with multiple degrees behind their names.
The good news is that you need not be a technical analyst, or a an expert in whatever realm the deception occurs to recognize the presence of deception. No one can be knowledgeable in all subject areas pertaining to this world we live in. A person may dedicate their life to the study of the Scriptures and know only generalities in the fields of natural science and technology. Fortunately, we need not be highly educated in all matters. It is enough to know someone who has a mature understanding of the issues who can inform us of error or deception. No, I am not advocating that Christians develop a network of friends or associates who are experts in every field of knowledge and endeavor. As disciples of Christ we already have a relationship with One who is perfect in the knowledge of every subject under the Sun, and beyond the Sun. Yahshua stated:
The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation, and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, someone greater than Solomon is here.
If you want to avoid deception, one indispensable thing is required. You must walk closely to the one person who can never be deceived. If what I am suggesting sounds too simplistic, or so spiritually minded that it is of no earthly good, I entreat you to hear me out.
If left to yourself to rely only on your abilities, education, and understanding, are you able to recognize every lie, every illusion, and everything that is false? I do not have this ability. Neither does any man or woman born of Adam. We are finite beings. Our understanding and knowledge are finite. Even as there are people who are stronger than myself, there are also people who are smarter, have greater wisdom or cunning. Left to my own resources, I could be deceived. The same is true of every person who has ever walked this Earth, with one exception. Neither the wisest among men or angels can fool, trick, or deceive the Son of God. Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah cannot be hoodwinked. Period. Not even Satan, the great deceiver who deceives the whole world, can pull the wool over His eyes.
In an hour of gross darkness where deceit is universal, there is one person I want to stay close to. That is the person who is light, in whom is no darkness or shadow. I want to walk with the One who is Truth, and who is alone qualified to judge every lie and to expose every falsehood. To borrow a metaphor used in the Scriptures, we are all like sheep. We need a Shepherd to guide and protect us.
Although all Christians have access to the protection, counsel, wisdom, and guidance of Christ, not all avail themselves of these divine resources. The Bible states:
I Corinthians 2:11-16
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised... For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Although we have been given access to the wisdom and knowledge of God through the Spirit of Christ which dwells in us, many do not avail themselves of these things. The church elder James lamented the following.
You do not have because you do not ask.
Over the course of years in which the Lord has called me to minister through writing, I have repeatedly had Christians tell me that they were crying out to God, asking Him to guide them to truth, to give them understanding of some matter of doctrine, when He led them soon afterward to that which they sought. I too have experienced this. I have prayed many times during my life that Yahweh would teach me truth and expose error to me. I have entreated Him to show me the presence of deception and falsehood, and to guide me in the way of truth. Have you asked the same? Perhaps you do not have because you do not ask.
There is something required beyond asking, however. Yahshua does not reveal mysteries and provide counsel indiscriminately. You must qualify yourself to receive the counsel of Christ and to be granted entry to His inner circle. Not everyone who confesses the name of Christ qualifies. You cannot live a self-centered, material, or carnal life and expect to be granted access to the privy counsel of the Son of God. Years ago the Spirit of Christ showed me a profound truth, affirming this matter. The Holy Spirit drew my attention to the following verse from the Gospels.
And He said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, in order that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”
The Spirit of Christ had me break down this verse to understand some basic principles. One thing I was led to consider is who “you” is a reference to. The answer is found in the preceding verse.
And His disciples began questioning Him...
I was then led to consider what a disciple is. Many Christians would quickly answer that a disciple is anyone who believes in Jesus Christ/Yahshua the Messiah as their Lord and Savior. This is inaccurate, however, and it has been the cause of many failures and evils among Christians. There is much more required than confession of certain beliefs in order to be a disciple. Yahshua stated the following.
Luke 14:26-28, 33
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple... So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions.”
In these words of Christ we are given specific criteria for being a disciple. A man or woman must place devotion and obedience to Christ above every other relationship in this life. A disciple must love Christ even more than his own life. A disciple must take up his/her cross and follow wherever Christ leads. A disciple must surrender all they possess to Christ. There is nothing said here about maintaining a confession in order to be a disciple. Confession and belief is important, but Christ wants more than mere lip service. He wants men and women to yield their entire lives to Him. He wants them to live as if they have been purchased by His blood and they no longer are their own.
The qualifications for being a disciple are very high. This is a truth many Christians object to. Those who are carnal, desirous of avoiding suffering, or reproach, or unpleasant experiences; those who want to follow their own plans and pursue their own pleasures, will deny the criteria Yahshua set forth in order to be His disciple. Such ones are self-deceived, and consequently prove themselves to not be lovers of truth. If you do not love truth, the consequences are dire.
II Thessalonians 2:10-12
Because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved... for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
In the passage from Luke I quoted from above, Christ stresses that there is a very high cost to be paid in order to be His disciple.
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks terms of peace.”
Building a tower and going into battle are not decisions a man enters into lightly. They are decisions which must be weighed. A man must determine whether he is willing and able to commit the necessary resources to accomplish the goal. Building a tower and going to war are both expensive ventures in their own way. So too is becoming a disciple of Christ. In another place Yahshua spoke to those who expressed a desire to be His disciples in the following manner.
And a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Yahshua said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Yahshua said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
If you require a nice home and comfortable life, you will be unable to follow Christ as a disciple. The disciple must follow in the steps of Christ. The Son of God never dictated to His Father a certain standard of living or material comfort. Yahshua let the Father determine His mode of living and experiences for Him. He was content to allow His Father in heaven to take the lead in all such matters. This is not true of many, indeed most, Christians today.
Brothers and sisters, it is a true statement that among the hundreds of millions of people who profess to be Christians today, there are very few disciples. This does not bode well for the body of Christ in coming days, for it is only the disciples to whom Christ discloses His privy counsel. To “disciples” he said, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is in parables, in order that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.”
To those who would complain that this sounds elitist, take heed to what the Scriptures declare. Every person who has been born of the Spirit of Christ has set before them the invitation to be a disciple of Christ. If you have been born of the Spirit but are not a disciple, the fault is your own. You are hindered by your own will and affections.
In the city of Corinth there was a group of believers who lived in a very affluent and pleasure focused society. This church in particular had problems with carnal desires and a lack of devotion to Christ. The apostle Paul wrote much to them, confronting and reproving their deficiencies. He told them that the riches of Christ were set before them, but they were not partaking of them. Why? It was not because Christ was playing favorites. The reason is disclosed in the following words.
II Corinthians 6:12
You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections.
If your love and commitment to Christ is less than your commitment to experience ease and comfort and success in this world, the consequences will become evident. Your life will be marked by an inability to discern deception and error when you encounter it.
There is one thing which will provide the ultimate safeguard against deception in this world, and that is to walk closely, intimately, in daily communion with Christ. You must be able to come to Him as the disciples did and ask Him to give you understanding. To have the privileges of a disciple you must pay the cost of discipleship. Yahshua testified the following of those disciples who walked with Him.
And you are those who have remained [throughout] and persevered with Me in My trials; And as My Father has appointed a kingdom and conferred it on Me, so do I confer on you [the privilege and decree], that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom...
To be a partaker of Christ’s counsel, to eat and drink at His table, you must also be a partaker of His suffering. Let me provide a real life example to illustrate this matter.
In numerous writings I have taught on the pagan origins of Christmas and Easter. I have set forth the call of the Spirit of Christ to separate ourselves from that which is spiritually unclean and to not participate in holidays which are a corrupt mixture of the holy and the profane. The Son of God was the Passover Lamb, not the Easter ham.
Many Christians have read these writings, even acknowledging the truth in them, but they have continued to celebrate Christmas and Easter with their families, friends, and at the workplace. One man told me that he agreed with everything I shared in the writing titled Removing the High Places, but when I asked him if he was going to no longer observe Christmas in his home, he responded negatively. He said his wife and daughter would be extremely grieved and stand in opposition to him if he did such a thing. He was unwilling to pay that cost. What did Christ say was required to be His disciple?
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
When obedience to Christ brings a man into conflict with those he loves, he must choose Christ above all others. If he does not, the man is not worthy to be a disciple. What did this man demonstrate by his decision? One thing he demonstrated was that he did not love truth. It was more important to him to placate wife and daughter than to walk in truth. In essence, this man chose to allow deception, error, and falsehood to remain in his home. Why then should Christ disclose to him more truth, and reveal more deceptions when they arise? There is a principle in the kingdom of God that impacts all of us.
“Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
If you hear truth and do not obey it, you will not be given more truth. Rather, you will stand in danger of losing what truth you have already received. This is a very perilous condition to be in during this hour of growing darkness and profound deception.
Perhaps you think that if you are very wise and discerning you will be able to avoid falling for deception in the coming days. You may reason that it is not necessary to yield your life wholly to Christ so long as you are careful to examine all things closely. If this is what you believe, chances are very good that you are already deceived about a great many things. Your own abilities cannot save you from the deceptions of this world. There are cunning beings present in this world of far greater intelligence and wisdom, who have had millennia to plan their illusions. Only Christ can shepherd you safely through the coming days.
Let me clarify that walking with Christ is an indispensable requirement for avoiding deception, but our minds and intellect do have a part to play. The Spirit of Christ may indicate to us that error is present in some matter. He may alert us to the presence of deception, but we will often be required to search the matter out in order to identify the lies. This may lead to much intense searching and study. It is very important that we heed that still small voice which whispers to us that something is amiss. If we are insensitive to that voice, or lack the patience to investigate a matter when it is brought to our attention, we will be deceived.
This is a cause of failing for many Christians. I have failed in this area in the past. I have ignored the voice of the Spirit due to spiritual dullness, sloth, or being focused on some personal goal. When I should have stopped, inquired further of the Lord, and investigated, I blew through all of the warning markers and paid the consequences for my error. The Lord will take us around the mountain again to give us an opportunity to get it right the next time.
Brothers and sisters, there has always been a need to live a surrendered life to the direction of the Spirit of Christ, but it will never be more needful than in these last days. As deception abounds and manifests with all the power of lying signs and wonders, we will need to abide in a state of communion and communication with our Shepherd. He will reveal to us the deceptions, and show us the way around them.
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
Note: This is the last chapter of this book, but there will be an addendum to follow which addresses the flat earth theory which has been gaining in popularity recently. I have had numerous people write to me regarding this theory, which is made the more attractive to Christians due to certain passages of Scripture which are not being rightly discerned. The flat and stationary earth models are erroneous, and I believe it is expedient to include an addendum to address this subject.
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