(January 20), 2021) Robert and Maureen McQuillan share…
Lately we watched reports inferring that aftereffects/possible side effects of certain proposed medicines aren’t always fully explained. That it’s yet another case of ‘Following the Money’ as so many more millions are spent of advertising medicines than on the actual research! Ie: An inferred sort of deception due to insufficient information.
Something similar happened yesterday when we tried paying a utility account by phone. Despite several calls to different supposedly ‘helpful consultants’ none would accept payment, each insisting we use an automated service. This auto-service we tried repeatedly but it (no ‘real person’) kept refusing our data. On complaining by email finally an authority figure explained that as all operators are working from home due to covid-19 and couldn’t be accept phone payments. Not one ‘consultant had explained this!
- Disinformation was a Nazi WW2 deception weapon – today it’s Satan’s big trick! Let’s talk about spiritual disinformation…
Christmas is over but we recall a related incident of religious deception that is not often highlighted.
Matthew 2:1-18 tells of honourable wise men from the East looking for the one ‘born king of the Jews’ (probably a couple of years after Christ’s birth) and found him, not as a babe (brephos: Luke 2:16) in the manger (phatne: Luke 2:7,16) but as a young child (paidion) in a house (oikia: Matthew 2:11).
Now whenever they arrived is not the issue here, but King Herod’s deception. The magi’s aim was simply to worship Jesus, but on hearing of their enquiries Herod became disturbed, indeed terrified resulting in planned deadly deception.
History tells that Herod desired favour with people and things his way. He had even publicly identified himself as religious, claiming conversion to Judaism. Josephus, the Romano-Jewish historian, writes revealingly about him; Modern scholars agree that he suffered throughout his lifetime from paranoia and depression.
Matthew records Herod’s endeavours to deceive the magi, even sounding spiritual. Having conversed with local religious leaders about messianic scripture predictions, he arranges a secret meeting with the magi (verse 7). Then, as the Message Bible reads inverse 8: ‘Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship”’.
But this self-agenda king had no intention of fulfilling his word. Verse 16 says, ‘When Herod realised (later) that he had been outwitted by the magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem…’
Deception is being misled by false representation, tricks, illusions or fraud. MacMillan Dictionary lists it as the act of tricking someone by telling something that is not true.
It all goes back to the garden of Eden, to that first deception, that big lie deceit by Satan, despite God having instructed Adam and Eve that they could enjoy the delights in the Garden of Eden except for one tree.
But the cunning, deceitful, lying serpent (Think Satan!) deceived Eve, subtly hissing (Snake is nachash from its deadly hiss), ‘Did God really tell not to eat …’ (Genesis 3:1 GNB).
Doesn’t sound like a lie, merely a casual question – such is the subtly of deception! It’s been said that one lie often follows another. Satan’s next deceptive lie was to casually infer God is a liar because he had warned his creation about impending death if disobeyed: ‘That’s not true; you will not die’ (v4).
And Adam fell for it too, sin becoming a reality and the rest, as they say in the classics, is history!
Jesus warned against being deceived, especially in the end times. In Matthew 24: 24, he said clearly that false Christs and false prophets would appear demonstrating signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even God’s own people.
The Message Bible reads: ‘Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better.’
Paul too, acknowledging the Holy Spirit’s concern, warned about deception in the end times: ‘The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars’ (1 Timothy 4:1).
In 1 Timothy 4:13 he wrote, ‘Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.’
To some the Message quote above may sound quite strong but there is a need today for pastors and indeed every Christian to speak out strongly against religious and satanic trickery.
Some time back we wrote an article about gullible Christians falling for deceiving, seemingly religious so-called ‘prophets’ teachings – and had thought we’d worded it rather strongly. That is until we received an email from an equally concerned friend: ‘Robert, Maureen …never hesitate to spell it out or apologise for doing so.’
Christians can be so subtly deceived! We’ve tried to help such people but can’t always get through. Some who are obviously deceived in their mind over decisions made, often say, sounding so spiritual: ‘Oh, the Spirit told me. I know I’m right.’ They’ve never thought to query if what they thought they’d heard or were told was dodgy, not full info!
A friend, an astute pastor, recently shared concern that many preachers don’t spell things out clearly… they merely make suggestions but do not give clear directions or examples to their people.
Ling, whom we’d led to the Lord and established in a good, Bible-believing/teaching church, contacted us sharing about someone who had engaged him while shopping. This ‘new contact’ seemed very friendly, so interested that Ling was a new Christian, and offered to explain scripture for him. At first, he seemed so spiritual but then said that Ling shouldn’t accept certain beliefs his church had taught and subtly suggested he leave there.
Newly arrived from Asia, Ling hadn’t got a full grip on ‘Ozzieisms’ never mind English… but he instantly felt unsure of this glib stranger’s approach. We had introduced Ling to the Holy Spirit and although still a newish Christian, he was aware of the Spirit’s warning within. He just knew that something wasn’t right and wisely sought clear guidance from us, ‘his spiritual parents’ whom he knew that he could fully trust. Happily, Ling accepted our explanations regarding what we instantly recognised as a ‘ferocious wolf in sheep’s clothing.’
Remember what Jesus warned about such wolves whether ‘preacher-titled’ or not? ‘Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practised sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character’ (Matthew 7:15).
It’s a case of what Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1 above calls a deceiving spirit, like those old KJV called seducing ‘familiar spirits.’ Ling above immediately said he’d have nothing further to do with that hidden agenda person.
To delude someone is ‘to mislead his or her mind, to deceive.’ Delusion relates to false beliefs and opinions. This is what enemies of genuine Christianity seek to do – and they’re usually mixed up themselves.
Herod had been a bit like this. When the magi had shared good news about the new king, Herod wanted things his way, to keep his own kingship secure. So, sounding so religious and worshipful he sought to deceive the wise men.
But they weren’t deluded. They were open to God’s divine leading, as was Joseph who moved promptly to protect the young child and his mother (Matthew 2:12-13).
Christians, experienced in their relationship with the Holy Spirit, well-versed in scripture and know the heart of God can (indeed ought to) recognise deception and delusion and take responsibility to guard others from such deluding religious trickery of mind, help them dodge it.
It’s essential we help free such people from those seeking to deceive with their disinforming beliefs.
- Note: Sometimes this means taking a stand against not only against some so-called Christian, some simply mixed-up Christian – but challenging a minister, even a respected, close friend minister.
- And to do so without being misled ourselves by that often-misused scripture ‘Touch not my anointed’ (1 Chronicles 16:22/Psalm 105:15). Not only did Jesus rebuke Peter (Mark 8:33) but so did Paul (Galatians 2:14). Just be wise in how you handle such challenges.
Proverbs 22:12 says that ‘God guards knowledge with a passion, but he’ll have nothing to do with deception.’ With strong assurance Jesus declared this about God’s word: ‘Your word is truth!’ (John 17:17 (TPT).
Proverbs 7:1-27 speaks of the physical seduction of a rather naive young man to indicate how spiritual seduction works. Christians who have scripture knowledge and have been around for a while, should be passionate about God’s word, his truths and help others likely to be deceived.
Worth reading: Regarding those misleading, disinformation 2020 prophecies as covid-19 struck (eg ‘Over by Passover’; ‘Jesus returning’; ‘God’s punishment’), and presidency prophecies, Joseph Mattera’s recent Charisma article should be prayerfully considered (*link below), also Dr Jim McClure‘s Prophetic Integrity.
Challenge: When we hear of God’s word being twisted, misinterpreted – ‘works programs’ being pushed before God’s grace – let’s quickly and boldly reach out with godly wisdom and the Holy Spirit’s assistance help those in danger… or have already seduced.
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook (Scriptures mainly NIV/all emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources). Links: Carol Round’s Jesus-can-Make-all-Things-New / Maureen McQuillan’s What-a-Shepherd-What-a-Table / *Joseph Mattera’s 8-Reasons-Prophets-Sometimes-Make-Mistakes / Jim McClure’s Prophetic-Integrity