When the disciples asked Jesus what would be a sign of His second coming, Matthew 4:4 records His words. “Take heed that no man deceive you.” We are to be on guard against deception that will be prevalent in the end times. In fact, in the last two weeks, I have had three different people try to tell me three different spiritual “truths” that were lies from the pit of hell. In all three cases, they were well-meaning individuals who were genuinely concerned for me and the state of my soul. The question kept hitting me again and again. “Why do people believe lies?” And more importantly, how can we be protected against them? I believe that there are two things that protect us from deception: the love of the truth and spiritual maturity.
3 Deceived People
Cecy from WMSCoG
The first person to try to “evangelize” me was a lady named Cecy. She caught me in the produce department at Walmart. She said wanted to invite me to a Bible study about how the feasts of God could save me and give me God’s mark for these end times. I assured her that I was already saved, and the feasts didn’t have anything to do with it. Still, she gave me a card with her phone number. When I scanned the QR code, I saw that she was with the World Mission Society Church of God.
They believe that God is on earth now in the form of a Korean woman (“God the Mother”). They also believe that human beings are just angels who sinned and are on earth for a “second chance” to return to God. And children and love, they say, are both temptations from Satan. When you look at the website, it is absolutely SATURATED with Bible verses that are set up as if they support their beliefs. On closer inspection, however, you see that the verses have nothing at all to do with the outrageous claims they make.
Carol from JW
The second was my very sweet, well-meaning neighbor Carol. She sent me ANOTHER letter to give me encouragement in these trying times. She included a Bible verse from Psalm 65 and promised “satisfying answers” to all my Bible questions. The link on the included brochure was to JW.org. Yes, she’s a Jehovah’s Witness. This is probably the third or fourth letter she has sent to me.
The last time she sent me one, I wrote her back with my testimony and a Bible tract of my own. I didn’t try to get into theology. Instead, I talked to her about how Jesus has changed my life through a personal relationship with Him by the Holy Spirit. Of course, JWs believe that the Holy Spirit isn’t a Person and Jesus isn’t God. (They reject the Godhead/Trinity.) Instead, they say Jesus is merely the Archangel Michael and a brother to Lucifer.
Ron & the “Prophet” Mike
The third one came through the contact form of my blog. A man named Ron sent me a simple question. Does God still save people today? Of course, I said that He absolutely does. He wrote back that no, God had quit saving people as of May of 2011. The website link he sent me was for “Brother Mike Ministries.” I couldn’t find any other affiliation. This group believes — and tries to show through the terrible twisting of many, many scriptures — that the great judgment of Revelation actually already took place on May 21, 2011.
The website says God spiritually judged the earth on that day, so from that day forward everything was sealed forever. No one else could possibly be saved after that. Even babies born after that day are counted among the lost. So for the past 12 years, we have all just been going through the motions until the physical catches up with the spiritual on some future Judgment Day. At the top of the website is a banner that reads “Click here now to listen. Know the truth!”
All 3 Founders Did Not Receive the Love of the Truth
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”2 Thessalonians 2:10
In all three of these cases, the organizations involved quoted the Bible and then twisted the meaning of it to form their theology. It wasn’t that they didn’t HAVE the Word of God. They simply rejected the truth of it and received a different interpretation.
- The World Mission Society Church of God was founded in 1964 by Ahn Sahng Hong. He claimed he was Jesus Christ on earth (rejecting Matthew 24:26-27).
- The Jehovah’s Witnesses were started by Charles Taze Russel in the 1870’s. He built a platform on rejecting known Christian teachings (such as eternal hell) and heavily marketing through the Watchtower Society.
- The third one, “Brother Mike,” claims to have received his revelation in 1979. He notes several doctrines that he rejected from various churches. He said he was confused until “God” revealed that churches were a false gospel that followed a counterfeit Jesus. Then the voice gave him his “ministry” of bringing God’s final judgment against them.
Where did they get these “new” interpretations? 1 Timothy 4:1 says, “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.” Once they, themselves, were deceived, they then began to masquerade as ministers of truth. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Why Do People Believe the Lies?
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”Colossians 2:8
So, what is so attractive about these three religions (or any false religion for that matter)? Why do people choose them instead of the plain truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The website Got Questions has an article called Why Does God Allow Deception? It talks about how people often choose to believe what they want to believe even in the face of evidence. It notes that the enemy appeals to our natural desires and urges, whether that’s pride, fear, greed, or other fleshly desires.When people resist God by rejecting His truth in favor of a lie, that creates a vacuum, an open door of sorts, that allows for something other than truth to come in. Click To Tweet
One thing I noticed in looking at the literature of all three of these religions was the talk about “truth” as something they have that others don’t. There is a sense of “elite belonging” for those who choose to believe what they say. And like a contagious disease, once one person has it, he/she begins to spread it to others. Romans 16:18 says, “For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” In fact, both for the World Mission Society Church of God and Jehovah’s Witnesses, recruiting is a mandatory part of their religions. New converts then take their “vain words” (Ephesians 5:6) to try to appeal to others.
How Can We Protect Ourselves Against Deception?
First, we must accept and love the Truth.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”John 14:6
Knowing and accepting the PERSON of Jesus Christ is the first step. When we have had a personal experience and relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He will give us His Holy Spirit who is also known as the Spirit of Truth which the world cannot receive (John 14:17). The Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth (John 16:13). We must learn to listen to His voice, obey Him, and trust Him as we walk in the Spirit and not the flesh. In fact, that brings us to the second thing.
Next, we must keep growing in God.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”Ephesians 4:14-15
My Pastor’s sermon on Sunday night was about how we must keep moving forward in God. We must keep growing and learning, allowing the Lord to transform us into His likeness. He played a song from the Ingram Family called The Journey. The line that stood out to me was, “You must keep on moving, there’s no place to turn around.” Sitting still or sliding back aren’t options if we want to live the victorious Christian life.
When we are confronted with information that challenges what we know and believe in the Bible — whether from another person or an idea in our minds — we must test every spirit (1 John 4:1). After all, we are living in perilous times. 2 Timothy 3:13-15 says, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” We must prayerfully seek the truth in the Word of God.
The Truth Will Make Us Free
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”John 8:31-32
Whether it’s the newest religious fad or a subtle whisper of the enemy in our minds, deception abounds in these last days. Satan goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He wants nothing more than to bring us back into the bondage of sin and error. But for the child of God, there are two things that can help protect us against deception: knowing, accepting, and loving Truth (the Person of Jesus) and spiritual maturity. The closer we get to Jesus and the more we submit ourselves to Him, the more secure we will be.
Enjoy articles about deception? Try 4 Ways to Avoid Spiritual Deception. In it, I tell a story about a time I was deceived and what God taught me through the experience. Please subscribe to my blog via email in the upper right corner and check out my YouTube channel where I read my blogs out loud and have a playlist of Hymns from my church.