Tag Archives: warnings

Seducing Spirits

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“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 Timothy 4:1)

These “latter days” are surely characterized by the tragic departure from the faith on the part of many. Unfortunately, even many of our churches have followed what should certainly be exposed as “seducing spirits,” embracing lies taught under the influence of Satan.

A list of such false teachings and practices within the church would surely implicate many. Let us look at the examples Paul gives in the next few verses:

First, he identifies the leaders and teachers of these errors as hypocritical liars who intentionally deceive their prey. They have deadened any possibility of right attitude by hardening their minds and searing their consciences (v. 2).

Next, we are given examples of their heresy: “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving” (v. 3).

Many cults and pseudo-Christian groups have fallen into these traps, but both the institution of marriage and the provision of foods were specifically created by God for man’s enjoyment and blessing (marriage: see Genesis 1:28; 2:18, 24; foods: Genesis 1:29; 9:3). They are to be “received with thanksgiving” to a loving Creator, “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4-5). Each of these and all of God’s creation are “very good” (Genesis 1:31), if used properly.

But the main point of this passage is that we should guard against the heresy of false teachers and from imposing on ourselves and our fellow Christians a false piety—practices which may make us feel “holier than thou” but which, in reality, impugn God and His creation.

Rather, let us be among those “which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:3) of God’s loving provision of creation. JDM

Many False Prophets

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“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

There is an unusual emphasis in the New Testament about false prophets. The Greek word pseudoprophetes appears 11 times and has no corresponding word in the Old Testament.

Of the 298 usages of “prophet” in the Hebrew Scriptures, eight of them are connected to “false” prophets, and only in relation to visions and dreams. In the New Testament, the pseudoprophetes are workers of “miracles” and “signs and wonders.”

John gives the warning to “try the spirits” because many false prophets are now here. Prior to Christ’s coming, the false “dreamer” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5) would readily be exposed when his prophecy did not come about. Such a false prophet was to be executed!

But the prophets of the “last time” (1 John 2:18) will perform great wonders (Matthew 24:24) and can “seduce . . . even the elect” (Mark 13:22).

Here’s the problem: They come from among Christians! Peter warns us in 2 Peter 2:1-3 in five ways:

• They come from a “Christian” background.
• They deny the biblical Lord Jesus in some way.
• They will become very popular, especially with emotionally motivated people.
• They will degrade doctrines of the Bible.
• They will stimulate greed to attract followers.

We are warned to test every one of them, and when they do not abide in the doctrine of Christ, we are to reject their teaching and not have any fellowship with them (2 John 1:9-11). They are dangerous (Matthew 7:15)! HMM III

Where is Jesus Now?

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“Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:26)

The above warning was given by Christ in His famous Olivet discourse about His future second coming, right after He had predicted that many “false Christs” would first come, deceiving many (v. 24). That prediction has been fulfilled many times during the following centuries, but He Himself has not yet returned, in spite of the claims of these latter days.

However, His present location is no secret. After His resurrection and final instructions to His disciples, “he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). We must remember that He arose bodily from the grave, then ascended bodily to God’s throne, and that “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven” (Acts 1:11), will return. Until He returns, therefore, He is seated bodily at the right hand of the presence of the triune God in heaven. In fact, there are no less than 21 references in the Bible to the Lord Jesus now being at the right hand of God.

It is not strictly correct to say or sing that Jesus can come into our hearts, unless it is clearly understood that He is there symbolically in the presence of the indwelling Spirit of Christ. In this way, “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts” (Galatians 4:6) so that “Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” (Ephesians 3:17).

In the physical sense, however, the Lord Jesus Christ, still in His physical, but now immortal, body, is at “the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3) and will remain there until He returns physically back to fulfill all the remaining promises in the Scriptures and to establish the kingdom for which He created us. HMM

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