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CAN YOU BE DECEIVED ... EVEN IF
YOU HAVE GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT?
by Ken Browder, Editor
Short answer? YES, you can! Perhaps you have been told by your preacher, pastor or priest that it is not possible for a person who has God's Holy Spirit to be deceived. Just because they say it, doesn't make it so!
Is my answer the TRUTH? The final conclusion will come when one realizes that God's Spirit only LEADS, it does NOT FORCE obedience to God!
In the book of Deuteronomy we are told God has set before us a choice which all mankind MUST MAKE!
De 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"
God gives us the privilege to make a right, OR an wrong choice. We must also realize that once we have God's Holy Spirit, it doesn't take away our ability to make wrong decisions! The Holy Spirit doesn't take away our free choice to live our lives as WE want to live them!! From the time of ALL creation, including the creation of angels, God has given every living creature, spirit or physical, the privilege of deciding which way to live. REMEMBER, God's Spirit only LEADS, it doesn't FORCE!!
The great Archangel Lucifer was set up over the whole earth to prepare it for the habitation of mankind (He was given the office as God (or covering angel) of this world (Gr.-cosmos= society) (2 Cor. 4:4).
He was to be the "schoolmaster" until such time as man could make decisions for himself as to whether to obey God or not. He was to be the one who was to bring God's Truth to mankind (his name means - lightbearer; Strong's Heb.-1966). He was the one who would have prepared the way for God Almighty to come to this earth to live with His Creation. However, iniquity (lawlessness) was found in him by God (Ezek. 28:14-16) and he was then set up to be deposed by one who WOULD obey God and teach His Righteousness to mankind.
It COULD have been Adam's job but he failed the test because he was weak and, seemingly, did not want to eat of the Tree of Life which would have given him the Spirit of God to use in making his decisions. Instead he listened to his wife, Eve, who had been MENTALLY seduced (beguiled) by Lucifer/Satan who told her she could make up her OWN MIND about what was right and what was wrong. She ate the fruit of the OTHER tree in the midst of the Garden of Eden (the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), and rebelled against God and caused Adam to do it also.
That set up a chain of events down through history which would eventually lead to The Word (John 1:1-14) being born as the HUMAN Jesus who would live a perfectly righteous life through the power of God's Holy Spirit and QUALIFY to depose Satan and sit upon the throne of this earth!!
Once He sits upon that throne, the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever (Rev. 11:15).
After God's Kingdom is set up on this earth, there will be a thousand years of peace wherein mankind can learn to live in TOTAL peace, because EVERYONE will have access to God's Holy Spirit and will be able to make that CRUCIAL decision of obedience to God! A short period of time after the Millennium (probably about a hundred years - Isa. 65:17-20), the earth will be cleansed by fire, and God the Father will then come to live with mankind who will then have been changed to spirit beings in the Family of God!
There will be those of incorrigible, unchangeable mankind who will be destroyed in that final consuming lake of fire!
Why did God set it up that way?
Because God IS RIGHTEOUSNESS. He is full of Grace, FAIR and MERCIFUL to all. He is now proving to ALL, angels and mankind alike, that there is only one WAY to live in peace and harmony forever, and THAT is HIS WAY. No one will be able to accuse God of being unfair for He will EXHAUST every way of getting angels AND mankind to change to THE WAY which will GIVE PEACE and HAPPINESS forever!!!
Mankind at this time DOES NOT KNOW the way to peace!! They think the absence of war is peace but that is NOT so! True peace is much more encompassing than just the lack of war. But that is a subject for another day.
In scripture it is said about Satan that he is a great deceiver. Look at this:
Rev. 12:9 "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
YES, Satan DECEIVES the WHOLE WORLD!!! He is the super-master of deceit, and his ways are the MOST SUBTLE of anyone else in existence.
Gen. 3:1 "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
He is the MOST crafty, sly, and deceptive of any creature in existence! And God Himself inspired John to write that Satan "deceives the whole world!"
You say, "But I have God's Holy Spirit. I can't be deceived!"
Where does it say that in scripture? In the TRUE Lord's Prayer (John 17) we are told that Jesus said we were being LEFT IN THE WORLD, and He prayed that God would KEEP US from the EVIL (from the evil of this society and from the evil one).
John 17:15 "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil."
In the next two verses Jesus says we are not OF the world even as He is not OF the world. He asks The Father to SANCTIFY us THROUGH THE TRUTH. He wanted God to SET US APART FOR HOLY USE AND PURPOSE through His Truth.
Just because we are not (a part) OF this world, because of God's Holy Spirit in us, that doesn't take us OUT of this world OR away from the influence of Satan the Devil!!!
He DOES influence those of God's church simply because we are human and must make choices of RIGHT and WRONG using God's Holy Spirit AND His Word, the Bible!!
Sin is the transgression (the breaking) of God's LAW!! (1 John 3:4) We are ALL sinners because we knowingly and unknowingly BREAK God's Law (the commandments, statutes, and ordinances)!! When we repent, are baptized, and receive God's Holy Spirit we are then FORGIVEN our PAST SINS. (Rom. 3:25) Any FUTURE sins MUST be repented of as soon as they are recognized. Then our ADVOCATE (our High Priest- Jesus) will intercede with the Father to obtain forgiveness of those sins! Jesus is our lawyer, so to speak, who reminds God the Father of His BLOOD sacrifice and asks Him to forgive those sins.
THEY ARE NOT AUTOMATICALLY FORGIVEN JUST BECAUSE THEY HAVE GOD'S SPIRIT!!!! There MUST always be repentance involved, a turning away from those sins, and turning toward righteousness. Righteousness is defined by God in Psalms 119:172.
Preachers, pastors and priests read one scripture in Matthew and decide that "the elect" cannot be deceived! That is NOT what it says. Let's look at that scripture.
Mat. 24:22 "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved:
but for the electís sake those days shall be shortened.
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Verse 22 tells us that for the "elect's" sake, the days of the tribulation will be shortened so that some of mankind will be saved ALIVE!
Verse 24 talks about the "very elect" which seems to be a group of people WITHIN "the elect". Some have said that the scriptures here are telling us that it is impossible for the "very elect" to be deceived. That, too, is NOT what the scriptures are saying!!
The scripture is saying that false Christs and false prophets will show great signs and wonders (miraculous things) trying to deceive the "very elect" if they can! Notice, the words "it were" are in italics designating that these words ARE NOT IN THE ORIGINAL scriptures, and for our more perfect understanding we should eliminate those words.
Those "false Christs" and "false prophets" WILL be able to deceive the very elect IF they are not GROUNDED IN FAITH AND THE WORDS OF GOD!!
Who are the "elect"?
They are God's CHOSEN people. Those He wanted to become EXAMPLES to the rest of the world so that mankind would deeply desire to be lead by their God.
Those chosen people were the Nation of Israel! Jacob was renamed Israel by God. That name means "prevailer with God." (Gen. 32:28) Israel had 12 CHILDREN, only one of which was Judah (from which comes the term Jew). ALL twelve tribes were THE ELECT!
Today people make reference to "the lost ten tribes of Israel" since those ten tribes were sent into captivity because of IDOLATRY and were lost to view. The only tribes we see today are Judah (the Jews) and some of the tribe of Benjamin who retained their identity and live in the land which is now called Israel in the middle east.
I MUST re-iterate here that the Jews are NOT THE COMPLETE NATION OF ISRAEL. Of course, they are all Israelites because they are children of Israel too. It has come to pass today that when anyone mentions Israel, everyone AUTOMATICALLY ASSUMES they are talking about the Jews!
The 'elect' are ALL of the tribes of Israel, not just the Jews. Most of them have been scattered over the earth and have been lost from view, but their descendants are STILL a part of the nation of Israel too!
We know that Joseph brought his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, to Jacob to have them blessed. In that blessing Jacob (Israel) NAMED HIS NAME ON THEM. These also become a part of The Elect.
Then we come to Spiritual Israel. Those whom God has called and chosen, making them a part of the Body of Christ, the Church, through the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit. These people are drawn by God to Christ from ALL nations, Israelite and Gentile alike. These too have become a part of The Elect.
We can discern from Rev. 2 and 3 that the whole body of Christ (those who have God's Holy Spirit) is analogous to these 7 churches and that ALL of them have things that God isn't happy with, things of which they must repent. Each church represents certain ATTITUDES in God's Church that must be overcome in order for them to be IN the Kingdom of God.
When we take all this into consideration, we then see Matthew 24:22-24 in a completely different light! Because of God's elect people, which includes the physical AND spiritual tribes of Israel, He will cut short the tribulation to leave some alive (physically). The "very elect" are a part of God's Church that have not accepted false Christ's and false Prophets with their supernatural signs and wonders, and will not be deceived because they are looking DIRECTLY to God's Holy Word (the Bible and Jesus) for TRUTH and inspiration. They are the people who are watching as God commands and know and understand the significance of prophecy and the happenings of this world in relation to God's Scriptures.
This is NOT to say these CAN'T be deceived! Indeed they COULD be except they do as the Bereans did and PROVE ALL THINGS (1 Thes. 2:21) directly from God's Holy Word, by and through the POWER of His Holy Spirit! They do not just listen to a minister for their knowledge and understanding since they realize that men make mistakes. They delve into God's Word for the Truth!
We MUST realize, however, that we are ALL DECEIVED about one thing or another because we carry too many mistaken ideas either from our lives before we received God's Spirit, or mistakes learned from other churches! A lot of that baggage we still carry because we are all deceived to a point in believing things about God and Satan that are false!!
What then do we need to do to protect ourselves from deception?
We MUST have been called by God to Jesus Christ and have God's Holy Spirit dwelling within us making us children of God.
We MUST be so close to God that we are constantly talking to him, praying without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17).
We MUST give God thanks in and for everything. (1 Thes. 15:18)
We MUST NOT quench God's Holy Spirit! (1 Thes. 15:19)
We MUST PROVE all things, and hold fast that which is good! (1 Thes. 15:21)
We MUST ABSTAIN from all appearance of evil! (1 Thes. 15:22)
We MUST STUDY to show ourselves approved unto God! (2 Tim 2:15)
And these are just a FEW of the things we must do in order to stay close enough to God that we WILL NOT be deceived, for you see friends, unless we do, WE CAN BE DECEIVED.
Being a part of that VERY elect hinges upon how close we are to God and how we make HIS WORD a very part of our lives, not just knowing it by memorization but having imbibed it into our very SPIRIT, our very MIND!!
God's Word must become the way we think! God's Word must be, as it says in scripture, in our inward parts!
IT HAS TO BECOME US, DON'T YOU SEE?
Only then will we become impervious to the "fiery darts of Satan" because THEN we will have put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD!!
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (the deception) of the devil.
Please ... everyone ... don't just give God lip service!! Live as if your eternal life depends upon it! (Because it DOES!)
Study! Pray! Meditate! Fast! BE close to God!! Don't be deceived!
Please refer also to Is It Possible To Deceive The Very Elect? in our Questions and Answers area.