1 Timothy 4:1,2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly (distinctly), that in the latter times some shall depart (remove, desist, desert) from the faith (persuasion, assurance, belief), giving heed (pay attention to, adhere to) to seducing (impostor or misleader, deceiver) spirits, and doctrines (instruction, teaching) of devils (demonic being); speaking lies (promoting erroneous Christian doctrine) in hypocrisy (deceit); having their conscience (perception, moral consciousness) seared with a hot iron (rendered insensitive).
God is giving warnings to this generation that we must pay strict attention to if we would not be deceived. I was deeply stirred in my inner man when I read the 1965 Solemn Prophetic Warnings, by Stanley Frodsham. I had never heard of this man, but my spirit bears witness that what he shared with the Body of Christ is an anointed message from God. Given over 40 years ago, it is even timelier in this hour. Initially I was impressed by a command given near the end of the vision. Recently I felt strongly impressed to get it out again and comply with the directive. "Therefore I exhort and command you to study the Scriptures relative to seducing spirits, for this is one of the great dangers of these last days. I desire you to firmly be established in My Word and not in the personalities of men that you will not be moved as so many shall be moved."
Matthew 22:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. What is lacking among believers today is that we do not know the scriptures, as revealed by the unction of the Holy Spirit. We accept the teachings and interpretations of men without seeking to find out for ourselves if they are truth or error. In doing so we are placing our trust in men, when we should put our trust entirely in God.
Many today are in darkness as to the power of God, many have never seen Him manifested. This should not be. The most critical area of our Christian walk can be summed up in one word: Relationship. Our personal relationship with God hinges on three areas; Belief, Obedience, & the Fear of the Lord. If we are living in compliance with the Word in these three areas, we will grow in our personal relationship with God, we will know the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and we will not fall victim to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. It is our responsibility to seek to know God. Phil. 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. Do not be misled. We will never know the power of his resurrection until we have shared in his sufferings and died to self. Our flesh is the primary avenue through which the enemy tempts and deceives us. That avenue is lost to him as we grow in the Spirit and bring our flesh into submission to God.
The first reference I found in my search to learn what the Word says about seducing spirits was the opening verse in the 4th chapter of 1st Timothy . These are the last days. And the world is full of all manner of teachings and doctrines of men and of devils. Manipulating the people to do what they want, while completely failing to bring them into the knowledge of God, or into right standing with God. This is accomplished by means of deceit, using the Word of God to justify their own ends. Notice that this is done by deceitfully promoting erroneous Christian doctrine. Devils know the Word of God better than most believers, and they delight in perverting and twisting the scriptures thus robbing the believer of the truths they hold. Warning of this is given in 2 Timothy 4:3,4 For the time will come when they will not endure (put up with) sound doctrine (wholesome teaching); but after their own lusts (longings) shall they heap to themselves (accumulate) teachers (instructors), having itching ears (to tickle or please); and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. We could all benefit from reading the first three chapters of Revelation and taking to heart what Jesus said to the seven churches. It is far too easy to assume that we are somehow different; that we are more enlightened, that He wasn't talking about our church. Well, the true test of our enlightenment is disclosed by the power that we are walking in and the fruit that we bear. It is far too easy to imagine that we are farther along in our Christian walk than we really are, to think of ourselves more highly than we ought. We are made in the image of God, a triune being, body, soul and spirit. We are vulnerable to falling any time our intellect is allowed to overrule our spirit. When Jesus took His seat at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places, his work was finished. He sent the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. It only takes a moment of looking to our own understanding to get us into trouble. We cannot fight against powers and principalities in our human strength; they can only be overcome by the Spirit of God within. In the same way, we are totally dependent on the Spirit within to give us discernment regarding those we will encounter in this life, to know if the spirit they are operating under is of God or of the devil. 1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Men are easily bewitched. Act 8:9-11 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the city used sorcery (magic) and bewitched (amazed, astounded) the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one. To whom they all gave heed, from the least of them to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. Simon was a magician. People are drawn to the magical or supernatural like a magnet. We can easily be impressed by what we do not understand. If you read on in this chapter, it says that this man became a baptized believer. When the apostle's came to Samaria, they laid hands on the converts that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Vs. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostle's hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money. Peter thoroughly rebuked him for thinking that the gifts of God could be bought and told him to repent. It does not tell us what the end of this man was. We should be aware that in recent years the occult, new age, and supernatural activity has been on the increase in this country. What was once hidden away and done in secrecy is now promoted on television. Psychic hot lines are common. Consulting mediums, astrologers and those who see into the future by means of the powers of darkness is widely practiced and accepted in America today. These same principals are even filtering into Churches and Christian circles, disguised as spiritual light. Jesus warned us, Matthew 24:24 For their shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. It is imperative that our faith and relationship are grounded in the Word. (Jesus is the Word made flesh.) These counterfeits are highly skilled at the art of deception (in the sense that they are effective enough to deceive multitudes that are not grounded in a personal relationship with Christ.) Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light, indiscernible by our natural reasoning mind. This is why we must live in and by the Spirit of God, not being swayed by miracles and supernatural wonders. The supernatural is not the foundation our faith is based on. Paul expounded on this further in Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
There is an account given in 1 Kings 22:22 and 2 Chronicles 18:21 that is worth taking notice of. The King of Judah and the King of Israel had joined forces to go to Ramoth-Gilead to battle. Before going, Jehoshaphat, King of Judah asked for the prophets to tell them the word of the Lord regarding the impending battle. Ahab, King of Israel summoned all the prophets together and asked them if they should go to battle or not? With one voice, the prophets (400 of them) replied "Go up; for God will deliver it into the king's hand." Jehoshaphat asked if there wasn't one more man of God that they could inquire of? Ahab's response was "There is yet one man, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he never prophesied good unto me, but always evil." So they sent for this prophet, Micaiah, and asked him the same question. At first Micaiah gave the same answer as the others. The King then said to him, "How many times shall I adjure thee that thou say nothing but the truth to me in the name of the Lord?" Micaiah then went on to tell the Kings that he saw them all scattered as sheep with no shepherd; let them return to their homes in peace. He told them that he had seen the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing round. The Lord said, "Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?" (vs.20-22) Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, "I will entice him." And the Lord said unto him, "Wherewith?" And he said, "I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets." And the Lord said, "Thou shall entice him, and thou shall also prevail: go out, and do even so."
There is something that we need to realize here. God is in control of everything, even the spirits must have His permission to act. Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. There were 400 prophets, all hearing and speaking what the lying spirit told them. Then there was one prophet who spoke what the Lord showed him. Out of all of them, only his word was true.
Initially when I started to write this paper, I looked up all the scriptures I could find on evil spirits expecting to write about devils and how to resist them. As I began to write, however, I began to hear and see things in the Word I had not anticipated. As God gives me these papers, I am participating in a continuing learning experience. We all have preconceived ideas regarding spiritual things. It is exciting as we walk with the Lord to see how He brings our ideas into line with His thoughts.
I was a young person through the sixties and seventies. Like many others, I experienced the moves of God at that time; went through the Hagen ~ Copeland Faith movement; and thought I was pretty well acquainted with the Word. In the years since God has taken me through many difficult things. He purged me of my self-righteousness, and stripped me of all I once thought I knew. He allowed me to be joined to different ones through the years, caught up in different aspects of the ministry as a way of teaching me things. There is man's way; and there is God's way. Most of man's way is doing things in our own strength and understanding and trying to get God to put His stamp of approval on it.
I fully believe that the warning given over 40 years ago is right on the mark. I believe that it is very important for believers to be aware that there are many deceivers out there. There are many using the name of Jesus and building great ministries that are nothing more than seducing spirits. They are not operating in the power of God, but of Satan. What could be a more perfect deception than to pass yourself off as of God when you're not?
In opposition to the teaching of many, we do not need studies and how-to-steps to fight the devil. Binding and loosing has a place, but too often we make it our all-consuming obsession, focusing our attention on the devil more than on God. Some people see the devil everywhere and in everything. The time to bind or loose is when the Spirit prompts you to. We are not called to be barking dogs, constantly looking for the devil in everything. We are called to grow up in Christ Jesus and live in and by the Spirit of God. We are called to know God on an intimate level. We see in Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil. Ps. 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant. If we would know the secrets of the Lord, we must come into right standing with Him, we must seek to know the Lord and be found pleasing in His sight above everything else. It is true that deception in this world has never been greater. Our refuge, our place of safety from whatever comes is found in our relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. There is one way, and one way alone that we will not fall victim to the seducing spirits; that way is by living in and by the Spirit of God; walking in the Fear of the Lord; becoming fully in-Christed. We must know what the Word really says, as revealed by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit, to be able to discern when someone is speaking falsely in the name of the Lord. What is flesh is flesh and what is spirit is spirit. From the flesh, our reasoning mind, we cannot hope to detect these deceptions. These deceptions are coming from Satan. In our own strength, we are no match for him and can only lose. The enemy of our salvation's greatest delight is to succeed in detouring a called child of God away from the appointed path set before him. God is allowing this to happen to test our faith, love and devotion. Who will we believe? Who sits on the throne in our hearts? Will we give ear to teachings that are pleasing to our flesh? Or will we believe the Word of God and allow Him to bring us to perfection through the things appointed for us to suffer? The greatest danger we must overcome when God begins to work in and through our lives is that of giving place to spiritual pride. The counterfeits of the Cross of Christ are operating under the direction and power of the master of deception. There is only one way that we can have discernment concerning them. We must be operating completely under the power and direction of the Spirit of God. Anything less than our total compliance and surrender to God and we will fall prey to deception.
The following is a strong warning to believers:
2 Thess. 2:8-12 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all powers and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
We must have a love of the truth if we will be saved. God has done everything to make it possible for us to be overcomers in all things, except make us robots. We have a free will. We exercise the power of choice many times every day. We choose the level of our relationship with God. We choose what we will believe and what we will reject. We can also rest assured that we will reap the rewards of the choices we make in this life.
Jude 1:5,6 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels, which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
All that God is asking of us is that we believe Him; that we love Him more than our selves or the things of this world; and that we walk in obedience to all of His commandments. If we will do these things, we will reap the benefits of His protection; His companionship; His wisdom; and eternal life. We are already seeing the manifestation of seducing spirits in this world. Leaders in the world are careening toward establishing a global mentality. One world government; one world spirituality (denying God and worshiping 'mother earth' are already actively establishing themselves in the hearts and minds of the people.
Today the same lie is successfully being used that was used in the Garden of Eden. "Ye shall not surely die." Hissssss! "God is only love," "There is no hell," "You don't really have to suffer and die, to reign with Christ," "God didn't really mean all those things He said about obedience," "God doesn't really expect you to give up any of the comforts you've worked so hard for." Do you hear the hiss of the serpent's voice in these statements? You should.
I hear many proclaim that because this is the dispensation of 'grace,' we will not have to face the wrath and judgment of a Holy God. Throughout the Old Testament we read accounts of God's righteous judgment against the rebellious and wicked in the world. Before you get too secure in your belief that God only did that in the Old Testament, before Christ came and paid the price for our redemption back to God, take another look at Acts Chapter 5. Review what happened to Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Spirit. God struck them dead in an instant, just as surely as Korah and his company were swallowed up by the earth when they rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. This happened under the dispensation of Grace. None of us have any assurance that if we give place to a moment of defiance or rebellion against the Word of God, the same thing won't happen to us. We should know that we shall all be called to give an account before God, but we don't know at what moment that call might come. When this happened, "a great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things." The Fear of the Lord is not anything to be taken lightly, and rightly so. We are surrounded with those expounding the Love of God, His patience and forgiveness, while ignoring God's wrath and judgment against all unrighteousness. Romans 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity: but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shall be cut off. Always remember that "them which fell" were called; they had received the commandments of God by which to live. They believed that they were special in God's eyes, just as we do today. They fell because they held unbelief and rebellion in their hearts. They wanted to tell God what to do, rather than fully obey Him, keeping His commandments with a joyful heart. May we not be guilty of the same offense!
The lies that come from seducing spirits encourage you to accept and believe the Word with a perversion subtly attached, suggesting that it is not necessary to walk in the Word as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, that somehow it doesn't matter to God if we make changes along the way. Once this "reasonable" change in interpretation is begun, it takes on a life of it's own. To negate the life-giving power of the Word is rebellion. To do this and then to imagine that you are walking in the fullness with the approval of God is to be in deception. "God did not really mean Ye shall surely die," or "Jesus did not really mean that you have to keep all of his commandments." Be aware that when we fall for these deceptive lies and distortions of God's truth, we can also expect to experience an increase in our own sense of self-righteousness, a lessening of any kind of fear of the Lord. When we begin to listen to a seducing spirit, he will imitate the voice of God, he will use the Word of God, he may even manifest signs and wonders to back up his claims. The enemy will do whatever it takes to try and draw a called and chosen child of God away from their calling. Some of their special tricks are to puff the proselyte up with spiritual pride, convincing them that they have come across a hidden, deep truth that others are not yet aware of. They develop a sense of superiority and can then look with pity upon those not yet enlightened ones that are still struggling to keep the commandments and obey God's Word. Another favorite and greatly administered tactic is to employ the Martyrdom mentality. "This is just part of the cross I have to bear, being misunderstood and criticized." There are many believers today walking around with this abominable martyr spirit. They have not suffered for Christ to the spilling of their blood. It is an insult to all of the true martyr's down through the ages who have laid down their lives.
Many Christian believers today have gone so far as to eradicate the Judgment of God completely, by abolishing the belief in hell and eternal damnation. They have accepted the lie that in doing so they have somehow enlarged God, making Him even more forgiving than He already is. This is vanity. All it accomplishes is to ensure that they will experience firsthand the severity of God for having passed their own judgment on Him. There are many people who are operating under the power and control of familiar spirits, all the while being fully convinced that they are walking with God. The deceptions are as varied as they are deadly.
If we are walking in a Reverential Fear of the Lord, these seducing spirits will have a difficult time deceiving us. To escape deception, we must know the Word. To know the Word, we must know Jesus Christ; we must live in and by the power of the Holy Spirit of God within our hearts. We cannot apply our own interpretation to scripture making it say what we want to hear, and actually expect it to be so, unless we are deceived. To seduce means to lead astray. Inevitably the choice is ours. The danger is real. The power to overcome is readily available. All we have to do is receive a love of the truth to be set free.
2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make you calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.