Spiritual Deception

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The Light That Is Dark

"Then watch out that the light in you may not be darkness."
- Luke 11:35 NAS

When the disciples asked Yeshua (Jesus) about the signs of His coming and end of the age, the first thing Yeshua (Jesus) did was warn them not to be deceived by those who come in His name claiming to be Him (Matt. 24:4). Seven verses later, He warns them again about deception when He says, "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many" (Matt. 24:11NAS). And again, He points out that "false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect" (Matt. 24:24NAS).

Jesus also warns believers at Pergamos and Thyatira to repent for allowing the teachings of Balaam and Jezebel to be tolerated within the church (Rev. 2:12-29). These doctrines lead God's people astray whereby they unwittingly "eat things sacrificed unto idols, and commit acts of fornication" (Rev. 2:14). The context of this warning about false teachings extends down to the very time of Messiah's return at the end of the age (Rev. 2:24-25KJV). This means that the false doctrines of Balaam and Jezebel are being taught in the mainline churches today. Unfortunately, they can not see them because they have been deceived just like Jesus warned them not to.

These warnings are about deceivers, both outside and inside the church, who would come and proclaim falsehoods about Yeshua (Jesus) and the Gospel of the kingdom. For most believers, deceivers outside the community of God are pretty easy to identify. Today, the most visible examples of this deception would be "The Da Vinci Code" and the Gnostic gospels of Thomas, Judas, and Mary Magdalene. However, false doctrines that are taught as biblical truths within the church are much harder to identify and even harder to confront. Therefore it's important to identify what these deceptive teachings look like and the packages they come in.

False Teachings & Spiritual Deception In Today's Church

The prophet Isaiah points out that two of the most deceptive doctrines of the last days enter the church just prior to the millennial reign of Messiah (Is. 65:10-25). These false teachings emanate from two false gods known as "Fortune" and "Destiny", who Israel was worshipping just before they went into captivity. In fact, following Fortune and Destiny is a major reason why God sent judgment on His people at that time:

"But you who forsake the LORD, who forget My holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune, and who fill cups with mixed wine for Destiny, I will destine you for the sword, and all of you will bow down to the slaughter." (Isaiah 65:11-12aNAS)

Fortune is always busy pursuing material prosperity in the name of God. Over the centuries, Fortune has developed a mystical prosperity formula that combines positive confession with unrighteous (give-to-get) offerings which feed man's lust for material possessions. I believe Peter was referring to the false teachers of Fortune when he said, "In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up" (2 Peter 2:3 NIV). Another translation says, "These teachers in their greed will tell you anything to get hold of your money" (TLB). Sound familiar?

Destiny, on the other hand, is always about finding one's purpose in life. Destiny uses unbiblical methods of meditation (Yoga) and mystic forms of Labyrinth based "contemplative prayer" that focus on attaining God's occupational or ministerial calling for one';s life.

In other words, Fortune has come to us as the unbiblical aspects of today's "prosperity gospel", and Destiny has surfaced as the more recent "Purpose Driven" movement. These teachings sound good on the surface, but both of them take us right back to the Garden, where the "god of this world" first seduced man through the "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life" which is the essence of the world (1 John 2:15-16). In other words, Fortune excites the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, while Destiny inspires the boastful pride of life.

Both of these false gods persuade believers to focus on seeking them rather than seeking God. Consequently, Fortune (prosperity) and Destiny (purpose) have become idols while God's kingdom and God's righteousness are left in the dust of positive confessions, seed faith offerings, contemplative prayers and yoga classes.

When Light Becomes Dark

The Apostle Peter says that false prophets and teachers will surreptitiously bring heresies into the church just as they did in ancient Israel:

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies." (2 Peter 2:1 NAS)

The Apostle Paul describes them as those who "come and preach another Jesus" and "a different gospel" (2 Cor. 11:4NAS). Paul further portrays them as false apostles and deceitful workers who disguise themselves as servants of God. Unfortunately, the light they offer is not Yahweh's light, but the light of him who is of the darkness:

"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

These false apostles, prophets and teachers all maintain that God's Torah (Law) has passed away, and that it serves little or no purpose in the life of a New Testament believer today. However, God (Yahweh) specifically says that His Torah is the handbook for recognizing His true light:

"For the commandment is a lamp; and the law (Torah) is light, and reproves for discipline are the way of life." (Proverbs 6:23 KJV)

The light of Torah is absolutely essential for identifying the true Yeshua (Jesus), because He is the light of the world - i.e., the true and living Torah (Word of God). Without the Torah, God's people can not come to know what His light really looks like, which is why so many are walking in error today. Consequently, we must be sure that the light we see with our spiritual eye and preach to the nations is the true light of God (Yahweh) and not the light of Satan which is darkness.

This is the essence of what Yeshua (Jesus) was referring to when He rebuked Israel for seeking a sign or wonder rather than the light of obedience to God's Torah that was in Him (Luke 11:27-33). He tied this together with how our eye (the lens we see things through) governs whether good light or bad light is in our body:

"The lamp of your body is your eye; when your eye is clear, your whole body also is full of light; but when it is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Then watch out that the light in you may not be darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, with no dark part in it, it shall be wholly illumined, as when the lamp illumines you with its rays." (Luke 11:34-36)

In other words, if our eye fails to see the clear light of Torah as revealed through the Torah-based life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus), then the light we receive becomes tainted by the enemy and ultimately fills us with darkness.

We Are The Light And Fulfillment Of The Law

As we walk in obedience to God's commandments, the light of Yeshua (God's living Torah) manifests in us, and we too become "the light of the world." He also refers to us as "a city set on a hill" that is called to let the clear light of Torah shine through us to the nations (Matt. 5:14-16). Yeshua (Jesus) ties the essence of this light to the proper interpretation and application of the Torah in the next two verses:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished." (Matthew 5:17-18 NAS)

In the Jewish culture of that day, the terms "destroy the law" and "fulfill the law" meant something totally different than what they mean in our 21st century vernacular. Simply put, to "destroy the law" meant to misinterpret and misapply the Torah, which is what the Pharisees where doing. On the other hand, to "fulfill the law" meant to properly interpret and apply God's Torah in everyday life, which is what Yeshua taught and demonstrated throughout His ministry.

Yeshua (Jesus) never taught against God's written Torah. He only taught against the manmade "Oral Law" (a.k.a. traditions of the elders) that the Pharisees were holding up as being equal to the "Written Law" of Moses. Since the culture of that day used the term "law" (Torah) in reference to both the "Oral Law" and the "Written Law" as simply "the Law", many scholars have misinterpreted Yeshua's (Jesus') disregard for the "Oral Law" as a doing away with God's "Written Law". Consequently, for almost two millennia,, this misunderstanding of Scripture has led most of the church into a theology that has "destroyed the law" rather than "fulfill the law" of God.

Where Do We Go From Here?

God is clearly calling His people to return to Him and walk in loving obedience to His commandments, which Yeshua (Jesus) said would make us great in God's kingdom:

"Whoever then annuls [destroys] one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19 NAS)

The foundation of God's New Covenant is that He would write His laws on our hearts and minds by the power of His Holy Spirit that we might keep them. As we walk out God's commandments more and more in our lives, we are changed from glory to glory in to the very image of Yeshua (Jesus) in preparation for His coming (Rev. 19:7-8). See Resource