The Power of Deception – Part 1
The Power of Deception: Part 1 — Jay Zinn
People who think they are standing firmly should be careful that they don’t fall (1 Cor 10:6-12). —GWT
I’m as protective of you as God is. After all, you’re a [pure] virgin whom I promised in marriage to one man—Christ. However, I’m afraid that as the snake deceived Eve by its tricks, so your minds may somehow be lured away from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. When someone comes to you telling about another Jesus whom we didn’t tell you about, you’re willing to put up with it. When you receive a spirit that is different from the Spirit you received earlier, you’re also willing to put up with that. When someone tells you good news that is different from the Good News you already accepted, you’re willing to put up with that too (2 Cor 11:2-4). —GWT
Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons (1 Tim 4:1). —NLT
Jesus warned his disciples about the potential for his followers to become deceived in the future by false teachers, prophets, and Christs. John wrote letters to seven churches in Asia Minor (Rev 2-3) to confront sexual immorality, idolatry, complacency, lukewarmness, and compromise that had crept into the church. Paul, too, repeatedly warned the churches he planted about deceivers, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and many other things that could lead them astray and cause them to abandon their faith.
The scriptures clearly warn us to “be on guard” against the schemes of the devil, and the ultimate deception of the lawless one to come. We must not be casual about this, but vigilant and sober, maintaining our sincere and pure devotion to the one and only true Messiah.
So how do we guard ourselves against this trickery Satan uses against us, and every aspect of our society (culturally, politically, and spiritually)? There is only one answer. Know the Word of God and the Holy Spirit so well that spirit and truth will keep you free from deception’s grip.
In 1973, the comet Kohoutek came close enough to the earth that it could be seen clearly in the sky. I’d never witnessed anything like it. But it became a tool of Satan to lead me astray through a young man who saw it as a celestial “sign” for his “coming out” to the world as the “manchild” of Revelation 12:5. Pretty crazy, huh? Well, sadly, I bought into his deception and became a disciple of his—for a short time. Here is how it happened.
I just arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, for my next duty assignment in the Air Force. I was barely two years old in the Lord, still naïve and ignorant about many things in the kingdom—especially spiritual gifts and prophecy. The Lord led me to a charismatic church of 800 people, where these gifts flowed profoundly, and God’s Word was richly taught.
My second visit to that congregation fell on a Sunday night. At the end of the service, the elders came up and stood across the stage to minister. I went forward for prayer, and just as the elder finished praying for me, I felt a tap on the shoulder, and turned to look into the eyes of a gentle face. The man was two years older than me, but several years older in the Lord. He asked if he might pray for me, too, and I agreed. After he prayed a beautiful prayer, he invited me to join him at the home of one of the elders who hosted Monday night gatherings. I accepted and met him at this elder’s house the next evening.
In the lower level of this house, about fifty people packed into a large room of open space. You could feel the anticipation for God’s presence. After a brief time of worship, the elder stood, looked directly at me and said, “I have a word from God for you.” Someone brought out a portable cassette tape player to record him. The elder then spoke prophetically to me as if he knew everything about my life. Every bit of that prophecy had come to pass since, including the calling I received from God in Florida to become a minister of his Word.
Everything was fine to that point until I received a tap on the shoulder by the same brother who invited me the night before. While the meeting continued, he motioned for me to follow him into another room where an older woman holding a notepad sat in a chair. He asked her to record a prophecy he had for me. I was excited. Two prophecies in one night! He spoke with flowery descriptions about a golden goblet and heavenly landscapes—all of which made no sense to me. The elder’s prophecy was simple, intelligent, and direct. But this brother’s prophecy was confusing. He assured me I would understand it someday and advised me to keep the woman’s transcript of it. I left that night with the cassette tape of the elder’s prophecy and the brother’s four pages of prophetic “confusion.” He seemed very spiritual and knowledgeable, and I, so new to all of this, decided not to question it.
When I attended the next service, the same brother approached me again with another prophetic “word.” I wasn’t as eager to receive any more from him, but respectfully endured another lengthy “word” with the same outcome—confusion. I had no idea I was getting lured into the web of a deceiver. His face and demeanor were so angelic, so sincere; I was flattered by his focus and attention on me. Being new to the church, I naturally assumed he was a spiritual leader because, at the elder’s Monday night gathering, he acted as though he held a place of prominence there.
Soon he invited me to the house he stayed in and shared a litany of prophecies he had received concerning himself. After that, he asked to visit me at my room in the barracks on base to spend time in prayer and to prophesy more words over me. I allowed it and he showed me some intriguing things in the Bible. In my limited knowledge of the Word, I couldn’t discern the false teaching he poured into me.
His visits went on regularly for six weeks. He came to my barracks for more prophesying and Bible study, usually attaching all meaning of the scriptures to who he was and the plan God had to reveal him to the world as the “manchild” of Revelation 12. Having no clear understanding of the book of Revelation, I was defenseless from the power of his deception, and by default, became his disciple. He convinced me he was the manchild, Revelation’s forerunner to the world who would point the way to Christ. The comet Kohoutek was the sign God sent to this brother that the time was near. In addition to his role, he told me I was chosen by God to be one of the two witnesses in Revelation 11, who would walk the earth beside him. God would soon reveal the “other” witness who was to join us.
One day, my deceiver announced he would be leaving Anchorage and return to the lower states to prepare for his “manifestation” to the world. Fortunately enough for me, I couldn’t go since I was in the Air Force. He assured me, however, that the Lord would release me later to follow him. His departure was the beginning of my deliverance from six weeks of his deception.
Despite my falling into this sham, good things came out of that experience. For one, I admired how that brother marked Bible verses and seemed to know the scriptures so well. So I did the same thing with my Bible, and in due time, began to see how twisted and out of context the scriptures were that he used about himself and his mission. Once he left, the Holy Spirit showed me the bare meaning of the scriptures my deceiver used and put it in its proper context. Rather than learning the Bible now through the filtered interpretation of that brother’s self-deception, God’s Word revealed the error of his teaching, and the truth set me free from the bondage and chains that man had put on me.
I don’t know what became of him, but I went on to grow with a love and passion for God’s Word that has never diminished. I wanted to know the whole Bible so well that I would not become vulnerable again to another’s misinterpretation of scriptures. I learned, too, how dominant a charismatic personality can be in leading people astray, and how vulnerable we are when we are ignorant [unknowledgeable] of God’s Word.
In the last days, the antichrist will use false signs and wonders to verify his claim as Messiah to the world. He will twist the scriptures to persuade masses of saints to follow him, just as that brother did to me. Christians who are ignorant of the Word will be defenseless against the vast knowledge of scriptures regarding himself as the savior of the world. His wisdom will be wiser than Daniel’s in the Old Testament, and his powerfully good looks and charm will be irresistible to a celebrity-crazed world. As the self-proclaimed Messiah, he will hold the keys to universal peace and brotherhood. Hundreds of thousands of pastors [along with their flocks] will fall into his deception, clueless to his ability to bewitch humanity and bring them into the fold of a one-world, ecumenical, universal, religious system.
Since the day that deceived brother left me in Anchorage, I have devoted my life to know God’s Word to not only protect myself but to help others protect themselves from being deceived by the charm, charisma, and Bible knowledge a person can have who twists scripture for their own self-glory. Accurately studying the Word of God will lead us to see Christ and his glory exalted, not another’s.
Grace and Peace!