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-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Elvi Glass

Detecting The Spirit of Deception

Lesson 5
The Darkness Has Power

By Teresa Seputis

Some people have told me that the way they evaluate whether or not a word is from God based on whether or not there is power present with that word. They feel that where there is power, it must be God. Unfortunately, that is not a good criteria for judging a word. It is true that God has great power -- in fact there is not any creature in the universe that has even a fraction of the power that God has. However, the enemy is not powerless; he has power too.

In fact, Jesus warned us about that multiple times. He talked about that in some detail in Matt 24. In verses 4 and 5, He said, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." Then He warned about false prophets in verse 11, "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many." And He gave the reason that people are deceived by these false prophets in verse 24 -- they are deceived because the false prophets operate in great power. Matt 24:24 says, "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect."

Jesus acknowledged that the darkness has power. He knew and understood that Satan and his minions will not hesitate to use that power to deceive people. That is why He warned His disciples about it.

Sometimes false prophets deceive people by telling them what they want to hear. That type of false prophet targets a certain type of people -- the ones who place their own desires and comfort and prosperity above knowing and serving God. The Israelites were like that many times throughout their history. This is what the Lord said to them in Micah 2:11: "If a liar and deceiver comes and says, 'I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,' he would be just the prophet for this people!" Of course, we need to detect and reject that type of false prophecy.

This type of deception still shows up today, usually as prosperity words: "God will give you a new sports car" or "God will bless you with a summer house on the French Reviera." Most of the people who prophecy that type of false message do it because they want either of two things. Most of them want your money. They tell you words you want to hear so that you will give them a large offering. They want you to pay them for prophesying nice things to you. Others do this because they want prestige. They want people to seek after them and beg them to prophesy to them. In short, the false prophet who tells people what they want to hear is usually in it for selfish motives -- either for fame or for fortune, and sometimes both.

There is another type of false prophet who has a different motivation and uses more subtle means to achieve it. This type of prophecy comes when the goal is to deceive, to try to get people to believe that the devil's lie is a word from God. This type of false prophecy is often harder to detect or recognize. It is covert because the goal behind it is to deceive, to lead people astray. Some false prophets do this on purpose because they delight in trickery and deceit. But many do it because they are deceived themselves, so they don't know any better. They believe a lie and then they propagate it.

It is not uncommon for a deceived "prophet" to tap into the occult and mix it into their words. This can give them great power. These people claim to speak for God, but they really speak for the devil, and they mix in demonic power in an attempt to add credibility to their deceptive words. Jeremiah 29:8 addresses this. It says, "Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you."

True prophecy must originate from God and clearly and accurately portray what He is saying. Anything else is false prophecy and is to be rejected.

Let me share a true story about the use of power in deception. I was counseling a young man who claimed to be a Christian, but he struggled with "faith." His problem came because he saw power in other religions. He wanted to know how he could be sure which one was the right one. He had never developed a deep intimacy with God, and it is not clear to me if he had ever been born again -- it is possible that he may have just been brought up in church and assumed that he was a Christian because he went to church. He had seen healings at church, but he had also seen his New Age friends do healings. Healing was done in both cases -- one was from God's power and the other from the devil's power -- but in both cases a person was healed of a physical ailment. So he was confused; he felt that both religions had demonstrated enough power to give them credibility. But they were in conflict with each other. One claimed that all paths lead to God while the other said that Jesus was the ONE and ONLY way to God.

I tried to talk to him from scripture to address his concerns. But he countered with, "How do I know the bible is really from God and not just written by man?"

I worked with him for a while, and then I finally told him that if he is unwilling to accept the bible as authoritative, as God's word, then there was nothing more I could do to help him in his struggle with faith. A demonstration of God's power would not convince him, because he had seen demonstrations of Buddhist, Hindu and New Age power as well. Hearing from God would not convince him, because he had heard spirit guides speak to him in these non-christian circles and they sounded the same to him as the Holy Spirit. He did not have the intimacy and deep personal relationship with God to draw on, his Christianity had been simply observing rules and rituals. This person was probably not born again and he was not open to receiving Christ. He was deceived by the power of the devil, and I felt very sad for him.

The truth is that the devil does have some power. In fact, the devil has more power than an unsaved person. And he knows how to use his power to the max to "kill, steal and destroy" (John 10:10). Jesus has already defeated the devil on Calvary, but He has not yet taken away the devil's power -- He won't do that until the devil is cast into the lake of fire for all eternity.

Jesus gave us His power and authority over the devil when we believed in Him and made a commitment to His Lordship. Jesus told us, "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19). In short, we have more power than the devil because of our relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, many believers have not yet learned to walk in the authority that Jesus won for them on Calvary and in His resurrection. God expects it to be normal for His children to heal the sick, cast out demons and demonstrate His power. A lot of Christians do not do this yet because they have not believed God and learned to do with Him what He is doing in His power and authority. But God's plan for His children is that they be His witness, speak His words and demonstrate His power.

The devil tends to copy or imitate the things of God. God gives true power and authority to His followers. Likewise, the devil gives his power and authority to some of his followers. Let me share a few examples that I have personally seen.

One New Age "philosophy" is very popular in many parts of the USA right now. This is basically a re-dressing of the Hindu religion in ways that appear to westerners. The people who tend to be attracted to New Age groups and churches are those who are attracted to power. They are taught how to do some "power" stuff, such as to heal the sick, out of body experiences (I am not sure if they really leave their body or if they just have demonic empowered "visions"), and opening themselves up to spirit guides for supernatural revelation. There really is a lot of power in New Age these circles.

About ten years ago, I worked at a software company. One of my co-workers was heavily into New Age and had some advanced training. At the time, I was doing a lot of deliverance ministry, and I was relatively new at praying for the sick and seeing God heal them. Ralph was also doing healing as part of his New Age practices. He was very attracted to power. So, when he heard that I was moving in power, he began to hang around me at work and to talk about the power stuff with me. He could do things I could not do, such as "read auras" to get a quick (and accurate) summary of the person's current emotional state. We talked for many months and he shared a lot of testimonies of power things he had done, people he had healed, emotional problems he had fixed by aligning (balancing) people's auras, stuff like that. I shared my first experience of a lady with multiple sclerosis being healed and getting out of her wheelchair, as well as several smaller healings. Ralph was moving in a greater level of healing power than I was moving in at that time -- only he was getting the power to heal from the wrong side.

The thing that finally "got" Ralph was the personal relationship and intimacy with God that his New Age teaching could not counterfeit. He had been taught to see God as an impersonal force, not as a loving, caring God. God's love and the way He interacts personally with His children finally persuaded Ralph to become a believer. He accepted Christ and entered into a personal relationship with Him!

The enemy really does have power that he releases to his followers -- I learned that from Ralph. They often have a lot of bad things that happen to them as they learn to move in this power, because they go deeper into bondage and the devil gets a stronger grip on them. But there really is a power that Satan's followers can tap into and use, providing they are using it to build Satan's kingdom.

Let me share another true story. There was a spiritualist group in Berkeley that worshiped this female guru. She lived in India, but she came through and worked personally with the group a few times a year. Some of my friends were in this group and I would witness to them a lot in those days. This group was a mix of many different philosophies and the thing that attracted them to talk to me was my various stories of my deep and personal and intimate interactions with God. They loved to hear how God spoke to me. So I encouraged them to invite God to speak to them in a similar way.

One of the ladies from the group took me up on my challenge. The lady guru was visiting and they had some sort of special meeting for her. This lady guru taught for a while and then the group worshipped her for a bit, and then they started chanting together under her oversight. While my friend was chanting, she remembered the challenge I had given her and acted on it. Then she heard the Holy Spirit tell her "You should not worship people, you should only worship God." My friend processed that for a while. She decided to drop out of the group based on what she heard.

However, that turned out to be harder for her to do than she expected. The guru went back to India. But at night, demons came to my friend in the form of the guru and told her that she would not let her go. There were also some demonic attacks against her physical health. My friend was still unwilling to embrace Christianity or to let me help her in Christ's name. So she got rid of her altar and had a Buddhist friend come and do a spiritual cleansing of her home and some sort of ritual to make it harder for the guru to come and visit her. Even with all of that, it took about six months before the demonic manifestations went completely away. Unfortunately, my friend never turned to Christ and she soon ended up in another bondage and deception.

Let me share one more story. The summer before I started high school, we moved to the San Jose area, where there was a large base of this ancient Egyptian spiritualist group called the Rosicrucians. My dad joined this group and began training with them. Since I was unsaved at the time, he began to show me some of their practices. He was able to do things like touch the back of a card and tell you what the card was. He was able to do this thing called "circle of life" where they transferred energy from one living source to another. (It was a considered "no no" to ever take energy from a person. But it was ok to take it from a plant or an animal to use the energy to heal a person.) Dad was at the beginning levels that first year, but someone at a much higher level came to our house one time, and that person could do some incredible stuff like levitate small lightweight objects, read minds, etc.

Rosicrucians are a secret and dark organization, but their members can tap into incredible power as they moved to the more advanced levels. One of the current Rosicrucian question and answer pages discusses things like awaking spiritual power, astro projection, and understanding of mysteries. According to their www page, if you are willing to pay some large financial fee, and commit to secrecy, they will teach you "the latent faculties, the dormant powers, and initiate you into their use; explain or demonstrate to you for the first time how you may awaken the static energy into a dynamic power."

The devil does have power. The Rosicrucians have tapped into it, as have many others. There are spiritualists who can, through demon's power, predict the future, give accurate words of knowledge, and do other imitations of the prophetic. The presence of power is not, in and of itself, an accurate measuring stick of whether or not this is really from God. You need to look for other queues -- things like:

-- © GodSpeak International 2003 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.org> --

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