One of the most humbling and important books I am presently reading is War on the Saints.  This book has forced me to take an even closer look at testing the deceiving spirits that are ever-present in this world. 

One very important previous lesson that I have learned is that as my faith in the Lord grows so does the attacks from the enemy.  Every time I learn a spiritual truth from the Lord, Satan pounds back with discouragement, fear or temptation. When the Lord called me into the discernment ministry, I was filled with excitement at His calling…but I also was at first worried about the opposition I would face.  When the Lord called me to teach Bible study, I was willing but afraid at my lack of experience.  The enemy whispered to me…You can’t do this….This is too hard…This takes up too much time…

I only share this because the deceiving spirits are very determined to undermine our walk with the Lord in these end-times.  But with the help of the Lord and the other teachers who are forever encouraging me with their training…I trust the Lord will equip me with all I need to do his His will….and He has.  What a wonderful God we have!

Not only do we have to face the evil strategies Satan throws at us personally, we have to determine whether or not our spiritual leaders have been deceived themselves.  All throughout the Bible we are warned of false teachers who will attempt to lead us astray.  Some of these teachers will be deceived by the seducing spirits and may truly believe they are in the truth. But they are themselves deceived by giving into greed, seeking honor, and enticed by the spotlight that surrounds them. Others are truly wolves in sheep’s clothing. They know the truth, yet bury it deep into their conscience so that the truth no longer sears them. Both are dangerous and will mislead the masses into the kingdom Satan is building here on earth.

“There are many deceived ones among the most able teachers today because they do not recognize that an army of teaching spirits have come forth to deceive the people of God and that the special peril of the earnest section of the professing Church lies in the supernatural realm, from whence the deceiving spirits with “teachings” are whispering their lies to all who are “spiritual,” i.e., open to spiritual things. These “teaching spirits” with “doctrines” will make a special effort to deceive those who have to transmit doctrine and seek to mingle their teachings with truth so as to get them accepted. Every believer must test all teachers today for himself, by the Word of God and by their attitude to the atoning cross of Christ and other fundamental truths of the Gospel, and not be misled into testing “teaching” by the character of the teacher. Good men can be deceived, and Satan needs good men to float his lies inder the guise of truth.” [1] emphasis mine

So one has to ask…Self, do I know the Word of God thoroughly enough to recognize a false teaching? Self, when a teacher gives scripture do I check to see if it is given in context with the passage? Self, do I support a false teacher and mislead others because of this lack of knowledge?  Self….am I deceived?  What tough and humbling questions these can be. 

How we hate to admit that we are vulnerable to deception. But we must!

The man is deceived if he is a hearer but not a doer of the Word of God ( James 1:22).

He is deceived if he says he has no sin ( 1 John 1:8).

He is deceived when he thinks himself to be “something” when he is nothing (Gal. 6:3).

He is deceived when he thinks himself to be wise with the wisdom of this world (1 Cor. 3:18).

He is deceived by seeming to be religious when an unbridled tongue reveals his true condition (James 1:26).

He is deceived if he thinks he can sow and not reap what he sows (Gal. 6:7).

He is deceived if he thinks the unrighteous willl inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9).

He is deceived if he thinks that contact with sin will not have its effect upon him (1 Cor. 15:33). [2]

Doubt is actually a tool that can be used to question the experiences in our spiritual life.  It is this doubt that leads us to question the spirits and to see if they are from God or Satan. Too often we quickly snuff out the light we would receive by turning our back to the fear of discovering a truth we have ignored. We are clearly instructed to test the spirits in 1 John 4:1-3.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

Next in 1 Timothy 4:1-2

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

Teaching deceptions will abound. Verses from the Bible will be plucked and regrouped to create false theologies. Words will be twisted from their historical meanings to create “new”, “fresh”, teachings. I was taught not long ago to read the Bible from beginning to end. When done…read it again in this way. There are no “secret teachings.”

“All genuine ‘truth’ is in harmony with the only channel of revealed truth in the world–the written Word of God. On the other hand, all teachings originating from deceiving spirits:

1. Weaken the authority of the Scriptures;

2. Distort the teaching in the Scriptures;

3. Add to the Scriptures the thoughts of men; or

4. Put the Scriptures entirely aside.

The ultimate object of the forces of falsehood is to hide, distort, misuse or put aside the revelation of God concerning the cross of Calvary, where Satan was overthrown by the God-Man and where freedom was obtained for all his captives.

Countless concepts and beliefs which are opposed to the truth of God are injected into the minds of ‘Christians’ by teaching spirits, rendering them ineffective in the warfare with sin and Satan and subject to the power of evil spirits. All new insights and systems of beliefs should be therefore tested by the truth of God revealed in the Scripture, not merely by texts or portions of the Word but by the principles of truth revealed in the Word. Since Satan will endorse his teachings by ‘signs and wonders’, ‘fire from heaven’ and other supernatural signs are no proof of a teaching being from God…” [3] emphasis mine

The end-times will be filled with spiritual deceptions that will deceive many. Signs and wonders, supernatural manifestations, prophetic visions, prophetic words, inner voices, physical manifestations (jerking, shaking, falling, undulating, head wagging, slaying) will all have to questioned by the discerner. Do not let your doubts go unchecked by searing them with a hot iron or by simply dismissing them. If you do this you will open yourself up to deception. You will not be able to discern the lies of Satan. 

You may want to pray something like this.

Lord, show me the truth even though I may not want to hear it. Close any doors that I have allowed to be opened that deceives my heart and mind. If I have believed any of Satan’s deceptions… immediately remove them from my life.   Amen

“War on the Saints” by Jesse Penn-Lewis  

[1] pg. 29

[2] pg. 22

[3] pp. 32-33