Deception and supernatural experiences

Started by AudioArtist, December 15, 2011, 11:08:02 am

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AudioArtist

December 15, 2011, 11:08:02 am Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 05:16:35 pm by AudioArtist
People can be after a specific manifestation or a specific kind of encounter rather than an encounter on God's terms. Our flesh desires certain experiences, and our flesh can deceive us or allow us to be deceived by demons as we chase after some specific supernatural experience in the name of God. We all know the Scriptures about false Christs, false signs and wonders, and the adulterous generation that seeks after a sign (though importantly, Jesus was talking to the Pharisees in that instance.)

But what I want to know is why is 'chasing signs' so homed-in-on and emphasised (even among charismatics) as the thing to be wary of when most of the Church is totally lacking in any real hunger, power, or Presence whatsoever - and is instead chasing after knowledge that puffs up or simply a good time on Sunday? Sure, there are people who are immature when it comes to signs and wonders, but there is an endemic of Christians who are utterly immature when it comes to how they are supposed to utilise knowledge. In fact, many don't even know they are walking in the soul and not in the Spirit! I should know... Because of His Grace, I'm being freed from soulish Christianity and am being led into the realm of walking in step with the Spirit. :-) It's a long a challenging process, but I am thankful that because of His mercy, it is happening.

From my limited experience and limited perspective, it seems there much paranoia and fear in the church about experiencing God. In lots of teaching, there are over-complicated distinctions made that have caused me much harm in the past - for example, this idea that we should seek God, but be 'wary' of 'seeking an experience' of God. In my short life, I've seen that common teaching do much damage in how it limits people to simply mulling over theological notions of God and studying the Bible in the deadest and coldest of ways. Because they've been programmed to be 'wary' of 'an experience' beyond that, they never actually get to taste the glory of God or encounter any substance of His being; it all stays in the region of theological and Biblical ideas, since that is apparently the only 'safe' place there is. It never goes beyond concept and idea and into substance.

It's currently easy for me to be a victim of that, and I have to be careful what I read because I can be dragged back into fear, paranoia and mistrust. I have to stand on the promise of Luke 11:11-13... the promise that if I seek God's Presence, he wont' drop me a demon instead. What sort of Heavenly Father rewards those who seek an experience of Him with an experience of the Devil? And, though I do have an Old Man who occasionally pops in to disturb me with fleshy desires, my New Man and my redeemed flesh is also hungry for the supernatural, manifest presence of God. A Christian - mind, soul, body - should desire His pleasures evermore! The point is, how are we actually going to encounter God without an experience? There need not be overcomplicated and fearful distinctions made. An encounter with God is an experience of God. Seeking to experience God should be actively encouraged, not discouraged or even mingled with any bit of fear. Besides which, debating doctrine and fighting over the meaning of scriptures is also 'an experience' of sorts; an experience that can leave one in a heightened state of arrogance, or anger, or unrighteous self-satisfaction! Deception can even more easily turn up when one is in regular deep study of (and debate about) the Bible without an accompanying experience of the Spirit. There are people well versed in Church history, theology, knowledge of Scripture and 'sound' Biblical hermeneutics who are full of religious demons, pride, powerlessness, and who are completely unable to discern what is of the Holy Spirit and what isn't.

As a side note, I notice that Christians can be much more concerned and critical of the motives and the whys of peoples' desire for God than Jesus was. The sick and demonised were primarily brought to Him to be healed; as far as I can tell, few of them had motives more theologically involved than that. When Jackie Pullinger (look her up if you don't know her story!) went to Hong Kong, many Chinese sought Jesus for no other reason than the fact all other methods had failed to get them off heroin. They were desperate enough to try anything. But Jesus met them in that state and transformed them.

I myself spent time watching/listening to and reading Christians from the Reformed ends of the Spectrum and became quite unhealthily religious and paranoid about experiences in some ways - until I had an encounter with God that was certainly of Him (because of the faith, holiness and good fruit it produce in my life) but had no exact Biblical precedent (in terms of the unusual ways my body encountered His power.) I've noticed the sheer variety of miracles and manifestations of God's presence as Scripture progresses and then among the few Mystics and Desert Fathers who kept up a living faith in the midst of corruption and worldliness in the church. They saw and walked in signs and wonders that were 'extra - Biblical', but there was little issue with that at this point in Church history. The way "where's that in the Bible?" is commonly asked now is a very new phenomenon in the people of God, relatively speaking. I think the way it is sometimes asked is from a spirit of religion, and the whole attitude that accompanies it quenches moves of God and freedom in the Spirit. It is born out of a church that has historically been steeped in political and religious bondages. I wonder; if God has given us a creation with such a variety of good things, and has given us the capabilities to display such incredible variety in what we make and how we create, why should we expect Him to limit His activity to exactly what He has done in the past? Should we not expect endless creativity, vibrancy and surprise from the Creator Himself?

Of course I believe in the authority of Scripture and in the very real threat of supernatural deception. It is a good thing to pray that we be kept from evil, from temptation, and from anything that is counterfeiting God! However, ever since I got delivered from that pressured, boxed-in, paranoid, religious side of myself, I've been more addicted to the Bible than ever! I just love reading it in my head, reading it out loud, being intoxicated on its realities and obeying its commands in step with the Spirit. But there is a great irony in ministers who go on about deceiving signs and wonders while promoting utter lack (and deception!) in core issues (like experiencing the Holy Spirit) and while ignoring far more widespread and pressing religious lies and practices that have held the church in powerlessness and lifelessness for centuries.       

Pete

Excellent post!

Unfortunately, what you're describing is not a new phenomenon; you don't have to look any further than John 9, where Jesus healed a man who was born blind, to see exactly what you're talking about.

Jesus heals this man (on the Sabbath!) and this freaks out the Pharisees, some of whom claim that Him healing on the Sabbath proves that He's not from God.  But others said, "How can a sinner perform such signs?", something that if you said today, most Christians would feel it necessary to point out how Satan can counterfeit anything...

So anyway, they ask the guy that was healed what he thinks, and he tells them plainly, "He is a prophet."

But (surprise, surprise) they still didn't believe that he was born blind. So they summon his parents, who were so afraid to answer (because they knew if they acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, they would be put out of the synagogue), that they would only acknowledge that yes, this was their son, but you'll have to ask him what happened.  Amazing how religious bondage caused these parents to not even stand by their own son's testimony...

So, the Pharisees call the man again and say to him, "Give glory to God by telling the truth. We know this man is a sinner."  Nice.  Here's a guy who is telling these yutzes that he was born blind, and now he can see because Jesus healed him.  But they simply aren't having any of it. "Give glory to God", they piously and arrogantly proclaim.  Sound familiar?

The man answered the Pharisees by saying, "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see." The Pharisees persisted in their questioning, and finally he says to them, "I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?".  This upset them.  They hurled insults at him. They claimed they were Moses' disciples, and they didn't even know where this man (Jesus) came from.

So the guy that was healed says this to them; "Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.  Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing."

This guy is essentially saying that the fact Jesus opened his eyes is proof enough that He is from God. Try telling that to Christians today, who will feel it necessary to warn you about deception.  The Pharisees response?  They said, "You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!", and they threw him out.

This man experienced the power of Jesus, and believed.  He had no theological basis for what had happened, but simply reasoned that the healing act alone proved who Jesus was.  Unfortunately, the Pharisees didn't see it that way, and unfortunately, many Christians today don't see it that way either.  Jesus didn't warn him about "fake" healings or anything of the sort. In fact, it was the Pharisees that Jesus said remained guilty, because they claimed they could "see".

IMO, many Christians have substituted a theoretical theology for a personal experience with God, and like you said, it's mostly driven by complete and utter fear of "experience", most of which is totally baseless.

O0
"There is no charge for awesomeness -- or attractiveness."

jiminpa

The whole "where's that in the Bible" is in itself unbiblical.  What if the disciples were held to that standard on Pentecost?  I don't recall the gift of tongues anywhere in the OT.  God is always free to do anything He hasn't excluded by scripture. 
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.

Optimax

Over the years I have been blessed to experience the real, although I hunger for more.

Have also been deceived by the false.

The difference I have learned between the two are this:

The real, those who are ministering give the glory to the Lord not to themselves.

They almost always in every service extend the opportunity to those who are not born again to receive Jesus.

Signs follow their ministry. Not necessarily anything spectacular because a person being born again is a great sign.

If a person has "things" happen in their ministry the question to watch for an answer is this.

Are peoples needs ministered to and people are blessed, born again, healed and filled?

Are is it that people are just entertained?

DianeL

34
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13

AudioArtist

Thanks for the brilliant responses. I especially like your teaching on that healing, Pete. :-)

DiscipleHeLovesToo

Quote from: jiminpa on December 15, 2011, 11:21:06 pm
The whole "where's that in the Bible" is in itself unbiblical. 


not sure what you mean; isn't this what Jesus said here?:

  Matthew 4:4 KJVR
(4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God - can there be faith without scripture to base it on? 


Quote from: jiminpa on December 15, 2011, 11:21:06 pm
What if the disciples were held to that standard on Pentecost?  I don't recall the gift of tongues anywhere in the OT. 


didn't they have this scripture to stand on?:

  Luke 24:49 KJVR
(49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

Quote from: jiminpa on December 15, 2011, 11:21:06 pm
God is always free to do anything He hasn't excluded by scripture.


i agree - but isn't this true because scripture confirms it?

on the OP; it's all about being led.  if you're led by physical signs, there is a real danger that you'll be deceived, since satan can present himself as a shining angel.  if you're led by the Spirit, you'll see the signs of the power of God without looking for them specifically - they follow believers, not precede them. 

while it's true that there's no indication that those who came to Jesus to be healed were looking for anything spiritual; the fact that they came to Jesus instead of physicians is an indication of faith.  most who came to Jesus that we are told about asked for mercy instead of healing.  and time and again Jesus linked their miracle to what they believed.

GLY!!!
Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

lismore

Does the supernatural experience glorify God?  God alone deserves the glory. 

The enemy can never glorify God.

So that's a straightforward test!

:)




AudioArtist

December 24, 2011, 10:02:01 am #8 Last Edit: December 24, 2011, 10:18:20 am by AudioArtist
Quote from: lismore on December 23, 2011, 08:42:24 pm
Does the supernatural experience glorify God?  God alone deserves the glory. 

The enemy can never glorify God.

So that's a straightforward test!

:)


I can see why this is true, yet I also know the situation is a little more complex than this - because unusual phenomena (like a burning bush) could indeed be of God, but people may not respond with as much awe or spiritual sensitivity as Moses did. Or perhaps Moses had little choice in the matter. It seems God reveals Himself in different degrees and in different ways - some of which are very explicit and leave little room for varied responses (such as when the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud and the priests could not perform their service because of God's glory in 2 Chronicles 5) and others which create a variety of responses.

For an obvious example, some mocked the disciples and accused them of being drunk when the Holy Spirit fell in Acts 2 ("they have had too much wine!") And for a stronger example, look what happened to Paul and Barnabas when they were flowing in the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit in one city:

Acts 14:11-13
11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.


Poor Paul! There he is, anointed by God and doing miracles to glorify Him, and the people he is trying to reach really don't get it and fail to give God glory in what is happening - and worship him and Barnabas as gods instead. What would people say about such a gross misunderstanding today? Since we've mentioned wine - I wonder how many understood Jesus' first display of His glory? It did cause His disciples to believe in Him and is of course full of meaning for later believers - but I'm not quite so sure from the text that the master of ceremonies 'got it' to the same extent, though again in retrospect even his words are also full of prophetic meaning.



lismore



Hello There :)

While I see what you are trying to say, in the final analysis it can always be taken back to who does the phenomenon glorify?

The burning bush didn't just burn, a voice came from within, it was God giving Moses instructions. The bush was a tool to glorify God.
At Pentecost Peter didn't leave it at the speaking in tongues, he gave a cutting sermon about Jesus after which 3,000 people were saved! The tongues glorified God.
When the crowd accused Paul of being a god he tore his clothes because he was seeking to glorify God.

At the end of the day all supernatural occurences are heading towards someone, paving the way, whether to God or someone else!

Happy New year:)


jiminpa

Quote from: DiscipleHeLovesToo on December 19, 2011, 07:48:18 pm

not sure what you mean; isn't this what Jesus said here?:

  Matthew 4:4 KJVR
(4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God - can there be faith without scripture to base it on? 


It says every word, not just what made to ink, and it says nothing about limiting our obedience to the written word anyway.

Quote from: DiscipleHeLovesToo on December 19, 2011, 07:48:18 pm
didn't they have this scripture to stand on?:

  Luke 24:49 KJVR
(49) And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.

That was not scripture at that point.  It was the spoken word, and speaking in tongues was not mentioned specifically, so the argument could easily be made that it was not specifically allowed by scripture, and could not have been from God, if the standard is only what scripture mentions specifically.

Quote from: DiscipleHeLovesToo on December 19, 2011, 07:48:18 pm
i agree - but isn't this true because scripture confirms it?

IMO that is backwards.  Scripture confirms it because it is already true. 

Quote from: DiscipleHeLovesToo on December 19, 2011, 07:48:18 pm
on the OP; it's all about being led.  if you're led by physical signs, there is a real danger that you'll be deceived, since satan can present himself as a shining angel.  if you're led by the Spirit, you'll see the signs of the power of God without looking for them specifically - they follow believers, not precede them. 

while it's true that there's no indication that those who came to Jesus to be healed were looking for anything spiritual; the fact that they came to Jesus instead of physicians is an indication of faith.  most who came to Jesus that we are told about asked for mercy instead of healing.  and time and again Jesus linked their miracle to what they believed.

GLY!!!
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.

DiscipleHeLovesToo

Quote from: jiminpa on January 02, 2012, 05:10:43 pm
It says every word, not just what made to ink, and it says nothing about limiting our obedience to the written word anyway.
That was not scripture at that point.  It was the spoken word, and speaking in tongues was not mentioned specifically, so the argument could easily be made that it was not specifically allowed by scripture, and could not have been from God, if the standard is only what scripture mentions specifically.
IMO that is backwards.  Scripture confirms it because it is already true.



but how does one recognize God's word if not by measuring it against scripture?  is it by a feeling?  a shining angel?  can't the devil can counterfeit any 5-sense perceived 'sign'? 

  Joshua 1:8 KJVR
(8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. 

doesn't this say that the written word, revealed through meditation with God, is the standard?

  2 Peter 1:15-21 KJVR
(15) Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.
(16) For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(17) For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
(18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
(19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
(20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation.
(21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 

isn't this an example of measuring what is heard against the scriptures?


1 Corinthians 14:21-22 KJVR
(21) In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.
(22) Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 

isn't Paul referring to Isa 28:11 here?

  Isaiah 28:11 KJVR
(11) For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.


what is it that identifies truth first, so that scripture can confirm?

GLYB!!!
Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

AudioArtist

I suppose it must be both. An 'impression from God' somebody has which contradicts Scripture (i.e to commit adultery or to gossip) most probably isn't true (I only say 'most probably' because I just re-read Hosea again and was reminded of the strange individual God picked for him to marry! But my two specific examples would never come from the Holy Spirit, because God doesn't tempt us to do evil.) I get very upset when people ignore Scriptural teachings; here we have a wonderful, mostly and miraculously preserved, inspired record - with words from the mouth of Jesus and the heart of God Himself - and people just ignore it or go with a whim or some other spirit! In direct violation of Scripture! Or Western Christians don't even know anything it says when many believers in other countries are so yearling just for a few pages of the Bible. On top of that, Muslims or atheists often know the Bible better than the actual followers of Christ. That's ludicrous.   

However, I have had the Devil use (or twist) Scripture against me more than I have had him do anything else. Amongst many things, He has caused me think I must earn my salvation, he has twisted scripture to make me feel condemned, to make me see God as anything except a Good Father, to cause me to be lax in how much I love those who might not love me (because many scriptures do not seem to conform to the command to 'love your enemy')...etc. The Bible is a long, beautiful, but often very difficult book (without the Holy Spirit's help), and in the hands of someone not in love with God can cause more harm than anything else.

And I think it obvious that reality comes first, and then Scripture. Most things that happened in Scripture and were recorded happened with no exact precedent, of course. :-) And nobody demanded God 'prove' it was really Him back then by looking to a past, inspired writing when He spoke a fresh word or command or did a new (albeit not a contradictory) thing. 

DiscipleHeLovesToo

but prior to scripture, God fellowshipped directly with man in a physical sense - a burning bush, or strangers walking up to Abraham's tent.  However (IMO) man became so sensual, so focused on the natural that he lost the ability to recognize God through natural means (and the devil probably got a lot better at impersonating God) - so the scripture was given as the standard for recognizing Him

GLY!!!
Joh 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

jiminpa

Quote from: DiscipleHeLovesToo on January 03, 2012, 07:55:00 pm
but prior to scripture, God fellowshipped directly with man in a physical sense - a burning bush, or strangers walking up to Abraham's tent.  However (IMO) man became so sensual, so focused on the natural that he lost the ability to recognize God through natural means (and the devil probably got a lot better at impersonating God) - so the scripture was given as the standard for recognizing Him

GLY!!!
God still fellowships with us, even more directly than a burning bush, but even this isn't really new either, read the psalms.  The pharisees knew the scripture and the most popular commentaries of their day by heart, but still didn't know anything.  They had the living embodiment of those scriptures standing in front of them, and incited His murder. 

God will not contradict Himself, so if we think He is guiding us in a way that violates scripture we are wrong and have that as a compass, but there is far more to know than paper and ink can tell.  The last verse of John tells us that the Bible is an incomplete account.   If all we had to do was read about God we wouldn't feel the need to actually know Him.  We're human and God isn't always comfortable, so we would rather know about God than actually know Him. 
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.

jiminpa

Quote from: AudioArtist on January 03, 2012, 07:17:37 pm
I suppose it must be both. An 'impression from God' somebody has which contradicts Scripture (i.e to commit adultery or to gossip) most probably isn't true (I only say 'most probably' because I just re-read Hosea again and was reminded of the strange individual God picked for him to marry! But my two specific examples would never come from the Holy Spirit, because God doesn't tempt us to do evil.) I get very upset when people ignore Scriptural teachings; here we have a wonderful, mostly and miraculously preserved, inspired record - with words from the mouth of Jesus and the heart of God Himself - and people just ignore it or go with a whim or some other spirit! In direct violation of Scripture! Or Western Christians don't even know anything it says when many believers in other countries are so yearling just for a few pages of the Bible. On top of that, Muslims or atheists often know the Bible better than the actual followers of Christ. That's ludicrous.   

However, I have had the Devil use (or twist) Scripture against me more than I have had him do anything else. Amongst many things, He has caused me think I must earn my salvation, he has twisted scripture to make me feel condemned, to make me see God as anything except a Good Father, to cause me to be lax in how much I love those who might not love me (because many scriptures do not seem to conform to the command to 'love your enemy')...etc. The Bible is a long, beautiful, but often very difficult book (without the Holy Spirit's help), and in the hands of someone not in love with God can cause more harm than anything else.

And I think it obvious that reality comes first, and then Scripture. Most things that happened in Scripture and were recorded happened with no exact precedent, of course. :-) And nobody demanded God 'prove' it was really Him back then by looking to a past, inspired writing when He spoke a fresh word or command or did a new (albeit not a contradictory) thing.
I agree. 
I used to worry and stress and strive to "do my part," never believing that I had done enough of "my part."  Now I see my part as casting it off on Him, doing what I believe He is giving me, and letting it just be His problem.  I don't have to fix everything, but I get to work along side of God.