Take Heed - Be Not Deceived

You are here

Take Heed - Be Not Deceived

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×

Jesus Christ, in Revelation, reveals that the devil (Satan), "who deceives the whole world…the accuser of the brethren" (Revelation 12:9-10 Revelation 12:9-10 [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
American King James Version×
), will attack and attempt to deceive His Church. He warns us that the devil and his angels were cast to the earth and will persecute the church (symbolized by a woman) because he knows that he has a short time to do so (Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×
, Revelation 12:12-13 Revelation 12:12-13 [12] Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time. [13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
American King James Version×
).

Peter the apostle warned the Church, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9 1 Peter 5:8-9 [8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour: [9] Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brothers that are in the world.
American King James Version×
, KJV).

God's Church has been a sanctuary for protection, but Jesus warned His disciples, "…Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5 Matthew 24:4-5 [4] And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
American King James Version×
, KJV). "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall [show] great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matthew 24:24 Matthew 24:24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
American King James Version×
, KJV).

Satan is subtle, cunning and crafty. Paul throws up a huge red flag of warning to us, "…I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that [comes preaches] another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if [you] receive another spirit, which [you] have not received, or another gospel, which [you] have not accepted, [you] might bear well with (the Greek "anechromai" can mean “to hold oneself up against, forbear, shun, endure”) him... For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness..." (2 Corinthians 11:3-4 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 [3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.
American King James Version×
, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 [13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. [14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. [15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
American King James Version×
, KJV).

Why does God allow deceptions?

Certainly God allows those who rebel against the truth to be deceived, but why would God allow deceptions to occur within His Church?  There is no doubt God can and does protect His Church from Satan. But God is selecting and choosing an elect, called the first fruits, in this age for a very special purpose (James 1:18 James 1:18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 14:4 Revelation 14:4These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus made it clear to His disciples that He would allow Satan to test and prove His people and He would separate His true shepherds from the hired workers (Luke 12:42-48 Luke 12:42-48 [42] And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? [43] Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing. [44] Of a truth I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has. [45] But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delays his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; [46] The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. [47] And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. [48] But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
American King James Version×
; John 10:11-13 John 10:11-13 [11] I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. [12] But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. [13] The hireling flees, because he is an hireling, and cares not for the sheep.
American King James Version×
) and the true believers, the elect, from unbelievers (John 3:18-21 John 3:18-21 [18] He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. [20] For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. [21] But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 11:19 1 Corinthians 11:19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
American King James Version×
).  He also said in Matthew 22:14 Matthew 22:14For many are called, but few are chosen.
American King James Version×
, "For many are called, but few are chosen."

God is proving and selecting a very elect that love and obey the truth (Deuteronomy 13:3-4 Deuteronomy 13:3-4 [3] You shall not listen to the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proves you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] You shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and you shall serve him, and join to him.
American King James Version×
; Matthew 5:19-20 Matthew 5:19-20 [19] Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×
). It is important therefore that we read and heed the warnings and instructions of the prophets, Jesus Christ and His apostles. We need to avoid the deceptions and snares of Satan and of the world and of our own vanity and sin.

Then Christ will return as "Lord of lords and King of kings" to save mankind from annihilating all life from the earth and set up the Kingdom of God! And He shall reward His saints: those who are called, and chosen, and faithful! (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 11:15-18 Revelation 11:15-18 [15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. [16] And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell on their faces, and worshipped God, [17] Saying, We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned. [18] And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 20:4-6 Revelation 20:4-6 [4] And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 22:12 Revelation 22:12And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
American King James Version×
).

Satan's devices

Paul said, "we are not [or should not be] ignorant of [Satan's] devices (the Greek "noema" can mean “thoughts, purposes, schemes, or mind”)" (2 Corinthians 2:11 2 Corinthians 2:11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
American King James Version×
, KJV). Satan is no amateur at deception. One thing we can be certain of is that Satan wants us to be confused and not believe or obey the truth. He is truly the "accuser of the brethren" (2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version×
; Revelation 12:9-10 Revelation 12:9-10 [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
American King James Version×
).

The natural human mind is opposed to the knowledge and laws of God (Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×
; 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 1 Corinthians 2:11-14 [11] For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
American King James Version×
).  Adam and Eve sinned after Satan’s temptation (Genesis 3). So in the day they sinned, they were cut off from free access to the tree of life and as a result would die in sin (Ephesians 2:1 Ephesians 2:1And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
American King James Version×
, Ephesians 2:5 Ephesians 2:5Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)
American King James Version×
; Colossians 2:13 Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
American King James Version×
). They did not have access to the Holy Spirit and surely did not think about the consequences of their actions.  

Satan also tempted Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:17 Matthew 3:17And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
American King James Version×
), but He being filled with the Holy Spirit, believed and relied on the Word of God. Satan tried to arouse vanity, questioning the validity of His power and authority (Matthew 3:17 Matthew 3:17And see a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
American King James Version×
). "If you are the Son of God, command that stones become bread." (Matthew 4:3 Matthew 4:3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
American King James Version×
, NKJV). Jesus resisted his temptation by humbly and faithfully quoting the Word of God, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'" (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).

Next, Satan tried to tempt Him by quoting, twisting and misapplying Scripture: "If you are the Son of God...throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you’, and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up lest you dash your foot against a stone’."Jesus again replied, faithfully quoting and putting the Word of God in context, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (Matthew 4:6-7 Matthew 4:6-7 [6] And said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).

Satan, obviously becoming frustrated with Jesus, tried a third time to tempt Him by appealing to His compassion and strong desire to intervene to right the wrongs Satan perpetrated.  He offered Him power over all the kingdoms of the world if He would bow down and worship him. Jesus again steadfastly resisted the devil, commanding him to leave, faithfully quoting the Word of God to him,"For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve'" (Matthew 4:10 Matthew 4:10Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).

We also need to be faithful with the inspired Word of God lest we be drawn into the snare of the devil. Satan's purpose is to divide and devour God's people. Deception and confusion are just some of his tools.

Appeal for unity

Paul appealed to the churches, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly [united] in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10 1 Corinthians 1:10Now I beseech you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
American King James Version×
, NKJV). If we remain united in the truth, it is far more difficult for Satan to deceive us.

Then he says in Ephesians 4:3 Ephesians 4:3Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
American King James Version×
, Ephesians 4:13-15 Ephesians 4:13-15 [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: [14] That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
American King James Version×
, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace...till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him, who is the Head--even Christ" (NKJV).

If we have come together in Jesus’ name, should we not believe what He believed and taught? So what did Jesus believe? Did He change the Word of God or make up new doctrines? No (Matthew 5:17-20 Matthew 5:17-20 [17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. [18] For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [20] For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×
; John 7:16-18 John 7:16-18 [16] Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. [17] If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. [18] He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeks his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
American King James Version×
; John 14:10 John 14:10Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me, he does the works.
American King James Version×
)! The examples Jesus gave are that of believing, obeying and being faithful and accurate to the Word of God.

What did Jesus Christ teach us to do to combat deception?

Christ said, "For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them... I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them... Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:8 John 17:8For I have given to them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, and they have believed that you did send me.
American King James Version×
, John 17:14 John 17:14I have given them your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
American King James Version×
, John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).  He did not appeal to the works of philosophers, scholars or theologians for truth, though He was well informed as to their beliefs.

Consider the words of the following scriptures: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 2 Timothy 2:15Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
American King James Version×
, NKJV)…Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21 1 Thessalonians 5:21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).

"Contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints." (Jude 3, NKJV).Don't let anyone take your crown (Revelation 3:11 Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×
) or deceive you in any way, for the end times will not come until the rebellion (in Greek the word used is "apostasia" meaning “to forsake, falling away, defection from truth”) occurs and the man of lawlessness (or sin) is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:3 2 Thessalonians 2:3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
American King James Version×
).

Why would Christ bother teaching God's Word and truth if it was just going to be changed after His death? On the contrary, He almost pleads for us to hear God's Word and not be deceived. It's not good enough to just listen to what others have to say about the Bible, it is essential that we study it ourselves that we "be not deceived"!

For more information on Satan’s deception and his push to get us to discard God's law, request the free Bible study aids, "Is There Really a Devil?" and "The New Covenant: Does It Abolish God's Law?"

You might also be interested in...