"Take heed...be not deceived"

Warnings and Encouragement from Jesus Christ and His Apostles
and Prophets Against Deceptions and Attack from Satan

God's Church has been a sanctuary for protection, like Jerusalem the mother of us all (Gal 4:26). But Jesus warned his disciples,

"Watch out that no one deceives you, For many will come in my name...and will deceive many."(Mat 24:4-5).
"For false Christ's (messiahs) and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect, if that were possible" (verse 24).

Jesus Christ, in Revelation, reveals that the devil or Satan, "who deceives the whole world", "the accuser of the brethren" (Rev 12:9-10) will attack and attempt to deceive his Church. He warns us that the devil and his angels were cast into the earth and are come down unto you having great wrath, persecuting the woman (church), because he knows that he has but a short time (verses 9, 12-13).

Peter 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 Pet 5:8-9).

Paul warns of Satan's subtle cunning and craftiness,

"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 with (Greek "anechromai"-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 Cor 11:3-4,13-15).

Why Does God Allow Deceptions?

Certainly God allows those who rebell 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 firstfruits, in this age for a very special purpose.

"Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures" (James 1:18).
"You...are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood..." (1 Pet 2:5).
"And has made us unto our God kings and Priests, and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev 5:10).
"These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (14:4).

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 hirelings (Lk 12:42-48; John 10:11-13) and the true believers, the elect, from unbelievers (John 3:18-21; 1 Cor 11:19).

"Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction...
"[But] strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it" (Mat 7:13-14).
"For many are called, but few are chosen" (22:14).

God is also determining what responsibilities and authority, the rewarding of the saints (Rev 11:18), each will be given in His Kingdom.

"Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven [after he repents]: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 5:19).
"Well done, you good and faithful servant: You have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your Lord" (Mat 25:21,23). (See also Luke 19:12-19)

Who are the Very Elect?

Who will be the very elect? In a prophecy by Ezekiel,

"The Lord said...Go through the midst of the city...and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
"And to the others he said...Go you after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have you pity:
"...but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary" (His church Eze 9:4-6).

God is judging His Church NOW! Peter wrote:

"For the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (1 Pet 4:17)

In another prophecy in Revelation, a messenger says,

"Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads" (Rev 7:3).

Jesus said to His disciples:

"Watch therefore...be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.
"Who then is that faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
"Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he comes shall find so doing.
"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, 'My lord delays his coming;'
"And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
"The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looks not for him...And shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites..." (Mat 24:42,44-46,48-51). (See also Eze 13, 14, 33, 34 & Mal 2, etc.)

Jesus revealed in the parable of the tares sowed among the wheat that an enemy, the devil, would be allowed to sow tares (the children of the wicked one) among the good seed who are the children of the kingdom. The harvest, when they will be separated, is the end of the age. All who sin and cause others to do evil will be separated out at that time (Mat 13:24-41).

"Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved... God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be [judged] who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thes 2:10-12; Rom 2:8).
Their opportunity to repent will come at the second resurrection (Rev 20:11-13).

God in this age is proving and selecting a very elect that love and obey the truth (Deut 13:3-4; Mat 5:19-20). The elect shall not be deceived because they love and obey the truth (Mat 24:24; Rom 2:7; 1 Pet 1:22).

It is important therefore that we read and heed the warnings and instructions of Jesus Christ, and His apostles and prophets to Avoid the deceptions and snares of Satan (1 Tim 3:7; 2 Tim 2:26; 1 Pet 5:8), and of the world (I John 2:15-17, and of our own vanity and sin (Jer 17:9; Rom 7:14; 8:7; Heb 3:13; 1 John 1:8-10).

Below is a list of some of the many Scriptural warnings. Check them out:

* Against false apostles: 2 Cor 11:13

* Against false prophets: Mat 7:15; 24:11,24; Mk 13:22; Lk 6:26; 2 Pet 2:1; I John 4:1; Deut 13:1-5; Jer 5:31; 14:14,16; 23:15-22,25-40; 27:9-10,14-16; 28:1-2,15-17; 29:8-9,19-21; Isa 8:19-20

* Against false ministers: 2 Cor 11:15; 2 John 9-11

* Against false teachers: Mat 15:9; Mk 7:7; I Tim 1:7; 2 Tim 4:3; Tit 1:11; James 3:13-17; 2 Pet 2:1

* Against false brethren: 2 Cor 11:26; Gal 2:4; 2 Tim 3:1-9

* Against false Christ's (self-proclaimed messiahs): Mat 24:24; Mk 13:22

* Against many who come in Christ's name falsely: Mat 7:22-23; 24:4; Lk 21:8

* Against antichrists: I John 2:18-23, 26-27; 4:1-3,5-6; 2 John 7-11

* Against men teaching false doctrines: I Tim 1:3-11; 2 Tim 4:3-4; Eph 5:6; I Cor 11:19

* Against those who cause divisions, put obstacles contrary to the pure doctrine of God's Word and by fair speeches deceive the simple: Rom 16:17-18

* Against commandments and doctrines of men: Matt 15:9; Mk 7:7-13; Col 2:22

* Against anyone who does not speak according to the law and testimony of God's Word: Isa 8:20

* Against vain talkers and deceivers...who change the truth into a lie and speak lies in hypocrisy: John 8:44; Acts 5:3; Rom 1:25; 1 Tim 4:2; Tit 1:10-16

* Against seducing spirits and doctrines of devils: I Tim 4:1

* Against evil spirits in high places: Eph 6:12

* Against the wiles (schemes) of your adversary, the devil: Eph 6:11; I Pet 5:8

* Against worshipping demons: Rev 9:20

* Against fellowshipping with devils and taking of the devils cup: I Cor 10:20-21

* Against the children of the devil: I John 3:10

* Against the snare of the devil: I Tim 3:7; 2 Tim 2:26

* Against giving place (a foothold) to the devil: Eph 4:27

* Against doctrines of Jezebel (false church): Rev 2:20-24

* Against doctrines of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans: Rev 2:14,15

* Against partaking of sins of false churches, come out of them, they are part of Mystery, Babylon the great: Rev 17:1,5; 18:4,24; 19:20

* Against receiving mark ("charagma"-identifying mark, graven image or character) of beast: Rev 13:16-18; 14:9-11; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4 (or a false image of God, Acts 17:29

* Against doctrines of the Pharisees: Mat 16:12

* Against strange doctrines: Heb 13:9

* Against anyone who transgresses and abides not in the doctrine of Christ: 2 John 9-11;

* Against being blown about with every wind of doctrine and by the slight and cunning craftiness of men whereby they lie in wait to deceive: Eph 4:14

* Against profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science (gnosis-knowledge) falsely so called, ie. evolution: I Tim 6:20

* Against learning the way of the nations (heathens): Jer 10:2-8

* Against philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world: Col 2:8

* Against adding to or subtracting from the Holy Scriptures: Deut 4:2; Rev 22:18-19

* Against false accusers: Tit 2:3

* Against false witnesses: Ex 20:16; Mat 19:18; 26:59-60

* Against another gospel, though we or an angel or any man who preaches any other gospel than that of Christ: Gal 1:6-9

* Against deceivers that confess not that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and is the Son of God (Trinity doctrine denies Christ is truly Son of God and that God is a Father): 1 John 4:15; 2 John 7

* Against any prophet or dreamer that may give a sign or wonder even if it comes to pass, but says, "Let us follow other gods": Deut 13:1-3

* Against any that say, Here is Christ or their, believe them not nor go after or follow them: Mat 23:15; 24:23,26; Lk 17:23; Acts 20:29-31

* Against every brother that walks disorderly and not after the tradition received from God: 2 Thes 3:6

* Against offending one of these little ones which believe in Christ: Mat 18:6,10

* Against those who received not a love of the truth: 2 Thes 2:10-12

* Against those that oppose themselves: 2 Tim 2:25-26

* Against allowing sin to deceive you: Rom 7:11; 1 John 1:8; Isa 59:2

* Against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: Mat 12:31; Mk 3:28-29; 7:22 Acts 18:6; Rom 2:24; Col 3:8; I Tim 2:19-20; 6:1; 2 Tim 3:2; Tit 2:5; Jam 2:6-7; Rev 2:9

* Against loving the world and the things that are in the world: I John 2:15-16

* Against the wisdom of this world: James 3:15; I Cor 3:19

* Against being ignorant of the examples of our forefathers: I Cor 10:1-11

* Against our own lusts (evil desires): James 1:14-15

* Against setting up idols in your heart: Eze 14:3-11

* Against pride: Gal 6:3; 1 Tim 3:6; 1 John 2:16

* Against deceiving ourselves by trusting in our own wisdom or understanding: 1 Cor 3:18-21; 2 Cor 1:9; Prov 3:5

* Against trusting in our own righteousness: Eze 33:13; Rom 10:3; 1 Cor 6:9-10

* Against trusting in riches: 1 Tim 6:9-10,17

* Against trusting in man: Psa 146:3-5

* Against trusting in lying words: Jer 7:4; 9:4-5

* Take heed if you think you stand: I Cor 10:12

* Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith: 2 Cor 13:5; 1 Cor 11:28

* Take heed how you hear: Lk 8:18

* Take heed unto the doctrine to continue in them...shall save yourself: 1 Tim 4:16

* Take heed lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God: Deut 4:23

* Take heed how you build on the foundation, which is Jesus Christ: 1 Cor 3:10-14

* Take diligent heed to do the commandment and law...to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments: Josh 22:5; Mat 19:17

* Take heed lest there be...an evil heart of unbelief: Heb 3:12

* Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers...come out from among them and be separate: 2 Cor 6:14-18; Rev 18:4

* Do not forsake the assembling together with brethren in Christ: Heb 10:25

* Avoid those that cause division: Rom 16:17-18

* Withdraw yourself from men of corrupt minds, destitute of truth: 1 Tim 6:3-5

* Take heed...hallow the Sabbath day: Jer 17:21-27; Heb 4:1,7-10

* Take heed, be alert, sober, vigilant: Eph 6:11; I Pet 5:8

* Watch, pray always and be ready: Mat 24:42-44; Lk 21:36

* The ten virgins will fall asleep, five were wise, but five were foolish. The foolish will be left out Mat 25:1-13

* The devil will persecute the Church, but some will be protected from the tribulation: Rev 3:10; 12:13-17

* The Beast government and False Prophet will make war with the saints and finally prevail against their efforts to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God: Dan 7:21-25; 11:32-35; 12:7; Mat 24:14; Rev 12:17

* The power of the holy people will be allowed to be scattered and then all things will be finished: Dan 12:7

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 give His reward to His saints, those who are called, and chosen, and faithful! Mat 24:22; Rev 11:15-18; 17:14; 20:4,6; 22:12

Satan's Devices

Paul said, "we are not [or should not be] ignorant of Satan's devises (Gk. "noema"-thoughts, purposes, schemes, or mind)" (2 Cor 2:11). Satan is no amateur at deception as you well know. "Satan is his name and deception is his game".

One thing we can be certain of is that Satan wants us to be confused and not believe or obey the truth. He is the "accuser of the brethren" (2 Cor 4:4; Rev 12:9-10).

One of Satan's most effective tactics is the doctrine (teaching) of Balaam (Rev 2:14), which was to tempt or lead Israel into sin (lawlessness) so they would cut themselves off from God and His blessings (Num 31:16; Isa 59:2; 2 Pet 2:15).

Satan led Eve into error by questioning the validity of and misquoting the Word of God when he asked her,

"Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
Eve was intimidated and confused by that serpent, Satan, who appears as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:3,14). She replied to him, also misquoting what God said,
"We may eat from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die".
God did not really add, 'you must not touch it'. Perhaps Adam said that to her wrongly adding to God's command, even as many priests and the Pharisees did later (Deut 4:2; Mal 1:6-8,12-14; Mat 23:13-15).

Then Satan totally discredited the word of God by saying, "You will not surely die...For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:1-5).

The world, including traditional Christianity, still believes that lie. Many believe the soul goes to heaven or hell at death (See Mysteries of Halloween). Eve was obviously deceived (1 Tim 2:14) and sinned because she didn't really believe what God had said. The carnal mind is enmity against the knowledge and laws of God (Rom 8:7; 1 Cor 2:11-14).

Adam, though he was not deceived (1 Tim 2:14), also sinned as he was not filled with the Holy Spirit from the tree of life (though it was available to him) and was therefore still of a carnal mind and did not really believe God or understand and fear the consequences of his actions (1 Cor 2:11,14). So, in the day they sinned, they were cut off from free access to the tree of life and became dead in trespasses and sin (Eph 2:1,5; Col 2:13).

Satan also tempted Jesus Christ, 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 (Mat 3:17).

"If you be the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread" (Mat 4:3).
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 (Greek "pas," meaning the whole) word that proceeds out of the mouth of God'" (verse 4).

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 will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."
Jesus again replied, faithfully quoting and putting the Word of God in context,
"It is also written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Satan, obviously becoming frustrated with Jesus, tried a third time to tempt Jesus by appealing to his compassion and strong desire to intervene to right the wrongs Satan perpetrated (see Mankinds Greatest Experiment and bring peace and love to the world then, by offering Him power over all the kingdoms (just as he does to many despotic would be leaders in our time), 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: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'".
We also need to be faithful with the inspired Word of God (2 Tim 3:16) lest we be drawn into the snare of the devil. The fact that there are hundreds of distinctly different denominations of Christianity (World Christian Encyclopedia, Bartlett, 1982) teaching different and contradictory doctrines (many not from the Bible) reveals that they can prove or disprove anything from the Bible by mistranslating, misquoting, misinterpreting or by taking scripture out of the true context of the whole word of God. A house or church divided cannot stand (Mat 12:25).

Satan's purpose is to divide and devour God's people. Deception and confusion are some of his tools (James 3:14-16; Rev 12:9).

Appeal for Unity

Paul appealed to the churches,

"Now I beseech 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 Cor 1:10).
"Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace... Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
"That we henceforth 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;
"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, Which is the Head, even Christ" (Eph 4:3,13-15).

If we have come together in Jesus name (Mat 18:20), 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! (See Mat 5:17-20; John 7:16-18; 14:10) The examples Jesus gave are that of believing, obeying, and being faithful and accurate with the Word of God as noted above.

What did Jesus Christ teach? He said,

"For I gave them the words You gave me and they accepted them... I have given them Your word and the world hated them... Sanctify them by the truth, Your word is truth (John 17:8,14 and 17).
He did not appeal to the works of philosophers, scholars or theologians for truth, though He was well informed as to their beliefs.

Therefore take heed...and be not deceived. Study to show yourself approved unto God, correctly handling the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15), proving all things and holding fast to that which is good (1 Thes 5:21) even as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11-12).

"Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). Don't let anyone take your crown (Rev 3:11) or deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion (Gk. "apostasia," meaning to forsake, falling away, defection from truth) occurs and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed (2 Thes 2:3).

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). And see the salvation of the Lord (Ex 14:13). For He has said,

"I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb 13:5).
"For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them" (Matt 18:20).
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Lk 12:32).

See the Mystery of Salvation Menu for more information on how you can avoid deception and prove the truth!

Latest Update: 5/16/08

Copyright ©: by Allen L. Stout, 7/14/95; Serf Publishing, Inc. 11/1/2001 - 2008.