How are We Deceived?

 and with every unrighteous deception against those who are perishing, in place of which they did not accept the love of the truth, so that they would be saved. And because of this, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie,  in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but delighted in unrighteousness.

2 Thessalonians 2:10–12 (LEB)

There are many people who claim to believe everything written in the Bible, but do they really? Many people have never read the entire Bible, yet make these claims of faith in every written word. Then we must also ask, is scripture limited to the sixty-six books given to us by the 1647 Westminster Confessions? This was a group of seventeenth century theologians and politicians trying to appease different political and religious sects. What about such books as first and second Esdras, Baruch, Wisdom of Solomon and Maccabees? These writings were all removed in 1647 by the Westminster Confessions.

2 Timothy 3:12–17 (LEB): 12 And indeed, all those who want to live in a godly manner in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil people and imposters will progress to the worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you continue in the things which you have learned and are convinced of, because you know from whom you learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the holy writings that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, 17 in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Paul didn’t have the New Testament scriptures when he wrote this, all he had was what we call the Old Testament, which included many of the omitted books I mentioned. Let’s look and see if we can say we believe everything written in scripture without the “ya but” clause.

Ezekiel 33:12–16 (LEB): 12 “So you, son of man, say to your people that the righteousness of the righteous shall not save him in the day of his transgression, and the wickedness of the wicked will not cause him to stumble on the day of his returning from his wickedness; and the righteous will not be able to live by it on the day when he returns to his sin. 13 When I say to the righteous, ‘Certainly he will live,’ and he trusted in his righteousness, and he turns and he does injustice, all of his righteousness will not be remembered, and because of his injustice that he did, because of it he will die. 14 And when I say to the wicked, ‘Certainly you will die,’ but he returns from his sin and he does justice and righteousness— 15 for example, the wicked returns a pledge for a loan, he restores stolen property, he goes in the statutes of life so as not to do injustice—certainly he will live; he will not die. 16 All of his sins that he committed, they will not be remembered against him, and he did justice and righteousness; certainly he will live.

In these verses the Creator is telling us someone can undo the righteousness they have done by doing injustice, and someone can undo their unrighteousness by repenting and making things right. All of a person’s righteousness will be forgotten when they do injustice. This sounds similar to what the writer of Hebrews tells us:

Hebrews 10:26–29 (LEB): 26 For if we keep on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury of fire that is about to consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think the person will be considered worthy of who treats with disdain the Son of God and who considers ordinary the blood of the covenant by which he was made holy and who insults the Spirit of grace?

In other words, simply saying a prayer and returning to a life of sin does not mean one will be saved on the day of vengeance. One verse that I like to point out which is extremely hard for many people to believe is Genesis 1:1.

Genesis 1:1 (LEB): 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth—

Some good verses about our weather are also found in Genesis. We can have faith that we will be able to grow our crops and enjoy the seasons until the end.

Genesis 8:21–22 (LEB): 22As long as the earth endures, seed and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will not cease.

If those of us wanting to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can be deceived, then from where would this deception appear? Would we be deceived by someone who does not regard the things of God at all? Perhaps, but a solidly grounded believer would have to be deceived slowly and also be lead to believe they are following what the true God says, or what the true God of their particular denomination says to do. In other words, deception, for the most part, has to come from a place that is viewed as the authority on scripture and God.

2 Corinthians 11:13–15 (LEB): 13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not a great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Large amounts of deception have to come from within the “Church”. Some will say I am deceived because I believe we need to be obedient to what the Father commanded us. The definition of deception is to believe a lie, and if scripture is truth and Yeshua is truth, would the lie not be acting contrary to both? Yeshua points us to the Father’s words being truth.

John 17:16–19 (LEB): 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth—your word is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for them I sanctify myself, so that they themselves also may be sanctified in the truth.

Deuteronomy 8:1–3 (LEB): “All of the commandments that I am commanding you today you must diligently observe, so that you may live and multiply, and you may go and take possession of the land that Yahweh swore to your ancestors. And you shall remember all of the way that Yahweh your God led you during these forty years in the desert in order to humble you and to test you to know what is in your heart, whether you would diligently keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you go hungry, and then he fed you with that which you did not know nor did your ancestors know, in order to make you know that not by bread alone but by all that goes out of the mouth of Yahweh humankind shall live.

The commandments of God are what we are to live by, not be “saved” by. One of the greatest deceptions is that if one obeys the commandments of God then they are trying to earn their salvation. It is such a wide spread lie, and most people happily believe this even though scripture is completely against them. Deception is making up a new way to interpret scripture, such as dispensationalism, and insisting all scripture must be read through these lenses. Deception is saying that “Jesus freed us from God’s commandments”, or “Did God really say that?”. It is not a new concept and is actually a way for God to test how much people love Him. It is much easier to believe the lie.

Genesis 3:1–5 (LEB): 3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God indeed say, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God said, ‘You shall not eat from it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die’.” But the serpent said to the woman, “You shall not surely die. For God knows that on the day you both eat from it, then your eyes will be opened and you both shall be like gods, knowing good and evil.”

“You shall not surely die“, now fill in the blank. “Did God really say not to ____?”, or “Did God really say to ____?”. Why was the serpent in the garden if not to test creation? These tests are everywhere.

Galatians 3:1–3 (LEB): 3 O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as having been crucified? I want only to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now trying to be made complete by the flesh?

Deceivers disguised as angels of light use the writings of Paul to justify lawlessness or the idea that we no longer have to be obedient to the Father. Is this God giving people a way out of being obedient so they can feel good about themselves in doing so? If Paul teaches against the commandments of God, why does Peter warn us that people will use Paul’s teachings to justify lawlessness?

2 Peter 3:14–17 (LEB): 14 Therefore, dear friends, because you are waiting for these things, make every effort to be found at peace, spotless and unblemished in him. 15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom that was given to him, 16 as he does also in all his letters, speaking in them about these things, in which there are some things hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, as they also do the rest of the scriptures. 17 Therefore, dear friends, because you know this beforehand, guard yourselves so that you do not lose your own safe position because you have been led away by the error of lawless persons.

Peter told us what was going to happen, and it has. Unstable people distort the words of Paul into the error of lawlessness. What did Paul say about himself?

Acts 24:14–16 (LEB): 14 But I do confess this to you, that according to the Way (which they call a sect), so I worship the God of our fathers, believing all things that are in accordance with the law and that are written in the prophets, 15 having a hope in God which these men also themselves await: that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. 16 For this reason also I myself always do my best to have a clear conscience toward God and people.

There are those who will say that God’s commandments are only for the Jews and Paul was writing to gentiles who do not have to regard the commandments of God. This follows the deception of dispensationalism, which was fashioned in the likeness of the teachings of the heretic Marcion. Marcion taught there was a difference between the God of the Jews and the God of Jesus. Jesus supposedly came from a higher positioned God than the Creator God of the Jews in Marcion’s belief system. Dispensationalism is essentially the same teachings except it is packaged slightly different. It is all deception and talking about it probably is making people mad at this moment. Why? No one wants to think they have been tricked into believing lies, but it is prophesied throughout scripture that this will happen.

Luke 21:7–8 (LEB): And they asked him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, Watch out that you are not deceived! For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them!

Paul tells us that there are those who do not love the truth so God sends them a delusion and they will believe a lie. Those who do not believe the truth will delight in unrighteousness. If we use math, we can deduce that truth equals righteousness and the lie equates to unrighteousness. The only way to define these terms is with scripture.

2 Thessalonians 2:10–12 (LEB): 10 and with every unrighteous deception against those who are perishing, in place of which they did not accept the love of the truth, so that they would be saved. 11 And because of this, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but delighted in unrighteousness.

Here are a few scriptures to help us understand righteousness:

Deuteronomy 6:24–25 (LEB): 24 And so Yahweh commanded us to observe all of these rules and to revere Yahweh our God for our benefit all the days that we live, as it is today. 25 And it shall be righteousness for us if we diligently observe and do all of this commandment before Yahweh our God, as he has commanded us.’

Psalm 19:9–10 (LEB): The fear of Yahweh is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of Yahweh are true; they are righteous altogether, 10 more desirable than gold, even much fine gold; and sweeter than honey, even honey in the comb.

Psalm 119:7 (LEB): I will give you thanks with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous laws.

1 Peter 4:17–18 (LEB): 17 For it is the time for the judgment to begin out from the household of God. But if it begins out from us first, what will be the outcome for those who are disobedient to the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous are saved with difficulty, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

Revelation 22:10–12 (LEB): 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near! 11 The one who does evil, let him do evil still, and the defiled, let him be defiled still, and the righteous, let him practice righteousness still, and the holy, let him be holy still.” 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to repay each one according to what his deeds are!

There are at least forty thousand denominations that have come in the name of “Jesus”, all teaching slightly different doctrines. Everyone of them will say to abandon things that God told us to do. Study the scripture for yourself and do not be deceived!

Featured photo was provided by Emma Vail Photography.

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