Spiritual warfare is the Christian concept that the Devil and demons attempt to thwart Good and the will of God.

Can Satan Deceive God’s Elect?

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  • Can Satan Deceive God’s Elect?

    Sinclair Ferguson



    In Matthew 24:24, Jesus warns His disciples, “False Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

    These words appear to refer to the events surrounding Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70. But the deception Jesus has in view is part of an ongoing pattern. From the beginning, Satan has been deceiving God’s people (Gen. 3:13). He will continue to do so until the lawless one is revealed “with all power, signs, and lying wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9–10). John’s vision of the millennium ends with a worldwide rampage of deception on Satan’s part (Rev. 20:8). Jesus’ warning is therefore relevant to us.

    Missing the Point

    “Fortunately,” we may say to ourselves, “the elect are in no danger. For Jesus’ words imply that we are incapable of falling prey to Satanic deception.” But to read the text in this way is to miss the point, for two reasons:

    It fails to take account of the evidence of history. Christians have been, and are, capable of being deceived. Have none of the elect been deceived in recent years into supporting “ministries” that have proved so tragically different in reality from what they professed to be? Sadly, we are more easily addicted to the spectacular (“signs and wonders”) than to the substantial, to novelty (“false prophets”) than to a wholesome orthodoxy. If we think Christians cannot be deceived, the deception has already begun.

    It misunderstands the nature of the impossibility. Jesus did not say the elect were incapable of being deceived. We are all only too capable of it. Nevertheless, we are given this assurance: God will protect and preserve His people. Like Simon Peter, they will be shielded by the prayers of Christ and the power of God (Luke 22:31–32). This is accomplished through the activity of faith (1 Peter 1:5).

    Guarded

    But how can we guard ourselves against spiritual deception?

    By developing sensitivity, we become aware of Satan’s strategies in our lives (2 Cor. 2:11).

    Have you learned what they are?

    By developing self-knowledge, we recognize how weak we are. Since nothing good dwells in our flesh (Rom. 7:18), we need constantly to depend on the Lord.

    Do you?

    By developing an appetite for God’s Word, we are “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14, ESV), and we grow in discernment.

    Is that true of you today?

  • #2
    If this were true, why does the Bible have the words, "if it were possible, the very elect." "The very" or truly elect, as opposed to those who are self-deceived or simply are not true believers. The KJV has the words "very (truly) elect" because that is the translation from the Greek, speaking of those who are the truly elect. The truly elect are protected from deception from the Holy Spirit who puts in us the ability to discern the spirits, whether the teachings be of God or not. Who's to say who is a true believer, but speaking for ourselves, and hoping that those who say they are and are in the will of God as true believers will be. This is specific to truly elect as opposed to those who say they are but are not, yet may appear to be. How do we know? See if they know and believe the Bible or not, on a spiritual level.
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    • #3
      Another way Christians can avoid being led astray is by abiding in Christ. If you've got the Holy Spirit to Guide you then you are more likely to see the true nature of the false teachers/false prophets and false christs but a carnal Christian who doesn't abide in Christ may not.
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      • #4
        When one gets lost in following the world, that is what leads us astray. We all live in the world, as Jesus said, but we are not of this world. It can be hard to stop listening to and following the world. But, when we follow Jesus, not just read His word, but follow Him...we will build up a strong confidence and resistance to the temptations of this world.
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        • #5
          I think they can be deceived. Mathew says this:

          Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Mathew 11:11.

          So we are less than John, John is less than an Angel, and Satan deceived 1/3 of the Angels.

          Without the Holy Spirit we would be easy prey. Even with the Spirit we still need to be very careful. We have the flesh and the World to contend with and Satan knows what are weaknesses are.

          Think of this:
          Luke 22:31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.

          Christ intervened to protect Peter, it seems to me that Christ knew Satan could tear Peter apart.

          It also seems clear to me that God is in complete control of Satan. Gods sovereignty is everywhere in the Bible. I would not even know where to begin to start with that, but Jobs suffering and the conversation between God and Satan comes to mind. God not only allowed Satan at Job, he said:

          And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? Job 1:8

          (my apologies, I may have strayed a little, this was about Satan's ability to deceive, back to deception)

          He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

          If Satan can "get over" on Angels, he can "get over" on us. Thankfully we have the Spirit with us always. To strengthen faith, allow us access to Grace, and to remind of us the Truth of God's Word.

          (Question? is the "word" in Gods Word capitalized. the word became flesh, it created everything, it will not change by a "jot or tittle" Mathew 5:18, [but that is about the law]. It seems to me the Word should be capitalized) (just trying to get the proper usage here)
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          • #6
            Originally posted by marknoo View Post
            (Question? is the "word" in Gods Word capitalized. the word became flesh, it created everything, it will not change by a "jot or tittle" Mathew 5:18, [but that is about the law]. It seems to me the Word should be capitalized) (just trying to get the proper usage here)
            The Word when capitalized refers to the Logos. The Logos is reason, but more than reason/logic/thinking etc, for it is the creative agent behind all of creation. The Word is the perfect outward expression of the Father, that is, the Word has been in the Godhead from all eternity, the perfect inward idea and thought is expressed from the Father, manifest into the perfect image - Christ Jesus, which is the Word.

            Recommended reading: In the Beginning was the Logos -Christforums

            God bless,
            William
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            • #7
              I had a visit from a demon yesterday. It was terrifying but at the same time I felt that God was protecting me. If you would like to hear more, let me know.
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              • #8
                We are humans, hence we are not perfect beings. It's is believed that God is the only perfect being. Therefore, we are open to being overcome by deception but that doesn't mean we would not have been devout followers of the word of God. What we should do is be aware that we are perpetually under attack from the powers of darkness which is trying to induce us to fall from grace, Therefore, is essential that we keep the faith, always be aware that there could be imminent danger ahead from demonic forces, and keep our guards up.
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                • #9
                  One area where many of the elect have been deceived is in the question of how the earth and the human race originated. I have encountered many people online who appear to be genuine believers and understand much about the Bible but who deny the literal six day creation account in Genesis.
                  Clyde Herrin's Blog
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                    One area where many of the elect have been deceived is in the question of how the earth and the human race originated. I have encountered many people online who appear to be genuine believers and understand much about the Bible but who deny the literal six day creation account in Genesis.
                    If making them think the Earth is more than 6,000 years old is the worst the Devil can do, the Elect have nothing to worry about.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ThyWordisTruth View Post

                      If making them think the Earth is more than 6,000 years old is the worst the Devil can do, the Elect have nothing to worry about.
                      God's revelation begins with the truth that God created everything that exists. This is the foundation for everything that God has told us. There are many who don't fully believe the creation account but still strongly believe the rest of the Bible, but when they teach others they spread their doubts as well as the truth, and some of those they teach will allow their doubts about creation to spread to other parts of the Bible.
                      Clyde Herrin's Blog
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by theophilus View Post

                        God's revelation begins with the truth that God created everything that exists. This is the foundation for everything that God has told us. There are many who don't fully believe the creation account but still strongly believe the rest of the Bible, but when they teach others they spread their doubts as well as the truth, and some of those they teach will allow their doubts about creation to spread to other parts of the Bible.
                        What YECs need to understand is that telling Europeans, or even secular Americans, that they have to believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, in order to be a Christian, would be like telling them that they have to believe the Moon is made of green cheese in order to be a Christian. Evolution is as much taken for granted as the Earth orbiting the Sun, the chemical formula of water being H2O or the capital of France being Paris. Try inviting them to disbelieve any of those three things.
                        Last edited by ThyWordisTruth; 06-04-2017, 11:07 AM.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ThyWordisTruth View Post
                          Evolution is as much taken for granted as the Earth orbiting the Sun, the chemical formula of water being H2O or the capital of France being Paris. Try inviting them to disbelieve any of those three things.
                          Evolution is so much taken for granted that it never even occurs to people to examine the "evidence" that supports it to see if it is true.
                          Clyde Herrin's Blog
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by theophilus View Post
                            Evolution is so much taken for granted that it never even occurs to people to examine the "evidence" that supports it to see if it is true.
                            Few people have the expertise to examine the evidence for the atomic theory of matter. They can only note the pretty well unanimous opinion of those who do have the necessary expertise, and then draw the obvious conclusion.

                            The opinion of a small group of people, with some obvious reason for wanting it not to be true, is not likely to convince them otherwise. And that would still be the case, even if there were a handful of maverick physicists who doubted the atomic theory of matter.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ThyWordisTruth View Post

                              Few people have the expertise to examine the evidence for the atomic theory of matter. They can only note the pretty well unanimous opinion of those who do have the necessary expertise, and then draw the obvious conclusion.

                              The opinion of a small group of people, with some obvious reason for wanting it not to be true, is not likely to convince them otherwise.
                              There is one difference between the atomic theory of matter and evolution. The claims made by atomic theory can be and have been tested scientifically. As far as I know there are no scientists that doubt the results of this testing. The theory of evolution involves things that have happened in the past so they can't be observed directly or tested experimentally. There are many scientists who reject the theory. Here is a site that deals exclusively with the scientific evidence against evolution.

                              Science Against Evolution Official Home Page

                              Here are two other sites that show by scientific evidence that it can't be true.

                              Evolutionary Truth by Piltdown Superman

                              Answers in Genesis

                              There is a lot of scientific evidence that refutes the theory of evolution but Satan is hard at work blinding people to the truth and as a result few people ever learn of this evidence.

                              Before you evaluate the evidence regarding evolution you need to know the correct answer to a historical question; did God create the universe or did it come into existence through natural processes? Most researchers assume the second answer is the correct one and they have obtained such strong influence on our society and our educational system that even many Bible believing Christians accept their beliefs as being true. I have been a Christian 60 years and during most of that time I accepted the popular belief that we evolved from lower forms of life. It is only in the last few years, when I began studying creationist organizations such as Answers in Genesis, that I have come to realize that evolution is false.
                              Clyde Herrin's Blog
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