Monday, November 12, 2012

The Dangers of Signs and Wonders

Danger of Signs and Wonders By S.J. Black “The power of the Lord came down and split the alter while the guy was preaching” I was attending a benefit dinner some time ago and had a fellow that happen to be sitting next to me make this statement. His statement was in reference to something that happened during a service while a particular teacher he seemed to really love was preaching. But there was a serious problem with this. The preacher this man was referring to was close kin to the TBN crowd. Basically, this preacher was part of the third wave, dominionist and self proclaimed “modern apostles” movement. This preacher also was heavily into the “word of faith” or “name it claim it” gospel Many today are out seeking after signs and wonders. Sad really that so many today are so into seeking after signs and wonders that they forget to compare the message given to what is in their Bible. The attitude in some crowds these days is that if there is any type of supernatural stuff going on then it must be the Lord. But is that always the case? I don’t honestly believe too much can really shock me any more. I have heard many stories of false signs and wonders leading many astray that would include everything from gold dust magically appearing at meetings where false prophets were teaching to people being healed because someone had a ‘vision from the Lord’ and giving instruction to perform occultist sounding rituals to deliver healing. Satan is not God by any stretch of the imagination. However, Satan is much more powerful then you or I could ever dream of being. Satan was from the highest order of angels prior to his fall and no doubt about it, while still not God he is much more powerful than you or I. The book of Job is a good example of what Satan is capable of if the Lord were to allow a trial or test in your life. Satan is very capable of creating false signs and “miracles.” You need to look no further than the book of Exodus chapter 7. For a little background here, God commanded Moses and Aaron to go before Pharaoh with a simple message. The message was “let my people go”. The Lord had also given Moses and Aaron several signs or miracles they could perform in front of Pharaoh to get their point across. But it is important to note that while Pharaoh’s magicians could not copy all of Moses and Aaron’s miracles they could certainly copy some of them. For example, when Aaron turned his staff into a serpent the magicians had no problem using witchcraft and the power of Satan to copy the miracle. “But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.” (Exodus 7:11) Later, Aaron turned all the water in Egypt to blood and again the magicians of Egypt through the power of Satan could copy the miracle. “Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.” (Exodus 7:22) Begs the question about how many gullible people out there today would have seen the false signs of the magicians of Egypt and right away assumed they were using the power of the Lord to perform miracles? People seem to be drawn to the miraculous and let their emotions lead them astray. Many today assume that if it is supernatural it must be the Lord. But do they ever in their excitement stop to consider the message given and how it compares with Scripture? I think the answer in many cases today is probably not. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Here is a question I often like to ask people caught up in the movements that tend to chase after signs and wonders. If the fruit of the Spirit as given in Galatians above includes self control then what on earth do things such as laughing uncontrollably, barking like a dog, roaring like a lion or being on the floor in an epileptic seizure have to do with the Holy Spirit? These things are never to my knowledge associated with God or the Holy Spirit in the Bible. However, epileptic seizure is mentioned in the Bible. But not as a sign of the Holy Spirit, it is mentioned as a sign of demonic possession before Jesus casts an unclean spirit out of a boy: “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” (Matthew 17:15-16) I recently read an article that sums up nicely the way that I personally view some of these chasing after false signs and wonders games that people play: “I stood watching these same kinds of manifestations in Brownsville meetings and I cried also. Not because it was the Holy Spirit but because little children were being brainwashed and some even demonized by false prophets and heretics by the laying on of hands. The Brownsville adherents were pointing towards people laying on the ground writhing, screaming, kicking, laughing uncontrollably, making animal noises, and even vomiting and saying "The Holy Spirit is all over that person". But my Bible is clear about these manifestations as well as those Bevere describes as having experienced himself ... these are not the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth and of self-control, but people exhibiting a lack of the fruit of the Spirit of self-control and also of clear demonization. Because people like Bevere, former associate pastor at Benny Hinn's church in Orlando, FL, have allowed the devil free reign in their churches because of their disobedience in allowing and promoting false prophecy and occult practices, they are now driven by another spirit, the spirit of the power of the air, the "Zeitgeist". The continued "fruit" of that spirit is lies, deceit, false prophecies, continued dabbling in occult practices like slain in the spirit, and teaching things they ought not to teach.” My concerns with the signs and wonders type movement are several but I will highlight only two. First there is the concern about whether people in these movements are truly saved by faith in Jesus. Are they practicing a “Christian sounding” religion that in truth is New Age in nature with subtle spin applied to it to make it sound “Christian”? Lets face it, if I wanted to do so I could take the Scriptures out of context and convince some of just about anything I wanted. Consider that the “word of faith” movement teaches that Jesus Christ was born a man and only received the Holy Spirit when He was baptized by John. This belief undermines a very core or essential doctrine that Jesus was fully man but also fully God and a part of the Trinity. This belief that Jesus was anything other than the literal word of God made flesh or the very Son of God who existed before creation stands in blatant contradiction to John chapter one among many other verses of Scripture. If you believe that you are a “little god” are you really putting your faith in Jesus. The New Age movement teaches that we are all “little gods” and that Jesus was simply an “ascended master”. Consider a few quotes that I found without much effort from some of the word of faith teachers while digging around on the internet at "You don't have a god in you, you are one." "Are you ready for some real revelation are god" "Pray to yourself, because I'm in your self and you're in Myself. We are one Spirit, saith the Lord." Does the position that we are "god" or "equal with Jesus" really line up with what Scripture says? Not in the Bible, I read! The heresy of saying ‘you are equal with God’ while actively practicing fellowship with demons brings to my mind a few verses: “Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” (1 Corinthians 10:20-21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) I know we are saved by Grace and not by works but there is one sin that cannot be forgiven and that is dying without accepting the Gospel of Jesus being the way the truth and the life and surrendering your life to Jesus. If the only “gospel” someone has ever accepted is that they are a “little god” and equal with Jesus then I do fear that one day they will also hear Jesus say to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ It is clear in the verses from Matthew chapter seven that the one’s Jesus is addressing here are some that believed they were in Christ and using false signs and wonders to give them a false sense of security. It would appear that to them it validated they were on the right track to the point that they still won’t “get it” when they are standing in front of Jesus Himself to be judged. Another concern though is that I believe very soon the true Church will be gone in the Rapture and shortly after the False Prophet and Anti-Christ will come on the scene. Scripture says clearly that the False Prophet and Anti-Christ will use false signs and wonders to validate their gospel. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12) “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.” (Revelation 13:11-14) My guess is that the false gospel of the Anti-Christ and False Prophet will in reality be a mix of New Age humanistic garbage with just enough “Christian sounding” spin to allow it to deceive many. Verse 11 from Revelation 13 above says the false prophet will have “horns like a lamb” or in other words appear to be like the Lamb of God but “speak like a dragon”. In Scripture Jesus is the only true lamb of God and the devil or Satan is referred to as a Dragon. There is coming on the scene a false religion that will try hard to appear to be Christian but in reality will be the doctrine of demons. This doctrine will likely be that we are all ‘little gods’ working towards being ‘enlightened’ which is the doctrine of the New Age movement but also in reality the false doctrine many “Christian” teachers are preaching today. My guess is some of the chasing after signs and wonders word of faith teachers are already hard at work laying the ground work for the Anti-Christ and False Prophet.