Angels of Light
Many religions and false cults undoubtedly have their healers and miracle workers. Witch doctors may have some healings. Whether these healings are real or not is open to debate. It is amazing what the power of suggestion can trigger in a person’s mind. On the other hand, many Christians have witnessed genuine cases of divine healing. God certainly does still heal today when it is his will to do so. However, one needs to be wary about healings not in harmony with the Scriptures,9 because not all healings are of God.
It is certainly to Satan’s advantage to perform miracles and healings where there is error in doctrine. He deceives people into believing that these groups who see miracles must be of God. Often these groups claim to have a “greater amount” of God’s truth.
It is also important to realize that it isn’t always God’s will to heal a person. Paul prayed three times for healing, and he wasn’t healed. God had a greater lesson for Paul to learn through his affliction.10
Another counterfeit of Satan is false prophecy. Anybody who can predict things to come with uncanny accuracy is bound to gain a following. The late Jeane Dixon, one of the best-known American psychics of the 20th century, is a classic example. She had some unusual predictions come true and insisted that her gift was from God. Furthermore, some of her prophecies for the future are very close to bible prophecy. Those that are identical will come true.
However, Satan also knows the future—at least that which the Bible teaches. Having an ability to prophesy is therefore no guarantee that the message is from God any more than it is from Satan. God’s Word warns, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”11
So how does one test the spirit/s?
One hundred percent accuracy
was required of a prophet.
One hundred percent accuracy. The vital test of a true prophet of God was given by Moses, “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously.”12 One hundred percent accuracy was required of a prophet in the Old Testament with a severe penalty for false prophets.13
Jeane Dixon’s prophecies did not all come true. Therefore, her gift cannot be of God. Neither is anybody else if he or she does not have one hundred percent accuracy.
Personal experience is another area of subtle deception by Satan. In the relationship between the Word of God and personal experience there are two equally faulty extremes. First, to trust fully in God’s Word, but fail to apply its teachings to one’s personal life leads to dead orthodoxy. Second, to seek some kind of a personal experience first, and then seek to fit God’s Word into that experience to justify it can readily lead one into mysticism and grave error.
The normal Christian life is to take the Word of God first and make one’s experiences fit into the Scriptures—never the other way around. To seek a particular experience that is not God’s will for one (no matter how worthwhile that experience may seem) is to leave oneself wide open to a counterfeit of Satan.
Take the gifts of the Spirit for example. The Scripture clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit gives his gifts as he chooses, never as the individual chooses.14 The Christian’s responsibility is to follow Christ and obey him.15 Christ will then take care of one’s experiences.
The truth of God’s Word and the application of this truth to one’s personal experience, therefore, is the only safe-guard the Christian has against error and the counterfeits of Satan.
And while Satan comes as an angel of light seeking to destroy every person,16 hear the good news from God’s word: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”17
1. Matthew 24:3-5, 11, 24-25 (TLB). 2. 1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (TLB). 3. Genesis 3:1 (NIV). 4. See Matthew 4:6-7. 5. Matthew 24:24 (NIV). 6. See 2 Timothy 3:8. 7. See Exodus 7:11, 22; 8:7. 8. See 2 Timothy 3:8-9. 9. See James 5:14-18. 10. See 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. 11. 1 John 4:1 (NIV). 12. Deuteronomy 18:22 (NIV). 13. See Deuteronomy 18:20 (NIV). 14. See 1 Corinthians 12:11. 15. See Luke 9:23; John 14:15. 16. See 1 Peter 5:8. 17. James 4:7 (NIV).
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