DEMONS OF DELUSION

BY:  BRENDA IMUS

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PART ONE

I’d like to preface this article with a statement. For several years I’ve been very excited about the current move of God in the church. I’ve attended Toronto Christian Airport Fellowship several times, been to the Brownsville A of G near Pensacola, Florida, traveled to a conference sponsored by Morning Star Ministries, and spent several days under the ministry of Rodney Howard-Brown. I’ve been to various revival-oriented conferences, listened to dozens of tapes, read ten times as many books, and attended a “New Wine Revival” oriented church for more than a year. I’ve been a real proponent of this move, and heartily endorsed it to anyone who would listen.  

I have not, however, neglected my own pursuit of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ during this time. Each step of the way, I asked Him to reveal truth, NO MATTER WHAT. I love Him far more than any teaching, movement or doctrine. For the past few months yellow spiritual “warning flags” have been going up in my spirit. Many NOT ALL of the things I’ve seen haven’t settled quite right in my spirit. Though some of the practices and teachings are obviously in line with the truth–and even bring a measure of spiritual revelation others don’t seem to be a clear reflection of the gospel delivered “once for all” to the saints. In fact, some areas are downright muddy looking!  

I don’t know why the Lord took so long to reveal the deep roots of spiritual deception that lay within much NOT ALL of the New Wine revival movement. I’m only glad that He did. As I was praying the other morning, meditating on many of the things He’s been revealing to me, His Spirit spoke very clearly into mine: “Warn my people.”  

This article, then, is at least the beginning of the message the Lord has given me to deliver to the church. I don’t know how much more He will ask me to do. May you be blessed, strengthened and edified by His precious Holy Spirit as He enlightens the eyes of your understanding and grants to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation and an increasing measure of the knowledge of Christ. 

For many years an enigmatic statement that Jesus makes in the book of Matthew especially pricked my curiosity. Though I’d meditated on it many times, and prayed for understanding and even had an elementary grasp of the more obvious meaning I sensed there was something important that had yet to be revealed. Recently the Lord gave me insight into the meaning of this passage, and I saw that it is a true word of Divine wisdom for this generation of Christians, and pertains to much of what is happening in the church today. 

Before getting into the passage in question, let’s lay some groundwork. The early part of the chapter reads:   Matt 24:3: And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?   

Significantly, the Lord’s first words in regard to this question is: Matt 24:4-5: 4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.   

So when the Lord is asked about the signs that will signify the end of the age, His first word is a warning: Be on the lookout for deception. Note that he says to be careful that no one deceives you. This alerts us to the probability that deception will come from the most unexpected people and sources… those whom we trust. Can we really be deceived by an obvious enemy? Who would listen or pay heed to such a one? Is this not actually the shadow we’re given in Scripture when we’re shown that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, his close friend and disciple? We tend to think the enemy is in “the other camp.” Those enemies, however, are not nearly so dangerous as the one who takes up residence within our own camp! The first type is easy to spot–the other calls for a higher level of Godly discernment.  

In verse five, Jesus says, “many will come in my name.” A quick word study will show some important truths about the type of deception Jesus is warning us about.  

Will come: Strong’s #2064 erchomai {er’-khom-ahee} 2a) to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence  

Name: Strong’s #3686 onoma {on’-om-ah} 2) the name is used for everything which the name covers, everything the thought or feeling of which is aroused in the mind by mentioning, hearing, remembering, the name, i.e. for one’s rank, authority, interests, pleasure, command, excellences, deeds etc.  

Putting this all together, then, tells us that during the last days a great many people will become influential by using the name of Jesus, claiming to be working under His authority, for His interests, and doing His good pleasure. Would this not include every type of Christian minister? Jesus is in effect saying that we will need to be especially careful of those who come forth or are established as Christian ministers. The great deception He is warning about, then, will come from within the church, and not from without.  

So often we see those in the church pointing at the New Age Movement as the enemy of the cross. True, it is. But the more potent enemy sits much closer to home. Often, he or she sits right at the front of the church. And this doesn’t include only those “dead, organized” churches, but is a timely message for those being drawn into the so-called “New Wine” revival movement as well. When Jesus says, “Watch out!” He means, “Watch out!”  

Is this not the opposite of the message we hear so often from the revival ministers, who insist that we suspend disbelief, and heedlessly jump into the “spiritual river” that is flowing in their services? Give ourselves over to “spiritual impartation” from ministers who will impart something so powerful that we are left laying senseless on the floor, or mindlessly laughing, weeping, shaking, roaring, etc.? How does this doctrine of “jump in!” line up with Christ’s stern warning, above?  

Back to verse five. In the Greek, the original text indicates that Jesus said these deceptive Christian ministers will say “I am Christ.” What exactly does this mean? Are they going to say that He (Jesus) is Christ? Yes. After all, they’re Christian ministers. Equally significant, however, is another connotation. Note that in the original text, Jesus doesn’t say they will claim to be the Christ (ie: Jesus) but will claim to be Christ.  

Now in most Christian ministries where the deception will take place someone claiming to be Jesus Christ would be regarded with a great deal of suspicion, to say the least! They would hardly be in a position to “deceive many.” So how are we to understand this?  

The answer lies in the original meaning of the word Christ. Though it’s come to be synonymous with the particular man Jesus, the Messiah, another meaning helps clarify this passage.  

Christos: {khris-tos’} Strong’s #5547 Christ = “anointed”  

So the deceptive Christian ministers who will rise up and be established in the name of the Lord during these last days will claim to be anointed, or especially filled and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit. Sound familiar yet?  

Now we’ve laid a solid foundation for the key scripture that the Lord unveiled to my understanding. This is exciting  but scary stuff! The scripture occurs in the following context: Matt 24:23-28: 23] Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24] For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25] Behold, I have told you before. 26] Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27] For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28] For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

It’s the last verse that had me stumped for so long but again, we need to understand it in context. 

Jesus says that if anyone tells us to look for “Christ” or a specially anointed Godly minister “here” or “there,” not to believe it. Why? Because of the great deception! To go chasing after the anointing is asking for trouble. Many with false anointings (false Christs), and those who herald their coming (false prophets), are going to arise indeed, have already arisen. If we but have eyes to see, the landscape is literally filling up with these false Christs and false prophets and it’s going to get much worse, very quickly.  

I sense that verse 26 simply means that these false prophets and Christs will suggest that “He” (the anointing, or Holy Spirit) can be found by going into the wilderness (outside of fellowship with other Christians) or by seeking Him (the anointing, or Holy Spirit) in secret places (by means of seeking after superspiritual revelation, or hidden knowledge). But the Lord Jesus Christ says, “Not so!”  

So then how does the Holy Spirit, or anointing of God (Christ) come to the believer? Verse 27 explains it clearly. One day I was meditating on this verse, and the Lord caused me to envision a cloudy sky, lit by lightening.  

“How is it lit?” asked the Lord. Suddenly I really saw what He meant! As the lightning came (much lightning, you know, never reaches the earth), it illuminated the clouds from within, until the entire sky was brightly lit.  

Do you see what this means? The Christ, or anointing, doesn’t come from the outside in, but rather brings great illumination to the inward man. We have no need to “go here or there” to seek some special touch from an anointed minister, for the Holy Spirit will convey God’s light to our inward man, until we are, indeed, “Children of light.” The following Scriptures come to mind:  

I Jn 2:18-20: 18] Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19] They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20] But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 

I Jn 2:27: But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.   

You see, it isn’t specially anointed ministers who teach us, but rather, the inward anointing we receive individually from the Lord! Only He can bring us illumination from within.  

Verse 27, above, also points out that the inward anointing, or revelation that we receive is not counterfeit. This is an important distinction, since those who look to outward sources for the anointing are leaving themselves wide open to counterfeit or deceitful spirits. May God help us to understand this! Just because a teaching leaves us feeling all “deep” and spiritually excited doesn’t mean that it is God’s truth. It may mean that we are falling into deception because we’ve allowed a man, ministry, or doctrine to replace Jesus Christ in our hearts. Take heed!  

Please understand I’m not saying some people aren’t anointed to teach. (If I thought that, I’d hardly be writing this article!) But it is only the Holy Spirit who can enlighten the eyes of our individual understanding so that we may behold the truths of God. We cannot look to, or trust in, any man to give us special revelation from God–to do so is to place that person in the very place of God in our lives. Slippery territory for everyone concerned! When that happens I can guarantee that you’ll fall into error and probably your teacher will, as well. It is the anointing within that teaches. Period.

This, in truth, is the whole of the New Covenant. It is the reason Christ was crucified. God wanted to become the sole teacher, or final authority, in our lives. In order to do that, He had to deal with the issue of sin. In other words, we have been forgiven so that God can deal with us on a personal basis. Look at the actual words of the New Covenant (this may be a real revelation to many) to see what I mean:  

Heb 8:10-13: 10] For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11] And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12] For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13] In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. 

What is the first covenant that was to disappear? That men would be taught by means of the law (written word) and the prophets (specially anointed men of God). Now, thanks to the shed blood of Jesus Christ, everyone is to be taught by God, personally. Praise God!  

Let’s take this article as an example. The Lord by means of His Spirit within me illuminated my inward man with understanding of these Scriptures. The “glow” from that illumination is this article. As you read this article–mere words on paper your inward man will likewise be illuminated with understanding, because of the anointing that abides with you. If you do not possess that anointing or if, perhaps, it is not the Lord’s time for you to receive this knowledge, so the message is “short-circuited” by the Holy Spirit then this article will be mere head knowledge, something that you may want to debate or dispute. For me to enter into such a debate would be futile. If your inward anointing didn’t reveal the truths herein to you, then nothing I say is going to make any lasting difference. It’s the Lord’s job to teach you, and not mine. Even if I managed to convince you that my view is correct, it would be mere, futile head knowledge. The world doesn’t need any more of that! We need saints who are illuminated from within by true Godly understanding and perspective. Now there’s power!  

How does one receive the true anointing of God? By asking. Seeking. Knocking. God doesn’t require that we go to this man or that man and ask him to impart the anointing. He doesn’t expect us to get all revved up in worship, and be thrown to the ground, twitch, rattle or roll or laugh uproariously when we are touched by His anointing. Rather, the true anointing of God will be demonstrated by our wisdom. By our patience. By our understanding and by our love for one another.  

NOW on to the verse that is the key to understanding what we’re seeing in much of the church today. (About time, huh?)  

Matt. 24:28: For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.    

I knew that it is generally understood that the word ‘eagles’ above actually refers to vultures, as the true eagle is not a carrion eater, but hunts live prey. The Lord and I had the following dialog concerning this verse: 

Him: “What is a carcass?”  

Me: “A dead body. Something that once had life.”  

Him: “Think of it as my body… now what is it?”  

Me (as He gives me illumination): “Saints who once had life (in You), but are now just ‘dead flesh.’ The true life has departed.”  

Suddenly a very clear picture entered my mind… a frightful picture. In it, there were hundreds of men and women at a spiritual gathering. Some were laying prostrate on the floor. Some were weeping. Some were laughing. Some were standing quietly, hands raised. All familiar. But in this picture cold dark clouds were over and on top of – not all – but a great many of these saints, and the entire scene was overshadowed by an evil presence… like death. I understood these clouds to represent the vultures in the Scripture I was considering. They were no less than demons of delusion and confusion, feeding on the dead flesh of the saints who were

mindlessly succumbing to deceptionTHEY WERE PERISHING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME DUE TO LACK OF KNOWLEDGE.  

As I’ve prayerfully considered this dreadful scenario, the following Scriptures have been impressed upon my heart: 2 Cor 11:3-4: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. 

Brothers and sisters, I implore you to understand that there are no spiritual shortcuts to receiving a full measure of Godly maturity and grace. It doesn’t depend upon our association with other spiritual people. It won’t come by means of impartation or excitation. Begging, pleading, claiming and exclaiming won’t do the trick (well… maybe it will “do the trick,” but it won’t get you any closer to God). 

There is only one true way to get “more” of God which is to say, of His true anointing. That is by spending time in your prayer closet, in the study of Scriptures, and through obedience to both the “rhema” received by His spirit into yours, and to the “logos” which must always be the ultimate authority in every situation. This is the ONLY WAY that you can receive the true revelation of God. 

Look carefully and subjectively over your current walk with the Lord. Is it based on your own considered, prayerful understanding of the Scriptures or upon a currently popular teaching or teacher? Are your spiritual practices bearing fruit that’s not to say gifts, but fruit. These are far different. Any spirit can impart imitations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but only the Holy Spirit can produce long-lasting Godly fruit.  

Gal 5:22-25: 22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. {affections: or, passions} 25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.   

2 Cor 13:5: 5  Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 

Can I induce you to take a moment to “examine yourselves”? Below are just a few questions such an examination might include. The Holy Spirit, if you ask Him, might reveal others.  

Is your Christian walk consistent with the reflection of Jesus Christ in the gospels?

Do you offer both physical and spiritual food to the poor on a regular basis?

Are you consistently being given opportunity to provide for those in need?

Does your walk demonstrate humility, meekness, wisdom?

Do you consider others better than yourself?

Can you ask the Holy Spirit to test your heart for any sense of spiritual superiority, and find none?

Do you consider that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only One qualified to lead His servants into “all righteousness” by His Spirit; i.e., you fully understand that others do not have to be or believe exactly like you in order to be pleasing to God?

Do you think that He’s doing some special spiritual work in your life, that there’s sort of a bunch of “haves” and “have nots” in the Kingdom right now, and you wish that everyone could be privy to the great spiritual light that you possess?

Do you go chasing after the anointing, or diligently follow certain “anointed” teachers (as opposed to simply respecting, and evaluating, their teachings in light of personal revelation through Scripture)?

Are you always looking to get pumped up spiritually by anointed preaching, spiritual music, high praise and worship, spiritual “warfare”, and seeking deep spiritual insights into the hidden mysteries of God?

Do you often subject yourself mindlessly to hands-on ministry? Are you seeking a progressive “cleansing” by the Holy Spirit by means of this kind of ministry?

Do you often fall to the floor, laugh, weep, or demonstrate (notice the root of the word demonstrate) unusual spiritual manifestations? If so, is there obvious long-lasting fruit from this? (Be BRUTALLY honest here.)

Examine yourself, and then examine your current belief system and practices against the clear and simple teachings of Scripture. Humbly ask the Holy Spirit to show you the truth – NO MATTER WHAT. For it is only those who do not forsake a deep love of the truth who will avoid becoming demonic vultures’ “meat” during these perilous last days. Then, no matter how difficult it may be, quickly act to obey the Word and the Spirit as He reveals areas of your life that are not in accord with God’s truth.  

Am I saying here that no one should go to any of the revival oriented churches or conferences? NO. Only the Lord can give His servants such strong directives. Am I suggesting that the entire movement is in error? Not at all. I have gained much of value from these ministries.  

Rather, I am encouraging you to be diligent in searching out the Scriptures, and in prayer, and in obedience. I exhort you to ask God to give you a burning love for truth, for it is THIS that will protect us from the spiritual delusion that is coming upon the church. Ask for honesty in your inward parts. Seek the presence of the Lord, His wisdom and righteousness. Order your life around the practical personal presence and commands of God, as revealed to you through the Scriptures and by His Holy Spirit. Associate with Godly men and women- but do not give anyone a place in your life rightly reserved for the Lord alone. Never move out in something that is contrary to or in any way out of synch with the written Word of God. Make that your ultimate authority in all things.  

The one who does these things will never be shaken. 

Humbly submitted to the church of Jesus Christ by Brenda Imus  

PART TWO

REGARDING MEAT AND VULTURES

This is an open letter written in response to the dozens of letters I’ve had regarding the ‘Vultures’ web site article. Most of these writers asked the same questions that I asked regarding the ‘Blessings’ movement. I pray that the answers the Lord afforded me will bring peace and understanding to others who want to know the truth about these things as well. May God bless you as you continue to see Him in purity of heart, and true faith.

The ‘Vultures’ article regularly generates several e-mails a day, mostly from those who are as confused about it as I was. On the one hand, it certainly seems God is present in this ‘blessing’ movement. On the other, there are obvious abuses. Where do we draw the line, personally? Do we overlook the problems for the sake of peace? Is it an experience to be sought, or one to be avoided? A blessing, or deadly poison? 

Even after being strongly led away from the movement, I struggled with these questions. One day I simply devoted the day to seeking the Lord (went to my favorite hilltop spot… sigh). He graciously met me there, and revealed some things that were an answer to the questions on my heart. He is so GOOD! 

In essence, He gave me a parallel to the ‘blessing’ movement that’s in the Old Testament, though I never would have understood this in the natural. Got your spiritual ears on…? 

The Holy Spirit showed me that the problem doesn’t lay with the movement, per se, but rather with the state of the seeker’s heart. One person’s heart leads them to look for and experience more of Jesus… another’s leads them to being dissatisfied with anything less than ‘thrills and chills.’ Remember what happened to the children

of Israel when they insisted on getting ‘more’ than simple manna in the desert? God sent them an abundance of quail (flesh) – and those who were gluttonous over-eaters perished as a result. Remember, not EVERYONE who ate quail died. In fact, only the ‘fattest’ of them died, according to Scripture. 

Psalm 78:26: 26] He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. 27] He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea: 28] And he let [it] fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations. 29] So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire; 30] They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat [was] yet in their mouths, 31] The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen [men] of Israel.

Likewise, not everyone who is involved with the ‘Renewal’ will be led into delusion and spiritual captivity/death. The true seeker will follow Jesus (even back into a desert or wilderness, if need be) while the other will follow the fleshly manifestations. The true seeker will eventually (probably) be led OUT of the movement, the other will be drawn more deeply into it. He/she will be ‘spiritual gluttons, bringing judgment down upon themselves. 

In this context, a glutton will usually wolf down whatever is set before him, without question or discrimination. Spiritually speaking, this is not what the Lord has told US to do. There’s a question of discernment. If we fail to practice true discernment (see related article on discernment), then we are probably headed for great delusion.

Proverb 23:1: 1] When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what [is] before thee: 2] And put a knife to thy throat, if thou [be] a man given to appetite. 3] Be not desirous of his dainties: for they [are] deceitful meat.

Also in relation to this, I suggest that it is helpful to contemplate Isaiah 50:10-11. 

Isaiah 50:10: 10] Who [is] among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh [in] darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God. 11] Behold, all ye that kindle a fire that compass [yourselves] about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks [that] ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. (Amplified)

My understanding of this passage came by revelation as the Holy Spirit led me to meditate on it several years ago. It refers to those who don’t seem to have any great ‘enlightening’ experiences of God… who walk in faith, even though they don’t see the end of their expectation in any earthly manifestation/experience that can be seen, heard or felt. They simply keep trudging on, believing God no matter what… setting their hope firmly in Him, walking by the light of the simple promises of God. 

Those who ‘walk the light of their [self-made] fires” (AMP), are those who continually seek after spiritual experiences that allow them to ‘see’ the things of God manifest in the world. So they’re not walking in darkness, as are those who walk in blind faith… but they’re not walking in the TRUE light of Christ, either. They’re walking by experiential experiences, rather than by the quiet, comparatively unexciting (in the flesh) ‘anointing within.’ 

Luke 17:20: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21] Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

May the Lord continue to bless and prosper you in the TRUE sweet knowledge of Him!  

Another brother’s prophetic insight into the ‘River of Blessing.’

 

 

DEMONS of DELUSION, Parts 1-2 [Brenda Imus]          1

 

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