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PARANORMAL ENTITIES AND THIS OCTOBER’S HALLOWEEN (PART 16)—Be Not Deceived: How to be Protected from Deception

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By John P. McTernan (excerpted from the bestselling book God’s Ghostbusters)

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)

Deceive: “to take unawares especially by craft or trickery; to cause to believe the false.”[i]

The other contributing entries in this series have addressed some very real and specific areas of deceit that surround us and our youth every single day. With vampires romancing our women and girls, “ghost hunters” promoting the communication with the dead, and liars, murderers, witches, false prophets, and other dark role models driving an ever-present, evil, and invisible nail in the coffins of biblical doubt for so many, one could easily begin to feel defeated and overwhelmed. Yet, the weapon against such things is not as hidden or hard-to-find as many tend to think. A deep, sincere, and dedicated faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is one key to marching against these powerful foes with confidence. The other key is knowledge. Know your enemy, and know what weapons and combat tactics your enemy will bring to the battleground.

One of the enemy’s hallmarks of the current era is deception. This deception can be found in every area of life. It is found in economics, science, history, and politics while the most serious is religion. The easiest deception to see right now is found in the world economy (just to help paint an understandable picture at the start of this chapter). The economy of the world was based upon ever-increasing debt. The economic experts would say, “do not worry about the debt,” but now the laws of economics can be clearly seen. The tremendous debt burden is destroying people, businesses, institutions, states, and even countries.

The deception has been exposed and the economy is now under the truth! The people who knew the laws of economics and were not swayed by the current deceptive economic policies could protect themselves from economic ruin, as they operated under the truth of economic laws. They could stay out of debt and invest their funds in a way that it would not be destroyed. They could see the economic meltdown coming and prepare for it. The people who operated under the deception could not see the meltdown coming and were caught in its destruction.

This same principal regarding deception holds true in the spiritual realm. Those that are anchored in truth cannot be spiritually deceived, but those that do not operate in the truth are wide open for deception. They can be fooled spiritually in a similar way to those that were deceived economically. The huge difference is that spiritual deception can result in spiritual death and separation from God for eternity.

The Bible issues great warnings about deception and reveals how one can be protected from it, showing that deception emanates from the spiritual realm and then manifests in the natural realm. The source of deception is evil and does not come from God. All truth comes from God, while deception comes directly from Satan and his fallen angels.

Just prior to the death of Jesus Christ, He warned the disciples of His death and His Second Coming. The disciples wanted to know the signs of His Second Coming and asked the Lord Jesus what would be sign of His coming and the end of the world.

Jesus Christ actually listed many signs of His coming including wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilence, and religious apostasy. The first sign was a warning of religious deception. The deception would center on Him; and there would be many false prophets, messiahs, and teachers. Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind, so this deception would take people away from Him as Savior and on to someone or something else.

Matthew 24:4–5: “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

The Lord Jesus expands upon the magnitude of this deception, and He emphasizes that the deception is going to involve supernatural signs and wonders and, also, the effect was so great that if it were possible it would deceive those that were following Jesus Christ.

Matthew 24:24: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

The Authority of the Bible

The Bible is the standard used to determine if someone, or if a sign or wonder, is from God. The questions that immediately come to mind are, “How does one know the Bible can be trusted as the word of God?” “What is the proof showing the Bible is the final authority of what is really from God and what is a deception?”

The greatest proof is Bible prophecy, and how this prophecy is playing out right now in the world. There are three major, prophetic themes in the Bible, and these are: (1) the first coming of Jesus Christ, (2) His second coming, and (3) the nation of Israel. The combination of these three themes alone show that the Bible is unique and could only come from God.

There are dozens of prophecies in the Old Testament about the first coming of Jesus Christ. They were all fulfilled at His first coming. These prophecies included the time of His coming, His ministry, the reason for His death, and great details about the way He died on the cross. The following are just two segments of scriptures from many to show how Jesus Christ fulfilled prophecy as His first coming. The fulfillment is found in the New Testament.

The description of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and related events:

Psalm 22:13: “They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.”

Psalm 22:15–18: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”

The reason for the necessity for the death of Jesus Christ on the cross follows. He died as a substitute for man’s sin:

Isaiah 53:5–6: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:8: “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ is actually tied with the prophecies about Israel. The reason for this is He is returning to Jerusalem with Israel restored as a nation. There are many verses in the Bible relating to the dispersion of the Jews from Israel into the entire world. The reason for the dispersion was that the Jewish people totally failed to obey God’s Word, and one punishment for this was to be driven from the land and dispersed into the world.

The prophecies do not end with the dispersion, but continue with a restoration back to the land. This restoration occurs because God made an everlasting covenant four thousand years ago with Abraham, and then reinforced it with his son Isaac, his grandson Jacob, and their descendants. This eternal covenant becomes the basis by which God would one day bring the Jewish people back into the land.

The authority of the Bible then is directly tied to God’s covenant with the Jewish people over the land of Israel.

Genesis 17:7–8: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

Jesus Christ issued a prophetic warning about Jerusalem just prior to His death. He said that the city was going to be destroyed and the Jewish people dispersed into all nations. He then added that Jerusalem would not be under Jewish control for a specific time. At the end of this time, He would return to Jerusalem to defend the Jewish people.

Luke 21:24: “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

In May of 1948, Israel once again became a nation, while in June of 1987, all of Jerusalem came under Jewish control. Jerusalem is not completely under Jewish control as the Palestinians, United States, United Nations and most of the nations want the city divided. There is much fighting yet to come over Jerusalem until it is free from foreign influence. It will only be free at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

There is no other nation like Israel. It is totally unique among all nations. It is easy to just look at Israel as just any other nation and Jerusalem as any city, but they are unique. The Jewish people and Israel were twice destroyed over a period of twenty-six hundred years.

The Babylonians first destroyed Jerusalem twenty-six hundred years ago. They killed most of the Jews and took a remnant captive to Babylon. The nation was destroyed along with its kings and temple-worship was stopped. As prophesied by Jeremiah the prophet, the Jews returned seventy years later and then rebuilt the nation, Jerusalem, and the temple. At this point, Israel came under the authority of Gentile (or non-Jewish) kings, and the kingdom was taken away from Israel. This began the “times of the Gentiles” over Jerusalem that Jesus Christ prophesied would end.

About six hundred years later, starting in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed the nation of Israel, Jerusalem, and the temple for a second time. A huge number of people were killed or dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. Israel became a wasteland under the control of various empires until 1948. Just as the Bible prophets predicted, Israel was once more a Jewish nation. (Once again, there is no other nation like Israel, which was twice destroyed over twenty-six hundred years with its capital and religious center also destroyed and then came back into existence.)

Today the Israelis even speak Hebrew which had been a dead language, and they use shekels for money! Israel is once again a nation because of the supernatural covenant made by the Holy God of Israel with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Jewish people. God’s prophetic plan is now in high speed, and the rebirth of Israel would take place just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Christ will return to Jerusalem to save the Jewish people from total destruction at the Battle of Armageddon:

Zechariah 14:2–4: “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled… Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…”

With the authority of the Bible as the Word of God revealed through prophecy, it is time to establish what the Bible standard to test for deception is. The standard rests upon the person of Jesus Christ, and His ministry to redeem mankind.



The Bible’s Standard Testing Deception

1 John 4:1: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

The Bible gives the standard for protection against deception. The protection is centered on the person of Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross to redeem mankind to God. Having faith in the real Jesus Christ is the foundation of truth. People who preach on spiritual matters are to be tested concerning their belief in Jesus Christ along with the content of their teaching. If either the person, or their teaching, fails the test, they are to be rejected no matter how persuasive they are or how “right” they seem. This person is teaching spiritual deception and not truth.

The Bible states in 1 John 4:1 that people should be tested, but it continues in the next verses to describe the test:

1 John 4:2–3: “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

If a person confesses that the real Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, then this person is true and not a deceiver. The key is the identification of real Jesus Christ. The Apostle John, just a few verses later, identifies the true Jesus Christ. He is unique among mankind as He is the only begotten Son of God. He came from God the Father and was born from a virgin; therefore, He did not have the human sin nature.

1 John 4:9: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”

Because He came from God, the Bible reveals that He is God. God was manifested in the flesh through the person of Jesus Christ. This is the very foundation of truth and the gold standard to test everything spiritually by. The Creator of the universe became one of mankind. Jesus Christ was both God and man.

1 Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”

With the foundation of the person of Jesus Christ, it is very important to understand His ministry. Man was separated from God because of sin while the penalty for this rebellion was spiritual death. This meant separation from God in a place of eternal punishment called hell. The death and shed blood of Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin and reconciled sinful man with God. The only way for man to obtain eternal life is through faith in the person and death of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

The foundation of truth to test everything spiritually for signs of deception is the person and ministry of Jesus Christ. When applying the test, does the person or spiritual manifestation believe that Jesus Christ came in the flesh as the only begotten Son of God? Does the religious doctrine being taught promote that the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ is the only way for redemption and eternal life?

No matter what spiritual power is being manifested, if the preacher or teacher denies the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, they are operating under a deception and deceiving those who follow them.

With All Deceivableness of Unrighteousness

Biblical Greek Word Deceive: “To cause to roam from safety, truth, or virtue” (Strong’s Concordance 4105).

Biblical Hebrew Word Deceive: “To lead astray, i.e. (mentally) to delude, or (morally) to seduce” (Strong’s Concordance # 5377).

The Bible warns that as the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus draws near, tremendous spiritual forces are going to be unleashed which will deceive multitudes of people. There are going to be manifestations of spiritual power which the Bible calls lying signs and wonders. These manifestations are real and not just an illusion.

There is real power from the spiritual realm, but the question becomes, “What is the source of this power?” The Bible is very clear that certain spiritual manifestations are from Satan and are meant to draw people away from Jesus Christ and His ministry to redeem mankind. These are lying signs and wonders with the specific purpose of deception. There are powerful spiritual manifestations based on what the Bible calls “all deceivable of unrighteousness.” This means there is great power behind these manifestations that are going to overwhelm people who are not grounded in the truth of Jesus Christ. They are going to be overwhelmed and swept away into following deception because they do not love truth and were not anchored in it!

2 Thessalonians 2:9–10: “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

Because these people do not love truth and reject the true Jesus Christ, God is going to allow the strong delusion of this evil spiritual power to overwhelm them which will result in believing this deception. There is a fierce, spiritual war taking place between truth and deception. Those that love and follow truth will be protected: however, those who reject the true Jesus Christ will be sealed into lies by deception. Because they rejected truth, they will believe lies, even to their eternal damnation.

There is a tremendous price to pay for rejecting the truth about the person of Jesus Christ. Such deception is ready and waiting for these people to their eternal doom. Remember, the closer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the greater the deception with lying signs and wonders will be.

2 Thessalonians 2:11–12: “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

In addition to the manifestations of lying signs and wonders, there are also teachers and ministers that preach lies and deception. The Bible also warns of false leaders who preach against the truth of the Lord Jesus and His ministry. They are called deceitful workers who appear to be from God, but the power behind these false apostles is once again Satan.

These false teachers might be highly intelligent with advanced degrees and very persuasive words, but what they preach is deception leading people away from the true Jesus Christ and salvation through Him. They are called Satan’s ministers.

2 Corinthians 11:13–14: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

The people who are not grounded in the truth of Jesus Christ can be easy prey for the false apostles of Satan. These people are either ignorant or have rejected the truth and now can be overwhelmed by the persuasive power of these deceitful preachers from Satan. The way for someone to identify a deceitful minister is to know the truth about Jesus Christ.

When listening to a minister: is he leading a person to the true Jesus Christ and eternal life through Him, or his he preaching a different gospel and leading people away from the real Jesus Christ?

Spiritual truth is the tool to identify deceit. It takes knowing the truth to identify the counterfeit. No counterfeiter would produce a fifteen-dollar bill, because in reality it does not exist. They will counterfeit a dollar amount and bill design that reflects the real bill; not something imaginary. Investigators are trained in what real money looks like and how to indentify the counterfeit. By knowing the real thing, one can spot the counterfeit. It is the same in the spiritual realm. Those that know the real Jesus Christ and understand His ministry can spot the counterfeit. To those that are ignorant of truth, they can easily be deceived. The great danger of spiritual deception is that it ultimately leads to eternal damnation and separation from Jesus Christ.

The Bible warns of deceivers, and it is up to everyone to be armed with the truth to defend against them. The Bible also warns that the deceivers will become worse as the Second Coming draws near. They will be extremely cunning with many false teachings. Only those that know the truth can identify these evil men.

2 Timothy 3:13: “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

Ephesians 4:14: “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”

A Special Warning about Deception

Revelation 19:20: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast…”

The Bible warns that immediately prior to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, a world government will arise, which will use a universal numbering system to control all commerce. This system would center on the number “666.”

In understanding Bible prophecy, it is extremely important to keep in mind that this system would arise when Israel was once more a nation. The Book of Revelation shows that this system will be enacted just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ while both the Old and New Testament prophets show the Lord Jesus is returning after the nation of Israel is once again restored.

Israel is again a nation, and technology has now advanced to the level that a worldwide electronic system is nearly complete. Through the use of computers, electronic funds, a cashless society, and instant satellite communications with many other forms of technology, the world is very close to a cashless, electronically numbered system. It appears that with the advanced technology of today, the 666 system described in the Bible may have a far wider application. It has the possibility of being a complete surveillance system on the population. With the awesome technology available today, controlling all commerce may be just the tip of the iceberg!

The fact that these two prophetic events are coinciding are a warning sign from the Scriptures of the imminent danger that mankind faces. The Bible warns that the 666 Surveillance System would be implemented through deceit to ensnare all those that reject the truth of Jesus Christ.

When this system is implemented, it is going to be promoted as wonderful and part of a religious system. It will be promoted as a way to control crime and provide a service to all people. It will probably be advanced as a way of fairness so everyone can function. The heart of this system will be an identification number involving 666 being placed on the body in the right hand or forehead.

Revelation 13:16–18: “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark…and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

Through the deception that will be present at the time, people are going to take this mark with the number 666; it is going to appear as a wonderful thing to do. There will be great preaching about taking this mark. Religious leaders will be promoting it, but is all part of a religious system that ultimately leads people away from Jesus Christ and eternal life, and it is all part of a spiritual deception the scale of which the world has never seen before.

This religious system involves the worshipping of a man identified by the Bible as the Antichrist or Beast. This entire system is based on deception. It will be promoted through lying signs and wonders along with vast numbers of Satan’s apostles speaking with powerfully convincing lies. All the advanced technology in communications will be used to promote this religious system, and taking this “666 mark” will be the initiation into this system, which totally rejects Jesus Christ and locks the individual into eternal damnation. Once a person joins this system by accepting the mark, there is no way out.

Revelation 14:9–10 “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God…and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”

Through prophecy, the Bible tells us where this tremendous technological explosion is heading. It is going to be part of the greatest deception ever. All of the technology that we know now and that we will know then will be used as a vehicle to advance this deception.

The Bible is the standard for determining truth, and with the truth as a tool, it can be used to uncover many variations of the deception the enemy will subtly and gradually introduce into our daily lives. The truth is a useless tool unless one knows the truth and utilizes it as the instrument God has provided for us. It is up to each individual person to know the truth. Each person is responsible before God to be anchored in the truth.


John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The way to be anchored in truth is to obey the Bible and commit ones life to the true Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This means recognizing that He is the only begotten Son of God who died on the cross and shed His blood to pay the price for sin. This is the very anchor to truth and eternal life with God. Jesus Christ is the only foundation for truth. Once a person is anchored in the foundational truth, then by studying the Bible one can begin understand more of the truth revealed in it. This causes a person to grow in God’s grace, peace and love.

The spiritual realm is not neutral. There is not an option to reject the truth. A person is either growing in the truth or becoming hardened into a deception. If a person rejects the truth, the Bible is clear that God will send a strong delusion to enter this person’s life, who will then believe a lie; the end result is believing in a lie and having to live eternally separated from the truth, which is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Despite all the lies in this world, God still provides us with the truth. No matter how powerful the deception is with lying signs and wonders and Satan’s apostles, the truth of the Bible exposes this deception. The only people who can be deceived are those that reject the truth that comes from God. Now is the time to obey the truth and rest in the Lord Jesus Christ and His redemption.

John 18:37: “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

UP NEXT: Demons Unlimited

[i] “deceive,” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged (Merriam-Webster, 2002), last accessed July 3, 2011,

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