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Satan and his demons have the world of mankind in their control to the point that Jesus could say, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one [i.e., Satan].” (1 John 5:19) The apostle Paul writes,
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
By unbelievers Paul has in view non-Christians (1 Cor. 6:6; 7:12–15; 10:27; 14:22–24). First, the unbelievers of verse 4 are a subset of those who are perishing in verse 3. In other words, the two are the same. Second, the unbelievers are not persons, who have never heard the truth. No, rather, they are persons who have heard the truth and have rejected it as foolish rubble. This is how this writer is using the term “unbeliever” as well. Technically, how could one ever truly be an unbeliever if they had never heard and understood the truth, to say they did not believe the truth? Therefore, to be an unbeliever, one needs to hear the truth, understand the truth, and reject that truth (i.e., not believing the truth is just that, the truth).
In What Way Has Satan Blinded the Mind of the Unbeliever?
2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
12 Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, 13 and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is taken away only by means of Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts; 16 but whenever one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Let us start by looking at an example of blind minds within Scripture. This was not a case of physical blindness, but mental blindness. There was a Syrian military force coming after Elisha, and God blinded them mentally. If it had been physical blindness, then each of them would have to have been led by the hand. However, what does the account say?
2 Kings 6:18-20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to Jehovah and said, “Please strike this nation with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. 19 Then Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he brought them to Samaria.
20 When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “O Jehovah, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So Jehovah opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.
Are we to believe that one man led the entire Syrian military force to Samaria? If they were physically blind, they would have to have all held hands. Were the Syrian military forces not able physically to see the images that were before them? No, rather, it was more of an inability to understand them. This must have been some form of mental blindness, where we see everything that everyone else sees, but something just does not register. Another example can be found in the account of the men of Sodom. When they were blinded, they did not become distressed, running into each other.
Definitely, Paul is speaking of people, who are not receptive to truth, because their heart is hardened to it, callused, unfeeling. They are not responding because their figurative heart is opposed. It is as though, God handed them over to Satan, to be mentally blinded from the truth, not because he disliked them per se, but because they had closed their hearts and minds to the Gospel. Thus, no manner of argumentation is likely to bring them back to their senses.
However, at one time Saul (Paul) was one of these. Until he met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was mentally blind to the truth. He was well aware of what the coming Messiah was to do, but Jesus did none of these things because it was not time. Thus, Paul was blinded by his love for the Law, Jewish tradition, and history. So much so, he was unable to grasp the Gospel. Not to mention, he lived during the days of Jesus ministry, studied under Gamaliel, who was likely there in the area. He could have even been there when Jesus impressed the Jewish religious leaders, at the age of twelve. Therefore, Saul (Paul) needed a real wake-up call, to get through the veil that blinded him.
Hence, a mentally blind person sees the same information as another, but the truth cannot or will not get down into their heart. I have had the privilege of talking to dozens of small groups of unbelievers, ranging from four people to ten people in my life. I saw this in action. As I spoke to these groups, inevitably, I would see the light going off in the eyes of some (they would be shaking their heads in agreement as I spoke). However, others having a cynical look, a doubting look (they would be shaking their heads in disgust or disapproval), and they eventually walked away. This is not saying that the unbeliever cannot understand the Bible; it is simply that they see no significance in it, as it is foolishness to them.
Ways In Which Satan the Devil Wields Influence
Paul warns Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. (Eph. 6:11) 41,000 so-called Christian denominations today call themselves Christian. All claim to be the truth and the way and most are false Christianity that Jesus warned us about in the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew 24:11 Update American Standard Version (UASV)
11 And many false prophets will arise and will lead many astray.
What is a prophet? The primary meaning is one who proclaims the Word of God, a spokesperson for God. Therefore, a false prophet would be a spokesperson giving the impression that he is a spokesman for God, but really he is far from it. These ones are very subtle and deceptive in their ability to present themselves as a person representing God. Some modern day examples would be, Jim Bakker, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Juanita Bynum, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Pat Robertson, and Joel Olsteen. Of course, these are just some of the televangelists, who are false prophets, with tens of millions of followers. Other false prophet religious leaders have tens of millions of followers as well. Then, there are charismatic Christian denominations that number over 500 million followers. These ones claim gifts of God (faith healing, speaking in tongues, etc.), which clearly are anything but. The true Christians are falling away in great numbers, being led astray by these false prophets, and those who have not fallen away, truly need to remain awake! The apostle Paul wrote,
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 Update American Standard Version (UASV)
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not a great thing if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.
On these verses, Richard L. Pratt Jr, writes, “11:13–14. Why was he so determined? Paul explained that these so-called super-apostles were actually false apostles. They were deceitful and only masquerading as apostles of Christ. Of course, those who followed these false apostles would have insisted that Paul was wrong. So he countered their anticipated objection by noting that the false apostles’ deceit was no wonder. After all, even Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 11:15. Paul accused the false apostles of being servants of Satan and of imitating his tactics. They masquerade[d] as servants of righteousness (cf. Rev. 2:9; 3:9). The work of these false apostles led many into unrighteousness, as opposed to Paul’s apostolic ministry of righteousness (see 2 Cor. 3:9). Paul asserted that these false apostles would ultimately receive what their actions deserve[d]. Although this statement carried serious overtones of final judgment, Paul also had in mind that these opponents would be exposed before the church and removed from their positions when he arrived. God would judge them.”
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to Jehovah; and because of these detestable things Jehovah your God will drive them out before you.
Satan misleads people in the same way as in the days of Moses, but rather with a modernist cool look. If we think Ouija boards games, where a board printed with letters, numbers, and other signs, to which a planchette or movable indicator points, supposedly in answer to questions from people at a séance, talk to a dead spirit, or spirit forces of some sort. We still have supposed spirit mediums today that some Christians go to, where a person uses his or her psychic or intuitive abilities to see the past, present and future events of a person by tuning into the spiritual energy surrounding that person. However, what about heavy metal Christian bands? Are they a form of evangelism to Christian your or are they Satanic?
Discernment is keenly selective judgment. In other words, we have the ability to judge well, and our ability to determine is finely tuned and able to sense minor differences, distinctions, or details, to obtain spiritual direction and understanding. A Christian who has both knowledge and discernment is able to make decisions that if Jesus were in our place, and in our imperfect human condition, he would have made the exact same decision. One way that we can use discernment is in our sharing of the biblical truths with others who possess different worldviews and backgrounds, so as to save some. The apostle Paul said,
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may gain more. 20 And so to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those under the law I became as under the law, though I myself am not under the law, that I might gain those under the law. 21 To those without law I became as without law, although I am not without law toward God but under the law toward Christ, that I might gain those without law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 But I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
Keep in mind that, even though Paul said, “I became as,” so that he might become all things to all men, so as to save them, he never became anything that would be contrary to God’s will and purposes. A good/bad example of this would be the modern day Christian heavy metal bands, who by all appearances, is just like the worldly ones. Such bands are nine parts world to one part Christian. Can we imagine young Timothy, Paul’s student, and traveling companion, being a member of Stryper, Vengeance Rising, Deliverance, Believer, Tourniquet and P.O.D? Much of modern-day Christianity, has become like the world in their misguided attempt to evangelize the world. They are nine parts world to one part Christian. This so-called evangelism is an excuse for loose conduct, i.e., an excuse to be worldly under the guise of ‘saving some.’ While we are using a hyperbolic extreme example here of being like the world, to save some out of the world, which is complete foolishness, there are many other minor to major examples within modern day Christianity. Jesus used hyperbole, which is to over exaggerate to emphasize a point, but sadly, in our day, we do not need to over exaggerate because our example found in these so-called Christian metal bands is a reality.
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Those arguing that heavy metal Christian bands are evangelism are false teachers. They are twisting the Scriptures, which seem correct, but are not, so as to mislead. Please read this material before watching his video (http://tiny.cc/i788ly), so the truth stands out clearly. This man is arguing for contextualization, seeker-movement, or seeker sensitive methods of evangelism, as was mentioned in the above portion of this article.
What this commentator is doing is offering texts that are true; then, offering texts that are not being interpreted correctly, so we have a mixture of truth and lie.
He said there were verses that back up the belief that music can be harmful, likely inferring that it only applies to the secular heavy metal bands, not Christian metal. He quotes John 17:16 and Romans 12:2,
John 17:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Romans 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
He then says, “Music is neutral, it is neither good nor bad, but depends on how you use it.”
This is the Truth
This point is actually correct and dismisses his entire argument that Christian metal can be used as an evangelism tool. He then goes on to say “there are many Bible verses to support this view,” wherein he quotes Psalm 98:4 and 150:5. We have quoted them for you below.
Psalm 98:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Psalm 150:5 English Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals.
This is the False
He is using verses that were designed for servants of God singing praises to God, not music that is designed to cater to the flesh, to be Satanic like, so the worldly ones will consider God. He is misinterpreting these verses, twisting them so they give the appearance of being truth, just as he wants unsuspecting ones to accept Christian metal as being the truth.
His weak argument is that ‘we need Christian Metal to reach those who are into the metal music genre because people from the church have no other way of reaching them.’ Really, the only place we can find metal music fans is at concerts. They cannot be found in their home, on the phone, on the internet, at work, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or other places in society? The reason that the church cannot reach these ones is the same reason they cannot reach billions of others. They do not go out into their communities to share the gospel. The church has not trained the churchgoers to share their faith effectively. These latter points are the problems of evangelism. The solution is not to partake of the table of demons or be like the world, so as to save some. The solution is to train church leaders in evangelism, who in turn train the churchgoer in evangelism, so that they can use all facets of reaching the people, including metal fans.
These infer that there is but one correct answer and it guides the listener to that answer.
Q: After reading Matthew 7:13-14, does this not suggest there are two courses in life, one that leads to destruction, which many are on and one that leads to life, which few are finding?
Q: After reading Matthew 7:15, does this not suggest there will be some who appear as innocent as sheep, but really are false prophets to the point of being ravenous wolves?
Q: After reading Matthew 7:16-20, what is it that will help us identify these false prophets?
A: Their fruit
Q: After reading Matthew 7:21, who does Jesus say are the only ones who will enter into the kingdom.
A: Jesus said only those doing the will of the Father.
Q: After reading Matthew 7:22, will there be those who believe that they are doing the will of the Father?
Q: After reading Matthew 7:23, will Jesus accept their excuses for failing to do the will of the Father?
These questions can be used in one of two ways. First, they can be used to clear up something that the listener said. Second, they can be used to clarify that the listener fully understands what something means.
NOTE/Q: The term prophet has two basic meanings. First, it means one who proclaims a message. Second, it means one who foretells the future. What does the term “prophet” mean here?
A: It means one who proclaims a message.
Q: What did Jesus mean by many being on the path of destruction? Was Jesus referring to his disciples (i.e., Christians) and those of religions other than Christianity?
A: The many Jesus referred to was his disciples, coming Christians.
Q: How do you know that the many who are on the path to destruction are the disciples of Jesus Christ?
A: Just after Jesus talks about the two paths, Jesus said ‘be careful of false prophets.’ Then, a few verses later he says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven …”
Q: Are these false teachers found within Christianity and why are they so hard to recognize?
A: If it is the many Christian disciples, who are on the path to destruction; then, the teachers who taught them must have been Christian teachers. They are hard to recognize because Jesus compared them to sheep. In other words, they come across as innocent appearing.
Q: What did Jesus mean by the term “fruit”?
A: In other words, we would recognize them by their words and deeds.
Q: Based on who can enter into the kingdom, ‘those doing the will of the Father,’ what should we know?
A: What the will of the Father is?
Q: Did the many on the path to destruction believe they were doing the will of the Father?
Q: Jesus started out by talking about two paths and false teachers, correct?
Q: False teachers imply false teachings, correct?
Q: What did Jesus say he would say to those who thought they were doing the right thing or thought they were teaching the right thing but were not?
A: ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Q: We have false teachers, who are difficult to recognize, as they appear as innocent as sheep. Recognizing them can only be accomplished by recognizing their fruit (words and deeds), as well as knowing the true will of the Father. Does it not then seem prudent on our behalf that we should apply 2 Thessalonians 2:10 and 2 Corinthians 13:5?
A: Yes, the ones, who are deceived by these false teachers, will perish because they refused to be receptive to the truth. Therefore, we need to be in a constant mode of examining ourselves, as well as our beliefs, to see whether we are really in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
10 and with every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 Keep testing yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Keep examining yourselves! Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you, unless indeed you fail to meet the test?
1 Timothy 4:1-3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, whose conscience is seared as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and command to abstain from foods that God created to be partaken of with thanksgiving by those who have faith and accurately know the truth.
4:1. Paul turned from his triumphant hymn of Christ to a stark warning: the Spirit clearly says that in later times troublesome things will happen within the church.
The phrase later times refers not to some coming event but to the sweep of time from Christ’s ascension to his future return. It covers everything in between, from Paul and the early church, to Luther and the Reformation, to Wesley and the Great Awakening, to us. These are the “later times,” the last days. This great epoch of the church is the final stage of human history before the triumphal return of Jesus Christ.
These words from Paul are just as relevant to our churches as they were for those in the first century. They will continue to be valid for believers in the future last days. The troubles which Paul describes have been happening throughout history to the present time, at other times with guerrilla tactics and scattered damage, often with frontal assaults and great devastation to the church.
Paul predicted that some will abandon the faith. Apostasy has been around as long as human history. Paul dealt with it in his own day (1 Tim. 1:19; 2 Tim. 2:17–18), and the casualty list is high in our time. Even so, the church will triumph.
2. The teachers (4:1–2)
To deny the truth and abandon the faith, people would follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Despite the assault of the physical world upon our senses, we live in a spirit-saturated environment. There is not a moment when we are outside the interplay of spirituality, for we are spirit beings. The very faculty of the human will is spiritual. Whatever we choose to believe or do is founded in our spiritual nature.
When Paul wrote about following deceiving spirits and things taught by demons, he was not necessarily envisioning Satan worship or drug-led transcendentalist theology. There is a wide variety of ways in which Satan peddles his twisted inventions. All deceptions come from Satan’s realm, but he uses many genteel ways to fashion these lies, spreading ideas which are anti-God.
The apostle John wrote, “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world” (1 John 4:2–3).
John’s words cover a whole range of teachings, some religious in nature such as cults and various world religions and others antireligious as in popular philosophies. All find their source in demons. The false teachings find receptivity in those who are hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. Such people perpetuate the lies of Satan and his hosts.
Not only were these false teachers peddling in lies; they were doing so under the guise of spirituality, under the pretense of being godly. Hypocrisy was anathema to Jesus; it received particular condemnation from him. Such a posture misrepresents God to others; it has a potent capacity for leading others away from the loving Father. Paul warned the Ephesian believers, “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:30).
Paul described the psychological workings of false teachers: their consciences have been seared. “Such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Rom. 16:18). The conscience is the human capability to discern right and wrong, and it is connected to the will. A good conscience, one guided by faith, enables a person to navigate life’s moral issues. But a seared conscience is left scarred, unable to assess truth and error, incapable of producing godly behavior.
Sometimes we think in apocalyptic terms relative to the dangers and evil of the “last days.” Certainly as time draws to a close, evil increases. But evil does not always present itself as crime, drugs, and brutality. Such manifestations issue from a degeneration of beliefs, values, ideas, and conscience that have filtered through society for a long time. Evil frequently begins in decent places—in philosophical discussions at the university, in debates at seminary, in sermons at church. Falsehood often comes dressed up and attractive.
God’s simple call to faith in his Son is often abused either through legalism or libertarianism. In Paul’s day, the tendency in the church was toward legalism, which he proceeded to describe.
3. False teaching (4:3)
Rules are good when used to maintain proper boundaries in life and to create a harmonious and orderly existence. But when adherence to rules becomes an attempt to placate God or to earn righteousness or salvation, they become deadly. Rules elevate human achievement and devalue the goodness of God. There is only one way to restore and maintain relationship with the holy God—trust in his Son, Jesus Christ.
4:3. Paul wrote of the legalists as those who forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods.
Legalism enslaves people to joyless toil. Such systems misrepresent the God of grace and belittle the work of Christ on the cross. They lead people down a path of grinding effort, at the end of which there is no God—only insecurities, mental anguish, and more labor.
The particulars of a legalistic system are not as important as its assumptions. In fact, the legalist often uses convincing arguments that have the ring of truth. Forbidding people to marry, for instance, may have come from Jesus’ own teaching about Paradise-to-come in which there would be no marriage. Abstaining from certain foods may have been rooted in the Genesis account of paradise-past when vegetarianism seems to have been the rule.
There is nothing wrong with singleness, nor is there anything wrong with maintaining a strict diet. But the Word of God is twisted when these particulars are put forth as demands, as absolutes in gaining God’s approval. Nowhere in Scripture is marriage forbidden. In fact, it is honored and instituted by God from Creation. Paul described the advantages of single life as allowing extra time for serving God, but he did not make singleness a rule.
Dietary restrictions were a Jewish concern dating back to the giving of the Law, but in Acts 10 God opened up the storehouses of creation. Nothing which comes from God is forbidden as long as it is received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.
Disciplines are good in controlling our spirit and guiding us, but they must never become law. The law of God for righteousness has been fulfilled by Christ; our task is to abide in him.
How to Avoid Satan’s influence
As Christian, we need not live in constant fear or dread, or excessive anxiety that somehow we are going to come under the control of Satan and his demons. The Bible makes it all too clear on how we can successfully oppose the Devi.
- How has Satan blinded unbelievers?
- How does Satan use deception?
- How does Satan use Spiritism?
- Why are so-called Christian heavy metal bands satanic?
- How does Satan use false religion?
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 Or people
 Richard L. Pratt Jr, I & II Corinthians, vol. 7, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 423.
 Or well-pleasing
 Lit seduction
 Knute Larson, I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, vol. 9, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 202–204.