The Soul and Deception
One matter upon which the Bible is unmistakably clear throughout is that of man's deception. All God's methods with man have had this fact behind them. With and ever since the Fall the race is regarded as being a deceived race. Not only was the race initially deceived in Adam, but it is ever led on in its deception to deeper depths. Rather than escape from this deception by what is called 'enlightenment,' i.e. civilization, education, culture, etc., these are only making the deception stronger. This is sen in the fact that the most 'enlightened' and 'advanced' nations are, at this late hour of the world's history, locked in the grip of a force which compels them to use all their enlightenment for producing the means of mutual destruction on such a scale and by such devilish and barbarous ways as have never been known before. Let us here introduce one or two passages of Scripture.
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field ... And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said ..." (Genesis 3:1).
"But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away ... giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons." ( 1 Timothy 4:1).
"This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual (soulical), devilish" (James 3:15).
"And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called she devil and satan, the deceiver of the whole world, he was cast down ... and his angels ... with him." (Revelation 12:9).
"And cast him into the abyss ... that he should deceive the nations no more." (Revelation 20:3).
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire ..." (Revelation 20:10).
In these passages, satan is seen to be the deceiver, first of the woman and finally of the whole inhabited earth. Deception was his first method, and deception was the very heart of the Fall.
Man is by nature now a deceived creature. Deception is deception, and the deceived never know it until they are enlightened or delivered. It is like a disease. There are forms of mental sickness which cause those who are so suffering to believe certain things which to the healthy mind are ridiculous and impossible. It is useless to argue with them, and futile to try to convince them of the untruth of their beliefs. Indeed, it is cruel at times to oppose them. If you are to live with them in any measure of peace and be at all helpful you have to take the attitude of agreeing with them and deal with the situation along some other line. Otherwise it is going to be continual clash. The only way to change their convictions is to heal their sickness.
So it is with man. He believes many things as to himself, his ability, potentialities, destiny, about God and about the world, which are not true. He mistakes certain things for other things, but he cannot see that he is deceived. It is useless to hold objects before a blind man, and to tell him to see them; and it is foolish to be surprised or annoyed that he does not do so. So the Scriptures say, "The natural (soulical) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them... " (1 Cor. 2:14). And again, "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving" (2 Cor. 4:4).
Now, when we go to the source of this deceived condition, we find that it originated in the soul. The deceiver assailed the soul - desires, reason, will - and drew this out as a basis of life apart from and independent of God. The motive was to have things in the "ego", the self, instead of in God by dependence. Having succeeded in getting man to so exalt the ego to independence and superiority, he captured man as now a suited instrument for his purposes. Man ceased to be suited to the purposes of God, for his very nature was changed. This man, changed by complicity with satan, is a false man, not a true man according to God's mind; and is now suited to satan's false kingdom. The history of man in his natural state is the history of a lie, a false nature, a false expectation, a false hope, a false faith and a false world. The end of that man and that world is sorry, tragic disillusionment. By the aid of a spirit which, while still existing, is no longer in the pace of living fellowship with God, this man faintly glimpses or senses something more of intention and purpose in his being that he can grasp. It eludes him, he cannot come into real touch with it; and so life mocks him, and he seeks satisfaction in other and further deceptions and illusions. Thus he is a part of the creation which the Word of God says is "subjected to vanity" (Romans 8:20). Conscience still is more or less active, but always accusing or excusing, never approving.
As we have said, not only was deception an initial work of the enemy in the soul of man; he presses this advantage, or works on this vantage ground; and whenever he has this ground of nature he seeks to advance his own government and power thereby. As we shall see, the stronger the soul-lie in a person, the greater the peril to that one, and the greater the advantage to satan and the evil powers. The pursuit of this course is by a multitude of ways, always adapted to the people with whom he has to do. With the ungodly he employs one method; with the religious, who recognize God, another. With the spiritual he resorts to yet other ways, and for them his whole system of deception is by counterfeiting God's system of truth.
He counterfeits God Himself. He "fashioneth himself into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). He counterfeits the Church of God with his "synagogue of satan" (Revelation 2:9). He counterfeits the works of God with his "signs and lying wonders" (2 Thess. 2:9). There is a counterfeit life, and there are counterfeit "gifts" (as of the Holy Spirit). There is counterfeit Divine (?) power. There are counterfeit conversions, spiritual (?) experiences, guidance. He uses Scriptures in a false way to counter God's meaning by them. There is counterfeit worship of God, counterfeit teaching, "doctrines of demons." There is a counterfeit baptism of the Holy Spirit with "tongues,' etc. To those who know the Word of God, all these things are not strange, but are exposed therein.
(continued with # 18)