PART I (continued)
THE HOLY SPIRIT OF DELUSION
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. II Th. 2:10b-12
Like our concepts of the Holy Spirit's nature and presence, our concept of spiritual delusion is also clouded by natural logic. When we think about the delusion prophesied concerning the last days, we naturally attribute it all to satan. We base this on a premise that says we can prove the validity of spiritual power by knowing where it comes from. Every true miracle is traceable to the Holy Spirit because He is the Truth, and every false miracle is traceable to satan because he is the Father of Lies. If we can accurately judge the source of every spiritual manifestation, then we can safely mark as delusion whatever proves to originate with satan. All the rest is truth. Pretty simple, isn't it?
But look again at the verse above. According to Paul, the great end time delusion is something sent by God above and beyond satanic involvement. This is telling us that there is an area where the Holy Spirit Himself produces false works. Think about it. Not only does satan produce counterfeit miracles, but in some way so can the Holy Spirit. Not only does satan produce false prophecies, but under some condition so does the Holy Spirit. Under some kind of condition, the Holy Spirit issues forth as a false anointing.
If this is true, then it spoils our logic about proving the nature of spiritual manifestations by tracing their source. It also creates a great dilemma for us: "How can God, the essence of Truth, ever be the author of delusion?"
- Light Which Is Darkness"The eye is the lamp [ie, prism] of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness." MT 6:22-23
The truth or falsehood behind spiritual power cannot be verified alone by tracing its origin. For though satanic power will always be false by nature, the true power of the Holy Spirit can be altered to become false by another factor. This third factor is the heart of the vessel through whom or to whom that power comes.
In the verse above, Jesus describes the human factor in converting God's power into falsehood by an analogy likening the human eye to a prism for light. The eye represents the human heart. The light represents the Spirit of Truth. The human heart is to the Holy Spirit what a prism is to light. A prism is a refractor—an object through which light passes to give it meaning. Jesus is saying that if the prism of the heart is bad, then the light that passes through it is changed to darkness. In other words, if a human heart does not want truth, then whatever truth comes to it or through it is changed to a lie (See Rom. 1:25).
This is an extension of how we said the quality of our faith determines how the Spirit is received. Partial faith results in partial presence of the Spirit. At first, partial faith for receiving the Comforter only may be due to immature understanding and inadequate heart preparation for encountering the Truth. But after a certain time, refusing the clear conviction of the Spirit of Truth while continuing to receive the Comforter leads to a spiritual delusion in which the Comforter's ministry becomes false to us. This delusion is the silent judgment that results from long term partiality toward the Comforter.
- "Originating Delusion" Versus "Refractive Delusion"
Delusion under the Holy Spirit is not the same as satanic delusion. To distinguish what we are talking about from satanic delusion, let's coin the terms refractive delusion and originating delusion. Satan is the author of originating delusion. As the Father of Lies, satan creates delusions through false mystical powers such as in the occult, witchcraft, voodoo, witch doctors, eastern religions, etc. This power is seen in scripture by the magicians of Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar.
But refractive delusion is not authored by satan. It comes from God. This delusion comes from a true source (the Holy Spirit) but passes through or to a heart that has rejected the Spirit of Truth. Thus, the Spirit's ministry becomes a false work to that heart. The source is true, but the vessel or the recipient is false. Therefore it becomes a false work, a false anointing, a false miracle, a false prophecy—as surely as if it had been authored by satan. Just as adding even numbers to an odd number will always produce an odd number, so adding true power to a false heart will always produce a false work. Neither the size of the numbers nor the greatness of the power can change the result.
Refractive delusion is far more deadly than originating delusion because those under it are dealing with the anointing of God, not satan, and therefore feel they are allright with God. That is why Paul calls this strong delusion. The best scriptural example of a man under refractive delusion is the prophet Balaam:
The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination...to Balaam...."Spend the night here," Balaam said to them, "and I will bring you back the answer the Lord gives me."... Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorcery as at other times, but turned his face to the desert. When Balaam looked out... the Spirit of God came upon him and he uttered his oracle. Num. 22:7-8; 24:1-3
Balaam indeed spoke by the Holy Spirit. But look! He obtained his messages through divining practices and his heart was corrupted by greed.5 Therefore, though he had the light, in him it became darkness. He was anointed of God, not the devil. But his own heart refracted this light into a false anointing. So even though He ministered power from a true source, he was deluded and thus condemned as a false prophet. Because this situation is still possible today under the New Covenant, Balaam is given as a severe example to the New Testament church (See II Pt. 2:14-19; Rev. 2:14, etc.).6
- Ultimate Delusion: The Holy Spirit As "Liar""With the pure you will show yourself pure, and with the [twisted] you will show yourself [morally tortuous.]7" Ps. 18:26
In its initial stages, refractive delusion allows people to believe they are ministering or receiving the power of God in truth while their hearts harbor secret self-deception. The deception soon grows to the point that those under it can no longer discern between the Holy Spirit and the ministry of demonic spirits. They become partakers of both while extolling all as of the Holy Spirit.
But in the ultimate degree of refractive delusion, God moves to accommodate and cooperate with the self-deception so as to seal men past the possibility of repentance. In this stage, the Holy Spirit becomes as a liar, and is sent forth as a lying spirit. We have already seen from II Th. 2:12 that, because men refuse to love truth, "God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie." But from the principle in Ps. 18:26 above, we see that God will actually show Himself to be as a liar. There is such a thing as a lying spirit from God—a lie anointed by the Holy Spirit.
Now to those of us of tender conscience confined under the knowledge of good and evil, such a principle throws us into a severe moral dilemma. Out of sincere heart and weak mind we ask in justified shock, "How can this be? How can the Spirit of Truth lie?"
This problem is solved by seeing that, as the Truth, God has the option of showing Himself true according to one of two ways. He can either be true according to who He is apart from man, or else He can be reflectively true according to man's own heart within himself. In this latter sense, God's truth acts as a mirror of man's heart back toward man (see Jms. 1:23). Here, when God reflects Himself back to man as a lie, it is not that God is being false in the originating sense. He is simply being reflectively true according to man's lack of desire for the truth. In the vernacular, we say it this way, "God will tell you what you want to hear."
- Ahab And Ben-Hadad
Several Old Testament stories demonstrate how God becomes a reflective lying spirit to those who have rejected Him as the truth. First, because king Ahab has repeatedly refused the truth of God, God sends an anointed lie into the mouth of all His prophets with the purpose of leading him to death in battle:
"And the Lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?'... Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, 'I will entice him.' 'By what means?' the Lord asked. 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the Lord, 'Go and do it.' So now the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you." I Ki. 22:20-23
Please note, all these prophets were prophesying under the anointing of God, but it was a false anointing. They were not prophesying out of demonic power, but neither were they prophesying out of the originating Spirit of Truth. They were prophesying under God's anointing for delusion. A similar situation occurs where God sends a lying prophecy to king Ben-Hadad through Elisha:
Ben-Hadad king of Aram...said to Hazael,"....Consult the Lord through [Elisha]; ask him, 'Will I recover from this illness?'"... Elisha answered, "Go and say to him, 'You will certainly recover'; but the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die." II Ki. 8:7-10
Here again, we see a prophet uttering a prophetic lie. Elisha knew the objective truth that Ben-Hadad would die. But according to the reflective truth that mirrored the lying state of Ben-Hadad's heart back to him, Elisha was given to prophesy what Ben-Hadad wanted to hear.