Main reference: Jude (Mt 24:4, Lk 13:23-30, Gal 3:23-29)
What is faith and deception?
Apostle Paul wrote that Abraham was called a forefather of faith. Abraham was not justified by works, but his faith was credited as righteousness (Rom 4:1-11).
In regards to deception, Jesus warned to not be deceived by people at the end of age (Mt 24:4). In Genesis 3, Eve was deceived by the snake when she ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Eventually, she died. After Adam and Eve were deceived, they hid and did not appear before God. They did not ask God when they were being deceived. All this happened because their minds had already been overtaken by the snake.
As seen in Matthew 4, Jesus fought and overcame with the word when he was tempted by the snake, in other words, the devil. Many of us faced such trials and even deception by the enemy but have overcome. As it is recorded, Satan masquerades himself as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Cor 11:13-15). Our faith is in the Word rather than in a person’s flesh. One will overcome trials if he has the Word.
There is one who tempts and there are persons A, B, and C. Person A and B overcame the testing, but person C gave in and was defeated. As there is one who is victorious and one who is defeated, what kind of people are they? Person A and B had the Word, but person C did not have enough of the Word to be victorious. In Revelation 13, the people in the tabernacle of heaven were unable to overcome and were eventually defeated when the dragon’s seven pastors entered. It is recorded that the dragon’s group conquered by marking the congregation members’ hands and foreheads with their name; those who received the mark worshiped the beast-like pastor. However, in Revelation 12, the male child and his brothers fought and overcame the dragon’s pastor with the word of testimony. In the same way, the one with the Word can recognize their actions and have the ability to overcome with the testimony that reveals the pastor of Satan.
In Matthew 7, Jesus said that one can recognize the tree by its fruit. Because they know the tree, they are able to testify and overcome. It is written in Galatians 3 that we can become one with Jesus who has triumphed, by overcoming ourselves with the revealed faith that has come, thereby receiving the inheritance together. Merely saying that I have faith while not having the revealed word is a superficial faith; when trials and testing come, he will not be able to handle it and fall away from faith. Those who are defeated in such manner become slaves to whatever has mastered them (2 Pt 2:19).
The book of Jude was recorded by Jude, Jesus’ disciple. Verse 17 says, “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.’ These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.”
Those who were once with us but left us, as mentioned by the apostles in the book of Jude, abandoned their positions of authority and created division. They are like Balaam from 2 Peter 2, because they have abandoned their positions of authority and home and returned to their previous place (previous denomination) and lay in there (pit) again, eating the old things (false teachings of the previous denomination) like a pig who goes back wallowing in the pit of mud, and a dog that returns to its vomit.
Do those who left us and are currently away from us know this reality? As seen in Matthew 12:43-45, when the evil spirit returns to its old home to find that it is empty and clean, it brings seven more evil spirits than itself, that the condition of the person becomes worse than it was before. The person who left us had come from the Protestant denomination; the evil spirit of their old doctrine had left him as he cleansed his house (heart) with the Word and came here. However, that person betrayed and returned to the previous place they had come out from. As the evil spirit from the previous place brings in seven more evil spirits into his cleansed heart, the person’s actions become seven times worse than before. All this happened as written in the Word. Isn’t this the current reality? Do you not recognize this though you have seen it? If one is not dead, he will be aware of this. If one is deceived by someone mentioned above, then doesn’t that show his lack of faith and the Word?
Among the brothers of faith are those like Job, whose faith does not waver even when their bodies suffer from pain, but there are those whose bodies are in good condition, yet they lack faith and thus, become deceived and fall away from faith. If I, too, lacked faith amidst my pain and suffering, then I would not be here today. How can I possibly describe all that pain with words? How can anyone possibly be deceived if he has truly perceived and believed in the Word? Why do some not believe in the Word?
Because the words of prophecy have become flesh today, we see and believe in the prophecy and the physical entities that appeared accordingly. How great is this faith? Those who do not believe in these are essentially not believers. God has given us the promises and their physical fulfillment for our faith. Let us always remember the words in Luke 13. As it is written in Luke 13:25-30, there are those who betray, leave, and try to return. There are those who are first but will become last and those who are last that will become first. When someone is deceived, he will hide like Adam and Eve. This is the evidence that shows he has been deceived.
We received the qualifications to enter heaven and receive eternal life through our faith. By protecting our faith until the end, we can enter into our hope.