What a Shame, It’s a Sham! I
by Shawn Brasseaux
[12 April 2009]
These studies were inspired by the hilarious internet picture: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=33582291&l=8849e06ea8&id=47913818
Not far from my house, there is a church building with a large sign out front that reads: “Jesus is Lord!” A professing healer used to perform his “miracle” services there (he would place advertisements in our local newspaper, but I do not complain having not seen his ads in years!). Someone I know even met him the preacher: he told me the preacher had a strange-sounding voice and he sensed an eerie presence around him. This man was certainly not someone to be trusted. He claimed to be of God, yet just the opposite was true!
There are so many sham miracle campaigns today, with masses of people hanging on to these pitiful charades. People are giving their life’s savings to promote what they think is “God’s work,” but it is actually the work of the “god of this world,” Satan. Would you ever expect Satan to be working in a church? No, of course not, and because a church is where you would least suspect the devil to be working, that is the place where he IS working. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5). Remember, the devil is the master deceiver, and he has thousands of years of practice. Although he is not omniscient, he is far smarter than us, and he knows human weakness. Consider 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV:
“13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 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.”
Notice how God’s Word warns us to be wary of Satan’s workers, his allies. And what form would they take? Satan’s preachers take the form of “the apostles of Christ” and “ministers of righteousness.” They claim to be from God, they claim to be of God, and they claim to be doing God’s work, but the Bible says they are false. At first, they look godly, but they promote nothing but lies!
Weeks back, I had the opportunity to see Benny Hinn on television, and I shook my head in disgust. With cameras panning across the audience, I could see people’s lips moving rapidly—although there was no audio, they claimed it was the “modern gift of tongues.” As Hinn would wave his hand across the crowd, the masses of people would fall backward and collapse to floor (what they say is “slain in the spirit”). I saw another guy on television who was offering free “prayer cloths” to those who were sick or dying. One charismatic woman on television was a firm believer in healing miracles (I found it amusing when she began to cough right there in the studio!). A few days ago, there was an advertisement with “miracle water” being offered to cure sickness. What a mockery of God’s miracles of the Bible! What a shame, it’s a sham!
However, modern miracle healers tend to give themselves away. People supposedly healed were not only never healed, they were never sick in the first place. (Oops!) Healers respond by saying, “they did not have enough faith to be healed!” What a cop-out. Firstly, this response cannot apply to those who needed no healing to begin with. Secondly, God still healed many people in the Bible, and none of those miracles He performed was a trick. The lame man in Acts 3:1-10 was healed because God could heal him, not because he had much faith. Matthew 15:30-31, Matthew 9:35, and Matthew 11:4-5 do not mention people of “much faith”—they were healed because God had the power to heal them. And remember, even “mustard seed faith” was enough faith for them to be healed in times past (Matthew 17:19-20).
Many people wrapped up in these “miracle” ministries enjoy claiming the last five verses of Mark chapter 16 (funny thing they skip drinking the deadly poison of verse 18). Before we try to claim Mark chapter 16 as being applicable to us today, we need to understand the context. Jesus is not speaking to us today; He is speaking to His Jewish apostles and other Jewish followers (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8). Jump over to 1 Corinthians 1:22 KJV: “For the Jews require a sign [miracle], and the Greeks seek after wisdom.” Now compare that to what Jesus said to Jews in John 4:48 KJV, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.”
The Jews always needed a sign to know JEHOVAH (the Jews knew the Lord by this name) was in a particular matter. For instance, in order to prove to Israel that Moses was God’s man to lead them out of Egyptian bondage, God sent Moses to perform various miracles (see Exodus 4:1-9). The splitting of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire, the cloud of Shekinah glory, the theophanies (God the Son appearing to Israel in a visible form), and angelic appearances were all miracles Israel needed to know God was working in their midst. Miracles were part of Israel’s national heritage, and it was no different in Christ’s earthly ministry.
Israel asked Jesus to perform miracles, and even with abundance of Jesus’ miracles, most of the Jews refused to have faith in Him as Christ and King. In Romans 11:11,12, the Apostle Paul shows us that God has set Israel aside today while He deals with the Gentile Body of Christ in the Dispensation of Grace. Because Israel is fallen today, so has their signs program. In the early ministry of Paul, he worked miracles such as in Acts 19:11,12 and Acts 28:1-8. In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28, Paul writes there were miracles in the early churches while God was transitioning from dealing with Israel to going to the Gentile (non-Jewish) world.
Just before Paul departs this world (and is martyred), his latter epistles like Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, the two letters to Timothy, and Titus do not mention sign gifts at all like he wrote about years before in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 and 14. Today, in our present Dispensation of Grace, we do not have miraculous manifestations of God’s power in the form of those signs and wonders… we have God’s Word, and that is the only Miracle we need! AND GOD’S WORD IS NO SHAM!
What a Shame, It’s a Sham! II
by Shawn Brasseaux
[15 April 2009]
“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.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3 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.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6 KJV).
As we discussed in Part I, just because someone claims “Jesus is Lord” does not necessarily mean that this person is of God. Remember, John warned His Jewish readers, “Believe not every spirit, but try [“test,” “prove,” “examine”] the spirits whether they are of God.” The Bible warns us there will always be the possibility of being duped (deceived) by someone who claims to be from God, but they are not. Even in Israel thousands of years ago, God warned about false teaching—the Lord commanded Israel to put to death any false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-6)!
We all remember Judas Iscariot. For three years, Judas associated with Jesus and His eleven apostles, but no one other than Jesus knew Judas’ true heart. Judas played the part of the hypocrite, and he played it perfectly. No one even suspected that the person who carried the moneybag would be the same man to betray Christ with a kiss (John 12:4-6)! A godly appearance does not make a person God’s servant.
Just because someone performs miracles does not mean they are from God, either. Look at the case of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-24, who used witchcraft to deceive people. The Egyptian magicians also drew on satanic power to perform miracles in Exodus chapter 7. In Acts 13:6-12 Elymas was another example of a false prophet who bewitched people with miracles.
Now, we focus on the purpose of these modern phony miracle services in light of the end time scenario. As the world approaches the end times, according to the Lord Jesus, there will be increased deception (Matthew 24:4,5). Mass deception has been expounding for millennia, to bring us up to the 21st century today. False teaching slipped into the early churches, and Paul had to deal with it often (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:2,3; 2 Timothy 3:1-13; 2 Timothy 4:3,4). It is alarming to see it waxing worse and worse, especially with new forms of media like the internet. But why is false teaching growing more and more prevalent, and why did Jesus say that deception would be part of the end times?
We go back to our original passage from 1 John chapter 4. The Apostle John is writing to Jewish believers from Christ’s earthly ministry (sometime in the latter part of the first century A.D.). These Jewish believers to whom John is writing are not part of the Body of Christ; they are waiting for Jesus Christ to come in their lifetime to set up in His kingdom, but they also know of a coming period of wrath (the Tribulation).
Now, consider the book of 1 John in that light: John is preparing these Jewish believers for the deception that will come during the Tribulation, hence the warning about “testing every spirit, whether it is of God.” John anticipated the soon arrival of the antichrist, who would be deceiving most of the world. (However, the Holy Spirit did not reveal to John that there would be a 2000-year-long period before the appearing of the antichrist, which brings up to our present day).
Although the Body of Christ is never going to go through the seven-year Tribulation, we can already see deception running rampant in the world today, prior to the rapture. Our world is growing more anti-Christian because our world is growing more anti-Christ! The deception is gradually infiltrating society (and sadly, MANY churches), so when the Tribulation does start, the world will be so confused, they will embrace the antichrist as though he were the Lord Jesus Christ! And guess what? The antichrist’s regime will be a mirror image of the modern “miracle” services people claim to have right now.
These modern “miracle” services are preparing the world to embrace the “signs and lying wonders” that the antichrist and his false prophet will perform using Satan’s power (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Revelation 13:3,12-14). They will not heed the warning of 1 John 4:1, just like people do not heed that warning right now! And because they refuse to believe what God said, these people will lose everything they have in a lost eternity and spend forever with the devil who deceived them!
What a shame, it’s a sham!