A FEW years ago, a pastor told me the spiritual world is very slippery. Indeed, the spiritual world may be very difficult to understand. Even many wonder if a world which is not visible to the physical eye exists. Many think it is a mere figment of imagination. Actually, science does not understand the spiritual realm. It has little to say about things that cannot be studied in a laboratory, or things that cannot be seen under a microscope or through a telescope.
But the fact that secular scientists do not know or understand something does not mean it does not exist. It is just that they are ignorant about it. A person can be knowledgeable about some things and be ignorant about other things. Undoubtedly, the Bible is the greatest source of knowledge about the existence of the spiritual world where good and evil spirits dwell and operate from.
Christians, therefore, are expected to be knowledgeable about both the physical and spiritual worlds in order to live a balanced and meaningful life to the glory of God. A knowledgeable Christian understands how God's Spirit and satanic spirits inhabit men and women to carry out good and evil works in the physical world.
Many men and women called and prepared by God are indwelled by the Spirit of God to do the work of God. Similarly, satanic spirits also are able to inhabit or possess men and women to counterfeit the work of God. They infiltrate the Church of God just to dent it and lead many believers astray through their ungodly activities. These men and women also establish churches to lure ignorant believers. But they are false prophets and teachers whose fruits expose them.
In Acts 13:4-12, we read about the apostle Paul travelling to many places including a town called Paphos to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. In that town, Paul and his team of ministers met a certain magician or sorcerer operating in the area. This sorcerer operated as a prophet, and called himself Bar-Jesus. What a 'powerful' name! In Ghana and many parts of the world today, he would be called prophet Bar-Jesus.
Ignorant believers would likely be deceived into regarding him as a brother of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and accord him all the necessary respect, honour and support. They would believe every teaching and spiritual direction he might give them without cross-checking their accuracy in the light of the written Word of God. After all, he is called Bar-Jesus.
And the Bible says, “…believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe in his prophets, and you will succeed” (2 Chronicles 20:20). So Bar-Jesus managed to win the heart of an intelligent man in the area called Sergius Paulus, who was the proconsul, a governor or military commander. This means a worldly person can be highly educated and prominent in society and yet be deceived into following false prophets and their practices.
However, Paul who was filled with the Holy Spirit would not be deceived by prophet Bar-Jesus' antics. Paul knew who he was. Bar-Jesus, aka Elymas, was a false prophet. He was never a prophet of God as Agabus and others were, but a false minister, a son of the devil, who was busily doing the work of his father, the devil.
Some people, including Christians, doubt that the devil has children. But the Bible says he has. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself indirectly called those Jews who did not believe in Him children of the devil. “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil and your will is to do your father's desires…” (John 8:43-44). And 1 John 3:8 says, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil…”
Sin is faithlessness. It is disobedience to God. It is doing what God says is wrong. Sin is missing the mark of God. And so apostles, prophets, evangelists, bishops and teachers whose ministrations, practices and operations contradict the Word of God are false. They are sons and ministers of the devil. So Bar-Jesus, who was met by Paul, was a false prophet, a son of the devil, as he practised sin and worked for his spiritual father who had captured him.
Today, there are many similar Bar-Jesuses in Ghana and several parts of the world. They are psychics, numerologists, astrologists, necromancers, magicians, sorcerers, diviners, occults, enchanters, witches and wizards, who have sneaked into the church to dent it. They call themselves some funny names, speak and advertise their services weirdly.
Like the Jewish Bar-Jesus, all false prophets prevent people they have deceived from hearing the gospel of salvation. They are enemies of righteousness, full of deceit and villainy. They are fraudsters who swindle unsuspecting believers. They never stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord.
But Jude has this information for them: “Woe to them! … wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever…These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favouritism to gain advantage” (Jude 11-16).
Now, let the true Christians learn to test all spirits and examine the activities of preachers to separate the genuine from the fake, sheep from the goats and sons of God from sons of the devil. Jesus Christ reigns!
By James Quansah
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