Years ago a long-lost friend from seminary days decided to look me up. He did an internet search knowing that I lived in Reno, Nevada. He was looking for a Jim Wallace who lived in Reno, Nevada.
And he found one!
So he called him to find out if it was the same Jim Wallace that he had known from seminary days. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The person he called had the same name and lived in the same city that I had formerly lived in, and there were other identifying characteristics which would have led many to believe that he was the same person. He was also a Christian, also in his late 40s, also a husband and a father and he also attended Northgate Community Church. However, he wasn’t a pastor, the father of three daughters, the husband of Jean or a graduate of Dallas Theological seminary.
Sometimes the devil is in the details!
What led my friend’s search astray was that he had not known that my family and I had moved in intervening years into Reno’s major suburb, the community of Sparks.
Fortunately for my seminary friend, as I mentioned, the Jim Wallace whom he had discovered was part of the same church that I pastored. So the Jim Wallace he had found was able to lead him to the Jim Wallace he was seeking, and we had a happy reunion over the phone!
But the story provides us with a lesson, and an omen—people who go by the same name are different people, with distinctive identifying characteristics. If you’re not careful to confirm the identifying details of the person you’re seeking to have some relationship with, you may end up being in contact with the different person who goes by the same name.
If that person is devious, and clever, he may end up attempting to exploit you. That’s a fact that is sadly too often true today in the case of stolen identities. People using other people’s name, social security number and credit history end up stealing thousands of dollars through the fraudulent use of credit cards, Facebook and even IRS tax returns. It all happens because someone was not careful enough to discover the precise identity of the person they thought they were dealing with.
And so it is in the case of what I call “The ‘Jesus Deception.’”
Those of us who are “simple” or “naïve” with regard to the spiritual realities of our world are likely not aware that there is a spiritual war going on—a war involving invisible spirits who are called angels and demons. From Hebrews 1:14, we know that angels were created to be “ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.” Demons, on the other hand, are fallen angels who rebelled against God and His purposes for them at the instigation of Satan as outlined in Revelation 12:1-9. In their rebellion, they have now turned against God and against those who of us who would inherit salvation and now participate in Satan’s great deception of men in blinding “the minds of the unbelieving sot that they might not see the light of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” II Corinthians 4:4b).
It is these wicked, rebellious and deceptive demons who practice identity theft with respect to Jesus and His name. They are quick to attempt to deceive anyone who might come to the real Jesus by deceiving them into believing He is something other than or less than what the Bible, the Word of God reveals Him to be.
What does the Bible reveal Jesus to be? The Word of God reveals Jesus to be the only begotten Son of God, 100% God and 100% man, the savior of all mankind, the second person of the Trinity, the One who died for our sins and rose again on the third day and alone grants salvation to anyone who simply puts his faith in Him as their Savior. (See Matthew 1:20-25; Mark 2:1-12; John 1:1-18; 3:16-18; 5:18-24; 8:24; 8:58; 10:30; 12:45; 14:6-9; 20:28; Philippians 2:5-11; Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:15-20; 2:9).
These demons are also quick to answer the prayers of anybody who calls out in the name of Jesus with a false understanding of who He is and what He has done—namely the God/Man who died on the cross for our sins and rose again. Demons, are by nature, angels, who are more powerful than we are, and are able to do supernatural things—things which are beyond human ability. This explains Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7:21-23 that not everyone who would say to Him, “Lord, Lord” would enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and that they would claim to have cast out demons in His name and to have done many miracles in His name. The explanation about how people could have done so without knowing the true Jesus is in this revelation—that there are false Jesus’s in the spiritual realm who pose as the true Jesus. Their true identity is that they are deceiving demons who will answer prayers and even work supernatural miracles in order to continue to deceive those who have false thought that they were the true Jesus. They do these things because their goal is to blind men to the truth about God and Christ, so that they will not be saved. And from what Jesus says, their “Jesus Deception”—their ploy to steal Jesus’ identity, will be very successful. Many who come to Jesus on Judgment Day will have been deceived and incredibly shocked to find that they did not know the true Jesus, but some other “Jesus” and that, therefore, Jesus will say to them on that day, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you!” (Matthew 7:23).
If you fear you have may have followed a false, and unbiblical “Jesus”—that you may have been duped into believing that He is just one of many gods, that He is less then God, that there is some other Savior who long with Him saves, or that your salvation is based on the work of anyone either partially or fully other than the Jesus of the Bible, what should you do?
The answer is this: Recognize that the Jesus Christ of the Bible is fully God and fully man, is the only savior and that through faith and faith alone in Him you can be assured of the forgiveness of sins and heaven. Renounce, in prayer, and out loud, any belief or obedience or association you have had to any other concept or idea you had about Jesus, send the demons associated with this belief away from you in the name of the true Jesus, and announce in prayer your faith in the Risen Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man, who died for your sins and rose again, according to the Word of God (See I Corinthians 15:1-8).
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me in the e-mail located on this blog! Let me know if you have prayed this prayer! God Bless!
It’s all a matter of Biblical Discernment.
Next time, we will talk about some of the false concepts of Jesus which demons use to deceive the unsuspecting.
–Pastor Jim Wallace, Th.M., Dallas Seminary