MEDIA: A FALSE PROPHET IN OPPOSITION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT - Bible Study Special - (Jul 17-24)
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MEDIA: A FALSE PROPHET IN OPPOSITION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18 ESV).
Before the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth – came into the world, satan was successfully suppressing the truth of God. The people of gentile nations everywhere openly worshiped and celebrated the demonic realm in every facet of their lives, completely ignorant of their spiritual bondage. The common people were “in the dark,” blind and ignorant to the fact that the “gods” they turned to for help were the very ones harming them. Because of this blindness, satan’s government could operate unrestrained — “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19) were evident in every nation on earth without restraint, save for one: Israel, which was to be God’s witness to the nations of His character and intent, culminating in the birth, death, and resurrection of God’s own Son for the salvation of all who Believe.
And as the Gospel of His Son came to the Gentile nations (particularly in the west), the common people rapidly abandoned satan’s government. Why? They suddenly saw their bondage for what it was. “The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light, And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a Light dawned” (Matthew 4:16). This was Jesus Who said, “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).
As the Gospel spread, the Apostle John observed, “the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining” (1 John 2:8b). The people were convicted by this dawning upon them as they saw their bondage to sin - people who Paul said, were “enslaved to the elemental principles of the world” (Galatians 4:3b ESV). But Paul says God “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him [Jesus]” (Colossians 2:15), for John said Jesus came “to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) (this will come to complete fulfillment only when He returns).
Everywhere the Gospel went, people changed as they came to the Lord. Nations became “Christianized,” which used to be synonymous with “civilized” because nations that were Christianized, outwardly at least, no longer practiced the lawless, violent deeds that were a way of life in Pagan times.
In the light of the Gospel, Satan’s government went largely underground in the western world, as it could not practice the horrific works of the flesh in the open anymore that had been the way of life, because the people could see it for what it was in the light of Christ.
Unfortunately, many rulers and powers secretly continued their allegiance to satan’s government. What was practiced out in the open in pagan times became the “occult”, which literally means “hidden from view”. They served its ways secretly, laboring to return the works of the devil into the open.
This should not surprise us, as David prophesied that the kings of the earth would desire to be “freed” from the restraint of God and His coming Messiah, Jesus Christ: “the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:2-3).
The primary “restraint” on satan’s governance (the bonds and cords above) that has forced it into the shadows and has kept it from coming out into the open is the Holy Spirit. We understand that Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit when he says, “And you know what restrains him [satan’s “man of lawlessness”] now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).
We see that the Holy Spirit is restraining the Man of Lawlessness. We also see that He will continue to restrain this “Man of Lawlessness” until He is taken out of the way (more on that later).
THE HOLY SPIRIT'S WORK
How does the Holy Spirit restrain satan’s government? Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus said:
“And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8).
The Holy Spirit testifies to the world that there is such a thing as sin, that every man is guilty of committing it and that this separates man from God. The Holy Spirit testifies to the world that there is righteousness, this righteousness comes from God, and that everyone is called to righteousness. The Holy Spirit testifies that there is such a thing as judgment and it comes to every man for their sins. The Holy Spirit conveys the Word of God into the world.
Concerning indwelt Believers, the Holy Spirit speaks the meaning and intent of God's Word into our lives and to the world through our lives. He guides “you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you” (John 16:12-15). These Believers live, work, interact, and witness in the world and the Spirit speaks the Word of God (the mind of God) through them and acts through them to witness to the truth in their relationships and in their communities.
“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1 Corinthians 2:10-14).
Every Believer in the world is currently receiving the mind of God indwelling them in the person of the Holy Spirit, which informs their behavior, their decisions, their stances, their governance, etc. This mind of God is the Word of God.
This is incredibly powerful and Scripture describes it thus, for the Word of God wielded by the Holy Spirit is an unparalleled weapon of defense, offense, and personal conviction: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17) “is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). No argument or action of demon or evil can stand on its own against this power, which is why the enemy must silence or quench the Spirit if they can.
The mind of God brings peace and liberty to society. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17) because “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 522-23). Self-governed people (in this case, governed by the Spirit), don’t need an ever-expanding list of rules and laws to try and regulate their behavior. If you can trust that your neighbor is being led in his behavior by the mind of God, you can trust that he will act for your good and not your harm.
The Spirit acts as a restraint upon the mind set on the flesh through its ministry in the world. This is absolutely essential to society because “the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). This life and peace is acted out into the world by the Holy Spirit through the lives of Believers, suppressing the acts of the flesh that lead to death – spiritual death, physical and emotional harm, and (without restraint) death of societies and kingdoms.
THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST GOD
We saw that David prophesied that the kings, rulers, powers (basically the important people of the world who have gained power by serving the world - who secretly serve in satan’s “occulted” kingdom) have taken “counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:2-3). They have worked for centuries from the shadows to suppress the convicting mind of the Spirit. They have labored to “burst” the Holy Spirit’s “bonds” that restrain the corruption and violence that they desire to bring openly into the whole world again.
God told Daniel that the time of the end would come with an increase in knowledge:
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase” (Daniel 12:4).
And in these last days, they have achieved a marvel - they can speak their mind into the whole world - into every community and into every home. This is a marvel that can bring us the visual and auditory proofs of signs and wonders on the earth and which can shape our perception of reality.
This increase in knowledge has allowed man to weave around the world a binding “net” or “web” of mass communication (music, movies, TV, internet, etc) collectively called “Media.”
Media is the plural form of Medium - “an agency by which something is accomplished, conveyed, or transferred” (Free Dictionary). The Biblical definition of Medium was the channel or false prophet through whom a demon or false spirit conveyed its “word” – it’s ideas, it’s “knowledge” its directions – into the world: “Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:31). A true Prophet conveyed the Word of God, which the Holy Spirit had conveyed to them. A false prophet conveyed the words of deceiving spirits, which ultimately come from satan.
These ancient mediums and false prophets conveyed a “mind” and a “word” other than God’s mind and word to the world. Unlike the Holy Spirit, this word is not sanctifying – it is defiling.
Like these ancient mediums, the modern media conveys a mind and a word that is not God’s. But the new Media is different. Its voice goes out into all the whole world – a global voice of music, words, and images telling us sin is okay, there is no righteousness, and there will be no judgment— it is in direct opposition to the work of the Holy Spirit. It “un-convicts” people of the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
For the first time in recorded history, the devil has a relentless voice speaking his mind 24/7 to people everywhere. They consume its deluding influence with an insatiable appetite for its words and images, which they imitate in their lives. Every year the content “streamed” into our minds becomes increasingly lawless and violent—the works of the flesh “evident” (Gal. 5:19), which could not have been so widely learned any other way.
Consider that most 5 year olds today are exposed to corruption that most people would never have encountered in their entire lives in the 1700s. Today, with the click of a mouse, we can “see” and “hear” unspeakable things. Young people trying to understand life and their purpose in this world have instant access to demonic influences and teachings about that life.
Media has always been understood by the Occult to be connected to satan. Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, openly spoke about how important Media was to the cause of satanism.
“Many of you have already read my writings identifying TV as the new God. There is a little thing I neglected to mention up until now-television is the major mainstream infiltration of the New Satanic religion.”
“The TV set, or Satanic family altar, has grown more elaborate since the early 50s, from the tiny, fuzzy screen to huge ‘entertainment centers’ covering entire walls with several TV monitors. What started as an innocent respite from everyday life has become in itself a replacement for real life for millions, a major religion of the masses.” - Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Devil’s Notebook”, p. 86 (1992)
“There are television sets in every home, every restaurant, every hotel room, every shopping mall-now they’re even small enough to carry in your pocket like electronic rosaries. It is an unquestioned part of everyday life. Kneeling before the cathode ray God, with our TV Guide concordance in hand, we maintain the illusion of choice by flipping channels (chapters and verses). It doesn’t matter what is flashing on the screen-all that’s important is that the TV stays on.” - Anton Szandor LaVey, “The Satanic Bible”, p. 84 (1969)
Now the Television set is not evil in itself – it’s just a tool. But it is what it is being used for that is the problem.
While the Spirit speaks the Word of God into the world, the modern “Medium” is a false prophet speaking an increasingly unified “word” into the minds and hearts of people everywhere that is in opposition to God’s Word.
While Media may not be THE False Prophet, it is certainly seems to be a forerunner of the False Prophet and Beast, “whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). The Media is like satan’s version of John the Baptist, crying, “prepare the way for the man of lawlessness.”
And they can perform signs and wonders before our very eyes, mis-characterizing reality, distorting it, and even inventing it. Take a simple example of the numerous clips shown recently in the news that were exposed to be from movies depicting burning cities during the riots or the footage in hospitals of people in dire situations that was mislabeled in the reporting as New York when it was really Italy. Media is probably the most powerful force in the world today because it shapes your perception of reality. And whoever controls that perception of reality controls much of your behavior, because you decide what to do and how to act with the knowledge you have been given.
I want to be clear that I am not saying we shouldn’t watch movies, turn the TV on, check the news, or use the internet –and we shouldn’t judge one another for doing so. I love movies and I’m always on the internet! The point is, we SHOULD practice discernment and keep Media in the proper context of what its goal is about – the endgame – how it is being used in this world – projecting ungodly voices and visions into your heart and mind, steadily working to lull you to accept its word and act on it in your life. Don’t look to Media for answers or the truth. And we should speak about what it is doing to the world with our friends and family.
As Believers, we listen for the voice of God: “Therefore as the Holy Spirit says, ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion’” (Hebrews 3:7-8a ESV).
Rather than fixing our eyes on new media and television, our vision is Christ, by the ministry of the Spirit in our lives:
Be Thou my vision O Lord of my heart
None other is aught but the King of the seven heavens.
Be Thou my meditation by day and night.
May it be Thou that I behold even in my sleep.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
May we listen to God's Holy Spirit for direction in our lives, not the defiling voices of Media. May we wait on the mind of God, not relying on the defiling mind of demons. And may we speak and act on the Word of God, not the words of corrupted men. Even so, Amen.