End-Time Deceptions

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Lesson Number: 

Lesson 11

End-Time Deceptions

(Ephesians 6, 2 Corinthians 11, Luke 9, 1 Samuel 28)

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: When I write a final exam for a law school class I put into the problem fact statements that have no legal relevance. It helps prepare students for client interviews. The client comes in with a story about why they think they have a legal claim. It is the lawyer’s job to sift through the story and determine what facts make a difference and which do not. Our series of studies so far have largely dealt with death, dying, and heaven. There are many “facts” floating around in books, movies, television, and testimony that need to be properly evaluated. Let’s dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn about evaluating these “facts!”

  1. Keeping the Right Focus
  1. Read Ephesians 6:10-12. Who is our spiritual enemy? (It is Satan and his fallen angels.)
  1. Consider that. What should be the focus of your attention in life? (We should not be focused on fighting other people, we should be focused on “the schemes of the devil.” We need to look beyond the person and consider the spiritual question.)
  1. Read 2 Corinthians 11:10-12. What appears to be the problem that Paul is discussing? (He has competitors who also claim to do good work.)
  1. Read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. When we discussed the need to consider the spiritual and not the human, does this text add something important to our discussion? (Indeed! This tells us that the “human” might in fact be a fallen angel appearing to be a human. It also tells us that humans can be active agents of Satan. This means that we need to consider both human and spiritual challenges, but the universal concern is the spiritual message.)
  1. What does it mean in verse 15 when it says, “their end will correspond to their deeds?” (We should be able to determine these false teachers by their deeds. In any event, they will ultimately be judged by God.)
  1. Read Luke 9:46-48. Is it human nature among the followers of God to be in competition with each other? (These are the future leaders of the early church and they are competitors.)
  1. Does Jesus say that this competition is wrong? (No. He refers to “the one who is great.” But, Jesus says service is the road to greatness.)
  1. What does the reference to a child say about the nature of the service? (No doubt the stories of the day dealt with heroes who did great deeds. Jesus teaches that service in small causes is important to Him.)
  1. Read Luke 9:49-50. So far we have learned that the spiritual should be our focus, but that humans may be agents for Satan or actual fallen angels. We have also learned to be careful about competition among leaders. What does this discussion about competitors “outside” the church teach us about sorting out facts? (Just because a spiritual leader is outside our group (our denomination) is no indication of whether they are doing evil. In sorting out right from wrong we need to look at the nature of the work. It does not have to be high profile work, and it does not have to perfectly accord with our work. Only work opposing us is a problem. Our objection might reflect mere competition and not spiritual evil.)
  1. Getting It Right
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:3. Who was Samuel? (He was a prophet of God who regularly advised King Saul. See 1 Samuel 15:1.)
  1. What are “mediums and the necromancers?” (Read Deuteronomy 18:11, Leviticus 20:27, and Leviticus 20:6. These are people who supposedly communicate with the dead. This is an area of serious sin.)
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:5-6. What problem does Saul face? (An opposing army that scares him, and God’s refusal to give him guidance.)
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:7. How do you reconcile Saul’s campaign against the mediums and necromancers and his current desire to talk to one? (Saul is desperate.)
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:8-9. Is this medium worried about the death penalty? Do you think she suspects that this is Saul or one of his agents?
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:10-12. Why would the sight of Samuel make the medium think this was Saul? (First, it was known that Samuel advised the king. Second, this “ghost” was not their imagination, it was something which appears to communicate to the medium the truth about Saul.)
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:15. What do you think of Saul’s answer to Samuel’s question? (Saul admits that God will not talk to him.)
  1. Who does Saul think he is talking to? When Samuel advised him, Samuel was communicating messages from God! (This makes no sense unless Saul thinks that he can outwit God by speaking to Samuel in this way.)
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:16-18. Is this the truth - has God turned away from Saul and given his kingdom to someone else? (Yes. Read 1 Samuel 15:26-28.)
  1. Is this information that Saul (and many others) already knew? (Of course.)
  1. So who is Saul speaking to? (It is not God. God is not speaking to Saul in any way. See 1 Samuel 28:15. Thus this cannot be Samuel.)
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:13-14. We skipped over these verses earlier. What “god” comes up out of the earth? (This is Satan or a fallen angel assuming the appearance of Samuel. Would a dead Samuel be wearing a robe? Would he defy God and speak to Saul?)
  1. Read 1 Samuel 28:19-20. Can Satan predict the future? If not, does this prove Samuel is speaking the words of God?(Saul and whatever came up from the ground knew that God would not speak to Saul. They also both knew that God had taken the kingdom from Saul and given it to David. That meant that Saul and his sons would have to die - and that is what is later reported in 1 Samuel 31:6. Plus we see the terrible psychological harm done by these words. You would not have to be a prophet of God to know how this was going to turn out.)
  1. Re-read 2 Corinthians 11:14-15. How does this text apply to the story we just discussed? (This shows that Satan or one of his fallen angels disguised himself as Samuel.)
  1. Let’s apply these conclusions to the facts that are alleged today. What should we conclude about people who tell us that their dead ancestors come to them? Or appear as birds or butterflies to give a message of encouragement? (We can conclude that what they see is real - but is not their dead relative. Instead, this is demonic. Concluding your relative is an insect or bird is letting your imagination run wild.)
  1. What about people with “near death experiences” who tell of seeing a light, traveling to heaven, and speaking with a dead relative or with Jesus? (As we have seen with Saul, these people might well have seen something, but it was not their dead relative. Consider also that these people are often deprived of oxygen, and therefore their mind might not be operating properly.)
  1. What did we agree at the beginning of this study was the most important issue to consider? (The spiritual question.)
  1. When Saul spoke to the god that came out of the ground, did that god tell Saul many things that were true? (It was almost all true.)
  1. What was Satan’s purpose in this conversation if he told Saul the truth? (The purpose was to harm Saul. He wanted Saul to suffer. He wanted to discourage Saul. He wanted to harm God’s people. All that happened.)
  1. Let’s come back to where we started. What are the important and relevant facts for those who claim to have spoken with those who are dead? (They are likely telling the truth, but they do not understand that it is not the dead they are speaking with, it is demons. Demons who want to do them harm.)
  1. Friend, the idea that the dead are all around and able to give us special insight is a lie. This is nothing but Satan and his servants working to harm the followers of God. Some of it is real (a real thing is seen), some of it speaks the truth. But looking at it from a spiritual point of view, the goal of Satan is to harm you and your family. Will you determine today to reject and avoid these modern mediums and necromancers?
  1. Next week: The Biblical World View.