Discerning the Truth from Lies
How can we, disciples of the Lord Jesus, learn to make a distinction and discernment between the truth and a lie? The Lord Jesus said that we will get lost if we are not familiar with Scripture (the Bible) and the power of God (the Holy Spirit). The Lord Jesus said that we are to believe in Him in accordance with the Bible. This means that we can only learn to make a distinction and discernment between the truth and a lie when we agree to walk in the Holy Spirit and believe in the Lord Jesus in accordance with the Bible.
present text, I will address some Bible passages which are subject to
misunderstanding and false teaching. When we carefully study the
passages and compare them to what the rest of the Bible teaches, we will
clearly see the distinction between the truth and a lie.
Among believers, it is now commonly taught that the apostle Paul and the believers in the Early Church used handkerchiefs when they were praying. According to the teaching, believers should bless and pray for others using a handkerchief, and God will then heal the sick person through it. They teach that handkerchiefs are visible instruments which represent faith and heal the sick.
When we study the Bible, we can see that the Bible does not teach or encourage believers to pray using handkerchiefs or aprons or to put them on the sick.
The passage above says that some people brought handkerchiefs and aprons into the sick so that they would be healed. They thought that that was how God heals the sick. When you carefully study the verses, you will understand that it was not Paul or other apostles of Lord Jesus who put the handkerchiefs and aprons on the sick, but non-believers who thought that this was how God heals the sick.
The Bible says that God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, and the diseases and evil spirits went out of the people. The verses above also clearly show that the sick were not healed through the handkerchiefs and aprons, but because Paul - in the Holy Spirit - used the Word to cast out the evil spirits and healed (the power of God healed) the sick in the name of Lord Jesus.
Jewish exorcists saw what was happening through Paul so they started doing the same thing, that is, calling the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits in them. Since the Bible specifically says that God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, the miracles happened through the hands of Paul, not through the handkerchiefs and aprons. Verse 11 says how the sick were healed and how the evil spirits were cast out: through the hands of Paul. Verse 12 says that Paul's handkerchiefs and aprons were brought into the sick, but the sick were healed and the evil spirits were cast out through Paul, not through the handkerchiefs and aprons.
This is shown in verse 13, which says that when Jewish exorcists saw what was happening when the sick were healed and the evil spirits were cast out, they tried to do the same thing - they started to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits in them. When imitating Paul, the exorcists did not put handkerchiefs or aprons on people who had evil spirits in them, but they started calling the name of Jesus over them because that was how the sick were healed and how evil spirits were cast out.
The events above prove that the handkerchiefs and aprons were not instruments of healing and Paul and other believers did not use them, but non-believers.
The word for exorcists in the Greek source is "eksorkistes", which refers to an exorcist of demons. In Mesopotamia and among Jews, there were exorcists of demons, and one method of theirs in attempting to exorcising demons was to cut off a piece off of the possessed person's clothes because they believed that that would remove some of the person's personality and free them of the evil spirits.
We can now understand that those present thought that there was power in the clothes of Paul and they thought that the power and personality of the holy man resided in his clothes, which is why they thought that his clothes were the instrument of healing. When you study the Bible, you will see that Paul, Lord Jesus or no one else in the Bible - not even Father God - teaches that God heals the sick through handkerchiefs and clothing (aprons) or encourage them to use them.
Some people teach and believe that this passage in the Bible shows that God uses clothing (handkerchiefs and aprons) when He heals the sick. Here, the healing did not happen because the woman touched the garment, but because she believed that God can heal her if she touches Jesus. When you read all the gospels, you will understand that Jesus never taught that people should believe and touch his clothes so that God can heal the sick.
As I compare the above verses to what the Bible as a whole teaches us, I understand that the woman was hoping for healing and she believed that she would heal through Jesus, not through the garment of Jesus.
The Bible says that the Lord Jesus cast out evil spirits and healed the sick using the Word of God (Matthew 8:16). This means that everything that we do by words or through work, we do it by the power of the Holy Spirit through the name of Lord Jesus. In the New Covenant church, the instruments of God's deeds and wonders are the Holy Spirit of God, the truth of the Word of God, and the name of the Messiah Lord Jesus through whom God does his work.
When God takes action and does his work, he either directly does it Himself or through the disciples of Lord Jesus. When God does his work in the New Covenant, he does not use objects (handkerchiefs etc.) as instruments of His power, but the power of the Holy Spirit of the God of the Bible, the truth of the Word of God, and the name of the Messiah Lord Jesus.
Because the Bible clearly teaches us how God works, and that our faith in the Lord Jesus should be in accordance with the Word of God, we should not believe in Him through customs and actions that are not mentioned in the Bible. This is extremely important and we should always remember that the Bible does not teach us to believe in the Lord Jesus according to our personal preferences, but always according to what the Bible teaches.
Lord Jesus said that miracles and wonders were performed through His name, but He did not acknowledge the people as His own, but says that they are the workers of iniquity (Matthew 7). That passage in the Bible shows that we should believe in Lord Jesus in accordance with the will of God and our faith should be based on what the Bible teaches us.
Many believers have forgotten that faith in Jesus always refers to faith which is in accordance with what the Bible teaches us. When people forget this fact, they open the door to manifestations of evil spirits because evil spirits enjoy taking action where people believe in Jesus in accordance with their personal preferences, not in accordance with what the Bible teaches.
Acts 5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them.
Some say that since the shadow of Peter also healed the sick, God can do anything and in any way whatsoever, just like He is doing in present day through many "anointed ones" of His. The Bible does not teach us that the shadow of Peter healed the sick or that God healed the sick through the shadow of Peter. The Bible says that people brought forth the sick into the streets because they thought and hoped that Peter's shadow, too, would heal them.
It is important to notice what the Bible actually teaches us. It is a totally different thing to believe that God heals the sick through the shadow of Peter than God would have healed the sick through his shadow, which God did not do. The verse does not indicate in any way whatsoever that the sick were healed through the shadow of Peter, but the verse clearly shows that the people were assuming and hoping for the sick to be healed through the shadow of Peter.
God healed people from the power of the Holy Spirit through Peter and did not use Peter's shadow for the healing process. God doesn't connect His power to material of this world or shadows of men, because otherwise people would worship those materials or shadows instead of God. When God heals people through the power of the Holy Sprit without any worldly material, so the people would worship God and not created things or man made materials.
Acts 5:15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that, when Peter came, his shadow at the least might overshadow any of them and they might be delivered from their infirmities. (Douay-Rheims American edition 1899)
The Catholic Douay-Rheims Bible was translated from the Latin Vulgata. In the Catholic Bible, the segment "and they might be delivered from their infirmities" has been added to the end. The words added are not in the New Testament source texts. The purpose of this deceitful addition of the Catholic Church is to justify its false doctrine of God's anointing in the remains of "saints" (bones, clothing and other objects). The purpose of the Douay-Rheims Bible was to maintain Catholic tradition and to act as counterforce against the Protestant reform.
Catholicism believes and teaches that the shadow of Peter healed the sick. The Catholic Church teaches that the healing through the shadow of Peter were a wonderful example of the power of relics. Catholicism teaches that since the shadow of a saint can heal people, then his bones or objects that belonged to him are even more powerful in healing people. The Catholic Church teaches that all revered saints have the same anointing through which the bones of dead saints and the dead body of saints have the same power and anointing as the shadow of Peter and the apostles. The Catholic Church says that this is why miraculous healing takes place through the bones and relics of saints.
The Catholic Church teaches that it is essential to touch relics so that a miracle or healing can take place. The Church bases this view on that since the sick were healed when the shadow of Peter touched them, that is why Catholic believers must touch the bones of a saint, the dead body of a saint, or the relics (objects) of a saint so that a miracle or healing can take place.
Modern day deceivers' doctrines of grave sucking and anointing that takes place through touching a dead body sound like they have been taken straight from the Catholic doctrine. It is clear that the Bible teaches absolutely nothing about anointing, miracles and healing taking place through the relics of Catholic saints. The Bible teaches us that we should never be in contact with mediums and the dead. God does not anoint anyone through dead bodies or relics. It is crystal clear that the anointing, miracles and healing through the Catholic church and deceivers in the extreme charismatic movement have taken place through the false force of evil spirits, not through the Holy Spirit of the God of the Bible.
Modern day handkerchiefs, etc. are Catholic occultism which invites manifestations of a deceitful spirit. Do not get stuck in that the sick are healed through handkerchiefs, etc., but fully rely on what the Bible teaches and base your faith in the Bible so you will see the actual work of God. Many believers get stuck in their personal experiences and miracles and wonders which are done and take place contrary to what the Bible teaches us. They hold on to the experiences, even though they are contrary to what the Bible teaches us.
Always keep in mind that God has given you His Word and His Holy Spirit so that you would not go astray. You can rest assured that God always does His work so that you can try and test whether the things taking place are of God or not.
Many believers say that the Holy Spirit is enough because He leads us to all truth. Jesus told us that we need the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit so that we would not go astray (err). We must also bear in mind that the Word of God says that the Word of God is the full truth. This means that when the Holy Spirit leads believers to all truth, He teaches and guides believers through the truth in the Word of God.
Let me illustrate this. When one goes orienteering, one needs both a compass and a map so that one can accurately find the right path to the destination. A compass is not enough, but one also needs a map. That is why you or I cannot find the right path in our walk in Christ only in the Holy Spirit without the truth in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth, which means that the Holy Spirit works in accordance with the truth in the Word of God.
Many people say that the believers in the Early Church did not have a New Testament in the beginning, which is why they were also capable of believing and taking action without the Word of God, so we can do the same, too. God chose the twelve disciples of the Lord Jesus, and Paul, too, to write the New Testament to future generations. Lord Jesus personally taught the twelve disciples and Paul. This means that God manifested Himself in their lives in an extraordinary way, i.e. in such a way that they knew the will of God and the truth and were also capable of sharing it to others.
Because of the New Testament, they were in a different position than we, modern day believers, because God no longer inspires the writing of the Word of God (New Testament) through us, but it was already given through the believers in the Early Church, which is why the apostles were capable of walking in the Holy Spirit according to the will of God. They also read the Old Testament, which means that they were not without the written word, and the full New Testament had been given in their hearts by the grace of God.
Because we, modern day believers, are in a different position in this regard than the apostles chosen by God, who were assigned to write the entire New Testament, we need the written truth in the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, because the apostles in the Early Church wrote the New Testament for us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is why Lord Jesus said that we should believe in Him in accordance with the Bible (John 7:38). That is why Lord Jesus, in the Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20), said that we should teach new believers in accordance with what Jesus has told us to teach them.
Never assume that it is enough that you have the Holy Spirit and you thus do not need the truth in the Word of God (the Bible). Faith that cuts itself off from the truth in the Word of God is faith empowered by the deceitful force of evil spirits and false wisdom.
Why is it important to read and study the Bible on a daily basis? The Bible tells us why it is a good and important thing for us to spend time every day to studying the Word of God in prayer. Lord Jesus said that people will go astray (err) if they do not know Scripture (the Bible) and the power of God (the Holy Spirit) (Matt 22:29). If you do not know the Bible, you are incapable of identifying what the Holy Spirit of God does, and incapable to discern false, deceitful heresies, and incapable to understand the truth of God's word.
When you know and understand what the Bible teaches, you will not be deceived by heresies and false doctrines. When you know what the Bible teaches, you will understand how the Holy Spirit of God works and you will not be lured into believing that deceptions caused by the deceitful force of evil spirits that their deceitful miracles would be the work and the power of God. Therefore, it is extremely important to know and understand the Bible because that is your lifeline for you to live and for your faith to grow according to the will of God. The Bible teaches us how the Holy Spirit of God works, and the Holy Spirit works in accordance with what the Bible teaches.
Now you also understand why you should spend more time in prayer and studying the Bible, instead of reading spiritual books written by believers. Of course, there are good spiritual books out there, but you also need to compare their content to what the Bible teaches. It should be clear to the disciples of the Lord Jesus that we should read a whole lot more the word of God (the Bible) than books written by believers. The Bible is infallible and the perfect announcement of God, but every book, even the good ones written by believers are imperfect.
Deceivers say that not everything has been written in the Bible in regard to what and how God works. Because Lord Jesus said that we should believe in Him in accordance with the Bible, after which living waters (the Holy Spirit) will flow forward in our hearts, it means that God is committed to working in accordance with the Bible.
God could work according to what He Himself wants in His holiness and truth, but because it is not possible for people to know whether it is God or not, God has given us the Bible, and He works and influences according to the Bible. God has given us the Bible in addition the Holy Spirit so that we would not go astray. If God worked contrary to what the Bible teaches, we would never know for sure if it is God or some other spirit. That is why God is Himself committed to working in accordance with the Bible so that we would not get lost and would be capable of identifying His work. That is why Jesus said that we should believe in Him in accordance with the Bible.
In lots of cases, deception takes place by first preaching a message which perverts Biblical teaching. The perverse teaching is used as a tool for defending weird, sick and satanic phenomena which start taking place after the message of perversion has been preached. If you do not know the Bible, you will believe the deception because you believe the lie. Deception is also marketed through books authored by deceivers.
If you do not read the Bible on a regular basis, but read spiritual books instead and believe their interpretations of the Bible and do not compare them to what the Bible teaches, you stand no chance of surviving deceptions because they will suck you in. The goal of deceptions is to keep people away from what the Bible actually teaches, offering a different, perverted version of what the Bible teaches.
It is extremely important to read and understand what the Bible teaches. The Bible shows how the Holy Spirit of God works and the Holy Spirit of God works in accordance with what the Bible teaches. When you understand and know this, it is very difficult to deceive you, and you will not get lost because you know what the Bible teaches and you know how the Holy Spirit of God works.
There will be a lot of false prophets and deceivers in the End Times. Some of them are easy to identify, but others are more difficult. If you - by the grace of God - know God and His Word in the Holy Spirit, you will also be capable of identifying "skilled" deceptions, too. The goal of knowing God is to learn to know Father God, through the Lord Jesus and His Word in the Holy Spirit.
Deception hunting or deception knowledge are not the goal of the disciples of Lord Jesus, but knowing God (the Father and the Son) in the Holy Spirit. The main thing is to know His Word, His love, His grace, His truth and His holiness.
It is also important to expose deceptions, but that is not the most important thing. Since more and more deceptions and deceivers are rising in the End Times, it is important to expose deceptions, deceivers, the nature of deceptions and their vile doctrines. I encourage you to fully rely on the Lord Jesus and the Bible, which focuses on salvation and walking in the Holy Spirit in Lord Jesus, and knowing Father God. I am hoping and praying for that you would read the Bible and allow God to show you His love, grace and truth in the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
King James version 1611
Adam's Clarke Commentary by Gary Gallant Acts 5:15