Joseph Herrin (04-18-2011)
I Thessalonians 5:19-21
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
II Timothy 3:13
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
We live in an hour when people are bombarded by a steady stream of thoughts and ideas. The Internet has truly changed many things. Ideas are now streamed worldwide in an instant. Even the most wildly preposterous claims are picked up by others, rebroadcast, and have the ability to become a viral phenomena in a very short time.
That mankind is prone to deception, and many act intentionally or unintentionally to deceive others, is not a new phenomenon. In 1841 a Scottish man named Charles Mackay wrote a history of popular folly. His book was titled Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. One hundred-seventy years ago Mackay wrote about economic bubbles, alchemy (the attempt to transmute base elements into gold), crusades, witch-hunts, prophecies, fortune-telling, popular follies of great cities, and man’s tendency to romanticize thieves and criminals, among other things.
Two well known quotations from this book are as follows:
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
“Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder’s welcome.”
I find much to agree with in these statements. Over the course of the years that I have had an Internet ministry, I have encountered much error. Many, having their error pointed out to them, respond to the truth as a very unwelcome intruder. Men tend to be wed to their fables, holding them dearly with an unreasonable bias.
I have at times embraced popular delusions myself. I was thoroughly chastened when the world’s systems of computers and processors did not all come to a screeching halt when Y2K occurred. I worked in the computer field at that time, and had no concern for what might occur in the internal workings of computers as they failed to handle the date change to a new century. That is, I had no concern until a couple from our church invited my wife and I to supper, and afterward showed us a video from The Prophecy Club that was focused on the Y2K Bug. A fire was lit. I was convinced that dire things were about to occur, that the government knew about it, and was failing to warn the population knowing that it would lead to a societal meltdown.
I didn’t sell all I had, and move to some remote wilderness area with a stockpile of food and supplies, but I bought into the hysteria and helped to spread it. I was absolutely sincere in my convictions, and just as absolutely in error.
Afterwards, I cried out to the Lord, asking Him why He permitted me to be carried away into such error. I was greatly chastened to have spoken to many people about the dire things I thought were coming, but they did not come. I asked the Father why He did not open my eyes sooner, for I did not want to be like the boy who cried wolf. I did not want people to discount my words when the Father did have some word of warning to declare through me.
The Father let me know that I would survive. I had just begun an Internet ministry at that time, and it was not a very auspicious beginning. I felt that integrity required that I post a public apology to the well trafficked prophecy site that I had used to broadcast my words of warning. Although I was not alone in speaking error in the run-up to Y2K, I stood quite alone, being the only person on the site who posted a public apology. Through it all I learned a very great lesson. I learned the importance of dividing between soul and spirit. I saw the necessity of testing all things, and waiting patiently upon the Father to affirm those thoughts that had entered my mind.
I say that I learned these lessons at that time, but in truth, I am still learning them to this day. It might be more appropriate to say that I was made aware of the need to examine all things carefully at that time; to know whether some thought in my mind had its origin in the mind of God, or whether it originated in some lesser source. The inclination of the natural man is to be impetuous, to run with a message before it is thoroughly tested. I have found that I need to exercise self-restraint, ruling over this impulse. Self-restraint is a godly characteristic, and all who would be numbered among the firstborn, and walk as overcomers in Christ must have the fruit of self-control evident in their lives.
In the years since, I have been growing in this area of testing all things carefully. It is a very necessary practice in this hour, for deception does abound. The Internet has given the most remote and unworthy voices an instantaneous worldwide forum to broadcast any thought that arises in their soul. Many seek to intentionally deceive. I cannot tell you how many Christians I had to inform that they were not going to receive a check in the mail from Bill Gates simply by forwarding an e-mail to everyone on their mailing list. Other deceptions, are a bit more creative, but their embrace by Christians reveals the lack of thorough vetting of a matter before forwarding it on to others. Have you ever received an e-mail with the following picture in it?
This, and a number of other pictures, have circulated the Internet for years. They are accompanied by some story of a giant skeleton being discovered in Saudi Arabia, or Turkey, or some other far off place. They are cited as evidence of the existence of the Nephilim spoken of in the Bible. Although the Nephilim were surely real, these photos are not. The above picture was taken from WORTH1000, a website devoted to people showing off their skills at manipulating photographs. In these days of Photoshop software, and green screen technology, seeing is not the same as believing. We must go beyond sight and hearing to discern truth. Isaiah prophesied the following of the coming Messiah:
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears…
How are we to judge a matter if not by sight and hearing? We are to test all things carefully, both in the natural and spiritual realms. Many a deception can be discovered by careful scrutiny of the natural evidence. Yet, some things can only be discerned as we receive revelation from the Father.
I Corinthians 2:11-15
Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things…
In recent years I have received scores of e-mails from the people of God asserting all manner of alarming things. Some of the most common contain confident assertions about matters as diverse as HAARP, the Large Hadron Collider, Chemtrails, and Planet X, Nibiru, and Comet Elenin. I have discoursed at length on these topics with a number of saints. I am going to share some thoughts relating to them, and related subjects, with the readers of this blog in this present series on examining all things.
If you already have adopted a view on these matters, I invite you to patiently consider what I have to share. It is not my intent to offend others by sharing a perspective that may be different from their own. Rather, my desire is to encourage the saints to develop the habit of testing all things carefully. It is well to consider the arguments for and against a subject, before forming a judgment.
The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.
He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.
Last week I received for the umpteenth time an e-mail describing the heinous practices of some oriental cultures who are eating babies. Pictures were included. I am happy to report that these pictures are Photoshopped, and the story is false. Two resources for checking out the legitimacy of urban legends and viral e-mails are the Snopes and Urban Legends websites.
I am not so skeptical as to disbelieve every wild claim that comes along. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. For example, just yesterday a brother in Christ forwarded me a link to a video that reveals that restaurants and caterers have for more than a decade been using “meat glue” to make scrap pieces of meat into what passes to be prime cuts. This meat glue is often made from the coagulants extracted from pig and cow blood. This is a very appalling thought to me, knowing that the Bible forbids the eating of blood.
The actual name of this bonding product is Transglutaminase. You can watch a video on it here:
According to the Wikipedia article on Transglutaminase, this product is widely used in seafood products, such as imitation crab meat, fish balls, and reconstructed steaks. It is also used in sausage and hot dogs, to make milk and yogurt creamier, and noodles firmer. While this product is used primarily in restaurants and by caterers, the FDA does not require it to be included on a product label. See link:
It is absolutely necessary in this hour to examine all things carefully. Appearances are most definitely deceiving. What looks good and wholesome may be far from it, and what is declared to be evil may actually be falsely vilified.
Consider the way statistics are often used to support an argument. It is possible for a statistic to be absolutely true, while at the same time being completely irrelevant. This is brought out in the following farcical review.
The Dangers of Bread
1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread eaters.
2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever and influenza ravaged whole nations.
4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours of eating bread.
5. Bread is made from a substance called “dough.” It has been proven that as little as one pound of dough can be used to suffocate a mouse. The average American eats more bread than that in one month!
6. Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low occurrence of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis.
7. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat begged for bread after only two days.
8. Bread is often a “gateway” food item, leading the user to “harder” items such as butter, jelly, peanut butter and even cold cuts.
9. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into a soggy, gooey bread-pudding person.
10. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
11. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than one minute.
12. Most American bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
[Taken from an Internet Source]
I have seen similar logic employed to vilify all manner of things, or to “prove” some speculation as truth. As sons of God walking in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, let us all strive to walk as Christ commanded.
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
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