Strongholds

Sozo Short Bible Studies – Category #4 – Being an Overcomer

An illusion is a fantasy, fable, or stronghold that we are convinced is truth, yet we lack concise clear evidence to prove it to be so; whereas with a delusion, one refuses to accept sound Scripture to repute it (the falsehood). Learn more…

Sozo Short Study “Strongholds, the Illusions of the “Old Man”

By Pastor G. Evan Newmyer

Illusions and Delusions: Illusions and delusions are different, but related. A delusion occurs when we are warned through sound Bible Scripture about how we can hold an illusion, yet reject the Truth for the illusion, making the delusion a state of mind.

An illusion is a fantasy, fable, or stronghold that we are convinced is truth, yet we lack concise clear evidence to prove it to be so; whereas with a delusion, one refuses to accept sound Scripture to repute it (the falsehood).

An illusion is much like an opinion, where one might allow other views along with an opinion. Not so with an illusion, which appears to us to be Truth; we are absolutely convinced. Yet anything “not truth” becomes a disruption to our walk.

Are illusions and delusions rare? Not really. Ever had a theological premise which “you knew was solid… so right and correct that it couldn’t be wrong,” only to have the Holy Ghost show where it was wrong? Yes, we all have and if anyone thinks it hasn’t happened to them, they need to study the soundness of their theology.

Theology and Doctrine: Of course, theology and doctrine are different; theology is our study of God while doctrine is “what we teach.” Sound study discipline is one method which God uses to remove illusions and strongholds. A “Holy Ghost led and Scripture proven Christ- Doctrine” removes illusions and tears down strongholds. But mental aspirations to gain fame can lead to illusions. Pride and ego then becomes the mother to illusions, while religious conceit can take an illusion and form a “false doctrine.”

Strongholds: In II Corinthians chapter 10 Paul called this phenomenon “Strongholds.” Thus all Strongholds are mental in nature. They are “tares” planted by the enemy for the single purpose of blocking us from having a true relationship with God. Strongholds usually come about when one uses “natural knowledge” to analyze spiritual concepts.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds: Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

Interpretation: Know this first… that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” – 2 Peter 1:20-21 (KJV

Peter said that there was no private interpretation of Scripture (prophesy); yet we know there is, or is there? There are attempts made, but these are not “Interpretation”; they are self-imposed strongholds and illusions.

The word “Interpretation” as Peter uses it, means “Truthful conclusions.” Thus there are no “natural intellectual truths” that can be derived from Prophetic Scripture. Historic texts are different; but determining “Spiritual reasoning” from history can only come via the Holy Ghost. The same Holy Ghost who spoke to those men of old will be The One to tell us what He meant by the words which were written.

Translation: A translation involves taking something written in a language from one source and then bringing it through another language so it can be read or understood by those of the second language; but a “true translation” should not change the tense, the meaning of the words or the possession.

Interpretation is different; it tells us what was in the author’s mind at the time of the creation of the work (or what the artist was thinking about). For instance, if we looked at a picture of a cow eating a tree, we might arrive at some sort of “conclusion,” but this doesn’t mean we “interpreted” the painting correctly. To be certain that our estimation was correct, we would have had to ask the artist what he or she was thinking or trying to convey in the painting.

Understanding by the Holy Ghost: The same is true with the Bible; we must go to the Holy Ghost, not the “old man,” to determine the “interpretation and purpose of Scripture.” Many illusions are based on motives such as: an individual or group wanting to be “the special of the special,” to have something which no other member in the Body has, to be elevated above the rest of the Body, but not to share this revelation, but to be made famous because of it.

To Get “Egypt” out of the children: How dangerous are illusions? The children in the wilderness are an example: God was with them and so they had “the cloud by day and the fire by night.” They had the Tabernacle, the manna, the water from a rock, the Law of Moses, the tablets of stone; they even saw the Acts of God conducted in Egypt. They also saw the miracles of God in the Wilderness; and…”Who has heard of such a thing? A tree making bitter water sweet… who has seen this? Two stones written by the very finger of God, oh my, oh my!” Yet they still murmured and complained. Their “illusion” was that God brought them into the wilderness to kill them. Was this the Truth? No; God brought them there to train them but they didn’t like the method.

When they were murmuring and complaining, did they think they were being inappropriate? No; of course not… they were merely “expressing their opinion” on the matter. When they made the golden calf, did they realize that they would anger God? Of course not; but they did go to bed early, since the next day was feast unto the Lord. When Korah and his band challenged Moses, do we think that they knew how the ground would open and shallow them? Do we think that they knew how the serpents would come into the camp? No, to them… they were merely giving their personal views on what they felt was the problem, or how to correct it.

So… what was their problem? Apparently, it was their attitude and their failure to cast off the old Egypt nature. As it turned out, it was easier to “get the children out of Egypt,” then “to get Egypt out of the children.” They were full of illusions and when the illusion burst asunder to become a mindset, it became a delusion; it then guided them, made their decisions for them, while hiding the truth of their actions.

We’ve all seen this. For instance, the victims (members) of cults are convinced that “only they have the truth.” They will stand toe to toe, arguing in the face of Scripture; thus they have accepted an illusion and then allowed it to grow to a delusion. What trapped them? Was it their own lust or the desire to be “special among the special”? Was it to be the only ones with the truth, to be among the 144,000 or to have some End Time thinking which no one else would have?

All End Time thinking must line up to the Bible, line for line, not a line here, or there, or take a line, reject a line. A manipulative soul seeks to make illusions in order to dominate fearful minds; however, the fearful are then moved away from faith…and a lack of faith makes us bait to the cultist.

How about David, a man after God’s own heart? Do we think David felt that it was sin to take Bathsheba? No; he didn’t know it was sin until the prophet confronted him and then he repented. How about Paul? When Paul was still “Saul the Christian hunter,” he didn’t think it was wrong to seek out and destroy Christians; he felt he was doing God and his religion a service. But, when Saul (Paul) came face to face with Jesus on the road to Damascus, Jesus asked him, “Why do you persecute Me?” Saul (Paul) answered, “Who are you Lord?” Then Saul (Paul) found that out it was Jesus; yet, at the time, the man still had scales over his eyes, the scales of illusion and deception (Acts 9:1-8).

Then, in Damascus there was a certain disciple named Ananias; the Lord came to him in a vision saying, “Ananias”; and Ananias said “Behold, I am here, Lord” (Acts 9:10). To us, this means “Here I am Lord”; but to Ananias at the time, it meant, “Lord I am here to do Your bidding”, or better, “Ask and I shall do it.”

How many of us have said the same thing? “Send me to the nations of Lord”. “Very well, go next door”. “Not so Lord, you don’t know that rascal.” Ananias apparently felt the same way; because, when the Lord told him to go seek out Saul of Tarsus, Ananias said, “Lord, I have heard by many of this man and how much evil he has done to Your saints at Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13-14). This was after the Lord told Ananias how Saul (Paul) had been praying for “three days” (Acts 9:9 & 9:11).

What does “three days” represent? It represents the grave; Saul was blind for three days and the scales of his Pharisee life of illusion were there; yet somehow, in his heart he knew he had sinned. Thus, for three days he repented in prayer.

Ananias had an illusion based on the facts of the past, not the truth of the present. Ananias “rightly heard” about this Saul of Tarsus; this Saul held the coats of the men who stoned Stephen to death (Acts 7:58). However, this represented Saul before meeting Jesus; the Saul after meeting Jesus was a praying, repenting man.

Both Saul and Ananias had illusions; things they thought were true, but were not. Saul felt for instance, that Christians were nothing more than rebellious Jews attempting to overthrow “the one true religion” which God had established on the earth. On the other hand, Ananias heard the Lord’s voice say “Go”, but Ananias allowed information which he gained from man to form his answer; yet Ananias had the advantage over Saul. Ananias had the Spirit, he was Born Again, yet the New Man was unable to break down the illusion until Light came to Ananias; then he “went his way” and did as he was told (Acts 9:17). When Ananias came to Saul it wasn’t “The Lord has sent me to you, you murdering swine”; rather it was “Brother Saul.” Just days prior to this meeting, the same Saul was the enemy of Jesus and then he became a brother. It can happen fast… yesterday we can see a nasty Pharisee or a nasty worldly person; but on the next day they can become a “brother.” Saul received his sight and was filled with the Holy Ghost to receive the Spirit; then he was water baptized by Ananias, meaning Saul gave his testimony of belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 9:17-19).

The New Man is able to bring clarity to our illusions if we are easily entreated. Saul was entreat-able and after all, it seems fairly clear that Jesus came to put a stop the activity of “Saul the Christian killer.”

Later, even the Apostles were for a time, under the illusion “of Saul being a Christian killer” as they nearly ran from him (Acts 9:26-27). Why didn’t the Holy Spirit convince them that Saul was a changed man? Fear impeded this; Acts 9:26 shows they were afraid of Saul. Fear will block the voice of the Spirit; and it can/will rule our reasoning.

The Apostles held the same illusion as Ananias, having allowed the past to determine the present. We build the illusion by saying that a certain thing must happen a certain way; if it doesn’t, we will reject the thing as well as the person who brought it. We form an illusion; we allow it to govern our thinking.

The children in the wilderness did this; and the thing they feared the most came upon them. They did die in the wilderness. Was it God’s plan for them? No, God had a predestinated plan all set for them, but they had to “enter in” by faith. God still used their rebellion, but it can be a lesson for us (I Cor 10:1-6). They were called of God, delivered from Egypt and given the Manna as well as the Rock from which came water. They had the Cloud by day to protect them from the heat, the Fire by night to warm them… yet most of them died, never seeing the Promised Land. Not to scare us, but Paul does say to “work out our own salvation by fear and trembling.” Over confident behavior is not faith; it is arrogance.

Paul told us how Strongholds are imaginations or reasonings; but he added to the premise by showing how Strongholds include any “high thing” or prideful thing exalting itself against the knowledge of God (II Cor 10:4-5). This is not something exalting itself against God, the people of God, the throne of God, the Kingdom or against the Wisdom of God; it’s only against the Knowledge. Thus, “God’s people perish for a lack of Knowledge.” It’s not from a lack of money, a lack of food, a lack of the anointing a lack of power, or a lack of good looks… but lack of knowledge. Illusions attack knowledge. Illusion can be based on facts of the past; but those same facts are now lies (untruths) in the present. Many illusions also can keep us bound to unforgiveness such as when “we picture what happened,” yet…. it’s an illusion.

Three Pillars of Cult Systems: Strongholds are found in several groupings; the most common would be Theological. Cult systems have three pillars: self-righteousness, faulty end-time thinking, and the lust to be “the special of the special.” They think for instance, that by doing deeds from the Law or by doing deeds done by Solomon, that this would then give them “standing” before God. The first time we find the word “Righteousness” in the Bible, it’s coupled with Belief (Gen 15:6). When God imputed (counted) Righteousness to Abram, was Abram working for it? No; he was just being obedient, he wasn’t working for righteousness and he wasn’t working for holiness.

So, what was Abram looking for? “Lord, God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless” (Gen 15:2). Abram was looking for a replacement, since he had not had a child as he had wanted, (a child from him and his wife). So, God gave Abram two things: a New Name and a Child. Abram was rich and he had many things; but all of them together counted up to nothing. After the Lord told Abram what would be, then Abram forgot what was, as he reached forward to what will be. His belief was “the position,”… so “it could be by faith.”

Other Strongholds: There are other strongholds as well… those of our past. We can for instance, retain unforgiveness based on our own personal hate or desire for vengeance. Let’s say that we were hurt and so there is pain; but as long as we hold out for the illusion of gaining validation, there can never be a healing.

The New Man will heal us the minute we invoke the Ingress Aires or as we enter into “faith to forgive,” looking to the result. If we keep bringing up the subject, we feed the illusion, until we become bitter over the event or person. It was once said that unforgiveness is like taking poison while hoping the other person dies; unforgiveness never hurts the other person and in most cases they have no idea.

Paul said, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving other, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” He knew what forgiveness entailed; he knew what God had forgiven him of. Thus, when the man in Corinth had committed unspeakable acts, Paul could turn him over to Satan, yet also say, “to whom you forgive anything, I forgive also, for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ” (II Cor 2:10). The man was damaging the Body; thus Paul knew, that if the man’s illusion was destroyed, the sin trapping him would be seen for what it was, allowing the man to made free. The Corinthians had been accepting the man and they didn’t mourn; rather they were all puffed up, holding an illusion of their own (I Cor 5:1-2). The Corinthians had many illusions, all based in their carnal, natural thinking, yet they had the Spirit (I Cor 3:16, 5:6, 6:7, 6:11, et al).

Illusions are housed in the natural realm; and like Strongholds, they can only exist by natural reasoning. The New Man brings Light to a dark place, as we grow in the Lord. Exposure comes and it’s supposed to. Do we get offended? Yes; some are offended to the point of cutting off their knowledge to preserve their pride against the offense. Was the purpose of the Exposure to offend? No; it was to heal.

Tear down the Stronghold and the Strongman is then bound: Did Jesus offend the Pharisees? Yes; He was sent to save, not destroy, thus there are various types of “offense.” Did Jesus offend His own disciples? Yes, He even asked them, “does this offend you?”

He was discipling them. At times offense comes; and if it’s from God, then it makes us see what God sees. If we are holding an illusion or a stronghold, exposure is “a rampart” against the walls of the Stronghold. Yet, if we are teachable we will stand with the New Man as we watch the stronghold go. If we are haughty and puffed up, we will begin to repair the Stronghold. Who lives in a Stronghold? The strongman does; thus, tear down the Stronghold and the Strongman is then bound.

The Stronghold of unforgiveness: The one illusion or stronghold trapping many is unforgiveness with its walls of vengeance and need for validation. Holding unforgiveness and presuming that it’s okay to do so, represents a very destructive stronghold. We can say that we have the Spirit and we may even have an act or two. But the teachings of Jesus make it clear, that as we forgive, God forgives us; and if we don’t, He won’t.

The question then becomes, “Do we love the Lord more than we hate others or do we hate others, more than we love the Lord?” “Do we demand some vindication or validation?” “Do we want someone to admit to us that they did us wrong?” “Do we want someone to admit that they stood around and did nothing when wrong was done to us?” It’s a trick in itself isn’t it? If we forgave the one “who did it,” but blame the one who allowed it, then we’re still in a state of unforgiveness. We simply transferred it from one person to another. These are illusions, something we think will pacify our souls; yet the illusion is keeping us from receiving the Mercy of God. My, my we can say, “Oh Father God please, oh please forgive me, oh please”; yet if we hold unforgiveness, we have bound God’s Mercy to heaven, as we have bound ourselves to the earth.

The Keys: We have “The keys” in this; Jesus isn’t going to change on this issue. He gave us The Keys to “Binding and Loosing.”  If we bind people by our unforgiveness, we are bound to the earth; but if we “Loose them,“ then God will Loose His Mercy without measure, into us, opening the pathway to heaven for us.

We come boldly to the throne of Grace to Obtain Mercy, and Find Grace: We come boldly to the throne of Grace to Obtain Mercy, and Find Grace; however, we will never Find Grace if we neglect the Mercy. Mercy is the power to forgive and God knows in many cases, in and of ourselves, we lack the ability to forgive; but not with God, for with God all things are possible.

Making the decision to forgive: God is looking for the decision; in this we find an area, which is when we “call something that is not” to become an “Is” by faith. We have the premise; God forgives us, so surely the same Mercy can be applied to others in our lives. We make the decision and God’s Mercy begins to flow; and then the power of God’s Mercy invades our souls as we find the power to forgive. However, unless we make the initial decision to forgive, we cannot be in the “Will of the Father.”

Is there a test? Yes, and when the ability comes, what do we do? The test might involve “asking amiss,” which would be to consume it on our own lust. What lust would that be? Consider this one “the lust to be forgiven, without having to forgive.”

Casting down imaginations: A covenant depends on two parties: one “supplying the need” and one “in need.” God desires for us to forgive others so that He can forgive us. God is not a hypocrite. He will not forgive us if we refuse to forgive others. The illusion on our part would be in thinking that God has forgiven us when we haven’t made the effort to forgive others…. a very dangerous and deadly illusion indeed.

Whenever a teacher ventures into the area of “teaching others to forgive in order to be forgiven,” there will be those so offended that they will walk away. They simply will refuse to forgive; yet they will likely continue to ask God to forgive them and do so with an expectation of being forgiven.  Hence, in many cases these ones can be found, week after week, on their knees crying out to God for help; and then “the Word” of guidance comes saying… “You must forgive them,” which instead of inspiring the one inquiring, the “word of leading” brings offense which leads to running off  to another church, going through the same thing over and over, seeking to find the answer they want instead of what God is telling them.

Connection between forgiveness & the Wisdom of God: Desiring forgiveness, yet refusing to forgive, is the very height of hypocrisy; yet God’s Wisdom is void of hypocrisy. We will be unable to walk in the Wisdom of God if we hold unforgiveness against others.

James uses this premise to show one of the major reasons why some Christians are sick (James 5:16). In that “Holding aught against others” hinders our gifts, hinders our walk and hinders us, especially holding aught against other members of the Body. Regardless of what we have done, God is willing to forgive us; and we must take the same attitude especially knowing that the phrase, “Forgive as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you” is not a suggestion, but a commandment.

Are strongholds and illusions connected? Yes, the illusion is the foundation to the stronghold and when the stronghold becomes doctrine, it’s a delusion. When it’s taught to others it becomes deception, as a natural attempt to interpret Scriptural prophecy. Paul tells us that the danger in teaching deception is becoming deceived in the process. When anyone begins to teach these “winds of doctrine,” they venture into an area of deception, then more deception; and then the ruler of darkness will overtake them as they become “the deceived of the deceivers.”

The same is true with unforgiveness; we begin to formulate all sorts of scenarios, mostly adding elements to the event to give us validation in order to retain anger or hate; and then, both anger and hate begin to dominate our thinking.

We hear illusions all the time such as, “the gift of salvation,” the “whore of Babylon,” “the Spirit comes with water baptism.” or “there is no eternal judgment.” Yet the verses either counter the thought or there are no verses to support the thought. Illusions are like weeds, one brings another.

Protecting a fable:  There are illusions in life; thus, the world exists in an illusion of fear. Some of us have memories based in illusions. For instance, we think we remember clearly what happened regarding an event, but we really don’t. So we form an opinion at some point, based on the limited knowledge we possessed at the time. We form an opinion which we presume to be fact; then, from the presumed fact, we form what we think is Truth, but really it all becomes a fable. At times we will even remove parts of the event, just to make the other person guiltier. Paul tells us to cast down the imagination; but how do we know when we have one, especially if we believe our imagination to be truth and especially when we won’t even consider casting it down. Let’s face it; when the rocks of our strongholds get turned over, we will retaliate to protect the fable. The old man will always retaliate to show his supposed power when exposed. If it’s a fear of being exposed, anger will jump up to protect the fable.

The wording “Casting Down” in II Corinthians 10:5 is the Greek “Kathaireo,” meaning “To crucify” or “take down from the Cross.” Interesting? A stronghold actually fogs the Cross; and it causes blinders to form, in reference to the Truth of the Cross. It keeps us from the clarity we need; thus we don’t “project it onto the Cross” but we are to cast it back to the world where it came from.

Can we have the Spirit and yet have Strongholds? Yes, the Romans did and surely the Corinthians did. Paul told the Corinthians that he was certain that they had heresies among them; yet “heresy” is a fable, based on a stronghold. Why do we think he taught the Corinthians about Strongholds? To waste paper? No, they were running wild; the Corinthians had to be taught as one would teach a small child, with allegories and metaphors and many of these, they didn’t understand, but the teachings provided incentive to reach to a spiritual position, in order to know them.

To become Spiritual in Nature: Strongholds are natural perceptions regarding spiritual matters; but we can have illusions regarding natural or physical things. The Corinthians could not understand spiritual matters since they were carnal; and the evidence of this was the envy, strife, and divisions among them (I Cor 3:3). James tells us, that where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16). Both Paul and James are talking to “brethren,” not the world. These things are written for our sakes, showing us how important it is to be Born Again and then to follow the path to become spiritual in nature.

“Sleight of hand” depends on producing an illusion in order for it to work; and any illusion is set to trick us. Illusions are crafty and cunning, making us think one thing, while producing something else. Fortified illusions become so set in our minds that we will die before we give them up.

Truth is resilient: Evidence can show us that we are laboring under illusions; people can tell us, “No, it didn’t happen that way.” Yet we will fight them, saying “It did,” or we will try to show how others are in some illusion. We might say, “Got witnesses? How many?”  With five saying to us that we are holding an illusion, are we the only ones saying we’re not? Better check our thinking and then cast it down because if what we hold in our mind is truth, it will survive.

Truth is resilient; it can bend and it can even bounce back. You can break it, but it grows back. You can damage it, but it heals. Whatever you do, you can’t kill it or run from it. The first thing we find when running from Truth, is how fast Truth is. It seems to be waiting for us when we get there and we ask, “Hi Truth, been here long?” And Truth responds, “About ten minutes before you got here.”

Illusions are things which we think are real and therein we find the problem. Jesus is real, the Father is real, the Holy Ghost is real, the New Man is real; and each of us is real. But beyond those areas…we must beware. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, He is real and He is Truth while the world is an illusion. Some think that they can save the earth. Some think that their wealth is because of their greatness or they think that a “right” makes something right; while some live in a state of fear, under the illusion of fear.

Three tools of the Old Man: Theology is our study of God, but what about our motive? We can be looking for popularity or want to be special among the special; or we could think that the Holy Ghost is teaching us when it’s our own wild imaginations forming more imaginations.

The intent will determine the source: If we are seeking Truth or some knowledge to help the Body, then the source will be the Holy Ghost; but if our intent is to appear holy before men or to appear wise and brilliant before man, then the source is pride, ego, and arrogance which are the three main tools of the old man. In that state, even if we do appear to “get” some inspiration, it will be tainted or clouded; we might even be “near” correct, but it will nonetheless be an illusion and it will be error.

Of course we’ll say, “The Holy Ghost taught me this”; but what else would we say? Are we going to say that “The devil taught me?” If it’s a fable from the old man then the person holding it will be convinced that “they were given a revelation,” when all the while, it was something causing a revolution in the Body of Christ, bringing about another division.

More often than not, this happens with regard to the Book of Revelation, when someone always wants to have “their special revelation.” The Book of Revelation is a God-given document, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be twisted. For instance, how many of us have heard the phrase, “whore of Babylon”? How many of us have used it? Come on now; you used it yesterday… or was it me? Well, in this case, “the woman” mentioned in Revelation, is not the Whore of Babylon; she is the Whore and Babylon. If she were the Whore of Babylon, then there would be others connected to Babylon or whores from other countries. Even taking the Woman and making her a nation, when the Scriptures say she is a city… is another illusion. Babylon was a city within a nation; the Woman is a city within a nation who has “like characteristics” to the old idol worshipping nation of Babylon. Then, saying that she is surrounded by seven hills, rather than sitting on seven mountains would be another illusion.

Also, some believe that the “woman” represents “something we don’t like or agree with,” either political or regarding another denomination which we disapprove of perhaps; so we form an illusion making “her” (the Woman) although the Scriptures do not support this illusion.

How an illusion gets started: We can see now, how an illusion can get started. Some go to the Bible to find something to impress others with or to make themselves appear before man as: spiritual, wise, and intelligent, all of which are based in pride and pride is the mother of all deception.

We Study the Truth in order to be free, so we can also help others: When any of us study, we should never study to prove ourselves right and someone else wrong or to find “something” to make us look special before mankind. We are not to study in order to find something to impress others with, nor are we to study to become rich and famous; we study to find Truth in order to be free, so we can also help others “to be free indeed.”

The Truth, a hammer to the Stronghold: This area is touchy at best, since the Truth is a hammer to the walls of the Stronghold; and so it may take time to break down the walls of a fortified stronghold. Yet Truth, when “received,” will tear the walls down, thereby exposing the deception for what it is.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us that by faith must believe that “God Is” (as a basis for our faith); then our faith holds, “God is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Can someone believe “God Is” yet not be in faith? Yes, the children in the wilderness went about saying, “God is going to kill us”; hardly faith, hardly the truth. Why did God take them into the wilderness? Did He intend to punish them or show them how mean He was? Of course not; the purpose of the wilderness experience was to be trained and brought from (delivered from) the slavery mentality in order to rule the Promised Land in a Godly manner.

Likewise, we are being trained by the New Man to hold our kingly position, as we learn about our priestly order. We as kings, make decisions regarding who can enter our kingdom and who cannot. If we allow “illusion” to hold a position, then it will become “a prince” with a principality. However, if we allow “Truth” to have a position, then it will reign with us.

“If I am happy…so is God”…Oooops, did I get that right? God called the children holy and then began the process to make them holy; but as it turned out, their unholiness kept them from His holiness. Do we fit this premise at times? Yes; we can form illusions based on our natural reasonings such as: “they don’t like me” or “I bet I’m going to get sick. Ever thought things like, “I bet I’m going to get laid off”, “I hate to pick up the kids, cause the teacher always has some nasty thing to say”, “Ah gee here comes the pastor again, wonder what he will say this time?”, “oh I just know they are praying against me”, “oh I knew they are talking nasty about me”…. but all of these thoughts could be based in illusions. Perhaps our notions are based on an experience from our past; but the past doesn’t govern the future. It may give us a small preview of the future, but it doesn’t govern it.

Of course, there is the other end of the illusion, “God does what I tell Him to do”, “I know how to get God excited.” Or just as bad…we can find ourselves, at times making statements which we call “Faith,” in order to get God to complete our agenda. The illusion of, “if I’m happy… so is God,” is the same illusion that the children held in the wilderness. The false prophets spoke words attempting to get God to comply with their words. Prophecy is from God; not our “orders” to get Him to do as we want or as our will mandates.

Which “things of darkness” do we still like? When we came to the Lord, there were many things we hated about ourselves which the Lord took away immediately. However, what about the things of darkness which we still liked? If we liked the feeling that pride gave us, did we keep it? What if we liked being able to manipulate in order to dominate others; so, did we keep it? Perhaps we liked the feeling that self-pity gave us, so we kept it. Even if we didn’t like the feeling of the act, maybe we still liked what followed, which could have been the ability to punish ourselves or perhaps we still liked entertaining the feeling of being the dominated/dominating special one. Whatever… Those things are all illusions. Perhaps we punished ourselves because we felt we had to be punished, yet why would we still do this if God had forgiven us? Thus, God isn’t out to make us “pay for our crimes.” We are special in Jesus, not in our ability to manipulate people.

Darkness and the deeds of the old man: Darkness, and the deeds of the old man are all illusions, all mind games, all centered on one thing… to destroy us.

God, a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him: However, God is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him; so what does this mean? It means that in the midst of trouble, we don’t seek to justify ourselves, save ourselves, find blame, or accuse the devil; we look for God. Did God bring the event? Who cares who did? It’s still God who can get us out of it.

Comparing spiritual to spiritual: The Galatians were about to enter the illusion of all illusions…holding the concept of “doing acts under the Old Covenant in order to please God,” while the Corinthians were under the illusion of believing that “having the Spirit” was the same as being spiritual. But Paul told the Corinthians that the Holy Ghost teaches by comparing spiritual to spiritual. The Holy Ghost is spiritual; the New Man is spiritual.

Having the Spirit to become spiritual in nature: But the Corinthians were carnal, unable to understand spiritual matters. The training was going on, but the Corinthians were unable to understand the training. So he taught that, “Having the Spirit” and “The soul being or becoming more spiritual than flesh” … are different.  Members of the church at Corinth had carnal problems; yet Paul spent many chapters teaching them about the Spirituals. Well, if they couldn’t understand, why teach them? The answer to that question is, so they could see what the real activity of “being Spiritual” was actually about.

Strong delusion: In the Book of Revelation we find that the false prophet is able to bring the illusion of idol worship; thus we find that illusions are based in darkness. We read in II Thessalonians 2:11, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” Oh my, it can’t be right.  Let’s see…the word Delusion is the Greek word “Plane” meaning “error, deception, or deceit.” Ah gee, wait! This verse begins with a conjunction (and); so what comes before that verse? “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved”; but this also begins with another conjunction, so what comes before it?

Verse 9 begins with “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.” Now we’re getting somewhere. These mentioned are: already in deception, already in a place where they completely rejected the Truth; thus God is giving them the desire of their heart, as He allows them to believe the Lie they perpetrated.

Confusion: Confusion produces its own private illusion in that, if one holds the Truth, one is never confused and sees with the clarity of God. However, for those who hold a fable… when Truth comes, they will be confused. Teachers find this situation all the time, “well I wasn’t confused until you showed up”… actually a good sign. The person/student held a fable, Truth came and their mind was disrupted. Confusion is for the confused; those who are in the Light are never confused. They might be frustrated from time to time, but not confused.

The Record in Heaven: Is there an illusion regarding the process? Yes, God has a plan before Him, it’s called “The Record,” and it’s the completed Purpose of God for us written down. God won’t force the Plan on us, but our assurance is…. that it’s there. Oh my; how do we know? We’re “called”… that’s how. How do we know if we’re called? Well, we will have an interest in the Son of God; we will find ourselves being drawn to the Cross with a desire to know more about Jesus… all signs of being the called.

“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, The Word, and the Holy Ghost and these three are one.” – 1 John 5:7 (KJV)

God looks at the result of the plan, as He tells us what He sees. Often, we look at the “now,” as we wonder, “what is He (God) looking at?” God knows where we are, but He won’t wait there, for if He did, that is where the Process (process of transformation & growth) would stop. So, God looks at the End, while we’re still undergoing the Process.

“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood and these three agree in one.” – 1 John 5:8 (KJV)

Covenant taking us to completion of the Plan: Thus, God gave us “The Witness”, which is: the Water (relating to the Father’s Mercy), the Blood (relating to the Sacrifice of the Word), and the Spirit (relating to the Gift given by the Holy Ghost). However, the illusion which we can fall into is “comparing what will be” with “the Now,” which doesn’t tell us a thing. But, faith knows that God has a plan in which we submit to the molding of the hand of the Potter, as we allow Him to bring the hindering stones to the surface, expose the hidden roots, and remove tares or the seeds of tares. Yet, He won’t do this without our permission; so this is still a covenant. It takes two to dance (ministering in Galatians 3:5) with the Holy Ghost by having the Holy Spirit within.

The other side of the illusion: Then the other side of the illusion, is thinking that the work is done half way through the race. “Oh I know now what it means to be perfect.” Arrogance takes hold of the process, calling it done before the Potter’s wheel has begun to turn. The Romans fell into the illusion of thinking they were perfect in Christ, yet they were judging others as guilty. Two illusions to watch out for are: “God will never be able to make me holy” or… “God doesn’t need to make me holy, since I already am”.

Teachable when the Truth is introduced: God’s holiness comes with the New Man. So, it’s not a matter of becoming holy; it’s a matter of holy overcoming us. God calls us holy because He is working with us as His children. But, at times the Potter has to dig a little to find that imperfection (which we still think is some kind of perfection). As the clay holds on, the Potter pulls; and there is pain or at times intolerance on our part.

So, “easily entreated” means teachable or “that one is easily molded into Truth.” It doesn’t mean that one is easily persuaded, since that could imply that the teachable might believe the lie with the Truth. However, one is considered “teachable,” with regard to, “when the Truth is introduced.”

The Gift of the Holy Ghost…which is Grace: Jesus called the Holy Ghost (Jn 14:26) “The Comforter”; then He talked about “Another Comforter “(Spirit), or “one like unto the first.” Jesus also said that Born of the Spirit was Spirit (lower case in newer King James, upper case in the original King James).

Important to Understand: Therefore, we can conclude that the Holy Ghost brought “The Gift,” known as “Grace” or as the “Holy Spirit.” The Spirit then, teaches our souls by the “justification process” to become “Spiritual in nature,” so we can exist in heaven without regard for the flesh.

The advantage we have is almost too great to put in words; we have: Another Comforter, the New Man, the Spirit of Christ in us, Christ in us… the Hope of Glory, the very one holding the Wisdom of God. When we ask God for His Wisdom, we will get it. However, if it (the answer) doesn’t come through the New Man, we will twist it to the natural, which James said was “asking amiss.”

Wisdom for Discernment: The Wisdom of God keeps us from illusions, which then keeps the old man from tricking us into thinking that we’re the only one who knows what God is doing or the only one who has all the truth, or worse… the only one hearing God. Those illusions give birth to whackos and the cultist.

The New Man will guide us into all Truth, as he speaks only of: Jesus, the things of Jesus, the purpose of Jesus in our life, the Ways of Jesus, and the Character of Jesus (Jn 16:13).

The Wisdom of God was explained by James; we also find that the Wisdom of God was how Jesus dealt with people and events, even the people in His own ministry (James 2:1-4).

When Peter said, “be it far from you Lord”, he was being moved by his own illusion; but this didn’t fool Jesus. Rather Jesus responded with, “Get thee behind Me Satan.” Where did the illusion come from? It came from Satan; yet just a few verses back, Peter made another statement, “Thou are the Christ”; the information came to Peter by the Father. Peter’s illusion was in thinking, “Gee if it came from the Father, than everything I say must also come from the Father.” So he spoke what he thought was sound judgment, yet found that the source was demonic. One source was Godly and one demonic, yet the man couldn’t tell the difference. It took Jesus on both counts to separate and divide; and the same Jesus in us as “The Word,” will continue to divide and separate. The Word is still able to save our souls (James 1:21).

When the Pharisees came with their strongholds of theology, they didn’t fool Jesus; He responded with Truth. The Pharisees and religious rulers were under tons of illusions; they even thought that selling the things of God was a Godly precept. They “Sold the Dove,” and were rebuked by Jesus; but do we think for one second that they thought that selling the dove was wrong? Of course not; it was just a means to fill the treasury so they could afford to do the work of God. However, later they would find that in the process, they turned God’s house into a den of thieves; but then, who were they stealing from? How about, the people of God; they were making “deals” as they sold the things which God had freely given them.

The Wisdom of God: The Pharisees were not privy to the Wisdom of God, yet they were privy to the Old Testament teachings. Of course there are two forms of Wisdom: man’s and God’s. Man’s is earthly, sensual, or soulish, and devilish, or centered in the self by the fall nature. Those who use the wisdom of man deal with people and events by man’s wisdom which is always self-based. Therefore, we can also find other elements, envying, strife, and confusion, the three by-products of man’s wisdom.

On the other hand, we have God’s Wisdom which is first Pure or Holy; and Holiness is something one can see through, using no masks, no deception, and no illusion (James 3:17).

“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” – James 3:17 (KJV)

The very first thing that God’s Wisdom brings is Clarity, which is the ability to see The Word divide and separate thought and intent within ourselves as well as within others. Application of spiritual warfare, through God’s Wisdom, is always peaceable, while the “fruit of righteousness is sown in peace, of them who make peace” (with God – James 3:18). Of course, those who are run by the spirit lusting to envy, bring envying, strife, and confusion, causing wars, where there was peace (James 4:1-4).

God’s Wisdom continues with the attribute of being gentle; it doesn’t mean we go about patting people on the head. It means we are not abusive or manipulative, or destructive; rather, we remain easily entreated or teachable. Then, with regard to any remaining strongholds…. as the Truth is presented, the stronghold falls without resistance; and we will be full of Mercy, the very product of the Will of the Father, the ability to forgive, before there is a reason to do so.

Good fruit(s) flow from us, because we are humble …or better, because we are yielding (since it’s what humble means). We “yield to the Spirit,” as we allow the manifestation of the Spirit to take place.

Then there is the attribute that James linked with Jesus, “without partiality, or hypocrisy.” We don’t favor people one over the other based on what they can do for us or because of some “greatness” we think they have done. Give honor to the men and women of God, but don’t fall into the illusion of making them idols and heroes. Through God’s Wisdom, we will be able to discern the illusion; we will be able to cast it down, because we will see it for what it is. However, we can’t ask for God’s Wisdom so we can go about telling others about their strongholds, which would be asking amiss.

Shining in the dark place:  We want to see that the perfection of Christ in us shines in a dark place to bring others to the Cross and to complete the desire of God, for all to come to the saving knowledge of the Gospel. This is possible; we ask, we receive, we stand ready to see what God sees… and then we’re in a position to see the stronghold fall, involving a removal of the plank from our eye, so we can see clearly in order to help remove the small splinter from our neighbors. If our neighbor had a four by four sticking out of his ear, it would be easy, even with blinders on; but when we get down to the splinters, we need fine-tuned vision, clarity and ability.  Selah.


Note: The use of SOZO Bible Study Lessons, Newsletters or Short Studies (written/penned by Pastor G. Evan Newmyer as scribe and author, prior to his passing from this world) has been given to Ann M. Wolf by written permission from the author, as was customarily granted to alumni of the Sozo Bible Institute. This limited permission is given under clear agreement to never “charge” specific amounts for the Lessons with the intention of obtaining specific profits, but rather to share the material with others as the Spirit leads, for the purpose of “edification and encouragement,” on a free will offering basis, and while honoring the biblical principal to “teach the truth in love.” We ask then, that the desires of the original scribe (Rev. Newmyer) be respected; therefore the material can be shared among those who are dedicated in their study of the Bible, but shared freely on an offering basis and with respect to the copyright laws of the land and states. All rights are reserved. Read More.

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King James Version – KJV: For greater understanding of these commentaries, please use the Authorized Version of the King James Bible for confirming the Scripture passages mentioned. Please see the article, “Why KJV” by Ann M. Wolf for information regarding why we use KJV. Thank you for visiting our Sozo Short Bible Studies area.