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  • Wilson Lim

Beware Counterfeit Powers (Part 1)


For a long time, there were many that did not believe in spiritual matters, particularly in Western civilisations. However, in the past few decades, more and more people are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with this perspective. Because they find a spiritual vacuum inside. Many have turned to spiritism and New Age philosophies, etc. Some Christians may knowingly or unknowingly become involved in such practices before they convert or even after becoming a Christian. We must realise the impact of being involved in such practices. Sometimes we may think it is innocent, but often it is not so.


The Bible speaks about counterfeit powers and warns us to beware of them. From Exodus 8:1-19, we discover some effects of counterfeit powers. The context is that the Israelites have been in slavery for generations in Egypt and God sent Moses to set them free. But Pharaoh and his officials hardened their hearts to resist God. As a result, God brought plagues of judgment against the Egyptians. This passage records the second and third plagues that occurred.


We will examine 4 effects of counterfeit powers. In Part 1 of this article, we examine the first effect.


DECEIVES THE UNDISCERNING


Exodus 8:1–7 (NIV84) 1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2 If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. 3 The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. 4 The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.’ ” 5 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’ ” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. 7 But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.


The plague of frogs is the second plague that God brought upon the Pharaoh and the Egyptians because of their stubbornness towards God. When Aaron stretched out the staff over the waters of Egypt, God caused frogs to come out of all the waters to cover the land of Egypt. Millions of them! The frogs went everywhere. Imagine your house simply filled with wet slimy dirty frogs!


The power of God was demonstrated! But hold on, Pharaoh calls his sorcerers again and their imitated what God had done! Yet these are counterfeit powers, not the power of God. What can we learn from the occurrence of such counterfeit powers?


Counterfeits Deceive

Exodus 8:7 (NIV84) But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.


The Devil always imitates and corrupts the original which comes from God.

The magicians or sorcerers used occult powers to imitate what God had done with the frogs. They made some frogs come out unto the land as well. In fact, the Kingdom of darkness has been counterfeiting the Kingdom of God for a very long time. The Devil always imitates and corrupts the original which comes from God.


A counterfeit derives its greatest impact from successfully deceiving people to think it is the real thing. For example, counterfeit $50 bills succeed only when people think it is the real thing. Nobody counterfeits Monopoly money because everybody knows it is not real money. Hence the existence of counterfeit implies the existence of the genuine.


The Bible clearly tells us that counterfeit powers exist in many forms. 2 Cor 11:13-15 (NIV84)13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.


Just as there are genuine apostles and genuine prophets, there will be false apostles and false prophets. Just as there are real angels, there will be false angels. Just as there are divine miracles, there will be false miracles. Just as there is Christ, there will be false Christ. And so forth.


Matt 24:4-5, 24 (NIV84) 4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many… 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.


Counterfeits exist to deceive the undiscerning. Those who lack understanding are more easily deceived.

Counterfeits exist to deceive the undiscerning. When people think that these counterfeits are of God, they will pay attention and follow. Those who lack understanding are more easily deceived.


There was a Christian undergraduate seminary student, Jay, who was struggling. He went to see his seminary professor. Whenever he sits down to study, he gets prickly sensations all over, his arms involuntarily move and his vision gets blurry. He just cannot concentrate. He can't even read his Bible. The professor asked about his walk with God. "Oh I have a very close walk with God", he boasted. He shares how God would lead him every day on where and what to eat for lunch. Usually, he hears a thought like Burger King and the voice leads him to a Whopper.


Then the professor asked him about church attendance. He goes every Sunday to wherever God leads him. The last 3 Sundays was to a Mormon church. Jay was sincere but God was not leading him to a Mormon church or to eat Whoppers. He was listening to his own thoughts and opening the door to the Enemy because he could not distinguish the voices in his mind. He had also become convinced that he is one of the 2 prophets in Revelations!


We cannot stop spirits from whispering into our ears. For God does not talk to us continually about the tiny little things in our lives! Further, the Kingdom of darkness does not just imitate God's servants. But it also seeks to offer counterfeit alternatives. Hence false religions offer an alternative to God's way. Fortune tellers and mediums take the place of God's prophets. New age healing takes the place of divine healing. Communications with spirits take the place of prayer. The infilling by spirits takes the place of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Gurus take the place of God's teachers.


The primary objective is to deceive people to think that it is the real thing. To imagine that it is good source of spiritual power. When in reality it is the kingdom of darkness disguising itself in different forms. The Devil does not care what forms it takes, as long as it finally deceives.


Counterfeits Cannot Undo God's Power

Exodus 8:8 (NIV84) Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”


Counterfeit powers are not as powerful as God's power. Counterfeit power cannot undo God's power.

Although the sorcerers could imitate the release of frogs unto the land, they did not have the power to take away the frogs released by God. Counterfeit powers are not as powerful as God's power. Counterfeit power cannot undo God's power. In fact, it should be noted that when God removed the frogs, He removed ALL the frogs (v13-15). This would mean even over those released by the counterfeit powers. Hence God can undo the counterfeit powers.


Once a friend of mine, who lived in Malaysia was annoyed by a Deepavali procession that was held outside a street in front of his house. Those in the trance walked in a procession outside his house. He prayed against the demonic powers. The next day, he read that many of those in trance collapsed as suddenly they started bleeding and were in pain. The Hindus thought perhaps there was a strong spirit nearby that had disturbed their devotion to their deities.


God is more powerful than any other spirits! Whenever I come across fortune tellers and other spiritists practicing their craft in markets, I would under my breath pray against the demonic spirits. I would bind those spirits and ask that God confuses the demonic spirits and cast them out.


Counterfeits Discerned

Exodus 8:7 (NIV84) But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.


The sorcerers had secrets art. Demonic arts that were secret, unknown or undiscerned by others. If counterfeits manage to imitate God's servants and God's power, should this mean we become confused and fearful of every spiritual manifestation? Should we be so fearful of the counterfeit that we reject even the genuine? No. We don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Nor do we throw away our $50 bills just because counterfeits exist.


The key is to learn to discern, to recognise the counterfeit. How can we recognise counterfeits? Jesus told us in Matt 7:15-20 (NIV84) 15“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.


Some claim to be servants of God but do not have godly fruit in their lives, we should beware of. If someone claim to be a miracle worker for God or a prophet or a servant of God, but is full or pride, or lust, or greed - beware!


Counterfeit powers usually have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • It promises power on demand. It declares, “If you just have faith, it will be yours. If you just do this, it will be yours.” That is occultic in philosophy. For we cannot demand anything from God. God is not our servant, but we are to be God's servants. God cannot be manipulated.

  • It teaches us techniques to access the spiritual realm. “Just say this prayer, just follow this pattern!” That is occultic and not of God.

  • It reduces spiritual power to impersonal forces. That is not of God. True spiritual power comes from a relationship with Jesus as we walk in holiness with the Holy Spirit.

  • Any kind of unbiblical channelling of spiritual power through physical objects and rituals. The use of special acts and rituals, special times and seasons is occultic in nature. God is accessible through faith in Jesus Christ alone at any time and in any place.

  • It rejects the reality of the material world and elevates the higher reality of the spiritual realm. That is not of God. For God made both the spiritual and natural worlds and He will redeem even the physical world.

  • It teaches we can create our own realities by using spiritual laws or powers.

  • Any approach to faith that does not genuinely lead to greater knowledge of or dependence on the person of Christ and His atoning work on the cross, is a counterfeit.

Once we prayed for a girl who practised a Chinese art of foot manipulation for health. She had just become a Christian recently. She was struggling with various emotional problems. When we started praying for her, she manifested and fell to the floor and started moaning and wiggling. What was interesting was her foot soles just kept contorting in all kinds of ways as if someone was manipulating her soles! We casted out the demons!


Those who may have been involved in any of the above practices with those characteristics should seriously consider renouncing and rejecting them.


CONCLUSION

Counterfeit powers always seek to fool the undiscerning and ensnare them into a connection with the demonic. It requires wisdom and discernment to expose these counterfeit powers. It is wise to stay away from such practices.

 

Copyright©️2022 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.

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