Deuteronomy 13:5;7: But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk…saying, “Let us go and serve other gods,’ which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth.”
Don’t worry, outside of the ancient theocracy, we do not put people to death. The word for deceive in the Greek Writings is planao, which means to cause to stray, to lead astray, or lead aside from the right way. In Hebrew, the word is nasha and has the same meaning. This week’s Torah Portion describes what a false prophet or deceiver is. Three things we need to understand are; who deceives us, what it means to be deceived, and how we guard against it. Number one, what does it mean to be deceived? It means someone is trying to lead you away from obedience to God’s commandments, His Voice, or the path of righteousness.
Jeremiah 29.8: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed.
Humans deceive us the most as Matthew 24:11, Mark 13:5, and Luke 21:8 state;
“And He said, “Watch out that you are not led astray (deceived)! For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He’ and ‘The time is near!’ Do not follow them.”
2 Tim 3:13: But evil men and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
We can deceive ourselves.
Obadiah 1:3: The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’
1 John 1:8: If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
Sin is deceitful.
Hebrews 3:13: But encourage one another day by day—as long as it is called “Today”—so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Riches are deceitful.
Mark 4:19: But the worries of the world, the seduction (deceitfulness) of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
In conclusion, not one of the 16 times in Hebrew, nor the 39 mentions in the Greek writings do celestial beings deceive us. This answers our second question of who or what deceives us or leads us away from obedience to God. Humans, false prophets, sin, wealth, and that nasty ol’ bugger, pride, deceive us. Next, what tools do we need to guard against what Yeshua tells us is bound to happen? Knowledge of the Scriptures and the Power of God.
Mark 12:24 and Matthew 22:29: But answering, Yeshua said to them, “You’ve gone astray (planao: you have been deceived) because you don’t understand the Scriptures or the power of God.
If you know the Scriptures, including Deuteronomy 13, you will know what the path of righteousness entails and what it will look like when someone tries to lead you off of that path. Sometimes we think that a teacher who says something counter to the doctrines we hold near and dear is a false prophet, but not exactly. One does not have to keep in step with our paradigms, preachers, Google, or professor’s truth. What makes someone a false prophet is whether or not they lead you astray from the path of righteousness. I have heard people say that Yeshua came to abrogate the commandments of God, meaning He essentially fulfilled all 613 commandments so that we don’t have to. Well, He did give us the perfect Torah of Liberty. Liberty is not doing as one pleases but having the freedom to do what is right. Yeshua took on all of God’s curses so that we could serve Him out of love and not fear (Gal 3.13-14).
James 1:25: But the one who looks intently into the perfect Torah, the Torah that gives freedom, and continues in it, not becoming a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts—he shall be blessed in what he does.
Luke 1:74 NKJV: To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies (sin and death), might serve Him without fear.
1 John 4:18-19: There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and the one who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.
Hebrews 2:15: And free those who by fear of death were in bondage all their lives.
The perfect Torah of Liberty is one of the greatest gifts Yeshua gave us. What this liberty means is that I am a free bird, allowed to learn and engage in any commandment, with the understanding that I have, and it will be an act of lovingkindness to God, besides the fact that every commandment comes with a blessing. I will not place myself under any teaching that declares that Yeshua did away with the Instructions of the Holy One. For one, according to Deuteronomy 13, that would make Yeshua a false prophet, which is inconceivable. Second, I can be the least in the Kingdom of God all by myself, I do not need anyone’s help on that.
Matthew 5:19: Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Third, the entire purpose of Yeshua’s life and death is so He could plant the Word of God inside our hearts. He took on all curses so that we could inherit the blessings of God including mercy, compassion, and the multiplication of our seed.
Deuteronomy 13:17-18: So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that the Lord may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy, have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers because you have listened to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord your God because you have listened to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord your God.