Gnostic Doctrine

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

lying spirit from God 1 Kings 22

19 Then Micaiah said, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And the Lord said, ‘Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, ‘I will persuade him.’ 22 The Lord said to him, ‘In what way?’ So he said, ‘I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And the Lord said, ‘You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.’ 23 Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.”

While it is not in God's nature to lie, it apparently is a separate matter entirely to ask whether God can and will send people a strong delusion (through whatever means He chooses) so that they would believe a lie. Some might question the moral overtones of such actions, but the Bible doesn't. An important principle to understand and believe about God is that by the very nature of who He is, He is not bound by the same laws that He has given to man. We are commanded to not kill, and it is a sin of the highest order if we do so. But God can and does take life when He so chooses. One other point to keep in mind when thinking about God's actions of this sort: the people - as in this case and as stated in 2 Thes. 2 - whom God negatively influences are those who have already chosen - against all reason - to head down a wrong and sinful path. God wouldn't send strong delusion to people who are bent on loving and serving Him.

1Ki 22:22-23 - the prophets of Ahab were ‘lying in the spirit’: ‘the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets’. Comparison Mic 2:11 - identified false prophets as those who ‘walk in the spirit and lie’

"God is a God of truth and there is no unrighteousness in Him" (verse 4);

But when circumstances call for it, He may, as a man without unrighteousness deceives a wild beast, to its capture and destruction, "send strong delusion" upon the perverse, "that they may believe a lie" (2 Thess. 2:11). On this principle we read,

"If the prophet (that is, the idolatrous prophet: see context) be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I, the Lord, have deceived the prophet" (Ezekiel 14:9).

And again in the parable uttered before Ahab by Micaiah, the prophet of Yahweh:

"There came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord and said, I will persuade him (Ahab, to go up to battle). And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, . . . Go forth and do so. Now, therefore, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets" (1 Kings 22:21-23).

Applying this principle to the case in hand, we may understand that God stirred up Rebekah to deceive Isaac, that Isaac might be defeated in the wrong use of the divine gift of blessing which rested upon him.

The difficulty in understanding such instances, arises principally from our preconceived notions on the subject of "morality." Human speculation, alias philosophy falsely so-called, has evolved the assumption that "morality" (as men speak) is a fixed element in the constitution of things; and to this "morality," they have imagined God is as much subject as His creatures. The fact is-as the Scriptures reveal and nature accurately studied attests-that there is no such thing as fixed morality at all. The question of right and wrong is determinable in all things by the appointment of the eternal Creator. It is a simple question of what He has commanded. With Him is sovereign and irresponsible authority.

"None may say unto Him, What doest Thou?"

He may command a man to kill, and it is then sin not to kill, as in the case of Saul with the Amalekites; and righteousness to kill, as in the case of Samuel with Agag, on the same occasion; while when He chooses to command, "Thou shalt not kill," he that even hates his brother becomes a murderer. This simple principle relieves the subject of the world of difficulty that human philosophy has created. It explains, too, how it is that the belief of the gospel is righteousness, and enables us to realise how unutterably out of the right way is the present generation, with all their educated contempt for the promises and the commandments of God.

1 Kings 22:19-23 gives perhaps the most detailed picture of the Heavenly council. God told them His desire- for Ahab to die at Ramoth-Gilead. He then asked which Angel wanted to effect this- "Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead? And one (Angel) said on this manner, and another said on that manner". We thus learn that like us, on hearing God's desire the elohim all have different ways of trying to fulfil it.

One "Spirit" (Angel) suggested that He would put a lying spirit in the mouth of Ahab's prophets, and this was the suggestion chosen and enabled by God. This shows that the Angels do not all automatically know the best way of bringing about God's purpose, and therefore they need to seek His advice and perhaps discuss things amongst themselves first before acting. Note that "all the host of Heaven" were there around the throne of God participating in this decision. And so all the Angels are involved in the decisions God and the Angels make about us. Lk. 15:6 implies the same. The division of the Angels into groups on His right and left is interesting. Why would it be mentioned, if it were insignificant? All the Angels are of God's nature and obedient to Him, there are no sinful Angels. But there are Angels of evil, Angels specifically tasked with bringing evil (see on Ps. 78:49). We think of the Angel called "the destroyer" at Passover time, who was restrained by the Passover Angel from destroying the Israelite firstborn. And so one wonders whether "the destroyer" was one of those on the left hand side, and the Passover Angel one of those on the right hand.

1 Kings 22:21 A spirit God makes His Angels "spirits" (Ps. 104:4), and Angels are in view here. But the word 'spirit' has a wide range of meaning. It can refer to power, but also to the thought which is then expressed through the power of action. The Angel is here called a "spirit" because the idea was to place a thought in the mind or spirit of the false prophets, and thereby Ahab. Came outThis is the same word as in :22 "I will go out". The Angel was as it were demonstrating how he intended acting. And stood before YahwehIt was the true prophets who stood before Yahweh (1 Kings 17:1). The connection is to show that the true prophets were represented by the Angels in the court of heaven, and this Angel was as it were on their side. And said, ‘I will entice him’- Ahab had been persuaded or enticed to do evil by Jezebel, and had enticed or persuaded Jehoshaphat to go to battle. But this was because he had himself been persuaded or enticed by God. 1 Kings 22:22 Yahweh said to him, ‘How?’ He said, ‘I will go out and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets’. He said, ‘You will entice him, and will also prevailGod deceived prophets to speak things in His Name which were actually false (1 Kings 22:20-22; Ez. 14:9). He chose Israel's delusions by making their idols answer them (Is. 66:3,4). Jeremiah feared God had deceived him (Jer. 20:7)- showing he knew such a thing was possible. Dt. 13:1-3 warns Israel not to believe prophets whose prophecies came true although they taught false doctrines, because they may have been raised up to test their obedience. God deceived Israel by telling them about the peace which would come on Jerusalem in the future Kingdom; they didn't consider the other prophecies which were given at the same time concerning their imminent judgment, and therefore they thought that God was pleased with them and was about to establish the Messianic Kingdom; when actually the very opposite was about to happen (Jer. 4:10). This is why the Bible is confusing to those who aren’t humble to God’s word. Go out and do so’- This describes the Angels being sent out from the court of Heaven to do God’s word. So when we read of God sending lions (2 Kings 17:25,26), sending wild beasts and famine (Lev. 26:22; Ez. 5:17; Dt. 32:24), sending locusts (Joel 2:25), it would seem that Angels are sent forth from God’s throne in order to command animals to obey God’s word. And moreover, He sends an evil spirit between men (Jud. 9:23) and stubborn hearts are also sent from God (Ps. 81:13). The same Angels who are sent to control the animals can also therefore work to give men certain attitudes of mind. 1 Kings 22:23 Now therefore, behold, Yahweh has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and Yahweh has spoken evil concerning youThis was exactly what Micaiah had said before about Ahab, and Ahab intuitively knew that this was coming.

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