By Allan Jenks
It is a sad fact that widespread spiritual deception emanates from behind pulpits today. How may we discern the false ministers? One of the easily distinguishable characteristics is flattery. Daniel prophesied about the last-day deceiving spirit that would be in the mouth of the deceiver. His warnings apply in every age. He will win his followers over by boastings and flatteries.
He shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom, by flatteries" (Daniel 11:21).
… and through his cunning, he shall cause craft(iness) to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peaceable-ness, shall destroy many (Daniel 8:25).
… and such as do wickedly against the covenant, (i.e., disobedient saints) shall he corrupt by flatteries (Daniel 11:32).
Here’s how the world may be won without firing a shot! How both the political and religious worlds can be captured by the Antichrist—not by war, but with fine words; cunningly crafted words of guile and deceit. Flattery is the ‘modus operandi’ of the satanic deceiving spirit!
The Bible calls flattery sin
There’s wickedness inherent in flattery:
A lying tongue hates those it afflicts; and a flattering mouth, works ruin (Proverbs 26:28).
There’s entrapment in flattery:
He that flatters his neighbour, spreads a net for his feet (Proverbs 29:5).
There’s treachery in deliberate flattery:
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth. their inward part is very wickedness. their throat is an open tomb. They flatter with their tongue (Psalm 5:9).
The flatterers were therein Paul's day
I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and stumbling-blocks contrary to the doctrine which you have learned (from me); avoid them … for such don’t serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by smooth words, and flattering speeches, deceive the hearts of the guileless (Romans 16:17-18).
Paul pointed out that this was not the way of God’s true ministers:
For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of impurity (of motive), nor of guile: but as God has allowed us to be put in trust with the gospel, so we speak; not as pleasing men, but pleasing God, who tries our hearts.. "neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know (1 Thessalonians 2:3-5).
The false prophets deceivedan apostate Judah by flattery
Jeremiah preached against them:
Then said I, "Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, neither shall you have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place’." Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets prophesy lies in My name: I did not send them, neither have I commanded them, nor spoken to them: they prophesy to you a false vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart" (Jeremiah 14:13,14).
But flattery has gained a widespread respectability in the church, via the self-esteem’ false gospel!
How will we recognise them?
Like Antichrist, with blasphemous audacity, they’ll use great ego-swelling words both about themselves and about their targets:
He shall speak marvellous (bold, audacious) things (Daniel 11:36).
And a mouth speaking great things (Daniel 7:8).
… a mouth that spoke very great things (Daniel 7:20).
And there was given him a mouth, speaking great things, and blasphemies (Revelation 13:5).
Peter and Jude said of such men:
They speak great swelling words of vanity (2 Peter 2:18).
Their mouths speak great swelling words (Jude 16).
The flatterers will use extravagant seducing words that flatter their victims by making them feel bigger and better about themselves! You only need to read their promotional materials, and then ask yourself this simple question: Who is this material glorifying, God, or man?
If it is glorifying the writer, or another mere man, or yourself, you may know it is the Antichristal big words and flattery.
These satanically-inspired flatterers will offer all-comers great promises from God, that require no humbling of heart; great swelling promises, that require no ensuing cross-bearing. No daily surrender of the will to Christ’s will. No costly following of the Lord. No abandoning of sin.
They will say you can have the living of following Christ, without the dying of following Him, which dying Jesus both commanded and promised.
Most of all, they will never rebuke you for your sin. Yet God said of the false ministers:
If they’d stood in My counsel, and caused my people to hear My words, they would have turned them from their evil way, from the evil of their doings (Jeremiah 23:22).
Are YOU in danger of Antichrist’s seductive flatteries? Here’s a self-test:
1. Are you disobeying God’s commandments knowingly? Daniel said: Such as do wickedly against the covenant, shall he corrupt by flatteries (Daniel 11:32).
2. Do you love being flattered, more than hearing the Bible’s uncomfortable truths about yourself?
3. Do you have the "itching ears" that Paul warned of, and are you gladly hearing these men-pleasers?
4. Do you refuse to be rebuked for your sin, or take offence, when you are?
Daniel was amazed at how successful the spirit of Antichrist would be, even among the visible people of God.
And he shall destroy amazingly, and shall succeed, and accomplish, and shall destroy the mighty, and the holy people (Daniel 8:24).
Are you gladly receiving the flatterer? Will YOU be one of those deceived by them, and eternally lost?