Unforgivable or Damned
By dreams, Visions & Miracles
When Supernatural Signs Contradict Biblical Truth
No one familiar with the Bible should be surprised when supernatural revelation confirmed by undeniable miracles contradicts the holy Word of God or declares a genuine Christian to be spiritually damned, unforgivable or apostate. It could happen to you at any moment. Are you prepared for it?
I love plunging headlong into topics but this time I see the need to provide some perspective and explain why this topic is so important to everyone.
In the webpages listed at Feeling Condemned? There’s Hope! you will find overwhelming biblical and theological proof that God longs to forgive, and that there is no one alive who cannot be cleansed from all sin, provided he or she sincerely seeks it through faith that by his sacrificial death Christ has paid the full penalty for humanity’s sin.
My writings on this matter are so extensive because year after year after year I was driven to extremes to keep piling higher and higher this mountain of proof because of deep compassion for people who seemed to need ridiculous quantities of proof. Literally hundreds of people kept e-mailing me out of what turned out to be an irrational, insatiable yearning for more and more proof. Like them, I was under the illusion that they needed more facts, more Scriptures, more convincing arguments to find the peace and assurance they so desperately craved. Finally, I discovered to my amazement that their lack of peace had nothing to do with a deficiency in theological knowledge or spiritual experience but was the product of an anxiety disorder (often undiagnosed) that keeps gnawing away inside them, making them feel guilty and anxious and uncertain, no matter how much divine reassurance they receive.
Anxiety feels like a guilty conscience and acts like a false alarm screaming that something is dangerously wrong when, in fact, all is well. This insidious affliction keeps its victims feeling oppressively guilty, thus incessantly tempting them to believe their intense feelings, rather than believe God’s promises. Starting with Scrupulosity: Worried about Salvation & Severe Guilt Feelings, I have written many webpages specifically to help these people understand the nature of their affliction and learn how to live with it.
This webpage, however, is for another group of people: those whose faith in the power of Christ to forgive every sin is undermined by powerfully supernatural indications that they are damned. These dear people have been attacked by terrifyingly convincing dreams and visions, and/or signs that are so supernatural that they are sorely tempted to presume the signs are of divine origin.
This webpage is not just for these people, however, but for us all, because any of us at any moment could suffer such an attack and, without the information provided here, we would be highly vulnerable to deception.
Although dreams may sometimes be supernatural, they are more commonly the mind reacting to fears and anxieties. For example, after a scary car accident, one is likely to have many disturbing dreams about being in car accidents. Obviously, these are not warnings from God but a natural response to an upsetting experience. This link between dreams and anxiety makes those suffering from an anxiety disorder especially likely to suffer alarming dreams that can seem to confirm their worst fears. Such dreams can be natural and yet so vivid and terrifying as to seem supernatural. In this webpage, however, we will focus on dreams, visions and signs that are genuinely supernatural.
Only God is good (Mark 10:18). Only he is truth. Only he is love. While he alone is all-powerful, he is not the only source of supernatural power. There are evil supernatural beings who, by their very nature, are opposed to God and play dirty, seeking to seduce and deceive those who serve God. Evil spirits are quite capable of manufacturing signs and wonders. The Word of God leaves us in no doubt about the power of supernaturally deceptive signs:
Mark 13:22 For there will arise false christs and false prophets, and will show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones.
2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 even he whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deception of wickedness for those who are being lost . . .
Acts 8:9-11 But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one, to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that great power of God.” They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries.
Revelation 13:3 One of his heads looked like it had been wounded fatally. His fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled at the beast.
Revelation 13:12-14 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people. He deceives my own people who dwell on the earth. . . .
Revelation 19:20 . . . the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. . . .
No wonder John admonished those he loved:
1 John 4:1 Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God . . .
Likewise, we read:
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 Don’t despise prophesies. Test all things. . . . (Emphasis mine.)
Matthew 7:15, 22-23 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. . . . Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’ Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.’ (Emphasis mine.)
Matthew 24:11 Many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray.
2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, as false teachers will also be among you . . .
All of these divine warnings line up with even more ancient warnings. Read carefully:
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods” (which you have not known) “and let us serve them”; you shall not listen to the words of that prophet, or to that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God, fear him, keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and you shall serve him, and cling to him. That prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death, because he has spoken rebellion against the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to draw you aside out of the way which the Lord your God commanded you to walk in. So you shall remove the evil from among you.
Here the Almighty emphatically declares that false prophecies confirmed by dreams and supernatural signs could actually come to pass and yet must be totally rejected.
It is a test: will we trust in the integrity of Almighty God, who cannot lie (Numbers 23:19), or will we believe Satan, the father of lies (John 8:44), simply because the evil deceiver has a speck of supernatural power? Will we pursue integrity or power; common truth or spectacular lies? Will we stubbornly believe in the love of God and the forgiving power of the cross or cave in to satanically inspired fear?
We can even travel back further in time to Pharaoh’s court, when divine miracles performed through Moses were matched by the occult powers of the magicians. Yes, the true God eventually allowed his power to be proved stronger, but take very seriously this account:
Exodus 7:10-13; 20-22; 8:6-7 . . . Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers. They also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing with their enchantments. For they each cast down their rods, and they became serpents . . . Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen . . . Moses . . . lifted up the rod, and struck the waters that were in the river . . . and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. . . . The magicians of Egypt did the same thing with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them . . . Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did the same thing with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.
When Pharaoh saw the power of the magicians matching that of the true God, his heart hardened against God. Will we be so foolish as to harden our hearts against what the God of the Bible declares to be true, just because of supernatural manifestations?
The power of false prophets and dreams and so on is confirmed throughout Scripture. For example:
Jeremiah 23:25-26 I have heard what the prophets have said, who prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, even the prophets of the deceit of their own heart?
Jeremiah 29:8-9 . . . Don’t let your prophets who are among you, and your diviners, deceive you; neither listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in my name: I have not sent them, says the Lord.
Ezekiel 13:2-3, 22-23 Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart . . . Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! . . . Because with lies you have grieved the heart of the righteous, whom I have not made sad . . . Therefore you shall no more see false visions, nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand; and you shall know that I am the Lord.
Zechariah 10:2 For the teraphim [idols] have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie; and they have told false dreams. They comfort in vain. Therefore they go their way like sheep. They are oppressed, because there is no shepherd.
Zechariah 13:4 It will happen in that day, that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision, when he prophesies; neither will they wear a hairy mantle to deceive
Over and over the holy Word of God insists that we must cling to the full biblical revelation of God and not let ourselves be duped by supernaturally convincing signs and visions. In the words of the great apostle, “But even though we [apostles of God] , or an angel from heaven, should preach to you any “good news” other than that which we preached to you, let him be cursed” (Galatians 1:8). This does not mean that preaching another gospel is unforgivable – before his conversion, Paul himself taught, and even did all he could to violently enforce, doctrines that were contrary to the gospel – but it means we are to take no notice of anything that contracts biblical revelation, even if it were to come from an angel from heaven or a revered preacher.
And this is no wonder, since “Satan masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Clearly just because something is supernatural does not mean that we should accept it as truth.
Note all the supernatural elements in the following:
Matthew 3:16-4:11 Jesus, when he was baptized . . . the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. . . . The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” . . . Then the devil took him into the holy city. He set him on the pinnacle of the temple . . . Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. . . . Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and served him.
Do you find it as staggering as I do, that God’s Chosen was somehow physically propelled by the devil both to the top of the temple and later to “an exceedingly high mountain”? What I find even more astonishing than the devil physically moving the eternal Son of God is that what Jesus was shown on the mountain was more than physical. From no mountain in the world could anyone see “all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory”. Somehow, the devil not only moved Christ to the exact geographical point where he wanted him, but the devil violated the holy mind of the Son of God and gave him a supernatural vision of worldly kingdoms.
If even the Lord of lords could be subjected to satanic, supernatural signs and visions, it is clear that signs and visions must never be automatically accepted as being from God. Like our Leader, we must refuse to be swayed by them but must stubbornly cling to Scripture, just as Jesus, in response to each of the three powerfully persuasive temptations, had to slice through the deception by declaring, “It is written . . .” The devil, knowing the exalted position Jesus gave to Scripture, even tried to confuse and deceive Jesus by quoting from the Bible (Matthew 4:6). Jesus’ response was the same as usual: “Again, it is written . . .” (Matthew 4:7).
Over and over Scripture says such things as:
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Hebrews 13:5 . . . for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”
Like all Scriptures, these remain true no matter how many signs and wonders contradict it. Anything contradicting such Scriptures must be rejected as insidious lies, no matter how many out-of-body experiences you have, or how many million angels in luminescent nighties sing it, or how often your neighbors are woken by a booming voice thundering it to you, or how many psychedelic dreams you have, or how many times your donkey speaks to you, or how many other spectacular miracles confirm the contradiction, or how many prophets from God declare it.
To ask God to confirm that you are forgiven after you have sincerely confessed your sin and sought forgiveness through Jesus is a gross insult to God. It is implying that the Holy One can lie and it is questioning the power of the cross to forgive all sin. Even that blasphemy will be forgiven the instant we seek it but do not imagine that God will concede that his Word is inadequate and that he might lie and so give you a sign that this time he is not lying.
But What If . . .
Elsewhere in this long series of webpages I have proved that we are called to live by faith, not feelings and that we must not look to feelings as a source of spiritual truth. In this webpage, I have proved from the Word of God that we must not use dreams, visions, miracles or any other supernatural sign as a source of spiritual truth. The webpages listed at Feeling Condemned? There’s Hope! are filled with Scriptures affirming that no one who puts his faith in Jesus is excluded from salvation and for all who put their faith in him there is nothing that is unforgivable. If feelings or the supernatural do not line up with the Word of God, they must be rejected, no matter how powerfully convincing they seem. What, however, should we do if we meet a Scripture that seems to condemn us and to undermine faith in the forgiving power of the cross? In the next webpage, we will face this issue head-on.
Next Webpage: Condemned by the Bible? Afraid of God’s Word
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