Interpreted in this context, the strong man represents Satan.
The Thursday night prayer group that I am a part of is in a year's long study of the strong man. The strong man manifests himself as various demonic spirits one of which is the Spirit of Error. The Spirit of Error then manifest itself in the following ways; Error, Unsubmissive, False Doctrines, Unteachable, Servant of Corruption, Contentions, Defensive/Argumentative, New-Age Movement
The leader of out prayer group assigned me to study and report on the Spirit of Error. This is part one of that report.
Unteachable - unable to be taught. As mentioned in the Bible the unteachable are those who refuse to listen.
1 4:6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
John had a realistic concern about Christians being deceived, for he knew the spirit of error as opposed to the spirit of truth. If that reality escapes our notice, we are in trouble today so here’s what he said;
1 John 4:1-6 NIV Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
How important is it to “not believe but test” the spirits? If you have ever watched religious television programs, you know it is common for a preacher to tell his audience that he has the Holy Spirit, or that God personally appeared to him and told him to do or say certain things. Apart from the scriptures and not subject to any verification, can you be satisfied with the man or woman who simply says he or she has the Spirit? Consider what the apostle John says here: “Don’t believe all people who say they have the Spirit.”
Let me mention several fields of human activity: Politics, medicine, science, history, computers… Can you believe everything you hear? What about religion? Can you believe everything you hear? If you listen to the various religious messages in the world today, you will soon discover that messages aconflict witheach other. All that we hear simply cannot be the truth.
2 Timothy 4:1-4 NIV In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Remember at the beginning I said that the unteachable are those who refuse to listen. Let me give you some words that can be interchangeable with the word unteachable scorners, scoffers, and mockers .
The Bible speaks often of scorners, scoffers, and mockers. Those English words are often used interchangeably, especially in the book of Proverbs, as translations of the Hebrew word luts. Scorners are unteachable because they refuse to listen.
Proverbs 9:8 NIV Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Proverbs 13:1 NIV A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
Proverbs 15:12 NIV Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.
Proverbs 15:12 says it can be a waste of time and effort to show a scornor, mocker and unteachable person, the error of his ways.
Here’s something that Jesus said;
Matthew 7:6 NKJV “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
Matthew 7:6 is possibly the hardest saying of Jesus ever recorded. Jesus Christ, who came in love to give his life as a ransom for many, is quoted as calling some of these people “dogs” and “swine.” If you or I used such words in addressing others, people would be shocked by our attitude, and those addressed would feel insulted and offended.
Jesus went on to say that such people are unworthy of God’s holy truths and that we are wasting our time trying to persuade them. In fact, he said that if we persist in our efforts in trying to win such people, we are running the risk of being assaulted and torn to shreds by the very ones we are trying to help.
Yet in this particular statement ““Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces”, Jesus had in mind religious people who show no real interest in him and who, in fact, are openly hostile toward him and do everything to oppose him.
Mark 3:1-6 NKJV And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.” Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
Here's another one
Matthew 9:10-13 NKJV Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
He knew that they had no desire to really hear what He had to say and that they were just looking for a way to trick or discredit Him so He really ignored them.
He refused to cast his pearls before swine.
There will always be those to whom the preaching of the cross of Christ is foolishness.
I Corinthians 1:18 NKJV For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
These people respond to an offer of God’s grace with hate and hostility. It is to this group that Jesus restricts our sharing of the truth of the gospel. In fact, the implication is that to disobey his restriction is to do more harm than good.
There will always be those who say in words and attitude, “Don’t confuse me with the facts; my mind is made up!” After you have done your best to share with others the truth of the gospel and that truth is neither welcome nor accepted, then, in essence, Jesus said, you have done all you can do.
Ezekiel 3:17-19 (NLT)17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately.18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths.19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.
Jesus said that if we choose to ignore his command, we run the risk that those who reject him will “turn and tear [us] to pieces” (NIV). Christian history verifies this truth. Acts 7:51–60 recounts the story of Stephen, who steadfastly and honestly proclaimed the truths of Christ. He laid the guilt of people at their feet where it belonged. But the result was that he lost his life.
John the Baptist, in Mark 6, confronted Herod with his sin. He was speaking the truth to a man who desperately needed to hear it, but the result was that John the Baptist lost his head and did not convert Herod.
Jesus Christ at his trial (Matt. 26:59–68) held his peace for quite some time. Then, when asked if he was the Son of God, he replied, “Yes, it is as you say” (v. 64 NIV). The result was that the high priest tore his clothes, accused Jesus of blaspheming, and pronounced him worthy of death. Those in the crowd joined in with this spirit of hostility by spitting in Jesus’ face and hitting him.
Throughout the first epistle of John, it is clear that the apostle is concerned about Christians being deceived. He wrote with urgency to warn them about antichrists in chapter two.
1 John 2:22 NIV Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.
1 John 3:7 NIV Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
Proverbs 10:17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 13:18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
Proverbs 15:10, 12, 32 NIV Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die. Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise. Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.
Sometimes when you’re sharing with people, they’ll turn on you. And throwing “your pearls to pigs” means giving something valuable to someone who doesn’t care.
Pigs like to live in slop and filth. That’s how pigs roll. It’s where they’re comfortable. So, if you give some pearls to a pig, the pig isn’t going to appreciate those pearls. Now, if you give that pig some fresh garbage, you’ll have one happy pig. In the same way.