Blindness exacerbated by group choice and group-leader choice — part 4 of a series on blindness and deception
The choices a group / group leader makes can bring the group into even more blindness.
This is Part 4 of a series addressing the questions:
- Are abusers spiritually blind? (Or psychologically blind, which is pretty much the same thing.)
- Are abusers deceived?
- If they are deceived, to what extent have they been deceived by others and to what extent have they deceived themselves?
- Are some abusers brainwashed or controlled or enslaved by others? Are some of them so controlled by people higher up the pyramid of evildoers, that they could be said to be victims themselves?
A certain man in ancient Israel abused his female intimate partner. This man came from the tribe of Levi which meant he was a priest in ancient Israel by virtue of his genetic descent.
God had given solid instructions for how men from the tribe of Levi should behave to fulfill their duties rightly as priests for God’s people. What did this man do? He disregarded all God’s instructions and precepts.
He tracked down his female intimate partner after she had fled from him. He lied and manipulated to get her back into his clutches. Then he set her up to be gang raped by a mob of Israelite men who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. After that gang of men had ravaged her, the evil man cut her body up into pieces. Then he manipulated the other eleven tribes of Israel to make war against not only the rapists, but the whole tribe of Benjamin.
Longtime readers of this blog will be already familiar with this video I made about this story, but I’m putting it here for newer readers. Please note: I mention Stockholm Syndrome in the video because I made the video prior to finding out that the term Stockholm Syndrome was invented to silence an indignant young woman.
One clever, crafty, devious, evil man incited a civil war in the nation of Israel.
He had the status of ‘religious leader’ in ancient Israel. Single-handedly he created a civil war: tribe against tribe, brothers fighting brothers, thousands killed. No justice for the victim. No punishment for the evil man who had set up and manipulated the whole thing.
It’s a powerful story about how one evil leader can do so much damage because there are so many foolish, blind, wilfully blind, prideful, arrogant, unthinking people (sheep-people) who are easily led by an evil crafty, devious person.
Christians are called sheep for good reason
God is the good shepherd and seeks out the lost sheep. But sheep are also pretty dumb animals. They follow each other. They don’t analyse or assess danger very well. They prefer to go along with the mob, the flock.
A mob of sheep can be safely guided by a farmer and one or two good sheep dogs. But if the farmer or the dogs are malicious or foolish or lazy or sick, the mob will run into danger and be trapped, or destroyed by fierce predators.
Animal sheep can be trapped. Human sheep can be blinded and deceived…and trapped.
The demonised slave-girl whom Paul and Silas encountered in Acts 16 was owned by her masters. I imagine that not only was she blinded under influence of the demon, she was trapped by the man and woman who made money off of her. They would have done their best to hunt her down if she tried to escape.
And it happened as we went to prayer that a certain girl possessed with a spirit that prophesied met us, who brought her masters much income by prophesying. She followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, who show to us the way of salvation! And she did this many days. But Paul, not pleased, turned about and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out the same hour.
And when her master and mistress saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas and drew them into the marketplace to the authorities, and brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men are troubling our city. They are Jews, and preach customs that are not lawful for us to receive nor to observe, seeing we are Romans.
The girl was a slave: her master and mistress owned her. They had probably paid money to buy her. Or they might have been picked her up from the rubbish dump when she was a baby: many unwanted infants, especially girls, were dumped on rubbish dumps in those days. That man and woman were ‘higher up the pyramid of evildoers’ than the girl herself.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to that girl. But it’s possible that after the demon was cast out of her she sought out Lydia, Timothy and other believers – or the believers sought her out and explained the gospel to her. Maybe she was thus converted. We do not know, but it’s worth opening our minds to the possibility rather than just giving her no further thought because she disappears from the narrative in Acts.
Jesus warned his disciples to beware of the teaching of hypocritical religious leaders
The Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ day were wrongly interpreting scripture to invent laws that laid heavy burdens on the people of God. They were deceiving the people of God to oppress, mislead and intimidate them.
Jesus said to them, Take heed, and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. … Then they understood that he was not telling them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
As there gathered together an innumerable multitude of people (insomuch that they trod on one another), he began and said to his disciples, First of all, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Paul prophesied about false leaders rising up in the church:
Acts 20:17-18; 25-31
from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and summoned the elders of the congregation. And when they had come to him, he said to them … I call you as witnesses this same day, that I am clear of the blood of all men. For I have kept nothing back, but have spoken to you all the counsel of God.
Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock whereof the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the congregation of God, which he has purchased with his blood.
For I am sure of this, that after my departing, grievous wolves will enter in among you, who will not spare the flock. Moreover, from among your own selves men will rise up speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them. Therefore awake, and remember that for the space of three years I did not cease to warn every one of you, both night and day, with tears.
I honestly don’t know why seasoned Christian victim-advocates keep expressing shock when church leaders mistreat victims of abuse. God warned us about arrogant and wolfish leaders becoming prevalent in the visible church: their prevalence is one of the main reasons why it’s so hard to get justice for abuse in the church. Yes, they often present as ‘angels of light’ – but God’s word gives us plenty of guidance about how to discern evildoers in the church. We are to be fruit-inspectors.
We must bear in mind that blind or partially blind sheep are the other side of that coin. Every blind sheep is who is of the age of accountability has individually made his or her choice to follow the leaders.
Paul told the Ephesian elders: “Awake!” Most professing Christians today need to wake up! The evildoers have infiltrated the flock, blinded most of the sheep, fleeced the flock and ravaged the most vulnerable.
Not for nothing did Jesus say, “When the Son of man comes, do you suppose he will find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)
Peter warned about false leaders in the church and blind / blinded sheep following them:
2 Peter 2:1-3, 10-15
There were false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will slyly bring in damnable sects, even denying the Lord who has bought them, and bring upon themselves swift damnation. And many will follow their damnable ways, by which the way of truth will be ill spoken of. And through covetousness they will with feigned words make merchandise of you. Their judgment is not far off, and their damnation sleeps not.
…[they] walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise authority. Presumptuous they are, and stubborn … like brute beasts by nature born to be captured and destroyed, [they] speak evil of that which they do not understand, and shall perish through their own destruction, and receive the reward of unrighteousness.
They count it pleasure to live deliciously for a season. Spots they are, and vileness, living at pleasure, and in deceptive ways feasting with you, having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease to sin, beguiling unstable souls. Hearts they have exercised with covetousness. They are cursed children, and have forsaken the right way, and have gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the reward of unrighteousness …
These are wells without water, and clouds carried about by a tempest, for whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever. For when they have spoken the swelling words of vanity, they beguile with wantonness through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped, but now are wrapped in errors. They promise them liberty, and are themselves the bond-servants of corruption. For by whomever a person is overcome, to him he is in bondage.
For if, after they have escaped from the corruption of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and of the Saviour Jesus Christ, they are yet tangled again in it and overcome, then is the latter end worse with them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment given to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb: The dog is turned to his vomit again, and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.
Notes from Barb:
they beguile unstable souls…they beguile with wantonness through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped, but now are wrapped in errors. Unstable believers. Those who are laden with sins and easily led astray. People who naively believe what church leaders tell them. Believers who are not diligent to weigh what they are hearing against the whole counsel of God’s word.
2 Tim 3:1-6
This understand: in the last days, perilous times will come. For men will be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, cursed speakers, disobedient to father and mother, unthankful, unholy, unkind, truce breakers, stubborn, false accusers, dissolute, fierce, despisers of those who are good, traitors, wilful, high-minded, greedy for pleasures more than lovers of God, having a similitude of godly living, but who have denied the power thereof – and from such, turn away.
[v 6] Of this sort are those who enter into houses and bring into bondage women laden with sin, which women are led by divers desires and lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
At the bottom of this post you can find three articles I’ve written about verse 6 — women led by divers desires and lusts, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Jesus made a man who was born blind able to see
(read the full story in John 9)
The people who had previously known the man as a blind man were divided in their opinions: was this the man who had been blind from birth, or was it another man? They brought the man to the Pharisees to decide the question. Big mistake! Sheep asking the hypocritical oppressive religious leaders to make a judgement call!
The Pharisees interrogated the man. Not satisfied with his answers, they interrogated the father and mother of the man. The father and mother passed the ball back to the healed man: they feared the Pharisees, they didn’t want to be excommunicated out of the synagogue.
Fear of fighting on the front line. Fear of being a proactive warrior for Christ by taking a public stand against the hypocritical leaders in the church. Fear of being cast out of the institutional church because it is tolerably comfortable (so long as the hypocritical leaders are not directly targeting you).
How many professing Christians have given in to that temptation?
The Pharisees interrogated the man again, the man who had been born blind but had been healed by Jesus. They berated him. Then they cast him out. They excommunicated him.
Jesus heard that they had excommunicated the man, and as soon as he found him, he said to him, Do you believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is it, Lord, so that I can believe on him? And Jesus said to him, You have seen him, and he it is who talks with you.
And he said, Lord, I believe! and worshipped him.
Jesus said, I have come for judgment into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and those who see, may be made blind.
And some of the Pharisees who were with him heard these words and said to him, Are we then blind? Jesus said to them, If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remains.
The Pharisees said “We see!” — But they did not see!
They were puffed up and arrogant. They were hypocrites. They were oppressing and misleading people. They were intentionally misleading people who wanted to love and follow God. They were self-serving covetous hypocrites. Psychopaths, narcissists — call them what you will. They were evil. They were in bondage to Satan. The god of this world had blinded them AND they had chosen to be blind by continually suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. They resisted the admonishments which Jesus gave them. They followed and were obedient to the doctrines of demons.
Jesus told them: “Your sin remains.”
They were under the wrath of God because they were resisting admonishment / rebuke / correction. They would suffer eternal conscious torment for following the broad way rather than the narrow way.
Eternal torment: where “the worm does not die and the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:41-48). Those are Jesus’ words, not mine. If you have objections, take it up with Jesus!
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack to fulfill his promise, as some count slackness, but is patient toward us, and would have no one lost, but would receive all to repentance.
Jesus feels both angry and mournful about the blindness of people’s hearts
And he entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand. And they watched him to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath day, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, Arise, and stand in the midst. And he said to them, Is it lawful to do a good deed on the Sabbath days, or an evil deed? To save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.
And he looked round about on them angrily, mourning the blindness of their hearts, and said to the man, Stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored fully as whole as the other.
Then the Pharisees departed, and straightaway assembled a council with Herod’s men against him, so that they might destroy him.
Now, dear readers, let me turn this over to you
What are your thoughts about all this? Do these scriptures bring up any questions or reflections or insights you’d like to share with us?
Bible versions used in this series
Other parts in this series
Part 2: Blindness from original sin
Part 4: is this post
Part 6: Blindness as a judgment from God
For further study on 2 Timothy 3:6