Chapter 1 The Great Deception 7
Chapter 2 Freedom from Deception 19
Chapter 3 Unseen Chains 28
Chapter 4 Imprisoned by the Flesh 40
Chapter 5 Why Do You Stay? 45
Chapter 6 The devil’s Prison Guards 54
Chapter 7 Signs You Are a Prisoner 62
Chapter 8 The Costs of Imprisonment 71
Chapter 9 Bondage to Ways That Seem Right 78
Chapter 10 Hindrances to Gaining Freedom 89
Chapter 11 How Do You Escape? 95
Chapter 12 The Costs of Freedom 101
Chapter 13 The Blessings of Freedom 109
Chapter 14 Becoming a Soldier of Jesus Christ 120
Chapter 15 Final Thoughts 131
Matthew 25:29 says, For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. When you already have truth, more will be given to you.
Reading this book shows that you are searching for more truth from God. As you read, you will find revelation that has the potential to dramatically change your spiritual life. Some truths may not be known to you, and others may be difficult to receive because they lead to conviction.
If your heart is open, the Holy Spirit will use this book to bring the revelation you need. The opportunity for great spiritual growth is presented in these pages.
The Gilted Prison
Gilted and gilded have the same basic meaning. According to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, gild is defined as, 1. (a) to overlay with gold, either in leaf or powder, or in amalgam with quick silver. (b) to coat with a gold color; to cause to appear like gold. 2. to illuminate; to brighten; to render bright. 3. to make (something) seem more attractive or valuable than it is.
Gilt as an adjective means, overlaid with gold leaf or a thin coating of gold; illuminated, adorned; gold colored. Gilt as a noun means, 1. Gold or an imitation of gold laid on the surface of a thing; gilding. 2. money. The Holy Spirit chose to use the word gilted in this book.
Prison is defined as, 1. a place where persons are confined. 2. a building, usually with cells, where convicted criminals to be confined or accused persons are held awaiting trial; a jail. In this book, I focus on the first part of the definition: a place where persons are confined.
Prisoner means, 1. one who is confined in a prison. 2. a person under arrest or in custody, whether in prison or not; as, a prisoner at the bar of a court. 3. a captive; one taken by an enemy in war. 4. one whose liberty is restrained in any way; as, a prisoner of love.
There is an ongoing battle between the kingdom of darkness and God’s Kingdom of light. The devil constantly looks for ways to defeat God’s children by leading them into darkness. Many believers have been imprisoned by his lies and deceptions. Some of them are aware of their captivity, while others are bound or restrained by him without their knowledge.
Gilted prisons are disguised by satan to restrict the freedom of God’s children. These prisons are subtle, and they always minister to the comforts of the flesh. They appeal to man’s desire to have confidence in himself. Most of the time, believers do not recognize them as prisons.
Many churches and denominations have added deceptive doctrines to their tenets of faith. These doctrines appear to be right and may be based on valid scriptures, but they are actually false because they include lies and half-truths. They lead to conclusions that are contrary to the rightly divided Word of God. These false doctrines keep believers in gilted prisons.
You can be a prisoner of satan in your personal life, home and family, business, and church. It is important to become free from gilted prisons because they cause you to suffer loss in your spiritual life both now and in eternity.
The devil’s Goal
The enemy operates in cunning ways to prevent God’s children from receiving the fullness of their inheritance. The devil is not ignorant of God’s works. He is aware of God’s plans for His children and uses specific, deceptive strategies to hinder them.
The primary purpose of this book is to expose the tactics satan uses to defeat believers. It explains how to be completely free from satan’s temptations, deceptions, and influences. It is specifically written for those who are committed to following the Lord but have struggled for years because they are trapped in satan’s gilted prisons.
You need to understand how the enemy works and be aware of the ways satan may be imprisoning you. His imprisonment includes both blatant rebellion and subtle deceptions.
You may have allowed rebellion to control you. If this is true, you know you need to repent. You might also be deceived and not realize you have been taken captive by satan’s tactics and kept in gilted prisons.
John 8:32 says, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Obviously, if you need to become free, you are in some type of bondage. The Lord wants you to be free from all of satan’s traps, including those that have been gilted to disguise their true nature.
It is a blessing to be aware of satan’s work in your life because you can then be freed from his influence when you repent. I encourage you to seek the Lord for the revelation you need to be set free. Ask Him to expose the prisons that entrap you.
The revelation in this book is not intended to minister condemnation in any way. It is not written to bring judgment on the Body of Christ but rather to judge the works of the devil.
As you humble yourself before the Lord, the Holy Spirit will reveal and confirm the truths in this book. He will give you ears to hear if you want to be free.
1 Corinthians 2:9 says, But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Your spiritual inheritance is far greater than anything you can imagine.
You will receive spiritual blessings in eternity, but many benefits of your inheritance are available now. You can live in God’s Kingdom and enjoy fellowship with Him. The Holy Spirit will equip and prepare you to be a vessel of honor in God’s Kingdom (2 Timothy 2:21). You can become an effective soldier in the army of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3-4).
The devil wants to steal your inheritance. John 10:10a explains his goals . The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. He uses many tactics to rob you of the blessings God has for you. If you have suffered spiritual loss and destruction in any way, you are a victim of satan’s work.
The devil’s only goal is to bring as much destruction in your life as possible. He wants to steal the blessings of your inheritance in this life as well as rob you of eternal benefits. He ministers to your flesh to keep you from walking in the Spirit where God’s blessings reside. He provides excuses for the lack of spiritual victory in your life.
Hindrances: Rebellion or Deception
You may be aware that satan’s work has kept you from enjoying the benefits of your salvation, but you do not know how to get victory him. You might also be bound and hindered by satan without realizing it. Either way, you suffer spiritual loss because satan has access.
The devil has infiltrated the church with lies disguised as truth, and many believers have released their faith into his deceptions. The prisons identified in this book are the result of satan’s cunning craftiness to deceive believers with wrong beliefs that appear to be right. Other prisons are the result of carnality, rebellion, and blatant disobedience to God.
Matthew 7:13-14 says, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
When satan prevents you from walking through the strait gate and on the narrow way, you are already on your way to spiritual destruction. If he can separate you from fellowship with the Lord because you follow the broad way, he has succeeded in stealing spiritual life from you.
If you can be imprisoned by lusts of the flesh or addictions, satan will use those methods. If you will not yield to that type of imprisonment and are determined to walk with God, satan will seduce you with ways that seem to be right.
You may have no intention of being deceived. You do not yield to the lusts of the flesh, nor are you consciously rebellious. Yet you know you are not growing spiritually as you should. You may be confused and frustrated because you seem to obey the rules, but your daily life proves you are not spiritual .
When you submit to ways that appear to be right, satan makes those methods comfortable. He convinces you that you are righteous when you are actually deceived. Then you have no desire to change. If this describes your spiritual life, you are held captive in satan’s gilted prison.
Open Your Heart
This book will help you see the devil’s gilted prisons as well as how to be rescued from them. You may be deceived by satan without your knowledge, so I encourage you to read with an open heart.
Ask the Lord if you are suffering loss in God’s Kingdom because you are imprisoned. Ask Him to open your eyes to see the satanic prisons that hold you captive.
You do not have to be a prisoner of the devil. You can be completely free to serve the Lord, live in the Spirit, and become who God wants you to be.
1 Corinthians 2:9
2 Timothy 2:21
2 Timothy 2:3-4
The devil has convinced ministries, churches, and professing Christians that doing good works and outward appearances of religiousness are signs of being right with God. This false belief is common around the world. It did not originate in this generation. It has existed for hundreds of years.
Many believers also assume that getting saved in the past guarantees they automatically live in the Spirit, regardless of the fruit they produce. However, many scriptures contradict this false assumption.
Hypocrisy: The Sin of the Pharisees
In Matthew 23:2-5a, Jesus said this about the Pharisees, … The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men.
John 8:42-44a says, Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
The Pharisees obeyed the letter of the Law, and they appeared to be more righteous than others. However, they did religious works to be seen by men. They did not understand who Jesus was because God was not their Father. Even though they appeared to be righteous, their father was the devil.
In Matthew 23:27-31, Jesus gave this warning: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything impure. Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, pretenders (hypocrites)! For you build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, Saying, If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have aided them in shedding the blood of the prophets. Thus you are testifying against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets (AMPC).
Stop for a few moments and meditate on these scriptures. Those who were considered the most religious during Jesus’ time on earth appeared to be just and upright. But on the inside, they were filled with pretense, lawlessness, and iniquity. Jesus called them pretenders and hypocrites.
In these scriptures, a hypocrite is defined as, an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. (figuratively) a dissembler (“hypocrite”):—hypocrite (G5273). Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a hypocrite as, One who feigns (pretends) to be what he is not; one who has the form of godliness without the power, or who assumes an appearance of piety and virtue, when he is destitute of true religion.
A dissembler is, One who dissembles; a hypocrite; one who conceals his opinions or dispositions under a false appearance. The Pharisees acted as if they were righteous. They hid who they really were: followers of their father, the devil. He deceived them to the point that they believed they were righteous, but Jesus called them blind leaders of the blind (Matthew 15:14).
Hypocrisy in the Church
Hypocrisy was evident in religious people during Jesus’ time on earth, and it continues to run rampant in today’s churches. Many people profess to be Christians and have an outward appearance of righteousness. They say the right words and use correct religious phrases.
They study the Word of God and can quote many scriptures. They are familiar with the teachings in the Bible and often have vast religious knowledge. Some are Bible teachers or ministers, just as the scribes and Pharisees were.
The problem with such believers is that they follow their own plans and personal agendas while pretending to obey Jesus Christ. Their personal desires and the lusts of their flesh control them. They are unrepentant in their hearts, often because they believe they are right.
Their hypocrisy is obvious when you see their behavior away from church. They may act religious, but they are often critical and judgmental toward other believers who are not as spiritual as they are. They lack grace and mercy.
In their personal lives, the fruit of the Spirit is not evident, especially when they are under pressure or encounter difficult circumstances. They often say the right words, but their actions are the opposite of what they say.
The devil entices these believers to adorn their sanctuaries, homes, and themselves to appear righteous. Deception causes them to believe they are in right standing with God because their outward appearance looks religious to others.
Jesus calls such believers hypocrites because they are secretly rebellious. They are controlled by self-righteousness, personal opinions, and secret agendas. Their thoughts, motives, and actions are not submitted to the Lord. 1 Samuel 16:7b says, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
God’s definition of the true righteousness found in those who live in fellowship with Him is explained in Matthew 7:20-23. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Please note this verse in particular: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. It is not enough to say the right words or do good works in Jesus’ name. You must do the Father’s will to abide in His Kingdom.
The Broad Way
Matthew 7:13 says, Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it (AMPC). If you follow the doctrines of most believers, you are probably on the broad way.
The greatest appeal of the broad way is that you get to be in control. You do not have to submit to the Lord or ask Him what to do. You can do religious works that seem to be righteous while refusing to humble yourself before God. The broad way is comfortable because it does not require the flesh to die.
Many believers proclaim they follow the Lord, but their lives show that their flesh is in control. They are deceived into believing God is pleased with them, but satan has deceived them. They experience spiritual loss because they are on the broad way.
The fact that many follow a deceptive way should awaken you to the fact that satan has been extremely effective in deceiving believers. Will you follow most believers on the broad way, or will you walk on the narrow way that leads to a deep relationship with your Father?
The Way That Seems Right
Proverbs 14:12 and Proverbs 16:25 proclaim the same truth. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, explains it these scriptures this way, There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death. This is a profound statement and an important warning.
Proverbs 28:26 says, He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. It is foolish to trust your own heart and mind in matters of righteousness. Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Your natural, carnal heart is completely wicked and deceitful. It always leads you the wrong way. Even when you want to be righteous, your old nature will lead you in ways that appear to be right but lead to death.
Who would present a way to God’s children that seems right but ends in death? God would certainly not do that. If you want to serve Him, you would not deliberately or consciously do that to yourself. The devil is the only one whose goal is to lead you to spiritual death.
The way that appears to be right is a favorite strategy of the enemy. He has deceived many believers throughout history by leading them in ways that have appeared to be good or religious but are not righteous.
The church as a whole has been led astray by this type of deception. God warns believers about the way that seems right because this method of deception is the most dangerous trap for believers .
Ministers of the Angel of Light
The devil often communicates with believers as an angel of light by speaking words that seem to be from God but are not. To this end, he uses ministers who appear to be righteous but preach doctrines that are filled with deception.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 says, For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
In these scriptures, the word ministers means, an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess):—deacon, minister, servant (G1249).
This definition includes Christian teachers, pastors, and deacons. The enemy has deceived many church leaders into teaching ways that seem right instead of teaching revelation that comes from the Holy Spirit.
The devil entices ministers to preach without the leading of the Holy Spirit. They decide what to preach and plan church programs from their personal ideas instead of asking the Lord what to say and do. Such ministers are an easy target for deception.
Many of these ministers have no intention of being deceived by satan when he ministers as an angel of light. They may want to preach the truth, but because they use natural reasoning as they search for truth, satan tricks them into believing and preaching lies.
The end of 2 Corinthians 11:15 says, whose end shall be according to their works. It is not enough to say the right words as a Christian leader. If you are not led by the Holy Spirit in your ministry as well as your life, you are an easy target for satan. He will steal your spiritual inheritance, and you will reap the consequences of disobeying God.
How satan Deceives Believers
It has been said that satan will give you a lake of truth to give you a cup of poison. The devil has legal access to your carnal nature, even if you want to be righteous. He is a master at corrupting the rightly divided Word of God with religious lies. This is why it is so important to be led by the Spirit and completely deny your flesh and natural understanding.
The following steps explain how satan deceives you even though you want to walk with the Lord:
1. You seek for truth by reading your Bible, listening to preaching, or reading books by Christian authors.
2. You do these activities from your spiritualized flesh which gives legal access to satan. He ensnares you with doctrines that appear to be true but are false. (Spiritualized flesh is any thought, belief, work, or behavior that appears to be good or religious but originates in your carnal nature.)
3. You find and believe some of the plain scriptures on specific subjects. Then satan adds lies to bring you to conclusions that are either false or incomplete (which are also false).
4. You come to conclusions that may be true, but they are not the rightly divided truth because satan has perverted the information or has added theories to the truth.
5. You may find truths that include specific requirements of you, but the devil persuades you to believe that there are no conditions to receive the benefits of those truths. You believe his false doctrines, so you do not receive the blessings God wants for you.
6. You resist any truth that seems to contradict your misguided conclusions.
Deception is inevitable when you do not submit every thought to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
If you do not allow the Lord to examine your thoughts, you give satan the opportunity to speak half-truths and lies that lead to deception. (For information about your thoughts, read WAKE UP! TIME IS RUNNING OUT, VOLUME II, Chapter 10.)
Do not underestimate satan’s desire to lie to you! He always distorts the truths in God’s Word to lead you to false conclusions. If you do not live in the Spirit and take your thoughts captive to Christ, your carnal thinking and satan’s lies will lead you to deception every time.
Example: The Prosperity Doctrine
Ways that seem right, deceptions, and false doctrines control many believers. One common deception in today’s church is that financial prosperity is an indication of righteousness.
God can certainly bless you financially as you follow Him (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). However, financial benefits do not necessarily mean you are in right standing with God.
Many prosperous churches have ornate buildings and large congregations. Some believe that these outward signs indicate God’s approval. It is important that you do not assume such churches are blessed by God. They may be blessed by Him, but this should not be an automatic assumption.
Ministries that pursue financial gain often produce fruit that indicates God’s will is not their highest goal. They typically focus on what you can get from God rather than how to obey and glorify Him. The leaders appear to be pious, but they have little evidence of being truly spiritual. They do not manifest Christ’s character.
The prosperity doctrine also deceives individuals in regard to their personal finances. Their main spiritual focus is on the ways God will bless them in the natural realm. In fact, they often demand that God bless them financially.
They often become offended at God if their circumstances change and they are no longer prosperous. They are quick to judge those who are not financially prosperous.
Many times they are greedy and selfish, and their main goal is to have financial success. They use God’s name for personal gain.
You can lie to yourself and others, but you cannot deceive God. He knows what is in your heart and your motives for seeking Him.
He knows when your motive is for personal gain rather than obedience because you love Him. Galatians 6:7 says, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11-12, Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Paul was content whether he had an abundance or suffered loss because he prospered in the spiritual realm. His contentment had nothing to do with material benefits in the natural realm or what he possessed. It had to do with his relationship with God.
True prosperity comes from obeying the Lord with a pure heart. When you seek God’s will above all else and trust Him with your whole heart, you are truly blessed. Your natural circumstances are irrelevant.
Are You Deceived?
Perhaps you have already realized that your efforts to follow the Lord have not produced the results you have hoped for. If this is the case, it is likely that satan has deceived you with ways that seem right.
You may be frustrated because you have done many religious works to try to gain God’s approval. You may confess your sins repeatedly and make many fresh starts because you realize you are going the wrong way. Even though you try to do what is right, you ultimately submit to your flesh instead of the Lord.
If this has been normal in your Christian life, you have been seduced by satan’s deceptions. If you have obeyed religious doctrines yet do not enjoy consistent fellowship with the Lord, you are deceived in some way. If you want to be free from satan’s lies, the Lord will show you how and why you are deceived.
You may believe you walk in truth but are resistant to others who share revelation with you. This is another indication that you are deceived. What you believe may be true, but if it does not include all of the scriptures that confirm it as truth, you do not have a complete revelation. (Detailed information on the difference between true and truth can be found in My Sheep Hear My Voice, Chapter 4.)
If what you believe comes from church leadership, traditional doctrines, or personal study without the leading of the Holy Spirit, you will come to conclusions that are not the pure, rightly divided truth.
The devil cannot deceive you with ways that seem right without your cooperation. If you do not abide in Christ but instead rely on natural reasoning and logic, satan will quickly infiltrate your beliefs with false doctrines that appear to be correct.
The Holy Spirit alone reveals truth (John 16:13). As you study the Scriptures or hear preaching, He will show you the truth if you seek Him for revelation. This will stop satan from leading you in ways that seem right.
You may have repented many times over the years because you realized you were not obeying the Lord. When you saw bad fruit manifesting in your life, you probably asked the Lord to forgive you. Perhaps you decided to go the right way but found yourself trapped once again.
Even though you did not suffer total destruction, satan stole the time you could have been on the narrow way. He hindered your spiritual life, and you lost the time you could have spent in fellowship with God.
You did not receive many of the blessings of your spiritual inheritance that you could have enjoyed. The devil neutralized your effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. Ways that seem right imprisoned you without your knowledge.
One way to find out if you are in a spiritual prison or deceived by satan is to try to draw close to the Lord. Manifestations of the flesh will rise up to discourage you from following the narrow way. These obstacles are the bars of the prisons that hold you.
Before you can be completely free, you must first see your imprisonment as it really is. Finding out you are in prison is not negative; it is a blessing! When you realize you are bound, then you can seek the Lord about how to be free.
1 Samuel 16:7b
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
2 Corinthians 10:5