Under a topic tonight, Mariam from endtimespropheticwords had pointed out how Todd Bentley has described the appearance of Jesus, when he has claimed to have seen him, in different manners: Here. In my reply back I noted how Todd has said, quote: “…it was as though He came into this realm and I saw Him as I would imagine Jesus would be…”
Are we to imagine Jesus…and can’t vain imaginations get us into spiritual trouble.? I believe they can cause havoc with one’s spiritual life. The bible tells us to cast down imaginations..( 2 Cor. 10:5)
I came upon an excellent teaching on this topic written by Ed Tarkowski. Its broken up into 3 parts, but I especially want to post parts two and three. If interested you can read part one here: Part 1: The Realities Of God Versus Man’s Imagination.
THE FLOOD AND MAN’S VAIN IMAGINATIONS
In Part 1, we saw that there was one neutral use of the word “imagine.” From here on, we will be hard pressed to find to a positive connotation to the words, “imagine” and “imagination” and their various forms, i.e., imagined, imaginations, etc. For instance, in Genesis 6 we see God observing the wickedness of man,
(Gen 6:5 KJV) And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that EVERY IMAGINATION OF THE THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART WAS ONLY EVIL CONTINUALLY.
This was, of course, right before the Lord called Noah to build the ark, and he called him because “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Man’s thought were not God’s thoughts, and man developed his thoughts about who God was through his imagination.
God then, sent the flood, and only Noah and his family were left to repopulate the earth along with all of the animals, and Noah offered sacrifice to the Lord. In Genesis 8, we read,
(Gen 8:21 KJV) And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; FOR THE IMAGINATION OF MAN’S HEART IS EVIL FROM HIS YOUTH; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
What was the difference between Noah and all who drowned during the flood? I believe we could rightfully say that Noah built his life on what God said and not on the imaginations of his heart. Noah didn’t change what God had said through his imagination or devise a plan to save all humanity, but obeyed God perfectly out of fear of Him, knowing His word alone would stand when put to the test. In other words, Noah REMEMBERED God in his imagination also so he didn’t have to imagine anything about about the greatness of God.
THE TOWER OF BABEL AND MAN’S VAIN IMAGINATIONS
After the earth was repopulated, we read again that man’s imagination got him into trouble with God:
(Gen 11:6 KJV) And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have IMAGINED to do.
God’s word is not a flexible standard and there is no room for developing it through our imaginations. When He speaks it is as a two-edged sword and no imaginative thoughts can dull that sword, though such thoughts can dull the hearing of that word and thus lessen our understanding and obedience to it. Nor is there any reason to develop the presentation of His word through the use of our imaginations. Again, His word in itself is spirit and life to the one who hears it,
(Heb 4:12 KJV) “. . . piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not MANIFEST in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
In the heart are man’s thoughts and out of the structuring of those thoughts comes spiritual plans of action. But when man’s thoughts and actions do not come out of what God has said, God calls them vain imaginations. Many have been imaginative even with the word of God and we now stand in a world of cults, their offshoots, and an apostate “revival.” Why did we have a flood? Why did we have the scrambling of languages at the tower of Babel? Why do we have a drive to make humanity one again as in the time of Babel? Because of man’s imagination exalting itself against the known word of God and pursuing these through agendas and strategies. By their imaginations, they replaced God’s word with what they conjured up in their imagination. But God asks,
(Psa 2:1 KJV) Why do the heathen rage, and the people IMAGINE a vain thing?
(Acts 4:25 KJV) Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people IMAGINE vain things?
VAIN IMAGINATIONS AND DECEIT
How much of the “revival” can be attributed to the true word of God, and how much to vain imaginations? You can’t have both. The “revival” is based on deceit, and Scripture says,
(Psa 38:12 KJV) They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and IMAGINE DECEITS all the day long.
(Prov 12:20 KJV) DECEIT is in the heart of them that IMAGINE EVIL: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.
Have you heard mischievous deceits that come out of the imaginations of some “revivalists”? I have. One recent one was the statement I heard by Benny Hinn when he said something to the effect that those who have opposed the anointing will wish they hadn’t because of the greater power that is being unleashed. He truly believes this is a word from God, but it is nothing but vain imaginations rather than the will of God. Yet Scripture says,
(Zec 7:10 KJV) And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you IMAGINE evil against his brother in your heart.
(Zec 8:17 KJV) And let none of you IMAGINE evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.
(Prov 6:18 KJV) An heart that deviseth wicked IMAGINATIONS, feet that be swift in running to mischief, Yet, our comfort is in the fact that God sees and hears:
(Lam 3:60 KJV) Thou hast seen all their vengeance and all their IMAGINATIONS against me.
(Lam 3:61 KJV) Thou hast heard their reproach, O LORD, and all their IMAGINATIONS against me;
These verse shows that man’s imagination in his fallen condition will come to exalt himself and his imaginings against the Lord.
VAIN IMAGINATIONS AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE
How and why have all those involved in the “revival” come to this place? Because man still has his sinful nature, saved or not, and the “imagination of man’s heart is still evil from his youth,” and, because we are moving into times as in the days of Noah when “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
To have sinful, fallen men living out of their vain imaginations is one thing, but to have men professing to be spiritual men seeing visions and dreams and spewing forth what they believe to be truth, but is really deceit, out of their vain imaginations is another. “New” revelations are vain imaginations and replace the word of God. Spiritual warfare is one example. Read what David said in the Psalms:
(Psa 140:2 KJV) Which IMAGINE mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.
The apostate Church is gathering for war against principalities and powers and all who won’t go along with the agenda.
VAIN IMAGINATIONS AND DRUNKENNESS
Spiritual drunkenness is another example because they didn’t hold to God’s word and tried to quench their own spiritual thirst:
(Deu 29:19 KJV) And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst.
“New” revelations, prophecies and “words from the Lord” have gone out from the “revival” that judgment in the Church is coming through Joel’s Army. This is walking in the imaginations of the heart, where we are judged for not taking part in what “God is doing,” while they bless themselves in the heart because God is blessing them with abundance to bring in the Kingdom of peace. And how would anyone fall for such things? Because the word of God in its true context was forsaken and the vain imaginations of the heart took over to the point that these imaginations quenched their thirst to the point of spiritual drunkenness. When a heart turns away from the word of God, it returns to the vain imaginations of the past, this time with an unbiblical spiritual emphasis:
Deut 30:18 Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood; 19 And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst: 20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.
VAIN IMAGINATIONS AND CHRISTIAN ROCK
I include this here because it has been on my mind quite a bit concerning the Christian Rock being shown on TBN. The last time I watched it, it was like demon-apes jumping around on stage. Have you looked at what is happening to the gospel through kids today? Spiked collars, black makeup, purple and green hair and “Jam With The Lamb” and “Body Piercing Saves The Soul” written across their T-shirts. That’s blasphemy, and its origin is in the vain imaginations of man that upping the beat of worship music will draw kids to church so they can be attracted to Jesus. That’s vain imagination, folks, and the devil has walked right into the church through it because it is being presented as inpired saongs from God.
THE ONLY DEFENSE AGAINST VAIN IMAGINATIONS
The guidance and direction and strategies coming forth from these vain imaginings will only spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e for the true Christian in the days ahead, and they will rage against us as they did David and Jesus as stated in the Scriptures above. Why?
(Rom 1:21 KJV) Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their IMAGINATIONS, and their foolish heart was darkened.
That’s why Paul said we are to stand for the purity of the faith as once delivered to the Church 2,000 years ago,
(2 Cor 10:5 KJV) 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;
God understands the imaginations of men’s hearts and is patient and forebearing that all will come to the truth and be saved, but men can’t find God in their imaginations, but by seeking Him apart from those imaginations:
(1 Chr 28:9 KJV) And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the IMAGINATIONS of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
How long will these vain imaginations be there, and how long will we have to stand against them? Luke wrote of Jesus in His first coming,
(Luke 1:51 KJV) He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the IMAGINATION of their hearts.
As God scattered the proud in their imaginations the first time Christ came, so will He do in His second coming. Jeremiah spoke God’s promise when he wrote,
(Jer 11:8 KJV) Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the IMAGINATION of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not.
(Jer 13:10 KJV) This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the IMAGINATION of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.
(Jer 16:12 KJV) And ye have done worse than your fathers; for, behold, ye walk every one after the IMAGINATION of his evil heart, that they may not hearken unto me:
A CLOSING WORD
God’s word is not anything man should add his imagination to. There are no such Scriptures that I could find that speak of man’s imagination in a positive light, but the imagination is spoken of in Scripture as a vain thing that can weaken or usurp the effectiveness of the word of God. One could argue against that by bringing up the use of parables and analogies used in scripture as stemming from the imagination rather than through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who knows all things. I don’t relish getting into such debate. Concerning the actual use of the word, this is what I found and I will leave it at that. Surely we cannot deny the tremendous damage done to the Church through the pursing of the imagination. But God’s word contains all that He has to say to man. It is spirit, and life, and sharper than a two-edged sword that ALONE is able to save our souls. It alone brings peace and comfort, hope and assurance to the spirit of men.
What the vain imaginations of some have done to it and continue to do so will be answered for when Christ comes visibly, bodily, in the sky in glory. We must persevere in renewing our minds according to His word, and adding vain imaginations to it will not do that. It may, in fact, prove to be a very dangerous thing to do.
[Note; Since I wrote this series, I have thought a lot about what I have said: "One could argue against that by bringing up the use of parables and analogies used in scripture as stemming from the imagination rather than through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who knows all things. I don't relish getting into such debate." In looking at the occult gaming world that is overwhelming kids today, I am slowly yielding to the idea that games written by Christians in this area are necessary, and the use of the imagination could be used in writing them. This has become a burden of mine as of late. 9-10-2000, Ed.]
SCRIPTURES NOT USED CONTAINING “IMAGINE” AND ITS DERIVATIVES:
(Job 6:26 KJV) Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?
(Job 21:27 KJV) Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.
(Psa 62:3 KJV) How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence.
(Hosea 7:15 KJV) Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.
(Nahum 1:9 KJV) What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.
(Psa 10:2 KJV) The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
(Psa 21:11 KJV) For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.
(Deu 31:21 KJV) And it shall come to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen them, that this song shall testify against them as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed: for I know their imagination which they go about, even now, before I have brought them into the land which I sware.
(Jer 7:24 KJV) But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
(Jer 9:14 KJV) But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:
(Jer 3:17 KJV) At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
As you can see by the authors edit (in 2000) this was written some years ago. But its still pertinent today…in fact more so. I believe vain imaginations and ‘imaging’ (To picture mentally; imagine) are extremely dangerous when it concerns things related to the spirit realm. They can be doorways for demons, by which they can feed us false visions.