You may have heard that Google, one of the largest companies in the world is coming under scrutiny for alleged ethical and privacy violations. Apparently, they are selling our data to retail merchants, helping the Chinese regime spy on its citizens, the same regime that is currently persecuting Christians, and they have admitted to “brainstorming” ways and means to manipulate search results relating to various political and ideological issues. If true, Google has become one of the most dangerous entities in the world. Consider the reasoning behind this assessment. We live in an era of information technology. These days we get almost all of our information from the world wide web. According to business insider, “more than ninety percent of all internet searches are taking place through Google and the company’s subsidiary YouTube” (Desjardins, 2018). A staggering 1.17 Billion people use google to get their information (Richter, 2018). Now, combine those facts with the reality of mankind’s declining desire for truth. The result, a recipe for intellectual degradation and mass manipulation. An alleged unethical company with unprecedented influence and a world who believes anything without investigation is a train wreck looking for a place to happen. However, it is nothing compared to the eternal wrecking of souls by those who deceive people about what God said.
The alleged misconduct of Google is not indicative of them alone (Cf. 1Corinthians 10:13). People have been lied to and people have believed lies literally since the very beginning. Satan lied to Eve by saying her misconduct will not lead to her demise (Genesis 3:4). Furthermore, he lied to the first couple by telling them that God was trying to hold them back from greatness (Genesis 3:5). Adam and Eve believed those lies, despite having the truth and sin entered into this world. Remember the unknown prophet of 1 Kings 13? He was lied to by an older prophet and subsequently lost his life for believing those lies (1 Kings 13:17-18, 20-24). Abraham lied to Pharaoh and Abimelech about his relation to Sarai and God intervened to protect His messianic purpose (Genesis 12:10-20 & 20:1-9). The High Priest lied about Jesus, even hiring false witnesses against Him (Mark 14:55-57). As long as sin is present in this world people are going to deceive others and succeed at times (Cf. 2 Timothy 3:13).
This fact is the foundational premise for certain laws regarding the Word of God. Bear in mind, the Word of God is our spiritual freedom (John 8:32) it is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) it is our hope (2 Peter 1:18-19) the standard of our judgment (John 12:48) and the catalyst of our faith (Romans 10:17). If someone deceives you about the Word of God, they are guilty, but you will be lost as well (Cf. Genesis 3:14-17). There is no salvation without the right information. Therefore, God, through the ages has set in place various methods to protect us from being deceived. Under the Mosaic dispensation, prophets and prophecies were vetted by a Divine mandate.
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’–when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him, Deuteronomy 18:20-22.
The people were provided a way to ensure the message they heard was the word of God and not the musings of a prophet. The same protection was given in the first century. Even though people possessed miraculous gifts of prophecy, the potential threat of false teachers still existed. Once again, this time by Divine endowment, God gave a gift that enabled someone to discern whether a person is speaking the truth or not. …to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues, 1 Corinthians 12:10. (Emphases MS) The Word discerning means to distinguish or to judge clearly (Wordstudy). In a time when the New Testament of Christ was not in written form, it was necessary for Christians to have a way to know whether or not the person teaching was speaking the truth. The inclusion of this gift highlights the importance God places on the correct interpretation and presentation of His Word.
Fast-forward to the present day. We do not have prophets in the way the Israelites had; and if someone claims to be a prophet the test in Deuteronomy 18 still applies. Furthermore, we do not possess the spiritual gifts given to those in the first century. Those gifts were for a time until the written word was complete (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13:9-13 & Ephesians 4: 11-13). So, how do we protect ourselves from the deception of certain individuals? It’s rather simple, we pick up the Bible and we make sure that what is being said to us is indeed found in Holy Writ. The Christian must operate in the same fashion as the Bereans spoken of in the book of Acts. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so, Acts 17:11. When Paul preached the Christ to them, they searched the scrolls, the Old Testament Scriptures, to verify what Paul was saying. There was no need for a miraculous endowment because they had the Old Testament scriptures in written form. In the same fashion, we do not need a miraculous endowment to verify what we are being told because we have the Bible in written form. In an age where people are believing things without any investigation of the facts, we must be different. We must follow the Laws of God regarding how and what we hear. We must search the Scriptures and verify the information presented to us, knowing that what we hear is a matter of spiritual life or death. With this in mind we don’t Google it, we Bible It!
Desjardins, J. (2018). How Google retains more than 90% of market share. [online] Business Insider. Available at: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-google-retains-more-than-90-of-market-share-2018-4 [Accessed 21 Sep. 2018].
Richter, F. (2018). Infographic: 1.17 Billion People Use Google Search. [online] Statista Infographics. Available at: https://www.statista.com/chart/899/unique-users-of-search-engines-in-december-2012/ [Accessed 21 Sep. 2018].
The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary. Computer Software: E-Sword, Version 11.0.6. 2016.