Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
Satan is an angelic being, created by God for His service (c/f Psalm 148:2-5). Originally he played a prominent role in God’s Kingdom. But then he rebelled against God’s sovereignty, and others joined him (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:13-15, Revelation 12:9-10). Consequently, there are now two kingdoms in the heavenlies — God’s Kingdom of Light, and Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness. And they’re engaged in an unrelenting war. We’re unaware of this conflict because it’s in the spiritual realm. Nevertheless, the outcome will determine our eternal destinies.
Satan was the motivating force behind Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, which estranged the human race from God. And that was just the beginning of his vindictive campaign. His ongoing attempts to thwart God’s purposes have left behind a trail of tragedy, suffering and heartache.
However, God has never given up on mankind, not even when we have let Him down. Immediately after Satan had succeeded in masterminding the fall God announced the first of His Messianic promises (Genesis 3:14-15).
Later on He revealed that the promised Redeemer would come through the line of Abraham, the Hebrew patriarch (Genesis 22:18). So Satan did his utmost to wipe out the entire Hebrew race. He instigated their enslavement in Egypt. Then he put it into Pharaoh’s mind to have all the male Hebrew babies killed at birth (Exodus 1:8-17). But God had His hand of protection on His people and delivered them (Exodus 12:29-32). Under the leadership firstly of Moses and then of Joshua He led them out of Egypt and into Israel, their promised land of rest.
Satan’s response was to entice them into idolatry. He knew that if his plan succeeded it would bring about their downfall and ultimate destruction. But God ensured that there was always a remnant who remained faithful to Him.
Because Israel was God’s chosen nation Satan’s malice has always been aimed at them. He has attacked them relentlessly. He was behind the persecution of the Jewish race that culminated in the holocaust. And he is still stirring up enmity against them.
In the fullness of time the Lord Jesus was born of a virgin in the promised line of David. Satan frantically increased his efforts. He motivated King Herod to issue an edict to kill all the male children in Bethlehem (Christ’s birthplace), who were under the age of two. However, an angel warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus until the danger was over (Matthew 2:5-18).
Once Christ commenced His ministry Satan used every means he could to prevent Him from carrying out His planned redemption of mankind. He even tempted Him to take a different route — one that would bring Him popularity and fame rather than the suffering and death that was part of the salvation plan (Matthew 4:1-11). When that failed he incited the Jews to kill Christ before He went to the cross (Luke 4:28-30, Matthew 26:4, Mark 14:1, Luke 13:31, John 5:18, 7:1, 25, 8:37, 11:53.)
But his efforts came to naught. At the right time, according to the plan of God and in fulfilment of prophecy, Christ offered Himself as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of whosoever trusted in Him for salvation. On the cross at Calvary He defeated Satan, sin, death and hell. And His resurrection three days later was proof that He was whom He had claimed to be (c/f Matthew 12:39-40).
After Christ’s atonement Satan turned his attention to the church. He put it into the hearts of Christ’s enemies to persecute, torture and kill all who followed Him (c/f the book of Acts). But his plan backfired. Persecution refines and purifies the church. And this always makes the remnant stronger.
Next he turned to what he is best at, which is deception. He knew that if he could get folk to believe in a false gospel and a false Christ, he would have them in his pocket. So he designed an array of false religions to suit all tastes. Whereas God has provided only one way of salvation he has fabricated many. He has filled the earth with his lies. And his servants have put out an endless stream of so-called “Christian” gospels that guide their unsuspecting victims down paths that lead them further and further from the truth.
The cross was the place where Christ conquered the powers of evil and secured eternal redemption for those who put their faith in Him. Consequently Satan hates the cross with a passion. It spells defeat for him. And it reminds him that his days are numbered. Consequently false religions that he has propagated will generally display a distaste for and/or ban the use of the symbol of the cross. This should sound warning bells for us.
We need to constantly remind ourselves that just like a counterfeit note, deception wouldn’t work if it didn’t have the appearance of being genuine. And if truth be told, it’s all too easy to be taken in by those who promote counterfeit gospels and unbiblical philosophies, because they don’t come across as evil or repulsive people.
“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 …” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15, KJV).
God knows that we are no match against the evil one. We’re only flesh and blood. He fooled Adam and Eve, and he can fool us too. So for our protection He has provided us with a mighty spiritual weapon that is Satan-proof — His Word, the Bible. Paul calls it our spiritual sword c/f Ephesians 6:10-18). Provided we use it as our standard of truth, we will be able to stand firm against the enemy’s wiles. Remember how the Lord Jesus defended Himself against Satanic attack by quoting the Word of God? (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10)
If anyone tries to convince us that the Bible is not absolutely reliable, this should immediately start alarm bells ringing. What better way could there be to prevent us from recognizing spiritual deception, than to persuade us not to rely on the Bible as our standard of truth?
Jesus was teaching country folk how to identify false teachers and the like. He equated spiritual leaders and their followers with shepherds and their sheep. He pointed out that a true shepherd always enters the sheepfold through the door. Only thieves and robbers enter some other way. Their mission is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:1,10). Then He explained:
“I am the door: By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved …” (John 10:9, KJV).
Those rural folk knew exactly what Jesus was getting at. During the hours of darkness the sheep were at the mercy of any wild beast on the prowl. The sheepfold was their haven of safety. The only entrance was through a small gap in the wall. And the shepherd, who was prepared to defend his sheep to the death, slept across that gap during the hours of darkness. So any predator wanting to get at the sheep had to find some other way to enter the fold. This is the picture that Jesus was giving, when He said that He was the door.
True shepherds know the way of salvation. They’ve already entered Christ’s fold through the door, i.e. Himself. And they lead their followers along the same path that they took, focusing them solely on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus
the Lord … ” (2 Corinthians 4:5, KJV)
“But we preach Christ crucified …” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24, KJV)
The focus of the false shepherd will be on himself or his organization’s revelations and religious ideas, not on Jesus. (His will be a counterfeit Jesus, whose origin is radically different to that of the biblical Christ c/f John 1:1, Philippians 2:6-8, Colossians 2:8-9, 2 Corinthians 4:4, John 14:9).
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, KJV)
The false teacher steals, kills and destroys. He steals the souls of his followers, destroys their opportunity for salvation, and defrauds them of eternal life.
Counterfeit Christianity is no different to counterfeit money. It has no value. When they step into eternity, those relying on a counterfeit gospel will find themselves spiritually bankrupt.
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