1 Chr. 25:3 π Isa. 14:14 π Isa. 44:13-20 π Dan. 12:9 π Amos 3:3 π Mt. 4:6 π Mt. 7:13-14 π Mt. 13:38 π Mt. 24:10 π Mt. 24:12 π Jn. 8:44 π Jn. 10:27 π Jn. 14:6 π Jn. 16:13 π 1 Cor. 2:8 π 1 Cor. 10:19-21 π 1 Cor. 14:26 π 2 Cor. 6:16 π Eph. 4:13 π Eph. 5:19 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 2 Ths. 2:4 π 2 Ths. 2:9-10 π 2 Ths. 2:9-12 π 1 Tim. 4:1 π 2 Tim. 3:1 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4 π Heb. 5:11-14 π Heb. 5:13 π Heb. 8:10 π Jas. 4:7 π Jas. 4:8 π 1 Pet. 5:8 π 1 Jn. 2:18 π 1 Jn. 2:27 π 1 Jn. 4:3 π 1 Jn. 5:6 π Rev. 12:10 π Rev. 12:11 π Rev. 12:12 π Rev. 20:10 π Rev. 20:15
The fall of Lucifer is attributed in the Scriptures to his desire to "be like the Most High." ( Isa. 14:14 ) And we see this is his same goal in the end times. "...[the man of sin, the son of perdition] sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." ( 2 Ths. 2:4 - emphasis added) This deceptive substitution of Satanic spirits is also indicated when John used the label "antichrist" to name demonic spirits. "Anti" in Greek carries both the idea of "being against or opposed to" as well as the idea of "in the place of." John wrote, "...even now many antichrists have come..." ( 1 Jn. 2:18 ) and "...the spirit of antichrist...is now already in the world." ( 1 Jn. 4:3; top )
While the date of John's first letter cannot be fixed with complete certainty (a wide spread of years between 70
In his role as the accuser ( Rev. 12:10 ), the devil is very much aware of what God has said to men as it is recorded in the Bible. When he tempted Jesus to deviate from the will of God, he did not hesitate to quote (and simultaneously distort the truth of) Scripture. ( Mt. 4:6 ) As we draw closer to the time of the end, understandings of many things (especially Satan's strategy and how we might overcome him) will be granted, understandings that have been purposely sealed until the time of the end. ( Dan. 12:9 ) In anticipation of those times, the Lord is giving insights (to those who are willing to be purified by His process of spiritual maturing and equipping) about recognizing and overcoming the schemes of the devil, schemes of such wide scope and effectiveness that only revelation from the Holy Spirit of truth will enable one to receive, grasp, utilize and pass on these truths. Those who have ears will hear the voice of the Shepherd ( Jn. 10:27 ) - all others will dismiss these truths as fantastic, extreme, radical, fanatical and deceived and they will turn in hatred upon those who walk in these truths because these truths represent the sure and final fall of Satan in this world. Satan's great investments and deceptive schemes stand in great jeopardy and he will not stand idly by in the last hours of his futile attempts to make himself like God. ( Rev. 12:12; top )
Herein lies great insight into the effectiveness of Satan's great outpouring of deception. (see 2 Ths. 2:9-10; top ) Many people don't believe in a real devil even though Jesus did and every writer of the New Testament speaks, in one way or another, of the devil and/or the demonic. The devil's most effective lie at the present time is that he doesn't even exist!
Many people, on the basis of various "theologies," suppose themselves to have a virtual invulnerability to the work of Satan (even though the people taught these "theologies" don't have to actually do anything to gain or maintain this supposed invulnerability). Many are taught that a "Christian" simply cannot be "demon possessed" but these fail to even begin to recognize that many who teach this deception are themselves immersed under dozens of deceptive beliefs and that demons routinely manifest themselves through these "pastors" and "teachers" at every "church" "service." And the activities and strategies of the demonic only begin to reach out from there. The devil's second most effective lie is that he and the demonic horde who serve him are lazy, ineffective, incompetent, impotent buffoons who couldn't possibly harm anyone who claims to belong to Christ.
In contrast to this "theology" of invulnerability, the Scripture commands us to be vigilant or wary against the devil and the demonic ( 1 Pet. 5:8 ) and that only in our submission to God will we find the spiritual discernment, wisdom and strength to resist the devil and cause him to flee. ( Jas. 4:7 ) Paul wrote that the end times will be "perilous" or "dangerous" ( 2 Tim. 3:1 ) in part this is so because, in departing from the faith, some will listen to and obey the teachings of demons. ( 1 Tim. 4:1; top )
As God unveils more of the truth about the demonic, we will find that these truths were contained all along in the words of the Scriptures. The one who goes beyond the Scriptures regarding the devil and the demonic is in as grave a danger as the one who refuses to recognize what the rightly divided Scriptures do say about the devil and the demonic. What God is unveiling now is how the devil has been quite successful by taking a few Scriptures and distorting the truth as he did with Christ - but unlike his encounter with Christ he has been very successful in tricking men into believing his distortions to be revelation and insight from God. This trick is nothing new - false prophets and dreamers reach all the way back into the book of Genesis. What is mind boggling is that so many people seem to think that this trick only worked on the befuddled, ignorant and spiritually blind people of back then!
In the light of Satan's goal to be like God and of his strategy to take His place wherever he can, let us consider what the writer of Hebrews said about his original readers:
"Concerning [the Son who came as priest in the order of Melchizedek] we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." ( Heb. 5:11-14; top )
Let us examine this passage more fully.
It is hard for the writer to explain the depths of the rather straightforward comparison of Christ to Melchizedek because his readers had become "dull of hearing." These had become unable to rightly divide the words of God so as to arrive at conclusions that were right in God's eyes (righteous). Instead of progressing on to spiritual maturity and being able to pass on God's truths to others, these had regressed to the point of needing to be fed again the basic, elementary truths of Christ and God. Instead of progressing in their personal and corporate relationship with the Spirit of truth so that they would know Christ and God for themselves, these now stood in need of another man to step in and serve them a baby bottle of milk.
Milk is the liquid fed to the immature infant whose digestive tract is not yet capable of processing, by its own function, the solids, proteins, enzymes and other nutrients found in meats and solid foods. Solid food, then, is for those whose digestive tract is sufficiently developed to process it. In the spiritual sense, those who only partake of the truths of God from some secondary source (that is, some human teacher) can only and always be a spiritual infant. ( Heb. 5:13; top )
And this is precisely the strategy of Satan. Inserting his own sons, the tares ( Mt. 13:38 ) directly among the children of God and duping the people to agree with instituting Nicolaitan and antichrist teachings and practices that places the sons of the devil in leadership positions, Satan has, by our time, been so successful at causing men to believe they need to be "fed" and routinely taught the things of the Bible that the visible, institutional "church" is now the great apostasy, the people who are stumbled and fallen from the faith, the apostasy of which both Jesus and Paul clearly prophesied ( Mt. 24:10 , 2 Ths. 2:3 ) wherein teachers who spout stories and spurn sound doctrine are paid the best salaries. ( 2 Tim. 4:3-4 ) Scriptures that plainly say we will all know God ( Heb. 8:10 ), that we need teachers only until we attain to spiritual maturity ( Eph. 4:13 ) and that we do not need any man to routinely and regularly teach us ( 1 Jn. 2:27; top ) are summarily dismissed and "theologically" explained away. This is effective deception!
In addition to the ear-scratching "pastor"/teacher, the counterfeit "church" also supplies the "worship leader." Though this position (and all other "church" positions) cannot be found in the rightly divided Scriptures, the "church" teaches that "the worship leader is one who sets the atmosphere for God to respond and to lead His people by instruments. A worship leader teaches us how to submit to the Holy Spirit so that our heavenly Father may receive His due reverence." (These are the actual words of a "church" "pastor.") Let's break this down and look at each component.
- God needs atmosphere in which to respond? God draws near to us whenever and however we obediently draw near to Him. ( Jas. 4:8; top ) It is not God who needs "atmosphere" but rather carnal men who need it so that they might believe their "worship" is acceptable to God even though the rest of the week they live in self-centered pride, greed and/or dishonesty. The demonic is well able to help such dishonest "worshipers" experience the rapturous, spiritual experience these people falsely believe to be the "presence of God." The truth is seen in the real fruit actually produced in these people's lives, not in the feelings they experience in this manmade "atmosphere."
- God wants to lead people by instruments? The Scripture says the Holy Spirit, and not some instrument (some wooden, crafted item of idolatry), would be our guide. ( Jn. 16:13 , etc.) Those who routinely and continually step into this place the Holy Spirit desires for Himself cannot recognize this truth and cannot say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?" (see Isa. 44:13-20 ) The only place an instrument might have in genuine New Testament corporate worship is when a musician is able to prophesy on his instruments (see 1 Chr. 25:3 , etc.) where the musician is able to aid the people as they sing to one another the songs the true worship leader, the Holy Spirit, stirs up in the hearts of each one present. (see Eph. 5:19 , 1 Cor. 14:26; top ) But when the people follow the instrument or the one playing it, a subtle substitution of a thing or man into a rightful place of the Holy Spirit (the work of the demonic spirits of antichrist) has occurred.
- The worship leader teaches us how to submit to the Holy Spirit? Not really - or more accurately, not after the first few times. The "worship leader" teaches us how to submit to himself, his instrument and his "superior" musical ability (for which he was hired and is often paid in exchange for his performances).
- Our heavenly Father receives His due reverence? We sing "Only You..." when our lives scream "Only me and mine"! We sing "You are more precious than gold" - of which we'll pay a small percentage of our gold so as to protect ourselves from "God's" wrath and displeasure but, after that, we have nothing left over for those orphans, widows and despicable wretches "over there" who claim to be Christians! We sing "They will know we are Christians by our love" but loneliness, depression and even suicide are pandemic in the "church." God's due reverence is not lip service set to music but the life lived and poured out in complete obedience to Him.
And these are but two of the major substitutions made by the "church."
Satan knows that he can strike no bargain, no agreement, no compromise with God. He also knows that there is no agreement between the temple of God, which is the people of Christ, and idols. ( 2 Cor. 6:16; top ) This is precisely why the demonic works so hard at luring the people who claim to follow Christ to actually (whether subtly or overtly) practice idolatry, the worship and service of any false god. This can be done overtly (as in openly practicing pagan rituals and obeying worldly philosophies) or more subtly (as in placing one's self-centered agendas and goals in higher priority than God in one's life) but the result is that idolatry is practiced and an agreement has been struck between the people of Christ and an idol.
The idol itself is nothing but behind the idol or idolatrous practice is a demonic being anxious for opportunity to establish control over an individual whom he can use to bring others to the table of the demonic. Those who share in the Lord's table cannot routinely partake of the table of the demonic and hope to remain welcome at the Lord's table. ( 1 Cor. 10:19-21; top )
Satan has devised another strategy that also relies on agreement. "Can two walk together," the Lord said through the prophet Amos, "unless they are agreed?" ( Amos 3:3 ) Satan knows that to get anyone to walk down the road to destruction with him, he must get them to agree with something of his precepts. That is, he cannot force anyone to enter into a life of evil that reaps the eternal consequence of being sent to the lake of fire. (see Rev. 20:10 , 15; top ) He must rely on subtlety and deception.
Anyone who has endured proselytizing attempts from cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses has probably been struck by the oddity of their claims to not want to argue the Scriptures but then they keep jumping from one distorted Scripture text to another seeking anything which can be agreed upon. The simple act of agreement with any deception (the "product" manufactured by the devil - Jn. 8:44; top ) gains a point of access for the demonic from which further attempts can be made to deceive and control the person they are targeting.
"The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." ( 2 Ths. 2:9-12; top )
Let us examine this passage in more detail.
- The "lawless one" here is commonly held to be a world ruler, one man ("the Antichrist"), but it is impossible to rule out that this is also in reference to the general condition of mankind at the time of the end, a time when "lawlessness abounds." ( Mt. 24:12; top ) Neither of these two views alter what is said about "those who perish."
- This is an outpouring of all kinds of powerful deceptions - chief among them being that there is no deception and no deceiver!
- Those who perish did not love the truth. Just as Satan cannot force anyone onto the broad path that leads to destruction, God will not force anyone onto the narrow path that leads to eternal life. He still commands all men to choose which road they will take. ( Mt. 7:13-14; top )
- Upon those who do not love the truth, (the Spirit, the Person of Christ - 1 Jn. 5:6 , Jn. 14:6; top ), God will send strong delusion. This does not mean that God is suddenly doing the devil's work. Rather it means that all those who prefer unrighteousness (something not right in God's eyes) will be given over to the thing they prefer - and to the demonic being(s) concealed behind it.
- "The lie" these people believe is not any one particular lie that will deceive everyone who hears it but rather the particular lie to which that person is susceptible. The one who wants to believe that "church" is not really a conglomeration of pagan practices but is acceptable to God will see nothing wrong in attending "church" "services" just because he wants to go. (Whether God wants him there or not is immaterial - whatever is right in the man's own eyes, lawlessness, is what he does and defends.)
- In the end, all those who do not believe and obey the truth will be condemned.
We have been born into a war between God and Satan. God does not take prisoners and enlists only His mature children as soldiers and warriors to participate in the warfare. Thus Satan's strategy of keeping believers from progressing beyond infancy (stolen straight from the pages of the Scriptures that tell us how to be spiritually mature and capable to carry on the warfare against the Satanic spirits) is far too well-aimed and far too effective for the devil's kingdom to be a mere coincidence. "Church," as it is routinely practiced, is nothing less than an ingenious scheme by which many are diverted from the path to life. As we enter the time of the end, however, even this scheme will prove ineffective against those who have forsaken "organized religion" and instead taken up the abundant life which Christ alone brings.
We find in the Revelation that "[The end time saints] overcame [the devil and the demonic] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." ( Rev. 12:11; top ) We have been bought with a price, the life blood of Jesus, and our personal experience with Him is too great to deny - we must stand by and give witness to what God has wrought in us. And we love Jesus more than we love life in this world.
Make no mistake - Satan will lose the war and all who serve him and his kingdom will likewise suffer his fate. Only those who obediently and diligently seek God will enjoy the rewards He has for those who love Him, His truth, His righteousness - all that He truly is and not what we might desire or wish Him to be like.
Let he who has ears hears.
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