During His ministry Christ made it plain that this present world belongs to Satan. Satan offered Christ all the kingdoms of this world if He would fall down and worship him. Jesus refused. We read: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matt. 4:8-10). Notice, Jesus did not deny Satan’s claim. On more than one occasion, He called Satan the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
The Apostle Paul wrote that Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). He also referred to him as the prince of the power of the air. “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Few people today appreciate the power and influence of the Devil. Little do they realize that he has churches and many religions. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Rev. 3:9). Most Bible commentators believe the word “Jews” in this passage refers to those who regard themselves as spiritual Jews, that is, converted Christians (Rom. 2:28-29). Satan could not possibly deceive the masses today if he did not appear attractive. He does not have a pitchfork and wear horns. This is why Paul wrote: “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” (2 Cor. 11:13-15). Indeed, Satan appears as a “light bringer” who has many ministers.
Whole World Deceived
Satan’s religion works. He has done his job well. But he is bound for certain judgment. Here is what the Apostle John wrote: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world . . . ” (Rev. 12:7-9).
The fact is: The vast majority of people in this world have been completely misled by a myriad of Satan’s religions and ideologies. To Satan, it makes little difference what these religions or ideologies may be, whether religious or secular, as long as they prevent one from finding the Truth of God. In some areas people openly worship the Devil. In others, they worship pieces of rock and wood carved into various images. In still other areas, they worship ancestors or the bones of ancestors. Then of the various ideologies, there is communism which teaches there is no God at all. Few have been told the true message about Jesus Christ and what He requires of us. In a number of areas, His name has never been heard, and in still others it is against the law to mention or preach about Jesus. In such countries one can be imprisoned or executed for doing so. In those areas where Christ is known, Satan has used Christ’s name and has managed to deceive. Indeed, this is Satan’s world, and he has done his job well.
Satan was the original Light Bringer, the one who held a high office in God’s government. But he was not satisfied with the office God had given him. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isa. 14:12-14). But Satan was cast down. Christ told His disciples: ” . . . I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Satan is a fallen angel. He does all that is in his power to keep men from achieving the goal for which they were placed on this earth. He has convinced men that there is no necessity to obey God. They are taught they need not obey God, and that the harsh, stern God of the Old Testament has been superseded by the kind, loving God of the New. What do his ministers preach? “While they [false ministers] promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Pet. 2:19). Satan has led men to believe that they may do what they please and yet be in God’s good graces. They do not realize this is false. The Scriptures state: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
The Source of Real Truth
The only source of real Truth is the Word of God. Jesus said so. He prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Some men have taught that Satan does not exist, or that he is a mere concept without any definitive or scientific truth. This is another means of Satan’s deception. A major deception is the concept of evolution that denies God is the Creator. Many men are willingly ignorant and do all in their power to suppress the truth that God is the Creator (Rom. 1:18-23). To these people God is a concept, a mere myth which attempts to explain the origin of good without really acknowledging God’s existence and power.
Yet the Bible states that the Truth is given by divine revelation, first revealed to the men of old and preserved in the Scriptures. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2). “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit]” (2 Pet.1:21). This Word determines right and wrong. The religions and ideologies of this world do not.
This Word is referred to by both Jesus and the Apostles. Consider these texts: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he [Christ] expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (v. 44). “And when they had appointed him [the Apostle Paul] a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening” (Acts 28:23). The Apostle James said the law-the Ten Commandments-were Scripture. “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law” (Jas. 2:8-11).
What is plain in all this is that spiritual Truth comes from God alone. Therefore, the source of all the false doctrines and evil ideologies found in the world today come from Satan. He is the present god of this world and controls it by deception.
The True Church and the False Churches
One of the reasons Christ came was to establish His Church. He told His disciples that the gates of hell could not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). But He said it would not be a large, ostentatious church that would become popular and accepted. Rather He called it the “little flock,” comprised of people who would be hated and persecuted (Luke 12:32). He warned: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service” (John 16:2). Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10).
Earlier Jesus had told His disciples:
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. (John 15:19-21)
Since Satan has ministers, he also has false churches. False churches are considerably different from the true. Outwardly they would appear to be authentic. They would even use the name of Christ, doing the very thing Christ warned about. ” . . . Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (v. 11). “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (vv. 24-25).
These ministers do not represent the True Church. He said the True Church would be a little flock, a despised church, a persecuted church, not accepted by the masses-masses that are made up of many denominations. These are the ones who have appropriated Christ’s name and call themselves Christian.
Mark Twain once wrote that religion is a very dangerous thing unless you get it right. As we have seen, the Bible states that this whole world has been deceived. The world has believed Satan’s lies. He was the original liar. Jesus told the Pharisees: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44). In brief, his doctrines are lies!
But Satan does believe in God and knows He exists. The Apostle James wrote: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (Jas. 2:19). The fact is: The Devil is not deceived like those who are blinded into thinking there is no God. At some distant period of time before the creation of man, he became dissatisfied with the office for which he had been created and rebelled against God. The Apostle John wrote: “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
The prophet Ezekiel wrote what God said about Satan:
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God . . . . (Ezek. 28:14-16)
The earth is the present domain of Satan, and he often quotes Scripture in order to deceive. When Jesus was tried by the temptation in the wilderness (Matt. 4:6), Satan quoted Scripture. But he failed to deceive Christ. Jesus knew the true application of God’s Word, not the perverted misinterpretations of Satan. The Devil has many doctrines; for example, see 1 Timothy 4:1. The purpose of his doctrines, in one way or another, is to lead men to disobey God. Chief among his doctrines is the doctrine of grace without works. Remember, Satan was the original rebel. He is clever. He would not openly say that we should disobey God. Rather, he twists Scripture so that it appears to say something it does not say.
The first example we have of this is in the Garden of Eden. Satan twisted what God said to Eve. God had told Eve: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But what did Satan tell Eve? ” And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:1-5). Satan convinced Eve that God was withholding something good from her, something she deserved to have. Eve along with Adam disobeyed God. Paul said this act was transgression-sin. “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14). Much later when Ananias lied to the Apostles, Peter told him: ” . . . Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy [Spirit], and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3)
The way Satan deceives people is to make them think that God does not mean what He says. He convinces them that fulfilling unlawful desires of the flesh are permissible and that because God understands man’s wants, this is allowable. His ministers are ever at work.
The Apostle Jude warned:
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God [His free undeserved, unmerited pardon upon repentance] into lasciviousness [license to do evil], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 3-4)
Ministers who stand before their congregations and say they are going to “twist ol’ Satan’s tail tonight” do not have a clue of what they are up against. They have no idea of Satan’s power. His devices are unlimited. A number of Scriptures make this plain. Consider the following: Paul’s commission to the Gentiles was “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18). Of those ensnared by the Devil, Paul wrote: “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him [to do] his will” (2 Tim. 2:26). Paul told Elymas the sorcerer: ” . . . O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10). On more than one occasion, Satan hindered Paul. He wrote: “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us” (1 Thess. 2:18).
Jesus had this to say: “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side” (Matt. 13:19). “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one” (v. 38). The Apostle Peter wrote: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). During the Last Supper Satan actually possessed Judas. “And after the sop Satan entered into him: Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly” (John 13:27). Satan attempted to destroy Peter: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31-32).
We must never sell Satan short. He is capable of powerful miracles which are counterfeits for the miracles of God. Many people have been deceived into following Satan’s way because of these counterfeits. Jesus warned: “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:24). The Apostle Paul wrote of the wicked one, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 9-10). These “lying wonders” are authentic miracles, but seek to influence those who see them to believe a lie. As the end time nears Satan is very much at work. “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast . . . (Rev. 13:13-14).
This kind of power should come as no surprise for those who are familiar with the book of Job. After God allowed Satan to plague Job, we read that Job’s servants came to tell him: ” . . . The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee” (Job 1:16). While the servant who reported this catastrophe attributed it to God, the fact is that it came from Satan. We see similar power when a great wind destroyed the house of Job’s children and killed the young men (v. 19). Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
We may recall that in the days of Moses, the Egyptian sorcerers duplicated the miracles performed by Moses until the plague of lice. This they could not duplicate. So miracles in themselves are not proof of God’s presence or authority. They can be the result of Satan’s power. The real key is whether or not the one performing miracles is truly following and obeying God. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). The Apostle John warned: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Satan has many messengers, so don’t be deceived by the miracles they may perform.
Satan to Be Removed
Satan’s rule on this earth is coming to an end. So will his religion. This is why he is so active in deceiving the masses. ” . . . Woe to the inhibiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil comedown unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Rev. 12:12). At the time of the original rebellion one third of the angels followed Satan. “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon . . . And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth . . . ” (Rev.12:3-4). They know their day of retribution is coming. When the demons (fallen angels) encountered Christ, they said: ” . . . What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matt. 8:29). “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:23-24).
Christ will return to this earth. All the governments of this world that now belong to Satan will be removed from power. “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Satan and his demons will be confined to the bottomless pit. “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Rev. 20:1-3).
But for the present, Satan rules and continues to deceive. If you know that Satan’s religions are contrary to the law of God, and that those who are deceived follow him, you do not have to be one of them. Realize that anyone who teaches disobedience to God’s Law and refuses to obey Him is of the Devil.