Angels of Light
oever heard of a counterfeit ten-cent piece? Anyone? Not likely. Only items of value are ever counterfeited.
It’s the same with Christianity. Because of its unique value, it is bound to be counterfeited. Jesus Christ himself warned his followers that this would happen—especially during the time immediately preceding his second coming to earth.
“What events will signal your return and the end of the world?” Christ’s disciples asked him. He replied, “Don’t let anyone fool you.… Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray … and will do wonderful miracles. So that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. See I have warned you.”1
The Bible also says, “Be careful—watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy…” he “can change himself into an angel of light, so it is no wonder his servants can do it too, and seem like godly ministers.”2
So how does Satan come as an angel of light and counterfeit Christian experiences?
Manipulation of God’s Word. One of Satan’s most deceptive ploys is to use people to manipulate the Scriptures to make them say what he wants them to say. For example, a person can “prove” just about anything he wants by taking Scripture out of context.
Shakespeare once stated, “The Devil can quote Scripture for his purpose.” He did this to Eve, the first woman. After quoting God’s Word, he added an element of doubt by saying, “Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?”3 In so doing, he trapped Eve into doubting God’s Word. The logical consequences? She fell.
Satan also tried the same method of quoting God’s Word out of context to tempt Christ. It failed because of Christ’s own thorough knowledge and use of the Scritpure.4
It is the element of truth used by Satan and all false teachers and false cults that makes their case believable and therefore deceptive.
Signs and miracles. Another subtle maneuver used by Satan is a manipulation of miracles. When miracles occur, it can appear that God is at work, but this is not necessarily so. As Christ said, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible.”5
It is the element of truth used by all
false teachers that makes their case
believable and therefore deceptive.
When Moses and Aaron stood before Pharaoh in ancient Egypt and performed unusual miracles, Pharaoh’s sorcerers and magicians, probably Jannes and Jambres,6 performed almost identical miracles.
Aaron threw his staff down and it because a serpent. Jannes and Jambres did the same thing. Moses and Aaron turned water into blood. So did Jannes and Jambres. Moses and Aaron brought up frogs out of the water. Pharaoh’s magicians did the same.7
Wherever there is a Moses and Aaron doing God’s work, there will always be a Jannes and Jambres of “counterfeit faith” who oppose the work of God and lead unwary people astray.8
Miracles of healing are not necessarily of God either. Some are, but some aren’t. You may have witnessed, via TV and/or the Internet, some of the faith healers from South East Asia who appear to operate on an individual’s body with their bare hands. They certainly seem to perform miraculous healings, but who knows where their power comes from if healings actually do occur? With a little technology knowledge it is incredibly simple to manipulate the electronic media.
There is obviously a lot of quackery in so-called faith-healing ministries. Some could be more accurately called fake-healers. At the same time, there are many cases of genuine healing.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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