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The Devil's Oldest Trick

 

I would like to take this time to expose Satan's oldest and most prized device by which he has been very successful in deceiving souls into a complacent and destructive mindset throughout the ages. Actually it began in Heaven before he ever pursued his first human victim. And he first learned this trick by successfully deceiving himself with it. Lucifer, as he was first known, was an anointed cherub, quite possibly one of the two cherubs who were stationed on each side of the throne of God, covering the throne with their wings (Isa. 14:12; Ezek. 28:14; Exd. 25:18-20). He also was very bright, very wise, and very beautiful (Ezek. 28:12,17). God addressed the cause of his fall in Ezekiel: "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness:" (Ezek. 28:17). And in Isaiah God revealed the thoughts of Lucifer's heart which brought about his fall: "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).

Lucifer's self-deception was in convincing himself that it would be acceptable, or at least tolerated by God, for him to tamper with God's established order and have his own separate following of worshippers. He became more awed by his own beauty, and wisdom, and brightness than he was of the God Who gave him these things. He never for a moment thought about overthrowing God and replacing Him on the throne. He was utterly aware of that being an impossibility. But as the scripture states, his desire was to "sit also upon the mount of the congregation, ... (and to) be like the Most High." In other words, he felt that he was special enough to be worshipped like God, and to have his own personal following. His fatal error in this deception was the failure to realize that God would requite his ambition with terribly devastating consequences. He never considered that this self-willed desire of his would be met by an absolute judgment of eternal destruction from God. He never believed that this sidestepping of the established order of God would result in God creating a place of  pain, agony, and torment, so horrific that it defies all effort to describe; just for him and those who chose to follow him (Mat. 25:41).

Friend, I hope that your heart pounds with the same godly fear that I feel stirring in my chest at this very moment as I write these things by the power and authority of the holy Ghost! After successfully deceiving himself into this doomed mindset, he went on to convince many of the angels in heaven to feel the same way about himself as he felt (Rev. 12:4,7-9). And with his beauty, his wisdom, his brightness, and his already high position in heaven, he was equally successful with them, as he had already been with himself. He influenced them to believe that it would be acceptable, or at least tolerated by God, for them to worship him as well as God. He didn't try to persuade them to stop worshipping God, for that would be too obvious and would openly expose his folly. But with his established reputation in Heaven, he was able to make them feel comfortable with his ideal that he too was worthy of worship and of a following. And not one of them bothered getting an answer from God about the matter before committing to it. Neither did any of them contemplate the dreadful results of their willingness to believe an unauthorized  message in regard to heavenly matters. I suppose they assumed that if one as high, and as close to God as Lucifer was bearing the message, it must be right. After all, his name means "bringing light," so how could he be bringing anything but light? What a disastrous assumption!

According to Peter, this assumption cost Lucifer and his angels any and all hope of eternal salvation, and assured them of an eternity in the lowest depths of the lake of fire, the final destination of all who do not continue in the will of God, and in His established order (II Pet. 2:4).  And then after the heavenly conspiracy, Lucifer took the same deception, albeit in a different form, to earth. Our record shows that he influenced the serpent into presenting to Eve the deception that side-stepping God's established order for them would not be met with the deadly consequences that had already been promised them by God (Rev. 12:9; Gen. 3:1-5). God had promised death to Adam and Eve if they disobeyed His commandment and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In regard to breaking the commandment of God, the serpent being moved by Satan, told Eve, "Ye shall not surely die." He was lying of course, but once again he had succeeded in convincing someone that disobeying God's commandments would be acceptable, or at least tolerated by God. And when Adam decided to join her in this folly, God fulfilled His promise of death upon them and their seed (i.e. everyone), exactly as He had set forth to them beforehand. And from that time to the present, death and unspeakable affliction has been the nature of this world.

Several hundred years after God had established the Old Covenant with Israel, the prophet Jeremiah warned God's people of the folly and danger of this erroneous mindset: "Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh." (Jer. 7:3-14). God's people had fallen for Satan's oldest trick, believing that they would be saved simply because they were God's people, regardless of whether they diligently kept the Lord's commandments or not, which obviously they were not.

Jeremiah continually warned them by the word of the Lord that God was going to bring destruction upon them unless they obeyed His word to serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and submit to his God-given authority (Jer. 27:1-17). But the more popular prophets and ministers of his day assured the people that Jeremiah was a false prophet because he had the audacity to suggest that God would destroy His own people, or the city that He had chosen, or the house that was called by His own name (Jer. 21:8-10; Jer. 29:21-27). They guaranteed the people that God would never require them to serve a heathen king (Jer. 27:14,15). These false prophets, who were highly esteemed by God's people, and who outnumbered Jeremiah by the hundreds, preached a comforting message of assurance and peace to a people who were not obeying the will of God, and were not receiving God's correction through His true prophet (Jer. 23:16,17). The overwhelming majority of God's people chose to believe the false report of these prophets of prosperity, while Jeremiah prophesied and suffered reproach alone.

As he had done with himself in Heaven long before, Satan used those who were held in high esteem among God's people, who carried his (Satan's) attractive message of prosperity and peace and blessing from God for a people who had long resisted doing God's will.  And once again He successfully deceived the people into believing that disobedience to God's commandments was acceptable or tolerable to God, and that unrepented-of sin would not be met with devastating consequences. Ezekiel, who prophesied in Babylon at the same time that Jeremiah prophesied in Judah, described this deception by these false prophets thusly: "There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls;" (Ezek. 22:25). Peter described Satan in the exact same manner, saying "your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (I Pet. 5:8). So we can see that Lucifer, or Satan, was using the majority of the ministers among God's people to deceive the people into destruction. And God did bring destruction upon His people, as He stated that He would, because they did not believe His word through Jeremiah.

The tragic thing is that very few of God's  people today realize and understand that nothing has changed; not from the beginning of this deception in Heaven, not from the garden of Eden, and not from the time of Jeremiah. Satan is still prevailing over the minds and spirits of God's people with this intoxicating spirit of "eternal security." Some people openly confess the doctrine of eternal security, while others are under the spirit and mindset of eternal security without confessing it in doctrine. Either way, grave damage is incurred through the influence of this complacent, flesh-pleasing error which projects that we are "locked into" eternal salvation because we feel that at some point we have believed sufficiently on Christ. And yet the new testament scriptures clearly and graphically state that the only way born-again believers can be saved in the end is by continuance in a life of true holiness (Eph. 5:3-7; I Cor. 6:9,10; Gal. 5:19-21;  Rom. 11:19-21; Mat. 24:12,13; etc., etc.). And without question the Scriptures state very plainly that "the wages of sin are death" (Rom. 6:23). In fact, the Bible clearly assures us that we will incur severity of damnation if we do not continue in the commandments of God after experiencing the new birth (Heb. 2:1-3; Heb. 10:28-31; Jude:5-7; II Pet. 2:20-22; etc.).

So what about you friend? Are you believing the report of God's word, which states that we must continue in a holy life, and "work out (our) own salvation with fear and trembling" in order to be saved eternally? Or have you fallen prey to Satan's age old trick, assuming that it must be the truth because so many respected "ministers" are teaching it? Are you, like the angels of old, thinking "Well, they are preachers, and they are using the Bible"? Do you really think that God is more accepting and tolerant of sin today than He has ever been? The Scriptures clearly set forth that He never changes (Mal. 3:6; James 1:17). I hope you have seen by this sobering record of Satan's deceit, and the unspeakable damage that it has occasioned, that your salvation hangs in the balance, dependent upon you believing the right thing and doing it. Like Jeremiah, you will be unpopular for doing so, but also like Jeremiah, you can receive mercy in the day of wrath by believing and doing the right thing now (Jer. 15:10,11; Jer. 39:11,12; Jer. 40:2,4; Mat. 13:41-43). Put yourself in a position to be truly blessed, by believing the word of God, and refusing the prevalent words of men who profess to be speaking for God, but are actually being used by that beautiful, bright, wise, and forever lost cherub who fell from Heaven so long ago. Amen.
 

 

Bro.Lary@gmail.com
Daniel~

"For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, ..."
(I Cor.12:13)


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