One of our children came to me recently and said she had a bad dream.
She told me that Satan came to her and said that he was God. Since then I’ve wondered how she knew it was Satan. Anyway, when she told me that, I responded that the sad truth is that Satan does come claiming to be God so that people will follow him.
Isaiah 14:12-15 likely refers to Satan. Even before creation he had wanted to be equal to God, apparently so much that he deceived himself into thinking he could actually do it. He still wants to be equal to God and at one point even enticed God to worship him, though unsuccessfully (Matthew 4:5-11; John 10:30)
Second Thessalonians 2:1-12 says that Satan is still working secretly to lead people astray so that when the time is right he can lead another rebellion in which he’ll proclaim himself to be God. He’s just waiting for the opportune time (although everything actually happens in God’s time frame – Luke 4:13; Acts 17:26-31).
Satan’s final rebellion will happen right before Jesus returns at which time he’ll be overthrown and sent to the fire of everlasting punishment prepared for him and his angels (Mathew 25:41). People who are misled by him or follow him willingly will have the same fate.
While in my child’s dream, Satan forthrightly said he was God, he’s not always so blatant. In fact, he’s called the father of all lies because of his deceit (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
Did you get that in verse 4? Satan will even use preachers to lead people astray! He’s a real snake in the grass (Genesis 3:1). Any teaching that doesn’t include the whole counsel of God as presented through the Apostles is bad news that leads people astray and those who preach anything less than the whole truth will be held accountable (Acts 20:26-27; Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
One of Satan’s most successful ploys is to quote only part of the scripture. He even tried to use that trick on Jesus according to Matthew 4:5-11. But, as we also learn from those verses Jesus countered with other scriptures because, as the originator of scripture, he knew them better than Satan (John 1:1; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
That’s also the best way we can keep from being misled by the devil when he tries to play God – study to learn scripture and check it to make sure that what we’re taught fits with the whole counsel of God (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
That way, we’ll be prepared to resist the devil so he’ll leave us alone (James 4:7-8). We can’t let our guard down on that though because, just as Satan left Jesus for a more opportune time, he’ll be back trying to trick us again like a recurring bad dream.
If we’ll study our Bible every day, we’ll be able to recognize Satan when he approaches us and we’ll already be aware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org