For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
In the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the apostle Paul warned Christians to beware of the wiles of the devil. This advice is given because Satan is a counterfeiter and a master of deceit that has myriads of devices to trick believers. When you become a Christian, you are not immune to the devil’s schemes and you must be vigilant to check everything you hear no matter how much you may trust those who would teach you the word of God. Even though Satan is adept at planting false doctrines in our minds, there is really nothing he can do to take away the salvation we have in Christ. It is a better tactic for him to snatch the seed of the word of God away before it ever takes root in our heart.
We would think the best tactic Satan could use to keep people away from God and salvation is to convince them God does not really exist; therefore, he would spend most of his time trying to make atheists of people. Actually, Satan doesn’t really concentrate a lot of his efforts in making atheists because atheism is educated ignorance. Satan is far too smart to make pure ignorance his best friends (sorry atheists, but even Satan doesn’t like you!). Since God has put it into the heart of man to know He exists, and since our hearts are naturally religious, Satan knows he must concentrate his efforts in perverting knowledge of the true God. He seeks to make a substitute for God, a counterfeit god that people will believe and be none the wiser.
In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus describes the activity of Satan in trying to counterfeit God when he says, “there shall arise false Christs.” A false Christ is a good imitation but is not the real thing. A false Christ can make you satisfied you have found truth when in reality you are more blinded to truth than ever before. A parallel passage to Matthew 24:24 is found in the book of Revelation (Rev. 13:13-15) where a false prophet arises during the Tribulation that is able to perform many miracles that mimic the power of God. We can see by this that when Satan empowers the nations of the world to rise up against the one true God, they do not do so because of atheism. They fight against God because they believe they have the real god on their side. They do not know their god is the counterfeit and is leading them to their ultimate destruction.
There is a very important point we must remember about Satan’s activity. He is not waiting for the Tribulation to come before he begins his great deception. He is busy right now in 2012 counterfeiting the work of God. The apostle John wrote “even now there are many antichrists” (1 John 2:18c). Atheism is not our greatest concern. We are far more concerned with preachers in pulpits proclaiming their false Christs. We are more concerned with those that claim signs and wonders in the name of Christ when they have nothing to do with Him. Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 7:21).
Religious chicanery is the devil’s method and it comes in a variety of forms. One of the fastest growing of these is the charismatic movement. Whenever I read Matthew 7, Matthew 24, and Revelation 13, my mind is always immediately drawn towards the charlatans of this movement. They have also spawned the equally perverted doctrines of the Word of Faith teachers. Huge auditoriums across this country like the former Compaq Center in Houston are not filled with atheists; they are filled with gullible “seekers” that have been sucked in with Satan’s religion.
Yes, Satan is alive and well in 2012. He is not waiting for anything to happen before he takes his best shot at God and His people. Atheists are the tag-alongs; they are the devil’s step children. The real danger is in the pulpit; the real danger will smile at you while he pushes you into the abyss. Beware of the devil’s counterfeits; there is one in a church near you.
Pastor V. Mark Smith