As Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parades, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.A.W. Pink
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Matthew 24:3b-5
Deception is a strategic tactic that has been used in warfare since Biblical times. During World War II, Operation Bodyguard was fabricated by the British with the intent to mislead the Germans regarding the landing destination for the invasion of Europe. The imaginative use of balloon-like replicas of tanks, trucks and equipment along with a ghost army successfully convinced the Germans the invasion would happen at Pas de Calais rather than Normandy. By the time the Germans were able to re-group once the invasion commenced, the British and Americans had formed a beach-head and were advancing inland. The ruse was vital to the success of the June 6th invasion and defeating the Nazis in Europe.
The Bible speaks volumes about deception. When asked about signs of His coming in the above verses, the first thing Jesus says is “Take heed no one deceives you.” In the corresponding verses on the End Times and the Tribulation in Matthew 24, Jesus warns about deception four different times (v4, 5, 11 & 24). So, obviously Jesus is emphasizing the importance of watching for and recognizing potential deceptions.
The Apostle Paul also describes deception as one of the prominent characteristics of the times leading up to and during the Last Days when Satan’s proxies come on the world scene. Satan’s playbook has always consisted of deceit and sowing doubt in order to manipulate mankind beginning with the deception of Adam and Eve who chose to believe his lies. Jesus refers to Satan as the “father of lies who does not have any truth in him” (John 8:44), so it should not surprise us that the events of the last days seem to be a crescendo of Satanic lies as foretold in the Book of Revelation.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1-5
The Holy Spirit revealed to Paul as explained in 1 Timothy that people will be deceived and drawn away by demonic philosophies and teachings in the last days. As we look at the world today, maybe those days are closer than we realize. Traditional faith and values as outlined in the Bible are being assaulted before our eyes. Aberrant teachings have infiltrated traditional Christian churches leaving many questioning the foundations of their faith and emptying pews altogether. Paul specifically mentions marriage as one of the foundations of life God has ordained that will be vilified. This is not surprising since traditional marriage between a man and a woman is a holy union and covenant which is a representation of Jesus Christ and the Church, His bride. Of course Satan will try to adulterate and destroy the very foundation of human relationships if it corrupts man’s true faith in God and His natural order for life.
Many of the deceitful and demonic philosophies being promoted today by the media, entertainment and even government are attempting to move society away from the God created order which places man above creation (being made in His image) to the degraded, natural view that man is no more than animal without a soul and a parasite on the Earth’s natural resources. Many of the current world leaders and techno-elites are embracing such views (i.e. –World Economic Forum 2030 Goals) as solutions to the multitude of challenges they perceive. But theses solutions are a humanistic attempt to circumvent God’s reign and dominion over man.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
The Apostle Paul is warning in the above verses that such tactics are a planned deception by Satan during the Last Days to accomplish his demonic lust for power and worship. The lawless one (Anti-christ) and his false disciples will be empowered by Satan to perform fantastic signs and wonders during the Tribulation. Even though these will be supernatural signs, they are described as lying wonders which are meant to deceive and influence with malevolent intent. So great and ultimate are the deceptions of those terrible days that the very elect would be misled if it were possible (Matthew 24:24).
Notice who is deceived. It is those who did not love the truth of God’s Word that would lead them to salvation. In other words, the people deceived are those who reject Christ, His redemptive work and the truth of Scripture and prefer unrighteous living. God’s response to those who reject His truth is to allow a delusional mental state to overtake them so they succumb to the deceit of the lie.
Paul distinguishes between those who are “deceived and perish” and those “who know the truth”. That distinction centers around a faith based relationship with God with a heart to believe His Word as truth and follow Christ.
The emphasis in all of these verses is the knowing, believing, and following God’s truth. That is the insurmountable defense against the deceit and lies of Satan and his minions. Biblical truth and salvation in Christ are the shield against the treachery of the evil one and a powerful, spiritual weapon (Hebrews 4:12) as part of the believer’s armor (Ephesians 6:10-20). You may remember, it is the defense Jesus used to combat Satan’s lies and temptations in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13).
The closer we come to the End Times and the return of Jesus Christ the more imperative will be the knowledge of the truth of God’s Word and promises. So, take heed that no one deceives you as we wait for the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ!