Secrecy is vital in warfare. Enemies endeavour to discover the opposing forces plans by whatever means possible. Reading true or fictional accounts of previous conflicts is fascinating to see the bravery and stupidity of the various combatants.
In the moral and spiritual warfare between the Kingdom of Light and that of the Darkness there is a strange anomaly. From the beginning of the contest the Ruler of the Light outlined His plans to reclaim what had been usurped and enslaved. This was intentional. It was to inform those enslaved by the Dark Lord of the air that redemption was coming. Although some generations would not see it literally, they still could participate in the victory. How was this possible? By trusting in the revealed plan of the Lord of the Kingdom of Light and Life. Faith would secure them inclusion in the promised future Kingdom.
Where is this redemptive plan written? In the Judeo-Christian Bible. From Genesis through to Revelation various facets are spelt out. These may be in promise, symbol, story, parable and in plain words. On their own they may not reveal much (as any investigator appreciates) but put them together in a proper frame and they speak volumes. Why does the Lord do this? “I declared them (His plans) to you from long ago, before they came to pass I announced them to you, so that you would not say, ‘My idol did them, my carved image and my cast image commanded them’.” (Isaiah 48:5) God wants you to know His heart so that you can respond.
The Devil, the prince of Darkness, doesn’t want you to hear, understand or to respond to the Grace and plans of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Because the Devil can read he sets in motion a counter strategy. This is basically to counterfeit, confuse or crush either God’s Word or God’s people. Let us briefly consider the Devil’s attempts to counterfeit some of God’s promises.
In Genesis chapter three is the account of Humankind’s enslavement by the ruler of the Darkness. When the Lord imposed a judicial judgement on Adam and Eve, He also outlined a future deliverance involving a woman and a baby. This of course is the Virgin Birth and the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. The Devil countered this through the occult powers of the Babylonians. Jeremiah quotes with sadness the tendency of the people of Judah to worship ‘the queen of heaven.’ (Jeremiah 44:17-25) She also is pictured with a baby. This counterfeit is still operating today. Its force is to distract from the wonder of the event called Christmas. The Roman festival called Saturnalia on December 25th also seeks to lessen the reality of the literal historical event recorded in the Gospels of the birth of Jesus. Think also about how the idea of Christ’s resurrection from the tomb has been distorted. The term Easter comes from a pagan term for the goddess of spring, that is, life renewed from winter’s grave. The bunny and his basket of eggs symbolise new life and fertility.
Because God raised up men to be His penman and record His words, the Devil has done the same. His counterfeit, so called holy books have appeared over time. Each offers their own versions of god, morality and salvation. They do lack historical credibility and fail the test of investigative research. The Bible has been put under the severest and wide ranging investigations but stood up to their tests. Such books as the Koran, the book of Mormon or other religious writings cannot face such detailed examinations. Perhaps this is one reason why those who question especially the Koran are in fear of their lives.
False prophets are the Devil’s infiltrators and saboteurs. Such men and women are nice, presentable well–spoken and plausible. Their intention is to counterfeit the Gospel message and undermine the person and work of Jesus Christ. They will deny Him as the Son of God, the promised Messiah, crucified as our substitute for our judgement, our sin and to secure our forgiveness and salvation. They will scorn the idea of His resurrection and Second Coming, and ridicule the idea of judgement and eternal condemnation. This fits well with men and women who either love their pagan ways or seek to earn God’s favour through self–effort. These false prophets may do wonderful things and impressive works but Jesus calls them agents of evil. (Matthew 7:21-23)
How then can we discern the true from the false? How are we able to unmask the counterfeit and walk in the light of God’s grace? Through holding up teachers and teachings, religion and rituals to the light of God’s Word. Check out what He has promised and see how it has been fulfilled. Then rest comfortably in knowing that that which is still a future event will just as surely be fulfilled. This is the promise recorded in Isaiah 55:10-11: ‘For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.’
© Ray Hawkins