Viral Threats to Religious Liberty (Part 3 of 3) By Col. Tim Moore Judge a…
Satan’s End Time Decoys
By Dean T. Olson
Throughout history Satan has tried and failed to destroy Christianity by attacking and discrediting Jesus, the Bible and the Church. Failing miserably, one of his current end time strategies is to produce counterfeits to confuse mankind by making it difficult to find the real thing. Satan’s counterfeits are decoys created to draw human souls away from salvation. The use of decoys is a familiar concept in warfare. In the late 1950s, the US Air Force (USAF) developed decoy drones that were carried by Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers to help them penetrate heavily defended Russian airspace. One such decoy was the McDonnell ADM-20 Quail. Even though much smaller than the bomber, the Quail was designed to simulate the bomber’s radar cross section by carrying internal radar reflectors. It could be fitted with an infrared burner in the tail that could produce intense heat to simulate the heat signature of a bomber. The goal was to simulate strategic bombers on radar to increase the effectiveness of Strategic Air Command bombers by confusing and saturating the Russian air defense system. The decoys were released just prior to penetrating enemy airspace to confuse and saturate the defensive radar network. Enemy defensive resources would be diverted from at least some of the “real” B-52s, increasing their chances of completing their bombing missions successfully.
Satan uses counterfeits as decoys in much the same manner. The concept is elegant and effective; by obscuring the true Church amid a forest of counterfeits that look nearly identical to the real thing, Satan can continue to drive a wedge between God and man. His primary activities are focused on leading people to counterfeits of God’s Messiah, God’s Bible, and God’s church to prevent them from finding true salvation.
Satan’s decoy churches – Satan has his own synagogues and churches. Some of them even have “Jesus Christ” as part of their name. Satan’s churches are empowered, not by God’s Holy Spirit, but by a different spirit, sometimes a demon spirit and sometimes even by Satan himself. But just because they are counterfeit doesn’t mean they don’t have great power and charisma.
Satan’s decoy Christians – Jesus warned us about counterfeit Christians with a parable about the wheat and the tares. Tares are weeds that look like wheat: “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. But while men slept, his enemy (Satan) came and sowed tares (decoy Christians) among the wheat (true Christians), and went his way.” (Matthew 13.24-25). Many of these decoys are holding public office. Because Satan is the prince of the earth, and grants the power to govern to those he selects to do his will, many of our elected officials are decoy Christians.
The church is a prime target for Satan’s decoys and he ensures that his counterfeits are the decoy Christian preachers and teachers “called by God.” In the mid-1960’s, one of his decoys was Baptist Seminary Professor William Hamilton of Colgate Rochester Divinity School. Some expositors credit Hamilton’s radical theology for the rapid rise of atheism in the last half of the 20th Century. Hamilton co-authored a book in 1966 titled, “Radical theology and the death of God” that proclaimed that “God is dead!” The decoys in the liberal mainstream media couldn’t wait to announce this “expert’s” proclamation with headlines in every major newspaper and breaking news on all TV networks. Time Magazine even ran a cover asking “Is God Dead?” It is interesting that one of Satan’s most effective ploys is to challenge the goodness of God by wielding the sin that Satan himself introduced into the world to inflict disease, pain, suffering and death on mankind. Satan capitalizes on the suffering of the afflicted and their loved ones by destroying the faith of believers via the fog of evil. The fog of evil led Hamilton, who was overwhelmed by the problem of evil and human suffering in the 20th Century, especially the Holocaust, to stop believing that God remained active and engaged in world affairs. In a 2007 profile in The Oregonian newspaper, Hamilton recalled his journey away from orthodoxy, “I wrote out my two choices: ‘God is not behind such radical evil, therefore he cannot be what we have traditionally meant by God’ or ‘God is behind everything, including the death camps – and therefore he is a killer.'” More significantly, the same newspaper story noted that his questions began as a teenager when two friends died in an explosion. One friend who perished was Roman Catholic, the other Episcopalian. A third young man, who happened to be an atheist, survived the blast with no injuries. Man’s usual response to tragedy is to blame God.
This factor is so powerful that it is the causal thread linking the personal tragedies of Ted Turner, Charles Darwin, and other prominent atheists in abandoning their faith. By challenging the goodness of God by wielding the sin that he introduced into the world to inflict disease, pain and suffering on mankind, Satan capitalizes on the suffering of the afflicted and their loved ones by destroying the faith of believers via the fog of evil. When media mogul Ted Turner lost his faith after his sister died of a painful disease, Turner exclaimed, “I was taught that God was love and God was powerful, and I couldn’t understand how someone so innocent should be made or allowed to suffer so.”
Man’s usual response to tragedy is to blame God, as Charles Darwin did after the death of his beloved daughter Annie. “Annie’s cruel death destroyed Charles’s tatters of beliefs in a moral, just universe. Later he would say that this period chimed the final death-knell for his Christianity…Charles now took his stand as an unbeliever.” The deceit of Darwin, spawned by Satan, produced one of the devil’s most successful ploys to wrest human souls from the goodness and light of our Creator and doom them to eternal damnation; the theory of evolution.
Satan’s decoys can be very convincing. They may speak from a lectern that prominently displays a Bible. They may seem very sincere, quote extensively from the Bible and invoke the name of Jesus. These outward manifestations of goodness and religiosity, however, do not guarantee that they are preaching the “rightly divided” word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). And no wonder, because Satan can transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11.14-14a). It shouldn’t surprise us then that his decoys appear to be ministers of righteousness. Satan’s decoy messiahs. Two prominent examples of these decoys include Jim Jones, and David Koresh. 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 (Messiah),’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24.4-5).
The deadly nature of Satan’s decoy messiahs is highlighted by the cultic nature of their demonic control over so many followers. Reverend James Warren “Jim” Jones was the founder and leader of the notorious Peoples Temple of Jonestown, Guyana. This false messiah is best known for his instigation of the November 18, 1978 mass suicide of 909 Temple members along with the killings of five other people, one a US Congressman, at a nearby airstrip. Over 200 children were murdered at Jonestown, almost all of whom were forcibly made to ingest cyanide-laced Kool-Aid by elite Temple members.
David Koresh, born Vernon Wayne Howell, was the leader of the infamous Branch Davidian religious cult. Koresh believed himself to be God’s final prophet and ordered his followers to prepare for Armageddon by assembling weapons and explosives. Amid claims of other crimes, including sexual abuse of children, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) raided the Branch Davidian compound, named Mount Carmel, on February 28, 1993. In the raid four ATF agents and six Davidians were killed. During the subsequent 51-day siege by the FBI Koresh and his followers set their compound outside of Waco, Texas on fire. Koresh, along with 54 other adults and 28 children were found dead after the fire. The Danforth Report after the siege claims that those who died were unable, or unwilling, to flee and that Steve Schneider, Koresh’s right-hand man, probably shot Koresh and committed suicide with the same gun. Autopsy records indicate that at least 20 Branch Davidians were shot, including 5 children.
Satan’s decoy “word of God”. Satan has many counterfeit books that purport to be the word of God. Examples include the Book of Mormon, the Apocrypha, the Koran, the Upanishads and Bhagavadgita. Even more pernicious are the counterfeit translations of the Bible itself. These are translations that very subtly distort God’s word. Here are just a few examples:
– Some translations change the word “virgin” in Isaiah 7.14 to “young woman,” thus raising questions as to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
– Other translations are even subtler. They use “virgin” in the main text, but insert a marginal note that questions the accuracy of their own translation. The people behind these “Bibles” are without excuse for mistranslating Isaiah 7.14 because God has clearly stated that the correct word is “virgin” (Matthew 1.22-23).
– One translation changes John 1.1b to read “and the word was a god” instead of “and the Word was God.” This change is done to support their lie that Jesus was created by God.
– Some translations change John 1.1b to read “and the word was deity” instead of “and the Word was God.” These translations do not change the truth to an out-and-out lie, but subtly pervert the word of God to obfuscate the truth. “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, “Yea, hath God said…?” (Gen 3.1a)
There are two defenses against falling for Satan’s decoys. First, strengthen your spiritual discernment by studying the Bible daily. It is wise to emulate the Bereans (pronounced buh-ree-uhns) who were a group of Jews living in Berea, now known as Veria in what is today northeren Greece. The Apostle Paul described them as scrupulously searching the scriptures daily to verify that what they were told matched what the Bible had to say. According to the Book of Acts, Chapter 17 verse 11, Paul and Silas preached at Berea and the inhabitants “… received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. The lesson is clear: all teaching, no matter by whom or how convincing it sounds ought to be compared to scripture.
Other Bible verses confirm the need to rely on the infallibility of the Bereans approach to truth and spiritual discernment:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:1-6:35).
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain 1 (Timothy 6:3-5).
For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24).
But test everything; hold fast what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Second, wear the full armor of God. The apostle Paul describes the armor that we have available as we go into battle against the powers of evil in this world in Ephesians 6:10-18: 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (emphasis added).
Your armor against spiritual attacks and avoiding Satan’s decoys consists of God’s truth and righteousness, His gospel, your born again faith and your eternal salvation.
Dean T. Olson, Omaha