Friday, December 14, 2018

Satan's Logic, Part II

Satan is a master of deception, and those who follow him have bought into his lies.  We use the word "deception," or say that such false teachers and their followers are "deceived."

What does "deception" mean in Hebrew?  According to Vine's, its basic meaning is "deceit, deception, malice, falsehood."  Also in Vine's, Eliphaz in the book of Job, says, "Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless, for he will get nothing in return." (15:31)

Let's go to the Greek.  The word means, "that which gives a false impression, whether by appearance, statement or influence, is said of riches...of sin..."  (Vine's)

Vine's cites 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 as indicative of the definition: "The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved."

Vine's also cites Colossians 2:8:  "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces [or the basic principles] of this world rather than on Christ." (footnote from BibleGateway)

Other words cited by Vine's is "a bait, snare" "wandering (from the right path)" and "'self-deceit,' a sin against common sense," and "leading into error, to seduce."

Wow.  Let's summarize the meaning of deception:
  • lie
  • malice
  • worthless
  • false impression
  • "signs and wonders that serve the lie"
  • unwillingness to love the truth
  • human traditions of thought 
  • a bait
  • wandering away from the right path
  • self-deceit, ignoring common sense
  • "leading into error"
Why does deception work in the first place?  We look back today at the Nazi era and say, "How terrible.  The people were so deceived.  How could they believe Hitler?  He was so obviously evil!" Ah, hindsight.  But watch the films of his speeches carefully, as the camera scans the crowds, whether at a rally or at the Reichstag:  the people are utterly enthralled.  Swooning, screaming, Seig Heiling every few seconds...the enthusiasm comes through those black and whites images even today.

Why?  The simple answer is Hitler offered the German people what they wanted.  He explained the catastrophic loss of World War I.  He claimed the Communists and the Jews at home had  undermined the war effort at every turn, and thus were traitors, deserving severe punishment. He offered a nationalism that boasted the racial superiority of the German people to counter the degradation they felt after being blamed by the Allies for the war and then having to pay for it. He proposed a plan for a German that was pure, shiny and bright:  all inferiors would be removed, and Germany's borders would expand, allowing it to rightfully take its place as the world leader.  

In other words, Hitler appealed to the pride of the people.  

Pride is Satan's domain, and it is an open door that he slithers into and begins working to further his agenda of destruction.  He, as Jesus powerfully defined him, is a thief who comes in to "steal, kill, and destroy." If you want a simple definition of World War II, I can't think of a better one.  The theft,  murder and killing, and the destruction of that war left 58 million dead.  It also included industrialized murder on an unprecedented scale that still defies imagination.

Pride in human beings allows Satan to create a predatory pack that releases all the is evil in us.

Let's explore Jesus' definition of Satan a little further. I hike the mountains in my Idaho home, and see lots of evidence of drama going on when the sun goes down:  bones, fur, hooves scattered about or tucked under a thicket; a single small skull, sometimes with a small amount of fur still upon it; a single bone, long separated from its skeletal cohorts. 

Whoever took the animal (coyote, mainly, sometimes wolf or bear) had to first steal the prey away from its herd. Then to silence its screams and get to work, the predator killed it.  Then, in an orgy of feeding, the prey was dismembered, its bones left in chaos.

That is what he tries to do to us.

That is what he tries to do to the Word.

That is what he tries to do to the Son.  

Satan appeals to our pride to separate us from the truth of God.  God has revealed Himself in His Word and in His Son.  Both get targeted, questioned, dissected, reinterpreted, and redefined beyond all recognition.  Once unrecognizable, it's easy to discard the Word and the Son, for they have no longer have any meaning.  The truth is replaced with "your truth."  Biblical "bones" are scattered on  the hills of cultural irrelevancy.

Look at it this way.  You cannot deceive me if I pursue the truth with vigor and wherever it leads.  If I weigh the evidence, looks carefully and sets pride aside, then the lie will fall flat.  Whoa!  There is the key element: pride being set aside.  I can't be deceived if I am not trying to gain something from whatever is before me.

Lies work because the liar and the "liaree" equally want something.

If I tell you God wants you rich, and all you have to do is give me money, I am appealing to your pride that says you can gain wealth with little effort, and that God is all about you.  You are special as you follow my ministry.

If I tell you I have a new revelation, I appeal to your pride that you now have new or unique knowledge; you are superior to those who don't possess it.  You are special if you follow my teachings.

If I entertain you, all in the name of Jesus, I appeal to your pride that your church is progressive and cutting edge; that new is always better than old and that lots of people involved means God's blessings.  Don't bother with small.  Or simple. You are special because you belong to a happening church.

Feeling special is balm on an insecure heart; a heart that doesn't know the Father as deeply, and a heart that longs for something.  Satan loves that "something."  He will counterfeit it for he knows that that "something" is unbridled fellowship with the Father, Son and precious Spirit.

That "something" will be a lie, an error, ignoring common sense, and a rushing head long into something that is worthless.  Eventually, you will be left marred, angry, broken or deeply ensnared.  That is the point of Satan's logic: because in the word "believe," the word "lie" tucked in.

But in "believe," with a careful look, is the word, "live."  Take out the need to "be" in control, and take out the "e" (ego) and you find Jesus: He is our Immanuel, the One who is God with us, and who brought us His way, His truth and in His life.


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