Satan, Disguised as An Angel of Light!
By Raymond D. Sopp
2 Corinthians 11:12-15: "But what I am doing, I will continue to do, that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds."
When you mention the name Satan, it immediately conjures up an image of evil, depravity, sorcery, and so on; but that is just a diversion to keep us from discovering Satan's most effective infernal scheme of disguising himself, and his servants, as Anti-Christs. Satan and his servants will NOT appear to the majority of the world or "Church" as angels of darkness, but they will appear as angels of light, inasmuch as they will tell the people what they want to hear. Satan and his servants will go as far as imitating our Anointed One (Christ) by means of counterfeit signs and wonders so they can effectively set themselves up as an attractive anti -- an attractive alternative -- to Christ. Or you could say it this way: So they can become an attractive, but false alternative to God Himself. As angels of light, Satan and his servants can go into the world, and "Church", and effectively deaden the voice of God within the hearts of those who have hardened their hearts toward the truth and accepted Satan's attractive alternative, but they do so to their own destruction.
To help us better understand this most effective infernal scheme let's first look at Exodus 7:20-23, "So Moses and Aaron did even as the Lord had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. And the fish that were in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood was through all the land of Egypt. But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said. Then Pharaoh turned and went into his house with no concern even for this."
In the above portion of Scripture, we clearly see Satan using his Anti-Christ deception to the upmost. God, by producing signs and wonders through Moses, was trying to get the Pharaoh of Egypt to soften his heart toward His demand to allow Israel to leave Egypt. And God's display of power was actually beginning to persuade Pharaoh's heart through the fear of self-preservation, until Satan moved in with his servants, the magicians of Egypt. Their effective imitation of God's power allowed Pharaoh to ignore God for a more attractive alternative which accommodated his own desires instead of God's. The magicians' alternative made no demands on Pharaoh, hence, his heart could remain comfortably unchanged. From the beginning, Pharaoh's heart was hard against God's demand to let Israel go because it would cost him something. Yet he did fear God's power for a time, because he feared it would cost him more if he did not obey God than the cost associated with losing his slaves. Although Pharaoh appeared to waver favorably toward God, his heart really remained fixed upon his own welfare. The Egyptian magicians, by their display of counterfeit signs and wonders, became Pharaoh's Anti-Christ (Anti-God) and replaced the fear of God in Pharaoh's heart with a false sense of security. Therefore, Pharaoh could once again ignore God's word, and his heart could remain fixed upon his own welfare and follow desires of his own heart, which is the very essence of Satanism.
In the same way, many have the common sense to fear God for self-preservation, yet tragically not enough to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow God. Therefore, those who love themselves more than God, just as the Pharaoh of Egypt did, will look for a church where a servant of the Anti-Christ, abides with all the paraphernalia of Christianity, especially signs and wonders, so they can comfortably ignore God's Word (unabridged Word) with a false sense of security and continue in their secular self-indulgent lifestyle. 2 Timothy 4:3-4: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." You must come to God with a contrite heart, desiring His ways over your own, not simply because you fear the personal cost of hell; that will only prove your fear of God, like Pharaoh's fear, is only based on self-preservation and profit. And if that's the case, then the Anti-Christ will be lurking at the door of your heart with an attractive alternative.
You cannot blame your infernal end on Satan's deception, because as with Pharaoh, you chose to wholeheartedly pursue Satan's deception because your love of self and self-indulgence was much greater than your love of God and His righteousness. Deuteronomy 13:1-3: "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul." And 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12: "And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."
Does it sound unfair for God to allow a deluding influence to deceive the hardhearted into believing a lie so they would reject the Lamb of God? Exodus 12:43: "And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it.'" Verse 48: "But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it (the Passover lamb)." And Deuteronomy 30:6: "Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live." God makes it crystal clear that He will NOT allow anyone to partake of the Passover lamb (Jesus) who is uncircumcised of heart! It is written, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever; therefore, if you do not love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul He will allow you, by means of your own hardheartedness, to be deluded into believing a lie and allow you to perish with the rest of Egypt, i.e., the world. That's right, if you miss partaking of the Passover lamb (Jesus), it's not God's fault; you were led astray by your own hard, uncircumcised heart, just as a proud narcissistic bull is easily led away to slaughter by the ring in its nose.
The deeds of those with an uncircumcised heart are obvious to all as their love and desires remain identical to the love and desires established in this world, a world in which Satan remains as god. The uncircumcised of heart may have a desire for God, but that desire can only be motived by their lust for power, for secular wealth, and/or for a sanctuary of personal comfort without contrition. Since their love is solely focused on themselves, they will follow after God only as long as there is a perceived personal benefit. The uncircumcised of heart deceive themselves into thinking that to love God is synonymous with loving themselves to the exclusion of God's desires. In contrast, the Word of God tells us how the circumcised of heart demonstrate their love for God in 1 John 5:3-4, "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith." God's commandments are not burdensome to the circumcised of heart, because God has placed His own heart (spirit) within us so His desires become our desires. The circumcised of heart overcomes the world, and the god of this world, Satan, by becoming holy, i.e., distinct and separate from the world by their God-inspired deeds of righteousness. Having fully embraced God's Holy Spirit as their own, they now can be nothing like the world in their actions, desires, or priorities.
Matthew 7:20-23: "So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I NEVER knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" And 2 Thessalonians 2:3: "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it (the day of the Lord) will not come unless the apostasy (falling away from God) comes first." Contemporary "prophets" are telling us that we're moving into a time of abundant signs and wonders; and along with the signs and wonders, there will be a great harvest of souls. However, if this great harvest is occurring in the last days, as I believe it is, according to the Holy Scriptures, it will be a harvest of the hardhearted to a very attractive alternative, i.e., an Anti-Christ. On that day (the day of the Lord) MANY will indeed be saying "Lord, Lord," yet God tells us in His Word, He NEVER knew them. These contemporary "prophets" seem to be rejoicing over signs, wonders, and numbers; but as for me, I'll be looking at the fruit. And so far, the overall fruit seems to confirm lawless apostasy, and NOT righteousness and holiness, which is the fruit of the circumcised of heart.
To gain even more insight, let's look at Matthew 16:22-23: "And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.' But He (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.'" In this verse of Scripture there are three points we must understand and never forget. First, Jesus confronted Peter with the words, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me." Wow! Those were some very offensive words Jesus spoke to Peter, yet Peter did NOT get offended, inasmuch as he continued to walk with Jesus. In contrast, if your proud ego can be easily offended, Satan has already won; if Satan can get you offended by the truth, i.e., offended at God's Word, he will be more than happy to dress-up for you in his best Sunday Anti-Christ suit and give you a pampering alternative which will not offend you -- a more attentive and attractive god – one your ego can easily embrace.
The second point actually ties into the first, an attractive alternative. Let's review the very words which caused Jesus to react with such impassioned opposition: "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." What an awesome – beautiful -- alternative to Jesus' cross! Jesus, you do not have to go to the cross, because God is a merciful God; surely He will not allow His only Son to endure the agonizing torture of crucifixion. Peter's words were not only beautiful to Jesus' ears, but at the same time, it made God look cruel if He made His Son Jesus go to the cross. And how do we know that Peter's (Satan's) words were beautiful to Jesus' ears? Matthew 26:38-39: "Then He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.' And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'" And in Luke 22:44, we are told that Jesus' flesh reacted so passionately against God's will that His flesh actually sweated blood. Therefore, Jesus had to react passionately against Peter's (Satan's) words. Yet, Jesus remained without sin, because within His heart He strongly desired God's will over and above His own; and with His Father's help, He overcame His flesh. Truly, by His actions, Jesus defined the Biblical definition of being an overcomer.
And the third point we need to take from Matthew 16:22-23, is the Biblical definition of Satanism. In Jesus' own words He made it VERY clear why He attributed Peter's words as being from Satan himself: "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." Satan doesn't care if you call yourself a Christian, as long as you place your own interests (desires) over and above God's. If you keep your eyes focused on yourself, and on your own desires, you are Satan's sons and daughters by default, even if you call yourself a Christian. Satanism is all about you, whereas Biblical Christianity is all about self-denial and the cross. Satanism can be compared to a black-hole that sucks everything in, even light, and then consumes it so nothing of benefit can return. Whereas, Christianity can be compared to the sun, which consumes itself in order to benefit others with light; only unlike our sun, we cannot be exhausted, because our heavenly supply -- our God -- is infinite. Is it any wonder that the Bible describes hell as eternal, utter darkness, whereas heaven has the inexhaustible eternal light of God that exists to benefit all. Daniel 12:3: "And those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever."
Matthew 19:21-22: "Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete (perfect), go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property." It is amazing to me that so many Christians still stumble over these verses. Yes, to the world it would be foolishness, but to the Christian it should be understood as the wisdom of God. Jesus understood it, that's why He allowed Himself to be completely consumed for our benefit. And what personal benefit did He receive in return? Absolutely nothing! Jesus only returned to His former position with God the Father. And yet, He did benefit much in heaven's economy, an economy where personal treasure is measured by selflessness, and our personal satisfaction is derived by seeing others benefit from our sacrifice. In this world's economy Jesus was completely consumed, yet we find that in heaven He is rich beyond measure, inasmuch as He sits at the right hand of God the Father.
John 6:26-27: "Jesus answered them and said, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves, and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man shall give to you, for on Him the Father, even God, has set His seal.'" Even today we can fill our churches by using Satan's very attractive alternative of self-consumption, but if we do, that would necessitate the exclusion of the cross and self-denial, which are the essence of Christianity. Today we seem to have lost the essence of Christianity proportionately to our belief that church size and worldly wealth equates with being blessed by God. On the other hand, Jesus never equated church size or worldly wealth as being blessed by God. Instead, He gave life to this world by allowing this world to consume Him, and He spoke the truth even when all walked away. John 6:51: "I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh." Verse 60: "Many therefore of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?'" And verse 66: "As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew, and were not walking with Him anymore."
If you are filling your church without the cross, your church is only an illusion. It is the heart that matters to God, not the numbers. A church, large or small, having a form of godliness, and yet its members are statistically comparable to the world in their lifestyle, it is also a church which God has NEVER known. Matthew 7:22-23: "Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" Today, it is a fact that we who call ourselves Christians are quickly becoming identical to the world in our desires, our objectives in life, the amount we donate, and the kind of entertainment we spend our money on, even hardcore pornography. Isn't that the definition of an end-time apostate church!? Matthew 7:13-15: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." Ravenous wolves, what an appropriate description for a consummate all consuming black-hole!
Many may find this commentary blunt and offensive, especially if it touches an area in your life that you do not wish to change or give up. But please, I beg you, do not look for a more attractive alternative that demands little or nothing from you. It's only Satan, or one of his servants, disguising himself as an angel of light to keep your heart uncircumcised so you cannot partake of the Passover Lamb of God, Jesus. So please do not be offended, but prayerfully consider the words in this commentary. Matthew 24:24-25: "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance." I have written this commentary from my heart as a safeguard to whosoever reads it; my purpose is not to judge nor condemn, I just truly, truly desire no one to perish. The deception in these last days that we are living in is exceedingly great, but God's amazing grace is immeasurably greater! Lord, keep us from temptation, and all the lies of the Evil One! Amen!
From my heart to yours,
Raymond D. Sopp
All above Bible references are from The New American Standard Bible, (La Habra, California: The Lockman Foundation) 1977.
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