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UCG IA Bible Insights Thursday, July 28 2022

Spiritual conspiracy

Long ago the greatest of all conspiracies took root and it is still going on all around us. This spiritual conspiracy is led by Satan the devil, who is a real spirit being conspiring against God and His way of life.

by Steve Myers

The Bible teaches the devil is a very real and dangerous being--not some philosophical idea or superstition. Satan is called the accuser, an enemy, the serpent, and a dragon. His focus is to deceive, divide and destroy in order to defeat God's purpose, and he is the enemy of mankind. Probably the devil's greatest deception is to convince people he doesn't exist.

We are told in Ephesians 6:12, "For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world. Against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." And I Peter 5:8 warns, "Stay alert, watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."(1 Peter 5:8).

In Ezekiel 28 we are told that in the beginning Satan wasn't evil. He was created by God and described as "the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty," and as "the anointed cherub that covers" was "on the holy mountain of God" (Ezekiel 28:12-14). Satan started out as a perfect creation but something happened: "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you" (verse 15).

God gave spirit beings free moral agency — the ability to make independent decisions. Over time Satan developed ideas of grandeur that led to disastrous consequences. The book of Isaiah gives us some insight into his thinking: "I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God… I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; [and] I will make myself like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:13-14).

Satan’s vanity and lust for power led him to become the adversary who attempted to depose God. Millions of other angels joined him in rejecting God's leadership and authority. This is symbolically described in Revelation 12:4. "His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth...."

The devil is a jealous being, who doesn't want humanity to have a relationship with God, and he wasted no time destroying God's relationship with the very first human beings: Adam and Eve. Revelation 12:9 tells us Satan “deceives the whole world…” Most of humanity has been conned into rejecting the true God and they don’t realize it (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Satan is adept at leading the world to question the existence of God and doubt the validity of the Bible. Even people who regard themselves as Christian can be deceived: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:13–15).

A famous historian recognized Satan has corrupted Christianity. He wrote, "Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it…Greek mysteries…contributed to the result… Christianity was the last creation of the ancient pagan world" (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, pp. 595, 599). The devil has done an effective job of combining truth with deception to confuse people about God and what the Bible really says.

Jesus mentioned this in one of His parables. He explained, as soon as some people hear God's truth, "... the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12). But God gives us guidance to counteract the devil and his influence: “...Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 4:7-8). The key is to yield to God, who has the power to make the devil withdraw from us,when we earnestly and consistently seek God and remain close to Him.

God also assures us the time is coming when Satan and his evil spiritual conspiracy of suffering, misery and mental anguish will be terminated .When Jesus Christ returns, "the kingdom of the world [will] become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15). Satan's world, built on a foundation of lies and deception, will come crashing down, replaced by the Kingdom of truth and light.

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