Satan – The Master Counterfeiter
John Hoole – February 21, 2010
(Click on photos, graphs and charts for larger version)
HOW MANY ANGELS ARE THERE?
We don’t know how many angels there are. Their number seems to approach infinite. When the apostle John was taken to heaven, their number beggared his imagination. We read a description of his in Revelation 5.
Revelation 5:11 NKJV
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,
Ten thousand time ten thousand equals 100 million. That’s a fairly specific amount. But it is not that specific in the Greek language. The Greek phrase used here is, muriades muriadoon. The root word in Greek is, Murias (moo REE as). This word does not translate to ten thousand. “Murias” was the largest number that the Greek language could express. It is the root of our English word, Myriad. So, we are really talking about an incalculable number of angels
For this reason, the NASU renders the Revelation 5:11 as:
11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,
The Greek word, MURIAS, is used eight times in the New Testament. Notice how it is translated in Hebrews 12:22.
Hebrews 12:22 NKJV
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
The same Greek word is translated “innumerable” here.
The bottom line to our initial question is that we do not know how many angels there are. There are countless citizens of God’s heaven. And these millions and possibly billions surround the throne of God. That throne room must be huge.
From time to time, these spirit beings reveal themselves to humanity as God’s messengers.
Hebrews 1:14 (NKJV) refers to them this way:
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?
But, as we have learned all angels are not alike. There a various classes, having different forms, purposes and callings. We also know that there are differences in strength among them. Some are more powerful than others. Some seem never to leave the throne of God, while others are dispatched for various assignments.
At some point following their creation by Jesus, one of them – called Lucifer – rebelled with pride. He desired to rise above God Himself. And it appears that as he trafficked his desire and plan, about one-third of the angels were convinced to follow Lucifer.
Lucifer was not at all successful, and he and his angels fell, becoming known today as Satan and his demons. Satan is the embodiment of evil. He is the father of lies (John 8:44). And the demons carry out his wishes.
When Lucifer let pride arise in him, he said, as recorded in Isaiah 14:14, he set in motion a desire he still has to this day. He wants to usurp the authority of God.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJV) finds the apostle Paul warning the Corinthians about some people:
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
Satan is still trying to be like the Most High. At least, he is trying to convince people to follow himself.
By looking at the world around us, sometimes it appears like Satan is winning. The title of a book written in 2003 seems to describe our own society. Its title: “Slouching Toward Gomorrah.”
There is a constant unseen war that rages around us at all times. It is a war against the forces of evil and the angels of God. And while this war is invisible to us, in many regard, we human beings are the targets of the forces of evil. To narrow that some, the target is specifically the followers of Christ. One day this war will end completely. But until it does, Satan and his demons will do all they can to deceive and cajole us with a constant barrage of attacks, in order to cause us to fall.
This enemy is not stupid. He is brilliant and has thousands of years of experience to throw at us. He is a master at making you think he is something that he is not. Remember, he is the father of lies. He is a masterful undercover sleuth.
How many of you have ever heard of Sydney Reilly? He was Russian by birth – Jewish by race – and British by choice. Actually, his birth name was Georgi Rosenblum. When he was recruited by MI6, -- the British Secret Intelligence Service -- he was given the name Sydney Reilly. In the opinion of many within the intelligence and espionage community, Sidney Reilly was perhaps the greatest spy of all time. Ian Fleming – the creator of James Bond  – had served for some time with the British Secret Intelligence Service. He is quoted as having said about his own creation – James Bond: “Bond was just a piece of nonsense that he had dreamed up – certainly no Sidney Reilly."
Perhaps the most harrowing of Reilly’s feats was his infiltration of the German high Command in the First World War. But his greatest task of all was his final major assignment. The Bolshevik revolution in Russia was starting to occur, shortly before the end of WWI. It really caused Russia to remove itself from the World War to attend to things at home. British intelligence sent Reilly to Russia to overthrow the Bolshevik government, a task he nearly accomplished. Part of Reilly’s assignment was to assassinate Vladimir Lenin. But a woman by the name of Dora Kaplan got to Lenin first, shooting him with two shots. Lenin survived those wounds, even though it was thought too dangerous to remove either of the bullets. After Reilly completed his mission, he returned to England, after which Russia tried he and the head of British Special Missions in their absence. They were both convicted of espionage and sabotage, and was captured 7 years later and executed.
He had the uncanny ability to organize and mobilize people against the Bolsheviks. People said that Lenin feared no enemy more than Sidney Reilly. Reilly was feared because his allegiance was to another government. His activities were all aimed at subverting and overthrowing the rule of the Bolsheviks. Governments fear nothing as much as the traitor, the rebel within their own camp, who covertly seeks to destroy their work.
Matthew 7:15, 20-23 (KJV)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Satan, like a spy or a traitor, seeks to gain advantage by deceptively and secretly working among the body of Christ. God has given us several means whereby the Christian can negate the subtlety of the enemy.
Whatever else Satan is, he can never be accused of being lazy. He has been working ever since the fall, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks out of every year. He is continuously at work attempting to keep sinners from being saved, and trying to see to it that those who are saved do not grow in grace. This warfare engaged by Satan is no mere passing amusement for him. In desperation, he is facing a terrible judgment if he cannot succeed in his purpose. The master passion of Satan leads him not only to strive for the success of his own projects, but also to wage an unceasing warfare against Jehovah and His followers.
Whether Satan now believes that he may succeed in spite of what happened at the cross of Jesus, and the evident superior power of God, is not revealed. But we know that Satan will actually increase his ferocity of attack as we approach the last days. We will say more about the tactics of Satan in the last days in our next lesson. Satan hates God and every one of us who follow Christ.
WHAT TACTICS OF SATAN DO YOU THINK ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE?
I suppose the answer to that question depends on the specific circumstances. He is a master at using tactics that meet the situation. Satan always has adapted his methods to the times and conditions. He will even allow a semblance of truth in his tactics if it will keep the person involved from accepting redemption of sins through Christ.
As we read earlier in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 (NIV):
14 …… Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness…….
We often think of Satan as the great opponent of the plans of God. He certainly is, but sometimes the best opposition against something is a clever imitation. Satan is far more effective in matters of imitation than in matters of outright opposition. I believer Satan has a far better track record when he imitates rather than by direct opposition. He might imitate in the form of a pastor who seems to be godly, and yet who denies the Book and the Blood, and the Blessed Hope. This is far more effective – at least among Christians – than imitating Richard Dawkins (the de-facto world leading Atheist) , or a bartender, or a harlot. Counterfeit is Satan’s most natural method of resisting the purposes of God. It is by the process of counterfeiting that the devil becomes “like the Most High.”
Satan hates God, but he also has an obsession to be like God.
Isaiah 14:12-14 (NIV) indicates this desire in the heart of Satan.
12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
Wasn’t this also the theme of the final statement by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, which finally enticed Eve to take and eat the fruit.
Genesis 3:4-5 (NIV)
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.
5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
The next verse says that Eve took of the fruit and ate.
Ever since pride entered the heart of Lucifer, he has had an unquenchable desire to be like God. And he has been trying to convince mankind that they can be gods too.
WHEN THINGS ARE COUNTERFEITED, WHAT CAN YOU USUALLY SAY ABOUT THE ORIGINAL?
Only precious and valuable things are counterfeited --- things like gems, original painting masterpieces, money. No one counterfeits candy wrappers or napkins. Satan counterfeits the precious things of God – even God himself. And unfortunately, many are deceived and believe his lies. His goal is to subvert the hearts and minds of mankind, to turn them against God. Let’s examine how Satan imitates God.
IN WHAT WAYS DOES THE DEVIL COUNTERFEIT THE THINGS OF GOD TODAY?
Let me start our discussion of this question by using an analogy. Let’s say that God’s Messiah, plus God’s Bible plus God’s church are analogous to a TREE. We may as well call it “the tree of life.”
For thousands of years, Satan has attempted to eliminate this tree. He tried many times to destroy the Messiah – he failed every time. He has tried to get rid of the Jews, from which the Messiah was to come – failure again. He has often tried to eliminate the existence of the Bible – more failures. He has repeatedly attempted to wipe out God’s church – even more failures.
Satan just cannot get rid of God’s tree – so what has he done instead? Answer – Satan has planted MORE TREES – many more. His goal? To HIDE God’s tree in a veritable forest of counterfeit trees. These trees look like – smell like – feel like – the real tree of God. But they are imposters. They are trees of death – not trees of life.
This homely analogy is one way of showing that Satan’s primary activity today is involved in leading people to his counterfeits. They counterfeit God’s Messiahs, counterfeits of God’s Word, and counterfeit of God’s church.
Let’s look at these counterfeits.
1. Satan counterfeits the churches of God
In Revelation 2:9 (NIV), John speaks to the church at Smyrna.
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty-- yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
In Revelation 3:9, the “synagogue of Satan” is mentioned once more.
The word “synagogue” means “an assembly.” Satan has his own synagogues and churches – assemblies – thousands of them. Some of Satan’s counterfeit churches even have “Jesus Christ” as part of their name. Satan is not at all against religion – he is against Christ. He has his groups that use the Bible and claim to follow Christ but it isn’t the same Christ that died for our sins.
2. Satan’s churches preach a counterfeit gospel.
2 Corinthians 11:4 (NIV)
4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
Here, Paul describes a the message of false prophets that had come into the church in Corinth after he had left. Sometimes the difference in their gospel is quite large. More often, the difference is very subtle --- just enough of a difference to lead a person to the wrong road leading to destruction, not to Jesus and heaven.
Paul describes the approach of those preaching a different gospel, and the affect it was having on the churches in the province of Galatia.
Galatians 1:6-7 NKJV
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Some of these churches preach about Jesus, but the Jesus in their gospel is not the Jesus of the Bible. They will even give you a copy of their Bible.
Sometimes the counterfeited gospel shows up in denying the supernatural:
• They try to humanize Jesus Christ, making Him less than God in the flesh. They might say He was a good man from whom we can learned principles for living, but, the bottom line is, He was just a man – like you and me.
• They try to rationalize, or try to explain away all miracles in the Bible. After all, it doesn’t fit with present-day knowledge.
• They deny the importance of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Since they believe Jesus was basically another man, his blood can’t save all mankind.
• They teach that mankind is the master of his own fate. Rather than teach that man is sinful, and inherently prone to do bad things they teach that he is basically good, and can effect their own lives for good.
• They scoff at the idea of a physical return of Jesus Christ. After all, to believe that Jesus is physically returning, would mean an acceptance of his bodily resurrection, and that just doesn’t hold muster with basic logic.
The world today is flooded with different “gospels,” each claiming to offer an easier, better, more meaningful, more effective plan than God’s original version. Not only do these “gospels” abound in the world; sadly, they even invade the church. These gospels may seem good, but they are not the truth. We don’t accept the gospel of Jesus Christ just because it is good. We also accept it because it is truth. To say that another way: We don’t recommend Christianity because it is good – but also because it is true.
So Satan has his counterfeit churches (assemblies) – and a counterfeit gospel.
3. He has his doctrines
1 Timothy 4:1 (NKJ)
1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
Satan has his systematic theology. He has his doctrines of:
• Salvation by good works
• Free love in all of its forms
• Tolerance of all life-styles and alternative sexual preferences.
• All roads lead to God – Under this topic is the Ecumenical movement.
• Materialism – God wants you to have it all
• There are no absolutes --- and thereby blurring the line between good and evil.
2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIV)
3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
Rather than teaching the truths of the Bible, they hide their lies and deceptions in their counterfeit doctrines, such as:
• The Bible is not the literal word of God – a LIE.
• The Bible contains many errors and often contradicts itself – A LIE.
• Those parts of the Bible that are in conflict with so-called “scientific truths,” such as evolution, are merely myths or parables – another LIE
4. Satan has his ministers
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NKJ)
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness………
Dr. Donald Gray Barnhouse, a great Presbyterian Bible teacher who died some years ago, once said: “When you get ready to look for the devil, don’t forget to check behind some pulpits.”
Many of Satan’s most successful activities and teachings, come not from a tavern or an atheist’s cell meeting, but from behind a pulpit. About four decades ago, we heard the teachings and theology of the “God is dead” movement. This was not from the writings of Adolph Hitler. It wasn’t one of the railings of Nikita Khrushchev, or Madelyn Murray O’Hare. “God is dead!” was proclaimed by a seminary professor. Such Bible seminaries should be called Bible cemeteries.
It probably won’t surprise you that every major newspaper made this a headline. It was “breaking news” on all TV networks. After all, a recognized “Bible expert” from a recognized “Christian denomination” had made this statement.
A person may be speaking from a pulpit,….
--- he or she may seem very sincere.
--- He may extensively quote from the Bible.
--- They may repeatedly invoke the name of Jesus.
But that does not guarantee that you are hearing the rightly divided Word of God.
Satan most definitely has his own preachers and teachers and they twist the Word of God to their own destruction, as well as many others.
5. Satan counterfeits the Word of God
This point goes along with the one we just completed, concerning the presence of the ministers of Satan, who are deceived into thinking they are serving Christ, when they are in fact cleverly subverting the Gospel and the Word of God. This point also parallels one we discussed earlier, on the Doctrines of Satan.
Satan has many counterfeit books that purport to be the word of God.
There is the Book of Mormons
There is the New World Translation of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
There is also the Koran.
The Apocryphal books.
The Gnostic Gospels
Satan has always tried to cleverly subvert the Word of God.
Genesis 3:1 (NIV)
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
Satan, very subtly, cast doubt on the Word of God, or at least, our perception of what we think we heard God say.
Some translations of the Bible are less than accurate. Some translation remove the fact that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus. They call her a young maiden. Another translation changes John 1:1 to read, “And the Word was a god.” instead, as my Bible reads, “the Word was God.” They had to make this change in order to support their belief that Jesus was created by God, not a co-equal with the Father.
Some of their changes do not change the truth to an out-and-out lie, but instead use a less distinct word so as to obfuscate the truth.
6. Satan counterfeits the miracles of God
Matt 7:21-23 (NIV)
21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Jesus gave clear warning that “miracles” done in His name do not, in and of themselves, prove that they are of God. Satan can and does perform counterfeit miracles.
We know, from reading about the 10 plagues is Egypt, starting in Exodus 7, that some of the miracles of Moses could be duplicated to some degree by Pharaoh’s magicians.
Matthew 24:24 (NKJ)
24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
By now, you should be able to recognize that Satan loves to counterfeit Almighty God. He has been very successful with this practice.
Here are a few more counterfeits of the enemy of God.
7. Satan has his communion table
1 Corinthians 10:21 NKJV
21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons.
The context here shows us that idolatry is the “cup of demons.”
8. Satan has his counterfeit righteousness
Romans 10:2-3 NIV
2 For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.
3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
9. Satan has his throne
Revelation 2:13 NIV
13 I know where you live — where Satan has his throne…
Revelation 13:2 NIV (Speaking of the Antichrist)
2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
10. Satan has his angels
Revelation 12:7 NIV
7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.
11. Satan has his sacrifices
1 Corinthians 10:20 NKJV
20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.