Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Arizona Bible Conference part 2

After the teaching on the fact that Jesus Christ controls everything, Pastor McLaughlin turned to an examination of the Synagogue of Satan, mentioned in Rev 3:9... A synagogue is a place of learning, and refers not to a literal synagogue, but to a system of thinking. Satan's system of thinking, with which he has decieved the whole world, is constantly teaching us whether we want it to or not, through the media, education, books, music, other people, Internet, etc. It's a multi-faceted system, holding something to appeal to almost everyone, and can be broken down into two major approaches.

The first represents the way Satan thought at the time of his own fall, prior to the creation of man, and cited in Isaiah 14. It's a system of living for self, with no interest in God whatsoever. ("I will make myself like the most high. I will ascend to the mount of the north. I will do what I want.")

For those who want to live for something beyond themselves, he has a second approach, offering them the various religious systems like Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, cults, etc. If people do manage to believe in Jesus and become Christians, he has counterfeits for them as well. This second approach accepts a belief in God or even in Jesus, but subtly attacks His character, his nature and His word. Satan does this by bringing in counterfeits that seem right, but are just enough off to lead his victims astray.

Wanting to be like God, He has counterfeited everything that God has done or commands. The Bible teachs of another Jesus, another Spirit, another gospel, another communion table... He presents himself as an angel of light and has ministers of righteousness sent out to teach people how to be righteous his way. These are the people who think they are serving God and aren't, mentioned in Matthew, and Romans, and Timothy and Corinthians. We must be alert to them and turn away from.

This second approach represents Satan's thinking after the creation of man, when he went into the garden and questioned the woman regarding what God had said. Satan knew very well what God had said, ("From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat") but pretended ignorance to trip her up. "Has God really said you shall not eat from any tree of the garden?"

He used this approach again when he tempted Jesus in the desert in Matthew 4, quoting scripture to our Lord in the second and third temptations. Which brings up the startling point that Satan knows the Bible. In fact, few have mastered it as much as Satan -- he's had thousands of years to work at it, after all -- though without the filling of the Holy Spirit he'll never be able to really understand it.

The point is, he can and does use even the Bible to trip up God's people. If we are not solid in what the word of God teaches we will be vulnerable to his schemes, Bible based and otherwise. For they are everywhere.