The Age of Deceit - Part 2by Ron Matsen
In Part 1 of “The Age of Deceit,” we show that all mankind is embroiled in a war that has been raging since the dawn of time, where man is both the prize and the pawn in this deadly conflict. Therefore, the Bible warns us to, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” We are further told that we should use discernment based on the Bible…“…lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
To identify Satan‘s “devices,” we need to understand his M.O., which is short for Modus Operandi; a Latin term used by law enforcement authorities to describe the particular manner in which a crime is committed. Quite literally we have Satan‘s fingerprints, or his M.O., at the scene of his crimes throughout the Bible. Therefore, we would do well to be aware of Satan‘s M.O. because deception wears many different masks.
Deception by Conversation
We will start our forensic investigation of Satan‘s deceptive methods by examining the first recorded conversation between the Nachash and mankind. Now, just to set the stage here a little bit, I wonder if maybe a relationship already existed between Satan and Eve because they appear to have established a rapport. Otherwise, I think it would be strange that they would dive directly into such a serious conversation at their first meeting. After all, he seems to already know of the prohibition given Adam and Eve by God.
Genesis 3:1-5 records the conversation.
“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
By entering into this conversation, Eve has opened herself up to the beguiling personality of Satan. Here we see that dialogue with the wrong kinds of people can very quickly lead us onto the path of confusion and compromise.
The Bible gives us clear protective guidance by stating,
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Please notice this well-worn, slippery slope that leads mankind away from God‘s blessing. It starts with the “counsel of the ungodly.” This leads onto the “way of sinners” and ends up in the “seat of the scornful.” On the surface, claiming that deception comes through conversation seems overly alarmist. But the apostle Paul warned the Church at Ephesus by writing,
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
James, the half-brother of Jesus, exhorts us by stating,
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Therefore, Eve was first deceived by Satan because she was willing to have a conversation with him. Once she turned her attention to listen to his subtle words, she was then led onto a pathway that would take her away from God‘s best. Having gained Eve‘s attention and trust through conversation, Satan responds to her by offering an alternative understanding concerning the prohibition of God.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:4, 5
Satan begins by questioning the accuracy of her statement by asking, “hath God said.” Then he presents his alternative by challenging the word of God. Herein we see the root that ultimately brings forth the fruit of rebellion. Basically, Satan opposes God‘s authority and then he offers his own.
The prophet Isaiah revealed that the cause of Satan‘s fall was pride and self-exaltation.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
At this point you can see that this type of contradiction is not about conversation, it is about control. Today we see the power and might of the international media moguls attempting to control the free flow of information. Under the disguise of “fact checking” they promote only those thoughts that they agree with and silence all others.
In the dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, written by George Orwell, the superstate Oceania has four branches of government:
At the center of Orwell‘s futuristic novel is the Thought Police (Thinkpol). The task of the Thinkpol is to discover and punish thoughtcrime. Thoughtcrime is defined as both personal and political thoughts unapproved by the government. The Thinkpol uses omnipresent surveillance via informers, telescreens, cameras, and microphones, to monitor the citizens of Oceania. It uses Newspeak language to control the speech, actions, and thoughts of the population, by defining “unapproved thoughts” as thoughtcrime.
Newspeak enforced a vocabulary that confuses clear communication like:
Using criminal psychology, it arrests all those who have committed thoughtcrime by challenging the status quo authority of Big Brother. By now you may see the parallels with our current state of affairs. The “Thought Police” enforce “Newspeak” and punish all dissidents who commit “Thoughtcrime.” Topping the list of “Thoughtcrimes” today must be the immutable standards and divine revelation of the Bible. Its message stands as a “Rock of Offense” to a world blinded in this age of deceit.
Today, Orwellian type “Newspeak” is the tactic of many modern philosophers and theologians who present their opinions as truth while they seek to contradict and ultimately silence any other opposing views. If doubt can find a foothold in your trust of God‘s word, then it will wear away until the very fabric of your faith is completely undone.
Deception by Condescension
The doctrine of the inerrancy of the Bible was not an issue for the first sixteen hundred years of the Church. The early fathers accepted the inspiration and authority of Scripture as an assumed and self-evident fact. From this belief came the unwavering understanding of the character of God, the deity of Christ, and the salvation of man to mention only a few of the key foundational doctrines of Christianity.
But, as the expositional teaching of the whole Bible decreased over time it gave rise to growing skepticism as to the Bible‘s origin and transmission. By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Age of Enlightenment had become a powerful philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe. It was centered on the concept that reason is the primary source of authority and legitimacy. Many of its famous thinkers and philosophers challenged some of the basic foundations and moral standards of society. Eventually, it opened the floodgates of what became known as “Higher Criticism.”
Higher Criticism is a term applied to a type of biblical study that emerged in academic circles in the late eighteenth century. The stated objective of these academics was not only to challenge the Bible‘s primal literary sources but also in the operative and undisclosed assumptions of biblical writers themselves. In other words, they wanted to open the interpretation of the Bible to include their editorial comments and/or corrections. In doing so, they were directly attacking the source document from which we derive the foundation of Biblical Christian doctrine.
Those who embraced this kind of liberal revisionism of the Bible were openly critical of the “literalist” who held to the doctrine of the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures. These condescending intellectuals considered the concept of an inerrant Word of God as a relic of the Dark Ages and thereby relegated its followers to the halls of the unenlightened and narrow minded. Once you start picking apart the Biblical text using predigested and prejudicial insights, you open the proverbial “Pandora‘s Box.”
This type of thinking leads to a belief that the Scriptures are at best a fallible witness to revelation (which may have been infallible when it left God, but which certainly was corrupted by the time it was recorded in the Bible). Ultimately, this gives way to the deconstruction of all Holy Scripture.
Deception by Deconstruction
The Encyclopedia Britannica says, “Deconstruction is a form of philosophical and literary analysis, derived in the 1960s. It questions the fundamental conceptual distinctions, or oppositions, in Western philosophy through a close examination of the language and logic of philosophical and literary texts.” In academic discussions about intellectual trends of the late twentieth century, deconstruction was sometimes used as a suggested source for nihilism.
Nihilism is a term used to describe the disintegration of traditional morality in Western society. Nihilism encompasses a variety of philosophical ideas that, in one sense or another, denied the existence of genuine moral truths or values, rejected the possibility of knowledge or communication, and asserted the ultimate meaninglessness or purposelessness of life or of the universe. In popular usage of the term, nihilism has come to mean a critical dismantling of tradition and traditional modes of thought.
Therefore, deconstruction eventually leads to the nihilistic viewpoint that traditional values and beliefs are unfounded, and that mankind‘s existence is senseless and useless. When you link this belief with the teaching of the evolutionary origin of mankind you are left with a chilling understanding that life is completely random with neither context nor purpose. When used to scrutinize the Bible, deconstructionists attempt to destroy both the context and the content of the entire Word of God.
Thus, we are living in a time when that which was proposed by Satan in the Garden of Eden where he questioned, “Hath God said,” is now being proclaimed as a type of neo-gospel that preaches, “God might be there, but we can never understand his plans or purposes.” As with Eve on that fateful day of her deception, that which began as doubt led to disbelief and despair.
With this type of destructive treatment of God‘s Word, the world we live in today is aggressively charging ahead with its agenda to completely discredit the authority of the Bible and replace it with a man-centered system based on the shifting sands of situational ethics. Ultimately, deconstructionism leaves all mankind with no way of communicating anything meaningful or lasting.
Today we are beginning to see the deadly effects of the emerging Cancel Culture. Cancel Culture is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles simply because they hold a non-accepted viewpoint. Those people or ideas that are subject to this ostracism are said to be “canceled”.
In opposition to this popular trend, Isaiah warned,
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”
Isaiah 5:20, 21
The Psalmist foresaw these rebellious revisionists and said,
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
The Bible records the response of God by stating,
“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
Psalm 2:4, 5
With the benefit of hindsight, we have witnessed how a simple Conversation with the wrong type of person can easily slip into Satan‘s devices of Contradiction, Condescension, and ultimately Deconstruction. Therefore, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
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