"Close–But Not Close Enough"

Last Sabbath, we heard a sermon about lies. It was pointed out that God cannot lie, while Satan is the author of lies. And, that man, in believing and following Satan’s deception, has brought upon himself the penalty of death.
We need to meditate about the fact that Satan is extremely and deceptively subtle. Most of the time, he does not confront us with blatant, bold-faced lies. Rather, they are presented to us as a mixture of truth and error.
When Satan approached Eve in the garden of Eden, he asked her whether God had said, correctly translated, “You shall not eat of any of the trees of the garden.” Of course, man was allowed to eat from every tree, except one. After this initial subtle approach, Satan tells Eve correctly that it is the potential of man to become God (compare Genesis 3:5). The error mixed with this true statement was Satan’s contention as to how to achieve man’s potential.
And so, Satan has twisted God’s truth in many different ways. It is true that the “spirit in man” goes back to God when man dies (Ecclesiastes 12:7). But the spirit in man is not a self-conscious entity that continues to “live” after man’s death. Satan, however, taught man that his “immortal soul” will go back to God, when man dies, continuing to exist on a self-conscious plane.
God also reveals that those who were not called in this life will be resurrected as human beings, in a second resurrection, to live again in the flesh (Revelation 20:5, 11-12; Ezekiel 37:1-14). Satan, however, proclaims a wrong teaching of a lengthy cycle of reincarnations, including new lives in the bodies of animals.
In Malachi 4:2, Christ is compared with the “Sun of Righteousness.” This is merely an analogy. But Satan caused unsuspecting man to actually worship the “sun,” and to later replace “sun” worship with supposed “Son” worship, while maintaining pagan concepts. That is why Christianity celebrates, allegedly in honor of the Son Jesus Christ, days like Sun-day, Christmas (the birthday of the Sun-god) or Easter (the death and subsequent resurrection of the Sun-god). [For more information about the history of the observance of Sunday, Christmas or Easter, please read or re-read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas,” as well as “Europe in Prophecy: The Unfolding of End-Time Events.”] 
At the time of Christ’s First Coming, Satan had influenced the Jews to place Moses before Christ, thereby rejecting their Savior (John 1:11; 9:28; compare, too, Acts 6:11). Today, some in the Church have been pursuing the same kind of wrong idolization for Mr. Armstrong. Others reject and bad-mouth Mr. Armstrong, through whom God worked, and fall thereby into the other ditch.
It seems that Satan is anxious to present man with some kind of a counterfeit to God’s truth. In doing so, he often incorporates aspects of the truth and mixes them with a lot of error. Man, not firmly grounded in the truth of God, has far too often fallen for the devil’s devices.
Satan is still around. He is now busier than ever, knowing that he has a short time (Revelation 12:12). His foremost goal is to destroy the begotten children of God (1 Peter 5:8-9). His tactics and modus operandi have not changed that much. Today, as always, Satan presents a mixture of truth and error to God’s children, so that, if it were possible, even the elect could be deceived (compare Matthew 24:24).
How can we protect ourselves from Satan’s evil schemes?
We must be close to God, because it is only through His Spirit that we can distinguish truth from error (1 John 4:1-6). We must also embrace and love the truth. Paul tells us that in the end-time, many will fall away from the truth because they did not “receive the love of the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). In order to have the love of the truth in us, we must be convicted of it. There must be no room for doubt, when it comes to the truth.
Sadly, many in the Church have never reached that deep level of conviction. Rather, they have been “like children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” (Ephesians 4:14).  Many have been those “with itching ears,” heaping up “for themselves teachers,” since they were not any longer able to “endure sound doctrine,” and in doing so, they have turned “their ears away from the truth.” (2 Timothy 4:3). They have become easy victims of Satan the devil, “having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:26).
Christ has warned all of us to be very careful what we allow to enter into our hearts and minds. A little bit of error is enough to poison the whole being. There cannot be a mixture of truth and error. Satan’s teachings appear sometimes to be “very close” to the truth — but they are never close enough.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God