It is not easy to forget the answer someone gave me years ago when I asked about the fact that some religions predate the Judeo-Christian heritage by many years. The answer I was given was, "that is merely proof of mans persistence in idolatry."
It is hard to get anyone to have faith in a God they cannot see but it is no harder than asking someone to show you the wind. No one can show us the wind but everyone can see the effects of it. I live in the land of Hurricane Katrina and no one needs to tell me about the effects of the wind.
Faith in God and the finished work of his Son as a substitution for us on the cross has had the effect of changing lives for twenty centuries now but for the unbeliever it's still just so much talk of religion.
The Bible speaks of a God who is willing to be personal with man and of a Savior who intervenes in the affairs of men to give them eternal life. Rather than making brash statements of his connection to God and then leaving the scene as every other so called savior or prophet has done, Jesus Christ backed up his claims with things no one else would even dare to claim.
His power to heal the deaf, dumb and blind was a lead in to several people being resurrected from the dead including Lazarus who had been dead for three days. The final capstone that sealed his complete authority over death and his complete Lordship over life was his own resurrection.
The fact that some people would deny his resurrection and some would spend a lifetime working against it was well known to Jesus who when speaking of the thoughts of one man who had been long dead and wishing others in his family could be warned of the results of unbelief said, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (Luke 16: 29) Un-deterred Christ went to his excruciating death on the cross knowing that the salvation of untold millions was dependent upon it.
That is why people who have caught the full meaning of Christ's selfless act rarely ever take comparative religions very seriously. What can be compared to this act of mercy? Even if you don't have a single inkling of the major Christian doctrines this thing known as "substitutionary atonement" is the single greatest event that the earth has ever been graced with and it will always be.
Even though no one likes to be pigeon holed, yet it seems we all are, regardless. Politics has its liberals, conservatives, libertarians and a few more. Astrology has twelve neat little categories for everyone. Psychiatry has its list of well known pathologies for just about everyone. Christ put everyone in the world into one of four separate categories.
In the parable of the seed and the sower (Mt 13) Jesus said everyone in this world would fit into one of those four categories after they heard the simple gospel of salvation. 1. The message gets snatched away quickly and they go on with their lives. 2. They receive it but have no depth and let it go after a while. 3. They assent to the message but worldly pursuits choke out any chance of its solid rooting. 4. Some allow it to re-frame everything in their lives and become productive for the Kingdom of God.
Ensuant to this great parable is another that is less spoken of but no less important. Jesus said the sower cast his seed across the fields (world) but as he slept an enemy (Satan) came and cast tares (weeds) into the same fields which sprung up overnight.
Being comforted by the ability to dismiss the claims of Christ on their lives, people are even less willing to admit that another might have a claim on their lives. The ruler of this world (Satan) is not so unwilling to proclaim his right to rule (all those who won't let Christ rule) and his ongoing activities as the present ruler of the cosmos (world system of evil.) (Mt 4: 1-11)
Satan is also a sower and he leaves behind a healthy crop of weeds that grow up right alongside the children of the Kingdom. The result of these weeds is apparent. They represent far too many diverse lifestyles and philosophies to list here but among them are the founders, originators and the followers of other religions. Surprised, don't be; this is rudimentary.
In an effort to keep from being accused of being excessively redundant I am forced to say the same things over and over but in the proverbial form of "other words." Here is my latest offering of other words on the fact that Satan as the "deceiver of the nations" has both the ability and the willingness to use religion to divert men away from their own salvation.
This time I will phrase this principle in the form of a challenge. I will give you the rest of your life (But please keep it down to a month or so) to find a single verse in the Bible that indicates that Satan has to stop short of anything marked as a religion in his effort to deceive the entire world. Let me help you, such verses do not exist.
In fact from the ancient days to this moment in time he (Satan) has provided false religions, idols and nonexistent gods for anyone who is willing to go with them. The Greeks and Romans created so many gods that they had to create a temple to the "unknown god" (Acts 17: 23) just in case they may have missed one.
Civilizations far more ancient than the Greeks and Romans had plenty of idols that were taken so seriously, that people regularly offered their children as sacrifices to appease these false deities. In modern Hindu and some of the animistic religions of Africa there are millions of gods. How can you go wrong with so many choices? The Bible says these deities were indirectly causing men and women to worship devils and demons. That brings us back to the tares.
Satan is not called the arch deceiver for nothing. Not only does he keep us from believing in God's salvation through Jesus Christ but for those whose religious proclivities must still be satisfied he provides a plethora of gods and avatars even if each one of them is actually connected to a demon or devil.
The purpose of all these deities is only initially to deceive but the real goal is to destroy. One of the other names for Satan besides deceiver is the destroyer. In Revelation 9: 11 both the Hebrew word Abaddon and the Greek word Apollyon are used as names for Satan; both mean "the destroyer." You do the math.
What then, is he destroying? The earth is still intact and most of the institutions of man are alive and well. Here's the rub, what is being destroyed is each person's future destiny.
How unique is Satan's last day's deception? As the return of Christ approaches we find that at last he has convinced men that all religions are legitimate and should all be allowed into our culture. But he doesn't stop there. Now it is becoming socially unacceptable to speak against another religion and in some nations it is already becoming a criminal act to refute or deny the veracity or authenticity of another's religion. Enter political correctness.
I would be remiss if I said that was all there is to this final deception. Remember the meaning of the words Abaddon and Apollyon. Satan's deceptions are not complete until they reach their ultimate goal, which again is, destruction.
Just when everyone has reached the maximum comfort stage in their acceptance of all world religions the world's last dictator will make them all illegal. He will replace them all with the worship of only one deity, one savior and one man and that man is himself. The price of refusing to worship this deity will be your life.
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (2Th 2: 3, 4)
Perhaps the most amazing thing about this last day's prophecy is that the man spoken of here is actually Satan in the flesh. Just as Christ was the actual incarnation of the living God, or God in the flesh, this man of sin is the incarnation of the Devil. This deception beats all that preceded it hands down. Those who refuse to worship the God that created them will willingly end up worshipping the god that will destroy them.
Is there any way out if this dilemma? Yes, but it is the same way you've heard all along. If you have previously rejected it let me urge you to reconsider. Christ loves you and has become your personal doorway out of destruction and into his presence. To wit:
"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (Jn 10: 9-11)
http://www.americanprophet.org has since 2005 featured the articles of columnist Rev Michael Bresciani along with news and reviews that have earned this site the title of The Website for Insight. Millions have read his timely reports and articles in online journals and print publications across the nation and the globe.
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