Church of God, New World Ministries

Satan’s Great Deception

Did you know that long before Jesus Christ was born, there were other “Saviors” worshipped as Sons of God? Other Madonnas, other Christ-childs, and the symbol of the cross? Strange as it may seem, this is true!

And stranger still, the gospel of God sent to this world by God through Jesus Christ, was known and cleverly counterfeited many centuries before Christ.

How that counterfeit was deliberately designed and spread through out the world long before Christ, how that same pagan counterfeit was cleverly, gradually, by secret stealth and fifth-column methods, innoculated into the early church until it completely replaced the gospel, the Truth of God and the Way of God, is the most mysterious, astonishing, yet important story of the history of mankind.

Did you know that ancient pagan beliefs and practices in many ways bore a close resemblance to the beliefs and practices taught and followed by Christ and the apostles?

This is the very reason for the most amazing and least realized fact of all, which is easily seen by reading through the New Testament, that the teachings and practices of Jesus and the apostles in the original true church are not the same as we see today’s churches. This change was due to the paradoxical fact of the astonishing resemblance between ancient pagan beliefs and those enunciated by Christ.

The false often appears as true. It is made to resemble the genuine. Edward Carpenter’s Pagan and Christian Creeds, p. 25, says: “The similarity of ancient pagan legends and beliefs with Christian traditions was so great that they excited the attention and undisguised wrath of the early Christian, not knowing how to explain it, they fell back to the theory of the devil, centuries before, caused the pagans to adopt.” He also quotes Tertullian, one of the early church fathers living between 160 and 220 A.D., as saying, “The devil, by the mysteries of his idols, imitates even the main part of the divine mysteries.”

Furthermore he says, “Cortez, too, complained that the devil had possibly taught the Mexicans the same thing that God taught Christendom.”

Since the practices of today’s churches are not the same as the early true church recorded in the New Testament, it is vital to know if there has been a purposeful mixing of the false practices of paganism with the true teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the Bible.

Many writers of history, including Edward Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. I, chap. 15, states that there has been a change brought about by great numbers of pagans flocking into the early Christian Church and mixing their similar pagan customs and beliefs with those of the true Church.

The important question then, is this: As the churches of today are teaching beliefs and practices not commanded by God and which, although similar, do not really lead to our placing ourselves as obedient servants to Him, being ruled over by Him now so that we may be eligible to obtain eternal life, it is vital that we know it, so that we may return from the counterfeit to the right way.

Inasmuch as the churches of today follow a great number of practices originating from ancient pagan Babylon, practices which are entirely opposite of those which Christ and the apostles taught, it is important to notice the attitude toward paganism, of the churches which consider themselves completely Christian. The following excerpts from Edward Carpenter’s Pagan and Christian Creeds, show this.

“The Christian Church has kept itself severely apart from discussions of heathenism, taking the stand that it, the church, represents a unique and divine revelation and has persuaded mankind of this to such a degree that few people nowadays realize that it has sprung from just the same root as paganism and that it shares by far the most part of its doctrines and rites with the latter.” (Pages 11-12).

Did you catch it? Today’s churches have sprung from the same root as paganism!

“The common idea is that the pagan gods fled away at Christ’s coming, yet it is well known to every student that this is contrary to fact. At the time of the recorded appearance of Christ, and for some centuries before, there were temples without and dedicated to Apollo or Dionysius among the Greeks, or Hercules among the Romans, Mythria among the Persians, Baal and Astarte among the Babylonians, and temples dedicated to many other gods. An outstanding phenomenon is apparent: notwithstanding great geographical distances, racial differences between cults and in detail of services, the general outline of creeds and ceremonials were, if not identical.” (p. 19-21). Not only were these pagan creeds and ceremonies which had existed centuries before Jesus Christ’s coming markedly similar to true Christianity, a fact that can’t be considered accidental.

As an example of this, of eleven main deities from seven countries, it was believed of all or nearly all that, “these deities’ births were on or near Christmas, of a virgin mother, in a cave underground, that they led a life of toil for man. They were called light bringers, healers, mediators, and saviors. They were thought to have been vanquished by the powers of darkness, descended into hell or the underworld, to have arisen and become pioneers of mankind to a heavenly world, Krisna, the god of India is an outstanding parallel with the life of Christ.” (Pages 21-23).

Mr. Carpenter goes on to say, “The ideas of God sacrificing his Son for the salvation of the world is so remote and remarkable, yet it ranges through all ancient religion and back to the earliest times and is embodied in their rituals.” (Page 133). These unusual customs were so similar to the truth that they strongly suggest there must have been some guiding force behind them.

It is evident that with such marked similarities to true Christianity, as are shown by the eleven main deities from seven countries, that one should approach this subject with an open mind to see if a fusion of Paganism and true Christianity is present today.

I Thessalonians 5:21 tells us to “Prove all things: hold fast to that which is good.” Jude 3 & 4 tells us to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, ungodly men, turning the grace of our god into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are warned of a turning away from the truth of God which was starting to occur even in the time of the apostles.

Is it probable that the pagans who had methods of worship, seemingly near in form and belief to that of Christ and the apostles, would come into Christianity and completely discard their pagan practices which often contained very pleasurable things, for teachings that did not appeal to them as much, even though God has commanded them? Or course not. Paul warned in II Thess. 2:7, “The mystery of iniquity doth already work.” A mysterious perversion of the gospel had already started to work even in Paul’s day! The pagans didn’t give up their ideas!

But when was the very beginning of this mysterious force for evil? Its origin dates from the time when Lucifer was created by God, to rule the earth. He rebelled and became Satan the deceiver. We will now see how this came about.

God, speaking to Lucifer, the archangel (who later became Satan after he had sinned) said in Isaiah 14:11-15, “Oh Lucifer son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.”

Now notice Ezk. 28:12-16, which speaks of the king of Tyre, the type of this same Lucifer spoken of above: “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so. Thou was perfect in thy ways from the days that thou was created till iniquity was found in thee. I will remove thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”

Lucifer whom God created as an archangel to carry out His will and government, was given rule of the earth. But he was not content, he wanted to exalt his throne above the stars of God. He wanted to be God! He ascended above the atmosphere to take God’s place from him, but Revelation 12:3-4 and Luke 10:18 show that God’s angels met him and cast him down. Note Luke 10:18 “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Lucifer the archangel, whom God created, became Satan when he sinned. He is a deceiver of the whole world (Rev. 12:9).

Satan, however, has been permitted to retain rule of the earth: Christ did not deny this for Matthew 4:3-10 says, “The devil taketh him (Christ) and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and sayeth unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” They were the devil’s kingdoms to give, he ruled over them. He rules over this earth! See also John 14:30 and 16:11. He was trying to bring Christ under his rule, “worship me.”

But notice something else very carefully here. It is the key to the understanding of the method by which Satan, through the organized churches, is deceiving the world today, a key to the Mystery of Iniquity which was already working in the churches in Paul’s time (II Thess. 2:7). In Matthew 4:6 Satan says to Jesus, “If thou be the son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee.” God promises to aid those who find themselves in hazardous circumstances not of their making, but He does not say he will protect those who deliberately place themselves in such circumstances in order to convince others. But Christ replies in verse 7, “It is written again, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

Notice, Satan suggested an improper action for Christ, an act of disobedience to God, by twisting God’s word to convince Christ it was the proper thing to do. Christ corrected him. Had Christ done as Satan wanted, he would have obeyed Satan, been ruled by Satan. So also today, Satan obtains rule over individuals by having his agents misinterpret false methods of self-justification to the individual for his own evil acts.

Eve was tempted by Satan in the same manner as Christ: Satan suggested an act contrary to God’s command, then twisted God’s word to make it appear the right thing to do. God said in Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” But the devil twisted this. He said, “ye shall not surely die, ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 4:4-5).

Eve desired (lusted after) the fruit of this tree and obeyed Satan rather than God, he deceived her into doing it. Adam and Eve came under Satan’s rule. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Rom. 6:16). Had they obeyed God they could have ruled the earth.

Adam and Eve, for their disobedience, was driven from the garden of Eden where the tree of life was located. (Gen. 2:9). They could have eaten and obtained eternal life, but rejected the opportunity and, therefore, were prevented by cherubims from returning to the garden.(Gen. 3:24). Their chance of obtaining eternal life at that time was gone, they had sinned, disobeyed God, they would not come under his rule; therefore He would not give them the opportunity of obtaining it. They sinned by transgressing God’s law which was in the world from the beginning, for I John 3:4 says, “Sin is the transgression of the law” and Romans 3:23 says, “All, including Adam and Eve, “have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

A merciful God soon afterward revealed to Adam and Eve that One was to come who would again make it possible for mankind to have the opportunity of obtaining eternal life; for God said to Satan (Gen. 3:15), “I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

A male offspring (Christ) of woman, only by a supernatural conception was going to make it possible once again for mankind to come under God’s rule and obtain eternal life. Proof of this is that, in verse 20 of the same chapter, Adam named his wife “Eve” which means, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, “life giver.” This referred to some special life-giving property which would be imparted to mankind through woman alone, (as represented by Eve), eternal life through her divinely begotten Son Christ; for both Adam and Eve shared equally in the giving of mortal life to their offspring. This is the first mention given by the Bible to the coming of Christ as Savior.

It was by faithful obedience that Enoch (Heb. 11:5), David (Ezk. 34:23), Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Matt. 8:11), all living in Old Testament times, understood the hope of salvation, and will rise to meet Christ at his coming ( I Thess. 4:16). They obeyed God, came under his government, (Enoch “walked with God” Gen. 5:24), and looked forward by faith to the Savior who should come, just as we, today, look backward and believe him. God spoke to Abraham (Gen. 22:18) of the coming seed (Christ). The few being called then obtained “a good report through faith” by the same method as we today: they repented of disobedience and believed that the blood of the Savior would pay the debt of their past sins!

This knowledge by which mankind could have faith in a Savior and, like Enoch, be translated or transferred from Satan’s rule (or from the power of darkness) to God’s rule (Col. 1:13 & Heb. 11:5) and ultimately, eternal life, must be blotted out by all means if Satan were to retain his rule of mankind on this earth!

There is evidence that the Pagans not only knew of the disobedience of Adam and Eve and that this disobedience was punishable by death, but also of the subsequent offering of Salvation again. Paul wrote in Romans 1:32 that the heathen sinned even though they knew “the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death.”

Hislop’s The Two Babylons, pages 322-323, says that one of the names of Eve, worshipped in ancient Babylon as the primeval goddess, was “Thalatth” which signifies “the rib” or a “side.” It comes from the verb Thalaa which signifies “to turn aside.” Adam turned aside from obeying God because he took the advice of Eve who was made of a rib. It is in memory of Adam’s turning aside from the right way that the pagan priests of Baal supplicated their god to hear them ( I Kings 18:26) by limping (turning aside) at the altar, for “limping” is the exact meaning of the Hebrew word rendered “leaped.” This, he states, is also the origin of Vulcan’s lameness; for their pagan god Vulcan, as “Father of the gods,” needed to be identified with Adam and well as Nimord. The pagans knew that this limping or turning aside implied death, eternal death.

But just as the pagans originally knew of the penalty of death for sin, so they also knew of the promise of life eternal. While at the spring festival of Cybele and Attes (other pagan gods the types of Adam and Eve in mythology) there was great lamentation for the death of Attes, so on the Hilaria or rejoicing festival of the 25th of March, in honor of Cybele the mother of the Babylonian Messiah, mourning was turned to joy, on occasion of the dead god being restored to life again.

We have seen how Lucifer, placed on earth to carry out God’s rule, wanted, instead, to take God’s place, but was cast down to the earth and became Satan, the adversary. Also we have seen how Satan twisted the word of God by presenting to our first parents a counterfeit way which appeared as the TRUTH.

From this point on to the flood the records prove that the Devil was very active in deceiving mankind. The earth became full of sin: “All flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.” (Gen. 6:12.) This brought on the flood to show us the terrible results of disobedience.

Did Satan cease to deceive after the flood? Absolutely not! Our article, “World Religions” will reveal how Nimrod founded the apostasy after the flood and how his wife Semiramis introduced the Mystery of Iniquity (II Thess. 2:7) which deceives the world today! It is a fascinating story, will you believe it?

 
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