Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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September 1, 2016
Last Updated :
September 1, 2016
Conflict And War During First Century, Great War In Heaven, Unseen Spiritual Warfare, Devil Is Liar Deceiver And Author Of Confusion, Devil Opposes And Withstands God's Word And Will, Blinded By Satan's Lies And Deception, Accuser Of The Saints, Jesus Warned His Followers About False Christs False Prophets And Coming Great Deception, Jesus' Message Directed To First Century Christians, Great Signs And Wonders, Satan's First Century Deceivers, Apostles' Warnings Regarding False Apostles Deceivers And Antichrists, Apostle Paul's Warning Regarding Coming Antichrist, Signs And Lying Wonders, Satan Gets His Day, Closing Remarks, Suggested Reading Resources
There is another very important reason regarding why these miracles were so necessary. As I explain in the series "When Was Satan Cast Out of Heaven?", as well as in "Who Hindered the Antichrist?", if we take the time to read the Scriptures closely, we begin to realize that the First Century was a time of war and great turmoil; not just in the Heavenly Realm where Satan and his fellow renegade Angels were challenging and fighting against God's Supremacy and Divine Order, but also on the Earth itself -- and in Israel in particular -- where the Israelites were under oppressive Roman domination; where the Jewish religious leaders were growing increasingly concerned about losing their power and the fragile but cozy relationship with Rome; where the Zealots, Sicarii and other rebels were growing restless and bolder with each passing year; and where the Romans were running out of patience with those stubborn, conniving Jews. The situation was reaching a boiling point in both spheres.
Really stop and think about all of the conflicts -- both the physical ones, as well as the spiritual ones -- which were occurring at that point in history. It was God versus Satan. It was Michael and his Angelic Host versus Satan and his Fallen Angels. It was Jesus versus Satan. It was the scribes and the Pharisees versus Jesus. It was the Zealots and the Sicarii versus the Romans. Indeed, it was a very messy time.
As Jesus stated in the Gospel of Matthew, this great war in Heaven started sometime after He was born, and perhaps not long after He had entered His adulthood. After all, the Lord said it had begun in the days of John the Baptist, and John was only six months older than Jesus. In my view, it is clear to see that this great war was all about Him, and what He was about to achieve for the sake of humankind. While this great war was in large part about the Redemption and the Salvation of humanity, another big objective was obviously to rid the Kingdom of Heaven of Satan and his cohorts once and for all. That wars do indeed occur in the Spirit Realm is made quite evident by verses such as the following:
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
Matthew 11:12, KJV
"Then said he [the Angelic Messenger] unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia."
Daniel 10:12-13, KJV
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12, KJV
"Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all."
1 Corinthians 15:24-28, KJV
"Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, KJV
"And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
Revelation 19:11-14, KJV
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
1 Peter 5:8, KJV
As I explain in the aforementioned articles, Satan was out to win this great war, no matter the cost. As such, he was more than willing to resort to whatever tricks or ploys he could in order to achieve his objective. He was also very jealous of Jesus and His followers. Because of his pride, that serpent was determined to outdo and outmatch Jesus and His followers at every step. Now, if there is one thing we know about the Devil, it is that he is a liar, a deceiver, and the author of confusion. If God says one thing, Satan will say the exact opposite. After all, in both Hebrew and Greek, the word "satan" -- or "satanas" -- means adversary, or one who opposes or withstands another. So that vile demon wants to cloud our minds, and confuse us, so that we cannot discern the truth. I am reminded of the following verses:
"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
John 8:44, KJV
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
"In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them [the Jews] which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV
So as we can see, lies and deception are two of the tools in the Devil's arsenal of weapons. He will use them to blind us to the truth of God's Word. Not only that, but Satan will use his human emissaries to do the very same thing. He will use them to contradict and distort God's Word. Isn't that precisely what the Scribes and the Pharisees did with Jesus? Those legalistic snakes constantly contradicted Jesus, and tried to find fault with what the Lord said, taught and did. With good reason the Devil is also called the Accuser in the Book of Revelation, as we see by these two verses:
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the ACCUSER OF OUR BRETHREN is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Revelation 12:9-10, KJV
Now, here's the thing. Jesus was fully aware of the great deception which was coming to Jerusalem in the years ahead. While it is indeed true that the unbelieving Jews were very deceived already, what was to come later on would be a lot worse. He knew that Satan's deception would be so powerful, and so convincing, that if it were possible, it would even deceive His very own followers; that is, the elect. That is why He issued the following warning to them in His Olivet Discourse:
"And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many . . . And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many . . . For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24, KJV
"For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect."
Mark 13:22, KJV
Please understand that Jesus was giving this warning to His First Century followers. This was not a message to Believers today, as so many modern Christians tend to think, and which I likewise believed for many years. While we obviously know that there are many deceivers in the world today, again, this is not the time period that the Lord was referring to. Just keep in mind who His audience was. Do you honestly believe that the Lord would tell His listeners these things if they were actually meant for us living two thousand years later today? I don't. At any rate, Jesus was telling them that some extremely convincing liars and deceivers were on their way, and one person in particular was on his way.
Notice what the Lord says there; "great signs and wonders". To me, that does not sound like everyday parlor tricks. The Lord is talking about some very powerful deception. Please keep this phrase in mind, because we will be coming back to it in a minute. So as I explained a minute ago, the Devil wanted to outdo and outmatch the Lord's Disciples. If Jesus was going to give them power to perform miracles, then Satan would do the very same thing with his followers. He would match fire with fire. We find evidence that this was indeed the case in the following verses. Please notice how many times we are told that these deceivers were Jews:
"But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done . . . And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me."
Acts 8:9-13, 18-24, KJV
"And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand."
Acts 13:6-11, KJV
"Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."
Acts 19:13-16, KJV
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock."
Acts 20:29, KJV
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
2 Corinthians 11:13-15, KJV
"Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
Ephesians 5:6, KJV
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
1 Timothy 4:1-2, KJV
"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was . . . But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
2 Timothy 3:8-9, 13, KJV
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."
2 Peter 2:1, KJV
"Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son."
1 John 2:22, KJV
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world . . . And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."
1 John 4:1, 3, KJV
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."
2 John 1:7, KJV
It is plain to see then that powerful deception was indeed rampant during the First Century, and the Apostles warned their followers about it quite a few times. It seems that after Jesus returned to His Father, the darkness moved in, in full force. So that is why the Apostles had to have those same Gifts of miracles and mighty works. They had to certify before the unbelieving public who they were, so that some of them would believe and come to Jesus Christ. They had to be able to counter what Satan was doing through his evil people.
However, as I said, the worse deception was still to come. As I explain much more fully in "When Was Satan Cast Out of Heaven?", as well as in "Who Hindered the Antichrist?", the Apostle Paul offered the clearest warning yet regarding the soon arrival of the Son of Perdition, who would in fact sit in the Temple in First Century Jerusalem, and declare that he was "God". Consider the following verses. I have added some words in brackets for clarification:
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [Christ's Return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first [the apostasy], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [the Antichrist]; 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, shewing himself that he is God . . . And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8-12, KJV
Just as Jesus had warned His followers of coming "great signs and wonders", please notice how the Apostle Paul describes it as "all power and signs and lying wonders". In other words, the Antichrist would be fully empowered by Satan himself in order to perform his convincing signs and lying wonders. In my view, this means that he would literally be the Devil in the flesh, just as Jesus was the Son of God in the flesh.
This would in fact be Satan's crowning achievement on Earth, and his greatest deception as well: finally getting what he had wanted all along; that is, to be worshipped as "God". As you will learn when you read the aforementioned series, the hard-hearted, unbelieving Jews would fall for this deception too, exactly as the Apostle Paul states above, because they had long ago rejected God's one true Messiah, Jesus Christ. However, in the end, they would pay dearly for their foolish rebellion. Please refer to those series for more details.
With this last thought, I will bring this article to a close. I trust that you have enjoyed it, learned something from it, and I pray that it has been a blessing in your life. If you have an account with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, etc, I would really appreciate if you would take the time to click on the corresponding link that is found on this page. Thank you so very much! May God bless you abundantly!
For additional information, you may want to refer to the list of reading resources below which were also mentioned in this article, or which contain topics which are related to this article. All of these articles are likewise located on the Bill's Bible Basics website:
Abomination of Desolation: Explained!
Are the Gifts of the Spirit for Today?
In the Ages to Come
Jesus Christ's Return: Have We Been Deceived?
Leviathan: An Ancient Dragon of the Sea?
One From Beyond: Hebrew of Hebrews
Revelation's Babylon the Great
Satan: His Origin, Purpose And Future
Satan: King of Tyrus, King of Empires
The Fruits of Disobedience
The Great Tribulation and the Rapture
The Psalm 83 War False Doctrine Exposed!
Tradition or Truth? Old Wine or New Wine?
When Was Satan Cast Out of Heaven?
Who Hindered the Antichrist?