Sabbath: Satan’s Final Deceptions
Read for This Week’s Study: Revelation 12:9; Revelation 16:13-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Ezekiel 8:16; Ezekiel 20:1-20; Rev.18:4, Revelation 18:5.
Memory Text: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17, NKJV).
It was one of those gorgeous September mornings in Chicago. As the sun rose over Lake Michigan and commuters battled traffic jams on the Kennedy and Eisenhower expressways, and children made their way to school, a chilling story began to emerge that struck fear into the hearts of Chicagoans. People were becoming tragically sick, and some were dying just a few hours after taking Tylenol capsules. On testing, each of the capsules proved to be laced with potassium cyanide, a deadly poison. A deranged individual had tampered with the medication. To this day, we don’t know who did this.
As we have seen, Revelation warns us that the “inhabitants of the earth” will drink a deadly potion called the “wine of Babylon.” There are false doctrines and teachings that, in the end, will lead only to death. However, the world is not left without the antidote, the protection, against this spiritual poison: the three angels’ messages.
In this week’s lesson, we will continue looking, not only at Babylon’s deceptions but at Jesus’ plan to save us from them and the death that they would otherwise bring.
Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, June 3.
Perhaps the biggest deception of all is that there are a lot of signs that will tell us that Jesus is coming and we will need to get ready when we see them. The big message of the gospel is not about "getting ready" but "living ready" now.
In Australia, we have speed camera cars. They sit on the side of the road with radar-activated cameras that photograph you if you are speeding. They actually put signs out on the road, "Speed camera ahead". But, if you are speeding, you won't slow down enough by the time the camera fires and captures your traffic infringement. There is one sure way of not being caught unawares by a speed camera: Don't speed!
Have I made my point?
After reading Ezekiel 20:1-20 in its entirety, I hope that everyone studying this week's lessons will take the time to read about the account of how our longsuffering God did not destroy His chosen people for His name’s sake much earlier in history. He is still engaged in this spiritual battle to establish for man's sake Who is God, who is the only, rightful God to be 'worshiped' by humans whom He created!
This passage reveals what this Great Controversy is about – for mankind to know and worship their legitimate God worthy of honor and praise! I counted two occasions in which God spared the children of Jacob from His wrath in order to protect the integrity of His Name in the eyes of the gentiles. They still remained unwilling to ‘follow His statutes and despised His judgments’, unwilling to “throw away the abominations which are before His eyes, and not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt, because – I am the LORD your God” - v.7. Get to know Me and you will be blessed!
Idols have changed forms, but the LORD and God of the children of Jacob is still engaged in the battle for the hearts and minds of those still stranded in the ‘Wilderness of Sin’. Yes, dear Lord, “sanctify us by Your Truth. Your Word is Truth.” - John17:17.
I need to stop looking outside from my perspective only and try to reach out to my neighbor's perspective. What do I know that (I think) makes me better than anyone? "Nobody is an island." I need all those surrounding me, and they need me somehow too. May the Truth free me from me! And let me stop me, me, me.
I do believe that Jesus' plan to save us from the deceptions of the devil, is having the Holy Spirit and our fellow Christians spurring us deeper into His Word. I suppose encouraging would be a softer word. As we dive into His Word, we can be more equipped to listen to the urging of the Holy Spirit. Now Saul was kicking against the goads until Christ stopped him on the road to Damascus. His previous resistance to the urging of the Holy Spirit, flashed before him. He surrendered.
As we dive into His Word, we too remember, and we have the choice of saying, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" A still soft voice whispers into our ear, following my instructions you read about in My Word. Yes, we can call His plan a rescue.
Unleashed -- what happens when God's restraining Spirit is drawn back and the devil is unleashed to show the universe in full unrestrained display how he intends to rule this world?
Yes, he uses his human agencies to do his bidding and advance his goal of drawing undeserved worship to himself. But the chief focus of his wrath is not on the beast or his image, those are just pawns in his hands. The chief focus of his wrath is against the "elect", they that keep the commandments of God and have the testimony and faith of Jesus. (Rev. 12:17, Matthew 24:24, Rev. 14:12)
Is it possible that we too, could be deceived?
We sometimes read Matthew 24:24 and focus on the phrase "if possible" and turn it around thinking, see, it's not possible we would accept the deception, we don't have to worry. And yes, those securely anchored in Christ and His Word won't be deceived, but what happens to the many who FEEL they are safe and simply utter the words, "just focus on Jesus" don't worry about all this talk of deception? Then without watching and praying, when seeing miraculous things that SEEM to be uplifting Jesus happening around them will FEEL the deceptions are from God and that they are about Jesus, and will sadly be deceived.
I agree we should not think of this as "them" vs "us", but rather we need to sink our anchors deep into truth and share what we learn with all who need the truth just as badly as we need the truth. We all need the truth as it is in Christ (not just the truth of forgiveness, but all His warnings and promises) we all need the full armor of God, (Eph.6:13-18) for this battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers (as in fallen angels) that want to take us all with them into the lake of fire, and deprive us of eternal life.
Yes, God is the ONLY ONE who can deliver us, and sustain us. And He will deliver all who diligently seek Him.
May we all be like Noah, heeding the warnings from God, diligently seeking and walking with God and preparing for what is coming.
Revelation 16:15 gives us the answer as to how we will keep from being deceived. It’s actually quite simple. My question is this; is there a final deception? Something that Satan will pull out of his hat at the last minute to trick everyone? It seems to me that if we follow what the above verse says, we will see that Satan is just up to his same old tricks and if we focus on living out Christ’s character here on earth, nothing will be able to lead us astray.
Well yes, Karen, I understand that Satan will impersonate Christ quite convincingly, and that's not exactly one of his same old tricks. But, if we know our Bibles, and if we know Jesus, then we'll know what Christ would not be teaching or supporting.
Those of us who have fixed our eyes on Christ and hold on as Jacob did, pleading with the Lord to bless him, shall prevail, from the devil's last attempt to destroy God's people. But the Lamb of God shall overcome those that are spurred on by the beast. We the faithful, who put our trust in Him our Saviour, are protected under His wings. Revelation 17:14. Psalms 91:4.