The presence of the enemy in the Garden of Eden came in the form of a fallen angelic power of the air, capable of grand illusions and feats of deception in the area of perception. If we believe in the power of God to change lives, we must also believe in the Word of God describing “the Shining One,” the “angel of light,” the deceiver of men.
The word in the Greek, angelos, means messenger, and so we begin to see how Satan’s realm is a counterfeit of the True and Living God. A deceptive message. Satan’s lies come to us through our perceptions, twisted conceptions based on a faulty premise; these messages consist of a piece of the truth. In the Garden, the shining one argued, “Surely God hath not said.” Many fall prey to the falsehood that God’s Grace means we can continue in addictions, in error, since we are covered, like an insurance policy protects us against the consequences of selfishness and self-indulgence. Paul warned against this as did the other apostles adding that we “trample God’s Grace underfoot.” It is intriguing that the first prophecy in the Bible given by God Himself described the warfare between mankind and Satan. He declared that the cursed serpent would “bruise His heal, ” pointing to the sacrificial death of the Son of God, while the Son would crush the serpent’s head, referring to the Resurrection that would restore and redeem. The serpent is cursed to crawl along the ground, God’s way of countering Satan’s boast that he would ascend to God’s throne and be like the Most High .
The work of the Illusionist first surfaced in the Garden. The shining one had access there. The Bible says that Eve was deceived but the man was not. He entered the fallen state with both eyes open, not wanting to be separated from his mate. But we often downplay Eve’s decision to eat the forbidden fruit, judging her act as tantamount to eating the last piece of chocolate cake at midnight.
When Jesus was taken into the wilderness, He was tempted as Eve was. We read in the Gospels that the devil showed Jesus all the splendor and earthly sheen of the world’s pleasures, riches, and power. Adam and Eve had the power of free will, the power to choose. Once the betrayal took place, the title deed to the Earth changed hands. Genesis tells the story of loss and God’s plan to use the “seed of the woman” to take back His rightful ownership. Adam and Eve betrayed their God because they bought a counterfeit truth.
Like Jesus’ temptation, the forbidden fruit of this world’s greatest prizes played like a movie before Eve, and she had no defense. The presentation of worldly power and pleasure mesmerized her in a similar way that hallucinatory drugs operate on the mind. Seduced, she stepped through a door, receiving this simulation as truth. We now operate in this simulation. There is a great noise today about “my truth,” but we must beware of such illusions. The ears are the gates to the spirit but the eyes never fill of illusions.
Movies, video games, pornography, and celebrity worship all come by sight. Gambling, sex addictions, food, drug, and alcohol addictions come first via the eyes. The Illusionist uses graphic images of a fake world. This world is totally centered around us, tailor-made, and easy to buy into. Self as God.
Quantum Physicists agree that we live in a digital simulation. Is it possible that this illusion is the result of the fall of man from the heights of God’s Grace? Paul tells us that we see through a glass, darkly but then, when we arrive in our glorified state, we will see Him, “face to face.” Solomon wrote, “There is a way that seemeth right into a man, but the end thereof is death.”
The Illusionist is good at his job, deceiving the innocent and the wicked alike. No wonder Jesus said, “Narrow is the Way, and few there be that find it.” Said another way, if something is popular, if large numbers flock to see a speaker, if a movement is picking up steam, discernment is needed.
We don’t talk much about discernment given our love of the meme, the sound-bite, and the video op. The American leisure or “middle” class is notorious for appropriating others’ thinking with no regard for the philosophy, nor the origin, of the ideas. The Lamb of God taketh away the sins of the world, but we, like sheep, go astray, casually, to the slaughter. It is fashionable to preach tolerance and simultaneously judge and even censor others for standing against the swift current of conformity. People line up to support political candidates, naming each in season as salvation itself, this program or that one, bullying anyone who doesn’t agree.
And yet, can America’s problems be that simple? World economic catastrophe and global pandemic have proven unfathomable, complex, multi-layered issues. In this Pandemic, unpacking the crucible of health versus economy is proving impossible. The two part system has failed us, and while some cling to it, others call for a unified effort or global response.
We are headed right into Chapter 6 and 13 of the Book of Revelation, and the prophetic 70th Week of Daniel. Still, Americans cannot seem to shed pop culture brain washing. Left versus Right, Liberal versus Conservative, my team versus your team. We have been conditioned to polarization until we have blinded ourselves to the Truth, the Eternal God of the Universe, the El Shaddai, YHVH Himself, expressed fully in Yeshua Hamashiach. His truth is eternal.
We have trusted scientific research, only to find it funded by manufacturers of Death and the fatalistic agenda of a few. We have allowed ourselves to make amusement and entertainment our purpose in life. We have judged and criticized what we couldn’t understand. We have harbored unforgiveness and an entitlement doctrine. While other countries suffered martyrdom for Christ, we have protested to assert our right to convenience and whim. We have sat under the feel-good teaching of a self-satisfied gospel: seminary-taught motivational speakers telling stories and jokes, connecting it to a piece of scripture, a comparison too ambiguous to make a dent in the lives of anyone listening. This kept the tithe coming in but did not bring us the reflection and repentance needed to come to the knowledge of the Truth. “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”
In this hour, consider the unpopular, the unsung, those maligned and marginalized in the virtual marketplaces. Wide is the way to destruction, and nearly everyone is headed down that road. The narrow path to Life is obscured to the spiritually deaf and blind. There is a cost. Once we choose the narrow way, we must lay down our lives. God requires every part of us, spirit, mind, soul, and strength. Our bodies are living sacrifices. We must love Him with all that we are, conscious that we are nothing without Him. There is no agenda worth losing His loving presence. He is our true Family.
The cost is everything because it cost Him everything. We must strike off the heads of our idols and commit our lives to spiritual warfare. There is a battle for every soul. The true Gospel is not to be enjoyed at our convenience. His Grace is sufficient if we truly seek Him.