Isa 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will also sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the Most High.
Here we have a revelation into the heart and mind of Satan. We are here given insight into his most cherished ambition, to be like God, therefore to receive the worship, adoration and fidelity of his subjects. If anyone has doubt as to whether Satan still cherishes this particular ambition, one need look no further than the temptation of Christ in order to confirm this. Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth and their glory, if only Jesus would fall down and worship him. Imagine, the Creator worshiping His creation!!! Although Satan failed in that particular exercise, he has not failed when it comes to enticing man to worship him. I am not speaking here of those who are involved in the occult, or in Satanic rites. No, no. I am speaking of people who consider themselves Christians, those who sincerely believe and are convinced they are worshiping God. Allow me to explain.
Satan can not enter the church of course and introduce himself and make a polite request that the congregation worship him. He knows that will not work; we know that will not work; such an attempt would be met with a less than favourable response. Therefore, in order to gain the advantage over those who believe in God, he must use deception. The apostle Paul alluded to this very thing when he wrote: 2 Thess. 2:3-10. 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. Remember ye not, that when I was with you, I told you of these things? And now ye know what with-holdeth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work; only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 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.
Reading to this point, one might think that Satan has competition. Someone else vying for the adoration of man. But let us read further;….. 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.
“Whose coming is after the working of Satan!!?” Not competition, but his own child! Here is Satan’s baby. Here is that creation of his which enters the church and in his place accepts man’s worship by proclaiming himself God, but it is in fact Satan who receives the ultimate glory.
Satan could not himself enter the church, but he could very easily use someone else to do that for him, and through him, receive the worship he desires. By misrepresenting God, and introducing a counterfeit God and a counterfeit religion to worship that God, Satan has deceived millions. Allow me to make a point regarding deception, using counterfeit money as an example. People are not deceived into believing that it is acceptable in the eyes of the authorities to use counterfeit money. The deception operates by way of blinding the people that it is a counterfeit. It is fake, but they believe it to be real. It is the same with religion. Satan would deceive very few into thinking that it is acceptable to God for man to worship Satan. But he has had resounding success in deceiving many into thinking they are worshiping God, when in fact they are worshiping Satan.
How does this work? Jesus explained it very clearly throughout His ministry, warning us repeatedly of false Christs and false prophets. Important to notice that if there be a false Christ then his followers must be false Christians. The expression ‘antichrist’ means that precisely; “one who stands in the place of Christ”. Therefore the followers of antichrist must also be professing Christians, the antichrist being the counterfeit of the true Christ, and his followers deceived into believing they are worshiping the true.
Jesus alluded to this very thing here; Matt. 15:9. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men.
Notice here that Jesus was not saying these people were not worshiping, they were just not worshiping Him!
Most would be also familiar with the following; Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto Me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.
Now if Jesus didn’t know them, it would be fairly safe to conclude that they didn’t know Him. They were doing all manner of religious stuff, including one would presume worship, but it certainly wasn’t Jesus they were worshiping, even though they believed it was, and when they came face to face with Him, called Him Lord!!!!
So who was it they were worshiping? Let us look at Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey…
According to this text, we are servants to whoever we obey. Regardless of our profession, it is in our acts that we define who we worship. As Jesus said, in vain do they worship Him, when they obey the commandments of men which override the commandments and doctrines of God. And later, as we just saw, only those who do the will of the Father will be entering the kingdom of heaven. How eternally important is doctrine! How essential it is to understand truth!!! How critical it is that we be absolutely assured that what teachings we follow are based on sound Biblical truth rather than the teachings, interpretations, or traditions of man.
Doctrine is an integral part of worship. Jesus is here telling us that the creator of the doctrine is the object of our worship, regardless of the intent, sincere or otherwise, of the worshiper. It is through false doctrine that Satan has deceived millions into believing they are worshiping God when in fact they are worshiping him. It is through false teaching- doctrines that are the invention of Satan and taught by man, that Satan has established his counterfeit God, and his counterfeit religion of worshiping that god.
The book of Revelation reveals this to us clearly.
The true things of God have Satanic counterparts. There is a false trinity; the dragon, sea-beast (antichrist) and false prophet. This false trinity has a false message (Revel 16:13) – a counterfeit of the true 3 angels messages of Revel. 14:6-12. The false trinity is associated with a false city, Babylon. This city, like the New Jerusalem, has a river, and is called ‘great’. (18:10). The antichrist himself is a counterfeit Christ. Jesus proclaimed His threefold ministry in Matthew 12:6,41,42. He proclaimed Himself as the ultimate Priest, Prophet, and King, and rightly so. However, there is an entity living upon the earth as we speak who also claims, falsely, these very same prerogatives, and claims them to be his universal right. By claiming to be the sole arbiter and interpreter of scripture, by claiming the power to forgive sin, by claiming universal authority in religious matters, (thus subverting Christ’s ministry of High priest); by claiming the power to change God’s times and laws,and claiming the sole right to speak upon the earth as God’s representative, and claiming the right to judge who does or does not enter the kingdom of God, (thus subverting role as Prophet), by claiming the right and seeking secular authority over all the earth,(thus subverting Christ’s role as King) the Catholic Church has indeed “opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped, so that he as God sits in the temple of God, (the church), showing himself that he is God.”
The messages themselves also have parallels. Both the true and the false are designed to gather people together to their makers; the false to Satan,(Revel. 16:14), the true to Jesus (Revel. 14:7). Both are also designed to go to all mankind (Revel 14:6; 16:14.) It is no coincidence that the true message, that of Revel. 14:6-12, is focused on worshiping God, the Creator of all things. Right throughout the book of Revelation, we are confronted by worship. In particular we see in Rev. 13 several references to the deceptive practices of the antichrist and the false prophet, through whom Satan deceives the whole world, resulting in false worship. In contrast, the true worshipers are described as those who keep God’s commandments. (Revel. 12: 17; 14:12.) See how neatly all this falls in with Jesus declaration that those who enter heaven must be obeying God, doing the will of the Father. Elsewhere Jesus said “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.”
With this in mind, and remembering Romans 6:16, the big question is, and the one we must all ask ourselves if we are to have any assurance of eternal life, is, whose commandments are they which I am surrendered to? Who am I obeying? Many hold the word of God as the authority in religious matters. Others, a combination of scripture and tradition, and others, the church. Many churches today don’t even teach doctrine any more, as they think because it tends to divide, then they must avoid it. Mega churches have been built on this premise. If they don’t study doctrine however how can they discern the real from the false? Doctrine matters. Our eternal destiny hinges on our correct understanding of Biblical truth. Of course the RCC teaches that they have the inherent right to decide what true doctrine is and what is false, by referring to the traditions handed down from the church fathers. Those traditions however, Sunday sacredness being the prime example, are in direct contradiction to the revealed word of God as shown in scripture. Truth is progressive. It builds on foundations already established, but nowhere must it contradict what God has previously been pleased to reveal to His people through His word. An example of one surrendering to false teaching and suffering as a result is found in 1 Kings 13:1-34. Believing the lie brought to him by a false prophet did not excuse the unnamed man of God from Judea for his disobedience.
The teachings of churches, ecclesiastical institutions such as seminaries and Bible colleges, or church councils be they great or small, are valid only in as much as they agree with scripture. All else is vain.