The Master Deceiver’s Handiwork
In December 1968, during the days of the race for space, three American astronauts found themselves seeing sights no human had ever seen. And they were doing it from a spacecraft that was virtually untried and untested for the mission it was on. The Apollo 8 astronauts were mankind’s first to pass through the Van Allen radiation belts and orbit the earth’s moon, traversing its dark side.
On a television program that aired on Christmas Eve, the crew—Cmdr. Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders—opted to read from the book of Genesis as they orbited the moon. At that time, it was the most-watched transmission ever. As they looked out on the stark, bleak lunar surface, then back to the beautiful blue marble that was home to all they loved and cherished, they acknowledged the Lord. They saw the expanse of the heavens and realized there must be a God.
Deny God. How different humanity is today. Satan is a liar, deceiver, and destroyer. In his fruitless battle to “be like the Most High,” he uses all the evil talents and tricks at his disposal in a multi-pronged attack that has discouraged and deceived the vast majority of the human race (Isa. 14:14).
Today God is denied, Jesus is rejected and mocked, and Christians are viewed as intellectual pygmies. Such is the Evil One’s master plan: to denigrate God and make Him totally irrelevant, to have Him openly denied in our schools and rejected by the vast majority of our populace, and to convince people—who constitute the crowning achievement of God’s creation—that they merely evolved.
Disgrace Jesus. Satan also wants to disgrace God’s Son, Jesus. Hollywood portrays Him as a weakling or a mere human who struggled with lust and sexual problems. His birth is celebrated, but most people have no understanding of the actual importance of Christmas. Instead, the “winter holiday,” as many refer to it, is a time of merrymaking while rejecting the fundamental roots of the celebration.
Jesus’ incarnation is the reason for the season, but Satan has so thoroughly blinded the world’s eyes that few people understand its vital significance. Christmas carols have been edited; and only those dealing with snowmen, sledding, and decking the halls are allowed in our public forums. Manger scenes and even secular symbols, such as Christmas trees, have become weapons in Satan’s battle to expunge Christmas from the human psyche.
Discredit Christians. We who name the name of Christ are among Satan’s most hated targets. Christians are often parodied; laughed at; and portrayed as uninformed, unenlightened, and almost utterly clueless human beings. People today worship science and technology, and those who would question either are marginalized.
Many of our political leaders perceive that Christians are public enemy number one. These leaders reject Christian morality and values and our desire to train our children. They reject Christian education and actually teach that we are the ones infecting children with phobias and antiquated philosophies.
Satan has done his work well. And unfortunately, many believers are afraid to defend their faith, pray in public, and stand up for biblical truth.
Destroy Israel. Not the least of Satan’s goals is to destroy Israel and the Jewish people. God has promised that Israel will survive (Jer. 31:35–37). But in the interim, the Jewish people and their beloved homeland face unprecedented horrors at the hands of Islamic terrorists and our own politicians. The world seems to bow and scrape before Islam and religious fanaticism and to accept all beliefs as legitimate—except for the only two based on God’s Word: Judaism and Christianity.
Discourage Prayer. As Apollo 8 neared the time to blast out of lunar orbit and begin the trek back to Earth, the man in charge of Houston’s Mission Control was concerned. He knew what could go wrong and how many variables had to work perfectly for the tiny spacecraft to leave the moon, fly through space, reorbit the earth, and land safely back home.
At one critical point, as the astronauts prepared for the burn that would enable them to exit the moon’s gravitational pull, this man suggested that everyone at Mission Control be quiet as he prayed for the safe return of our men.
A year later, when James Lovell commanded the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, Houston and the world prayed for our astronauts’ safe return. And God graciously granted that request.
Prayer is a final area the Evil One seeks to discredit. He entices people to believe they are the captains of their own ships and the masters of their own destinies. Today people view praying as antiquated, a sign of weakness, and a waste of time. After all, if there is no God, why waste time talking to Him?
The Bible, of course, warns us that all these things will occur in the last days. The apostle Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned these prophetic words in A.D. 66:
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Tim. 3:1–5).
Satan is a powerful foe, but we have an omnipotent God who reminds us, “I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). We who name the name of Jesus are to combat the Devil with the empty cross, the empty tomb, and the resurrected Savior. Our faith in Jesus overcomes the world (1 Jn. 5:5).