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Satanic Counterfeits in the End Times

John Hoole May 12, 2002

We often think of Satan as the great opposer of the plans of God. He certainly is, but sometimes the best opposition against something is a clever imitation. Satan is far more effective in matters of imitation than in matters of outright opposition. Although Satan hates God, he also has an obsession to be like God. We see this mentioned in one of the Passages describing the fall of Lucifer from heaven.

Isaiah 14:12-14 (NIV) indicates this desire in the heart of Satan.

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."

Ever since pride entered the heart of Lucifer, he has had an unquenchable desire to be like God. And he has been trying to convince mankind that they can be gods too.

In the Book of Revelation, we see a number of ways in which Satan tries to deceive the people of the world by using his counterfeits. Satan is developing a false system that imitates the program of God at as many points as possible. Some would say Satan is no innovator. He is an imposter.

In reading the parts of the Bible which speak of the End-Times, we find at least 7 or 8 counterfeits that will be employed by Satan. I want to take a look at them because they seem to indicate that Satan intensifies his use of deception as his end comes closer. One of Satan's primary goals is to counterfeit the things of God, and then through deception, pervert the conscience of men and women, to such an extent that they embrace his lie, while all along thinking it is God's truth.

God has not, however, left His people in the dark regarding the tactics of the enemy of our souls. 2 Corinthians 2:11 tells us that the Christian need not, and indeed should not, be ignorant of Satan's devices. The Bible has made us aware of these end-times counterfeits. Let's take a look at what the its writers say.

In our last lesson, where we introduced the subject of the Tribulation, we listed the main actors on the world scene at that time.

WHO ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS OR GROUPS OF PEOPLE ACTIVE DURING THE TRIBULATION PERIOD?

1. Satan

2. Antichrist

3. False Prophet

4. 144,000 Jewish evangelists

5. The 2 Witnesses in Jerusalem

6. The Nation of Israel

7. The Revived Roman Empire (EC)

8. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

9. Martyred Christians.

10. Christ

For a moment I want to focus on three of these characters -- Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet. What we have, embodied in these three - is a clever counterfeit of the Holy Trinity.

1. Satan has his false trinity

Satan mimics the heavenly Trinity with his own hellish trinity. The New Testament pictures three satanic persons in the last days. We can call this trio the Satanic trinity, or "unholy trinity", which is Satan's effort to mimic the Holy Trinity.

In this trinity, Satan himself corresponds to the role of God, the Father.

The coming Antichrist is the antitype of Christ, the Son of God.

The False Prophet corresponds to God, the Holy Spirit.

There are two verses in the Bible that speak of all three members of this hellish trinity.

Revelation 20:10 NIV

>10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast [antichrist] and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 16:13 (NIV)

13 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan), out of the mouth of the beast (the Antichrist) and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

The word "dragon" is used 13 times in the book of Revelation. 8 of those are found in Chapter 12. Each time, it is a reference to the Devil. Twice we are told specifically that this dragon is the Devil. (see Rev. 12:9 and Rev. 20:2.)

Revelation 12:9 NIV

9 The great dragon was hurled down - that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Now let's look at the other two individuals in this unholy trinity. In Revelation 13, we find an account of two beasts. There really is no mystery as to who these two beasts are. The first one is the Antichrist, and the second is the False Prophet. The first ten verses of Revelation 13 speaks about the Antichrist. Beginning in verse 11, we have a reference to "another beast," who is the False Prophet. See what it says about the False Prophet, who is the anti-type of the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 13:11-12 (NIV)

11 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

What we are taught here is that the False Prophet does things on behalf of the Antichrist. He draws people into worshiping the Antichrist. That is very similar to the Holy Spirit, who draws all mankind to Jesus Christ. He lifts up Jesus rather than Himself.

John 15:26 (KJV) says,

26 But when the Comforter [= Holy Spirit] is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which comes from the Father, he shall testify of me.

One aspect of the Holy Spirit's ministry on earth today, is to point people to Jesus Christ. No one comes to Christ unless the Holy Spirit draws them.

John 16:13-14 (NAS) adds:

13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
14 "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.

Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit today is to direct people and their worship to Jesus Christ. The False prophet tries to counterfeit this relationship.

So, the first counterfeit is Satan's imitation of the Holy Trinity.

2. The Antichrist portrays himself as deity.

Some Bible scholars have noted that Satan has never originated anything, except sin. Rather, through deceptive means, he tries to counter God's plans. The person of the Antichrist is no exception. This person is Satan's human masterpiece, a false messiah, a forged representation of Jesus who is the true Messiah. In our next lesson, we will look closely at this character, known as the Antichrist.

Matthew 24 is a chapter dealing with the last days. In this chapter, a number of events are predicted, including the Passage which tells us that there will be "wars and rumors of war."

Matthew 24:4-5 (NIV)

4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.

Down through history from the Bible times, there have many who have claimed to be the Messiah. In the last hundred years there have been dozens.

o Jim Jones
o Sung Myung Moon
o David Koresh
o L. Ron Hubbard -- he has a web site "The bare-faced Messiah, the true story of L. Ron Hubbard" There is also a book by the same name.
o The New Age movement has a number claiming to be messiah, or they expect the Messiah to arrive on a UFO.

According to the humanist, man is his own savior. And the New-Agers teach that man's true divinity lies within each of us.

Jesus tells us often that many False Christs are yet to come. Some are already with us. Although the Antichrist will counterfeit many aspects of God's plan, none is more blatant than his attempt to replace worship of Christ with worship of himself.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NIV)

3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion (KJV = "falling away") occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Ever since Lucifer said "I will be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:14)," he has desired to be worshiped as God. When Christ was in the wilderness, Satan had the audacity to tempt Him to worship him. And he will passed this desire for worship on to the Antichrist.

Revelation 13:4 (NIV)

4 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?"

Revelation 13:8 (NIV) adds:

8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast - all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.

Because he knows what the Bible says, Satan is aware that when Christ comes to reign, He will be the object of worship because He is God on an earthly throne. But Satan will set up his own man, and set about the get people to worship him -- and thereby will be imitating the real Christ.

3. The Antichrist offers peace to the Jews

When Christ returns to earth to reign, He will come as the Prince of Peace. In Isaiah 9:6, (KJV) one of the names applied to the Messiah was Prince of Peace.

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

This descriptor of Christ depicts the fact that when He come, He comes to turn all swords into plowshares…and spears into pruning hooks. He comes to bring peace to the world and to the Jews.

In Ezekiel 37:26, it is said of Christ,

And I will make a covenant of peace with them [Israel]; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever.

Satan understand what the Bible says, and know that Jesus, who is called the Prince of Peace, will take Israel under his wings. They will one day accept Him as their Messiah. So Satan has his Antichrist offer peace to the Jews, in hope they will accept him as their messiah.

Daniel 9:27 predicts this action on the part of the Antichrist. The Antichrist, Satan's imitator of the Messiah, will claim to introduce peace, deceiving the world into believing that it does not need Christ but has all it needs in Satan's puppet. And we are told in the next chapter of Ezekiel (Chapter 38), that Israel will fall for this Satanic imitator of the Messiah. After he makes a peace treaty with Israel, Ezekiel 38:11 tells us they will feel so much at peace, that they will take down their defenses and "dwell in unwalled villages." They will be at rest and fear no invader because this Antichrist will promise them protection.

Christians understand the Bible to teach that the Messiah is the Son of God, perfect Man and perfect God. The Jewish rabbis, however, have a different viewpoint. They believe the Messiah will be a mortal man with a divine mission - not God. This expectation that the Messiah will be a normal man will help to prepare the Jews to accept the false claims of the Antichrist to be their Messiah.

4. The Antichrist comes riding on a White Horse

Revelation 19:11-13 (NIV) speaks of Christ's return.

11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war.
12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

>When Christ's coming is foretold, He is pictured in this Passage as riding on a white horse. So Satan, who knows God's program to send Christ to this earth as a victorious conqueror, portrays his deceiving Antichrist also as a conqueror on a white horse.

Revelation 6:1-2 (NIV)

1 I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!"
2 I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.

The person mentioned here riding on a white horse is none other than the Antichrist. This is the leader, and the first of what is often referred to as "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." In doing so, he tries to preempt the real Messiah, whom he knows will later make an entrance on this earth riding on white horse.

5. Satan cause miracles and healings

Matthew 24:21-25 (NIV), in speaking of the last days, says,

21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-- and never to be equaled again.
22 If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

23 At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it.

24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-- if that were possible.

25 See, I have told you ahead of time.

According to Revelation 13:2, Satan will give power to the Antichrist. And in 2 Thessalonians, we see him displaying all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders. With these miracles, he is able to deceive many.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (NIV)

9 The coming of the lawless one [The Antichrist] will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,
10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

The next two counterfeits of Satan in the End-times are a subset of the subject we have just discussed. The Bible makes us aware of two specific false miracles claimed by the Antichrist.

6. The False Prophet calls fire down from heaven

Revelation 13:13 (NIV)

13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.

HOW IS THIS AN IMITATION OF GOD AND HIS PLAN?

Take a look at 2 Kings 1:10. (NIV)

10 Elijah answered the captain, "If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!" Then fire fell from heaven and consumed the captain and his men.

The genuineness of Elijah's message was established over and over again by the fire that he called down from heaven. This was one of the things that authenticated this prophet's message.

Now take notice of Malachi 4:5-6 (NIV)

5 "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.
6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.
"

Satan knows this verse foretells Elijah coming to earth. Satan also knows that Elijah's message was often authenticated by fire called down from heaven. Of all the prophets in the Bible, the only one who brought fire down from heaven was the prophet Elijah. Furthermore, Elijah stopped the rain in the days of the wicked king Ahab for 1260 days, exactly the duration of the plagues that will be unleashed by the Two Witnesses during the Tribulation. Satan could very well call his False Prophet by the name Elijah, in an attempt to deceive Israel and the Gentiles. This False Prophet will cause fire to come down from heaven, in a counterfeit display of miraculous power to convince men, especially the Jews, that he is Elijah.

Once people accept his claim that he is Elijah, the False Prophet will point to his partner, the Antichrist, proclaiming him to be the promised Messiah.

7. Satan will counterfeit the resurrection of Jesus Christ

Revelation 13:12 (NIV)

12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

This verse refers back to verse 3 & 4, which say:

3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
4 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?
"

This is a counterfeit of the resurrection. The fact that the Antichrist lives, despite this mortal wound, will make is SEEM that he has in fact been resurrected from the dead. And, like Christ, who bears the prints of the nails in his hands, the Antichrist will bear the marks of an apparent "deadly wound."

The resurrection is the ultimate miracle. It is the cornerstone of Christianity. No other religion has a founder who still lives. As Paul said, if there were no resurrection, then the apostles were all liars for claiming to have seen the resurrected Christ. He adds that, without the resurrection, Christ Himself would have been a false prophet as well, for He foretold he would rise from the dead. It will not do just to say that Jesus was a good teacher, if in fact He did not rise from the dead -- for He would still be a false prophet. And if Jesus did not rise from the dead, mankind's greatest enemy - death - would not have been defeated.

But Satan tries his best to deceive people into believing a false resurrection, when the Antichrist recovers from a wound which one would have expected him to die. Just as the true Christ is God "manifest in the flesh" [1 Timothy 3:16], so the Antichrist will be Satan manifest in the flesh. Since Christ is God, the Antichrist, who poses as Christ, must also pretend to be God [2 Thess. 2:4].

Trickery and deception are an integral part of the display of Satan's power upon earth, in hopes that this power will appear to be greater than it actually is. And the delusion of this counterfeiting by Satan will reach its zenith under the Antichrist.

8. Angels

For the past couple of decades, anels have been one of the hottest topics of conversation around. There has been a plethora of best-selling books testifying to the fact that our culture seems to be infatuated with angels. Stories of real angels are always fascinating. But today I want to address Satan's counterfeiting of the true angels of God. As a result, many are being deceived.

The Bible speaks of angels more that 300 times. Their activity seems to increase during the last days. Angels are mentioned in the book of Revelation, alone, 86 times. That's more than 25% of all references about angels.

The are good angels and there are bad angels. All of them were created as holy angels, but about one-third of them rebelled against God and fell from their sinless position. Satan, the leader of these demons or unholy angels, is a liar, a murderer, and a thief (John 10:10). He hates God and His people passionately. The Bible tells us he prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 1:8). We need to remember that Satan and all his demons are supernaturally brilliant, and Satan disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

CONCLUSION

Before we finish this lesson on End Time Satanic Counterfeits, I must make a couple of vital points.

Firstly, even though Satan tries to mimic the Holy Trinity, and even though he has said, in Isaiah 14:14, "I will be like the Most High." Satan is not God's "opposite"! God created Satan, whereas God was not created but always did exist and always will (Rev. 22:13). If Satan is the "opposite" of anyone, that being must also have been created, just as Satan was. Satan was a high-ranking angel, and is probably more closely the "opposite" of the archangel Michael (Jude 9). Michael is used by God as the prince and protector of Israel (Dan. 10:21, Dan. 12:1) and is God's primary angelic adversary against Satan (Rev. 12:7).

Secondly, as extremely evil as Satan is, the degree of his badness never could equal the infinite degree of God's goodness. Therefore, he cannot be God's "opposite."

If Satan could, in fact, be as bad as God is good, there might be some chance that Satan could defeat Jesus when He returns to earth. But this will not occur. The outcome of the future encounter has already been written and sealed (Rev. 20:2, 3, 10). When Christ comes, He will come with all the power of God to subdue unrighteousness and curb lawlessness. Christ will remove from His Kingdom all things that would offend.

Thirdly, no matter how hard Satan tries to imitate, he cannot mimic the righteousness of the Son of God.

Jesus Christ is the Son of righteousness who will rise with healing in His wings. As much as Satan might want to imitate God's righteousness, he cannot possibly do so, because he is the lawless one. He is a rebel. Satan's system, while it imitates God's program at so many points, will collapse in utter anarchy, rebelliousness and lawlessness.

The Fourth thing that Satan cannot imitate is the regeneration of a life who gives themselves to Christ.

While Satan may control, he cannot transform, and it will only be through Christ's 2nd advent that the earth can have righteousness, peace, blessing, prosperity and security that God has promised to those who love Him.

There is a great need today, perhaps as never before, for those who know the Lord Jesus, to read and study the Word of God because it reveals God's purposes and the satanic imitations. The responsibility each child of God must have is, first of all, to know the Word so that we know God's plan as well as be able to detect Satan's counter-programs.

   
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