#17 (of 20) in the series, "Conversations About God," with Graham Maxwell.

“Satan's Final Effort To Deceive” — another look at the enemy's last, most diabolical attempt to mislead us into joining his side in the great controversy over the character and government of God.

The book of Revelation describes not only God's last pleading with His children (chapter 14) but also Satan's final effort to deceive (chapter 13). Though Jesus said that He "saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18), the defeated enemy of God and man still "prowls around like a roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8), knowing that his time is short (Revelation 12:12). The one whose insane desire to be God led to the war up in heaven will at last seem to enjoy complete success. "All who dwell on earth will worship him" — except those who prefer to believe Jesus' testimony about His Father (Revelation 12:17) and so remain loyal to God (Revelation 14:12). Naturally these loyal ones are the object of Satan's special efforts to deceive.

If even angels could be taken in, how can mere humans hope to resist Satan's most cunning persuasion? History warns of over-confidence. Even God's chosen people in the promised land were misled into crucifying their Redeemer and then hurrying home to keep the Sabbath holy. They read their Bibles, paid their tithe, watch their diet—and hated Jesus' picture of the Father! Is it possible we could be similarly deceived?

Just as through the centuries God has demonstrated His trustworthiness, so Satan has displayed his ability and willingness to deceive. His counterfeit of the first coming of Christ in the "mystery religions" should alert us to expect brilliant counterfeits of the second coming in the end. Since truth and evidence are not on Satan's side, he has countered with the widely held belief that religious faith requires no evidence, that religious claims need not be investigated. Such subjects as sin, the atonement, the cross, the law, the judgment, Christ's intercession, the destruction of the wicked, have all been bent to support his misrepresentations of our God. How can we prepare to resist his final efforts to deceive?

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