Disguises and masquerades
So that we may not be exploited by Satan (for we are not ignorant of his schemes). – 2 Corinthians 2:11
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15 So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve.
From 1976 until his arrest in February of 2001, Robert Hanssen, was a spy in the FBI. Outward appearances can be deceiving. On the surface, Robert Hanssen seemed to be another steadfast and loyal FBI agent. Yet, Hanssen passed on thousands of classified documents. He compromised the names of KGB agents working secretly for the United States.
There were apparently warning signs. In 1990, a suggestion was made that he be investigated for espionage. Yet, it was not acted upon. He spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States successfully for 25 years. His espionage was described by the Department of Justice as “possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history.”
How was he caught? The FBI suspected that there was a mole within its ranks. The FBI paid $7 million to a KGB agent for a file on the mole. The FBI identified Hanssen as the mole through fingerprint and voice analysis.
Satan is never more satanic than when he carries a Bible (J. N. Darby). And the same thing goes for his cronies. Often, our mistake is not doing due diligence and carefully investigating what we are taught and also examining the lives of those who do the teaching.
Satan and his servants wear clever disguises (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). The Greek word translated disguise is metaschematizo. Metaschematizo comes from meta – change and schema – shape, outward form. It means to transform, change the outward form or appearance of something, to disguise oneself in order to deceive.
Inconsistencies and the underlying causes are not always readily apparent. Even overt sin is not often dealt with immediately. As a result, people think they can get away with it indefinitely.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil.
Ecclesiastes 8:11 When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.
Even so, if something doesn’t seem right, it probably is not right.
REFLECT & PRAY
It is a sobering reality to recognize that the kingdom of God will often have weeds growing among the beneficial crops. We must be on the alert.
Father, help us to be alert to those who masquerade as something they are not, and wear disguises. Protect us from evil.
The enemy of our souls, Satan, disguises himself as an angel of light. Angels of light are shining angels. Angels of light are dazzling, vibrant, attractive, and exciting.
His minions also are bedazzling, disguising themselves as servants of righteousness and apostles of Christ. Think about it. The Father’s servants are often plain, dull, drab, unremarkable, average, and nondescript.
1 Corinthians 1:26-28
26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
It’s kind of like Main Street versus Hollywood Boulevard.
The strategy is cunning and clever. The enemy is shrewd and subtle. His plan is to infiltrate, delude, misdirect, and distract the Father’s family. The enemy’s cronies do not have to battle their way in. They are often invited in, by the unknowing and misguided children of the King.
Galatians 2:4 Some so-called Christians there – false ones, really – who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us.
The Lord Jesus Christ gave a perfect illustration of this.
24 Here is another story Jesus told: The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field.
25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.
26 When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
27 The farmer’s workers went to him and said, “Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?”
28 “An enemy has done this!” the farmer exclaimed. “Should we pull out the weeds?” they asked.
29 “No,” he replied, “you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.
30 Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.”
The children of the King are caught in a quandary. We are encouraged to be hospitable.
Hebrews 13:2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
It would be prudent to be hospitable yet also extremely cautious. Perhaps, we may be entertaining dark angels, messengers of Satan, masquerading as angels of light without realizing it!
We have been commanded to love as we have been loved. We are not to act unbecomingly; we are not to be provoked, we are not take into account a wrong suffered, we are to never give up or lose faith, we are to always be hopeful and endure all things (1 Corinthians 13:5-8).
Yet we are to be shrewd as serpents (Matthew 10:16) and on guard against those who vigorously oppose the authentic and embrace the error of unprincipled men (2 Timothy 4:15, 2 Peter 3:17).
Only the Father’s wisdom and leading can take us safely through.