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. What was his disguise? He pretended to be just like everybody else and blend in. On the surface, Robert Hanssen seemed to be another steadfast and loyal FBI agent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hanssen passed on thousands of classified documents. On top of that, he revealed the names of KGB agents that were double agents secretly spying for the United States. When he compromised their identities it undoubtedly resulted in their deaths.
There were a few early warning signs. In 1990, a suggestion was made that he be investigated for espionage. But the recommendation was not heeded and nothing was done. He successfully spied for both Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States 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. Of course, the KGB knew who their spies were. Almost everything can be bought for the right price. The FBI made a deal. It paid a KGB agent $7 million for a file on the mysterious mole. The FBI used the information to identify Hanssen as the mole.
It is so hard to recognize deceivers because they are so good at deception. They disguise themselves as steadfast and loyal children of the King. They pretend to be the good guys, in white hats. They pose as teachers and apostles of righteousness and truth. In fact, they are black hats, ministers of unrighteousness and evil. “Satan is never more satanic than when he carries a Bible” (J. N. Darby). And the same goes for his underlings.
Sadly, we often make the mistake of not doing due diligence. We lack the discernment to recognize the counterfeits. We do not carefully search the Scriptures, investigating what we are being taught. Nor do we make an effort to vet those we learn from. Most children of the King do not perform Internet searches or do background checks. However, if something does not seem right, it probably is not right.
Satan and his servants wear clever disguises (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). The Greek word translated disguise is metaschematizo. Metaschematizo comes from meta – to change and schema – shape, outward form. Metaschematizo means to transform, change the outward form or appearance of something, to disguise oneself in order to deceive.
Inconsistencies are often subtle and therefore not always readily apparent. Often their agenda is hidden. Frequently, even overt sin is not recognized and adequately addressed. When sin is not dealt with immediately, people think they can get away with it indefinitely. It is part of our fallen DNA.
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.
REFLECT & PRAY
What a frightening and 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 discerning and alert to those who wear disguises and who masquerade as something they are not. Protect us from evil.
The enemy of our souls, Satan, disguises himself as an angel of light. Angels of light, shining angels, 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, even nondescript. What an anomaly!
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.
The enemy’s strategy is cunning and clever. The enemy is shrewd and subtle. His plan is to infiltrate, delude, misdirect, and distract the children of the King. 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. How tragic.
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 provided a perfect illustration.
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.”
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.
We have been commanded to love as we have been loved. We are not to act unbecomingly; we are not to be provoked, we do 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.
James 1:5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not reprimand you for asking.
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