And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
As a minister I’ve heard many people talk about Satan disguising himself as an angel of light. Typically, it most often occurs when people hear something they either don’t like, don’t want to hear, or disagree with. Before I get into exactly what that Scripture means and for arguments sake (and the sake of an eye opening examination) let’s take a look at a handful of the most popular and influential preachers and ministers in the U.S. today. (Statistics below were obtained from Wikipedia)
One with a 30,000 person congregation has a ministry which emphasizes positive thinking, success and wealth, spent $95 Million to revamp an arena in which to hold services, and continually sells out huge arenas across the country where people must fork out $10 per ticket to see him.
Another has not only a ministry, but an enterprise and lives in 4,000 square foot home with a guest house and a three car garage. The Ministry took in approximately $40 Million dollars in 2006.
Yet another is on TBN regularly doing faith healings for which he says he needs “your love gifts”, so that he can go on preaching and for “miracles” that not a single doctor’s note has ever been produced to back up his claims. In 2006, those “love gifts” amounted to $36 million dollars.
And how about the one who is the founder of not only a non-denominational ministry, but an enterprise which is the parent organization for an international ministry as well as a record company AND magazine? Again, this is yet another preacher that focuses on “prosperity theology” that has netted him two Rolls-Royces, three private jets, a million dollar home and a $2.5 million dollar apartment in Manhattan. His message is that faithfulness will be rewarded by material wealth and also says that “Jesus didn’t come as God, he came as a man, and he did not come perfect…he grew into his perfection.”
Are the prophets for God or prophets for profit? Why are their ministries focusing on what we can have NOW rather than what we have to DO now for what we can hope to achieve later in Christ’s Kingdom? In my humble opinion, preachers such as these do more damage to Christianity than the most committed Atheist. And the list goes on and on and on…
So what do all of them have in common, you ask? Well, the answer is simple. They, like so many other shepherds out there, are preaching what the people of today want to hear. And why are they doing that? Because it brings them glory, popularity, prosperity and lines their pockets with the hard earned money of the people who come to see them. Their “prosperity theology” is exactly what people want to hear because it’s in fact what they themselves want AND it keeps them from coming under close scrutiny by their congregations because they preach that faithfulness will bring great wealth. Those looking on see a man or woman on a stage who obviously must be VERY faithful servants because they also see them wearing designer clothing, jewelry, driving Rolls Royce’s and living in multi-million dollar homes.
At John 6:22 in the Scriptures, Jesus is talking about how He is the Bread of Life and explaining all that must be done in order to obtain eternal life. At John 6:60 many of His disciples are complaining, saying, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?” and many of them deserted Jesus.
You see, in that day and age and especially in today’s day and age, people simply cannot accept that there is much more to obtaining eternal life than simply tithing or being baptized. The fact that it takes hard work and true dedication is scary and even a turn off for many. So, if preachers like the one’s mentioned above were to preach the TRUTH as Jesus did, and followers deserted them in the same way they deserted Jesus, who would be left to line their pockets with gold? This is why they preach what people want to hear. But did Christ seek popularity and prosperity? Did he ever charge anyone a penny for the right to listen to what he had to say? No, he didn’t. He sought only to teach the Truth. He sought to educate those who would listen so that they could obtain eternal life, not make his life on earth more comfortable by obtaining material things. He sought to serve mankind.
And now back to 2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder! For Satan himself is disguised as an angel of light.
What does it mean? Does he mean that he will physically appear as an angel of light? No, it does not. It means that Satan tickles the ears of those who will listen and tells them what they want to hear. He does the complete OPPOSITE of what Christ did. Christ did not come to preach that everything’s okay and God really isn’t mad at us and it’s going to be a quick and easy many roads to salvation in which we will all spend eternity with Him and His Father. He told the TRUTH. He warned and He prepared us for what will come. He suffered and then died a horrible death for our sins so that we too would be able to obtain eternal life. His dying for us did not automatically mean that we would definitely go to heaven. What He did was show us the way so that we could decide how to live our lives. His disciples took His example and then went on to endure long, arduous ministries and ended up dying for what they believed so that WE might have a chance. There was nothing easy or prosperous about Christ’s ministry at all. They relied on God and not the sales of tickets, tithes or donations to support their ministries. They spoke and lived by, Truth.
So whose examples are the mega-preachers of today following? Certainly not Christ’s or His disciples’. Disguised as an angel of light, Satan has done to them exactly what these preachers are in turn doing for their congregations – which is leading them down the Wide Path of destruction rather than the Narrow Path of Salvation. He tells the preachers what they want to hear and in turn they tell the congregations what they want to hear, because the truth is that they don’t want to hear the Truth because the Truth doesn’t bring wealth, power, prestige or prosperity. They don’t want to hear that it takes endurance to obtain eternal life. They don’t want to hear that the road we travel will be hard and bumpy with many tests, twists and turns that could throw us off course. They want to believe that the answer is in material things, wealth and prosperity, not hard work and endurance. They don’t want to hear that not only is an acceptance in Christ essential to obtaining entry into heaven but also the proper heart condition. They want to believe that God isn’t mad at them and the coming wrath spoken of in the Scriptures really won’t happen. They want to believe that there are many truths and not just one… because what if the truth they believe is wrong? Bottom line, for them, the truth is just simply “too hard”.
Well you know what? The Truth is a double edged sword. Jesus told us that it would not be easy to obtain eternal life. In fact He said, “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." Matthew 19:24 Even Christ himself knew that when Satan came to tempt him during his 40 days in the wilderness. Satan tried to find an opening by searching for a weakness in Jesus via hunger, faith and greed and found none. No matter how hard it must have been for Jesus, being hungry after 40 days of fasting and emotionally and physically tired, He remained perfect and pleasing in God’s sight. He served as an example to us all that no matter how hard things get or may seem to be, that it is possible to remain pleasing in God’s sight.
Satan, disguised as an angel of light, would like for all of us to believe that entering the kingdom of God is easy, because if they think it is easy, if they think God’s wrath is not real and nobody works at changing themselves to fit the mold of what Christ has taught us in the Scriptures, they won’t succeed. And he wins. So how does he go about doing this? By first tickling the ears of the many preachers and ministers of the world by appealing to their own greed or need for approval and popularity as an opening in which to perform his evil tasks. They will then in turn mislead the people of their congregations via their ministries and in essence, Satan has then killed two birds with one stone; or 40,000 depending on the size of the congregation. If you want to know how destructive Satan has been, now multiply that number by the number of mega-preachers there are in the U.S. today and quadruple it. Then multiply that number by the number of people who are watching them on television (millions), buying their books and CD’s (more millions) and who aren’t actually members of their congregations and quadruple it. The end number you come up with is probably about a fifth of the number of people that are actually being led astray by Satan disguised as an angel of light.