LONG before Jehovah God made the earth, he created angels in heaven. In time, however, one angel began to desire the worship that rightly belongs only to God. By acting on that desire, he made himself Satan, meaning “Resister,” that is, one who resists God. How did Satan act against God?
Satan tricked Eve into disobeying God. Cunningly, he suggested that Jehovah God was withholding something good by forbidding her to eat from a particular tree. He brazenly called God a liar and implied that Eve should reject God’s guidance, saying: “God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” (Genesis 3:5) Eve foolishly believed Satan’s lies. She broke God’s law and influenced Adam to do the same. Ever since, Satan has been an enemy of all those having real faith. And he has continued to deceive people down to this day. How?
Corrupted Faith Spreads
Satan used idolatry and human traditions to corrupt the children of Israel. Jesus, the Messiah, told their religious leaders that because they taught “commands of men as doctrines,” their worship was in vain. (Matthew 15:9) When that nation rejected the Messiah, God rejected them. Jesus told them: “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” (Matthew 21:43) Jesus’ followers then became God’s favored people.
Satan next worked to corrupt Jesus’ followers. Did he succeed? Jesus foretold what would happen in a prophetic illustration. In the illustration, a man sowed fine wheat in a field. Later, an enemy sowed weeds in among the wheat. Both crops were left to grow until harvesttime. Then the weeds were separated from the wheat and destroyed. But the wheat was gathered into the owner’s storehouse.
Jesus then explained to his disciples what the illustration meant. He himself is the Sower. “As for the fine seed,” he went on, “these are the sons of the kingdom; but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels.” (Matthew 13:38, 39) Jesus likened his true disciples to wheat. But Satan sowed false disciples, like weeds, in among these true followers of Jesus. Thus, as Jesus himself foretold, during the centuries after his death, false disciples appeared. These promoted apostate teachings, such as the Trinity, the idea that there are three persons in one God. The false disciples also began to practice idolatry and to meddle in politics. Only a few remained true to Jesus’ teachings.
Real Faith Is Preserved
However, as Jesus explained, eventually a change would occur. God’s angels would separate out those without real faith to be destroyed. Then, those having real faith would be easier to identify. Finally, Satan the Devil, the original enemy of faith, would also be destroyed. Yes, real faith would triumph!
But how can you identify people who have real faith today? We will discuss the answer to this question next.