Devil: Manifest himself as God?

Straight Talk

The Question:

Do you think the devil can manifest himself in a way to speak to us as God would to lead us astray from the real word of God?

– BS from Tulia, Texas

The Answer
Part 1: Angel of light

Angel of light (Part 1)

Of course he can. Absolutely! That’s why the devil is so dangerous. Paul tells us this about our adversary, “…for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Jesus tells us his essence, “’He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies’” (John 8:44).

Okay, but I sense something else in your question. I don’t think you are asking this from a theological perspective but because it scares you a little that the enemy could actually take you in unawares. Fooled—even as you are trying to follow the Lord fully. I also feel a slight hint of this in your query: why would God allow it? Knowing that we might be headed in the wrong direction, why let us be led astray?

If that is the question behind your question then let me try to answer that also. As deft as the devil is in imitating God’s voice it still isn’t God’s voice. It is still an imitation, which every disciple of Jesus can uncover as such. We have a promise more powerful than any counterfeit strategy of Satan. “’A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers’” (John 10:5).

You might wonder how those two concepts fit together. Can we be fooled or can’t we? The devil will always try to deceive us but there is a secret for uncovering any false voice. It is to know the voice of the Savior intimately. This is similar to those who examine money for counterfeits; they say that when you truly know the feel of genuine bills, the bogus ones are easier to detect.

Of course the way to know the Savior’s voice intimately is to abide in the vine. “’I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser….Abide in Me, and I in you’” (John 15:1-7). Be wary and take nothing for granted. Clinging with all your heart to Jesus each day will protect you from being taken in no matter how good a disguise the devil wears.