SATAN'S BIG LIE
Dr. 0. Wilburn Swaim, Th.D.
INTRODUCTION: In the world of advertising, one is very familiar with claims and counter claims that lead one to believe someone is lying. Of course, the representative always has an out. It sometimes smacks of lying, without lying. The truth is that only one automobile, or washer, or whatever product, can be the best, or the biggest seller. Yet, two ads, in the same publication, on facing pages make the same claim. Of course, the sponsor of the ad has some loophole, some technicality that harbors his claims from utter shipwreck of the truth. The same occurs in the realm of religion, but more blatantly. One cult claims one way of salvation, and a competing religion says salvation is via another, totally diverse route. To one, it is water baptism. To an adversarial group, salvation is by belonging only to their churchs or, by one of seemingly innumerable other ways. Even more in contrast are the two theological positions on eternal security. One dogmatically declares Once saved, always saved. In contrast are those who believe if one commits a serious enough sin, salvation is lost. Both cannot be true. Either, one is right and the other wrong or both may be wrong  (if one could conceive of some alternate third position to hold). But, certainly, both are not right! One sees, then, the two forces operating in the world, right and wrong, or, truth and error. But there is an erroneous concept concerning this reality. It is twofold, that the two forces are equal, and are each co-equally at war, one with the other. If this concept were accurate, than the implication would be that either one might, at some point, become the victor over the other; the outcome uncertain. Or, that the war may go on forever, without a victor ever being declared. Bible believers must discern between this fallacious concept, and Biblical Truth. God is not at war with Satan! God is omnipotent and totally in control of His universe and all His created beings. It is Satan, and all his followers, who are at war, foolishly, with God. There is not the least possibility of a stalemate, or of the defeat of our God! That principle being accepted, it will be profitable to examine this war of Satan against God. He is not just bouncing along the road of this life, doing whatever seems to work at the moment. Satan has a plan. He is working his plan, just as God is working His plan. However, Gods plan includes the limited freedom of Satans opposition to Him, and guarantees from the beginning, the end result. It is not the purpose herein to prove the above. Biblicists would concur with these statements of fact. There is, however, one key area of Satans plan that may be less widely understood and taught. It is the existence of, within the plan of Satan, His Great Lie.
I. What Makes You Say That?
It is regularly preached that our Lord Jesus is The Truth. John 1:17, 20; 14:6 are representative references, typical of numerous supportive verses and passages. Pilate asked, What is truth? (John 18:38). From the Strongs Concordance, we find this definition of the Greek, (alētheia) ...that candour (sic) of mind which is free from affection, pretense, simulation, falsehood, deceit. The Lord said, ...Thy Word is truth (John 17:17). Truth is what God is. God is not right because he does right. Right is what God is. Truth is what God is. It is the mind of God, His holiness, verity and rightness. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would speak the truth, for ...whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak... (John 16:13). Verses 14 and 15 clearly show that it is the things of the Father and of the Son that He shall speak.
Just as there is that which is called, The Truth, so there is that which is termed, The Lie. It is attributed by the Lord to Satan. He not only is the author of lying, but he is the author of The Lie. Listen to the Lord in John 8:44:
Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
It is very evident that Satan once abode in the Truth. God did not create him evil. Rather, he rebelled against God and became evil. His very nature is no longer in the truth, but the opposite of the truth. However, it is not simply that he lies. He is in nature, character and abiding, the ultimate quintessence of error, untruth. He is at once the originator and epitome of falsehood.
The difficulty in expressing the idea is found in the impropriety of using the word lie, the same way we use truth, without the definite article. There is likewise a grammatical device used in the Greek text that is not easily translated into English. The Lord, in saying, When he speaketh a lie..., literally says, (otan lalh to jeudos)..., or, Whenever he might speak the lie. The key is the phrase, The Lie. The inclusion of the definite article at this point is very significant. Just as Jesus is The Truth, so, Satan embodies all that is the ultimate opposite of Truth. Jesus said that Satan is absolutely devoid of truth. But, when he speaks, he does not merely speak devoid of truth, but he speaks The Lie. There is, it would appear, a specific lie that Satan, whenever he speaks, tells, or, is the basis for his lying. Satan is unable to do two things: He cannot speak without lying, or without involving this specific lie! Surely somewhere, the Scriptures must reveal the message, the content, of that Lie. But before that revelation is searched out and expounded, it would be profitable to trace The Lie, through the scriptures, for reinforcement of its reality.
II. On Your Mark; Get Set; Begin Lying.
The Old Testament reveals how Satan in eternity past, made the journey from abiding in the Truth, to absolute falsity in character. It also tells how he induced his dissembling into the human family.
A. Satans Fall.
Isaiah 14:9-17, with Ezekiel 28:12-19 are the generally accepted declarations of the origin and fall of Lucifer, now called Satan, and identified by other titles. It is this authors position that the garden of God (Ezekiel 28:13), is identical with the Garden of Eden, in the creation account. Ezekiel 31:8, 9 equates the two names as identifying one place. Genesis 2:12 speaks of the presence of precious minerals lying on the surface of that garden. Lucifer was, according to Ezekiel 28:13, attired in the same. Lucifer was the spiritual being in charge of the Garden of Eden. When he was deposed from Heaven, in his rebellion, he also lost his dominion over the garden. God created Adam and placed him in charge of the garden (Genesis 2:15). That was too much for Satan. He must have said, in effect, If I cant have the garden, Adam cant either. He then determined to get back at God by attacking Adam. In the victory, he advanced his position, as he became the god of this world (age) (II Corinthians 4:3, 4).
B. Satans First Word.
Jesus said, in John 8:44, that Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and totally devoid of truth. He did indeed slay Adam, and the whole human family, bringing death thereto (Romans 5:12). The first recorded word he ever spoke to man was a total prevarication. It was the origin of his great lie! Jesus also said that whenever he speaks, he speaks this lie. It remains then to identify the lie, and to trace his repeating it through the ages.
III. He is Off and Running.
While Satans lie is continually being told, and practiced, throughout history, there are times in Scripture when it is clearly identified.
A. The Tower of Babel.
The family of earth, proceeding from Noah and his family, was told to spread out and repopulate the earth (Genesis 9:1). In rebellion, they moved in defiance of Gods command and settled in one place, the land of Shinar (Genesis 11:2). Under the leadership of Nimrod (Genesis 10:9, 10), they entered into an enterprise, an open invitation for the judgment of God. They built a tower. It was properly an observatory, dedicated to the heavens. Nimrod led them into the worship of gods invented by their own imagination. The Zodiac had previously testified to the true and living, Creator God.  Romans 1:19, 20, refers to this first of Gods revelations of Himself to the world. Verses 21ff relate their corruption of that knowledge. Nimrods system corrupted it, relegating the signs to the representation of their gods. The tower was a place to develop the worship of these gods. It provided a landing pad to receive the gods, and a spiral walkway for their contrived deities to descend to earth and take up their abode among men. It is interesting to note that ...the LORD came down to see the city and the tower... (Genesis 11:5).
Religion was invented by Adam. Cain was the first depraved human, born into the earthly family, to practice it. Religion, as defined in any standard dictionary, does not measure up to the Biblical view. The secular world sees it as simply, the Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.  True religion is defined in James 1:27 in a practical sense. Theologically, however, there are only two religious principles at work in the world today. One is pure grace, and the other some system of ones relationship to god, as dependent upon personal self effort (works).
Religion, from the time of Cain was on an individual basis. He offered the works of his own hands; of that which was cursed, in an attempt to appease God. Abel, in contrast, offered a proper blood sacrifice in testimony to his righteousness (Hebrews 11:4). Nimrod, however, developed religion into a system, as described above, and taught it to the people of his day. Babel is the origin of systematic, organized religion. Babel also provides much insight into the nature of religions in the world today.
God did come down to see about them. He judged them for disobedience, and for the purpose of retarding their rate of corruption (Genesis 11:6). Their languages were confounded. Family groups were able to communicate among themselves, but not with other circles. They scattered (as God had previously commanded them to do), and populated the various regions of the earth. They took with them the religion of Nimrod! However, over time, each family would have revised and altered the dogma and exercise of Nimrods religion. Each family developed their own version of religion, and through the years different names were assigned, until this present day. It is more than the fact that man is naturally religious. Man, who once knew God, corrupted and perverted that knowledge, modifying, continuing on, and expanding in the error of Nimrod.
Romans, Chapter One, describe Nimrods society. It is beyond the purpose here to exegete verses 18-32. But the fact of that societys knowledge and corruption of that knowledge, of God is therein established. Verse 25 pertains directly to this present consideration. We are told that they changed the truth of God into a lie. However, the Greek text uses the definite article for both words, truth, and lie. It is not merely that they altered the truth, or just brought a measure of error into it. They absolutely rejected The Truth, perverted it, and converted it into The Lie: The lie of the Devil. It was his very first lie, the one first told in the Garden of Eden. He has been propagating it for some six thousand years. From Babel, that Lie was spread into all the world, until all nations were totally corrupted in it, and consumed in their devotion to it.
B. The Consummation.
The Lie began in Eden and spread worldwide from Babel. The effect is evident. All mankind, literally, is religious. Every nation and people naturally has some system they follow in their quest to find God, and make themselves acceptable to Him. They all are products of Satans Big Lie. It is all the workings of Satans rebellion against God, and plan to ultimately overthrow Him. Will that happen? Will there be some consummation of Satans effort, or will it just continue on forever, or until one of the two cries Uncle?
Paul, in II Thessalonians, Chapter Two, answers these questions. There is coming a time when the inhabitants of earth will hear Satans Great Lie from the mouth of the Devils Man, the Antichrist. The Apostle declares that those who reject Christ in this Age of Grace, consequently missing the rapture, will enter into the Tribulation Period. There, God will send them a strong delusion (verse 10-11). In succumbing to the Devils deception, they cannot be saved, but will be damned forever (verse 12). According to verses four through eight, the Antichrist will seat himself in the newly rebuilt temple, in Jerusalem. He will bring his great lie to consummation, declaring himself to be God, demanding all to worship him. Those Christ rejecters will believe, literally, from the Greek Text, The lie, (a pseudos), (verse 11). Further insight into the Revelators record informs of Satans defeat and imprisonment in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3). This is the end of Antichrist, and removal of Satan from earths scene, for a time. It is not just some lie, as: A space invasion has occurred. God, through it, has removed all those fundamentalists from our presence. Now we can get on with Gods program of ecumenism, unhindered.  It rather is the very sum and substance of some specific falsehood uttered by our Adversary, in some time past. It is the very perversion that Satan fosters to lead to his intended triumph over God, and Gods Man, and the establishing of his own kingdom on earth.
C. The Last of The Liars.
When will it all end? John tells us in Revelation 20:8. He catalogs the people who will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire.
1. The Fearful. That is, they who are afraid to turn loose of all other hopes (religion), and trust Christ alone for salvation.
2. The Unbelieving. That is, they who simply refuse to place their faith in Christ, and His completed work of redemption.
And the list goes on. These first two establish the tone and intent of the passage. The eighth in order is pertinent to this study. It is all liars. Perhaps by this time, the reader is anticipating what comes next. In the Greek, it is all the liars (pas pseudēs). That is, those who bought into, lived by, and propagated Satans Great Lie! They, with their defeated leader, will be cast into the Lake of Fire, forever. Every individual who seeks to appease God through the works of their own hands, and all who led them into such error, shall suffer the vengeance of the God of Truth! They have a ...part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death (Revelation 21:8). Their lot shall be eternal separation from God, and all that is good; from Truth, and all her children. That is the end of sin and death, and the error that cursed earth with them. Truth Reigns!
IV. Will the True Liar Please Stand Up?
At last, it is time to identify Satans Great Lie. The Lie simply has three component parts. But how profoundly have they affected this world! When Satan entered into the Serpent, to tempt Eve, he spoke his great Lie. He said:
A. Gods Word is Not True (Heathenism).
In Genesis 3:4, his exact words are recorded: ...Ye shall not surely die.... That is the first installment on Satans Great Lie. It is the same attack he has used through the ages. In this setting, it is the spoken Word of God. God said they would die. Satan said they would not. Later, through Nimrod, Satan denies and perverts the revealed Word of God. This is that to which Paul refers in Romans 1:18-23. That early generation, up to Babel, had a revelation of God written in the stars. Read the Psalmists words in Psalm 19:1-6. Pauls quotes a portion of the passage in Romans 10:17, 18. It is the gospel written in the stars which Satan corrupted through his servant Nimrod.
In Mosess day, the written Word of God was attacked. Exodus 32 records how Satan provoked Israel to sin. In his anger, Moses smashed the tables of stone upon which God had written His word. The actions of Israel deny Gods word. Moses destroyed the material on which it was written, but Gods Word is eternal. He just wrote it again.
In the days of King Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36), another attempt was made to nullify Gods Truth, by the destruction of Gods written Word of Judgment. But the king only destroyed the parchment upon which it was written. This time, God simply gave it again and even added more to it.
In these Bible examples, one can see Satans contempt and hatred for Gods Word. He denies it, and seeks to destroy it. In more modern times, he has done the same, employing some new methods. The higher critical method, invented in Europe, and spread to the world, has the firm imprint of hells trademarkunbelief! The method denies the authorship of Bible books, and the supernatural record found in the Book. Even today, liberal churches and seminaries abound with the same demonic heresy.
How Satan has sought to destroy the Word of God. Consider the days of Roman persecutions, the Spanish Inquisition, and Roman Catholic refusal to allow the Word to be placed into the hands of the populace, in their own language. Remember the political despots and atheists who have vowed to destroy the Book. Surely, in the most recent era, the supreme error has been, and is being witnessed: The preferring of inferior texts over the Received Text, and subsequent abounding and multiplying of new translations, paraphrases--perversions of Gods Word. Can anyone seriously believe for a moment that God is in it? Separatists were hounded, persecuted and murdered by Roman Catholics, and sometimes Protestants, all because of their allegiance to the Bible they had; to translations of Scripture based on the underlying, original language text of our King James Bible. Meanwhile, if modern scholarship is to be accepted, the true Word of God was locked away in a couple of Roman Catholic monasteries. Really? One is to believe that God used the modern day epitome of Nimrods religion, the ultimate enemy of all Bible believing people everywhere, to safeguard his true Word, while our fundamentalist, separatist forefathers bled and died for an inferior Bible? Satans attack continues on. He denies Gods Word, and seeks to destroy itHe declares that Gods Word is not true.
B. Sin is Not Bad (Hedonism).
Satans second assault on Eve was to convince her that sin is not a bad thing. Sin will make you God. (The Hebrew, Elohim, can be translated gods, or God. Only the context can tell which one is intended.) In this case, Satan is accusing God of being away from the garden, enjoying a world, called Evil, while hiding the knowledge of that world from Eve. He is then denying her her civil right to share in that world, with God. Moreover, to eat of the forbidden fruit will open that world to Eve, and she will then begin to really live. Disobeying God, then, is not a bad thing, Satan argues, but rather, the key to living.
It is revealing to consider the end result of the liberals view of abortion, homosexuality, premarital and extramarital sex, and similar practices in our nation. If God is good, and Satan evil, then God must favor what is good, and Satan that which is evil. The logical conclusion is, then, that since abortion (to them), is good, God must be for it, and Satan against it. That places Satan in the strange position of being the one who insists on traditional families, since they are so evil, and God, the One Who would abolish them in favor of free love, with commitment. Since banning the Bible and prayer in public society is good, God must be the One Who does not want anyone hearing from Him, or talking to Him. It is the Devil, who so hates Gods Word, who is fighting to get them restored to the class rooms and court rooms of our land. The contradiction in all that is quite confounding. But, Satan is the one who told Eve to go ahead and sin, by disobeying God, for that would be in her favor. Besides, God understands, and is too loving to cast anyone into hell fire. After all, one is only human. Sin is not so bad, according to the Devils doctrine.
C. Mans Own Efforts are Sufficient to Win Gods Favor (Humanism).
One can surely hear the hiss of the serpent, prompting Adam and Eve to provide their own covering for their nakedness.
It would seem that this temptation and transgression was not long in coming, after the creation of the first human pair. Eve was not present when all the animals passed before Adam (Genesis 2:20). That she had not yet had opportunity to see them all, may account for her lack of surprise at the serpent talking with her. Similarly, it may be that God had never actually come down and walked in the garden with them. There is not record that He did so. The event of Genesis 3:10 may well be the first attempted occurrence. They never partook of the fruit of the Tree of Life. Had they been there any length of time, it seems they would have eaten of it. After the Fall, they would have been sure to do so, to keep from dying. Finally, why would Satan have waited days, months, or longer, to begin his sinister plan? That all the events of Genesis 3, took place on the very first day of the human pairs existence, is not an unreasonable conclusion. Instantly, upon their sin, their eyes were opened. They knew they were not worthy to stand before their Creator, in their exposed shame. The Record says they sewed (the Hebrew word is only used twice, and has the standard meaning it carries in our day), fig leaves together (Genesis 3:7). This shows great intellectual ability, and physical dexterity; that they could do this immediately, and efficiently.  Thus Satans declaration of his Great Lie is complete: Man is well able through his own intellect, and the works of his own hands, to provide for his access to God, his acceptance by God, and the power to gain equality with God!
If this were true, it would nullify the need of a Redeemer. Satans plan then, ultimately, is to prevent the plan of God from succeeding, and hinder man from coming to depend solely on Gods provision for his sin. If God succeeds, then Christ shall be victorious, and will be King of all the earth. If Satan wins, then he through his man, the Antichrist, shall successfully overthrow God, and earth will become his again. Satans Great Lie is the core of his plan to achieve his goal of indeed being, the God of this World. To ascend to world dominance, Satan must convince man that he can work his own way to God. He indeed has the power to become God!
To say that both may be wrong, is by no means to suggest the possibility of that. It is simply argumentative, not extending the argument to the inclusion of Bible exegesis.
Refer to The Law Prophesied, Ralph H. Mount, Jr, M.E., Mount Publications, Mansfield, OH, 1965, pp. 12-14, for support of this position.
 American Heritage Dictionary, computer edition.
 This is such an idea as many preachers have been heard to suggest, including this author. The idea has validity. One might well see how such a lie may be told, in order to explain the myriad (one hopes), of people who have suddenly disappeared from earths scene. But, such is not the sum total of The Lie.
 This is in support of the position of built in age, in creation. As the fruit trees had mature fruit on them, so Adam and Eve were created mature adults, with all the knowledge and skills an adult requires. Otherwise, one would have to resort to having them live a long time in the garden, in order to mature and acquire the knowledge and skills they needed, before this temptation would ever have occurred. It is plain that they were driven out of the garden the day of their sin. It is only the amount of time that transpired preceding their fall, that is in question. Factors favor an exceeding short time for it all, as proposed above.
 This paragraph describes the authors own definition and description of religion. Tested by the Word of God, and experience, he believes it will stand.