Sabbath School Lesson for May 27-June 2, 2023
Overview of Lesson 10, Satan’s Final Deceptions
Memory Text: ” ‘Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.’ ” John 17:17 NKJV
Topics studied this week include:
- Sunday: The Way That Seems Right in a Man’s Eyes–Even the faithful are in danger of being deceived.
- Monday: The Old Lie of Immortality–Belief in the immortality of the soul leads to spiritualism, with Satan’s demons disguising themselves as those who have died.
- Tuesday: Babylon–the Center of Sun Worship–Instead of worshiping the Creator of the sun, Satan has people worshiping on the day pagans worshiped the sun.
- Wednesday: A Call to Faithfulness–God’s word, not human opinion or tradition, should be our guide.
- Thursday: Grace for Obedience–We must forsake our self-centered, human attempts at obedience and live by faith in God’s grace.
The “wine of Babylon” contains many deadly, false doctrines that only lead to destruction. The three angels’ messages are designed to protect us from these deceptive teachings. It is the perfect antidote to keep us safe from the wiles of the devil that so easily entrap us, especially in these last days.
Satan’s first deception to mankind came to Eve in the Garden of Eden. She was told that her disobedience to God would not lead to her death, as God had warned them. Today, Satan has most of the world deceived about what happens to us after death. Instead of “resting” from our labors, “sleeping in Jesus”, as God describes death, many in the world, even Christians, believe that our souls go on living after death and go straight to our eternal destiny.
Satan’s second powerful deception involves worship. He has been successful in getting most of the world to worship on a different day than God prescribed in His word. Sunday worship has surely drawn us away from our Creator in many subtle, and not so subtle, ways.
Sunday: The Way That Seems Right in a Man’s Eyes
Perhaps the most chilling warning Jesus has given believers in the last days are the words, ” ‘For false christs and false prophets will rise up and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.’ ” (Mark 13:22) Even some of God’s most faithful followers may be found among those who are deceived at the very end. None of us alone are a match for Satan’s power to deceive.
“That serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan,” who was himself cast out of heaven, will achieve a worldwide following on planet Earth (Revelation 12:9) before God is forced to end Satan’s reign and set up His own Kingdom of righteousness and peace.
Proverbs 14:12 alerts us to the possibility that “there is a way that seems right to a man,” but it is in reality a way to death. Only by immersing ourselves in God’s holy Word, surrendering ourselves to Jesus, and allowing His Spirit to guide us will we be safe from Satan’s power to deceive.
Mark 13:22 and Matthew 24:31
- Who are “the elect”?
Revelation 12:9 and 20:3
- How does this verse confirm who Satan is and what he is trying to do here on earth?
- Will he be successful in his efforts to hijack our planet?
Proverbs 14:12 and John 17:17
- How do we guard ourselves and follow the path that leads to life?
Monday: The Old Lie of Immortality
One of the things we don’t want to hear from a doctor is that we have a terminal illness or disease. We long to hear what the treatment plan might be, and find immense relief in hearing that we will not surely die, at least not from that disease.
Knowing mankind as he does, it’s no wonder that Satan’s most successful lie has been that disobedient humanity will not die. He has convinced, even most Christians, that our soul, or spirit, will go right on living, either in heaven or in hell, immediately upon death.
The fact that God calls death a sleep, a rest from our labors (Revelation 14:13), indicates that our mortal bodies do indeed die and remain in the grave. But, we will be resurrected together with all the righteous at the last trump when Jesus comes (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17), and all the unrighteous when fire from heaven will come down and destroy them (Revelation 20:9).
Satan’s most successful lie about life after death has led to spiritualism, a widely-held belief that dead spirits come back and visit us here on earth. This lie of the immortality of the soul will certainly increase Satan’s ability to perform signs and wonders in the final days of earth’s history. Demons, disguised as our loved ones, will attempt to draw us away from the truths in the Bible, and thus away from God.
Revelation 16:13, 14, 18:2, 23
- How do these verses help us understand how spiritualism will be rampant in the last days?
- What do we see today in the entertainment world and at funerals that shows us how prevalent is the belief of the immortality of the soul?
Job 19:25-27 and John 5:29, 11:24
- What does Jesus and the Bible teach us about when we are resurrected?
Tuesday: Babylon–The Center of Sun Worship
Being the largest planet in the sky, the one that their crops of food depended on for growth, it’s no wonder that the sun became an object of worship for much of the pagan world. We see evidence of this in the histories of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia. Ezekiel, the prophet who lived during the time of Daniel, tried to discourage the Israelites from sun worship. It was often a problem for God’s people (Ezekiel 8:16).
The Roman emperor Constantine was an avid worshiper of the sun, but was converted to Christianity. In order for his new religion to appeal to other sun worshipers in his territories, he decreed in 321 A.D. that the day to worship would be on Sunday, the day of the sun. With this law, all workshops were to close on that day.
The Roman church went along with his demand, and much of Christendom now upholds the tradition of Sunday being the day to worship, as the day Christ was resurrected, even though the change is found nowhere in the Scriptures.
Ezekiel 8:16 and 2 Kings 23:5, 11
- Why do you think sun worship was so prevalent in the world?
- What makes us want to worship “things” that are created, instead of the Creator, even today?”
Wednesday: A Call to Faithfulness
The second angel pleads with us not to become drunk with the errors about God in the last days. “The wine of her fornication”, or unfaithfulness to God’s word that the false church promotes, has confused the minds of most Christians today, causing them to ignore God’s clear messages.
Idolatry has always been a problem, even for God’s people, just as it was for ancient Israel. We still find ourselves easily drawn to the worship of things, rather than the worship of God. And this is partly due to our negligence of worshiping on the holy seventh day, with its singular purpose for us to remember the Creator of all things.
God’s final appeal for us to worship Him must include our faithful keeping of the Sabbath, as the prophet Ezekiel proclaimed in Ezekiel 20:1-20. We must allow the word of God, rather than human opinion or tradition, to sanctify us. Only a day that has been declared holy can keep us holy (John 17:17).
- What enables us to recognize and avoid drinking the “wine of her fornication?
Ezekiel 20:12 and John 17:17
- How does the Sabbath “sanctify” us?
Thursday: Grace for Obedience
The “wine of Babylon” has been clearly identified by one author, Ellen White, as consisting of two main deviations from God’s word: substituting another day of worship for the seventh-day that God declared holy, and believing that when we die, we aren’t really dead–that part of us goes on living.
Knowing the truth about these deceptions, however, is not enough to save us. In order for us to believe and obey His word, we need total reliance on His grace, or we will always fall short of our full restoration and reconciliation with God. That loving grace was manifested most profoundly with the death of God’s own Son, who willingly took our punishment for sin.
We must accept Christ, admitting that we are weak, faltering, and sinful, and by faith allow His atoning grace to cover our past, empower our present, and enable our eternal destiny. There is hope for us, only because of God’s overwhelming, forgiving love and grace.
Revelation 14:8 and 18:4, 5
- How do these verses help clarify what the second angel desires us to know and do?
1 John 3:4 and Romans 14:23, 1:5
- What is sin, and how do we keep from sinning?
Deuteronomy 4:5, 6
- What can our obedience do for others?
Friday: Final Thoughts
Many Christians are waiting for Satan to unfold his last-day deceptions, without realizing that perhaps they are already here. Two beliefs that certainly seem right to us are worshiping on Sunday, the first day of the week when Jesus arose from the grave, and that upon death we are instantly with God in heaven. Both of these assumptions, despite having little to no Scriptural basis, are widely accepted and never questioned by most of the Christian world today.
But there are dangers in these false doctrines that we mostly fail to recognize. In worshiping on another day than the one God made holy for us from the beginning, the world has found it easier to accept both evolution and atheism. We have forgotten how our world came about in the first place, leading us to doubt the very existence of God and the authenticity of the Bible.
When it comes to life after death, it would be comforting to know that our loved ones are already living blissfully in heaven. In spirit form, we can even imagine that they see us, and at times are with us here on earth. Thus, spiritualism has taken root, with many believing that the dead do indeed speak to us, when in reality they are demons in disguise.
But there’s another consequence of our belief in the immortality of the soul. If someone hasn’t led a righteous life, Satan has caused us to believe that they are suffering continually in the fires of hell, as soon as they die. Where is the justice, mercy, and love of God in such a belief? God’s character is misunderstood, turning many people away from Christianity entirely.
By listening to God rather than these deceptions, we can still find comfort in knowing that we rest in the grave and will be resurrected together when Jesus returns; and the unrighteous will be destroyed quickly by fire just before God creates a new earth for us at the end of the millennium.
The Sabbath, God’s holy day, is an everlasting sign of our loyalty to the Creator, not Satan. We are blessed ever so more on the day God has blessed.
Next Week: The Seal of God and the Mark of the Beast, Part 1
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