Escape From Darkness, by Rick Sterling

There are two cosmic forces preparing for a great war, and this conflict will determine the outcome for the souls of mankind.  The people of God are on one side, and the people of the ruler of the world are on the other. Satan is the ruler of the kingdom of darkness (the world) and is supported and maintained through lies and deceptions.  He and his kingdom will finally be destroyed, and with it all who have willingly chosen to hold fast to his lies.  The great deceiver has so completely fooled the people of the world that they see light as darkness and darkness as light.  None of those who have been deceived recognize that they have been duped.

Matthew 6:22-23(TJB) – ‘The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be

The ruler of this world has successfully subdued the nations (Isa. 14:12).  He is in full control of all religious systems, banking/monetary systems, and governments.  Some may dismiss this statement as a broad generalization, but it is supported by scripture.

Revelation 12:9(TJB) – The great dragon, the primeval serpent, known as the devil or Satan, who had deceived all the world, was hurled down to the earth and his angels were hurled down with him.

If your church teaches anything different than the testimony of Jesus (see 2nd John), then it is a construct of the great deceiver.  Many self proclaimed apostles and prophets, both men and women, have come and gone since the Son of God delivered His testimony; all were constructs of the great deceiver.

The testimony of the Son of God included information concerning the appearance of an “Elijah” type prophet (Matthew 17:9-13).  This person is described as being ‘faithful and wise’ such that the master is able to place him over His household, to give them their food at the proper time (Matthew 24:45).  The religious leaders in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day were looking for “Elijah the prophet” to appear prior to the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 4:23). They did not recognize John the Baptist as the fulfillment of this prophecy, because he didn’t fit their paradigm, upon which their expectations as to whom this person was based. These religious leaders had been deceived by the prince of darkness.

When those in the darkness see the light they do not recognize it for what it is; because they have been deceived by the darkness.  The great deceiver pulls the ultimate bait and switch scam; he cleverly substitutes his darkness for God’s light.  The evidence of this is demonstrated by the fact that he has managed to fool the whole of mankind.  There is a consistent pattern that herein is seen, and is demonstrated throughout history, and is true even today; as go the religious leaders so go the people (or should I say, sheeple).  The great deceiver knows this, and makes great effort and goes to great expense to win the confidence and thereby deceive the leadership of the ‘church’; the priests, pastors, and theologians, and thus gain control the people.

The last time the disciples saw their Master was at the Sea of Galilee.  When His disciples saw Him they fell down before Him, though some hesitated (Matthew 28:17).  The Son of God had not fully convinced all of His own disciples that He truly was the Messiah.  Some still had doubts. It is apparent that the work of the great deceiver had caused some among the twelve to question their association with this man, and what He taught. The great deceiver’s influential words had placed elements of doubt in the minds of some of the twelve disciples. We must never under estimate the deceiving power of the evil one, because he has been successfully in deceiving mankind for tens of thousands of years.  He has portrayed himself as the benefactor of mankind, when in fact he is their worst enemy.

Many time I have heard people say, “If I had been there, I would, or would not have…”: they would not have eaten from the forbidden tree; they would have been on the ark; they would have obeyed God by listening to His prophets; they would have been a follower of Jesus, not leaving Him at His arrest, or Crucifixion; they would believe in His resurrection; and so on.  Too many times we say to ourselves, “If I had it to do all over again and knowing what I know now, I would have done some things a little differently”.  Hind sight is always 20/20.

Matthew 23:28(TJB) ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who build the sepulchers of the prophets and decorated the tombs of holy men, saying, “We would never have joined in shedding the blood of the prophets, had we lived in our fathers’ day”. So! Your own evidence tells against you! You are the sons of those who murdered the prophets! Very well then finish off the work that your fathers began.

Looking back at these scribes and Pharisees we recognize them as evil; but to the people of that day they were holy men, men of God, and worthy of respect.  These men had memorized the Law and Prophets, yet it was their understanding of these words that brought them into conflict with the God who spoke to Moses and the prophets.  You may ask, “How could this happen?” The answer is that the great deceiver had successfully fooled them. They were looking for “Elijah the prophet”, yet he came and they did not recognize him.  They were looking for a great warrior prince (Messiah), who would throw off the yoke of the Romans and elevate them to prominence in the world.  They never expected, nor wanted, a humble nobody who spent time with tax collectors and sinners.  They rejected, ridiculed, derided, and condemned the One for whom they had been waiting.

The Jews were the people that were called by God to be His kingdom.  The time specified for their preparation and accomplishment of their God given mandate had arrived. They were expected to be a holy nation, ready to welcome their righteous king; but their religious leaders had been thoroughly deceived.  This deception had been accomplished in the wilderness at Mt.Horeb, when the high priest made a golden calf.  Yes, there were times when Israel obeyed, but more often than not they forgot all about the God of their fathers.  The Son of God came to them when their time had all but run out.  He tried to tell them what they needed to do to receive what they had been expecting, but His words were foreign to them.  I believe that if the religious leaders had accepted Him as the One for whom they had been waiting, the people would have received Him as well.

The whole world is now in spiritual darkness, created and maintained by the prince of darkness.  If you say you are not in darkness then he already is your master.  There is only one way out of the darkness and that is the way designated by the Son of God, a light that illuminates the path we must travel.  He walked that way before us to show each step along the way, and if we are to overcome as did He (Rev. 3:21) we must follow in His footsteps.  He entered the darkness of this world and the world hated Him, because He is light; light is the enemy of the darkness.  All who walk along the way He described will be despised and rejected by those in the darkness.  They will be called the enemies of God, blasphemers who are working with the devil.

John 15:18-19(TJB) –  ‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you form the world therefore the world hates you.

John 12:44-50(TJB) – Jesus declared publicly: ‘Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me, sees the One who sent me. I, the light, have come into the world, so that whoever believes in me need not stay in the dark any more. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully, it is not I who shall condemn him, since I have come not to condemn the world, but to save the world; he who rejects me and refuses my words has his judge already; the word itself that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For what I have spoken does not come from myself; no, what I was to say, what I had to speak, was commanded by the Father who sent me, and I know that his commands mean eternal life. And therefore what the Father has told me is what I speak.’

It is the words of Jesus, His testimony, which will determine the outcome of the judgment of the world.  It stands to reason then that it would be these very words that the great deceiver would counterfeit; and indeed, that is exactly what he did.

Matthew 13:24-30(TJB) – He put another parable before them, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel, all among the wheat, and made off.  When the new wheat sprouted and ripened the darnel appeared as well. The owner’s servants went to him and said, “Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?” Some enemy has done this he answered. And the servants said, “Do you want us to go and weed it out?” But he said, “No because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.”

The good seed is the testimony of the Son of Man (Jesus).  The weed seed is the testimony of the devil, masquerading as the testimony of Jesus.  Remember in the previous text, Jesus said: “…Anyone who refuses MY words has been judged already”.

Near the end of the first century, John was very concerned.  His concern was that the words of his Master would be lost forever, by being overwhelmed by the words of imposters posing as apostles of Jesus.  In his second letter, John shows this valid concern by saying: “Any teaching that does not stay within the boundaries of what Christ taught, but goes beyond it is lying” (see second John).  The Son of Man also gave a warning about false apostles in The Revelation given to John.

Revelation 2:2(TJB) I know all about you; how hard you work and how much you put up with. I know you cannot stand wicked men, and how you tested the impostors who called themselves apostles and proved they were liars.

The Great Deceiver has called his own apostle (apostles), and gave him a message that matched what most of the world wanted to hear; that is, that they could have their cake and eat it too.  The world wants to believe that they can be saved without obedience to God’s law; this is called ‘grace’.  It is almost unthinkable, but the most beloved and well known apostle of all time is actually the agent of the enemy.  For the sake of believability Saul was renamed Paul, who was a Roman citizen, who was also a lowly tailor/tent maker.  He was a zealot for the religious laws of Israel, and became a high profile persecutor of the Way. He had a working knowledge of the Law and Prophets, and was gifted (as were most Pharisees) in spinning the scriptures to mean something other than that of the original context.  Paul could change words here and there without causing any questions among his gentile converts, because they had little or no knowledge of the scriptures of the Jewish religion.

The great deceiver knew that the Jews were no longer God’s kingdom.  The King of the Kingdom of the Heavens (Jesus, the Son of God) had taken the responsibility of building His Kingdom away from them and given it to anyone (Jew or Gentile alike) who would willing to meet the requirements for entrance into that Kingdom (Matt.21:43).  While these pilgrims are on their way to the Kingdom of God, they invite others to join them.  By this process the kingdom of God is filled with holy people (saints).  The ruler of the world does not want to lose any of his people to the Kingdom of God, so he designed a deception insuring they would choose to stay in darkness.

You must first come to the understanding that you are in darkness before you will be able to leave it.  The question then is this: If you believe truly believe you are not in darkness are you willing to wait until the judgment before you know for sure?  If you are ready to admit that you ARE living in darkness you must then make the time and go to the great effort to find the way out of the darkness of lies into the light of truth. To accomplish this you must learn the way to the light; and the ONLY reliable source for the TRUTH are the words of the Son of Man, Jesus the Christ,  as recorded by His eyewitness disciples Matthew and John. Mark has also given a trustworthy account, borne out by its agreement with Matthew and John.  Luke was not a disciple, he does not name his sources, and his account is contradictory to that of the eyewitnesses. It is, however, consistent in its support of Pauline salvation theology.  The darkness in which we find ourselves is a darkness that not only surrounds us, but is in us.

Here is the crux of the matter; that which we have learned and come to believe is in our mind and heart.  If our mind and heart is a home to lies, it is filled with darkness.  Light and darkness will not live together in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, there will be no darkness in the Kingdom of Light, and no darkness among the holy people.  Spiritual darkness will not be found in the earth made anew.  We must humble ourselves, acknowledge that we have been deceived by the darkness, and make the commitment that the darkness will deceive us no longer.  The Son of God came to set the captives free, and those in darkness have seen a great light; but they did not recognize it.  His words were foreign to them, His teaching unrecognizable, because while not impossible they were unthinkable to those who loved darkness rather than light. The words that would set them free were insults to their understanding. They chose to remain in captivity, and the prince of darkness was triumphant.  We have the same mandate today as they had then; we have access to the same words which can set us free from the darkness of sin, as did they.  We are not there, in that time, but we are here now, today. If you have ever said that you would have listened to His words had you been there, that you would have believed His message and followed Him, then to prove this assertion you must come to recognize that the words that Jesus spoke to His own disciples then are the same that He is speaking to you today. The proof of your belief can be found ONLY in His words/testimony, and you must learn to obey them.  Now is the time to show what you would have done if you had been there.

John 8:31-32(TJB) “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free’.

Here follows the great commission given to every disciple of the Son of God

Matthew 28:18-20(TJB) Jesus came up and spoke to them. He said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes to the end of time.’

Learn His word, follow His testimony, and you will leave the darkness and experience the joy of life, living in the light of truth.

Rick Sterling