“To deceive even the elect—if that were possible.” (Matthew 24:24, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Virtual reality. The term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment. The stuff of science fiction until the advancement of technology made it a “reality.” A product of of the late 20th and early 21st century? Maybe in the context of technology, but not in the context of deception.
- Virtual – Almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition.
- Reality – The state of things as they actually exist.
- Virtual Reality – Making things that are almost or nearly real, appear as if they actually are real.
When I look up the word “Satan” in my Thompson Chain Reference Bible, the first entry is “arch deceiver.”
- Arch – Chief or principal.
- Deceiver – One who makes someone believe something that is not true.
- Arch Deceiver– Master of deception who makes someone believe that something that is not true, is true or real.
And he is really, really good at it. So good that he could “deceive even the elect – if that were possible.” And I think, he can string along the elect for time. Often we help him (as if he needed any help), because we want things to be real that are not. “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths [virtual reality].” (2 Timothy 4:2–4, NIV 1984).
My Advice – I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. Keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5, NIV 1984).
Let’s keep our heads “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11, NIV 1984). “For there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44, NIV 1984). But how can we make sure we are “prepared in season and out of season” to not be taken in by Satan’s schemes? Four suggestions:
- The Word – Stay in it. Study it. Meditate on it. How can one possibly detect the lies and deception if one is unfamiliar with the truth?
- Prayer – Stay connected with the Lord. Talk with Him often. He will “speak” to you. But you might not recognize His voice if you’ve neglected the Word.
- Fellowship – It may be hard now because of COVID-19, but as soon as you can resume in person worship. We need the encouragement of this support group. And all the more as we see the day approaching. In the meantime, don’t forget on-line worship. It’s not the best, because it’s virtual. But as soon as you can, get back to reality. Virtual reality is no substitution for reality.
- Accountability – Join a small group, where you can share in the Word, share your struggles, share your victories. At times we will need the encouragement, and at times we will provide encouragement to others. Iron sharpens iron.