"Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone" (Matthew 4:5-6).
The devil misapplied the truth, of course, and was countered by the Lord's rightly interpreted and applied Word. "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God" (Matthew 4:7). This presents a powerful lesson to us concerning Scripture, namely, that both God and Satan seek to communicate the Bible to us. The latter misrepresents what the Word of God actually says, but often very subtly and skillfully. To the unsuspecting, our enemy will wield a distorted blade of the sword of the Lord itself to wound us even as we are seeking the healing light of God. Failure to understand this guarantees our deception, particularly in a generation wherein we are exposed to so many voices and influences.
A friend recently gave me a book describing the views of a particular movement that prides itself on doctrine and adherence to the Word of God. Sadly, however, many in this group have no qualms whatsoever about redefining the meaning of Biblical words long established linguistically. In essence, their theology serves as the arbiter of interpreting Scripture rather than the seeking to let the Scripture say what it says, and then mold their beliefs to its singular authority. The serpent's subtle voice is clearly heard in the distortions, and the group in question provides a warning and lesson to us all.
We are a race prone to deception, and allowed by God to live our lives in close proximity to a powerful deceiver (I Peter 5:8). Wise is the believer who understands this, and who recognizes that the devil likely uses the true Scriptures to deceive more people than the Satanic Bible. Indeed, we recognize the darkness of the latter, and if exposed to it, would be prepared to stand against it. The former, however, is so blessed and perfect in its declaration that if someone opens its pages and declares, "It is written," we may let our guard down. The challenge is great because it means that we are going to have to increasingly know the Word of God ourselves, and also be keenly vigilant about preachers and teachers to whom we listen. We will not find perfect communicators, of course, but even in times such as these, there remains a remnant of voices through whom the authentic light of God shines. May our Lord lead us to them, may He protect them, and may He raise up many more who brightly and faithfully gleam in the growing darkness.
"Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
(II Corinthians 11:13-15)