A Tangled Web of Lies

Posted by Paul Suckling on Mar 15, 2012 03:29 pm

Earth trapped in a spider's web, illustrating humanity's tangled web of lies.“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive,” wrote Sir Walter Scott. This seems to be the story of our world. When will the lies and deception end?

Lies are such an integral part of our world, one might wonder, who was the first ever to practice deception?

The answer is given in Scripture, and it is Satan. He is the being who has and does deceive the nations (Revelation 12:9).

For humanity it all began when Satan first spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden and lied to her. He lied by implying that God had deceived her!

Eve told the serpent (Satan) that God had said, concerning the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die” (Genesis 3:3). Satan responded with, “You will not surely die” (verse 4). He effectively said to Eve, God has lied to you, and He knows better!

Giving in to this deception and temptation was the start of man’s disobedience to his Creator.

Satan’s character and way of life

Satan is described by the Hebrew words arum and arom, which together paint a vivid picture of the following characteristics: cunning, crafty, smooth, sly, subtle or one who forms a cunning plan (Spiros Zodhiates, Complete Word Study of the Old Testament).

God told the truth to Adam and Eve; Satan came along and changed the truth into a lie!

This approach toward what God has said has been repeated in many aspects of man’s life.

What history shows

The apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Rome summed it up in a few words. Read Romans 1:18-25 and the verses following. It is clear that God has revealed Himself to man as the Creator—the Giver of life. He has demonstrated that He is a being with awesome power—look at the size and scope of the universe—and One who had told man how to live.

However, instead of staying on the pathway God offered, humanity has listened to the lies and deception of Satan, and we have brought on ourselves disaster ever since. As verse 25 says, humanity has “exchanged the truth of God for the lie.”

What God has allowed

God did not stop the beguiling of Eve nor the decision that Adam made. Man of his own free will decided to believe Satan rather than God, and since that time all kinds of evil carnage and mayhem have followed man’s footsteps.

The first recorded murder, when their first son murdered his younger brother, probably stunned Adam and Eve. Why did he do it and lie about it? The answer is the same attitude that Satan has passed on to all the children of Adam. Genesis 4:7 tells us that sin lies at the door of our lives and desires to rule over us, but we are to strive to rule over sin. As Jesus so rightly said of Satan, “He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth” (John 8:44).

God has allowed mankind to walk this pathway under the god of this world ever since. Ephesians 2:2 and 2 Corinthians 4:4 make this very plain.

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened,” Sir Winston Churchill is quoted as saying.

To know the truth

To know and understand the truth is a wonderful thing—it frees us from deception. Right now you can ask God in prayer to show you His truth as you read the Scriptures. Ask Him to clearly show you right from wrong. With so many choices in the world of religion, how is it possible to know which organization, church or ministry has the truth? Only God can reveal that to you.

Ancient Israel provides a case study for the condition of the whole world. At a terrible time in Israel’s history, Judges 21:25 tells us, “In those days there was no king [in fact, there was little leadership or rule of law much of the time] in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” When everyone thinks his own opinion is truth, real truth will be in short supply. One might say deception ruled!

What’s ahead?

From start to finish of known history, Satan has woven a very tangled web of lies, deceit and confusion in all fields of human relationships, whether political, cultural or religious.

Thankfully in God’s great plan of salvation for all humans, the time is coming when God will send an angel to bind Satan and “cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished” (Revelation 20:3). The veil covering the nations will be removed (Isaiah 25:7).

Can you imagine a world without deception, lies and murder? God can! He will bring about a world of truth and peace in the Kingdom of God: “I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth. … Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets” (Zechariah 8:3-5).

For more about the wonderful Kingdom of God, see our beautifully illustrated booklet The Mystery of the Kingdom.

Paul Suckling, a native of England, is now a pastor in New England for the Church of God, a Worldwide Association.

For more about Satan, lies and the truth, see:

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