Other saints are in danger of underestimating Satan’s ability to deceive and confuse. I have heard many say, “There is no way I could be deceived when Satan comes as Christ in the last days. I have two or three things carefully stored away by which I will test him when he comes.” But I doubt that the Devil will make it that easy on us. History offers many examples that warn against such overconfidence. For example, when Jesus suffered, died, and rose again, Satan knew that the great weight of evidence was against him. Therefore, he worked very hard to destroy or hide the evidence. One of his most diabolical successes, right from the beginning, was in leading some to believe that Jesus did not really come in the flesh. He did not really suffer and He did not really die. He only seemed to do those things. The group of people who believed that were known as the Docetists. They taught that Jesus did not have a physical body, that He did not really die and rise. He was more like a ghost than a person. This was an effective way by which Satan sought, right from the start, to destroy the evidence Christ provided of what God is really like. This idea was widespread in John’s later years:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God (1 John 4:1-2, NIV).
We know historically that people were going around saying Jesus had not really come in the flesh. John wrote a whole Gospel to show that Jesus, a real, embodied human being, was also fully God and came to reveal what the Father is truly like. If Satan can get people to believe that Jesus was not both human and divine, the clarity of His revelation of God’s character is lost.