The Scriptures reveal that, as "the god of this age"(2 Corinthians 4:4), the devil has assembled a vast multitude of human assistants. Most of these are mere followers. But far too many of his followers are also deceived religious teachers.
Paul explains the connection between them and the devil: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).
Blinded by false but popular doctrines and traditions that have passed from one generation to another, these deceived teachers are among Satan's most influential tools of deception. He uses them to cleverly disguise his ways as God's ways and lead people astray.
Some of these leaders, and the institutions they serve, are obviously based on nonbiblical concepts. In other words, their beliefs are secular or pagan in origin. They make no pretense of following the Holy Scriptures.
But many others are counterfeits of the Church Jesus established. Jesus Himself predicted that false teachers would rise up who would "deceive many" (Matthew 24:5-24). This counterfeit Christianity began during the lifetime of Christ's apostles (Galatians 1:6-7). Peter warned faithful Christians: "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed" (2 Peter 2:1-2).
The devil plays an immense role in the religions of mankind. Only those who ask for God's help, as they diligently study the Bible and compare their beliefs to what it teaches, can hope to overcome the deceptions that are so prevalent in today's religious organizations and fellowships.