WHAT DOES "SATAN MASQUERADES AS AN ANGEL OF LIGHT" IMPLY?
We often hear Christian preachers invoke 2 Corinthians 11:14, "And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light," in order to cast a certain light on spiritistic phenomena as "occult," "demonic," "satanic," "evil," "Satan's big lie," or "Satan's deceptions." But what eludes these otherwise well-intended preachers is that one who masquerades is actually imitating the "real" thing.
In other words, if one is in the presence of Satan or a demon who is masquerading as an angel of light, then that masquerade must be a mock-up of a real angel of light: it will appear as a being of light, not only in appearance but also in content of character and speech. This masquerade then points to the REAL thing, that is, a real angel of light that must exist, for the masquerade can only be of something that is thought, at least, to exist; one does not imitate something that does not exist. Why? Because the point of reference for the masquerade can only be the very thing the masquerade attempts to imitate. The masquerade of an angel of light, then, would imply that REAL angels of light, not Satan's costume shows, must also appear to humans in exactly the same way that Satan masquerades as these angels of light. Otherwise, what is Satan imitating?
The upshot, then, of 2nd Corinthians 11:14 is a window into a very important truth that eludes many Christians who are wary of spiritistic phenomena as ploys and deceptions of the Devil: angels of light, that is, God's holy spirits (angels are spirits who function as "messengers"), appear in their true form to human beings and communicate with human beings during this appearance, otherwise there would be no need for such an appearance unless some message was meant to be delivered ("angel" is Greek for "messenger" or "one who gives a message"). Satan imitates the comings and goings of God's angels, His holy spirits, in order to trip humans up; in order to deceive, in order to discourage humans from communicating with God's holy spirits: if Satan appears in this way, it must be a bad thing, hence all spiritistic phenomena is of the Devil. So conclude many Christian preachers and thinkers, and this is the very ploy that Satan really intends to propagate by "masquerading as an angel of light." Once Satan has sown fear and doubt about appearances of angels and spirits to humankind, there is but a short step toward the nullification of any attempt by a person to communicate with God's spirits as "dabbling in spiritistic phenomena."
Satan has duped many into thinking that appearances of angels of light and spirits can only be demonic deceptions, and communication from spirits through mediums can only be directly from the Devil or "Satan's big lie" as some have called mediumistic prayer services. In the end, however, it is not the Christian and the Christian preacher who have won, who are victorious by such claims; it is really Satan who is the victor. His masquerades have choked the pipeline to God by cutting that line off completely. Once he gets into the heads of people that communication with ANY spirit or angel is a masquerade by Satan and demons, then God's spirits are now lumped into the category of the "occult" and, on top of that, wrong-headed theology takes the place of God's spirits as "the Holy Spirit" of the Trinity--there are no "holy spirits" but only ONE Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, in the light of this attitude of lumping all spiritistic phenomena in the category of "Satan," there is no longer any need for discernment about spiritistic phenomena as was practiced among the earliest Christians (1 Corinthians 12:10 and 1 John 4:1-6). If Satan masquerades as an angel of light, are we to simply reject this appearance as Satan, which would not be a discernment, or are we to question whether the appearance of the angel of light is, in fact, Satan or a real angel of light from God? The latter better reflects the modus operandi of the earliest Christians.
Modern Christians need to get a better grasp of their brothers and sisters of the past who did have experiences that we today would call "spiritistic phenomena." But unlike modern Christians today, the earliest Christians did not reject, a priori, all visitations and communications by spirits as a satanic masquerade. Rather, they discerned the spirits who were appearing to them and speaking to them on a regular basis, and part of this discernment was based upon the verbal communication of a spirit who expressed its thought and attitude about Christ (1 John 4:2-3).