The escape of five lions from their enclosure at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo back in November made headlines around Australia and the world. Fortunately, the lions were recaptured within a few hours and nobody was injured.
A week later another zoo resident was getting lots of media attention. This time it was a lyrebird. It was filmed mimicking a siren and the “evacuate now” alert that had sounded in the zoo grounds when the lions escaped. It’s amazing how accurately the lyrebird could emulate the real thing. Indeed, lyrebirds are known as masters of mimicry—they can imitate the whistles and trills of other birds, along with other random sounds such as car alarms, chainsaws, even a crying baby.
Mimicking something or someone can be fun—I remember when my daughters were little, they had a great time slipping on a pair of my shoes or using my lipstick, pretending to be “Mummy”. Mimicry can also be a good way of learning a new skill or a better way of doing something.
But it can also have a serious side. Take for example the lengths some people go to copy the appearance of a celebrity they idolise by undergoing extreme body makeovers. There are also those shady individuals who mimic the identities of others, usually to access their bank accounts.
Satan is a master of mimicry—he likes to conceal his true identity. The apostle Peter describes him as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). In The Great Controversy, Ellen White writes that at the end of time, Satan will imitate Jesus, making it appear that Christ has returned to earth: “In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation.”
Sadly, this evil impersonator will be so believable that many will be tricked. But not God’s people, who will “detect the deceiver in his disguise”, according to Mrs White. This is because they’ve diligently studied the Scriptures and this will help them to distinguish the fake from the real.
We live in an era where social media influencers abound—we are encouraged to copy the looks and lifestyles of those who flash up on our screens. However, I’d like to think as Christians our priority is to mimic the humble life of Jesus, helping those who are struggling, and showing love and acceptance to everyone.
This piece was originally written for Record eNews—the Adventist Record weekly eNewsletter. Subscribe for free for more exclusive content.