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Satan: Just Another Hollywood Horror? Part III
Revelation 12:9 gives us a clear idea of who Satan is and what he does, calling him by four designations; the first of these is dragon a monstrous character, enemy of God who snatches away the Word! (Matt 13:19). The next designation is that of the serpent of old (Rev 20:2), the one who tempted Eve, and cast God’s word into doubt, “did God really say that?” twisting His word, “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil” (Gen 3:1). The outcome of that encounter was spiritual death for all mankind, until the Son of Man brought us to life again. Satan has been around for a long, long time. He has had lots of practice in temptation. He was in the garden. He has watched us, knows the treachery of our hearts. In fact, he is the likely author of many of our sins, creating situations that have tempted our hearts to further sin. Jesus on the other hand is the author and perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Revelation 12:9 goes on to call the enemy the devil, which means “slanderer”, and “accuser”. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down (Revelation 12:10). Satan is first established as the “accuser” in Job 1:6-12, as he is, sneakily, ushered into the presence of God with the rest of ‘God’s sons’ when they come to present themselves (he is so proud!). He stays around awhile afterward to have a conversation with God about one of God’s favorites: Job. He points out that Job only respects God because He has showered him with blessings. Satan suggests that if God takes away those blessings, God will see how long Job really sticks around. And so the familiar endearing story unfolds of Job’s unwavering devotion to God, despite all that the Devil can throw his way. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
The name Satan means “adversary”, or “opponent” (Revelation 12:9). According to the Interlinear Bible/Strong’s Concordance, the root Greek word for “oppose” is “Satanas”, and this was “the name given to the prince of evil spirits, the inveterate adversary of God and Christ” (Strong’s, 4567). One of the first instances of Satan acting as an adversary is when he stood at the right hand of Joshua to oppose him. Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him” (Zech 3:1). “It is always dangerous to engage in a two-way dialogue with the Devil on his terms. To all of his doubts, lies and boasts our response must be that of Jesus, ‘Away with you Satan! For it is written…’ (Matt. 4:10). ‘It is written’ is equivalent to ‘the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (rhema) of God’ of Ephesians 6:17” (Murphy, p. 35, 2003). More about this later in chapter four, “Spiritual Armor”, specifically “Sword of the Spirit”, when Jesus deals with Satan.
We would do well to continue to look at Satan’s other machinations: He is an “opportunist” – Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time (Luke 4:13). How he does this is he sets traps for us: Lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil (1 Tim 3:7); That they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil (2 Tim 2:26).
Satan is a “schemer”. Satan was once wise, and has turned his wisdom to cleverness: lest Satan should take advantage of us (2 Corinthians 2:11). The Apostle Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph 6:11). Satan is wily! He is crafty! He wants to turn us from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Cor 11:3). He takes captives and lulls them senseless. That they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will (2 Tim 2:26). Satan is a “deceiver”- disguises himself. We can be dazzled if we are not careful, and no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). An angel of light!! It is mind-boggling that Satan is capable of such deception; however, we are forewarned. He is capable of power, signs, and lying wonders (2 Thess 2:9, 10) and, people will be deluded into believing his diabolical wonders (2 Thess 2:11).
The Apostle John tells us that Satan is the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11). In a well-known story of Jesus’ encounter with Satan, after 40 days in the desert without sustenance, Satan attempted to derail Christ’s great plan of salvation. He showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth, saying “all this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I will give it to whomever I wish” (Luke 4:5-6). Satan was not only boldly confident, but he was arrogant as well. He may well have thought he could say all of this truthfully, after all his authority had been delivered to him; he was a ruler.
Satan believed that his kingdom, and his authority, was without end, however Jesus would not bow to his authority then, nor will He ever! In fact Jesus tells believers “Behold, I give you the authority…over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). Notice how Jesus said, “I give you” in this verse. Only He can protect us from the principalities, against the powers, against the ruler of the darkness of this age, against spiritual host of wickedness (demons, or fallen angels - Matt 25:41) in the heavenly places (Eph 6:11). We are under the banner of Christ’s authority, and can claim His resurrection power against the dark forces of the Enemy.
*This is an excerpt of my upcoming book: Temptation in the Media Age: Recognizing and Defeating the Enemy