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The Devil – Week 29 / July 23rd
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil
walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8
One infrequently hears or reads a message about the Devil. Some Christians feel that we should ignore him as saying or writing anything about him un-nerves them. This of course is immature and silly as the Bible itself has much to say about him and we should understand the nature of our enemy lest we be deceived or duped by him; a possibility that Paul acknowledges in his second Corinthian letter. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11)
The personification of the Devil
In scripture the leaders of nations are written about but in such a way that as you read their story you quickly recognize that you are reading about something more sinister and evil than a mere person. We see this in Isaiah fourteen where the King Babylon is ultimately personified as the Devil and in Ezekiel twenty-eight where he is personified as the King of Tyre. (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:12-19) We learn from these two chapters that Lucifer or the Devil was an Archangel near to the very throne of God. His beauty was amazing and he was filled with music and worship. His closeness to God eventually filled him with envy and a lust for ultimate power and so he rose up against God and thereby sought to dethrone Him. His strategy was sufficiently believable so as to deceive a third of the angelic host who joined with him in this rebellion. (Revelation 12:4) They failed and were cast out of heaven to the second heaven from where he henceforth set about seeking to find out how, where and when he could frustrate God’s plans as the Prince of the power of the air! (Ephesians 2:2)
All this took place before creation and clearly before the creation of humankind since the Devil was waiting in the Garden of Eden to undermine God’s purpose through the mechanism of deception. We certainly learn from all of this that the cardinal, and therefore most dangerous, sin in the universe is pride. It is the very essence of the demonic nature and therefore where you see it manifested you can be sure that the Devil is also nearby. It can very often be seen in the church!
In the book of Obadiah the King of Edom is also personified as the Devil. (Obadiah 1:2-9) Edom has its roots in Esau the brother of Jacob. This King of Edom is more than just a regional power as he has risen up to heaven and to the stars in his attempt to be like God! In fact his main purpose is to hate Israel, challenge Israel and seek to destroy Israel. No wonder God said, “Jacob I have loved but Esau I have hated.” (Malachi 1:2-3) God saw the very Devil in Esau and hated him. This too reminds us that Israel is so crucial to God’s holy purpose that the Devil gives her special attention. A fact that scripture well testifies to. (Revelation 12:1-5) We would do well to note this.
The names of the Devil
Scripture, with good reason, gives many names to the Devil since they all in a unique way describe his activities. He is thus:
- Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Meaning the shining or brilliant one. Here his name reminds us that he sets out to impress and deceive. Paul tells us that he penetrates the church as an angel of light (2Corinthians 11:14) and of course the ultimate deception in this regard will be the arrival of Antichrist. He will dupe the world with his magnificence and wisdom but in fact will be the manifestation of evil in a way and manner that the world has never seen before. (2Thessalonians 2:9-10)
- Satan (Revelation 2:24)
Meaning the one who tempts or entices because he is the adversary of God. We see the Devil playing this role out in the Garden of Eden where he enticed Adam and Eve to disobey God. (Genesis 3) Job was enticed or tempted by Satan to rebel against God (Job 1:6-12) and Jesus’ temptations record the same saga as the Devil seeks to entice Him to sin (Matthew 4:1-11) and John in his first epistle explains that these temptations always have to do with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. (1 John 2:15-17) That is, as someone put it, gold, glory and girls! Certainly it was these three things that were placed before Adam and Eve, Jesus and the people of God through the centuries. Many, like Peter, have failed the test and we must be on guard all the time because our adversary the Devil is always looking for an opportunity to devour us. This my friends is no idle threat. If we take our lives out from under the protective grace and love of a God by living in willful sin, unforgiveness and spiritual neglect we lay ourselves open to demonic attack!
3. Apollyon (Revelation 9:11)
Meaning the one who destroys. The Devil is enraged with God and with humanity and seeks to bring destruction upon both. He lays waste and brings destruction to nations, cities and communities everywhere. Scripture tells us that the whole world lies in his power and therefore he constantly seeks ways and means by which he may destroy it. (1 John 5:19) It is only God’s restraining angels that prevent destruction on a grand scale from happening, but a day is fast coming when the God of the Bible will recall or release these angels in order to judge the world. (Revelation 9:13-21) On that day the Devil will come down to the earth with much wrath! (Revelation 12:12) We have been warned.
The defeat of the Devil
The Devil was defeated at the cross meaning that for all those who obey its message through repentance and faith in Jesus the power and influence of the Devil has been broken over their lives. (Colossians 2:14-16) He cannot harm us or touch us and in Christ we have the authority to resist and defeat him. (1 John 5:18) This defeat of the Devil, now in the lives of those who follow Jesus, will become complete when Jesus comes again. The devil will be cast into hell with all those who have rejected and hated God. (Revelation 20:10) Hell has been especially set aside for the Devil and his angels and sadly for those who reject the Gospel. (Matthew 25:41) This has never been the intention of God who desires that all men should be saved.
The Devil is a serious and determined adversary who can even influence Christians around us. Peter was a loyal follower of Jesus who went forth with the other Disciples to cast out devils, heal the sick and preach the Gospel but he could still be impacted by demonic thoughts, as we all can, and thus Jesus lovingly looked at Peter and said, “Get behind Me Satan.” (Matthew 16:23)
We need to cover our lives with prayer and guard our minds with the helmet of salvation because our tongues can so easily become instruments of evil. (Ephesians 4:26-27) The result being division, contentions and outbursts of anger and all of this amongst the people of God! (James 3:5-16)
Let us then go forth protected by the blood of Christ to storm and take the gates of hell. (Matthew 16:18)