|Taking Every Thought Captive|
Sizing up the Enemy
What the Bible Teaches about Satan
By Massimo Lorenzini
Who is Satan? Where did he come from? What is his destiny? What are his tactics? How can I resist him? These are all important questions to answer if we are to “wage the good warfare” (1 Tim 1:18) against the enemy of our souls and our Lord.
Satan is a created angelic being who, with all the angels, existed before the creation of the universe.
4 Where were you when I established the earth? Tell [Me], if you have understanding. 5 Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 What supports its foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
The angels were created by Christ.
because by Him everything was created, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Angels are “messengers” of God or “ministering spirits” (Heb 1:14).
How many angels are there?
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.
Pride was the primary sin of Satan.
11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 "By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 "You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever." ' "
Take note of the “I wills” of Satan.
12 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. 16 "Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, 17 Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?'
Pride was the main sin of Satan.
1 Tim 3:6,
not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
Satan led a third of the angels in rebellion.
3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
Satan was cast out of Heaven.
And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Satan now inhabits the earth and has limited dominion over it. He is called the “prince of the power of air” (Eph 2:2) and the “god of this age” (2 Cor 4:4).
Satan is the first sinner.
You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars.
1 John 3:8,
The one who commits sin is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose: to destroy the Devil's works.
Satan is God’s archenemy, the leader of the rebellion against God. The word “Satan” means “adversary.”
Satan is purely evil. He has a mad hatred of God. He knows he is doomed and therefore has nothing to lose and wants to take as many people down with him as he can. He hates mankind because they are the crowning achievement of God’s creation as the sole image-bearer of God.
Satan and his demonic cohorts are more evil than you can imagine. J.I. Packer described them saying they are, "more cruel, more malicious, more proud, more scornful, more perverted, more destructive, more disgusting, more filthy, more despicable, than anything our minds can conceive" (J.I. Packer, God's Words, IVP 1981, p. 81).
Satan hates you and wants to destroy you because he hates God.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
We need to be aware of Satan’s tactics.
2 Cor 2:11,
lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
What is Satan’s Strategy?
Satan is actively deceiving the world.
1 John 5:19,
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
All people in the world who are without Jesus Christ are the children of Satan.
1 John 5:19,
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
1 John 3:8,
He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning.
You are of your father the devil.
In this verse Jesus was speaking to the Pharisess, but that could be broadened to include anybody who’s not a child of God.
Three main ways that Satan operates in the lives of the lost.
1. His work of preventing.
Satan can steal the word from the willfully hardened heart. Satan takes it away to ensure it doesn’t influence the sinner in any way.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Satan blinds those who willfully don’t believe.
2 Cor 4:3-4,
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
2. His work of perverting
If the truth is preached to a congregation of 500, Satan has to get into the lives of 500 people to take away the Word from them. But if he can pervert the message preached by deceiving the preacher, then his work is done. Satan would rather pervert the Word than prevent it from taking root in your life.
Satan Distorts God’s Word.
Satan is not very creative. He mostly counterfeits the truth of God. His greatest deception is pseudo-Christianity. He mimics what is good by coming up with false doctrine.
2 Cor 11:14,
And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Satan’s chief tactic is to destroy confidence and faith in God’s Word. He will either try to get you to begin to doubt it and eventually deny it, or distort it (which is also a denial of it).
Satan’s brings doubt and denial of God’s Word.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?”
3. His work of promoting self.
Another tactic of Satan is to incite outright rebellion and disobedience.
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
“Behold the crucifix, what does it symbolize? Pallid incompetence hanging on a tree” (Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan).
“I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood” (George Carlin, comedian).
Why this attitude towards the cross of Christ? Because Satanism is all about reaching your full human potential independently of God. Someone dying on a cruel cross is defeat not triumph.
“Life is the great indulgence, death is the great abstinence. Therefore, make the most of the here and now” (Anton LaVey).
“Say to thyself, I am mine own redeemer” (Anton LaVey).
“Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law” (Aleister Crowley, occultist).
But Satan’s bottom-line tactic is to get you to exalt your own will against the will of God.
1 Sam 15:23,
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Opposing God’s will in your life is the essence of what evil is.
If you don’t choose to submit to Christ, you will fall for the lie of Satan—self exaltation.
2 Thess 2:3-4,
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
Notice that the “moral hero” of sin, the “man of sin” who is the coming antichrist, is said to by one who exalts himself above all the is called God or worshiped. The one who most consistently lives sinfully is the one who wants to be God.
But the Lord will bring about severe condemnation upon all who rebel.
2 Thess 2:7-12,
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
God is allowing Satan and his demons to have their little rebellion for a time in order to show that ultimately is it futile. God wants every creature in the universe, human and angelic to see the futility and stupidity of rebelling against Him.
Whose attitude are you displaying? Whose will are you choosing?
The Satanic attitude:
13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…
The Christ-like attitude:
Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me--nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.
Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. 7 Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death--even to death on a cross. 9 For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow-- of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth-- 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Either believe God and submit to Him or be honest and admit you’re a rebel, you hate God, you want to be like Satan and choose your own will to be supreme in your life.
Realize that if you reject Christ, this life is the closest thing to Heaven you will ever know.
Satan Attacks Believers
1 Peter 5:8-9,
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
Some ways that Satan attack believers:
What can we do in response to all of these temptations of Satan?
Follow the admonition of James,
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
How can we resist Satan? By standing in the Lord’s strength with the armor He provides us.
Eph 6:10-17 (HCSB),
10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist,
[be a friend of truth, deception and dishonesty is Satanic]
righteousness like armor on your chest,
[we are made righteous by faith in the gospel and we are live a new way]
15 and your feet sandaled with the readiness of the gospel of peace.
[be a student of the gospel, be ready to share it with others, be active in the Great Commission, be busy with building up the church by serving in ways that benefit others]
16 In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one.
[believe God’s faithful promises, don’t seek to be self-reliant, trust God in your daily life and where you place your priorities]
17 Take the helmet of salvation,
[view yourself and your world thru the lens of the gospel, pursue assurance of your salvation by examining the fruit in your life, Do you believe the gospel? Do you love God and His people? Do you have a heart that loves to obey God’s Word?]
and the sword of the Spirit, which is God's word
[What is your relationship to the Bible? Do you spend time reading and
studying it? Do you make it a priority to memorize Scripture? Or are you still a babe when it comes to Bible intake? Do you still need milk when you should be getting meat? So what if your peers think you’re a Bible nerd. Ignorance of God’s Word is not cool, it is foolish. It will leave you defenseless against Satan and unable to contribute to the extension of God’s Kingdom.]