What the Bible Says About the Devil Part 2 (Series: What the Bible Says About....)
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The third question to ask is, “How much power does the devil have?”
The prince of this world has already been judged: Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” That was the judgment of God against Satan in the Garden of Eden, where he led Eve to sin. There is a final judgment to come, but for now, Satan has not lost his position, and he has lost little of his power. His personal strength cannot be estimated.
The writer of Hebrews said that Satan had the power of death: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews 2:14) This is one of the reasons why Jesus had to die on the Cross; it was to destroy the power and fear of death. Through his death and resurrection, He broke the hold that Satan had over men. That power has been surrendered to Christ, who has all power in heaven and earth. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelations 1:18)
Satan had the power of sickness in the case of Job; “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 2: 7) But remember, Satan only had access to Job, because God allowed it, and God put limits on what he could do to him.
Satan was able to sift Peter as wheat in a sieve. That is what Jesus told Peter, “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31). Satan already controlled Judas, but he had to ask for permission to “sift” the disciples and to tempt Peter.
Satan is not all-powerful and must comply with the limits set by the Lord. “… God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
In Isaiah 14 we are told that he has weakened the nations, shaken kingdoms, and made the earth to tremble. Even though Satan has far greater power than we possess, Christians can have victory over Satan through the power of the Spirit of God and the blood of Christ. That’s what it says in 1 John 4:4, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” The Spirit of God dwells in you and that Spirit is greater than men or devils.
The fourth question is, “What is the work of the devil?”
Satan urges people to renounce God; that’s what he did to Eve, in the garden.
We are told in 2 Timothy that Satan opposes the work of God: “Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.” Paul reminded these believers of the power of Satan, and he claimed that his return to Thessalonica had been “hindered” by Satan.
Satan also hinders the gospel; “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.” (Matthew 13:19) It’s the unbeliever, who doesn’t understand the word of God.
Isaiah 14:12-17 is one of the many passages relating to the work of Satan. We have already read that passage. It reveals Satan’s original and supreme purpose. He would ascend into heaven, exalt his throne above the stars of God, and be like the Most High. The supreme motive of Satan was to be like the Most High, and it guided all his activities. It was behind his approach to Adam and Eve, and they adopted Satan’s ideal, becoming self-centered, self-sufficient and independent of God. This attitude has been transmitted to us, in that we are all born with that old Adamic nature.
The Bible calls us “children of wrath,” and therefore we must be born again. But Satan does everything in his power to keep the unsaved from coming to faith in Jesus. One way he works to accomplish this goal is to promote false religious systems. It says in 2 Corinthians, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) Such satanic delusions are now in the world, and millions are deceived by them. These false systems should always be tested by their attitude toward the saving grace of God, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
The fifth question is, “What is the destiny of the devil?”
Just as the word of God is clear about the origin, personality, power and work of Satan, it is equally clear with regard to his destiny.
Paul had this to say in his letter to the Colossians, “He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross. God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless.” (Colossians 2:14-15) By His death, Christ stripped Satan of his power; he can’t harm those who have trusted in Christ because we are robed in the righteousness of Christ and our sins have been nailed to the cross. The judgment of Satan was delivered at that same cross, but the execution of the sentence is still in the future.
Satan must have read Revelations, so he knows his fate. But I would be willing to bet that he doesn’t believe it. I think he believes that he can still win if he can just get a few more souls. But his destiny is predetermined by God; it will be as it is declared in the twelfth chapter of Revelations. And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 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. 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. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 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.” (Revelations 12:7-12)
Satan will be cast out of heaven and confined to the abyss, making it impossible for him to be active and to deceive the nations. In this passage, it talks about a war in heaven, and that sounds so foreign to the place where peace and happiness prevail. But the ultimate doom of Satan must begin like the first sin did. In pre-time, that is, before the creation, Satan had an earlier fall; He was forced to leave the immediate presence of God, and was sent to the second heaven.
Ephesians 6:10-12, speaks about spiritual wickedness, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. The battle that will take place in heaven between the angels of God and the forces of Satan will be mortal combat. But Satan, who was already defeated at Calvary, is no match for the archangel Michael and the angels of God. Finally Satan will be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever. That’s what it says in Revelations 20:10, “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.”
Many believe that Satan does not really exist and that the supposed person of Satan is no more than an evil influence that is in people and in the world. This conception is proven to be wrong because there is the same abundant evidence that Satan is a person as there is that Christ is a person. Scripture, which alone is reliable on these matters, treats Satan as a person as much as Christ. If the personality of Christ is accepted on the testimony of the Bible, then the personality of Satan must also be accepted on the same testimony.
I hope that you may have learned something you didn’t already know about Satan. It is wise to know your enemy. But it is even more important that you know and believe in Jesus, because where you will spend eternity depends on it. Make sure you can say, “NOW I BELONG TO JESUS!” Then you will be able to sing this song with me.
Jesus, my lord, will love me forever,
From Him no pow’r of evil can sever,
He gave His life to ransom my soul,
Now I belong to Him;
Now I belong to Jesus,
Jesus belongs to me,
Not for the years of time alone,
But for eternity.