I have never ever come face to face with a demon. I can honestly say I am glad I haven’t. I am sure there have been times when I could sense that I was in a place where evil was present, but I can’t say that I have ever willingly or knowingly encountered evil incarnate. We are surrounded by evil daily and we are engaged in a battle that is going on around us but we cannot see it.
In the next few days I want to look at four realities in regards to the topic of spiritual warfare.
- It is necessary to give biblical evidence to show that we are in fact involved in a spiritual battle.
- We will look at the origins of our enemy, Satan and how he came to be.
- We will look at his characteristics; who he is and how the Bible describes him.
- What it all means and how it affects us as believers.
We are in a spiritual battle or wrestling match if you will, but our opponent is not a person. Ephesians 6 tells us that we do not struggle against “flesh and blood” which is translated as human/mankind. We are not in a struggle with humanity; our battle is spiritual. It is against rulers, authorities and evil powers of the spiritual realm. The enemy we wrestle hates us, he wants to destroy us, and he will do whatever it takes to overpower us. This is frightening when you think about it but we should not be afraid.
According to Webster’s 2 New Riverside Dictionary the word wrestle is defined as “a struggle with an opponent in an attempt to throw or pin him down.” This is what the sport of wrestling is, whether fake or real, one person trying to pin down his opponent. It is a sport of strength, endurance, the mind and manipulation. Many moves of a wrestler are not ones where you overpower your opponent by sheer strength but they are often moves of strategy where you set up your opponent by manipulating him so you can put a move on him that will give you victory.
There is a saying, generally said before going into battle or even before a wrestling match or any sporting event, “Know your opponent.” Why is this? Because if we have done our homework and studied our opponent’s strategy and tactics then we can properly train and prepare for our match, then we will be able to come out victorious. This is why sports teams watch films of their opponents the week before a game; so they can be familiar with plays, strategies and weaknesses so they can be victorious. The same goes for Christians in Spiritual warfare. We need to know our enemy because he is crafty, deceitful and he will do whatever it takes to pin you down and destroy you.
Our struggle is taking place in the spiritual dominion. The enemies are the spiritual authorities, powers, forces and rulers of evil in the heavenly realm. These include Satan and his legion of dark angels. Did you know Satan is real? I believe one of his craftiest maneuvers is to deceive people into believing he doesn’t exist, he is just a figment of our imagination. He is this character that people make up to represent evil. Some people actually think if you believe in this Satan character then you may be delusional or mentally unstable. The Bible talks about the devil, Satan, the dragon or Lucifer quite a bit. Jesus talks about him and many of the epistles make references to him as well. He is alive and well and he is doing whatever he can to try and destroy God’s people.
Who is Satan, what does he represent?
This could be a sermon series in itself, but I will give you a brief glance at his characteristics. Satan has no love for God’s people. Jesus says to Peter in Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, Satan demanded to have you, that he may sift you like wheat.” And James says, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He doesn’t like you and he will do whatever it takes to deceive you and cause you to fall and stumble. I believe Satan is at work today.
So, who is this devil being and how did he come to be? We will look at two passages in the Old Testament Isaiah 14:12 – 15 & Ezekiel 28:12a – 17 (this is believed to be the story of the fall of Satan).
- He was an angel & his name is Lucifer. Since he is an angel we also know that he was a created being, thus he has no more power than any other angel.
- He wanted to be the greatest of all angels; even to the point of exalting himself over God.
- As a result he was cast from heaven and he now walks to and fro on the earth (Job 2:2).
- We will one day see our adversary and marvel at the fact that he played such a key part in the evil of history.
- He was the signet or the signature of all that was perfect… wisdom and beauty.
- He was the anointed guardian cherub
- He was blameless from the day he was created.
- However unrighteousness was found in him.
- In his rebellion he convinced a 1/3 of the angels to rebel with him (Revelation 12:3)
- His fate is sealed.
- He has many names… Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Prince of this world, Prince of the air, The Evil one, The tempter, Satan, The Devil, The Dragon.
- He is a murderer (John 8:44)
- He does not stand in truth/ He is a liar (John 8:44)
- He is crafty (Gen. 3 & 2 Cor. 2:11)
- He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14)
- He seeks to devour all who oppose him (I Peter 5:8)
- He is the Tempter (Rev. 2:10)
- He is the deceiver (Rev. 12:9)
- He is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10)
Satan can do nothing without the permission of God (Job 2:2). I love how theologian Erwin Lutzer writes, “We should never give the impression that because Satan is the god of this world, that God kind of says, ‘Well, what am I going to do? He is the god of this world. I just have to let him do whatever he wants.”
Satan is like a bee without a stinger. He may look scary but there is no power in his sting because he has no stinger.
God has a protection plan for us! The first thing we must realize in this battle is that our strength does not come from human ability, talent and effort. It doesn’t matter how strong you are physically, how holy you may act or how much you read your Bible, our strength comes from Christ alone! He is our strength and power! God has given us the means to fight this battle and to be protected against the attacks of evil. Paul refers to this protection as the armor of God and I will talk about this on another day.
In conclusion, author Klyne Snodgrass writes, “Evil rarely looks evil until it accomplishes its goal; it gains entrance by appearing attractive, desirable and perfectly legitimate. It is a baited camouflaged trap.”