We’re still talking about Satan.
Last time we covered the names and titles of Satan.
What’s important to understand about the biblical designation of Satan, is that none of them are formal names or titles. And the reason for that is because he’s not a creature worthy of name.
He’s the great enemy of God and the mission to glorify His name, and so the Bible never gives His a formal name. Rather, every designation is simply a description of His character and purpose.
He is the adversary and deceiver, and the one very much opposed to God.
And so in light of that, we’re not going to talk about his career and program.
1.) An Outline of His Career
His past (pre-fall):
-- It begins with the fact that he was created.
Satan’s simply a spirit being, and as such, he’s also been created.
We won’t repeat the passage, because we did it when we talked about the creation of angels.
Suffice to say with this point that because Satan’s a created creature, he has his existence under God.
There is no dualism here. There’s not a true battle between God and the devil. God rules over Him in omnipotent power. The devil submits to Him (In fact, read the book of Job, where we the devil has to ask permission to reap His woes against Job).
-- His nature was like other morally responsible created beings.
Again, we saw this when we covered this category under angels.
The point to understand here, is that the devil was not yet tested.
He was created holy in the sense that He was made by the holy God and for God’s holy purposes.
We now know what that purpose was, but presumably, there was a time in which he was sinless.
Again, he was simply untested in this unfallen state. So he was innocent like Adam and Eve in the Garden, but also, just like Adam and Eve in the Garden, He was not yet tested.
There is no revelation on some things during His pre-fall.
We don’t know his position during this period. Many speculate, but the reality is we don’t know.
There’s also no mention of the length of this period. (However, it was probably short).
Satan’s moral fall terminated this period.
-- His deception of Eve was perhaps his first outward sin. It may not have been. But in terms of the biblical data, we have no reason to think otherwise.
When was he judged by God?
Perhaps after his pride? (which would have been an inward sin)? We don’t have any biblical data on this, but it's implied that pride must have been the cause of his fall.
Perhaps it was after his deception of Eve (c.f., Gen. 3:14-15). [Again, there’s no overt mention that he fell before this.]
In fact: Note that his judgement and ultimate doom were strongly affirmed in connection with Christ’s first coming and sacrificial death.
Luke 10:17-18 “The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name. And He said to them, ‘I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.’”
John 12:31 “...and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”
*Something worth mentioning on this*
1Timothy 3:6 ” [regarding qualifications of elders]... and not a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.”
The idea here is that the fell, but he appeared to be holy before he was tested.
When it comes to elders this is very much worth contemplating.
You should never stick a person in that kind of position if they’ve not yet been tested by the trials of life. Talk may be genuine, but it’s still cheap until it’s tested.
Not only do you put the church in a position to be harmed, but the idea, here, is that you put the man in a position to be harmed.
Not only might you give the devil a foothold in his life, but you can also cause Him to share in that same condemnation/fate as the devil.
His present state:
-- It begins with his fall. He now exists in a perpetual state of fallenness.
-- It is characterized by his walking around the earth. Just like we saw with angels, he has access to both heaven and earth.
-- In Job 1-2 he comes to God (which means he’s in heaven). And as he stands before God, he then begins his speech by telling God that he’s just been walking around the earth.
So clearly, he has access to both realms.
Eph. 6 and 1 Pet. 5 also speaks of the devil prowling around, seeking to destroy faith. The implication is that he has access to earth.
-- His present state will culminate in his being cast to the earth during the tribulation period. (Rev. 12:9).
His Future Fate:
-- The Tribulation: Beginning at mid - trib (Rev. 12:7-12)
We give away our eschatology, here.
We won’t we read the passage, but he’s going to be thrown to earth with his fallen angels.
This time will terminate in his judgment to the pit.
-- He will endure a millennial imprisonment (Rev. 20:1-3).
-- He will experience a temporary release (Rev. 20:7-8).
-- He will then be eternally consigned to the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10).
Again, this gives away our eschatology -- but regardless, the point to understand is that his fate has been sealed.
There’s no dualism, here.
God stands in utter power over Him. There’s not even a battle.
2.) A Survey of His Program
The facts that he has a program:
-- 2 Corinthians 2:11 (νόημα, schemes).
“so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”
-- Ephesians 6:11 (μεθοδεία, methodologies).
"Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”
His program in relation to God:
-- He slanders God (Gen. 3:4-5).
-- He actively opposes God, and especially as he energizes the anti-Christ (2 Thess. 2:9).
-- He counterfeits God and His works. (This one is scary.)
Again, we talked about it last time, but this is the passage where he is disguised as an angel of light.
There will be many who stand in utter shock on the day of judgment. There are many who think they’re right now doing the will of God. Yet the Bible is clear that the devil is exceedingly active (and successful) at counterfeiting Himself to be God.
Many life decisions are made. Entire spiritual movements exists.
Yet how often do we assume these are great works of God, when perhaps they are nothing more than the disguisement of the devil?
Just something to think about.
His program in relation to Christ:
He used various people against Christ.
-- Herod (Matt. 2:16)
-- The crowds (John 8:30-59) “... You are of your father, the Devil…”
-- Peter (Matt. 16:21-23) Peter was acting in accord to the characteristic of Satan.
-- Judas (John 12:27)
Pretty much anytime someone is opposed to Christ (or attempted to snuff out of the Messiah), you can rightly assume that Satan was behind it. This began way back in the beginning of the OT (Pharaoh, Saul, the opposing armies to Israel, etc. Satan was always working to kill off the lineage through which the Messiah would come ).
-- He attempted to make Christ unfit to redeem and rule (Matt. 4 and Lk. 4)
Here He comes to Jesus directly in the wilderness temptations.
He tried to get Christ to mistrust God, worship Him, and receive his inheritance of the nations in a way that was not God’s plan.
His program in relation to the nations:
-- He controls them (Jn. 12:31).
-- He deceives them (Rev. 20:3).
-- He will gather them for Armageddon (Rev. 16:13-14).
-- He will deceive again at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-10).
His program in relation to Israel:
-- He will deceive them to make a covenant with the antichrist (Dan. 9:26-27; 2Thes. 2:9-11; Rev. 9:13).
-- He will attempt to destroy Israel (Rev. 12:13-17).
His program in relation to the unsaved:
-- He has sway over them (1Jn. 5:19).
-- He blinds (Lk. 8:12; 2Cor. 4:4).
-- He incites men to oppose God’s Word (Eph. 2:2; Acts 13:8-11; Rev. 2:13).
-- He incites men to sin (1Jn. 3:10-12).
His program in relation to the saved:
-- He accuses and slanders (Job 1:9-11; Rev. 12:10).
-- He hinders (1 Thess. 2:18).
-- He sows tares among them (Matt. 13:38-39).
-- He incites persecutions against them (Rev. 2:10).
-- He attempts to defeat them generally (Matt. 16:21-23; 2Cor. 2:5-11; Eph. 6:11-12).
-- He tempts them to sin specifically (Examples in Acts 5:3; 1Cor. 7:5).
So he’s a bad dude.
So this is his career and program.
He has one great objective -- oppose God, God’s people, and God’s mission to glorify His name.
He always works through deception.
We would be incredibly wise not to assume that things on the surface that appear to be good are actually the work of God.
Next time we’ll talk about his powers and limitations.