Part 2: Satan's Attacks and the Christian's Defense
* * *
AMC STATEMENT ON SATAN AND DEMONS
SATAN'S SEDUCTION OF ANGELS AND REBELLION AGAINST GOD
Satan's temptation of Eve demonstrated that his nature was already corrupted with evil, indicating that his rebellion against God took place prior to the Edenic temptation. Passages from Isaiah and Ezekiel describe his insurrection.
Strong's Concordance gives three possible translations of the word translated here as commerce and trade: trade (as peddled), merchandise, traffic. Whatever Satan peddled was not of a material nature, as material trade does not take place in heaven. What he must have peddled were promises of power and glory related to his five I wills of Isaiah 14:12-14, above.
Satan seeks to destroy the entire human race. Isaiah 14:12 refers to him as the one who "laid low the nations." Revelation 12:9 calls him "the deceiver of the whole world." 2 Corinthians 4:4 says,
Satan blinds individuals to the light of God, and brings down nations morally and in every other way because its citizens
are spiritually blinded.
SATAN'S ATTACKS AGAINST PRE-ABRAHAMIC MAN
Not satisfied with having won the allegiance of a third of the angels, Satan drew the human race into his rebellion against God with his successful temptation of Eve in the Garden and the subsequent sin of Adam in following of Eve's lead (Genesis 3:1-6). Our first parents' sin resulted in the depravity (sin nature) of the entire human race and in the curse upon the earth and every earthly creature (Genesis 3:14-19).
Human depravity soon found its expression in the murder of Abel by Cain (Genesis 4:1-8) and in the gross wickedness of virtually the entire human race:
For this cause, God purged the corrupted human race by means of the Noahic flood (Genesis 6-8); but man's innate wickedness climaxed again at the tower of Babel, an astrological observatory whose purpose was to spurn the worship of God by seeking guidance from the stars and by worshiping demons, for which cause God scattered them abroad by means of confounding their language (Genesis 11:1-9).
God cursed mankind's first parents, but He did not leave them or their offspring without hope. In His mercy, He gave them a Messianic Hope by promising them the Messianic Seed of the Woman who would, figuratively speaking, crush Satan's head (Genesis 3:15). No doubt shocked and angered, Satan set out to destroy all possibility of that Hope materializing.
In Genesis 12:1-4, God called out a man from among his people to begin a new people through whom He would bring forth the Seed of the Woman. God called Abram out from among the Chaldeans to father the nation Israel. From that moment on, Satan has focused his venom upon the Jews. If he could destroy Israel he could prevent the birth of the Seed and his own subsequent demise. Having been unable to prevent the birth of the Seed, he still seeks to destroy Israel for he knows that it is the national salvation of Israel that will trigger the Seed's return (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:37-39).
It must be noted that
No sociological factor in all of Israel's history in the Land and in the Dispersion can otherwise account for the venom exhibited by Israel's enemies, as during the Holocaust, in which six million of the world's eighteen million Jews were murdered, and in the blind, demonic venom exhibited by Israel's intractable Muslim enemies, whose Qur'an reads,
Satan will continue to stir up anti-Semitic tsunamis against the Jews even until he is cast into the abyss for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-2). In the second half of the Great Tribulation, he foments and leads the greatest persecution of the Jews in history in his final attempt to destroy them, succeeding in killing two-thirds of them (Revelation 12:6, 13-15; Zechariah 13:8), twice the fraction of Hitler's one-third. It is this future persecution that Jesus was referring to when He said, in Matthew 24:15-22,
There will be such a slaughter of the elect, Israel, that the Lord will bring those days to a close to physically save the remaining one-third so that He might subsequently save them spiritually (Zechariah 13:1, 8-9).
Theological corruption has been the bedrock of the church's physical and social persecution of the Jews. From the earliest centuries of the church era, Satan has deceived virtually the entire church into believing that Israel is no longer God's chosen people, but that that status has been transferred to the church. This deception has freed the church to pay no heed to the curse for curse declaration of Genesis 12:3 and to not fear to touch "the pupil of God's eye" (Deuteronomy 2:10; Zechariah 2:8). The denial that Israel is still a chosen nation combined with the belief that the Jews, alone among the nations, are the "Christ-killers," has proven to be the deadly witches' brew for two millennia of virulent persecution of the Jews by the church.
Theologian Satan has not only attempted to prevent the Lord's return by destroying the Jews physically, but by keeping them blind spiritually, as well, for he knows that it is the national salvation of Israel that will bring the Lord back (Hosea 5:15; Matthew 23:37-39). To this end, he has blinded virtually all of the spiritual leaders of both peoples of God: the church and the Jews. This declaration will be explained in the next two subsections.
Theological Corruption in the Church Leading to Underevangelism
On the one extreme, consistent with his success in establishing replacement theology in the church (the belief that the church replaced Israel as the people of God), Satan has blinded virtually the entire church into believing that the "to the Jew first" principle of Romans 1:16 came to a halt when Jesus commissioned His disciples to "make disciples of every nation" (Matthew 28:19) and to "preach the gospel to all the creation" (Mark 16:15). Since the principle came to a halt, the thinking goes, it is no longer applicable in evangelistic efforts. On the other extreme, Satan has succeeded in convincing another portion of the church that because Jews do have a special relationship with God, they do not need to be evangelized, at all, as their special status assures them salvation apart from their reception of the Gospel. This latter belief is known as the Dual Covenant position.
To restate these errors simply:
The first has resulted in the underevangelism of the Jews; the second, to non-evangelism of the Jews, the exact opposite of "to the Jew first," which principle Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, walked out throughout his entire ministry, as can easily be traced in the Books of Acts. (See the author's article, Messianic Issues in Jewish Salvation.)
In his campaign to prevent the Lord's return, Satan has
also blinded the eyes of the leaders of Judaism to the messiahship of Yeshua; and as water from a fountainhead spreads abroad, so
has unbelief in Yeshua among Judaism's spiritual leaders spread throughout Israel, even from Jesus' day until now.
SATAN'S ATTACKS AGAINST YESHUA HIMSELF
Indeed, Satan attacked our Lord directly.
When Herod heard that the magi had come to worship the recently born King of the Jews, he ordered the slaughter of all males below the age of two in the vicinity of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-16). That Satan was behind this attack is shown in Revelation 12:1-5:
Genesis 37:9-11 explains the symbolism. The sun was the patriarch Joseph's father, who was Jacob or Israel; the moon was his mother, Rachel; and the eleven stars are Joseph's brothers who, with Joseph, make the twelve stars, which symbolize the patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. Therefore, the woman in the midst of these symbols represents the nation Israel whose child, who is going to rule all nations with a rod of iron, ascended to His heavenly Father after His resurrection. The Revelation passage reveals that before the child was even born, the dragon and his demonic host were poised on earth so that when she bears he might devour her child. Thus, the slaughter of the babes of Bethlehem.
Satan attacked our Lord immediately after He was launched into ministry at His baptism, this time by trying to get Him to sin (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12; Luke 4:1-13), which would have disqualified Him from being the sinless "Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29, 36). He attacked again when He moved Peter to rebuke Jesus for speaking about going to the cross (Matthew 16:21-23). He attacked Him repeatedly through Yeshua's unbelieving Jewish brethren by getting them to try to kill Him on a number of occasions (John 10:31), but in the wrong way, so He would not fulfill the prophecies of His crucifixion (e.g., Psalm 22:16), and at the wrong time, so He wouldn't be the Passover Lamb (Isaiah 52:13-53:12), nullifying the atonement aspect of His death. Finally, Satan attacked again to kill Jesus, using as his agents Judas Iscariot, the "son of perdition" (John 13:2, 27; 17:2), and the Jewish spiritual leadership (Matthew 26:14-15). (However, God, in His providence, saw to it that Jesus did die at the right time and in the right way. It was the plan of the chief priests to kill Jesus, but "not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people" [Matthew 26:5, Mark 14:2], which would have been consistent with Satan's desire to kill Jesus at the wrong time; but when Jesus let Judas know that He knew that Judas was His betrayer, Judas went to the high priests [John 13:27-30] and no doubt informed them that Jesus knew of the plot. The chief priests then sought to take Jesus immediately and delivered Him to be killed in the right way and at the right time [Matthew 26:17-30, 47-49; Mark 14:1-46; Luke 22:1-47; John 18:1-3]), though they were blind to it, causing Satan's plan to be overridden.)
Yeshua, of course, did become the slaughtered Lamb of God, rose from the dead, and birthed the church. Satan now focuses his attacks on the church, the corporate ambassador of Christ on earth, as well as on Israel.
By means of false doctrine and sinful enticements, Satan has succeeded in causing the corruption of the beliefs and morals of many believers; indeed, of perhaps all believers, to one degree or another. Paul said to the Ephesian elders,
Satan has scored victories in the
lives of all believers by getting all to sin (1 John 1:10), some to such an extent that they have become useless
for godly service (1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Timothy 1:19). False doctrine and
sinful temptations have poisoned the
church spiritually, led to ungodly practices, shattered the church into
thousands of slivers, and ruined the lion's share of its potential witness.
He has also attacked the church furiously and
unceasingly since the day of its birth by means of social ostracism and
physical persecutions in every degree, even causing the murder of believers in the
SATAN'S ATTACKS AGAINST ALL THE UNSAVED
Satan's attacks on the church are an indirect attack on unbelievers. To the extent that he can neutralize or corrupt the church he can neutralize and corrupt the church's witness to the world. But he attacks unbelievers directly, also, by blinding their minds to the truth of the gospel:
2 Corinthians 4:3-4:
In addition, he seeks to kill unbelievers while they are yet
in that state of blindness lest the Lord open their eyes and they be
saved, as is evidenced by the ceaseless killings and wars upon the planet
whose kosmos he controls
(James 1:15 and 4:1).
THE CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO THE ATTACKS OF SATAN
TO HIS ATTACKS AGAINST NON-CHRISTIANS
Jesus, Paul and James said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8), and Jesus said
In other words, we are to love all of the unsaved, even
our enemies and the unsavory.
The making of disciples, of course, must begin with the preaching of the Gospel. Mark 16:15-16:
Secondly, the Christian is to administer acts of mercy
and of power to the unsaved ( Matthew 14:15-21; 20:34), including feeding
the hungry, counseling the troubled, and administering healings and
exorcisms as the Lord provides leading and empowerment. Such ministry is
of great value in itself (James 1:27), but it also softens the hearts of
many to the
ministry of the gospel, which is the greatest ministry of all.
TO HIS ATTACKS AGAINST CHRISTIANS THEMSELVES
Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes, "In this passage, give place means 'give a beachhead.'" (Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. Radio Manuscript #19: The Darkness of Demonism. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press. P. 21). A beachhead is a strip of territory just within enemy territory.
We are to put up a sign on
the borders of our lives that says to the enemy, "No Trespassing!"
Upon recognizing when he is on the attack, we are to
resolve to prevent his entry into our lives in any degree. We are to do
that by resisting him; but if he does gain entry, whether through our lack
of vigilance or through our rolling out of the red carpet for him, we are
to repent and force him out through resistance, even by
commanding him to leave, if necessary, as Jesus did with Peter (Mark
8:31-33, below). If need be, we are to seek the prayers, counsel and
assistance of mature brethren in getting the job done. That's what the
body of Christ is for.
The Christian Is to Resist the Devil
1 Peter 5:8-9:
We are to resist the Devil in humility, but firmly, and in the faith, meaning within scriptural truth and obedience.
How Is the Christian to Resist the Devil?
We'll glean some principles from the Epistles, and then see how the Lord resisted Satan.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5:
Various literal translations render high thing as mental elevation or arrogance.
We are not to attempt to defeat Satan by fleshly, or carnal, means. We are not to berate him, lose our tempers at him, or in any other way employ the world's means of gaining dominance. To do so would be to lose a round to Satan, not win one, as we'd actually be calling upon him to mold our attitude. We must defeat him by being mighty through God, through spiritual means, by means of the Spirit's guidance and empowerment, to pulling down imaginations. Various literal translations render imaginations as reasonings and arguments. In other words, the battle is in the thought realm. We're to purge out satanic thoughts and reasonings and replace them with godly thoughts and reasonings. This is done by "eating" the Scriptures and meditating on them before the Lord.
To sum up this passage, defeating Satan requires the employment of biblical truth in a godly manner and attitude.
This is spelled out in Ephesians 6:10-18:
Verse 12 tells us whom we battle against. Though satanic temptation or attack may come through another person or groups of persons, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world's rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Our battle is not against people, but against demons, spiritual wickedness in high places. Consistent with the assertion of 2 Corinthians 10:4, that the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, verse 10 tells us that we are to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Verses 13 through 18 tell us that we are to do that by putting on the whole armor of God.
He is also to walk in righteousness, living a life dedicated to honoring Christ. This, too, will enable him to carry his sword comfortably, properly and handily.
He is to be walking among the people, heralding the good news of salvation. This, too, wards off the enemy's attacks; and it speaks of a consistent lifestyle, not an occasional foray.
It is through faith in God's declarations and promises that the Christian warrior may appropriate the grace of God unto victory.
How Jesus Defended Himself Against the Devil's Attacks
Four things should be noted here:
Satan attempted to dissuade the Lord from going to the cross, using Peter as his ambassador. Obviously, the Lord knew this; yet, He rebuked Peter. While Peter's motive was one of love for his Master, yet his plea and urgency were so in keeping with Satan's desire that Peter's desire and Satan's were one and the same: that Jesus not go to the cross. Unwittingly, Peter had truly become Satan's vicar. Hence the sharp rebuke directed squarely at Peter - not indirectly, but directly - a point that must not be missed - and simultaneously, at Satan: Go behind Me, Satan! For you do not mind the things of God, but of the things of men.
Six things should be noted here:
Obviously, Jesus' response was sufficient: Peter's mouth was closed, Jesus won the battle against Satan's temptation, and Jesus did go to the cross.
To combine our observations from these two passages,
1. In neither case did Jesus lose His temper, berate or
THE FINAL ABODE OF SATAN AND HIS DEMONIC HOST
All of Satan's attempts to prevent the Lord's return will end in futility. Just as the Seed of the Woman went to the cross despite Satan's furious efforts to thwart Him from doing so, so the Lord will come again, have Satan bound in the abyss for a thousand years (Revelation 18:2), and finally cast him and his demons into the Lake of Fire for eternity (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-2,10).
One final word: The believer is to be aware of the wiles of the devil and do battle against him, but his focus is not to be on the devil, but on the Lord.
* * * * *
For a fuller treatment of the subject, the author
recommends these "Messianic Bible Studies" by Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, which may be
* * * * *