Revelation chapter 12 and verse 9 is enormously useful when dealing with Satan for it tells us in one verse the extent of his demonic character as identified by his names or titles i.e. old serpent, Devil, Satan as well as his fallen status “cast out”, his ruthless work to “deceive the nations”, his domain of operation “the earth” and his co-conspirators “his angels”. Here is the scripture, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” When we speak of Satan, the enemy of God and by definition the enemy of all mankind, we are speaking of a powerful adversary who has the ability to wreck havoc on earth and in his disguise as “an angel of light” is capable of deceiving many into a forlorn destiny of gloom and perdition. But there are some important things we should note here about this deadly opponent:
Satan is undoubtedly powerful but God is All-powerful and the scriptures confirm this in Isaiah 14:27 that reads, “For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back” and in Matthew 28:18 that says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
We have the power and can resist Satan; and he will flee as James tells us in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
Satan and his demons are terrified of Jesus Christ as Mark records in the Gospel, “But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” (Mark 5:6-7). Because of this deep fear of Jesus the demons’ attitude is submissive, “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” (Luke 10:17).
God has put limits on Satan, which he cannot overcome as shown in Job 1:10, “Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side?”
Although the reasons are debatable nevertheless it is clear that some demons are even now permanently confined, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6)
Whilst we do not have all the answers about Satan, we nevertheless know a great deal about him as revealed to us in God’s word and as believers, we should heed the warning as given to us by Peter, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) It is vital to remember and reflect that at one time Satan was an angel.
First, let us reflect on the description of angels
Angels are created not everlasting
Much has been said about angels, and we need to be careful for a great deal of what we hear and read is contrary to scripture. All angels were created by God and hence they were not from everlasting, “Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” (Nehemiah 9:6). Notice that the host God created with the heaven of heavens worships God for that host is commonly referred to as the angelic host. Since they are created they do not possess qualities of Deity and under no circumstances are to be worshipped and this is demonstrated by this passage from Revelation where an angel was explaining things to John, “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: Worship God…” (Revelation 19:10a).
Angels were created before creation week
God knew exactly what he was doing when he set in motion the creation process and the specific sequence of events. There is a place and a time for everything under the sun according to Solomon. There were also a time and place for things before the sun was created and the scripture shows that the angels were created prior to the creation week. Job puts it like this, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7). All of this preceded the creation week and the angels (already created) here referred to as the sons of God were excited to the point where they “shouted for joy”.
Angels were created as part of God’s family
God in his infinite wisdom modeled heaven’s host along the lines of the family so well known and beloved by humans. It is for very good reason that when God created man and planted him in the Garden of Eden he structured a family unit around him consisting of a typical nuclear family. The entire angelic community was created by God as part of God’s family, “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Ephesians 3:15). Earth’s royalty is like homeless vagrants when compared to the excellence and dignity of heaven’s abode. What an enormous privilege to be created and reside in heaven as part of God’s family. It does not get better than that!
Next let us consider the depiction of angels
We note their significant status
We must always remember that angels have very high and noble status in the totality of God’s creation. God created angels very much lower than God, but a higher order than man, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8: 4-5). The order in which angels were created though higher than man’s was not designed to include procreation. Angels are not born and angels do not marry, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Matthew 23: 30). Obviously God knew how many angels he needed to function in his wider creation and so he created a vast number. How many we do not know, but the Bible describes them as innumerable, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” (Hebrews 12:22).
We see their super strength
When God created the angels he equipped them with the means to effectively function. As one would expect angels are enormously powerful and have superhuman strength, “Bless the Lord, ye his angels that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” (Psalm 103: 20). Super strength is but one very notable component of the angel’s makeup, but aligned with their strength angels have superior knowledge to humankind, “…and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.” (2 Samuel 14: 20b). In addition to these superb characteristics angels have enormous speed as Daniel noted, “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.” (Daniel 9:21).
We notice their separate standing
The community of angels, a supernatural order of heavenly beings, have individual gifts and rank and are highly organized into at least seven ranks, i.e. archangel (1 Thessalonians 4:16), Cherubim (Ezekiel 10:3), Seraphim (Isaiah 6:6), Dominion (Colossians 1:16), Power (Romans 8:28), Throne (Colossians 1:16) and lastly angel (Matthew 26:53). They are commissioned as part of their function as a heavenly host to minister to all believers in a number of different ways, “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1: 13-14). What a wonderful and reassuring thought that angels sent by God are close at hand!
We glimpse their special stance
Angels can at times work miracles, not through their own power, but through the power of God as these angels did when sent to rescue Lot, “But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door” (Genesis 19: 10-11). Angels are capable of assuming any form that God chooses for them as shown in Exodus, “And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire…” (Exodus 3:2). This scripture also confirms this, “And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.” (Hebrews 1:7).
We have not as yet witnessed the full extent of the awesome power of Almighty God, but Satan knows it and for good reason fears it.
Then let us examine the disposition of Satan
It was necessary to lay out before you the situation as clearly as possible as regards the angels so that we can see the full extent of the calamity of Satan. Satan was highly regarded and powerful serving in the Sanctum Santorum and having unlimited access to Almighty God. He supervised a large number of angels (that is what archangels do and Satan was one of many) a lot of whom he persuaded to join him in his folly, and when he was thrown out he lost his position, he lost his privileges, he lost his potential and he lost his power. No wonder he is mad at God and all God’s creation and Peter tags him correctly, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Peter 5:8). There are many reasons for Satan’s evil disposition as we shall see.
His deadly fall contributed to his temperament
All the rebellious angels were summarily dismissed from the presence of Almighty God as Peter tells us, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” (2 Peter 2: 4) and this is affirmed in Jude 1:6, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Satan himself, the leader of the rebellion was among those cast out as stated here, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9) Satan’s fall was so swift that Jesus described his descent from heaven as lightning, “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning, fall from heaven.” (Luke 10:18). This scripture has several different interpretations, but all are consistent with the idea that Satan’s fall was swift and not some long drawn out affair.
Satan’s fall has no parallel in the human race for every human being, no matter how far he has fallen, has a chance of redemption and reconciliation, but Satan cannot be redeemed for no provision has been made in God’s plan for the redemption of angels!
His determined fight is part of his character
Since his fall and the creation of our world, Satan has been carrying out a relentless campaign against God’s people and fighting everything divine and good. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12: 17) As part of his ferocious assault Satan is particularly keen to stop the spread of the gospel and will use all means at his disposal, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
All trials, difficulties and afflictions have their root and source in Satan, “And less I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me…” (2 Corinthians 12:7a). Our human nature is corrupt and sinful and we can’t blame everything on Satan but he and his demons co-opt our flawed character and exploit it in their determined fight against God.
Always God helps us in this fight with Satan and does not tempt anyone, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13). We need to understand and appreciate this.
His frightful destiny compounds his attitude
Like a mass murderer waiting for execution Satan’s time is almost up and he is frantic at his soon coming destruction, “…for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12: 12b) Satan knows that his frightful destiny is sealed and the awfulness of it does not escape him. The mere description of Satan’s final destiny is enough to make any right thinking person think twice about his own destiny, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10) Satan’s doom is finally determined, dreadful beyond imagination, devastating and full of eternal torment and alas he will deceive many people into joining him. “Then shall he also say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41). Yes this scripture tells us that there will be many who will join Satan in the lake of fire and brimstone for he was able to deceive them.
Hell was never intended for humans and no matter what you may have heard about your destiny, it was never meant to be with your deadly enemy. Satan, the enemy of God and all mankind is a vicious opponent who is doomed to hell and nothing can save him. His Satanic mission is to spoil, to destroy and deceive mankind into spending eternity in hell with him. That would be his ultimate victory. Satan despises all believers and can never defeat them except they allow him because God always provide the means of victory over him – 1 Corinthians 10:13. Remember that the enemy of God and mankind is a defeated foe and through Christ you too can claim victory.
Books by this author you may wish to read.
THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1 – Five tough facts to be faced
STAND UP TO THE DEVIL (e-book)
Volume 1 – You must first identify him
BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book)
Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2016
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