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Our Enemy - The Devil

It has often been said that, of the Christian's three enemies, the Devil is best known. There is, however, the grave danger of knowing of him, but being ignorant of his devices and wiles. In order to know our enemy we can profitably consider his origin and fall.

His Origin:

There are two Old Testament passages which by allegory record the origin, standing and fall of this mighty being. Ezekiel 28:11-19 presents a lamentation for the king of Tyre in which a created angel is described in detail. We judge this passage reveals the nature of God's adversary in his pristine glory. Created full of wisdom, perfect in beauty, clothed with every precious stone, perfect in his ways, he was placed in Eden, the garden of God and anointed to be the cherub which covereth. He was set upon the mountain of God to walk up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Clearly he was a supreme angelic being of the cherubim order in heaven, created to guard access to the throne of God and to uphold His holiness and justice. Thus we see them in person or figure at the east gate of Eden in Genesis, on the Veil of the Tabernacle and on the Mercy Seat in the holy place and in the oracle of the house of the Lord built by Solomon, just to mention a few instances.

His Fall:

Isaiah 14:4-15 presents the same person, we judge; the king of Babylon seen in figure as the day-star (Lucifer AV), son of the morning. What a contrast there is between this day-star of the Old Testament, who in pride exalted himself saying, I will ascend ... I will exalt... I will sit... I will ascend above ... I will be like the Most High; and the Day-Star of the New Testament. When the day dawns He will arise in our hearts (2 Pet. 1:19); the One who claimed us for His own by His self-humbling and self-sacrifice upon the Roman Cross (Phil. 2:8). Wherefore God highly exalted Him, whereas Lucifer experienced an irretrievable fall of which it is written "thou shalt never be any more" ~

28:19).

His Names:

We are introduced to our enemy very early in Genesis as the Serpent. This name describes his subtlety to deceive, and by the time depicted in Revelation 20:2 he has become the old Serpent. The first reference to Satan is in 1 Chronicles 21:1 where he stands up against Israel. Satan means Adversary, both God's and ours. The name used in the title of this article is probably the most well known and only occurs in the New Testament. It describes the work of our enemy before God as the Accuser of those called brethren by our Lord. In John 12:31 the Lord draws aside the veil on his relationship to the world, the system of human affairs which also is our enemy. The world is one of the Devil's principalities, the place where he walks about seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). His occupation as devourer and persecutor is embraced in his name, the great Dragon mentioned in Revelation 12:3.

His Standing:

Before his fall he stood in the presence of God continually. The Lord Jesus vividly describes his fall "as lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18), and we learn from Job 1:6,7; 2:1,2 that he presents himself to God with God's sons as though he is one of them. Once he walked up and down amidst the stones of fire in the garden of heaven. Now he' walks up and down in the earth in the midst of a fallen human race. As Satan, he stands up against God's people and seeks to influence their leaders in decision making contrary to God's will (1 Chron. 21:1). He opposes and seeks to interrupt communications of God through His messengers and His servants to the people of God (Dan. 10:13). He is the prince of the authority of the air (Eph. 2:2), which expression conveys to us his supremacy among the spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places ~ph. 6:12).

His Defeat:

From the moment of entry of sin into the world, God proclaimed Golgotha as the place of our enemy's defeat. "It (her Seed) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). Our great Deliverer at Golgotha brought about the defeat of our enemy. Hebrews 2:14 explains how Christ, through death, "brought to nought" the Devil. This phrase is the English rendering of a Greek word katargeo. It is used in other places to mean "make of none effect" (Rom.

3:3), and "might be done away" (Rom. 6:6), and also "abolished" (1 Cor.

15:24,26; 2 Tim. 1:10). So the death of Christ neutralized or made the Devil ineffective.

The same verse 14 shows that the strength (Greek kratos) of death to hold men in its grip, which belonged to Satan, was taken away and broken. The keys of death and of Hades are now in the hands of our Lord (Rev. 1:18). From 1 John 3:8 we see his defeat included the destruction by the Son of God of his works.

Defeat at Golgotha did not mean the immediate doom and punishment of the Devil, just as the proclamation of his defeat did not mean his immediate bringing to nought. Before his final doom, God will rescue from Adam's fallen race men of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, create them anew and conform them to the image of His Son. Satan is to be finally banished with his hosts into the Lake of Fire and sin will never again lift its ugly head to spoil and disturb God's creation.

His Devices and Wiles:

The strategy he employed in Eden to bring about the downfall of our first parents shows his skill, devices and wiles. Device (Greek noema) is a thought-out predetermined purpose, and wiles (Greek methodia) is to lie in wait to deceive or to lie in wait with a view to using the craft of deceit. He has not changed. The Lord Jesus said in John 8:44, that the Devil was a murderer from the beginning; there is no truth in him; he is a liar and the father thereof and he is a person that lusts and has evil desires. The downfall of Adam and Eve was achieved by four major tactics. By casting doubt on God's Word; denying the truth of God's Word; supplementing God's Word with other statements and misapplying God's Word. Other devices include his using man's constitution as his ally, that is, our enemy within, the flesh, so giving him power over men within. He also uses his influence in the world, that is, the system of human affairs and human culture, our enemy without. Frequently he resorts to offering imitations and substitutes for the real thing. He seeks to hinder children of God from coming to the full knowledge of the Truth.

Our Action:

What then can the Christian do against such a powerful foe? We should never attempt to oppose him by the arm of flesh, but rather be sober

and watchful so as to withstand him steadfast in our Faith (1 Pet. 5:9). We shall only be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil by putting on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:11). The clear instructions of the Word of God are to show no subjection to him, not for one moment (Eph. 4:27), but to be subject to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). We should be on our guard in case he uses the flesh within or the world without to spoil our lives for God, seeing he "walketh about seeking whom he may devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). It is not our place or job to rebuke him since even angels and archangels refrain from this (Zech. 3:2; Jude 9). Because he blinds the minds of the unbelieving (2 Cor. 4:4), in offensive action we should be heralds of the gospel to open men's eyes that they may turn from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God (Acts 26:18).