12. Our Defeated Foe
This conversation introduces the new believer to the concept of Satan, Lucifer, that old serpent, the dragon and accuser of the brethren - the devil. We look at his origins and his cause of the fall of man. We discuss his immense power as an Archangel and member of the "Sons of God" - the courtroom of heaven. We will talk about how even Michael treats him with respect - as Peter and Jude encourage us to do also. But in the end, Satan is a defeated foe. And while we respect his power we are not subject to it. He is in fact subject to us through the power of Jesus Christ!
Question: What do you know about the Devil?
When God created the world, Genesis 1:31 says, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” God did not create anything evil. It was all very good.
Then, suddenly when chapter three opens, there is this serpent.
And he is clearly evil. He is calling God’s word into question.
"The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
He is devious and deceitful and destructive.
God had said in Genesis 2:17, “The day that you eat of [this tree] you shall surely die.” But the serpent says in
“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”
Therefore, Jesus says of him in John 8:44 that he is both a liar and murderer:
"For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies."
Satan, That Ancient Serpent
Who is this serpent? The fullest answer is given in Revelation 12:9:
"This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels."
So the serpent in the garden is the devil (which means slanderer), and Satan (which means accuser), and the deceiver of the whole world.
Jesus calls him “the evil one” (Matthew 13:19) and
“the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).
The Pharisees call him “Beelzebul, the prince of demons” (Matthew 12:24).
Paul calls him “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and
“the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).
That’s the one we meet in Genesis 3. He is already evil, already a deceiver, already a murderer when he appears in the garden of God. In Genesis 3:15, God speaks to the serpent and pronounces judgment on him:
"And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
The Crushing of Satan at the Cross
Question: Who is the Offspring of the Woman who will crush the head of the serpent?
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."
"Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had[a] the power of death."
Disarming the Powers of Darkness
"He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross."
When Christ died for our sins, Satan was disarmed and defeated. The one eternally destructive weapon that he had was stripped from his hand, namely, his accusation before God that we are guilty and should perish with him. When Christ died that accusation was nullified. All those who entrust themselves to Christ will never perish. Satan cannot separate them from the love of God in Christ.
"No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The Insurrection of Satan
The question that cries out for an answer is: Where did Satan come from? In Genesis he just appears. Between the perfection described in Genesis 1:31 (“behold, it was very good”) and the appearance of evil in Genesis 3, something happened. The good creation was corrupted.
The little book of Jude and 2 Peter in the New Testament give us clues as to what happened.
"And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment."
2 Peter 2:4
"For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment."
Question: What was the sin the angels committed?
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods
far away in the north.[a]
I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’
Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead,
down to its lowest depths."
In other words, the sin was a kind of insurrection. A desire for more power and more authority than they were appointed by God and under God. So Satan originates as a created angel who, with other angels, rebel against God, reject him as their all-satisfying king and joy, and set out on a course of self-exaltation and presumed self-determination.
"Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation."
They do not want to be subordinate. They do not want to be sent by God to serve others. They want to have authority over themselves and exalt themselves above God.
Satan is Powerful.
If Satan attempted a coup of heaven, there must have been something that would suggest he could get there.
Prior to his fall, we know that Satan was called "Lucifer"
Isaiah 14:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Fall of Lucifer
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!"
Lucifer means "the brightest of the Stars". Another of the Archangels, Michael - his name means "he who looks like God". These are very awesome and powerful beings.
"Then this further message came to me from the Lord:
“Son of man, sing this funeral song for the king of Tyre.
Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord:
“You were the model of perfection,
full of wisdom and exquisite in beauty.
You were in Eden,
the garden of God.
Your clothing was adorned with every precious stone—
red carnelian, pale-green peridot, white moonstone,
blue-green beryl, onyx, green jasper,
blue lapis lazuli, turquoise, and emerald—
all beautifully crafted for you
and set in the finest gold.
They were given to you
on the day you were created.
I ordained and anointed you
as the mighty angelic guardian.
You had access to the holy mountain of God
and walked among the stones of fire.
“You were blameless in all you did
from the day you were created
until the day evil was found in you.
Your rich commerce led you to violence,
and you sinned.
So I banished you in disgrace
from the mountain of God.
I expelled you, O mighty guardian,
from your place among the stones of fire.
Your heart was filled with pride
because of all your beauty.
Your wisdom was corrupted
by your love of splendor.
So I threw you to the ground
and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings."
Question: This is a prophecy from Ezekiel about the King of Tyre. when you read it, does it sound like it is just about a natural king?
Even though he has been cast out of heaven, he still carries authority and comes before God as the Accuser of the Brethren.
"One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them."
"Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“It has come at last—
salvation and power
and the Kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters
has been thrown down to earth—
the one who accuses them
before our God day and night."
Satan even commands the respect of Michael:
"But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.)"
And we are told to treat angels with respect. Peter and Jude warn us off those who disrespect angels.
2 Peter 2:10
"He is especially hard on those who follow their own twisted sexual desire, and who despise authority. These people are proud and arrogant, daring even to scoff at supernatural beings without so much as trembling."
"In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings."
But Satan is still defeated
Despite all his power, he is still a defeated foe and made subject to us by the power of Jesus Christ.
"I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself."
"that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth."
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