Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Is SATAN Real???

When you think of the devil, what do you think about? The shadowy dark figure with a pitchfork and tail often in red? Perhaps you think of him as a very large beautiful angel. So often we develop ideas about spiritual concepts from movies Hollywood has produced. As a result some think of Clarence the angel in It’s a wonderful Life, or of John Travolta as an angel with a trench coat. If Satan was an angel like that, perhaps that is what he looks like. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The bible describes him this way—"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:8. He is not a lion...but he is like one in nature...a stalker. His ultimate goal is to kill, steal and destroy what God has perfected.

Did you know that only 1% of today’s younger generation believe in a literal devil? Barna Group tells us: Four out of ten Christians (40%) strongly agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” As a result, the church has a major problem on its hands. If folks think Satan is not literal, then they also believe that hell is also not literal. That belief causes them to think that there are no eternal consequences for sin and rebellion against God and His rules. Yet the Bible teaches us so much differently. If we reject what the Bible teaches us in just one area, how does that affect the rest of the Word of God? Some take these non-Biblical stances simply because of ignorance. In this age of Biblical ignorance, when we don’t take the time to read and study what God has to say about angels, demons and devils, all too many form false doctrines and then doubt the reality of Satan and who he really is.

The bible teaches us that Satan is a real individual. His original name was Lucifer, before his fall. In his pre-fall state, he was a beautiful cherub, one of many cherubim. These were angelic creatures whose role kept them around the throne of God. Lucifer’s particular role involved music and the harp. We read about it in two places in scripture, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. There we learn the mistakes he made. He allowed pride in his heart and the moment God saw that pride, He cast him down from heaven to the earth( Ez 28:17). From it we also learn that angels have a free will to choose, much like we do (Jude 6). Satan chose to want something he could not have...to be like God (Is 14:14). In Ezekiel we also learn that they are created beings (28:15), that God had appointed Lucifer as an ‘anointed guardian cherub’ (28:14)and that he was in the garden of Eden (28:13). But there are also many qualities we give to Satan that he does not possess.

Too often we think Satan is as powerful as God. That’s what Satan wants us to think. But in reality, Satan has far less power than God. God is all knowing (omniscient). Satan has limited knowledge. He knows the past, but he does not know the future. He can only guess about the future. So he has his psychics and false prophets do just that. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they are way off. God is also all powerful (omnipotent). Satan, however has limited powers. He cannot make you do anything you choose not to do. He can influence your will but he cannot control it unless you give him that freedom. (People who are demon possessed have done just that!) His power is limited to the same power that all angels were given. God is present everywhere (omnipresent). Satan is limited and can only be in one place at one time. Because he has others serving him, other fallen angels of lesser rank, we now call demons—they are found everywhere and make it appear as if Satan were everywhere. God is truth. He cannot lie. Satan on the other hand is a liar and cannot be trusted to tell the truth. Jesus called him the Father of lies. (John 8:44) He is also called a murder, not because he kills people, but because he influences people to kill just as Cain killed Abel. His plan to murder the Messiah backfired when Jesus rose from the dead. God is eternal. He has no beginning and no ending. He always was and is and will be. Satan, on the other hand, did not exist until God created him (Col 1:16). Now he is an angelic spirit being which will live on, facing God’s judgment. His end is written. He will be bound in the ‘bottomless pit’ for 1000 years, then loosed for a short period of time (Rev 20:2,3) then he will eventually be thrown in to the ‘lake of fire’ a place of eternal torment where he will spend the rest of eternity. (Rev 20:10)

So what is Satan/Lucifer really like? He was a cherub. He was not the cutsie little valentines cherub that shoots arrows through your heart causing you to fall in love. No—far from it. A cherub’s job in heaven was to guard the throne of God. (Psalm 99:1) It is thought that because Lucifer had a part with harps, timbrels (tambourines or drums) and pipes. (Ez 28:13) He dwelt in a place of absolute beauty and was dressed in gems to reflect the glory of God. So we know his part around the throne of God involved music. Cherubim around the throne are described as saying words of praise and worship “"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." (Rev 4:8) It is quite likely then that Lucifer had a leadership role is this worship before the fall. Apparently he desired that same worship for himself because the Bible says that he wanted to be like God.

There are also fables about how Satan is like mankind. Yet the Bible teaches us some very different things. He is a spirit being, not a physical body. Psalm 104:4 Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. Angels do have the ability to appear in a human-like form and this does happen in the Bible such as the angels that visited with Abraham and Daniel (Dan 9:21-22), or the angel which led Peter out of jail. But unlike people, angels do not procreate. Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Therefore the notion that Satan or angels can have sex with humans is a notion stemming from movies such as Rosemary’s Baby, as well as error regarding giants called nephalim in Genesis. As spirit beings, they do not have the physical characteristics to be able to procreate. Another way Satan and fallen angels are not like man is in redemption from sin. God provided salvation for man through the blood of Christ’s sacrifice. However, fallen angels will never experience salvation. They are doomed to eternity without redemption (Matt 25:41). God designed hell just for them. They are asexual—that is—neither male nor female. God told mankind to be fruitful and multiply but he never told angels to multiply. He created all he needed. There are as many now as when He created them.

Yes, Satan is real. He is as real as God. For that reason, the apostle Paul reminded believers...“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”- Ephesians 6:12-13 We are in a battleground. Satan is at work full time to destroy what God wants to do in the lives of believers. He wants to destroy your relationship with Christ. He uses every temptation he can against you. He listens to what you say and aggravates your weaknesses. He also wants to destroy your marriage and your family. He causes believers to get their eyes on themselves and what they want instead of keeping their eyes on the Lord and what He wants. Soon selfishness overtakes the marriage and splits the family. Satan also wants to destroy the church. After all, it is the ‘bride of Christ’. He works on the church through division causing a church to split. God’s goal for the bride is unity in the Holy Spirit. A church that is filled with the Spirit, walking in the gifts, and listening to the voice of God is a strong church. But the moment people get their eyes on man, the church fails. Satan often does this through pastoral failures. One moment of seduction and sin can destroy the church.

How do we overcome Satan’s efforts? Revelations gives us a clue. It tells us… “"Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11. "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelations 12:10-11) Two methods are given here. First, using the blood of Jesus, the blood which cleanses us from sin, applied to our lives and hearts. Secondly, our testimony conquers Satan. We can tell what Christ has done for us. What you say is important. You are a first-hand witness of the power of Christ over sin, sickness and death. So take your stand against the enemy of our souls, Satan, and put on the whole armor of God. That armor is the Word of God, the gospel of salvation, the Holy Spirit’s power at work in our daily lives and so much more. A well equipped believer who knows who he is in Christ Jesus has nothing to fear from our enemy, Satan. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He [Christ] who is in you is greater than he [Satan] who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
J. Johnson

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