by Miltiades Yiapanis
God is sovereign, all-powerful, all wise, infinite and eternal. He Rules over all, He plans, creates and controls all things in love, wisdom and power. His throne is for ever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. Though our finite minds have not the capacity to understand fully the mystery of His will we must never doubt for a moment that the Eternal God was and is and shall ever be in control of all things in heaven and on earth. This of course is impossible to be understood by the unregenerate and carnal mind and such a claim is denied by such that do not know God, especially in view of the history of the world, but for us who believe and are born of Him this is the case. He will not cease to work until all things are restored back to the beauty and the order and the loveliness of His everlasting purpose. We, his children, see the Throne, more than that, we are in and are part of the kingdom of His Son through the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus, “for you were slain and bought unto God by your blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation; and you made them unto our God a kingdom and priests and they shall reign on the earth” Rev. 5:9,10.Through Christ all things good and evil, negative things or positive, joy or sorrow find their place for our eternal bliss. On that day when He shall come again from heaven in the glory of His Father with His angels every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord and that in His eternal councils and wonderful ways He has done all things well.
Through Christ the Eternal Word God created all things, the visible creation and the invisible in heaven and on earth “For by Him all things were created, that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him and He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” Col. 1.16,17. We read also that through Him, the ages were made, Heb. 1.2. There must be no doubt in our minds that they were other ages before the present one as we know it and that there are also unborn ages that shall be after this. In one of the preceded ages the angelic beings were created by God through Christ and for Christ. They were made to be ministers and servants of God even for the ages that were to follow. Lucifer was one of these angelic beings, being a high ranking one, a prince indeed, bearing the light of the divine glory. From this position this archangel fell together with many other angels, because motivated by pride they rebelled against the Most High. In the book of Isaiah a parallelism is made between the sin of the king of Babylon and that of Lucifer “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…” Isaiah 14. 11- 14. Jesus spoke thus concerning this fall in Luke 10.1, “I saw Satan fall as a lightening from heaven” Jesus declared. Though Satan and the angels that followed him fell from their initial positions before God, for purposes of his own were allowed by God to retain a certain power and authority, whilst others who did not keep their first estate but left their own habitation may be at a later stage, were punished and were cast in Hell and delivered into chain and darkness to wait for final judgment, 2Pet.2.4 & Jude 6. The existence of evil and its interference with man is not fully understandable to the human mind. We can only assume and believe that its existence is allowed by God only because it serves His eternal purposes and plans for man and eventually for the perfection of His saints. It must be understood that there are not two rival powers fighting for supremacy, though the devil might think so, but only one that of God. God is the Creator; Satan is only a creature, like every principality and power was created through Christ and for Christ as we read earlier. God is almighty and all wise and all things are under His control always. Satan can only act in a limited sphere allowed to him by God. He cannot interfere with man, without permission, we see that in the case of Job, neither he can tempt anyone as He wishes. His temptations are also limited by God. This is why we are taught by the Lord to pray not to be led into temptation and to be kept from evil. We are told in scriptures that when the purposes of God for man are fulfilled, He will finish with Satan, who will be thrown into the lake of fire Rev.20.10.
With his victory over Adam in the garden, power and authority was given to him over creation and the world, yet never outside God’s sovereign rule Because of that Satan was named the prince of this world, John 12.31, 14.30, 16.11, or as Paul names him, the prince of the power of the air, Eph. 2.2, or the authority of darkness Col. 1.13, or the god of this world 2Cor. 4.4, and elsewhere as principalities and powers, rulers of darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places, Eph. 6.12. By this we understand that his main realm of activities became the lower regions of heaven and the earth, where as a prince of an organized kingdom of darkness seeks to dominate destroying everything that is of God.
From the time in eternity that Satan fell he became the enemy and slanderer of God and later of course the adversary of man and as the devil the accuser of the brethren. We must understand therefore that he is not a mere abstract idea, but is a concrete, personal, transcendental reality, gifted with the highest intelligence, fallen indeed, but non the less an exceedingly powerful spirit. As such he is ceaselessly at work, and he is the prime mover behind the scenes throughout the history of human wickedness. He is the adversary and the author of all temptation; the one who has, to the utmost of his power, always opposed and hindered the activities and purposes of God and the good of man. Whatever God has been doing, Satan has always been resisting and fighting against, both in the world and amongst the people of God. As a powerful spirit being full of pride and arrogance together with his angels of darkness seeks to dominate and rule and control the affairs of men and frustrate the work of God. God is allowing that for a limited time as we said earlier for the accomplishment of the mystery of His own will. He and his activities are the main cause of the pain and suffering in the creation. Christ was manifested in order to destroy his works (1 John 3v5) and set people free from his authority.
He is a murderer and a liar
Speaking to those Jews who consistently opposed Him, Jesus said these words about this invisible and subtle enemy, He said to them, “you are of your father the devil….he was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar and the father of it” John 8.44. There are three things to note from these words:
1st Satan is a father; he can impart therefore his nature in people making them his children as subtle and as dangerous as himself.
2nd He and his children are murderers and like Cain they will kill and destroy everything that is of God. He and they use the fear of death as one of their most powerful weapons.
3rd He is a liar and the father of lie, this makes him and his children deceivers. He is the father of all false religions, heresies, false doctrines, antichrist teachings, false prophesies, other gospels and so on.
These characteristics together with his arrogance and pride, high intelligence and ability to be transformed as a messenger of God, makes him a most dangerous and powerful enemy, who still believes that he can still overthrow God and escape his doom. Concerning that second characteristic it can be said about him that he is the perfect liar, an expert liar indeed, everything he says is a lie, there is no truth at all in him. He lies especially about God and has great ability in making men believe his lies, we saw earlier that he deceives the whole world (do not forget that the world has been already judged, so God gives them to believe a lie). Contrary to Christ Who is the truth and speaks the truth (for He was speaking those things that He heard and seen from His Father, John 8.26, 8.28) he is the Liar in whom there is no truth at all, for when he speaks, he speaks his own words. So, as Jesus is the Truth, he is the Lie and as the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, he is the spirit of lie. This spirit is in the air and is breathed by everyone born in this world and this is why people are born blind for he does blinds their minds 2Cor. 4.4. By the way one of the greatest lies that he ever spoke and man believed it is that of the evolution of species and that of the great Big Bang.
This murderous deceiving powerful spirit would do anything in order to:
- Hinder God’s plans.
- To keep men blind and away from believing Christ for salvation.
- To hold and use the kingdoms of this world under his sway, causing them serve and worship him.
- To cause the saints to doubt and mistrust the love of the Father when they pass through His chastisements.
- To cause the saints through temptations of all kind to sin and disobey God causing thus a rift in their communion with the Lord, making them his slaves again.
- Through condemnation or fear to hold the saints in constant anxiety, unrest, disappointment and despair. He will use any lie, do any sign(even fire coming down from heaven), use any trick, to deceive the saints and sidetrack them from walking with God and from moving forward unto His high calling. To hinder them from growing unto full salvation provided for them in Christ and unto son ship. of God from moving forward unto the high calling of God reaching thus, that for which they were destined.
Jesus prayed to His Father to keep those that He gave Him from evil “I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from evil” John 17.15. When His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray one of the things He taught them was to pray to be kept from evil. In all these we have a promise, so we can have courage and great consolation “But the Lord is faithful, ho shall establish you and keep you from evil” 2Thes. 3.3. Together with our own vigil as we are instructed by the Lord, we have nothing to fear.
Satan is cast out from heaven on the earth.
We know that on the cross Jesus gave the great battle against Satan and He overcame him. Hours before His death he said to His disciples “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out” John 12:31. It is obvious to me that the victory Of Michel and his angels against Satan and his angels referred in the book of the Revelation is a reflection of the mighty victory of Christ at the cross, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was found their place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Rev. 12.7-9.
We must understand that the Sovereign God is the One who gives authority and power; whether this is to Christ or the devil, or man. None can have any power or authority unless it is given to them by God. In answer to Pilate’s question if Jesus knew that he had authority to crucify or release Him, Jesus answered “You couldest have any authority at all against me, except it were given you from above” John 19.11. With the resurrection of Christ from the dead and His triumph against Satan all power in heaven and on earth was given by God to Him “all power and authority in heaven and on earth is given to me”, Math. 28.18. In contrast with this, certain limited power and authority is given to Satan also. Satan retained some of this power and authority and after the resurrection of our Lord and for this he continues to be known as “the prince of the power of the air”, Eph. 2.2. or as the god of this world, 2Cor, 4.4. With Satan being cast out of heaven Rev.12.8, (for even after his fall before time, he continue to have some access to the throne of the Almighty as the accuser, Job 1.6, Rev. 12.8), earth and the lower heaven (air) became the sphere of his venous activities where he is allowed by God to continue to exercise his power for a little while, always though within the boundaries of the All power and authority of Christ and His body the church. Knowing that he has but little time before his complete destruction, he is very angry and he is at war against those on earth that belong to Christ, (the true church) “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” Rev. 12.17.
In chapter 13nth and 17th in the book of Revelation we see the different forms under which Satan, the old serpent, makes his war against the saints of God. Eventually in chapter 18th, 19th, we witness the destruction of those forms of evil (the two beasts and Babylon) and in the 20th chapter the destruction of the devil himself. The two beasts, the one ascending out of the sea and the other coming out of the earth, both are an incarnation of Satan, and their purpose is to carry his warfare against the saints. The first one represents a very powerful worldly kingdom, which is the 4th kingdom that was shown to Daniel the prophet and which was more fearsome from the three that preceded it. It is understood that this kingdom was the Roman Empire which at the time that John saw the vision had power over nations and tongues and people. The angel explaining the vision of the 4th beast to Daniel, told him that “the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms and shall devoir the whole earth and shall treat it down and break it in pieces” Daniel 7.23. Unto this kingdom, Satan, the dragon that was cast out of heaven into the earth, gave his power and his seat and great authority Rev. 13.9. Rome, this antichrist kingdom, crucified the Lord and killed many of his followers in the years that followed, for it was given to this beast to make war with the saints and overcome them Rev. 13.7&Daniel 7.21. The heathen Roman Empire and later ecclesiastical Rome under the rule of the Popes (man of sin described in 2Th. chapter 2) shed the blood of millions of true Christians. In general all worldly kingdoms belong to Satan until these shall be eventually become the Lord’s, “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” Rev. 11.15. The second beast looks like a lamb with two horns, again this is Satan in disguise, for when he speaks, speaks as the dragon. The ecclesiastical and Christianized Rome under the Popes shed more blood than heathen Rome. In general Satan hides behind all false religions, Christian or heathen, keeping men in his dark dungeons, chuckled in the chains of his lies and deceptions. False religion in cooperation with worldly governments through the ages was the greatest challenger of the true faith.
Now is the judgment of the world
As we mentioned earlier the words of Jesus just before His death said “Now is the judgment of this world:” What did he mean by that? Well, the world denied and crucified the Beloved Son so God, they loved darkness rather than light and God already judge them because of that. John writes “but he that does not believe is judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is judgment, the light came into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” John 3.18&19. So the unbelieving world is already been judged by God and is delivered to Satan and his lies. The man of sin who the Lord shall consume with the word of His mouth and destroy with His appearance is the beast described, I believe by Paul in the second chapter of the letter to the Thessalonians. He comes as a deceiver with signs and lying wonders, like that second beast that makes wonders and even makes fire come down from heaven on earth in the side of men. So the world believe the lie, this is the judgment of God upon them because they do not believe the gospel of truth, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie; That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” 2Th. 2.10-12. That is so very tragic, but is true, absolutely true; the whole world believes the lies in the wicket one and are swayed by him 1John 5.19.
Eventually Satan through his different manifestations deceives the world without exemption, causing them to worship him with exception those whose names are written in the book of the lamb (the true saints) Rev. 13.8,14,16, “but we are bound to give always thanks to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Holy Spirit and belief of the truth”. To the same he cries, “brethren, stay rigid and keep the traditions that we have taught you, whether by word or letter”, 2Th.2.13&14&15. Belief of the truth shall kept them and shall keep us from the deceptions of Satan and from all the manifestations of evil and from any man of sin who represents him and from all the false prophets that are sent out by him with the intention to deceive even the elect.
The world is Satan’s champion, the church is Christ’s, they are at war with each other and they shall be so to the end of this age. No wander the saints are warned not to love the world and the things of the world. The love of the world is an enmity to God, James warns, James 4.4.The only entity in the world that can much this horrific enemy is the Spirit filled church of Jesus Christ. She fights and overcomes the world and the spirit that is behind it. With Christ being her head above every principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named she can withstand Satan and his angels of darkness with confidence and restrict their actions on earth through prayer and through patience in suffering. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Eph. 6.10-18. The fight between the church and Satan in his various manifestations goes on. In the book of Revelation we see Satan taking different forms, either as the dragon or the beast that ascended from the sea or the one that came out of the earth or as the great city Babylon. What we know and we rejoice is that the saints overcame. In the seven messages of God to the churches the promises attached are to those that overcome, not to the cowards, they have no part in the city of God. Be of good courage said the Lord I overcame the world. And the saints through history in the mist of many adversaries they overcame Satan, “They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony; and they love not their life unto the death” Rev. 12.11. By the blood of the lamb they were clothed with the breastplate of righteousness, with the word of their testimony they were girded with the truth and the sword of the Spirit and they had on them the helmet of the assurance of salvation because they were not afraid to die.
In our fight with him we must always have in mind and believe that God is all wise and always one step before Satan. Being his creature he cannot help but serve the purposes of God unwillingly. God lays, as it wares, His own plans under Satan’s wings and makes him hatch them (remember how the Lord used the evil plot of Joseph’s brothers to accomplish His own grand design.) All the time Satan is planning evil be sure God is providing for the ultimate good of His chosen ones. The thorn of Satan in Paul is used to keep him from pride; the denial of Peter makes him bold later before the High priest’s hall. The devil thought that he won the game when he got Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. But God new the outcome even before the match began and had already provided His grand design for salvation and restoration to an even greater glory.
God allows Satan’s existence and uses him to accomplish his eternal plans for the church and the world and the ages to come, and then He will finish with Him for he has been already judged, John 16.11. We need a new vision of God and a new vision of His throne, in order to be delivered from the panic and the fear that fill our hearts about spiritual things concerning the church and the nations of this world. God planed ahead, before even Satan came into existence and continues to work according to His plan until all His purposes for every member of His church is accomplished. Understanding of God and His way will set us free from fear so that quietly but confidently shall continue to walk in the mist of disappointments and apparent victories of the evil one, the final victory belongs to Christ and His church. Somebody once said, do not be quick to bury the church before she is dead. What does it matter though she is like Jonah in the whale’s belly? Remember the whale had no power to digest Jonah. We dishonor God if when the church is at its lowest ebb we do not take the single bond of His promise as a guarantee for her deliverance.