Study of Satan - Part 3, Page 2

God's grace rears its lovely head

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen 6.8)
So he [Elijah] said [to God], "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.''

(God said:) "Yet
I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.'' (1 Kings 19.14, 19.18; NKJV)

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom 8.28)
 

Satan was counting on what he considered was one of God's greatest weaknesses. Namely, God's holiness.

Satan KNEW that God's holiness would compel Him to destroy a human race that was totally and irrevocably committed to wickedness. And this destruction of sinful humanity would mean -- NO MESSIAH would come to defeat Satan!

But Satan soon discovered that he didn't know as much about God as he had thought. In fact, down through all the many thousands of years that have followed the incidents in Genesis chapter 6, Satan STILL hasn't got the message. Namely...

  • Never underestimate the power and loveliness of God's AMAZING GRACE! (Gen 6.8)
  • No matter how wicked the world may become, God ALWAYS preserves a faithful remnant of humanity. (1 Kings 19.18)
  • God will always bring GOOD out of even the worst of circumstances because "ALL things work together for good to those who love God." (Rom 8.28)

Because of God's grace, Noah and his family were preserved from God's judgment on the human race. Satan's second attempt to prevent Messiah had failed.
But Satan didn't give up.

Satan pin-points Messiah

Satan again attempted to subvert the entire human race by leading them to revolt against God and build the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapter 11). But here again, God foiled Satan's plan.

Even so, Satan was still determined to prevent Messiah's coming, but how? Out of all the many thousands of Noah's descendants, from whom would Messiah be born? Unless Satan found the answer to that question, he wouldn't know whom to destroy.

Then Satan overheard some vital clues.

  • Satan listened in to God's promise to Abram (later named Abraham) in Genesis 12. He listened and learned that the Messiah, God's blessing to the earth, would be a descendent of Abraham.
  • Later on, Satan learned that Messiah would be a descendent of Abraham's son, Isaac.
  • Later yet, Satan overheard that Messiah would be a descendent of Isaac's son, Jacob.

Satan had now pin-pointed his target. If he wiped out all of Jacob's descendants, there would be NO Messiah.

  Now the Lord had said to Abram: "...in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'' (Gen 12.1a, 12.3b)

But God said to Abraham, "...in
Isaac your seed shall be called. (Gen 21.12b)

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said [to
Jacob]: "I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac... in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (Gen 28.13a, 28.14b)

Genocide - trial one

Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah and the name of the other Puah; and he said, "When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.''

But
the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. (Exod 1.15-17)
 

We now look in on Satan as he spins his plots in the days of Exodus chapter one.

  • At that time, all of Jacob's descendants (called "Hebrews") were enslaved in Egypt, at the mercy of Egypt's king.
  • Moved by Satan, the Egyptian king ordered the midwives to kill all newborn male Hebrews. (Midwives were the ancient equivalents of obstetricians.)

Satan's plan was simple yet deadly.

  • If all the male Hebrews were slain, the Hebrew race would disappear within a single generation.
  • There would be no descendants of Jacob, and NO MESSIAH would be born to defeat Satan.

In other words, Satan attempted "genocide" -- the extinction of an entire race of people.

But the midwives, at risk of their own lives, obeyed God rather than the king. Satan's plan was again
foiled.

Genocide - trial two

Satan again attempted genocide against the Hebrew people (the "Jews"), as recorded in the book of Esther. This attempt also failed.

The Bible records MANY further attempts by Satan to prevent the Messiah's coming. We won't list all of them. Suffice it to say every one of those attempts failed.

Does anyone think Satan could ever defeat God's plans? Well... Satan apparently thinks so!
  And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions. (Esther 3.13)

Good news and bad news

Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Lk 2.10-11)

Precisely at God's appointed time, Messiah Jesus was born.

BAD news for Satan.

Good news for mankind!

...an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.'' (Mt 2.13b)

Satan at once set out to murder Messiah.

While Jesus was still an infant at His mother's breasts, Satan moved Herod to slay the child (Mt 2.13-16).

Again, Satan failed.

Over the years as Jesus grew up, Satan longed for the opportunity to tempt Him into disobeying God.

Satan had succeeded in tempting Adam.

He felt certain he would be equally successful in tempting Jesus -- after all, Jesus WAS human, and humans were so pitifully weak and sinful.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit [God] into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Mt 4.1)

Surprise surprise! Satan got his chance to tempt Jesus. It was God Himself who gave it to him!

  • In fact, God INSISTED that Jesus face this test! (Mt 4.1)
  • Moreover, God required that Jesus must go without food or water for forty days during the time He faced Satan's wiles. FORTY days and nights!

How Satan must have licked his chops.

  • Adam had enjoyed a full stomach, and was surrounded by plentiful food and water, yet he had yielded to Satan.
  • Now here was Jesus, starving and on the verge of death from water deprivation.

Messiah would be a PUSHOVER! Or so Satan thought.

  • Smart fellow that he is, Satan first tempted Jesus with food. Failure.
  • Satan then tempted Jesus with fame, worship and power. All to no avail.

No longer licking his chops, Satan now gritted his teeth in frustration. But the battle was far from over.

Satan would be back!

Victory at last!

Satan fostered many additional attempts on the life of Messiah Jesus, one of which is recorded in Matthew 26.3-4. All of them failed -- except the final one.

At last Satan achieved success, and Jesus was charged with blasphemy and sedition.

  • In an illegal "trial," based on lying testimony, Jesus was sentenced to death.
  • When Governor Pilate sought to commute the grossly unfair sentence of death, Satan incited a mob scene where all the people cried, "CRUCIFY HIM!"
  • Pilate gave in to their demands and so... Jesus was crucified.

And there on the cross, after commanding His spirit to leave His battered and nail-pierced body, Jesus died.

Satan rejoiced. Victory at last! There must have been a great demon celebration that night. And the next day. And the next night. And the next day. And again for the third night.

Satan and his hellish gang no doubt had a whale of a big party on all three of those days and nights while our Lord's body lay dead in the tomb.

But then came Sunday morning! Halleluyah!

  Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people... plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. (Mt 26.3a-4)

Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?'' They all said to him, "
Let Him be crucified!'' Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?'' But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!'' (Mt 27.22-23)

And He (our dearest Lord Jesus),
bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him... (John 19.17-18a)

More good news and bad news

(The angel proclaimed:) "He [Jesus] is not here [in the tomb]; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." (Mt 28.6)

(Jesus said:) "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold,
I am alive forevermore... (Rev 1.18a)
  Shortly after dawn on Sunday, an angel of God proclaimed the joyous news that Jesus Christ was risen from the dead. (Thank you, God, for that Sunday morning!)

The BEST of all possible news for mankind!

BAD news for Satan.


Satan suddenly realized that what he had thought was his victory was, instead, God's victory.

Messiah not only was alive, but also had defeated death and was alive forevermore.

Messiah withdraws from battle

Now Satan knows the Bible very well, as was abundantly demonstrated by his use of Scripture in Matthew chapter 4. With sudden fear, Satan recalled the Bible's proclamation that Lord Jesus would become King over all the earth. (Zechariah 14.9 and several other Bible verses make this prophecy.)

No doubt Satan fully expected Messiah to immediately begin His conquest of Satan's forces, but he got a pleasant surprise. Instead of doing battle, the Lord instead ascended to heaven.

Satan had won a stay of execution.
  And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be "the Lord is one,'' and His name one. (Zech 14.9)

...while they [the disciples] watched,
He [Jesus] was taken up [to heaven], and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (Acts 1.9b)

What is Messiah waiting for?

Then comes the end, when He [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. (1 Cor 15.24)

The Lord is not slack [forgetful] concerning His promise [to conquer sin and death], as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,
not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Pet 3.9)

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: "Yes,
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you." (Jer 31.3)
  Perhaps Satan wondered why the risen Lord withdrew from the battlefield of Planet Earth, just when victory was easily within His grasp.

Perhaps, dear reader, you wonder, too. The Bible has the answer. First Corinthians 15.24 tells us that the Lord's final conquest of the world and Satan will be
THE END of this world as we know it.

Don't you get it yet? Jesus delayed His conquest because of YOU!
It's YOUR fault! Jesus had to postpone THE END so that you could be born, and receive Him, and become His own. (2 Peter 3.9) Why? Because He loves you. He always has. (Jer 31.3, Eph 1.4-6)

And Jesus still delays. Who is He waiting for now?

Mind boggling, isn't it?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

(Jesus said:) "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, `Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' '' (Mt 23.37-39)

Now that Messiah has ascended to heaven, Satan's new and most urgent goal is... to PREVENT Messiah's return. Why? For the simple reason that Messiah's Second Coming spells DOOM for Satan, and Satan knows that fact quite well. Remember -- Satan reads the Bible.

Can Satan stop Jesus from coming again? Maybe he thinks he can. In Matthew 23.37-39, Jesus promised that He would not return until the nation Israel asks Him to do so. In other words, Israel must acknowledge Jesus as their Messiah, and pray that He will return to lead them.

What is Satan's plan to stop the Lord's return? It appears to be threefold...

  • First, neutralize or destroy any and every person who proclaims that Jesus is the Messiah. That (I hope) means YOU are one of Satan's targets.
  • Second, neutralize or destroy any nation that supports Israel's continued existence. That means the USA is a prime target of Satan's. He seeks to destroy America, not necessarily in a war, but by rot from within. Have you noticed any signs of rot lately?
  • Third, wipe out Israel itself. Satan has never ceased his attempts to destroy the Jews. Recent examples are: (1) the Holocaust under Nazi Germany, and (2) Egypt, Jordan, & Syria's attack of Israel in the six-day war in 1967. As for TODAY -- have you heard of any nations that are obsessed with the desire to destroy Israel? Yes? Me too.

Summary -- And the beat goes on

Even from the ancient days of Adam and Eve, Satan has known that his ultimate defeat will come at the hands of the Messiah.

  • As recorded in the Old Testament, Satan repeatedly attempted to prevent Messiah's birth by destroying His ancestors, the Jews, but he failed.
  • When Messiah Jesus was born, Satan then began a campaign to murder Him. Satan finally succeeded in having Messiah falsely convicted and crucified. But God resurrected Messiah, and Satan again had failed.
  • No doubt Satan expected the resurrected Messiah to immediately engage him in battle. To Satan's pleasant surprise, however, Messiah instead ascended to heaven, where He remains to this day.

Satan is well aware that Messiah has promised to return to earth, but only when the Jews acknowledge Him as Messiah and pray for His return.

Accordingly, Satan's goal in these present days is to either destroy Israel, or to prevent Israel from recognizing Jesus as the Messiah.

His targets in this current campaign are Israel, the nations that support Israel (including USA), and all Christians who proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah, the Holy One of God.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you." (Psalm 122.6)

I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Rom 1.16)

Go to study of Satan Part 4