Chapter 2 THE DEVIL, SATAN
Who is the devil, and where did he come from? What is he doing now? How much effect does he have on men and women? What is he trying to accomplish on the earth, and why? What will eventually happen to him?
Our only possible hope of finding the answers to these and other questions about the devil is the Bible. As we shall see, the devil is a real being with a real personality and with a real purpose to accomplish.
The first in our series of Bible texts giving information about the devil is Ezekiel 28:11-13. Here Ezekiel begins with the familiar phrase which tells us that what follows is a message directly from God. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God. . . . Wait a minute! According to this, the king of Tyrus was in the Garden of Eden, which God prepared for Adam and Eve at the end of creation week. When Ezekiel received this message from God, probably in the year 588 BC, Tyre was a city on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The king of Tyrus, therefore, could not possibly have ever been in the Garden of Eden.
The story of the Garden of Eden is given in Genesis 2:8 through 3:24. There are only four persons mentioned: God, Adam, Eve, and the devil, Satan, who masqueraded as a serpent. Then, after Adam and Eve had been expelled, God stationed angels to guard the garden. The king of Tyrus was certainly not there. What, then, was God talking about in Ezekiel 28 when He said that the king of Tyrus was in the Garden of Eden?
Hebrews 13:2 gives us some insight into this Scripture. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Angels are a higher order of life than we are, and we see from this text that they have the ability to appear as human beings. Indeed, angels have the ability to appear as other forms of life also. As we shall see shortly, Satan was originally a holy angel in Heaven and therefore has this ability to imitate other life forms. He masqueraded as a serpent in the Garden of Eden.
Satan, you see, was masquerading as the king of Tyrus. With this in mind, return to Ezekiel and realize that what is being said is being said directly to the devil himself. Ezekiel 28:11-19: Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus (the devil), and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Satan is full of wisdom and exceedingly beautiful. Actually he is the most beautiful and the most intelligent being that God ever created. His intelligence might be as much as a thousand times greater than human intelligence. He is so much smarter than human beings that he is easily able to deceive us.
Continuing in Ezekiel, Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold. Satan, the most beautiful being that God ever created, clothed with a robe encrusted with many precious gems, must have really been glorious. Continuing: The workmanship of thy taberets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Satan is a created being, just as the angels and all mankind are created beings.
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so. Satan was above all the other angels; his position was second only to that of God Himself. God not only created Satan the most beautiful and most intelligent being in all the universe, but also gave him the highest position. Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Satan could visit throughout the entire universe and was free to come and go in Gods throne room, the holy mountain of God, into the presence of God Himself.
Did God create the devil? The Bible tells us that God is love, that He is meek, gentle, kind, and totally honest and just. Would a god like this create a devil? Verse 15 says, Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created. . . . God therefore certainly did not create the devil, but He did create the perfect, holy angel who later became the devil.
How did this transformation come about? Consider what might happen to a human being if he or she were extremely beautiful. Consider what might happen if he were not only beautiful, but also highly intelligent. Consider also what might happen if this person attained a high position in the business world or in politics. It does not take much imagination to see that he would become intensely proud of his beauty and intelligence. He would begin to feel superior and would ever desire greater power, wealth, and prestige. He would become increasingly self-centered and self-seeking as his greed and pride grew. This experience has happened over and over again on the earth to people who were not even the most beautiful or the most intelligent. This is what happened to Satan.
You see, Satan himself was responsible for his transformation into the devil by the development of his pride, greed, arrogance, and self-seeking ambition. The rest of verse 15 says, till iniquity was found in thee. God created a perfect, holy angel, and that angel became the devil.
The question is sometimes asked, Why did God create this angel who became the devil? When God created beings with free will, He knew that sooner or later one of them would begin to experience pride and selfish ambition just as Satan did. If Satan had not been created, the experience that happened to him would have happened to another angel. Why God created beings with free will, beings who can disobey if they choose, will be explained later.
Iniquity is another word for sin. Throughout the Bible the word sin appears over and over again. An understanding of the exact meaning of this word is fundamental to our understanding of the entire Bible. God has given us the definition of sin in 1 John 3:4: Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. In common parlance a person who breaks a law of the state is called a criminal. When a person breaks Gods law he is called, not a criminal, but a sinner. Sin is breaking the law of God.
Satan became proud of his beauty and intelligence. He forgot that everything he had was a gift from God, and instead of being thankful for the multitude of blessings God had given him, he wanted more and more. As we shall see shortly, he even became dissatisfied with the second position in heaven; he wanted the first. But the only position above Satans was Gods. Yes, he wanted Gods position, Gods authority, and Gods power.
Continuing with Ezekiel 28:16, By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned. . . . What merchandise? What was Satan trying to sell, and to whom? Satans desire for Gods throne became stronger and stronger until he was totally controlled by his ambition. But Satan had a problem! What was he going to do about God, who occupied the first position? Satans plan was to discredit God before all the beings in the universe. He claimed that God and His government were arbitrary and unjust. He said that beings as superior as holy angels did not need the law of God, which, he claimed, was an unjust law that restricted their freedom. He also said that it was impossible to keep from breaking Gods law. This merchandise, the propaganda of rebellion, was spread far and wide in the universe as Satan attempted to discredit God, His laws, and His government in the eyes of the angels and all other intelligent forms of life. Satan reasoned that if he could turn the entire universe against God, then God, because of His kind, meek, and gentle nature, would step down and he could take over.
Continuing with verse 16, Therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Verse 17 explains that Satan became proud: Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty. Satan, being the most beautiful of Gods created beings, became proud of his perfect beauty. Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness. . . . He became proud of his gigantic intelligence. He felt that he was vastly superior to the other beings which God had created; he felt no gratitude to God, who had given him this great honor and great ability. Continuing with verse 17, I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic. Satans propaganda and rebellion became increasingly more vile and disruptive. Therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
This verse tells us that the devil does not have everlasting life and therefore is not going to be in charge of hell throughout all eternity. Instead, as verse 18 says, he is going to be destroyed by fire and will be ashes upon the surface of the earth. Verse 17 says that certain people will observe this event taking place. How this will all come about will be explained in detail in chapter five. Continuing with verse 19, All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. The devil is not going to live forever. He is going to die. Ultimately he will be ashes upon the surface of the earth.
Isaiah 14:12-17 adds more detail about this rebellion of Satan in heaven. Lucifer, which means Shining One or Brilliant One was Satans name before he started his rebellion. 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 thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Here is where we are told that Satan wanted Gods power and authority; he wanted to be God.
The term stars of God refers to the angels. We here on earth refer to our outstanding personalities as stars: movie stars, the star pitcher, and so on. Because the angels are such outstanding beings, they are referred to as the stars of God, and Satan said that he would exalt his throne above them. Continuing with verse 15, Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? Here we find that Satan is the ultimate cause of all the trouble on the earth. He causes trouble among people and wars among nations.
We have seen so far that Satan, the most beautiful and most intelligent being that God ever created, was given the highest position of authority in heaven, second only to that of God Himself. He began feeling vastly superior to all other life in the universe. He even began feeling superior to God. He wanted Gods throne and all His power and authority. He wanted to be God Himself.
How could Satan have dared to feel this way? How could Satan have ever hoped to succeed in taking over the throne of the universe from God? Since God is all powerful and infinitely superior to the beings He created, why did Satan with his superior intellect not realize that he could never get away with such a scheme? It was because of Gods perfectly beautiful personality. God is so kind, so gentle, so gracious, so understanding, and so loving that He did not exalt Himself above His creatures. Even though Gods power and ability are limitless, even though His knowledge and wisdom know no bounds, He always presented himself as a kind and understanding father to His creatures. Satan mistakenly assumed that the meekness, kindness, gentleness, and understanding that God always showed were signs of weakness, and he convinced himself that he would be successful in his rebellion.
God tried to make Satan realize the consequences of the path he had chosen. He explained to Satan in great detail what the outcome of his folly would be, but Satans pride and self-seeking ambition prevented him from understanding. The uppermost thought in Satans mind was to accomplish what he had set out to do.
The question is often asked: Why did not God simply get rid of Satan as soon as he began to cause trouble? God could have used His power to eliminate Satan, and he would have ceased to exist. Why did God not do this?
God did not immediately get rid of Satan for basically two reasons. First, if He had, heaven would have ceased to be a place of perfect tranquility and happiness and would instead have been transformed into a police state. All the angels would have been afraid of being destroyed themselves; instead of being happy they would have been fearful of doing something God did not like. God created beings with intelligence and free will because He wanted their companionship. He wanted them to be free, free to choose the correct way. If He had eliminated Satan, His creatures would have felt that they had to serve an arbitrary God by threat of force instead of from love. No longer would they have been companions to God, and no longer would God have been a companion to them. Love and companionship simply cannot be forced. Had God created a race of automatons programmed to love and obey Him, He would not have had companionship.
For example, could a lonely person find the love and companionship he wants by buying a little windup doll which would repeat over and over again, I love you; I love you; I love you? Of course not. Love, companionship, and devotion are meaningless if they are forced or if they are the automatic result of pre-programmed instinct. Love must be the result of free will. Love, companionship, and devotion are meaningful only if the person bestowing the love has a choice not to love. When a father comes home from work in the evening and his small daughter comes running out of the house and jumps up and puts her arms around his neck and says, Oh Daddy, I love you, the father is pleased and happy about his daughters actions because they were spontaneous. She was not forced to act that way. She expressed her love because she wanted to, because she had missed her father during the day and wanted companionship with him. God feels the same way about His creatures. They must have a choice, or their love, devotion, and companionship would mean nothing to Him.
The second reason why God could not immediately get rid of Satan is that if He had, from then on doubts would have existed in the minds of all Gods intelligent beings. Satans accusations had raised the all-important questions: Could it be that Gods law is unjust and unnecessary? Could it be that holy angels of such high intelligence do not need the law of God? Could it be that it is impossible to obey Gods law? If God had eliminated Satan immediately, He would have appeared to the other angels to be unjust and arbitrary; for they would not have understood the nature of the controversy, and these doubts would never have been dispelled.
In order to handle the situation which Satan had caused in heaven, God had to give him an opportunity to show whether his accusations were valid or not. And so, the earth was prepared by God for this purpose. Here Satan is being permitted for a time to demonstrate to all the intelligent beings which inhabit the far-flung reaches of Gods vast creation whether his accusations against God are valid or not. Satan is being permitted to show whether or not it is true that intelligent beings do not need Gods law. He is being permitted to show whether or not keeping Gods law is impossible. And he is being permitted to show whether or not God is arbitrary and unjust in His dealing with the situation.
In 1 Corinthians 4:9 we are told that this is exactly the purpose for which this earth was created: For we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. The word spectacle is translated from the Greek word theatron, which means theater. The earth, therefore, is the theater of the universe where Satan is being permitted to work his wiles for a time in order to prove whether he was telling the truth or not when he spread his propaganda and started his rebellion against God in heaven. God must permit this. If He does not, doubts will always exist in the minds of angels and men as to whether Satan was right or not. As the final result of the drama taking place on this earth, all of Gods creation men, angels, and other forms of intelligent life throughout the vast reaches of space will thoroughly understand the nature of this great controversy and the importance, indeed the necessity, of obeying Gods law; for they will witness the trouble, misery, pain, and death which are the natural consequences of disregarding the law of God.
We are all on this stage. The entire universe is intently watching what is taking place here. This drama is the center of attraction, and we are the actors. We are all acting, either for Satan on the one side or for God on the other. We are never alone. The eyes of the universal audience are everywhere. Hebrews 12:1 tells us that, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about [surrounded] with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. You can go into the darkest, innermost closet and shut the door, and yet the eyes of the universe are watching what you are doing. Scientists spend millions of dollars trying to communicate with intelligent life in the universe. Yet all they have to do is simply speak the word and they are heard, as the universe watches with pity the antics of the actors on this stage of earth.
The earth is the only wicked place in the universe. All the intelligent beings on all the other planets throughout the vast universe of God live in peace and happiness, free from fear, misery, pain and death; for they all obey the law of God. Only on earth is the law ignored, as men lie, kill, steal, cheat, and commit every abomination imaginable.
It may be difficult for modern man to admit even the possibility that beings are observing the earth from millions of miles in space. One must realize that, compared with life elsewhere in the universe, life on earth is extremely primitive. Our methods are primitive; our knowledge is primitive; our machines are primitive. God has arranged it thus in order to keep the trouble we suffer on earth from spreading to other habitations in space. It is easy to feel that we have reached the pinnacle of wisdom and knowledge and difficult to accept the thought that we are being observed by vastly superior beings. The following texts from 1 Corinthians 3:19,20 and Isaiah 55:8,9 are enlightening. The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. . . . The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Our world is indeed the stage of the universe where everyone throughout Gods vast creation can observe what happens when a society of beings disregards Gods law, the Ten Commandments. The universe is appalled at what it beholds!
When the rebellion became unbearable, Satan and his angels had to be expelled from heaven. In Revelation 12:7-9 we read, And there was war in heaven: Michael [Christ] and his angels fought against the dragon [Satan]; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Satans angels are the angels that he deceived into following him in his rebellion against God.
Notice that Satan and his angels [devils] were not cast out of heaven to hell; they were cast out to the earth, which is where they are right now! Jesus says in Luke 10:18, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Additional texts which show that Satan resides on the earth are found in the book of Job. Chapter one, verses six and seven describe a great council meeting in heaven where the leaders from other worlds throughout the vast reaches of space had assembled. Originally God gave dominion of our world to Adam, but as a consequence of Adams sin Satan usurped his position and attended this great council meeting in heaven as the representative from earth. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. During this council meeting, the Lord asked Satan where he had been. Job 1:7 says, And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Sometime later there was another council meeting, described in Job 2:1,2, where the Lord again asked Satan where he had been. Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? Satans reply was the same as in the previous meeting. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
It is interesting that God allowed a war to take place in heaven. Heaven is generally thought of as a place of perfect tranquility and happiness; and it was, until Satan and his angels began to disobey Gods law. The war in heaven was the natural consequence of sin. War in heaven is unthinkable; nevertheless God allowed it to happen. God could have used His unlimited power to expel Satan and his angels to the earth, but in His infinite wisdom, He chose not to. Instead He allowed the war to occur in order to help His creatures understand the disastrous effects of disobeying His law. The holy angels who had remained loyal fought the war and expelled Satan and his angels. In other words, each angel, as he chose the side on which he would fight, made a total commitment either to God or to Satan.
How many angels are there? Hebrews 12:22 says that there are an innumerable company of angels. Revelation 5:11 tells us that, the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. There are so many angels that, like the sands of the sea, they cannot be numbered. Satan was able to deceive one-third of these angels into joining him in this battle against God. Revelation 12:4 tells us that one-third of the angels fell with Satan. And his [the dragons, Satans] tail drew the third part of the stars [angels] of heaven, and did cast them to the earth. Thus Satan has plenty of evil angels, or devils, to help him in his purposes here on earth.
If there are so many evil angels on the earth, why is it not possible for us to see them? It has already been shown that sometimes angels masquerade as human beings, and when they do they are then visible. However, angels, who are a higher order of being than we, have the ability to remain invisible. As a Scriptural example of an angels power to remain invisible, the amusing story of Balaam and his donkey comes to mind. Balaam was about to do what God did not want him to do, and in Numbers 22:21-34 we read:
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And Gods anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself into the wall, and crushed Balaams foot against the wall: and he smote her again. And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaams anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
God now made it appear as if the ass were speaking. And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.
Here is a case in which a man was not able to see the angel until the angel wanted to be seen. Satan and the evil angels are all over the earth, but human beings, under most circumstances, cannot see them. They do, however, make themselves visible at various times and under various circumstances. Gods holy angels are also here on the earth as guardian angels for the true Christians, who serve the Lord as the Scriptures require, and they also remain invisible. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1).
One of the most important keys to understanding the Bible is found in Revelation 12:9, which tells us that we have all been deceived by the devil. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Satan deceives everyone in the world. Everyone. Nobody is exempt from Satans deceptions.
Everyone you talk to or get information from is deceived by the devil. When you watch television, you are watching and listening to people who are deceived, and who are passing their deceptions on to you. If you go to school, you receive instruction from teachers who are deceived. If you go to college, you are taught by professors who are deceived. When you read the newspapers or the news magazines, you are reading the opinions of authors who are deceived by Satan. The only hope we have of penetrating this wall of lies and deception which Satan has built around us is the Bible, the standard for truth in our world. Remember that God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2).
How do you deceive someone? If you always tell a person the truth, will you be able to deceive him? No you must lie to him in order to deceive him. Does Satan therefore lie? In John 8:44, Jesus says, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. There is no truth at all in Satan; he is a liar. Satan therefore deceives the entire world by lying. He is the grand master of subtlety and deceit. His lies are, for the most part, so subtle that human beings do not recognize them as lies; they accept them as truth. Thus they are deceived. Satan, however, does use the truth to deceive; for if a person were told something that is completely false, he often would be smart enough to recognize the lie. On the other hand, if some of what he is being told is the truth, he is less likely to detect the part that is false; he will accept the lie and be deceived.
Consider how this process of deception works to make people believe so many lies that they are unable to accept the truth. The truth, in fact, seems so strange to them that they immediately put it out of their minds as being completely wrong. What happens when a person is raised in an atmosphere of lies? Suppose, for instance, to use an actual example from history at the time of Columbus, that when a person is a small child he is told that the earth is flat. All during his childhood his parents, teachers, and friends always refer to the earth as flat. In college his professors tell him that the earth is flat. Then, should someone come along and tell him that the earth is not flat, but round like a globe, contrary to what everyone else has told him, what would he think? He would think that the person telling him the truth was totally in error. He would not be able to accept the truth, for the truth would seem so strange and impossible to him. This point is of extreme importance; for until we realize that we have been raised and educated in an atmosphere of lies and are largely deceived, we will not be able to accept the truth.
This is the situation in which mankind finds itself here on earth. We have been told Satans clever lies from birth. They have been so ingrained in us, they so deeply affect how we think and act that, for many, accepting the truth is almost impossible. Satan deceives the whole world, for he is much more clever than any man. Man does not stand a chance against him without the grace, the power, and the Word of God.
One of the most successful of Satans deceptions is the promulgation of the belief that he and his angels are not here on the earth, but in hell. As has been shown, the Bible makes it clear that Satan and his evil angels are here with us on the earth right now and that they are indeed real personalities, real beings, engaged in a life-and-death struggle. Satan does not want us to realize this, for our ignorance on this point makes us much more susceptible, much more vulnerable to his lies and deceptions.
Why does Satan work so hard to deceive the world? We read in Revelation 12:12: Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. He is angry, having great wrath. Why? Because he knows that he has only a short time left. He knows that he is going to die, and he knows that he will be ashes on the surface of the earth. (Ezekiel 28:18).
Consider what must be going through the mind of Satan, the most beautiful and the most intelligent being of all Gods creation, who was the manager of the entire universe, second only to God Himself. As a result of the war in heaven, Satan was cast out of heaven to the earth. He was not cast out to hell. He lost his exalted position in heaven and is now on the earth with the angels he deceived into following him, and he knows that he is going to die. Satan, naturally, does not want to die. He remembers the beauty of his heavenly home. He remembers the glory of the unfallen worlds. He remembers the delightful companionship he enjoyed with God and with all the host of heaven before he sinned. He remembers the glory he had as he stood beside the throne of God. And he knows he has but a short time left; he knows he is going to die. This is why he is angry. He is angry because he lost the war; he is angry because he lost his position and everything else he had in heaven; and he is angry because he does not want to die. He will do anything in his power to prolong his life, and the angels who were cast out of heaven with him will help him in his purposes because they do not want to die either. James 2:19 tells us that Satan and his host of devils tremble as they contemplate the fate that they will one day experience. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
How can Satan and his evil angels prolong their lives? God must wait for a specific event to develop here on earth before He can bring to a close this drama of the ages and end the suffering, misery, pain, and death so prevalent in our world. Most of the events and situations that occur on earth, therefore, are designed by Satan for only one purpose: to keep him alive. If Satan can prevent this one event from occurring, or delay its occurring, he can prolong his life. The destiny of the world is at stake as mankind, ignorant of these facts, rushes headlong to destruction. Satans plans for keeping himself alive as long as possible include a supreme effort on his part to keep people from learning and understanding the Bible. He and his angels expend enormous amounts of energy deceiving the people of earth in order to keep them from understanding the truth about him and about this great controversy which he has created. The situation for which God is waiting and the plan behind Satans efforts to continue living will be explained in great detail in following chapters.
So serious is this deluge of lies and deception that God has warned us to be constantly on the alert. First Peter 5:8 tells us to Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. An adversary is an enemy. Satan is our enemy, and his deceptions turn many away from the truth.
The devil has been able to lead dedicated church members, for instance, gradually to compromise the pure truth of the Bible. The devil, working through human agents, brings about a slight change in doctrine, and the people, not wanting to cause trouble, fail to protest. They accept the change even though they may not like it, simply to keep peace. Of course, after a short while the change doesnt seem so bad, and the devil is ready to institute another tiny change. After twenty or so years of this, if the people of the church wake up to what is being done to them, they will find themselves not a little out of line, but way out of line. This subtle tactic could be called patient gradualism. We must always be alert, for the devil never rests. Remember, he does not want to die. He is fighting for his life.
Satan uses people to achieve his ends, but he has no love for the people he deceives into serving him. In fact, Satan looks with utter contempt upon the inhabitants of earth, for they are far inferior to him in intelligence, physical strength, and stature. Also, the fact that man was created in Gods image rankles him.
We get a further understanding of the extent of our deception in 2 Corinthians 4:4, which explains that Satan hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Satan makes it impossible for unbelievers to see and understand the truth of God. Satan blinds them to the truth and then substitutes his lies and deceptions. Unless a person makes an earnest effort to find, understand, and accept the truth, Satan will so completely confuse him that truth will seem as foolishness to him.
Proverbs 16:25 tells us that There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Why does the wrong way seem to be the right way? The way seems right because Satan has deceived men into thinking that what is wrong is right. The way seems right when we believe the lies that Satan has spread so profusely throughout the world. The devil is the grand master of subtlety and deceit, for he knows perfectly how to deceive human beings without their realizing it. Satan makes his lies sound reasonable and true. In order to know the right way, we must accept exactly what God tells us in the Bible no matter how strange it may seem. We must disregard our feelings and believe only what the Bible says, for God, remember, cannot lie. We have to realize that our intuition cannot be relied upon to lead us correctly, for the wrong way often seems right to us.
Just as mans wisdom is foolishness to God, man in his pathetic ignorance treats the things of God as foolishness. First Corinthians 2:14 says, The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.
Take a look at some other verses of Scripture which warn us of Satans almost overwhelming power to deceive. In Matthew 24:24 Jesus Himself warns that There shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Jesus is warning here that false christs will appear performing miracles and that even true Christians will almost be deceived. It is hard for the human mind to imagine this almost overpowering deception.
One of these false christs will, of course, be Satan himself. For every truth of the Bible, Satan has, or will have, his counterfeit in the world. He has given the world counterfeits that are so close to the genuine, so close to Bible truth that millions of people are fooled and deceived. He has used this technique very successfully in the past, is using it today, and will use it in the future to deceive the entire world. Satan is going to counterfeit the return of Christ, and millions will be deceived because they have not studied the Bible enough to be able to detect the counterfeit. They have instead listened to pastors and ministers who preach the propaganda which is preparing the world to accept the devils greatest counterfeit.
Remember that Satan is the most beautiful and the most intelligent being that God ever created. Human eyes have never beheld an angel in all his glory, and when Satan walks the streets of the cities and towns of earth, performing miracles and claiming to be Christ, practically the entire world will fall down and worship him. Satan will raise his hands in blessing the people, and the people will prostrate themselves before him, worshiping him, believing that he is Christ. Almost everyone will be hypnotized by the overwhelming glory, beauty, and power which the devil will display. He will repeat in a soft, comforting voice many of the words which Jesus spoke when He was on earth. He will heal the sick and perform other miracles and great works, claiming that he is Jesus Christ. His demonstration will be thoroughly convincing to virtually everyone on earth. In chapter five the return of Jesus is covered in detail; if we know exactly how Christ will return, we will not be fooled as the devil wants us to be.
Consider 2 Corinthians 11:14,15. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. Here we see that Satan will have his ministers standing in the pulpits of the churches of the world preaching his very cleverly designed counterfeits of the true message from God. Our world is inundated with lies from the devil, and as we see here, his lies come from places from which we would not expect them. The devil puts his agents into positions where people naturally put their trust, and then it is relatively easy for him to deceive them. People trust their ministers and readily believe what their ministers tell them. From Satans ministers, standing in the pulpits of many of the churches of the world, comes the propaganda required to condition the people of earth to accept his counterfeits of Bible truth so that they will believe his impersonation of Christ returning to earth. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, WHICH DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9).
Of course not all ministers are Satans agents. Satan puts his ministers wherever he can and in as many places as he can. How, then, can we know whether a particular minister speaks the truth or not? Isaiah 8:20 tells us, To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. The test is the Bible. If they teach anything which disagrees with the Bible, we see that there is no truth (light) in them. When a minister teaches a doctrine that disagrees with the Bible, you will know that he is not on the Lords side but is working for Satan. Of course these false ministers claim to be preaching according to the Bible, but it is the responsibility of each of us to search the complete Scriptures for ourselves to see if what they say is correct, remembering that there can be no contradictions in the Bible.
Matthew 7:21-23 talks about dedicated church members whom Satan has been able to deceive so extensively that God cannot take them to heaven. They think they are serving the Lord, and they work diligently doing many wonderful works; but it is all in vain because they have gotten too far from Bible truth. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
What better way for Satan to keep people out of Christs true church than to create the confusion of some 500 false religions (denominations)? When Christ was on earth 2000 years ago, He established his true church, one church, not 500 different churches. Most people give up in despair their attempt to find the right one. They convince themselves that it does not matter which one they attend, but God will never accept any of Satans counterfeit religions.
One of the most powerful deceptions which Satan uses against the inhabitants of earth is the tactic of psychological group pressure. If he can get a group of people to believe one of his lies, he will use that group to pressure others into accepting the lie. It is extremely difficult for one person to stand up for the truth when nearly everyone else is against it. Most people are not strong enough to resist the pressure to conform. People reason that if the majority believes something, it must be right; yet the Bible indicates that everyone is deceived. When the Bible tells us something that most people disagree with, we must have the faith to accept what the Bible says regardless of the tremendous pressure which Satan can bring to bear, for the Bible is true.
Another tactic of Satan is to put his agents into positions of leadership and authority in various organizations, churches, and government, and have them appear to be true Christians. These agents can lie and do practically anything else necessary to further Satans cause, and the people seem unable to realize what is taking place.
Consider next the pain, suffering, and sickness in the world. The Bible says that God is loving, gentle, meek, and kind. Would a god like this cause pain and unhappiness to His creatures? No, of course not. Then where do all the disease germs come from? Where do all the things that cause pain and discomfort such as poison ivy, mosquitoes, etc. come from? These things are not as God created them. God never put thorns on the rosebush or on the berry bushes. When God created the earth, it was the ultimate in beauty. There was nothing to cause pain, discomfort, or suffering.
Isaiah 11:6-9 describes how all of Gods creatures will relate to one another in His new earth, which He has not yet created. These are the same conditions that existed in the beginning before sin destroyed the paradise of Eden. The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Genesis 1:31 tells us that God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Everything was in perfect harmony with everything else. None of Gods creatures ever hurt another or made another unhappy.
Where, then, did these obnoxious things come from? Where do the diseases from which mankind suffers come from? Why do animals and human beings hurt and kill one another now when they did not do this originally? Why does the lion eat other animals now instead of straw like the ox, as it did before?
Consider the experience of the apostle Paul. A dedicated soldier of truth for the Lord and writer of many of the books of the New Testament, Paul had a physical infirmity. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, he tells us where his infirmity came from. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. Paul says that his problem was from Satan. He also says that he was given the problem so that he would not become proud because of the abundance of Gods revelations to him. God revealed to Paul the whole truth concerning Satans rebellion, and it is easy to see that this privilege might have tended to make Paul proud. You see, God did not afflict Paul, but He allowed Satan to do so.
Another text that shows that the devil is the cause of pain and suffering is Luke 13:11. And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. Here a woman is described who was paralyzed in a bowed-together position, probably with arthritis, for eighteen years. Did God do this to that poor woman and make her suffer for eighteen years? Of course not. God is the ultimate of love and kindness. In Luke 13:16, Jesus explains who did do this to the woman. And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? You see, Satan afflicted this woman just as he afflicted Paul and just as he causes sickness and suffering in our world today. Satan is the one who causes all disease and suffering in our world.
Satan does not have the ability to create. This is one of the reasons why he became jealous of God. Satan cannot create, but he can and does tamper with what God created. Satan tampers with the biological information contained in the genes of the living cells and causes mutations to occur, which in turn cause variations in Gods creatures. Thus Satan has changed beneficial types of life into the types that annoy or cause damage and sickness. He changed the lion, for instance, which in the beginning ate straw like the ox just as it will do in Gods new earth, into a beast which now kills other animals. As we behold the earth today and everything in it, we are looking at what God created as defiled and changed by the devil. Even human beings have been greatly changed since creation.
Why does God tolerate such a thing? The earth as it came from the hands of the Creator was beautiful beyond description. All nature was one harmonious whole, without dissension among any of Gods creatures. There was no sickness, no pain, no misery or trouble of any kind. All the animals trusted one another, and they trusted Adam and Eve. Adam could call to the animals of the forest and they would immediately come to him. He could call to the birds of the air and they would gladly come and sit on his finger or on his shoulder. All nature was in perfect harmony with itself and in perfect harmony with God.
But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, Satan claimed dominion over the earth. God must allow him to have his own way, even though God thoroughly detests all the evil and trouble, for one of the purposes of this drama on earth is to make the entire universe understand completely the vile nature of sin (which, you will remember, is the transgression of Gods law, the Ten Commandments. 1 John 3:4). The purpose of this drama is to show that men cannot do their own thing without causing misery, pain, death, and destruction. The purpose of this drama is to show the abominable things people will do when they disregard Gods law. So God allows Satan the free run of the earth to cause all kinds of havoc. God must allow this; for if He did not, Satan could accuse God of restricting his actions. Then when things got worse on the earth, Satan could claim that it was Gods fault because He restricted Satans actions. God must allow Satan to run his own show in this theater of the universe as he sees fit; otherwise all this misery and unhappiness on the earth will have been in vain, and the great controversy would remain unsettled.
Why do you suppose Satan has changed Gods creation in such a degrading way? One of the reasons is to discredit God. Often when there is sickness or death, when there is a flood, an earthquake, a tornado, or a hurricane, God is blamed for it. The devil is responsible for all the misery, suffering, pain, and death, and the whole world blames God for having created the earth in such a condition. But in spite of the fact that the devil has changed Gods creation so extensively, much of its original beauty remains.
Are you beginning to understand Satan a little? Satan is the arch-deceiver, the arch-liar. He has the entire world believing that Gods personality and character are like his. The Bible makes it very clear that God is loving, gentle, meek, kind, longsuffering, and totally just. But Satan has mankind convinced that God is exactly the opposite. In the minds of men Satan has transferred his personality to God, and God is blamed for everything that Satan does. Satan degenerates the wonderful creation of God by his mutations and then deceives the human race into believing that God created all the ills of this world.
Today, when people get sick, they try to understand why God makes them suffer. When one of their loved ones dies, they accuse God of taking him. Yet these people say that they love God. How can a person love someone who does such terrible things to him? You see, most people do not even know the God they claim to love. If God were the way they think He is, their relationship to Him would be a pretty sick one. The next chapter will discuss who God is and what His personality and character are really like.
Ephesians 6:12 says, 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. No, we do not wrestle with men. Our real enemies are the devil and his numerous evil angels. Remember, the devil and his angels are engaged in a fight to the death. We are engaged in a war for our total mind, soul, and, body. Yet most people are completely unaware of this fact.
Satan does not want to die, and he will do everything in his power to prevent from occurring the situation for which Christ is waiting before returning to this earth. The devil will play dirty. He will use every foul trick imaginable. He will put forth the most believable of lies. The entire human race is expendable to Satan in his efforts to prolong his life.
If you can imagine the meanest, most despotic, sadistic, arrogant, ruthless, self-centered, unjust, totally depraved personality possible, you might get some idea of Satans personality. And remember, he is the most intelligent being of Gods entire creation. He has been so subtle in his lies and deception that he has fooled the entire population of earth, the actors in this theater of the universe.
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