This article by CRN managing editor Marsha West was first published September 21, 2016.
It’s a fact of earthly life that when God opens the windows of heaven to bless us, the devil opens the doors of hell to blast us. When God begins moving, the devil fires up all his artillery. — Adrian Rogers
According to a number of Bible scholars, Isaiah 14:12-15 tells the story of Lucifer, an archangel, who fell from God’s grace and became the devil. Lucifer conspired to make his throne higher than the clouds (he contrived to dethrone God) at which time he was booted out of heaven.
Lucifer is Latin for “morning star” or “light-bearer.” (In 2 Peter 1:19 the “morning star rising in your hearts” is not a reference to Satan.) The way Isaiah describes him is a far cry from the way in which he’s viewed by our culture:
How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
Many people have heard the story of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman God created. All humanity is related to this pair. Adam and Eve came into the world without a sin nature. Moreover, they were created with a free will. We learn from the book of Genesis that they made their home in the Garden of Eden. It was into that garden that Satan, often referred to as the wily serpent, came with evil intent. He found Eve alone and by using lies and deceit convinced her to disregard God’s command to Adam “…you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for when you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) The serpent told Eve that God had withheld knowledge that would give humans hidden wisdom….and make them like God. So Eve threw caution to the wind, disregarded God’s warning, and took a bite out of the fruit.
The serpent was right that God withheld knowledge from them. The moment she ate of the fruit her eyes were opened…and sin came into the world. Wanting Adam along for the ride, Eve then offered the fruit to her husband and, without thinking twice, he took her suggestion and ate it. Instantly, Adam and Eve went from being God-centered to being self-centered.
When God confronted them with what they had done, what did Adam do? He laid the blame on his wife! “It’s her fault, not mine!” So, by Adam choosing to ignore God’s specific warning, he precipitated what we know of as the “Fall of Man.”
The couple soon learned the consequence of sin — death. Until sin there was no death. (2 Cor. 11:3) As a result of the Fall, all human beings are in bondage to sin….and the kingdom of Satan.
Giving Satan’s Whereabouts Some Serious Thought
Two boys were walking home from Sunday school after hearing a strong preaching on the devil.
One said to the other, ‘What do you think about all this Satan stuff?’
The other boy replied, ‘Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It’s probably just your Dad.’
What do you think about all the Satan stuff? Do you believe Satan exists? If you do, where do you think he hangs out? He must be a regular globe trotter. Every minute of the day, in every part of the world, exorcisms are performed on people who are supposedly possessed by the devil. If these exorcisms are indeed legitimate, the implication is that Satan can be in a million places at once.
According to Scripture, Satan is a personal being. Note that Jesus used the personal pronoun when referring to him:
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Logically, Satan can only be in one place at a time. So I’ve been giving his whereabouts some serious thought. To me it makes sense that he would be headquartered on Capitol Hill. I could be mistaken, though. Perhaps he’s in the Middle East or even Hollywood. Regardless of where the “liar” resides, you’ve got to admit that some pretty powerful demonic forces are working their wiles on a number of our elected officials. I mean, think about it; the Left’s diabolical agenda is most certainly influenced by lying spirits. Who knows? Perhaps Satan himself influences decisions made by people who run our government, the media…business…education…entertainment and so on.
But I digress.
The Bible contains many references to angels and demons. To Bible believing Christians like myself, the spirits are very real — a clear and present danger.
Long after I came to faith in Christ, I remained skeptical of Satan and his legions. After reading the Bible, I came to believe that there are indeed “spiritual forces of evil.” As I pointed out in my introduction, we first meet Satan (the serpent) in Gen. 3:1. He showed up in the Garden of Eden with the intent of tricking Eve into disobeying God. The instant Jesus uttered “It is finished” while hanging from the cross, Satan was defeated. (John 12:31, Rom. 16:20, Col. 1:13-14, Col. 2:15, 1 John 3:8, Heb. 2:14-15) The Revelation of Jesus Christ reminds us that he will get his comeuppance. (Rev. 20:1-3) Without going into the gory details, let’s just say Satan and his demons will be sent spiraling into the abyss where they will cool (or warm) their heals for all eternity. God’s judgment is final, by the way. No spirit or human being sentenced to eternal damnation (Mat. 25:46) in the lake of burning sulfur (Rev. 20:10) will get out on good behavior — or for any reason!
But before Satan takes up permanent residence in the place prepared for him and his angels, he’ll remain the “god of this world.” (Cor. 4:4) Answers.com explains Satan’s influence:
Satan is the major influence on the mind-set expressed by the ideals, opinions, goals, hopes and views of the majority of people. His areas of influence also encompass the world’s philosophies, education, and commerce. The thoughts, ideas, speculations and false religions of the world are under his control and have sprung from his lies and deceptions.
Angels were created with a free will. A number of them exercised their free will when they chose to rebel against God, at which time they were cast out of heaven to Earth. For thousands of years God has allowed the rebellious spirits to wreak havoc on this planet and they’ve been doing a pretty thorough job of it.
In Eph. 6:12 Paul “outs” mankind’s true enemy:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
The Bible defines the struggle as “spiritual warfare.” Spiritual warfare has been ongoing since the Fall of Man. Satan may have won a multitude of battles but in the end he will be the Big Loser.
A word of warning before I move on. Evil spirits have supernatural powers that humans do not possess, never will possess, and should not endeavor to possess. Deceptive spirits have tricked certain people into thinking that they’re endowed with supernatural powers, that they’re the “enlightened ones” (EO). Allegedly EO’s are a spiritually advanced order of philosophers and peacemakers. (Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey are said to be EO’s.) They believe they’re here to help usher in a new way of being on the planet. In other words, they’re here to help humans evolve to a higher plane of existence. EO’s think they possesses superior intellect and have been given extraordinary insights…some are even magically empowered. Many EO’s seek guidance from spirits through practicing meditation and yoga.
In Scripture God makes it clear that spirits, including angels, are not to be evoked, called on, invited in, or channeled. We should never try to connect with spirits and we certainly shouldn’t try to glean information from them. In fact, Jesus often told the demons to keep quiet!
Christians who are in contact with so-called angels will read this article and get a little testy with me because they see nothing wrong with contacting angels — and they don’t want anyone raining on their parade! But here’s the thing. Getting a little wet beats getting struck by a lightning bolt from Above.
God makes it clear that He forbids contacting spirits or consulting mediums for any reason. In other words, taking part in occult activities is taboo. (Deut. 18: 10-12) You ask, “Why does God care?” As I pointed out, the spirits are malevolent. Likewise, they’re counterfeit…phony…fakes!
One final point. Many Christians have a misconception of “spiritual warfare.” Nowhere in Scripture are believers told to go into enemy territory and “cast out” demons. What should God’s people do to those bad boys? Paul tells us to be “strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Peter admonishes us to, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour…”
Be strong in the Lord! Resist the devil! Put on the full armor of God! When God’s people stand firm in their faith the tempters make tracks. (To help give Christians an inside look at angels and demons fighting for control of the mind of a back-slidden Christian, read the allegory I wrote on the armor of God here.)
Thanks largely to the secularization of America, the culture is becoming darker, more corrupt and perverse every day. Almost everyone I know has gone through, or is currently going through a trial, including myself. I would go so far as to say that there’s an all out spiritual battle going on for the hearts and minds of men! What’s behind this? To use Paul’s terminology in Eph. 6:12: rulers, authorities, cosmic powers and spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. In other words, Satan and his minions.
Some who are reading this may think I’ve gone round the bend. But consider this. A large number of rational people who resist the idea that Satan exists do believe in angels. Others believe in ghosts and that the ghost is often someone they know such as a deceased loved one. Moreover, a growing segment of our society believes that extraterrestrials visit this planet. I could go on, but there’s not enough space to cover all the things people believe. What’s important to understand is that the infallible, inerrant, God-breathed Word of God says there are forces of good (angels) and evil (demons) that occupy the “heavenly realms” – and even the minds of the unregenerate.
The names alone should be enough to convince us not to mess with the spirits. The Bible calls the chief of fallen angels Satan, Beelzebub and Belial. He’s also called the old serpent, our adversary, god of this world, prince of darkness, father of lies, great dragon…enemy…deceiver… murderer…I’ll leave it at that. Fallen angels are liars (1 Kings 22:22, 23; 2 Chron. 18: 21, 22). So what’s the point of addressing them?
Demons have nothing but contempt for humans. And they’re hellbent on destroying God’s entire creation.
Before I close, I should point out that some professing Christians reject the notion of Satan. And as I said, many people who deny his existence believe there are benevolent angels! Likewise, they believe in ghosts, fairies, and extraterrestrials!
Some skeptics think the devil’s a mythological character. Others say he’s a merely a symbol of evil, still others think of the devil as a sort of caricature. (Parents who view him that way often dress their children in devil costumes on Halloween. Most of the costumes are a combination of red and black, with bat-like ears, a long tail with a spear on the end of it and a three-pronged pitchfork. Some women’s devil costumes are sexy.)
Christians who read and study Scripture are well aware that Satan relishes being thought of as a silly, or sexy, caricature. Who would fear someone who goes around in red tights sporting a cape and carrying a phony pitchfork. No one takes these sorts of devils seriously. I mean, why would anyone fear such a goofy-looking creature?
But what we must remember about Satan is that he’s very real and he doesn’t wear a goofy costume. He comes as one of us. He “disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Cor 11:14-15)
Are all angels safe? By Marsha West
Copyright 2016 by Marsha West.