The past Century was one of unprecedented evil: 20 million killed in Stalin’s purges, Hitler’s extermination of six million Jews, 1.7 million massacred in the killing fields by Pol Pot. And the carnage has continued into the 21st Century. Are these acts simply the function of an evil twist of character, or are they triggered by a sinister, intelligent, invisible force? Many today believe that the concept of a personal devil is a myth—merely a representation of wrong or sin, and not an individual capable of organized thoughts and intents. But an investigation of Scripture will prove that Satan exists and is the great Adversary of God and His divine plan.
Satan Not a Principle of Evil but an Intelligent Being
The Apostle Paul recognized the existence of a personal Satan and gave him the title god of this world. (2 Cor. 4:4) In fact, Satan’s dominion is so great and his arrogance so bold that he offered all the kingdoms of the world to the Son of God on the one condition that Jesus would bow down and worship him. (Matt. 4:9) And our Lord did not challenge Satan’s right to make such an offer but, upon another occasion, acknowledged him to be the prince of this world—but only for a limited time. John 12:31; 14:30
Satan’s Plans Foiled by God’s Loving Plan
Satan’s plans may be summed up under three heads: 1.) to deny the Word of God; 2.) to destroy the promised seed of blessing; and 3.) to prevent the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
1.) In his attempt to deny the Word of God, every available weapon was employed in the early centuries of the Christian Era to annihilate the Bible. In addition, for centuries, the Word of God was cloaked in dead languages, hoarded by the clergy and kept from the congregations. Satan successfully substituted truth with creedal errors by transforming himself into an angel or messenger of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) But the Bible has survived and is shining more and more as the Millennial day dawns.
2.) When God declared to Satan that the seed of the woman would cause a fatal blow to his head, Satan tried to eliminate the one most likely to be that seed—Abel. Cain murdered his innocent brother in a jealous rage. Later on, God told Abraham that in his seed should “all the families of the earth be blessed.” Satan has repeatedly sought to destroy Israel, the channel through which Jesus, the chosen seed, was to come.
When the fullness of time was come and Jesus was born, Satan promptly made an effort to destroy his life. Through Herod he slew all the children in Bethlehem from two years old and under. Again, Satan appeared for a time to be successful at destroying the seed when the chief priests and Pharisees caused the death of our Lord on the cross; but this was the very means by which Jesus entered into glory. In the case of the true Church, Satan seeks to destroy and discredit them as well. However, God is using this for good as a way to test their characters and make them stronger for the struggle.
3.) Satan sought to prevent our Lord from offering himself as a sacrifice for sin. The supreme occasion was while Jesus was upon the cross itself. Weakened by his sufferings and tortured by his merciless enemies, Satan’s emissaries challenged him to come down from the cross. “If thou be the Son of God come down from the cross.” (Matt. 27:40) But Jesus never faltered, he patiently and valiantly bore his sufferings in silence until he cried in triumph, “It is finished!”
The Overthrow of Satan’s Empire
We are living in the end times which will witness the transition of the dominion of earth from Satan to the rightful prince—Messiah! God has permitted His adversary to reign in evil for now over six thousand years. But the great Almighty will only allow the prince of devils to reign long enough to test the hearts of men and demonstrate the importance of living in harmony with His righteous arrangements. “…this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.” Eccl. 1:13
Soon, when Satan’s lease of power has expired, the Scriptures assure us that God will destroy him. Not only Satan, but “all the wicked will He destroy.” (Psa. 145:20) Jesus bought the right to conquer Satan, sin and death: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through [sacrificial] death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil…” (Heb. 2:14) Note the word “destroy.” In due time, God proposes to blot out of existence all who are not in heart harmony with Him. This is described as the second death: “The devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone …This is the second death [annihilation].” Rev. 20:10,14
Satan is now struggling for his very existence, evidenced by the fact that evil is rampant in every sector of society. (Rev. 12:12) Everything that Satan does in this present evil world is to extend his stay of execution. He knows that his days are numbered, because the Scriptures state that he will be bound during the time of Christ’s thousand-year reign. “He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,…that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled.” (Rev. 20:2,3) After the thousand year reign of righteousness, Satan will be let loose a little season to test the obedience of all people whether they have truly become loyal to God in their hearts.
For all eternity, those who prove faithful to the divine will shall do so, not because of fear or force, but because all will genuinely love God and righteousness. At the close of the Millennial reign of Christ, when he shall have conquered sin and when Satan shall have been destroyed, then absolute peace and harmony will exist throughout the universe, and God will be all in all. 1 Cor. 15:28
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