Some people think that there is no Satan. Perhaps the following story will be instructive to them.
Once there was a boxer who was being badly beaten. Battered and bruised, he leaned over the ropes and said to his trainer, “Throw in the towel! This guy is killing me!”
The trainer said, “Oh, no, he’s not. He’s not even hitting you. He hasn’t laid a glove on you!”
At that point the boxer wiped the blood away from his eye and said, “Well, then, I wish you’d watch that referee. Somebody is sure hitting me!” ── Michael P. Green《Illustrations for Biblical Preaching》
God indeed has the Devil in a chain, but has horribly lengthened out the chain.
That there is a devil is a thing doubted by none but such as are under the influence of the Devil.
On a recent trip to Haiti, I heard a Haitian pastor illustrate to his congregation the need for total commitment to Christ. His parable: A certain man wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
The Haitian pastor's conclusion: "If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ's habitation."
Dale A. Hays, Leadership, Vol X, #3 (Summer, 1989), p. 35.
Christians must not fear or ignore the devil. Both positions are dangerous. The hog nosed snake is an evil looking reptile which responds to the threat of danger with two ruses. First, it impersonates a pit viper, coiling and striking and hissing viciously. If this fails to intimidate the attacker the snake turns belly up, opens its mouth and lolls its tongue out, playing dead. If it is picked up and placed right side up it simply turns over and resumes the death ruse again. It seems to realize that if it cannot bluff, it has to mimic death.
Richard Lovelace, Demon Possession, ed. J. Montgomery.
Writing in Moody Monthly, Carl Armerding recounted his experience of watching a wildcat in a zoo. "As I stood there," he said, "an attendant entered the cage through a door on the opposite side. He had nothing in his hands but a broom. Carefully closing the door, he proceeded to sweep the floor of the cage." He observed that the worker had no weapon to ward off an attack by the beast. In fact, when he got to the corner of the cage where the wildcat was lying, he poked the animal with the broom. The wildcat hissed at him and then lay down in another corner of the enclosure. Armerding remarked to the attendant, "You certainly are a brave man." "No, I ain't brave," he replied as he continued to sweep. "Well, then that cat must be tame." "No," came the reply, "he ain't tame." "If you aren't brave and the wildcat isn't tame, then I can't understand why he doesn't attack you." Armerding said the man chuckled, then replied with an air of confidence, "Mister, he's old--and he ain't got no teeth."
Carl Armerding, Moody Monthly.
Theologians tell a story to illustrate how Christ's triumph presently benefits our lives: Imagine a city under siege. The enemy that surrounds they city will not let anyone or anything leave. Supplies are running low, and the citizens are fearful. But in the dark of the night, a spy sneaks through the enemy lines. He has rushed to the city to tell the people that in another place the main enemy force has been defeated; the leaders have already surrendered. The people do not need to be afraid. It is only a matter of time until the besieging troops receive the news and lay down their weapons. Similarly, we may seem now to be surrounded by the forces of evil -- disease, injustice, oppression, death. But the enemy has actually been defeated at Calvary. Things are not the way they seem to be. It is only a matter of time until it becomes clear to all that the battle is really over.
Richard J. Mouw, Uncommon Decency, pp. 149-150.
Two 6 year olds struggled with the problem of the existence of the devil. One boy said, "Oh, there isn't any devil." The other, rather upset, said, "What do you mean, there isn't any devil? It talks about him all the way through the Bible!" the first replied, "Oh that's not true, you know. It's just like Santa Clause, the devil turns out to be your dad."
G. Lewis, Demon Possession, ed. J. Montgomery.
A friend and associate of boxers, American writer Wilson Mizner was himself a talented fighter. One night Mizner and boxer "Mysterious" Billy Smith visited a San Francisco bar, where Mizner started a fight with some longshoremen. At the end only one longshoreman was left standing. Although Mizner rained punches at him, he stayed obstinately upright. Suddenly, Smith noticed what was happening. "Leave him alone, Wilson!" he shouted. "I knocked him out five minutes ago." On investigation it turned out that a punch from Smith had indeed knocked the longshoreman out cold, but had also wedged him vertically between two pieces of furniture.
Here's an accurate picture of our already-defeated but still standing enemy Satan!
Today in the Word, April 3, 1993.
Writing in Moody Monthly, Carl Armerding recounted his experience of watching a wildcat in a zoo. "As I stood there," he said, "an attendant entered the cage through a door on the opposite side. He had nothing in his hands but a broom. Carefully closing the door, he proceeded to sweep the floor of the cage." He observed that the worker had no weapon to ward off an attack by the beast. In fact, when he got to the corner of the cage where the wildcat was lying, he poked the animal with the broom. The wildcat hissed at him and then lay down in another corner of the enclosure. Armerding remarked to the attendant, "You certainly are a brave man." "No, I ain't brave," he replied as he continued to sweep. "Well, then, that cat must be tame." "No," came the reply, "he ain't tame." "If you aren't brave and the wildcat isn't tame, then I can't understand why he doesn't attack you." Armerding said the man chuckled, then replied with an air of confidence, "Mister, he's old -- and he ain't got no teeth."
Our Daily Bread.
The thoroughly evil nature of the devil consists in the fact that here we have spontaneous, self-generating sin expressed in pure defiance and pure arrogance.
Nigel Wright, The Satan Syndrome, Zondervan, 1990, p. 58.
The devil is not impersonal like stones or bureaucracies; he is a non-person. The Devil has become all that God is not; he is not beyond personality--he is without it. His purpose in creation is not to destroy God; he knows that he cannot do that. He wants to draw us into the vortex of non-personhood that he has become, and the nothingness of non-being that he is becoming. Satan, in short, aims to take as many of us with him as he can.
Nigel Wright, The Satan Syndrome, Zondervan, 1990, p. 163.
Satan promises the best,
but pays with the worst;
he promises honor and pays with disgrace;
he promises pleasure and pays with pain;
he promises profit and pays with loss;
he promises life and pays with death.
Possible Biblical references to Satan:
Genesis 3:1-14 He was
disguised under the Edenic serpent
Genesis 3:15 He is the serpent's seed
Isaiah 14:12 He was Lucifer, son of the morning before the fall
Ezekiel 28:14 He was the anointed cherub that covers
1 Chronicles 21:1 He energized David to evil
Job 1:7-2:10 He accused and afflicted Job
Zecheriah 3:1-9 He opposes unbelieving Israel prefigured by Joshuathe priest
Matthew 4:3 He is the tempter
Matthew 12:24; Acts 10:38 He is the prince of the demons
1 Timothy 4:1-6 He instigates false doctrine
Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:10-11 He perverts the Word of God
Matthew 12:22-29 He works in demon possession
Zechariah 3:1 He is Satan, the Adversary
Luke 4:13 He is the devil, the slanderer
John 13:2,27 He caused Judas to betray Christ
Acts 5:3 and Ananias to lie
2 Corinthians 4:4 He blinds people spiritually
1 Peter 5:8 He seeks to harm believers
Ephesians 6:11-12 He heads a celestial hierarchy of evil
Ephesians 2:2 He indwells the unsaved
John 8:44 He was branded "a liar" and "the father of lies"by Jesus
2 Thessalonians 2:9 He works diabolic miracles
John 8:44 He is a murderer
John 12:31; 14:30 He is the prince of this world
Luke 13:16 He blinds people physically and spiritually
Matthew 25:41 He is a fallen angel
Matthew 13:38-39 He sows tares
Matthew 13:19 and snatches away the Word
Revelation 20:1-3 He will be bound during the millennium
Matthew 13:39 He is "the enemy"
Matthew 13:38 "the evil one"
Ephesians 6:10-20 He is routed by Spirit-directed prayer
1 Peter 5:8-9 He is overcome by faith
1 Thessalonians 2:18 He hinders God's will in believers
Revelation 12:9 He is the deceiver
Revelation 12:9; 20:2 He is the dragon, that old serpent
Luke 10:18 He fell from a sinless high estate
Luke 22:31 He viewed Simon Peter as a target
Revelation 2:9 He has a synagogue of legalists who deny God's grace in Christ
John 3:8, 10 His children are unsaved people
Matthew 25:41; Rev 20:10 His ultimate fate is Gehenna
Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger's Bible Handbook, Revised Gary N. Larson, Moody Press, Chicago, 1984, p. 407.
J. O. Sanders offers this interesting description of the counterfiet nature of Satan:
Satan has his own
trinity--the devil, the beast, and the false prophet (Revelation 16:13).
He has his own church, "a synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 2:9).
He has his own ministers, "ministers of Satan" (2 Corinthians 11:4-5).
He has formulated his own system of theology "doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1).
He has established his own sacrificial system; "The Gentiles...sacrifice to demons" (1 Corinthians 10:20).
He has his own communion service, "the cup of demons...and the table of demons" (1 Corinthians 10:21).
His ministers proclaim his own gospel, "a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you" (Galatians 1:7-8).
He has his own throne (Revelation 13:2) and his own worshipers (Revelation 13:4).
So he has developed a thorough imitation of Christianity, viewed as a system of religion.
In his role as the
imitator of God, he inspires false christs, self-constituted messiahs (Matthew
He employs false teachers who are specialists in his "theology," to bring in "destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them" (2 Peter 2:1). They are adept at mixing truth and error in such proportions as to make error palatable. They carry on their teaching surreptitiously and often anonymously.
He sends out false prophets. "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many" (Matthew 24:11).
He introduces false brethren into the church, who "had sneaked in to spy out our liberty...in order to bring us into bondage" (Galatians 2:4).
He sponsors false apostles who imitate the true (2 Corinthians 11:13).
J.O. Sanders, Satan is No Myth, Moody, 1975, pp. 35-36.
J. O. Sanders offers this summary of the strategies of Satan:
Strategies of Satan with unbelievers:
1) blinding the minds of
the unregenerate (2 Cor. 4:4).
2) snatching away the good seed of the word (Matthew 13:19).
3) lulling the unbeliever into a false sense of security (Luke 11:21).
4) laying snares for the unwary (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
5) masquerading as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:13-14).
6) deceiving those whose minds are not subject to the Word of truth (Rev 12:9).
7) mixing truth with error (Matthew 13:25-8).
Strategies of Satan with believers:
1) annihilate the church
or neutralize its witness from within (Acts 5:1-6).
2) virulent persecution from without.
3) smother its witness by according it great popularity.
4) disturb the unity of the church by creating discord and division
5) subversion of the church through apostasy and heresy (2 Peter 2:1-2).
J.O. Sanders, Satan is No Myth, Moody, 1975, p. 72ff.
Even those who claim to be Born Again are not necessarily firmly grounded in the truths of the Bible. In his book which provides a statistical analysis of religious beliefs in America, George Barna cites several fascinating statistics which are based on a national survey.
In chapter four he states, "The Devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is a symbol of evil." Then asking that segment of his survey respondents who have identified themselves at being Born Again, he states, "Do you agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, or disagree strongly with that statement?"
The Born Again population reply with 32 percent agreeing strongly, 11 percent agreeing somewhat and 5 percent did not know. Thus, of the total number responding, 48 percent either agreed that Satan is only symbolic or did not know!
Should it then be surprising that a few pages later Barna would receive some very startling responses? His next question, "Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and others all pray to the same God, even though they use different names for that God." Again, the respondents were asked to agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat or disagree strongly.
Of that population surveyed who identified themselves as Born Again, 30 percent agreed strongly, 18 percent agreed somewhat and 12 percent did not know. That is a total of 60 percent! (What Americans Believe, pp. 206-212).
Watchman Expositor, Vol. 10, No. 4, 1993, p. 31.