Identifying the Enemy
It’s always a good idea, before you fight a war, to discover who you’re fighting against. My purpose is to motivate you to the importance of being well-armed in the battle that is before us.
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The devil’s most clever ruse is to make believe that he doesn’t exist. Of course, that’s why you see so many ridiculous pictures of him dressed up with horns and a red suit, sporting a tail and an evil grin. He hides in the most unbelievable places: in religion, in poetry and in art, oftentimes in music and in human understanding. The Bible says that the whole world lies in the lap of the evil one. Satan is not “the man below” heaping coals onto an eternal furnace. When God asked Satan a direct question, his answer showed outrageous arrogance and the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan, the adversary said, “From going to and fro on the earth and from walking up and down in it.” Job 2:2
What a picture, Satan “trucking” all over the earth, doing his thing. He has no imagination. He is real and he is the enemy.
If you look at Ephesians 6:10-12, the word against is used six times. The Christian is in a battle. There is someone we are against and someone who is against us.
Ephesians 6:10-12 (repeated here again)
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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.
In recent years some of the major denominations have opted to move all of the good hymns out of their hymn books. Even the hymn “Onward Christian Soldiers” has been taken out, to eliminate the idea that we’re in a fight.
It would be good if all were love and no difficulty. Some believe that, but believing it, when it isn’t true isn’t healthy. The spirit forces of evil challenge us in the Heavenly Contest. God’s Word tells us to “occupy until I come.” Some people put on white robes and climb a hill and wait for Jesus to return.
It is interesting to note that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was addressed to the brethren in the tenth verse, and to you and me, and to all the Christians everywhere. We’re all in the Battle!
It’s the Lord and the brethren against Satan and the demons…and the battle goes on every day in your heart and in mine.
The Bible identifies the enemy in verse 11 as the devil and in verse 16 as the wicked one. We’re fighting against the wiles of the devil and the darts of the wicked one.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
It’s important to learn all we can about our enemy. The personality of Satan is “the bitterest enemy” of God and His people.
Satan is called:
- the deceiver
- the murderer
- the tempter
- the destroyer
- the serpent
- the liar
- the accuser of the brethren
- the prince
- the evil one
He goes about as a lion. Another passage says,
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
From generation to generation he continues his attack.
Originally, he was different. You might ask where did he come from? Strange as it may be, he came from Heaven.
Originally, he was God’s cherished creation. In Isaiah 14:12 you’ll read about the beginning days of Satan, before he became Satan. Isaiah 14:12 calls him Lucifer, son of the morning. Ezekiel 28:14 calls him the anointed cherub. Ezekiel 28:14-19 reveal Satan as he was in person, position and power with God.
12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13For 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: 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: 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. 17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; 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. 19All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shall thou be any more.
In one place in that passage it says that he was perfect in beauty and in all his ways, full of wisdom, gifted with marvelous intelligence and glorious in holiness. What happened? How did Satan cease to be Lucifer, son of the morning, and become Satan, the arch trader against God?
In Ezekiel 28 the word of God tells us that he lifted up his heart with pride and pride led to self-exaltation which ended in rebellion and we read about it in
Isaiah 14:12-14 (repeated here)
12How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13For 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: 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
When those words came out of the mouth of Lucifer, sin began in the universe, and he was cast out of Heaven. He was cast down as a profane one from the mountain of God. He was brought down to earth, but later will be received in hell.
I believe that God gave to His angels a kind of free will, that He gave to us, and they worship before His throne today, because they choose to do so, but Satan in his own heart determined that he would lift himself up in pride. The first sin that was committed was pride, so when we get proud, remind ourselves that we are Satanic in our nature because pride is of Satan.
Now, ever since Satan was thrown out of Heaven, he has organized rebellion against God. He is angry. He has a system that he has put together. His personality is one of pride and hatred toward God and everything that is associated with God. That’s the enemy.
The Bible calls him a prince: prince of this world and the prince of the power of the air. As prince of this world he is in charge of evil men and as prince of the power of the air, he is in charge of evil spirits. He is a ruling spirit over the children of disobedience. He is behind all the evil in the world today. He is a power behind the world system.
We know that Satan has his own angels.
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.
Remember one-third of the angels fell with Lucifer, to form his team.
There is another name for Satan. 2 Corinthians 4:4 refers to him as “the God of this world.”
2 Corinthians 4:4
In whom the god of this world 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 is a great imitator. Christ has His church. Satan has his own church. He has his own gospel.
Satan has everything you need to have “religion.” He will allow a cross if you wear it around your neck and don’t associate it with any blood and he is especially delighted when on the cross the Savior whom he hates, is still shown in the death position. He loves that.
Satan presides as god over apostate Christianity. He is the god of this age. Notice his power.
One of the reasons we don’t put on the armour to resist the devil, we don’t fear the enemy like we should. We seem to not realize that the devil is the second most powerful person in the universe, subject only to God.
How powerful is he? The Bible tells us that men are held captive by the power of Satan until delivered by the power of the Savior.
Speaking of the Antichrist: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9, there shall be a departure from the faith and a discovery of Antichrist, before the Day of the Lord comes. The Antichrist is empowered by the devil.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-9
1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
Also, Satan has the power of death.
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death this is, the devil.
And the power of that awful red dragon:
And there appeared another wonder in heaven, and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
He’s like a roaring lion:
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Go on through the Bible and you’ll see him as one who has great power. He is diabolical, seductive, rebellious and filled with hate. He has his own strongholds. Satan is powerful.
Notice Satan’s purposes! Having been cast out of Heaven, Satan is filled with fury and envy. His anger is directed against God and His people. His purpose is to dethrone his great enemy and to throw all people into hell, if he can.
He has a well organized army and he tries every way he can to uproot your love and devotion to Christ. He has a beachhead in all of our lives. How? Through the flesh. We must put on the armour of God. We must not, as Christians, underestimate the power of the devil.
I went through the Scriptures and wrote down some of the verbs that are associated with Satan. It’s overwhelming!
- He beguiles.
- He opposes.
- He deceives.
- He seduces.
- He sows tares.
- He tempts.
- He blasphemes.
- He hinders.
Not a single one is positive!
Influenced by Satan, they are destructive in their nature.
John 8:44 (Jesus speaking)
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.
Revelation 12:9 (above) calls him that serpent, called the devil, which deceiveth the whole world. Satan is a crafty, clever camouflage. He reigns to counterfeit everything God is and does.
His last deception and his master deception is called The Antichrist. He even comes up with his own christ at the end as he tries to deceive the world.
As you read through the Bible, you will discover that everything God/Christ has, Satan tries to have also.
In the New Testament we are told that Jesus has a Bride, Revelation 21:9*. Satan has a Bride, Revelation 17.
(Note: “Me” in 21:9 is John; the “bride” is the redeemed: the Lamb’s wife; “the Lamb” is Jesus; the “wife” is the “bride.”)
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
Jesus said in John 8:12 and in John 9:5, “I am the light of the world.” Satan transforms into an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11:14, …for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Jesus is called King of kings in Revelation 17:14 and in Revelation 19:16.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called and chosen, and faithful.
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Jesus is called the Prince of Peace:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Satan is called “the prince of this world” (John 12:31 and John 16:11) and “the prince of the power of the air,” (Ephesians 2:2). Jesus is referred to as “the Lord my God.” Satan is referred to as the god of this age.
John 12:31 (Jesus speaking)
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
John 16:11 (Jesus speaking)
Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
Jesus is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.” Satan is “as a roaring lion” seeking whom he may devour. Whatever our Lord does, Satan tries to do it, too. What was his first ploy? He spoke through a serpent, and deceived Eve and he deceives through false teachers and fake prophets and false christs.
He continues his work of deception. He mixes error with just enough truth to make it appear plausible. He’s crafty. Every cult has just enough truth mixed with error, one of Satan’s great devices.
Satan moves into places where people don’t expect him to be. He misleads people about the nature of sin. He makes them believe that good can come out of evil and he divides. Satan started the first split. He divided the angels; one-third fell with him from Heaven. In the ‘First Family” Satan divided the family and one brother murdered the other.
Satan injects the poison of suspicion of intolerance, dislike, jealousy and criticism and goes around in the system trying to find an outlet, and finally it is the tongue.
James 3:6, 8
6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
8But the tongue no man can tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Satan is the great destroyer. He hinders us from doing the perfect will of God. God tells us to put on the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand the fiery darts of the wicked. We need the shield of faith.
The devil has a quiver of poisonous darts, and he’s just waiting for you to relax the armour; he gets good aim and he shoots them at us.
He loves to use discouragement on God’s people. He wants to destroy your life and ruin your testimony. Stay alert; be aware.
Scripture warns us that Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11:14
And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
The devil can enamor us through angelology as he can through materialism or lust or power hunger.
The Scripture tells us “to try the spirits.”
1 John 4:1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
By influencing the right people with the right connections, to get the right books and magazine articles published and the right TV shows on the air, Satan can lure millions into a false sense of spiritual experience and security.
Because belief in God is no longer “popular” in America, it is possible to believe in anything. People are searching for spirituality, but not if it involves God.
If you endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he who the father chasteneth not?
James 1:3, 4
3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Regarding those new to the faith:
I think we should have a “New Believers” class where those new to faith in God can be tutored in the Word of God. When we lead someone to Christ, that’s the time in their lives when they are vulnerable to the work of Satan, when they are snatched out of darkness into light. You know, Satan is upset about that and before they get their roots down into doctrine and truth, it’s very easy for them to be swayed away from truth.
Paul was worried about these Thessalonian believers because there were many false teachers who were at work at that time who were coming after these believers, with all that they had. Satan, himself was on the warpath.
One of Satan’s most subtle methods of attack on the new Christian is to get him/her into a cult. Cults thrive on new Christians because their spiritual sensitivity is at an all-time high. If they don’t have knowledge of the truth, that will keep them safe, cults will come and begin to draw them away from the faith at the very beginning before that new believer can get himself grounded spiritually. The enemy tries to deceive the new believer, so as to take him down the road of destruction and defeat.
This is what Paul warned the Galatians about. That is why there needs to be strong follow-up on everyone who accepts Christ, and especially in the early days of their faith.
When we win someone to Christ, let’s be sure we get them off to a good start. This is a responsibility for the Christian who is a soul winner. The Bible states in Proverbs 11:30: "He that winneth souls is wise." We need to help these new babes in Christ.
Notice these words in:
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
We resist the devil by growing steadfast in the faith and when we’re strong in our faith we will be able to resist him when he comes to devour us.
Remember: Satan was judged at the cross.
These are the devil’s “last days.” He’s trying to destroy everything that can bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ, who is the one who pronounced his death sentence.
We need to be praying for one another. We see the activity that’s generated by the enemy of our souls.
Satan’s death sentence has already been written.
According to Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we don’t have to be afraid of temptations, for temptation is the possibility for everybody to pray and trust God for victory. God’s faithfulness is God’s pledge to everybody. God’s promise is victory, to every redeemed soul.