There are many unsaved people that do not believe in the devil. Others think that he is their best friend. Most have the mistaken view that God is some kind of omnipresent spoil sport and would rather deal with just about anyone else other than the Almighty. Why? Because those are exactly the kinds of things that the devil wants people to believe. He hides the truth from them. We find this made very clear in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV):
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 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."
The struggle that humans have with the devil began before we were even created. The Bible tells us how an angel named Lucifer which means 'light bearer' became a fallen angel in Isaiah 14:12-15 (KJV):
"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. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
Satan's rebellion was joined by some other angels. Not surprisingly, they lost that battle and God had them all ejected from Heaven and sent to Earth as revealed in Revelation 12:7-9 (KJV):
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; 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."
The Earth must have existed at the time that Satan was thrown out of heaven and exiled there along with his cohorts. With the devil in charge, I am certain that Earth could not have been a very happy place. However, God did not create the Earth for the devil. He created it for people.
The Bible tells us that God created a special place for humans to live on the Earth. That place was the Garden of Eden. It was reserved for their use and was likely a sanctuary that stood apart from the rest of the world controlled by the devil. After placing Adam and Eve in the garden, God gave them some amazing marching orders that are found in Genesis 1:28 (KJV):
"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
God wanted people to obey him and subdue the Earth. He wanted humans, not the devil, to have dominion over the Earth. However, that plan fell apart because of free will. Adam and Eve were told what the ground rules were for the Garden of Eden. They had a choice to obey them or not. Those rules are found in Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV):
"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Because the devil had access to the entire Earth (including the Garden of Eden), he appeared as some sort of intelligent creature that already existed in the garden and one that was probably well known to Adam and Eve. That creature was called a serpent. Satan did this to deceive Adam and Eve. The Bible makes it clear that the devil can appear as most anything he likes. That fact is found in 2 Corinthians 11:14 (KJV):
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light."
Full of fear that God's plan to have humans dominate the Earth would succeed, the devil went to work on them with a lie. That lie is exposed in Genesis 3:1-5 (KJV):
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
The devil succeeded in tempting Eve, and she succeeded in getting Adam to go along with her. Sin entered into the picture and people became sinners. I am sure this made Satan very happy, but he didn't stop there. People were still a grave threat to him so he wanted to do all he could to infect them with so much evil that God could not even stand the sight of humans. He almost succeeded. The Bible states in Genesis 6:1-7 (KJV):
"And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them."
Satan used his army of fallen angels to seduce human women. These fallen angels apparently had the ability to mate with them and produce offspring. These children were people that obviously hated God and influenced others to do the same. The world became infested with evil and things were so bad that God was about to destroy every person and creature on the Earth and start over.
The devil almost had it made, but God noticed that there was a man who was just and taught his family the ways of the Lord. His name was Noah. The Bible tells us that "...Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8 KJV). God used Noah and his family (including his sons and their wives) to preserve humanity while he destroyed all the others with a worldwide flood.
However, as soon as the flood waters receded and the eight people that survived that catastrophe emerged from the Ark that God commanded Noah to build, Satan went right back to work. Noah planted a vineyard, produced wine, got drunk and fell naked on his bed. One of his sons named Ham looked at him while he was naked. Ham was the father of the people of Canaan. As punishment for the sin of Ham, the people of Canaan were cursed to serve the sons of Shem (another son of Noah).
Satan succeeded in creating a rift between Noah's children and continued to ferment rebellion among all humans. However, once again God entered into the picture and a chose a righteous man out of the Earth's populace to establish of nation of people that would be set apart to God. His name was Abram. The Bible tells us in Genesis 12:1-3 (KJV):
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
God creates a covenant with Abram and changes his name in Genesis 17:5-9 (KJV):
"Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations."
Satan loses again, but gets right back to work. He causes Israel to turn from God and sin over and over again. The Bible records the words of a disciple of Jesus named Stephen who describes the rebellion of Israel in the days of Moses and the days of Jesus in Acts 7:51-53 (KJV):
" Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it."
Despite their failure to live up to God's expectations and become a nation of priests, the Jews would be used as a conduit to bring Salvation to humans through Jesus Christ. Jesus was a descendant of David, the King of Israel. As soon as he was born, the devil went back to work. The Bible indicates that Satan probably believed that Jesus came to the Earth to set up a Kingdom and, therefore, once again subdue the devil and his followers.
From the moment that Jesus Christ was born, Satan sought to kill, compromise or conquer our Lord. He used a wicked King named Herod to try and have Jesus killed while he was an infant. After the wise men came to Herod to inquire about the birth of Jesus, he became concerned about this amazing child and sought to have them locate him. Herod was jealous of the infant he felt might be a prophet or messiah who could cause his downfall. The wise men figured out what he was up to and helped to foil his plot. Herod was enraged and ordered a horrendous act to try to stop Jesus that is recorded in Matthew 2:16 (KJV):
"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men."
Satan couldn't keep Jesus from being born and wasn't able to have him killed as an infant, so he did the next best thing. After Jesus began his ministry, the devil tried tempting him. Satan wanted Jesus to worship him. The Bible states in Matthew 4:8-11 (KJV):
"Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him."
Another failure for Satan, but he still didn't quit. From that moment on the devil again tried to have Jesus killed. Why? Because he believed that would stop the Lord from setting up his kingdom on the Earth. But there was something that Satan didn't know. A 'mystery' that was kept from him and all people until the Apostle Paul revealed it in Romans 11:25-27 (KJV):
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."
The Gospel, the 'good news' of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is also described as a 'mystery' in Ephesians 6:19 (KJV):
"And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,"
What the devil didn't know was that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, took human form and fulfilled all of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah so that he could institute God's secret or 'mystery' plan for the redemption all people and the ultimate salvation of Israel. That plan replaced the Law with Grace.
God's plan of redemption for Israel began with the coming of John the Baptist as recorded in Matthew 3:1-6 (KJV):
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins."
Jesus offered himself to the nation of Israel and they rejected him. While appearing before Pontius Pilate that fact was made clear in John 19:19-22 (KJV):
"And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written."
God's program of redemption for the world would now be officially available to everyone as recorded in Galatians 3:13-14 (KJV):
"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
Jesus needed to die on the cross to pay for the sins of all those who are willing to accept that death as payment for their iniquities. Instead of thwarting the plan of God for the redemption of people by encouraging those that hated Jesus to have him killed, Satan actually helped to fulfill it! That's why Jesus spoke in parables during his earthly ministry. After most of the people of Israel refused to accept Jesus as their Savior, Jesus reached out to and used Gentiles (people other than Jews) to do his work.
Satan hates people because from the very moment that God created us, he planned to use us to subdue the Earth and defeat everything the devil tried to do. Satan hates us even more now because we possess the ability to personally defeat him in our own lives. All it takes to defeat the devil is to join the other side by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. The Bible explains how to do that in Romans 10:9-10 (KJV):
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Accepting Jesus as your Savior is as simple as praying to God, letting him know you are a sinner, and accepting his death on the cross as payment for your sins. The devil hates you, but God loves you. Satan wants to kill you and Jesus wants to give you eternal life. It's as simple as that.
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