There’s been a lot of talk for years by the President and some Republicans about dangers posed by the “Deep State.” The Deep State supposedly is a semi-secret, powerful group within the government, determined to undermine the Republican agenda. No one knows exactly who these people are because, of course, they are so deeply embedded into our government. In any case, these “enemies” are either really good at keeping their meetings secret, or they are the boogie man. I’ll leave that up to you. Nevertheless, all Christians ought to believe in a Deep State.
Well then, just what is this other Deep State that Christians should believe in and understand much better? Satan, his demons and the incredible influence they have in the world – our world.
I’m shocked at how little most younger Christians actually know about Satan and his methods. To many he’s just a metaphor for evil. Please don’t make the mistake of assuming your children, grandchildren, or the people you mentor have a healthy fear of Satan and his demons. So, gather them around and read and discuss this blog.
Who is Satan? Let’s be clear. Satan is real. He’s not the boogie man or the “force for evil.” Jesus not only believed in Satan, or the Devil and his demons, he actually spoke to him and them.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ’If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus cast demons of of people.
“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had said to him, ‘Come out of this man, you impure spirit!’ Then Jesus asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘My name is Legion,’ he replied, ‘for we are many.’ And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.” Mark 5:5-13
Jesus actually called the Jewish religious leaders “sons of the Devil.”
“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44
Jesus knew that Satan was powerful enough to influence even his own disciples.
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23
“Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.” Luke 22:1-4
So here’s the bottom line; If you claim to believe in Jesus and say you love him, you also have to believe everything Jesus believes and taught about Satan and his demons.
So, who exactly is Satan? Satan is the enemy of God and he hasn’t gone away, just because we don’t see him or talk to him as Jesus did. He’s alive and unfortunately, well. He’s an angel who led a rebellion against God, who desires the worship and obedience reserved for God alone. Because of this rebellion, Satan and a third of the angels, now called demons, who followed Satan were thrown out of heaven. For reasons known only to God, Satan still is permitted to exert considerable influence on the earth.
“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” 1 John 5:19
Satan and his demons (the other angels who rebelled with him) apparently have territories and are powerful enough that the work of God’s angels can actually be slowed up. However, Satan has limitations, the same as angels. He is not omnipresent (everywhere present), omniscient (all knowing), or all powerful, nor are his demons. In fact, in most ways he is completely the opposite of God.
Satan’s first interaction with man was persuading Adam and Eve that they could be like God and independent of him, by minimizing the consequences of disobedience and lying about the advantages. And he’s still at it today. Throughout history and even today he appeals to man’s intellect and selfish desires to deceive the world by encouraging worldviews contrary to God’s.
The Bible describes “the world” as any other people, religion, philosophy, or value system other than God’s. That doesn’t mean these people worship Satan or even believe he exists. Satan’s primary methods are to keep mankind ignorant of the truth, and he deceives by counterfeiting truth with false religions, philosophies, and values, which may have elements of truth in them. In fact, Satan’s name means “deceiver”.
“Satan’s greatest victory has been convincing modern men that he does not exist.”
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
The world (physical and spiritual) is a battleground for these two kingdoms in conflict. (The kingdom of heaven versus Satan’s kingdom.) Each is governed by supernatural beings (angels and demons), each has its own worldview, and each has its followers on earth. Every person on earth belongs to one kingdom or the other. There is no neutral territory. We are commanded to educate ourselves about and fully resist, by peaceful and loving means, any religion, pattern of living or philosophy, which is antithetical to God’s.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
For now, Satan and his demons continue to wreak havoc on the world, even tempting believers to disobey God. Yes we believe the Bible clearly teaches that the victory over Satan’s ultimate hold on man was already won by Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. But don’t kid yourself. There’s plenty of fight in him yet! Most theologians believe born again Christians cannot be possessed by Satan or demons, but still can be strongly influenced by them. A good General studies his enemy well. Know yours even better.
Next Week: My blog, The Devil Made Me Do It!, will discuss how Satan really works on us as believers and how best to resist him.
How following Jesus works in real life.
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