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Satan's Hatred & History

The Spirit of Christ is greater than Satan. We must be valiant in every Christ-exalting enterprise.

I once heard a story about a young boy who remembered asking his mother a curious question: Was it acceptable for him to harbor hatred towards the devil? Despite his mother not being a trained theologian, her wisdom surpassed her credentials, offering the kind of answer that a young, inquisitive mind sought. She said that love should extend to everyone, and hatred had no place in their hearts.

Fast forward to a more recent event where the same young boy (now a man) found himself in a forum surrounded by high school students. The topic at hand was intriguing: "Should we hate the devil, and should we pray for him?"  It seemed that many were genuinely concerned about the soul of the evil one.

Recalling his mother's guidance on universal love, he revisited the concept. However, delving into biblical teachings brought forth a nuance. Proverbs 6:16-19 outlined seven abominations, signaling elements worthy of disdain, such as a proud look, a lying tongue, hands shedding innocent blood, a heart devising wicked plans, feet swift in running to evil, a false witness spreading lies, and one sowing discord among brethren.

Now, addressing the two questions posed by curious high school students:  Nowhere does the Bible state that we should pray for Satan. His destiny is sealed, and there's nothing we could say to God that would alter it. The Bible remains silent on whether we should hate him.

Yet, one certainty remains: Satan harbors a deep-seated hatred for us. His affection lies in death, destruction, evil, and wickedness.

As we enter Revelation 12 this week, let’s go ahead and review who Satan is and how we can stand against him.

Some Biblical Background on Satan

1.  Satan, like all angels, was created at some point in time, not eternal (Col. 1:16; John 1:1-3). He's not as powerful as God, being finite and lacking divine attributes. In essence, Satan is not God's equal; at most, he's on par with the archangel Michael.

2.  We don't know when or how Satan rebelled against God; commonly cited texts likely don't refer to his fall (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19).

3.  Satan has various names revealing his character. "Satan" (used 52x) means "adversary" or "opposer." "Devil" (used 35x) means "slanderer" or "accuser." Other names include Lucifer, the old Serpent, the Great Dragon, Ruler of this world, and Prince of the power of the air.

4.  Satan operates with a plan or scheme, showing evil intelligence (2 Cor. 2:10-11; Eph. 6:11).

5.  Satan actively opposes the gospel and tries to hinder its missionary outreach (2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Thess. 2:18).

6.  Satan can influence sickness, death, and fear. He plants sinful thoughts, occasionally indwells a person, and sets traps for people (Acts 10:38; Heb. 2:14; Acts 5:3; John 13:2).

7.  Satan tests or tries Christians, sets snares, and incites persecution, imprisonment, and political oppression of believers (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; Rev. 2:10).

8. Satan accuses Christians, performs deceptive signs and wonders, seeks to silence the church's witness, and incites disunity and division (Rev. 12:10-12; 2 Cor. 2:10-11).

9.  Satan promotes false doctrine, manipulates weather with God's permission, influences unbelievers, attacks married believers in their sexual relationship, and exploits our sinful decisions (1 Tim. 4:1-3; Job 1:18-19; Eph. 2:1-2; 1 Cor. 7:5; Eph. 4:26-27).

10. Ultimately, Satan and his fallen hosts will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal torment (Rev. 20:10; Matt. 25:41).

What Should We Do, then?

The directive is clear: "stand firm" against his schemes (Ephesians 6:13).

To combat Satan's attacks, Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians in chapter six, provides a practical guide through seven pieces of spiritual armor, each deeply rooted in the gospel.

1. Identity in Christ:

  - Take up the "belt of truth" (Ephesians 6:13-14).

  - Embrace Jesus as the core of your identity.

2. Christ's Righteousness:

  - Take up the "breastplate of righteousness" (Ephesians 6:14).

  - Believe in Christ's sinless record, aligning your life with his righteousness.

3. Preach the Gospel:

  - Put on the readiness given by the "gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15).

  - Use the gospel offensively, sharing it to overcome Satan's influence.

4. Faith as a Shield:

  - Equip the "shield of faith" (Ephesians 6:16).

  - Counter Satan's lies with faith in the gospel, actively blocking his attacks.

5. Remember Salvation:

  - Take up the "helmet of salvation" (Ephesians 6:17).

  - Let the truth of salvation and God's faithfulness guard your thoughts.

6. Immerse in the Bible:

  - Wield the "sword of the Spirit," the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

  - Deepen your knowledge, meditation, and memorization of the Bible.

7. Devote to Very Bold Prayer:

  - Make prayer a constant practice, "praying at all times in the Spirit" (Ephesians 6:18).

  - Recognize prayer as a powerful weapon, actively engaging in spiritual battles.

In this battle, we Christians are not alone. In Christ, there is a resurrected Savior who conquered Satan's worst attacks. Our identity in him is unshakable, and with the provided spiritual armor, we believers can effectively overcome Satan's influence in our lives.

Satan would be pleased if the world focused only on a baby in a manger and ignored the grown-up, tortured, crucified, and resurrected redeemer and judge.

Remember: The triune Lord reigns—not Satan, not man, not God and man, not good luck, not bad luck, not random events, not chance occurrences, not the alignment of the stars, not accidents, not blind fate, not good or bad karma—only God, and God alone.

Rejoice in that truth!