Chapter 6: The Adversary

John the Baptist, who was beheaded by Herod the Tetrarch, was the cousin of Jesus. John was born six months earlier than Jesus, and most likely, they grew up together because Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John, were very close, according to Luke 1:39-56. John was called the voice of one crying in the wilderness, and he prepared the way for the Messiah and told people to be baptized unto repentance and turn from their evil ways. John baptized Jesus in water, and the Spirit of God descended upon Jesus, and he began his earthly ministry in the power of the Holy Ghost. John was very close to Jesus; of all men, John realized who Jesus actually was.

King Herod had John imprisoned for his wife Herodias’ sake. John had declared to Herod that it was unlawful to marry Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Herodias was infuriated and wanted John dead to shut him up. But Herod respected John as a holy man and would not kill him. On King Herod’s birthday, with many important guests, Herodias’ daughter danced for Herod and pleased him so much that he swore in front of his guests to give her anything she asked unto the half of his kingdom. She went to her mother and said, what shall I ask of King Herod? Herodias said, the head of John the Baptist. The daughter asked for John’s head on a plate. Because of Herod’s drunken oath in front of his guests, he regretfully ordered John beheaded, and the head was given to Herodias’ daughter on a large plate, and she gave it to her mother.

When John’s cousin Jesus was told this horrible story of deceit and murder, he was saddened so much that he departed by ship to a desert place to be alone and away from the multitudes. But the people followed him by the thousands in the desert because they were confused by the events of the day and looked to Jesus for guidance. Jesus did not reject the multitudes but was moved by compassion and met their needs. Jesus healed the sick, preached deliverance, and then fed them miraculously with only five loaves of bread and two fishes. Every stomach was filled, and every bondage of sickness was healed. Jesus could have reacted in anger toward King Herod and incited the people to revolt and storm the palace of Herod and demand justice for the murder of John the Baptist, but he did not. Why? Because Jesus’ real adversary was not King Herod but the spirit that worked evil in the King and his wife as willing accomplices to do the work of Satan. Satan is the adversary to all that is good. God the Father said of Jesus the Son,” Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity.” Hebrews 1:9. Jesus was moved by compassion towards the multitude, as Matthew 14:14 says, but he was also driven by his hatred of the bondage of sin and iniquity Satan had inflicted on the people seeking Jesus’ help. Satan’s kingdom suffered a great loss at the hands of Jesus that day, many were set free from demonic control through sickness and decease, and the truth was preached to the multitudes. Satan paid dearly for taking John’s life, and John went to Paradise, where all the prophets of God were.

Satan is called the devil and is the chief opponent of God. The name Satan means adversary, and although it is more of a description of him than a name, it fits him very well. According to Isaiah 14:12-15, which is said to describe him, he was called Lucifer, Son of the Morning, and he had a place of great responsibility in heaven. He began to think in his heart,” I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of the assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Satan was the original opposing force against the sovereignty of God as creator and controller of creation. He incited rebellion in heaven. In Revelations 12:4, as the Red Dragon, he drew a third of the stars or angels from heaven with him when he fell. He is a fallen angel initially created by God for the purpose of good.

Ezekiel 28:14-17 says about Satan, “You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in all your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to earth.” Satan became the ruler of darkness, spoken in Ephesians 6:12. Jesus said in John 8:44 that Satan was a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies. He is the father of everything perverse and wicked in the eyes of God. Satan created a reality that brought disharmony to the universe that God had made, and it brought the swift judgment of God, John 16:11. Satan and his angels are destined for the lake of fire created for them as the final judgment of God, Revelation 20:10

Satan was the original sinner, an angel who tried to be more than he was. He was not content with the grandeur and high appointment of heaven but wanted to be like God. He did not realize there is and can be only one Eternal God of the universe. To create an opposing force to the will of God is insanity and doomed to failure. He began to think more highly of himself than he should. His self-pride leads him to the hatred of God and all that is good and pleasing to the Creator. When man and woman came on the scene made in God’s image, Satan wanted to steal their place in the world. Lacking the power to take it from them by force, he used deceit and lies to worm his way into the earth. Man and woman sinned against God. Now the earth is greatly influenced by evil orchestrated by the evil one. Satan had a place of rule in the physical world through man’s failure to watch over creation. Satan tried to entangle his destiny with man’s destiny and force God to choose to alter his judgment of Satan and his angels who are destined for the lake of fire. Sin was now a part of humanity’s nature; surely, God would not destroy man and woman along with Satan in the lake of fire.

Satan never understood the wisdom of God and underestimated God’s creative powers. The Father God would create something that never existed before, redemption. God’s love for us would make way for man and woman to partake in eternal life with God. God laid a foundation of redemption through his promises to man and the law of substitution, and blood sacrifice, all pointing to the coming of the redeemer and the deliverance of his people. Finally, Jesus lived a sinless life and suffered death in our place and became our ransom. He redeemed anyone who would accept what Jesus did and turn from the evil nature brought upon us by our actions and the works of Satan. Satan is mad and still deceives man clinging to the idea that he can foil God’s plan and alter his final resting place in the lake of fire. As long as Satan can manipulate and deceive man into doing his will, he has a place on the earth. But the Bible teaches that the age of grace will not last forever; judgment will come. God will end the growth of cancer called evil in the universe. Satan and his followers will be purged into utter darkness, Revelation 20:15.

In the meantime, we still wage war with Satan for men and women’s minds and souls and suffer the consequences of sin in society. Satan controls aspects of human development that we have not protected by following God’s instruction through his Word. Satan is trying to crush revelation knowledge that comes from the Word of God because it sets men free from the power of sin and death. We can not afford to be ignorant of Satan’s devices and his intention where man is concerned. Satan must keep the truth of the Word of God from man’s understanding to stop conversion; the free will choice of man and woman to become children of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4. Through lies and deception, he confuses and refutes the truth in the Word of God to stop it from being sown in the hearts of men and women, Mark 4:15. Satan uses persecution to offend people and confuse them into thinking God is punishing them, but God is not the persecutor of those he would set free. Satan has set up belief systems and false teachings that intimidate people because the Word of God was planted in their hearts, Mark 4:17.

Satan also uses the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things to terminate the fruitfulness of God’s Word in the hearts of people, Mark 4:19. Satan is a master at twisting God’s Word to say his falsehoods, the tempting of Jesus in the wilderness was an excellent example of that. In Matthew 4, after Jesus had fasted 40 days, he was hungry. Satan tried to take advantage of his hunger. Satan said,” If you are the Son of God, then command these stones to be made bread.” Jesus responded with the Word of God and said,” It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Satan, understanding Jesus was going to use the Word of God, sets Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and says,” If you are the Son of God cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands, they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus realizing Satan was manipulating the Word of God for his purpose, said,” It is written again; you shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Satan took Jesus to the high mountains and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, then Satan said,” All these things I will give to you if you will kneel down and worship me.” Satan tried to compromise Jesus in his mission in the world and get him to accept Satan as the shortcut to the goals in his life. But Jesus said to Satan,”…Get behind me Satan: for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.” Defeated in his attempt to deceive and compromise Jesus in his work, Satan left Jesus in the desert, and the angels of God helped Jesus and ministered to him. Satan then began working in others to stop Jesus in his ministry and incite envy and hatred in those he would contact.

Every human being has been influenced by the kingdom of Satan and his fallen angels. Sometimes it’s just a suggestion to compromise ourselves in what we know in our heart is wrong, therefore setting in motion the lies and further distortions of the truth in an attempt to cover the guilt of conscience that tells us we have sinned. Eventually, we begin to believe that it is alright to continue to sin because I deserve it, or I’m not hurting anyone, or the people I hurt deserve retaliation, or any other compromising reason to continue to sin. The action becomes not just a moment of weakness but a habit-forming need to sin. It can be in any area of life. It compounds and becomes an area of bondage that can only be broken by the power of God.

Sin is an invisible force originating from the person of Satan. It impacts the mind and stimulates the brain to think about life choices, which distracts from and destroys one’s divine potential. Humankind was initially created in the image of God, with the capacity and potential toward godliness. Satan entered the debate and said that man and woman should partake of the fruit of good and evil knowledge so they could make the right choices to god-hood. Sin came between God and man in the form of disobedience. This action caused the Zoë life or eternal life from God to die in man and woman. Still, as creatures created with the capacity for eternal life, man and woman are discontented and incomplete without the Zoë or eternal life from God. But this is the price for sin. The result is death and total separation from life. The key to deliverance from sin is the truth of God, which the bible promises to set us free from the power of sin and death.

Zoë or eternal life is an invisible force emanating from the person of Jesus Christ, to which the spiritually unregenerate are insensitive. It impacts the Christian’s mind to stimulate the brain to think in terms of life choices, which enhance and develop one’s divine potential. God has provided the gift of eternal life through his Son and the miracle of our regenerated spirit, and he has provided spiritual armor to protect us from the arrows of Satan.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world, and against spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, and pray in the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:10-18.

The belt of truth is mentioned first in the arsenal of God. Truth is important; it holds all the other apparel together. Without the truth, everything would eventually fall apart. Satan would blind men and women from the truth because he knows it sets them free from his power and control. Pilate, the Roman Governor over Judea, asked Jesus, ” What is truth?” he didn’t realize that he had the truth standing before him in Jesus. Deception is Satan’s primary tool in dealing with the truth. If the Holy Spirit awakens our understanding through the truth of God, then Satan can’t deceive. Love the truth. Desire the truth that only God can give. As Jesus said, the truth shall set you free.

The breastplate of righteousness is the next part of the armor of God. It guards the heart and all the vital organs of the body. Righteousness is the gift of God given to us by Jesus. Our righteousness in and of itself is as filthy rags before God, but He will not condemn us if we choose to walk in the righteousness of Jesus. Our sin is no longer the devil’s business; it’s between the child of God and the Father God. If we slip and sin, then we confess to God our sin and right any wrong we have done that it is in our power to correct; God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9-10. But we must not deny the conviction of sin in our heart but deal with it as soon as possible. Any delay can jeopardize our relationship with God and take us farther from Jesus’ righteousness. You have the power given by Jesus to stay in the right standing (righteousness) with God and keep Satan from having any control over you through sin. When we sin, we should run towards God and his grace, not away from God’s forgiveness.

The gospel of peace covers the feet of the one wearing the armor of God, and it helps us when the day of evil comes to stand our ground. And after you have done everything in that day to stand. The foundation of that stand against Satan is the good news of the gospel of peace, given us in the tempest of the storms of life. Our oneness with God through Jesus means that he is with us, in and through all things. We can be contented and peaceful because Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you even unto the end of the world.” We are ready for Satan because the peace of God is ours through the gospel, the truth about Jesus.

In addition to this, we take up the shield of faith, which extinguishes all the evil one’s flaming arrows. Faith has a way of eliminating fear and doubt and confusion; the areas Satan is most proficient in shooting his flaming arrows. Satan will not leave any stone unturned in finding a weakness in human life. Any opening in our faith is vulnerable to his attack. The shield of faith is the first line of defense in the onslaught of the kingdom of darkness.

The helmet of salvation guards the mind and head of the believer. Thoughts and beliefs that are contrary to salvation through Jesus can not be part of the believer’s mind. Salvation is of God, and by His Son Jesus, no other way can we find into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus said no man comes unto the Father except by me. We have been set free from sin and its consequences of death and given life eternal with God by believing in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Hebrews 5:9 calls Jesus, the author of eternal salvation, to them that obey Him.

Finally, we must take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, an offensive weapon in the armor of God. By His words, God framed the world and created something out of nothing. The word of God spoken in faith by a child of God will change things and create areas of opportunity that did not exist before except in the believer’s heart. The word of God is our final authority in the struggle against evil. The revelation knowledge found in the word of God is so powerful that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it, Matthew 16:18. The word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Ephesians 6:18 tells us that this armor of God is praying armor. The battle for man and woman’s hearts and minds is completed in the spiritual realm through prayer. Prayer is essential in overcoming evil. Prayer and fasting can break the bondage of Satan. Truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and God’s word are prayer elements that break the hold of Satan. Prayer must be the discipline and joy of all believers that seek to overcome the evil one.

How can we who call our self humanity stand against the devil, Satan, who knows every devious trick that has ever been done? He incites thoughts and actions that compromise what we know is right. He doesn’t try to change our way of thinking all at once but incrementally till we accept sin as a way of life. We overcome him by living for Christ in our daily lives and in the world by sharing Jesus to the lost and dying. The Holy Spirit works in us to create spiritual life in the spiritually dead world. The word of God must be in our heart so we may talk life,, not death or defeat or hopelessness, to those needing Jesus. Let our words be few and let them encourage, bless, strengthen, left up, and edify those in need. Let the love of God with the help of the Spirit through us win the world to Jesus.

We must become people of prayer. Communication with God and the worship of God can stop the devil’s work in the minds and the hearts of men and women. Seek the will of God in all things. Live life as it is, a gift of God in the fullness of his spirit. ”Now have come the salvation and the power of the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers who accuses them before God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony; and did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”, Revelations 12:10-11. ” Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God that gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-58.

Let nothing keep us from God’s important eternal things, not even that renegade spirit called Satan. God has given us the tools to fight him and to stand against him in his evil agenda on the earth. As the church and body of Jesus collectively, we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, reverse the evil work of Satan to dominate the world of man and keep us in his servitude. Don’t let apathy, confusion, or anything keep you from God’s best. Shake yourself. Be a man or woman of God in obedience and humility to Abba Father. Do the right thing!! ”

” I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”.
Luke 10:18