April 10, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 2: Game of Thrones

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Dispensations tagged , , , , at 8:24 PM by E. M.

GameOfThronesWe’ve been looking at the advent of the Redeemer from the perspective of His (and our) spiritual enemies. In the last post, we saw that as God revealed more details of how man’s Redeemer would arrive, Satan and his minions focused their war efforts to prevent the invasion. But despite their best efforts, they always met progressive defeat.

Once Jesus was born however, Satan was able to put all of his energy into preventing Christ from completing His redemptive work.

As the time of the Redeemer’s prophesized victory grew closer, Satan worked to lay down a political mine field to keep Him from fulfilling his role as King of the Jews. Since the Babylonian captivity, Israel was occupied by the powerful and demonically energized empires of Persia and Greece. By the time of Jesus’ birth, the most powerful world empire- Rome – held an iron grip on the area. Worse, Israel was a contentious buffer state between Rome and the similarly powerful Parthian empire to the east, filled with disgruntled nationalist Jews. So Christ’s potential kingdom was a backwater political albatross stuck between two hostile super powers.

It was during this low point in national history that God decided to give the Virgin Mary the good news that she’d been chosen to carry the savior of the world (who would be considered a bastard since she got pregnant before she was married).

Now the honorable thing for Satan to do would be to wait until the kid grew into an adult and then take Him on man to man (or Man to Devil). But while Satan can be accused of many things, “honorable and fair” are not on the list. To him, even an infant is fair game.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Roman Caesar got the bright idea to have everyone in the empire travel to their home town for a census. By the time a very pregnant Mary and her betrothed, Joseph arrived in Bethlehem; there was no place for them to stay other than a local stable. Thus the Savior of the world; the Redeemer of man; God in flesh, was born in an animal feeding trough in a barn filled with said fragrant animals.

But as I wrote previously, from the perspective of Satan, the ubiquitous manger scene of Christmas card fodder was nothing less than D-Day; a hostile invasion of his territory by an enemy force. Jesus come to size Satan’s kingdom, and was taking the fight directly to him on his turf.

Satan’s first counter-offensive was to have the local rulership command that all the newly born males in the area be killed. But that tactic failed – just like the last time he tried it. But remember, Satan is incapable of original ideas. All he can do is trot out the same stuff he’s tried before and hope to still get mileage out of it (kind of like a Hollywood movie producer).

Seeing that direct physical force wasn’t an effective way to stop his enemy (Hey, it only took him 3000 years to figure that out. Progress!) Satan move on to his next favorite strategies, manipulation and compromise.

After Jesus reached adulthood and was officially anointed by God to begin his redemptive mission, Satan finally came in for a face to face confrontation with his foe (of course he waited until Jesus was physically and mentally compromised due to starvation because, well, Satan’s an a-hole).

Satan knew he had no chance agonist the Son of God, so he went after the Son of Man – he planned to use his temptations to get Jesus to use His free will to choose Himself over God.

Satan started by appealing to the physical desire by tempting Jesus to sate His extreme hunger supernaturally. But as a man, Jesus ONLY did what God told Him to do, and God did NOT tell Him to turn stones into bread. If Jesus had obeyed Satan, He would have made that decision on His own – as a man – to satisfy His physical desires. He would have made the same mistake as Eve!

Jesus responded to this temptation not with the words of man, but as the Word of God.

Jesus 1, Satan 0

Satan then attacked man’s other major weakness – Pride. Satan challenged Jesus to prove His divinity and position with God.

[Begin dramatic license]

Satan – Oh, so you’re pious huh? Not going to feed yourself because “God’s word didn’t tell you to”? Is that why you claim to be the “Son of God”? Well the Bible also says that if you throw yourself off this building, Angels will rescue you. So go ahead, show me you’re the Son of God!”

Jesus – Seriously? You’re actually going to misquote my own words to me? Try this one – “you are not allowed to test your creator!

Satan – Grrrrrrr!

[End dramatic license]

Jesus 2, Satan 0

Finally, Satan brings out his most effective weapon against man – Compromise. Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and told Him that he would bequeath them all if Jesus would give him worship.

Jesus came to earth to conquer Satan and take his kingdom by force (and as we’ll see in an upcoming post, it is a brutal and costly battle). But Satan offered a short cut – no fight, no suffering, no blood, no torturous death on a cross. Just make a simple pledge of fidelity, and the world is yours.

It was a stunningly attractive temptation. One accepted in various forms by otherwise strong and principled men. But not by this one. Jesus chose God’s way over man’s. He did what the first man could not, and thus proved Himself worthy and eligible to redeem Adam’s sin.

Jesus 3, Satan 0. Game over.

Satan lost a major battle, but the war was far from over. Satan took his best shot and came up short. It was time to call in reinforcements. If Satan couldn’t break Jesus, then maybe He could be broken by the people He came to save.

In the next post, Jesus faces the second front in Satan’s army – the mystics!

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7 Comments »

  1. anonymous said,

    Great to see you posting again. I have two problems with the post, only one of which is substantial, both of which I hope you’ll fix. First off, there’s a typo: “led” instead of “less”. Secondly, you “slander dignitaries”, which is addressed in 2 Peter 2:10-12 and Jude 1:8-10. Satan may be many things, but unintelligent is certainly not one of them and we have to conduct ourselves above the level of name-calling. I’d love to see you apply Ecclesiastes 10:1 to an otherwise good post and “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (Titus 2:10) 🙂 .

    • E. M. said,

      Hello Anonymous,

      Thank you for your response. I appreciate you pointing out the typo. I’ll get it fixed ASAP.

      Re: “slandering dignitaries” – the dictionary definition of “slander” is to make a false statement about someone. Do you believe I wrote something about Satan that isn’t true? If so, please let me know and I will address or clarify it.

      I would also argue against Satan being a “dignitary” from our point of view. A dignitary is someone who is in a position of authority over you. Biblically speaking, neither Satan nor any other angelic being are in a position of authority over man – quite the opposite in fact according to 1 Corinthians 6:3. MEN are dignitaries to angels so they are not to speak evil of US, even though they are currently more powerful. From Michael’s point of view, Satan IS a dignitary because he once had a position of authority over all the angels. Peter and Jude were using extreme examples to say “If even angels don’t speak ill of authority figures who are less powerful and more evil, then we have no excuse to not respect our authority figures”. I do not believe they were telling us to revere Satan.

      What is your definition of “intelligent”? Webster’s defines intelligence as “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations”. As I emphasized in the “Know thy Enemy” series, Satan does not have this ability in his fallen state. He cannot learn, understand, or apply new information. He has the thought process of an animal. All he can do is imitate what he’s done before or what he’s seen others do. Is Satan knowledgeable? Absolutely. But he is NOT intelligent.

  2. anonymous said,

    Satan does not occupy a position of authority over us, but he is a heavenly office-bearer. As God’s ambassadors we can’t call him names. Regarding your definition of intelligence, I think it’s interesting, but nor practical. It would apply universally to all fallen creatures drifting along the spiral of entropy and thus render itself unserviceable. Much in the same way that an absolute definition of “alive” or “asleep” might be unserviceable. One of the defining characteristics of Satan is his craftiness. When God is speaking to the “King of Babylon” he calls Satan “wiser than Daniel.” I’m sure his order of creation makes supercomputers look stupid.

    I feel uncomfortable “complimenting Satan”, as it were, as no one can have anything he hasn’t received from God, and, for those who do not glorify God, what they have will be taken from them. I just think that’s how the Bible would have us deal with these sets of facts.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    • E. M. said,

      Satan does not occupy a position of authority over us, but he is a heavenly office-bearer.

      [EM Response] Can you explain what a “heavenly office-bearer” is? I’ve never heard that term before.

      As God’s ambassadors we can’t call him names.

      [EM Response] Is this your opinion, or is this notion Biblically based? In researching how the Bible tells man to deal with Satan, I don’t see any place where we are instructed to treat him with any special dignity. We are told to be aware and wary of him. We are told to resist and fight him. But I’ve see no implication of reverence.

      Regarding your definition of intelligence, I think it’s interesting, but nor practical.

      [EM Response] Its not “my” definition of intelligence. It’s the definition given by the Merriam-Webster dictionary (although I happen to agree with it). Do you have a better (clearer more accurate) definition of intelligence than the dictionary? If so, please provide your definition, your rationale, and how it applies to Satan.

      One of the defining characteristics of Satan is his craftiness. When God is speaking to the “King of Babylon” he calls Satan “wiser than Daniel.”

      [EM Response] I believe you’re referring to Ezekiel 28 which is a lamentation against Tyre, not Babylon. In verses 2-3, God calls the PRINCE of Tyre (a man) wiser than Daniel. However, when He speaks of the KING of Tyre (Satan) in Verses 11-19, God does not refer to him having wisdom after he falls. Again, he has his knowledge from before the fall and he can observe facts, but he cannot create and apply NEW ideas on his own.

      For example, Satan has KNOWLEDGE of the facts of the book of Revelation. Revelation (and the other apocalyptic books) gives vivid details of the end times and Satan’s ultimate defeat. Revelation tells EXACTLY what Satan will do at the end. IF Satan were intelligent (able to learn and understand new information), he could simply think of another way to achieve his goals that would not take him down the exact path Revelation describes. But he won’t, because he can’t!

      I’m sure his order of creation makes supercomputers look stupid.

      [EM Response] Actually a computer is a pretty good approximation of Satan’s thought process. Computers process information much faster than we do, but they can only process information that they are GIVEN. A computer cannot come up with an original idea that is not based on information it was given, AND it can’t act outside of its programing. It can only do what it’s programed to do. Same as Satan.

      • anonymous said,

        Re: Babylon / Tyre — my bad! You do make a good point, though. Ascription of wisdom is reserved for his pre-fallen state. Why do you suppose the Bible constantly ascribes “wiles” and “cunning” to Satan, then? Can you comment?

        Re: definition of intelligence — I have no response. It could be that you are correct regarding Satan’s fundamental nature.

        Re: Revelation’s detailing of Satan’s strategy in advance — I’ve never thought of it that way. I tend to ascribe his actions to his position relative to us in time. Some theologians believe that creatures of higher orders “span time”. Either that or insanity would account for it.

        Re: Heavenly office-bearer — e.g. powers, principalities, “the prince of this world”….

        Re: name-calling — that’s how most people would interpret the references in Jude and 2 Peter. You’ve said that those references do not apply to the relationship between Satan and man, and even that man (not Christians, specifically), currently occupies the office of dignitary relative to Satan. Care to elaborate?

  3. anonymous said,

    Hey this is the same ‘anonymous’, trying to digest your viewpoint. Regarding angelic government, how do you interpret the titles like “the Prince of Greece” if angels currently possess no government over men? In Daniel 4:17, the angelic counsels apparently decide to inflict judgement on Nebuchadnezzar: “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know….”

    • E. M. said,

      [Hi Again Anonymous]
      Why do you suppose the Bible constantly ascribes “wiles” and “cunning” to Satan, then? Can you comment?

      [EM response] This is referring to Satan’s knowledge and wisdom from before his fall. Remember that Paul makes it clear that we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices. His methods are known and don’t/can’t change

      Re: Revelation’s detailing of Satan’s strategy in advance — I’ve never thought of it that way. I tend to ascribe his actions to his position relative to us in time. Some theologians believe that creatures of higher orders “span time”. Either that or insanity would account for it.

      [EM response] Good point. Time is a physical dimension (the 4th dimension technically). If angelic beings occupy higher dimensions – and I believe they do – then it is highly likely that they experience time differently that we do.

      Re: Heavenly office-bearer — e.g. powers, principalities, “the prince of this world”….

      [EM response] Understood. But I’ve still seen no Biblical mandate to treat Satan with any special honorific deference. He wasn’t granted his title of authority over the earth by God, he usurped it from Adam.

      Re: name-calling — that’s how most people would interpret the references in Jude and 2 Peter. You’ve said that those references do not apply to the relationship between Satan and man, and even that man (not Christians, specifically), currently occupies the office of dignitary relative to Satan. Care to elaborate?

      [EM response] Man was originally intended to rule over angels. Man (not angels) was created in God’s image. God loves man. The Bible never states that He loves angels. Man is intended to be like God (which is what Satan desired in Isaiah 14, and I believe this was the reason he rebelled), man is intended to be one with God and to be the heir of all creation (including angels) with Jesus. Man will judge angels according to 1 Corinthians 6:3. The preponderance of evidence is that man is (ultimately) a higher being in God’s eyes than angels

      Regarding angelic government, how do you interpret the titles like “the Prince of Greece” if angels currently possess no government over men? In Daniel 4:17, the angelic counsels apparently decide to inflict judgment on Nebuchadnezzar: “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know….

      [EM Response] Satan and his angels have legal authority over the real estate of earth (for the moment), not over men – at least not without their permission. God governs over men, unless those who govern willingly choose Satan’s side. At which point that can be satanically empowered, but God still has the authority to judge them. This is why Nebuchadnezzar can say (in the passage you referenced) that God rules over the kingdoms of men (and can judge evil kings) while it can AT THE SAME TIME be true that there is a demonic prince of Persia in Daniel 10:20 who has authority over the physical land.


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