Know Your Enemy! – III

May 10, 2013

John 10:10 and selected scriptures

(All quotations are from the New King James Version)

If you were looking for a person to share your home and expenses, with whom you could hang around and do things together, what kind of a person would you insist that one to be?  And if you found someone who seemed to have all the good qualities for which you were looking, would you want some references concerning him or her to help make sure this person was the right choice for you?  And if a reliable reference responded with some negative remarks, would you give these remarks serious consideration when making your decision?  What if this reliable reference said something like, “Be careful!  Stay away from this person!  He (she) is a clever thief, a pathological murderer, and surely he (she) will destroy your life!”  Would you ignore the warning or take heed?  Would you investigate more thoroughly the character of this person about whom the reference was given?  Of course you would!  You would be a fool not to!  If I found out that the reference given was right on, I would run the other way, putting as much distance as I could between me and the person in question!

Why, then, do people choose to hang around the devil?  Jesus said plainly in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”  All conservative Bible scholars understand this reference to apply to Satan.  According to what the Lord is saying here, Satan has no other purpose “…except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.”  And this is not the only place in the Bible that explores the devil’s personality characteristics.  Let’s try to get a more complete view of just who our enemy is and what he is like.

We have mentioned this before, but let’s examine again the primary motivation of Satan’s character.  In the May 6 blog, Know Your Enemy! – I, We looked at Isaiah 14:12-15 – five “I wills”, culminating in Lucifer’s desire, “I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14).  The New American Standard Bible has it, “I will make myself like the Most High.”  This overriding purpose to be God has driven the devil all through the ages.  Even at the last, when he becomes incarnate as the antichrist at the end of the age, he still manifests that purpose.  It is recorded in II Thessalonians 2:4, “…he sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”  So he selfishly wants to overthrow God Almighty and take His place as ruler of all creation.

In his pursuit to be God, he has tried multiple times to thwart the Father’s purpose to manifest His Son Jesus Christ to the world as the only Savior of mankind.  In the Old Testament the Jews were threatened many times with extinction by various enemies, and Satan was behind them all.  He was the motivation behind Herod the Great who sought to kill the young child Jesus, but only succeeded instead in murdering the Bethlehem innocents (Matthew 2:12-18).  In Revelation 12:4 the devil (the dragon) is shown standing “…before the woman [Israel] who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child [Jesus] as soon as it was born.

But Satan’s coup de grace was to engineer the cross, the crucifixion of Jesus.  I know, it was all planned by God to redeem mankind “…before the foundation of the world…” (I Peter 1:18-20; Revelation 13:8).  But the evil one thought he had planned it.  It says in I Corinthians 2:8 that “…none of the rulers of this age knew [God’s plan]; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”  The “rulers of this age” are Satan and his henchmen – demons – who are the controlling powers behind the nations and societies of this world.  They did not know the divine strategy, and unwittingly became God’s pawns to fulfill His grand plan of redemption.  Too late the devil realized that what he thought was his ultimate triumph of killing Jesus insured his total downfall and destruction.  Actually, he hasn’t even yet fully realized his defeat  because he still thinks he can possibly overcome Almighty God!

In wanting to be God, Satan is the sworn enemy of the One True God who thwarts the pursuit of his desire.  He is only our enemy as we live for our Lord and allow Him to do His will in and through us.  We are not the main objects of the devil’s focus, God is.  But if he can hurt the Father by stealing, killing and destroying His children, then he will do it with evil delight.  So be aware – Know Your Enemy!  By knowing him you can better escape the snares he lays to entrap you.

We will continue to examine the devil’s character in the next blog.

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