One of my favorite comedians growing up was Flip Wilson. He had a clean act and was a favorite guest on The Ed Sullivan Show. He even had his own variety show. In one of his acts, he portrayed a woman named “Geraldine” who tried to explain to her husband, the preacher, why she bought a dress. Her excuse, “The devil made me buy that dress.”
What most people living in our culture know about the devil comes from movies, literature, and video games. The same could be said of angels. That’s because our twenty-first-century dedication to science and technology has dismissed these invisible creatures as figments of fantasy. But according to the Bible, these creatures are very real and should not be taken lightly. They are, in fact, powerful forces in what Donald Grey Barnhouse called “The Invisible War.”
Jesus confronted the evil world in victory and had an opportunity to teach us some lessons about Satan through his interaction with the religious leaders. What can we learn about Satan?
And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils. And others, tempting him, sought of him a sign from heaven. (Luke 11:14-16)
The religious leaders said Jesus cast out demons by the power of Satan. Beelzebub was one of the names of the Philistine god, Baal. It means ‘lord of the flies’ or ‘lord of dung’. It became one of the names Jews gave for Satan, who was pictured in the Bible as a winged cherub, serpent or dragon. Obviously, they were completely wrong – about Jesus and Satan.
Buffy the vampire slayer, Sabrina the teenage witch, Casper the Friendly Ghost, The Adams Family, Bewitched, Harry Potter, Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, even Frozen all depict witches, witchcraft, casting spells and sorcery as a fun, entertaining activity. The US witch population has risen from 8,000 in 1990 to 1.5 million in 2014 (Wicca/Pagan). Many see witchcraft as something beautiful, powerful, and even innocent.
But the Bible teaches the truth. When you learn what the Bible says about Satan, you will be amazed, not only at what it reveals, but how much of your knowledge doesn’t come from Scripture. Check what you hear from media and even Christians leaders with the Bible. If you want to win the spiritual battle in your life, and wish to understand Satan’s strategy, you need the truth in the Word of God.
Satan is powerful. Jesus is all-powerful.
But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils. (Luke 11:17-22)
Jesus replied to the accusation that He was casting out demons in the power of Satan. He showed the implications of what they said. First, it was illogical. Why would Satan seek to destroy his own kingdom. Second, it was inconsistent. If their own people could cast out demons, why couldn’t He? Isn’t that double-standard? Third, it was dangerous. If He could cast out demons, He must be very powerful. Yet, they refused to believe Him. Satan is the “strong man” but Jesus is the “stronger.”
I read a story of a young girl who worshiped Satan. In her search for truth, she discovered Jesus and He changed her life. I have included a picture of her and her testimony below. It illustrates that Jesus is more powerful than Satan.
“This was a few years ago. I was gothic and worshipped the devil. I was an atheist so I didn’t believe satan was real, so this was more of a rebellion against religion. How wrong I was, satan is very real and is deceiving and manipulating everyone on the planet. Last December I finally reached out to God and He turned my whole life around. He led me to His Son Jesus Christ in Sept 2019 and I was born again. In the last year I have stopped living a sinful life and have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. All of my addictions and toxic behaviours fell from my life instantly. I suddenly wanted to be a good person and I turned from all things evil. I stopped watching horror movies, I stopped listening to heavy metal, I stopped drinking and doing drugs, I stopped partying, I stopped letting toxic people into my life, I stopped swearing, I stopped lying, I stopped cheating, I stopped fornicating, I stopped taking the Lord’s name in vain, I stopped being a terrible person and I started to trust in God!!! I cannot even express how much Jesus has changed my life. Praise the Lord and His power to create a child of God from being a child of the devil..”
Christian believers do not need to fear Satan. Jesus, the Stronger One, has come and has already defeated Him.
Jesus in your heart is greater than Satan in the world.
He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. (Luke 11:23-26)
Jesus warns of further danger to those who slander Him. Though some were opposed to Jesus, others did not take sides. They were waiting for more proof (Luke 11:16). But it is impossible to be neutral about Jesus. Neutrality means standing against Him. Some choose to ‘clean house’ from evil without Jesus. But reformation without regeneration makes it worse. Anyone who tries to purge evil from their life but puts nothing in its place is in grave moral danger. A vacuum has to be filled with something. If it is not God, it will be Satan. This is why reform doesn’t last long. It is not enough to be empty of evil; a person must be filled with God’s Spirit.
For 45 years, Pat Summerall’s voice and face spelled football. He anchored CBC and FOX’s NFL telecast and broadcast 16 Super Bowls. But you may not know his real story. Pat was an only child whose parents divorced before he was born. Feeling empty and alone, he became an alcoholic. During his voiceover for the 1994 Masters Tournament, he faced up to his addiction and spent 33 days in the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs, California. This helped his alcohol problem, but left a spiritual vacuum. He bumped into his old football coach, Tom Landry, who connected him with the Dallas Cowboy’s chaplain. Pat became a Christian and was baptized at age 69. Jesus gave him what no drink ever could, fulfillment.
Placing one’s faith and trust in Christ for salvation and eternal life is your first and primary step. Nothing else matters if you don’t belong to Him. In fact, if you have not received Jesus as Lord and Savior, you are on Satan’s side.
If I read my Bible right, one day Satan will have to publicly kneel before Jesus Christ and proclaim that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10). According to Isaiah 14:16-17 we will ask “Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities…?” One day Satan and his demons will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever. But until then we will be in a spiritual battle until we die. We must be victorious.
So, what can we do about the “invisible war” around us? First, make sure you have trusted Jesus Christ as Savior. A demon and Jesus cannot inhabit the same person. Second, stay close to Jesus. He will protect you. Third, put on your armor. Ephesians 6 describes a full body armor to protect you against any spiritual attack. Use it. Don’t leave yourself defenseless. Don’t be fooled.
In a classic Twilight Zone episode from 1960, an American in Europe runs into a castle from the rain and finds a man locked in a cell. He claims the ‘insane’ monk has him captive and asks for the American to release him. The prisoner’s kind face wins him over and he confronts the monk. The monk tells him that the prisoner is Satan and he has lied to him. But the American doesn’t believe it and as soon as he gets his chance, releases the prisoner – who immediately turns into a hideous demon and disappears. He went to the monk and told him “I didn’t believe you. I saw him and didn’t recognize him” The monk replied, “That is man’s weakness… and Satan’s strength.”