Understanding our ENEMY (Part 1) | The Arc of Satan
Recently, NIKE filed a copyright infringement against New York design company MSCHF over its blatantly blasphemous “Satan shoes” in collaboration with hip hop artist Lil Nas X. While NIKE did not design the shoes, the mere association between their brand and the celebration of Satan was enough to set off a firestorm of controversy. The shoes, which contain a drop of blood and are decorated with a pentagram and a reference to Luke 10:18, were limited to 666 pairs available, and sold for $1,018 a pair.
It is easy to look at this story and immediately identify the warped and wicked nature of this type of exhibitionism. However, we often live our lives ignorant to the reality of Satan (AKA- Lucifer, or the Enemy) in our lives, community and world. Over the next two articles, we will consider the Arc (storyline) of Satan, as well as how Satan works against Christians.
The Arc of Satan: An Enemy Defeated
1. Satan’s Origin Story: Luke 10:18, Job 1:6-7 and 38:4-7, Isaiah 14:12, Ezekiel 28:11-18, Genesis 3:1-14
Satan isn’t even his given name. His given name is Lucifer. Satan means “the Adversary” or “the Enemy.” Lucifer was once a beautiful and powerful angel who served God. He is described as having been “perfect in beauty” and “full of wisdom.” (Ezekiel 28:12). A created being, an angel of highest order, Lucifer was placed above all the other angelic beings and tasked with caring for the glory and holiness of God. There is an established angelic order, which includes angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim, rulers, principalities and powers. Lucifer was perfect (blameless) in all of his ways, until iniquity (sin) was found in him. (Ezekiel 28:15)
The fall of Lucifer (or Satan) is described in Isaiah and Ezekiel as well as by Jesus. “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Luke 10:18. The prophet Isaiah details the reason for Lucifer’s fall- “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of 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.’” Isaiah 14:13-14
Notice the words “I will” are repeated 5 times in this passage. Pride and envy were at the core of Satan’s corruption. It should be a grave warning to every man who like Lucifer, says in his heart-
- I will ascend to heaven: I can achieve eternal life on the basis of my own merit and worth. This is an affront to God’s holiness and the Gospel of grace. Self-righteousness is a roadblock to justification. See Ephesians 2.
- I will raise my throne above the stars of God: My kingdom, my agenda is of greater value than God’s. This is an affront to God’s Kingdom, which must take first priority in our lives. See Matthew 6:33.
- I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly: I can be the ruler of my own life, the captain of my own destiny. This is an affront to the Lordship of Christ and the Sovereignty of God. See Philippians 2:5-11.
- I will ascend above the tops of the clouds: I can achieve greatness without God. This is an affront to the intimate and dependent relationship with God that Jesus designed for us to enjoy. See John 15.
- I will make myself like the Most High: I am a “self-made” man who does not need God, but should be worshipped like God. The height of hubris, this is an affront to divine glory of God. See Isaiah 6.
The Ezekiel passage begins by referencing “the king of Tyre,” but the focus transitions to the power behind that king—Lucifer. His beauty and power sparked a pride and rebellious desire for God’s throne which became the source of his downfall, and God cast him to the earth. Satan’s rebellion took place sometime between the creation of the angels and the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden.
Satan does have an origin story. He is not the “spirit-brother” of Jesus as Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness doctrine teaches, nor is he the ying to God’s yang. He is a created being with limited powers and is inferior in every way to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Job tells us, at least at that time, Satan still had access to heaven and to the throne of God. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, ’Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’” Job 1:6-7
2. Satan’s Character: John 8:44 & Revelation 12:9-10
Jesus describes Satan as “the father of lies” and Revelation describes him as the “deceiver of the whole world” and the “accuser of the brethren.” Satan loves to twist God’s Word and deceive God’s people. He did this with Adam and Eve, Jesus in the desert and he does this with believers, false religions and cults even today. Every time you feel as though you feel condemned for sins you have been forgiven for, that is the Enemy. Any time you feel like you cannot be used by God because of your past, that is the Enemy. As a liar and an accuser, Satan will stop at nothing to discourage, distract and disqualify you from God’s purposes.
3. Satan’s Scheme: John 10:10,1 Peter 5:8, John 14:30, Ephesians 2:2 & 6:12, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 John 4:2-3, Matthew 16:18 & 23, Mark 4:14-15
Jesus described Satan’s purpose and intent- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10. The Apostle Paul refers to the “schemes of the Devil.” Consider the myriad of ways Satan works in our world today-
1) Steal: The Enemy seeks to steal your identity, your joy, your peace, your purity and your passion for God.
2) Kill: The Enemy seeks to kill your faith, your testimony and your witness for Jesus.
3) Destroy: The Enemy seeks to destroy your church, your marriage, your family and your relationships.
Satan does not live in hell; he roams the earth like a deadly lion, seeking people to tempt into sin. He wants to devour you, and he is willing to fight dirty.
4. Satan’s Downfall and Ending: Revelations 12:12, 20:10
Satan’s latitude on this earth is limited. “…for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” Rev. 12:12. While believers in Christ can look forward to a glorious and victorious never-ending future, the Enemy is furiously working to bring as many down as possible with him. He knows his ship is sinking. “the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:10
In the next post, we will consider How Satan Works Against Christians. We will look at Satan’s top 5 strategies, the limits of Satan’s power of Christians, and ultimately, the power that Christians have over Satan.