There are several subjects in the Bible that many people tend to skim over. But because they are contained in Scripture, it is vitally important that we pay attention to these topics. Let’s focus on one such topic.
“This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels…. Terror will come on the earth and the sea. For the devil has come down to you in great anger, and he knows that he has little time…. He declared war against…all who keep God’s commandments and confess that they belong to Jesus” (Rev. 12:9,12,17).
These verses ring out with an unmistakable warning for all people, believers and unbelievers alike, about the existence of powerful enemies. If we take these verses seriously, as we should, they are disturbing and provide a good reason for us to understand all we can about these adversaries.
The first thing we are told is the identity of our enemies. The leader is given many titles: “this great dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil, or Satan.” But Satan is not the sole enemy mentioned in these verses. He is joined by all his angels. We commonly think of angels as forces offering protection, but we are told that the angels under Satan’s command are sources of destruction to all people.
It is important to understand an enemy’s strength and abilities. As angels, Satan and his followers have been created with superior strength, power, and intellect when compared to humans. And it stands to reason that Satan, as the leader of the angels who are loyal to him, would stand out among those he commands. But Satan is not superior to God. Knowing that Satan and his angel-followers were created by God, we can conclude that they are not equal to their Creator nor do they possess the unique characteristics that belong solely to God (Gen. 1; Col. 1:16). Satan and his angels are not all-knowing, are not all-powerful, and individually do not have the ability to be in more than one place at a time.
God’s ultimate power over them was displayed when they were “thrown down to the earth.” While the earth may be much loved by us, these spiritual beings find earth, and its inhabitants, unworthy in comparison to their former home and to themselves. Their “great anger” at being evicted from the heavenly realms fuels their hatred of God and gives these adversaries their purpose.
Their purpose is simple. Satan has “declared war against all who keep God’s commandments and confess that they belong to Jesus.” And the objective of any war is to defeat and destroy the enemy. If we keep God’s commandments and confess that we belong to Jesus, we are at war—whether we choose to be or not. And we fight not only for ourselves but for all those we may influence for Jesus Christ.
Maybe you have never thought of yourself as a warrior of any sort, but we are engaged in daily warfare. Sometimes this warfare may involve direct physical situations influenced by our enemy. It will certainly involve battles of our spirit: our fears, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and attitudes. It is a war waged by Satan through propaganda, deceit, and confusion. Left to our own devices, we would surely be defeated, but God has given us some powerful weapons.
The apostle Paul clearly outlined these weapons and God’s battle plan against Satan and his angels in Ephesians 6. Surprisingly, many Christians never take up these weapons. Don’t be one of them! Start by being aware and alert—not indifferent, unconcerned, or skeptical. Do not pick and choose from the weapons we have been given, but “use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy” (Eph. 6:13). Review each of your weapons to determine if any are in need of attention. Do you believe that our salvation is through Jesus Christ? Do you always tell the truth? Are you obedient to God? How is your faith in God and His promises? Do you study the Bible? Are you ready to share the Good News of Jesus Christ? Do you pray fervently? We need not fear this enemy if we are prepared.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are either actively engaged in battle against Satan and his forces—or we are A.W.O.L. Are you a warrior?
© 2010 Arlina Yates