The Enemy

“You heard me say, `I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

“Come now, let us leave.” (John 14: 28 – 31 NIV)

Jesus called him the “prince of this world.” In Revelation John called him “the great dragon [was hurled down] that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” (Revelation 12: 9 NIV) At the temptation of Eve in the Garden he is called, “the serpent” [was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.] (Genesis 3: 1 NIV)

In Job he is called Satan [with the meaning of adversary according to the footnote]: “One day the angels [the sons of God] 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 throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.’” (Job 1: 6, 7 NIV)

In Ezekiel he is called: [You were anointed as a] “guardian cherub”, [for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.]” (Ezekiel 28: 14 NIV)

Ezekiel continues in his vision to proclaim the fall of the “guardian cherub:” “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you . . .” (Ezekiel 28: 17, 18a NIV)

At some time in the distant past the “guardian cherub” thought that he could see a weakness in God called humility. Humility is represented in the visions of God’s throne in Ezekiel and in Revelation by the face of the ox. Certainly, this weakness in God could be exploited and this “guardian cherub” could, through the use of the opposite of humility, pride, overcome and throw down the One sitting on the throne.

I have often considered what heavenly warfare must look like. By various descriptions in the Bible we can envision conflict in heaven as sword-play and wrestling. But the sword-play does not seem to involve swords of physical composition. We would not hear the clashing of metal upon metal if we were to witness heavenly conflict.

It is noted in Ephesians that we do not struggle [wrestle in the KJV] against “flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6: 12 NIV)

I especially like the concept of wrestling because of the account in Genesis of Jacob wrestling with God: “So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man . . . `Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’” (Genesis 32: 24 . . . 28 NIV)

It seems to me that the struggle in the heavenly, or spiritual, realms that overflows to the earth is represented best by the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6: 17b NIV) After all, the description of the glorified Christ included “coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.” (Revelation 1: 16 and 19: 15 NIV)

So I see the struggle in the spiritual realm as a wrestling match involving the struggle to say the right words and thus declare the victory that has already been won by Christ. We have been granted the right to declare the truth that Christ has already overcome sin, the world, and the devil.

Remember that God even has the devil under control: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10: 13 NIV)