(from a recent lecture by Nathan Ward)
Intro: In a sense, this morning’s lesson was just a very long introduction. Not really, but I do want to continue thinking about the fulfillment of that profound promise and prophecy in Gen. 3:15. As we noticed God began early on revealing His solution to man’s sin, and His victory over the Serpent, who is Satan. The describes the death of a snake as God’s triumph over evil. The death of the snake is the fruit of our redemption.
- I came across a comment made by the eminent preacher of the early American colonies, George Whitfield on the words of Genesis 3:15 that summarizes our thoughts from this morning.
- This promise was literally fulfilled in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan bruised his heel, when he tempted him for forty days together in the wilderness: he bruised his heel, when he raised up strong persecution against him during the time of his public ministry: he in an especial manner bruised his heel, when our Lord complained, that his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, and he sweat great drops of blood falling upon the ground, in the garden; He bruised his heel, when he put it into the heart of Judas to betray him: and he bruised him yet most of all, when his emissaries nailed him to an accursed tree, and our Lord cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Yet, in all this, the blessed Jesus, the seed of the woman, bruised Satan’s accursed head; for, in that he was tempted, he was able to succor those that are tempted. By his stripes we are healed. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. By dying, he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. He thereby spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them upon the cross. ~ George Whitfield,
I. Seeing the Serpent for Who He is… Do you think the apostles preached many sermons about Satan? One thing is sure, they understood who He was, and attributed the success of evil in their won day the work of Satan. In 2 Cor. 2:11 Paul warned against being ignorant of his devises (schemes), lest he take advantage of Christians. Have you ever been taken advantage of by him?
How does the Bible describe Satan? What can we learn about him from the scriptures?
A. His Origin:
- Satan is a created being – John 1:3 – All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. Col 1:16 – For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
- It is necessary implied that Satan was originally a morally good creature. Gen. 1:31 describes all of God’s finished creation as “very good”. Thus…
1. Satan Rebelled against God: the word Satan is transliterated from the Hebrew, and means adversary, enemy. It is used with the definite article “the” and points to his unique position as the enemy of God and His people. The details concerning Satan’s fall are not given in scripture. There are some passages that seem to apply. In Jude’s description of apostasy, he mentions the rebellious angels who “did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6) 2 Peter 2:4 – For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; We do not know exactly when this rebellion occurred. It is most often depicted as being before the creation of man, or certainly Gen. 3. .
a. But notice where Satan is after his rebellion. It would seem as though he is able to continue come before God, and appears in heaven. Job 1:6-7 – Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (again in chapter 2:1ff.) Notice that God does not run him out, as though he was trespassing. (how did you get back in here?) Some associate the lying spirit that appears before the Lord in Micaiah vision with Satan (2 Kings 22:19-22) In Zechariah vision in Zechariah 3 ahs Satan standing before God ready to oppose Joshua, the high priest. Only once does Satan appear outside of heaven in the O.T. (David numbering Israel – 1 Chronicles 21)
I. His Confrontation with Jesus and His Defeat. The appearance and mention of Satan in the N.T. is enlightening. He appears in the continuing context of his coming defeat by Christ. His easy and early success in the garden stand in great contrast to how he fares with Jesus. The picture that emerges is that Satan is on his way out. Unlike Mark Twain, the reports of his death are not greatly exaggerated. They are right on time.
A. Resisting his deception… Mathew 4 – (the 3 temptations of Jesus) The Spirit led Jesus to this confrontation (Mark says Jesus was driven into the wilderness) so as to validate His ministry through the full human experience. “If you are the Son of God”. But this is also important as THE confrontation between the Seed of woman and The Serpent. Jesus does not sin. He is not deceived.
B. Plundering his house… Matt 12:24-30 – Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” 25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. (We noticed this last statement this morning as describing the predicted enmity created by God between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.)
1. In answering the blasphemous charge that Jesus was working in collaboration with Satan, Jesus provides irrefutable evidence in His defense:
a. a house divided against itself – it is illogical to think that Satan would cast out his own demons, and there was no denying that demons had been cast out.
b. If demons were cast out it was evidence that the kingdom of God had come upon them. (don’t think church here, but rather the rulership of God over His people – the King was among them.
c. If demons were cast out then the strong man could not secure his own house. He was being bound, and his good were being plundered. The irresistible presence of demons within men was the battleground arranged by God. A spiritual battle was being displayed on a physical plane so as to be visible to men.
d. heavenly places – the spiritual realm where the work of God takes place – Ephesians:
- 1:3 – all spiritual blessings are there
- 1:20 – Jesus is enthroned at God’s right-hand there.
- 2:6 – we are seated together there as a result of our spiritual resurrection (in Christ)
- 3:10 – to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
- 6:12 – where the battle ensues – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
C. Falling from heaven: Luke 10:17-20 – Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” This is a fascinating passage. It was through Jesus’ doing that these 70 disciples were empowered to confront and cast out demons. They returned in great joy. What did this mean? Jesus tells us – I saw Satan falling from heaven like lightning. (cannot be missed) Satan was on the way out. They were given God’s power – the power to trample on serpents… power over the enemy. But Jesus tells them that the real source of this victory is not the immediate provision of power over the demons, but the personal impact that their names were written in heaven. The curse was being lifted.
D. Cast out: John 12:27-33 – “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” 29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
1. Jesus’ troubled spirit is comforted by the assurance from heaven of His resurrection (glorification). Then He connects the casting out of the ruler of this world with His being lifted, so as to draw all men to himself. This was a reference to His death. Jesus death was 2 things here: a calling that men would respond to; and a judgment against Satan.
E. Revelation 12 – (read the chapter) – The apostle John sees into the heavenly places and views a series of images that tell the story we have been describing in words. Notice how closely related this scene is to the promise of Gen. 3:15.
- v. 1– A woman, with a child (her seed) was attacked by a powerful dragon.
- v. 4-5 – But he failed. The child is protected and caught up to God on His throne
- v. 7 – the dragon fights with Michael and the angels, and does not prevail.
- v. 8-9 – nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan,
- v. 10 – salvation, the kingdom of God, power of Christ has come… at the time that the serpent is defeated, the kingdom appears. (Matt. 12)
- v. 11 – describes the martyrdom of the saints for the cause of Christ, – overcame by the blood of the Lamb. (redemption)
- v. 12 – Those in heaven can rejoice; Satan is gone, but Woe to the earth, because the dragon, who is cast out of heaven has come down to the earth. Why has he come here? because he knows that he only has a short time.
- v. 13 – when he is cast down he persecutes a woman who gave birth to the child. She is nourished and protected in the wilderness for a time. (Satan is still alive, but he is bound) His efforts to destroy are overcome by God (flood that is swallowed up by the earth).
- v. 17 – The Dragon is so angry at the woman, that he makes war against her offspring (seed) who keep the commandments of God.
1. Do these events seem similar to the words of Gen. 3:15? Do they fit well with what we viewed in the context of Jesus’ personal confrontation with Satan?
2. This provides for us an insight into the present position of the serpent in relationship to us. Why is he here? Because he was cast out of heaven. He is a desperate serpent, whose time is running out. He attacks us, as the offspring, because he is defeated.
3. When persecution comes we need to remember this. Persecution is not because Satan is so strong, but because he is beaten.
4. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that we can access the same power that defeated Satan, when we put on the whole armor of God. We can resist him and he will flee from us. God gives us the power to crush Satan under our feet (Rom. 16:20)
Conclusion: Rev. 20 describes the final destiny of Satan. He is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented day and night. Hell is a place reserved for the devil and his angels.
- How do you visualize Satan in hell? as the ruler of the place, opposite God who rules in heaven. He opens and shuts the gates? No Satan is not the warden of the place, he is an inmate.
What does the fulfillment of this promise mean to us? How important is it to us to KNOW that the snake has been defeated?
1) It means peace, the absence of fear. “there a snake in the back yard?” (actually Norma found one in our closet one day) What do you do? – send in the man, When will go back there again without fear ? Only when the man returns and gives evidence that the snake is dead.
- Women coming from the tomb.. Matt 28:9-10 – 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
- Heb 2:14-15 – Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
2) There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Satan’s other name is the devil (diabolos) means the accuser. As Satan stood before God and accused Job of being a hypocrite.
- Your Sin is Satan’s accusation. He stands condemned and wants you to be condemned as well. He knows his fate, and wants you to share in it.
- Do you know how you will answer Satan’s accusation? Will you claim ignorance, or temporary insanity, or maybe you can tell Satan “You cannot accuse me I have never sinned?” – None of those answers will suffice. There is only one answer to Satan’ accusation of sin.
- I Jn 2:1-2 “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.