CONQUERING THE DEVIL
December 1, 1997 Issue
by Bennie T. Cryer
The Devil entered Gods created world, successfully tempted man to sin, and through sin obtained a power over man that remained unbroken until Jesus the Christ came to earth--Jesus was tempted by the Devil, lived a life free from sin, died on the cross, was buried, and then arose from that sepulcher as a victor over sin and the Devil. 1 John 3:8 states, "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil still has power, but He rendered the power of the adversary inactive, so much so, that the Devil, upon experiencing resistance, will flee from you." James 4:7.
The ability to resist the Devil successfully was not possible under the Old Testament dispensations. Jesus had to "come to... deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" Hebrews 2:15.
What powers did the Devil hold that Jesus was able to render inactive and will finally abolish when the tempter will be sent to "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" Matthew 25:41?
THE DEVILS ANGELS
Who are these beings that are called the Devils angels in Matthew 25:41? They are the angels that help him do his dirty work. There are angels that are celestial (God's angels); there are angels (messengers) that are terrestrial; and there are infernal angels that belong to the Devil and are under his authority. With his finite mind, man has an inability to distinguish between celestial, terrestrial, and infernal angels. If someone sees an angel, then the question becomes, "What kind of angel is it?" The Devil himself is an angel and has the ability to change into the angel of light. Paul writes:
"And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness..." 2 Corinthians 11:14-15.
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:8.
Because men have failed to "test" these angels the Devil has enjoyed the ability to start many spurious religions and false doctrines and as a result hundreds of different kinds of churches abound and prosper today. It is not only in the realm of religion the Devils angels operate. They are also active in the governmental realm and are styled "principalities and powers" in Ephesians 6:12 along with some other names.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Note that these entities are not flesh and blood. They are beings with high rule capabilities. They operate as rulers in the Devils domain and among earthly rulers who permit the Devil to reign in their regime. In Jesus temptation the Devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world.
"And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed up all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will give it." Luke 4:5-6.
The Devil was able to work through these kingdoms to get the rulers to crucify Jesus and to persecute the church later on as is depicted in Revelation 13:2.
"And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority"
The dragon is the devil, Revelations 12:9. The beast was the old political and pagan Roman empire. The Devil clearly gave the beast its authority. But Jesus came to defeat the Devil even in this type of political arena. The "principalities and powers" would go down in defeat with their powerful leader. This had to occur before Jesus could offer salvation to mankind. In Colossians 2:15, in speaking about the things Jesus did in order to procure salvation for man Paul wrote, "And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
In this context observe that in order for man to be quickened or made alive with Christ, He had to accomplish a number of things: 1. All trespasses against an individual had to be forgiven, v13; 2. The old testament had to be blotted out and nailed to the cross, v14; and 3. The principalities and powers had to be spoiled, v15. Christ could not offer salvation until these things were accomplished.
It was the intent of Jesus to bind the Devil in certain areas so man could be saved. This is expressed in Matthew 12:29, "Or else how can one enter into a strong mans house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house."
So what powers did Jesus take away from the Devil and his demons? Just look at this list and contemplate it. The dominion the Devil held over sinners, Acts 26:18; blinding the minds of the lost, 2 Corinthians 4;3-4; the authority he claims over the world, Luke 4:6; his ability to wage warfare against the saints successfully, Ephesians 6:12 and many others. In all of these things, along with others, the Devil had free course and, then, Jesus came and conquered him.
If Jesus destroyed the Devil and his angels why are they still working today and influencing people? A part of the good news from Jesus is, "Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7.
The power of Satan has been curtailed so much that resistance to him brings about his defeat in our lives today. Satan is going about today seeking those he can devour, but steadfast resistance in the faith will conquer him, I Peter 5:8-9. The devil, his demons and angels can influence us, but can never possess us. His influence vanishes in the face of the authority of Jesus. If the Devil has you it is because you have willingly let him.
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