Series: Great Doctrines
In these 8:30 o’clock morning services, we have a subject assignment, a doctrinal assignment. At the 10:50 and the 7:30 evening services, we go through the Bible. The messages are exegetical, they are expository: they are taking passages of Scripture and we are following them through the Word of the Lord. But these 8:30 services are subject, they are topical: it is taking a doctrine, and wherever in the Bible you would find a revelation concerning it, why, we look at it, put it all together and formulate a theology. It is impossible for a man not to try to arrange things in a logical sequence. If you do not, you are confused. You are lost. You do not know where to turn or whither to go or which way to follow. So our minds, made as they are, try to put together all of the diverse and ofttimes contradictory affects and fortunes and facets that we see in life, and we try to organize it so that it looks rational and reasonable. Without that, we do not have any God. If we have a God, He is one of intelligence. He is one of order. He has purpose and design. He knows where He is going. Everything has a meaning. Now, that is for us to find out in life as we interpret life by the revelation of the Word of God.
So, I say, these 8:30 services are topical. They are doctrinal. Now, this morning, we are going to look at God’s Word and find something about our adversary. We are going to talk about Satan. We are going to talk about the devil, diabolos.
Somebody says, “There is not any devil,” and the other fellow said, “Well, I wonder who is carrying on his work, if there is not any devil.”
Some people say that there is not any devil, there is not any Satan. There is only in this world the spirit of evil. Well, I would say that philosophy could avow that much. A man’s ingenious thinking could devise that norm. There is everywhere the principle of evil. That’s right. Like the spores that are in the air, they’re everywhere. You don’t see them, but you let a piece of bread fall to the ground anywhere in this earth, and spores will multiply upon it, and it will soon be covered with mold. They’re everywhere; you do not see them. Same thing about germs: germs are everywhere. You do not see them, but they are there just the same, and you make a lesion in your hand or on your body somewhere and see if you do not have to fight all kinds of infection and corruption.
Now, by a man’s mind, you could conclude that there is evil everywhere. The principle of evil is met in every place and in every walk of life. It is only in the Bible that you will find that there is such an one as a personal enemy, a personal adversary. And I think that is one reason why Satan so unremittingly and unwearyingly tries to discredit the Word of God. It is only in the Bible that you will find any revelation of a personal enemy, a personal adversary. But in the Bible it is presented, revealed in no unequivocal terms. He is called by his name one hundred seventy-four times in the Word of God. He’s called Satan. He’s called the devil. He’s called that old serpent. He’s called the dragon. He’s called Beelzebub. He’s called Belial, but in one or the other of those names, he’s named in the Bible one hundred seventy-four times, and he is presented as a person, a personality, as somebody, like God is somebody, like Michael is somebody, like Gabriel is somebody.
This enemy of ours is somebody. Eve met him, him in the garden of Eden [Genesis 3:1-6]. Job had to do with him; he fell into the hands of Satan [Job 1-2]. Christ – and that’s the reason we read our Scripture from the fourth [chapter] of Matthew this morning – Christ had to do with him, a personal adversary. His name – Christ Himself addressed him as Satan: “Satan, get thee behind Me!” [Matthew 4:10]: a personal enemy. And Paul and Peter warn of him. In Ephesians 2:[2-3], in 2 Corinthians 4: [2 Corinthians 4:4], in Ephesians 6 – in those chapters, Paul will say things like this: “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” [Ephesians 6:12]. Our adversaries are not such that you could lay your hands upon them and tear them apart, or shoot them down, or cut them with a bayonet, but our adversaries are the rulers of the power of darkness. And he will refer to “the prince of the power of the air” [Ephesians 2:2]. And Simon Peter will say, “We must be vigilant because our adversary, the devil, our adversary the devil, like a roaring lion walks about, seeking whom he may devour” [1 Peter 5:8]. All through the Bible you will find no other thing than the revelation of our enemy as being one who is personal.
Now, where did he come from? What is the origin of Satan? Turn, if you wish, in your Bible to the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel – the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel – and then, as you turn, put your finger also at the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Isaiah: Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. Now, in Ezekiel, he’s going to talk about the prince of Tyre. But there never was a prince like that, not a prince of Tyre of Babylon or Mesopotamia or Egypt or Lebanon or anywhere else in this earth. Therefore, when you read this, there is something over and beyond an address to the prince of Tyre, and you’ll find that in our enemy, you will find it in Satan. Now, these are the words Ezekiel 28:12 – Ezekiel 28:12:
Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
Thou wast in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in the day that thou was created. [Ezekiel 28:12-13]
He had a beautiful, suave, golden, euphonic, symphonic melodious voice. No wonder Eve loved to listen to him. “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth” – that is, he had the task, the assignment of guarding the very throne of God – “and I have set thee so” [Ezekiel 28:14]. God created him the first, the most majestic, the most exalted of all of the archangels. “Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created” – when he walked, it looked like the fire in the flash of the rainbow that shines out of the glorious diamonds – “till iniquity was found in thee” – we are going to find what that iniquity was – “till iniquity was found in thee” [Ezekiel 28:15]. Now, in the middle of the sixteenth:
thou has sinned: therefore, I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub
– the archangel that took charge of the throne of God –
from the midst of the stones of fire.
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic: therefore, will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.
Now, let’s go ahead for a lack of time. In the fourteenth of Isaiah: “How art thou fallen” – at the twelfth verse. Isaiah 14:12:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which dist weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like God Himself, the Almighty, the Most High.
No! thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake the kingdoms;
That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? [Isaiah 14:12-17]
Now these words in Ezekiel addressed to the king of Tyre; in Isaiah addressed to the king of Babylon – but there never were kings or princes like that, not in Eden to begin with, and that’s the way the story, the address, starts off. No, beyond those incarnations of iniquity and darkness is the great prince, the ruler of the powers of this world, and it is Satan himself. So if we could probe where mind could hardly enter, back yonder; we do not know back yonder in the great dim, unknown eternities of the past, back yonder when God created the angels and set them in orders. Some of them were archangels. Some of them were cherubim. Some of them were seraphim. When the Lord created the orders of the angels, He created a ruling angel, a guarding angel, the angel most powerful of all, most gloriously beautiful of all. He created one next to the Son Himself, and that guardian cherub, beautiful and mighty and strong – How strong is he? In the ninth verse of the Book of Jude, it says: “Even Michael the archangel dare not insult Satan” [Jude 1:9]. Isn’t that an amazing thing? Just one ordinary angel in the nighttime slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand of Sennacherib’s soldiers; just one little angel, just one angel [Isaiah 37:36]; here is an archangel, Michael himself, dare not insult Satan. “But he said: The Lord rebuke thee. ” He dared not say a word of rebuke himself: “The Lord rebuke thee.”
This glorious creature, created for the guard of the throne of God, looking upon his beauty, listening to his own glorious voice, proud, lifted up, finally said, “Why can I not be like God Himself?” [Isaiah 14:14]. And that was the birth of iniquity. That’s where sin came from: in a proud and lifted-up heart in rebellion against God.
All right, now this is just your pastor’s interpretation. I think, in Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, I think – “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” – I think, when God created the heaven and the earth, it was perfect. I cannot see it any other way. How could God create anything that was ugly, and despicable, and without form, and void, full of burning, and drought, and desert, and sin, and hurt, and darkness, and death? I cannot see that. I think, in the beginning when God created the heaven and earth, that He did it gloriously, perfectly, beautifully. Rainbows were everywhere. Light was everywhere. Life was everywhere. It was like the angels in glory. It was full of beauty and power. Then, something happened. By the time you get to that second verse, this earth is “without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep” [Genesis 1:2]. I think the whole created universe of God fell apart when iniquity was found in the angel that covereth! [Ezekiel 28:14]. And when the rebellion was led against God by Satan and his angels, they destroyed the whole created universe of God – the moon barren and sterile and cold at night and burning in the daytime; Venus, Neptune, Jupiter, the entire sidereal universe, the creation everywhere – it fell apart in that awful visitation from God, and this earth was a part of that fall. It was thrown into darkness and into chaos by that awful rebellion of Satan in heaven. Now the mystery of that I cannot go into, and it is something that your pastor believes as he reads the Bible. I do not say that that is the absolute and only interpretation of these texts. It is just something that I believe. It is something I think that is in the Word of God.
So, thereafter, we have another kingdom. We have another prince. We have another ruler. We have another adversary. We have another enemy. God and Christ and the Holy Spirit, and the angels that minister, seek to save and to bless. But Satan has a kingdom of his own, subjects of his own, ways of his own, and that death struggle has been at war these millenniums. And now we’re going to look at that until our time expires. First, the kingdom of Satan: does Satan have a kingdom? In the twelfth chapter of the Book of Matthew, Jesus says: “If Satan casts out Satan” – He is talking about when they said He casts out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils[Matthew 12:24] – “If Satan casts out Satan, then he has divided them against himself; and how can his kingdom stand?” [Matthew 12:26]. Now, Jesus said that: “How can his kingdom stand?” Satan has a kingdom.
All right, who are the subjects of his kingdom? First, there are angels that are at liberty that follow in the train of Satan. In the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, at the end time, Satan and his angels are going to be cast into the bottomless pit, Satan and his angels [Matthew 25:41]. Some of those who were deceived by Satan were cast in prison, reserved in chains of darkness against that final day of judgment [2 Peter 2:4], but some of those angels are at liberty, and they rule the kingdoms of darkness with their high prince Satan himself [Ephesians 6:12]. All right, that’s one part of his kingdom, his subjects.
Another part of his kingdom are the demons. In the translation of the King James Version of the Bible, you have it translated “devils.” In your reading through the Scriptures, you will see those “devils” saying things to Jesus. They are seizing upon people. They are casting them down to the ground. A better translation of that is “demons.” There is only one diabolos, only one devil, only one Satan. But there are many, many demons, and they get into people. They get into us. Oh, all kinds of things: bitterness, envy, pride, jealousy, hurtful things, lack of faith; these things get into people. They are spiritual evil and darkness and wickedness, and they get into our hearts. Our hearts can become full of demons, and if the Holy Spirit doesn’t fill our hearts, why, like Jesus said in the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, the demon looks in there and there is a man’s heart that is empty, even though he has been regenerated, even though he has been cleansed [Matthew 12:43-45]. I don’t mean regenerated. Even though he’s been reformed, even though he’s been cleansed, even though he’s cut out his drinking, he’s cut out his cussing – “I’m going to be a good man: I’m going to join the Masonic Lodge. I’m going to be a good man: I’m going to join the PTA. I’m going to be a good man: I’m going to join the civic club. I’m going to be a good man: I’m going to cut out my cussing and drinking and carousing around. I’m going to be a good man.” That’s reformation. That’s what it is for a man to say, “I’m going to be a good man.” Then what happens to him? Why, for about six months or a year – or two year, I don’t know how long – for a while, he’s the best fellow you ever saw. Why, you couldn’t get him to drink. You couldn’t get him to cuss. You couldn’t get him to gamble. You couldn’t get him to lie. You couldn’t get him to steal. You couldn’t get him to – No! he’s reformed. But he hasn’t been regenerated! He hasn’t been born again! He hasn’t been genuinely converted!
So an evil spirit looks on the inside of the heart of that man, and there it is – all this is from Jesus; I’m just telling you His story – he looks on the inside of that man and his heart is clean and swept and garnished. That’s what Jesus said. His heart is just as clean and swept out, but it’s empty! He doesn’t have the Holy Spirit in there! And so the spirit, that evil spirit, he goes out, and he says, “Hey, look-a-here, look-a-here.” And another, and another, goes out and says, “Look-a-there, and another one, look-a-there.” And he goes out and he gets seven spirits more wicked than himself, and they all come and get on the inside of that man [Matthew 12:43-45]. And you come and look at him, and you say, “Well, what in the world? I thought he wasn’t going to drink anymore. Look at him. I thought he wasn’t going to cuss anymore. Look at him. I thought he was going to do this, that, and the other. Look at him, and he’s worse than he ever was.” You’ve got to have on the inside of your heart the Spirit of God to fight against the encroachments of the kingdom of darkness, if you survive in this awful spiritual warfare. So I say the second group of his subjects are the spirits of evil that are in this earth.
All right, the last of his subjects are the unregenerate of humanity: people who give themselves to the love of, to the work of the evil one. Now I just point to that and go on. You will find a thing like that typically expressed in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew. Isn’t that where the story of the tares is told – the wheat and the tares? And Jesus says, “The tares are the children of the wicked one” [Matthew 13:38]; they are going to be burned with unquenchable fire in the end time [Matthew 13:40]. “The tares are the children of the wicked one.” And isn’t it in the eighth chapter of the Book of John that Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil?” [John 8:44] So the subjects of the kingdom are also unregenerate people. People that are not in the kingdom of Christ are in the kingdom of Satan, and there are just two. There are not three. We’re either saved or lost. We’re given to God or we’re given to Satan. We’re on his side or Christ’s side. It’s one or the other. There are just two kingdoms.
Now, may I say a word about his methods? How does Satan work? First, he works by deception. He fools us. He deceives us. I don’t believe any sane man, any rational man, would stand up and say, “I want to go to hell. I want to burn in the fire. I want to be judged forever. I want to be with him, the devil, in the bottomless pit.” No, Satan deceives us, and he’s smarter than we are. In the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, Jesus says that “if it were possible – if it were possible – they would deceive the very elect” [Matthew 24:24], the choice called out of God. Satan would fool us, if it were possible to deceive the very elect!
In the fourth chapter and the fourth verse of the second Corinthian letter, Paul says that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who reject the gospel of the Son of God” [2 Corinthians 4:4]. He blinds our minds. We don’t see it. We are absolutely impervious to its appeal. The light never strikes the inner heart, the inner mind. He deceives us, and he is our arch-enemy and adversary. And he wins. He wins. He always wins. He’s still winning. He had a round with Eve, and he won [Genesis 3:1-6]. He had a round with Cain and Abel, and he won [Genesis 4:8]. He had a round with “the sons of God,” when they fell in love with the daughters of men, and he won. That brought on the Flood [Genesis 6:4-8; 7:17-24]. By the way, there’s a case of intermarriage, when the sons of God looked on the daughters of men; God said you are not to do it.
Well, let’s go on, quick. When Noah – when Noah was tempted and enticed, God said to Ham the son, there is a curse on you and your generation [Genesis 9:21-27], and he [the devil] won. And when the people gathered together, he put in their hearts to build a great central monument that would hold the unity of the race together for the purpose of flaunting the will of God [Genesis 11:4-6], and he won. And that disrupted the unity of the race. That was Babel. Then against Abraham, the thing started in dead earnest. He thought, with Esau and Jacob, he [Satan] would have another Cain and Abel, and one would murder the other [Genesis 27:41-42]. In the land of Egypt, when Moses was to be born, he thought he had a way to slay the coming deliverer of the children of God [Exodus 1:22]. When Egypt came, Herod over that cradle with a sword in his hand [Matthew 2:16]. When Jesus began His ministry, the first thing Satan, to entice Him away from it, “All this will I give You” – and he pointed to the glory of the whole world – “if You will fall down and worship me” [Matthew 4:8-9]. Tried to slay Him at Nazareth, throw Him off the brow of the hill [Luke 4:29]; sought to kill Him in Gethsemane [John 18]; then slay Him on the cross [Matthew 27:32-50], and thought he had triumph; to his amazement, the glorious gospel of the Son of God.
Paul said to the children of Thessalonica, to the Christians there: “I wanted to come to see you, but Satan hindered me” [1 Thessalonians 2:18]. And he does it all the time and all the way through, all the way through. Satan wars against us, and it’s just by the grace of God that any man is ever saved; just because of the intervention of the Holly Spirit of God that any of us is ever delivered. Well, is that to be always? No, sir. Is his kingdom to be a final one of triumph? No, sir. There’s another chapter in the book; there’s another story. There’s an ending to this thing.
“Well, what is it, preacher?” All right, first: Satan is going to be cast out of the heavenlies [Luke 10:18]. And I don’t understand all about that, but we’re just going to look at it. Satan is going to be cast out of the heavenlies. Where he is right now, he has access to God. He can go before the throne of God and say to Him, “See that righteous man down there? See that man down there? He doesn’t serve You because he loves You. Brother, it pays him to be righteous! He gets a dividend from it. Why, look at him. He’s in better health. He’s being prospered by the Lord. God has given him beautiful children, he has a lovely home and a fine job. Brother, no wonder he serves You! Look what he gets out of it.” That’s what Satan does. Day and night he accuses the brethren before God. And then comes once in a while a story like you read about poor old Job [Job 2:4-7], when God said, “All right, all right, just to show you he is not serving Me for what he gets out of it, take him, try him, afflict him from head to foot.” But he’s doing that day and night. He has access to God, and he can walk right into the presence of God, and he accuses us. Every time anything comes in your heart, every time we do anything that’s wrong, Satan is up there in the presence of God, accusing the brethren; our adversary by day and night [1 Peter 5:9]. That’s what the Bible says about him. All right, is that going to continue forever? No, sir! Over here in the twelfth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, look at this, look at this: there was war up there in heaven, there was war; God said, “I have had enough, and enough is enough.” God said, “This is the time of the end. This is enough.”
There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
and prevailed not – no, not! – Neither was there found any place for them in heaven anymore.
And the great dragon was cast out; that old serpent called the Devil, and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world; and he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven
Heaven is purified, but woe to the earth, “Woe to the earth.” Down here in that awful tribulation:
they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they love not their lives to death
Now that’s the reason I know that this thing in the future, this twelfth chapter is in the future, because when this thing happened, Christ is already dead. The blood of Christ has already been shed. It is Miltonic, it’s not biblical – it is Miltonic, it is from John Milton that Satan was cast out, and then he went down into Eden and tempted. No, sir! That’s not the Bible. That’s Milton. That’s Milton. The Bible is that Satan still has access to the throne of God. You read Job and see [Job 1-2]. And you read the New Testament, where he is called, he accuses the brethren and then read right there in that verse: “The accuser of our brethren is cast down” [Revelation 12:10]. Satan is up there where he can talk to God about every one of us, and he points to us. Some of these days he’s going to be cast out of those heavenlies, and then that’s a future time, because they overcame him down here in this world with the blood of the Lamb [Revelation 12:11].
Another thing: in the fifth verse there, this woman which is Israel brought forth a man Child who is to rule all the nations [Revelation 12:5]. That’s the Lord Jesus, and this happened after the birth of Christ. So some of these days he’s going to be cast out of heaven, out of the heavenlies, and those are going to be the times of awful trouble, and he and his angels are coming down here into this earth. And ah, you read here in the Revelation what happens. And then after the days of those awful, awful trials, in the nineteenth chapter, in the nineteenth chapter, when this thing is wrought out according to the purposes of God – in the twentieth chapter, I mean:
I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on that old dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, that he deceives the nations no more. And after a thousand years – after a thousand years, he is going to be loosed again. [Revelation 20:1-3]
Now look at the tenth verse of the twentieth chapter of Revelation – and this is the end. After that being loosed a little while, when he deceives the nations again[Revelation 20:7-8], “the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and he will be tormented day and night forever and ever” [Revelation 20:10]. That’s in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew where Jesus says, “And he is going to be cast into everlasting fire prepared for the devil, for old Satan, that old dragon and his angels” [Matthew 25:41]. The earth is going to be cleansed too. Heaven’s going to be cleansed. He’s not going to be up there anymore. He’s not going to be our accuser present anymore. He’s not going to have access to God anymore. Heaven’s going to be cleansed! And at the end time, earth’s going to be cleansed! The Lord says, “It is enough!” That all of his darkness, and all of his tears, and all of the sorrows that he has caused and the death, all are going to be cast into the lake of fire [Revelation 20:14]. There’s going to be a cleansing. There’s going to be a final, holy triumph, when we have that new heaven and that new earth [Revelation 21:1], wherein dwelleth righteousness. And at that time – and Oh, I’ve got to stop and should anyway – and at that time, the Holy City of God, where we go when we die, when we’re resurrected there in that beautiful city, when God has cleansed this old earth and given us a new earth and new heaven, there’s coming down out of God’s heaven, preparing now for His people, the finished work of the Holy City of God foursquare! [Revelation 21:1-2, 16] There’s coming down that beautiful city, and we’re going to be in it, right in the middle of it. Walking around on those golden streets! Singing songs, all God’s children have got a robe, all God’s children have got a crown, all God’s children are gonna sing, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down [Revelation 12:10], and as the Book says, “We will live and reign with Him forever and ever” [Revelation 22:5]. So don’t ever doubt, we’re going to win! It’ll be God’s triumph, in God’s day, in God’s way!
Now, just a stanza, Billy; while we sing the stanza, somebody you give his heart to God, take Jesus as his Savior, somebody you, or put your life in our church. In just a moment, we abide before our Sunday school, just this moment, would you come and stand by me? While all of us stand and sing together.
For more sermons by W.A Criswell, please visit www.wacriswell.com