Satan, a Defeated Enemy
The war, known as The Great Controversy between the God of heaven and Satan, has waged on since the dawning of eternity. In the beginning Satan disputed the rights of the Son of God. He objected to Christ being the only one next to God on His throne. Satan was jealous of Christ’s position of authority, the Son being equal with the Father. Satan could not understand why Christ was the only one allowed in private council with God while he was excluded. In this first great battle between good and evil, Ellen White describes it in the following words:
Good angels weep to hear the words of Satan, and to see how he despises to follow the direction of Christ, their exalted and loving Commander.
The Father decides the case of Satan, and declares that he must be turned out of heaven for his daring rebellion, and that all those who united with him in his rebellion should be turned out with him. Then there was war in heaven. Christ and His angels fought against Satan and his angels, for they were determined to remain in heaven with all their rebellion. But they prevailed not. Christ and loyal angels triumphed, and drove Satan and his rebel sympathizers from heaven.
Immediately after Satan was cast out, “The Father consulted His Son in regard to at once carrying out their purpose to make man to inhabit the earth.”
When Adam and Eve were placed in the beautiful garden, Satan was laying plans to destroy them.” Early Writings, p. 142 The second great battle was about to begin.
Holy angels often visited the garden, and gave instruction to Adam and Eve… concerning the rebellion and fall of Satan….and cautioned them not to separate from each other. The angels also enjoined upon them to follow closely the directions God had given them, for in perfect obedience only were they safe….
Satan commenced his work with Eve,… She first erred in wandering from her husband, next in lingering around the forbidden tree,…she put forth her hand, took of the fruit and ate. It was pleasing to the eye and pleasant to the taste…she offered the fruit to her husband, thereby tempting him.
I saw a sadness come over Adam…. He appeared afraid and astonished. A struggle seemed to be going on in his mind.…His love for Eve was strong, and in utter discouragement he resolved to share her fate. He seized the fruit and quickly ate it….Satan knew that the woman would not fall alone. Adam, through his love for Eve, disobeyed the command of God, and fell with her.
All heaven was in agitation.…Angels were immediately commissioned to guard the way of the tree of life…Satan triumphed. He had made others suffer by his fall. He had been shut out of heaven, they out of Paradise. Early Writings, p. 142-149
Satan thought he won the war. But his victory was only temporary. He had no way of knowing the depth of the Father’s and His Son’s love for mankind. A way of escape was revealed to the trembling pair. The whole universe, along with the host of heaven watched in amazement. An angel shared the scene with sister White:
I saw the lovely Jesus and beheld an expression of sympathy and sorrow… Soon I saw Him approach the exceeding bright light which enshrouded the Father….Three times He was shut in by the glorious light about the Father, and the third time He came from the Father, His person could be seen. His countenance was calm, free from all perplexity…and shone with benevolence and loveliness,...He then made known to the angelic host…that He had been pleading with His Father, and had offered to give His life a ransom, to take the sentence of death upon Himself,…that through the merits of His blood, and obedience to the law of God, they could have the favor of God,…
[Christ] would leave all His glory in heaven, appear upon earth as a man, humble Himself as a man, become acquainted…with the various temptations with which man would be beset, that He might know how to succor those who should be tempted; and that finally,…He would be delivered into the hands of men,…The angels prostrated themselves before Him. They offered their lives. Jesus said…the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of His Father as a ransom for man…. With a holy sadness Jesus comforted…the angels and informed them that… by His death He should ransom many and destroy him who had the power of death…
Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. And the heavenly host sang a song of praise and adoration. They touched their harps and sang a note higher than they had done before, for the great mercy and condescension of God in yielding up His dearly Beloved to die for a race of rebels….
Said the angel, “Think ye that the Father yielded up His dearly beloved Son without a struggle? No, no. It was even a struggle with the God of heaven, whether to let guilty man perish, or to give His beloved Son to die for him.” Angels were so interested for man’s salvation that there could be found among them those who would yield their glory and give their life for perishing man, “But,” said my accompanying angel, “that would avail nothing. The transgression was so great that an angel’s life would not pay the debt. Nothing but the death and intercessions of His son would pay the debt and save lost man from hopeless sorrow and misery.”…it was impossible for God to alter or change His law to save lost, perishing man; therefore He suffered His beloved Son to die for man’s transgression.
Satan again rejoiced with his angels that he could, by causing man’s fall, pull down the Son of God from His exalted position. He told his angels that when Jesus should take fallen man’s nature, he could overpower Him and hinder the accomplishment of the plan of salvation. Early Writings, p. 149-152
For four thousand years the war raged on. Satan, through lies and deception, distorted in the eyes of men the character of “the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” One of Satan’s first lies was to tell us there is no hope, that our sins are too great, and that forgiveness and deliverance from the power of sin, is impossible. But not according to the plans of the Father and His Son:
"Satan declared that it was impossible for the sons and daughters of Adam to keep the law of God, and thus charged upon God a lack of wisdom and love. If they could not keep the law, then there was fault with the Lawgiver.” Signs of the Times, January 16, 1896.
In order to prove the falsity of this claim, Christ left His high command, took upon Himself the nature of man, and came to this earth to stand at the head of the fallen race in order to show that humanity could withstand the temptations of Satan.” Manuscript 77, 1902
Christ kept the law, proving beyond controversy that man also can keep it. Review & Herald May 7, 1901
At last “the fullness of time” had come. The greatest battle ever to be fought was about to begin. Christ, the Son of the living God, became Emmanuel [God with us] and for the next thirty-three years He walked upon this earth, wrapped in the flesh of fallen humanity. He fought the prince of this world in the same human equipment which we too may possess. The battle was fierce, the consequences eternal! Who would be the king of this world? Who would have the right to sit upon the throne of our hearts?
“This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” . We do not contemplate as we should the character of God. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” [ ]
Although Satan has misinterpreted God’s purposes, falsified His character, and caused man to look upon God in a false light, yet through the ages God’s love for man has never ceased. Christ’s work was to reveal the Father as merciful, compassionate, full of goodness and truth. The character of Christ represented the character of God. The only begotten Son of God sweeps back the hellish shadow in which Satan has enveloped the Father, and declares, “I and My Father are one; look on Me and behold God.”
Through every hour, through all ages, God’s love stands revealed as without a parallel. When the fullness of time was come, a suitable channel was prepared in Christ Jesus, through whom the streams of heavenly grace could be poured into the world. God so loved that He made a gift to the world which defies all computation. That the abundance of His grace should be revealed, he could not give less than the fullness, nor was it possible for Him to give more. —
When the last and greatest of all the Savior’s trials came upon Him at Calvary, His love for fallen man never wavered. His faith never died. As He hung upon the cross, for the first time Jesus felt the absence of His Father’s presence. For the first time He felt the full weight of the sins of the world upon Himself. While the mob cried out crucify Him, He prayed: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”. At the same time Christ was feeling a deepening separation from His heavenly Father. It was at this point that the Son of God, in great anguish and sorrow, cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”. Though He could not see through the portal of the tomb and could not feel the acceptance of His Father, His faith in His Father’s love and care never wavered. By faith, He at last cried out, “It is finished”. And the Son of God bowed His head and died of a broken heart.
What did Jesus mean when He said, “It is finished”?
1) The penalty for sin had been paid in full.
2) Satan lost the war for the throne of God.
3) Satan no longer is the king of this world.
4) Christ conquered sin in the sinful flesh of humanity.
Christ on the cross, not only draws men to repentance toward God for the transgression of His law—for whom God pardons He first makes penitent—but Christ has satisfied justice; He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made. He suffered in the flesh that with His bruised and broken body He might cover the defenseless sinner. The victory gained at His death on Calvary broke forever the accusing power of Satan over the universe, and silenced his charges that self-denial was impossible with God and therefore not essential in the human family.
Satan knew, on that glorious Sunday morning, the moment Christ burst forth from the tomb, he was a defeated enemy - lost forever! The Father by giving, and the Son by living and dying, secured heaven for us. In 1897 our Sabbath school lesson said it well:
“Jesus did not yield up His life till He had accomplished the work which He came to do; and He exclaimed with His parting breath, ‘It is finished!’ Angels rejoiced as the words were uttered; for the great plan of redemption was being triumphantly carried out. There was joy in heaven that the sons of Adam could now, through a life of obedience, be exalted finally to the presence of God. Satan was defeated, and knew that his kingdom was lost.”
So why does the battle still rage on? Satan, because of his great hatred for the Father and His Son, fights on for the souls of all God’s children. The Spirit of Prophecy gives us this insight into the thought process of Satan and our rights to be free:
“I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased, and it will increase, until it is taken away. His wrath and hate grow stronger as his time to work draws near its close.
God knows how Satan is working, and sends his angels to watch over his children, to protect them from the Devil’s power….The angels of God are clothed with a complete armor,…fear nothing, for they are doing the will of their loved Commander. They enter the darkest places to rescue the children of God from the snares of Satan, and their presence causes the evil angels to fall back….
I saw that the angels of God are not to force or bend the will of the individual they watch over. They are to gently chide, warn and guard. Satan can never force back these holy angels from their charge. None can do this but the individuals that they are watching over. If these individuals continue to grieve these tender, holy angels; if they go astray from their counsel and warnings, and choose an independent course of their own, they will drive these angels from them. If the will is submitted to them, they will bend it in the heavenly channel, and they will ever be on the watch for their interests, leading them from a thousand dangers,…
I saw that the great condescension for man has been made. Jesus condescended to the shameful death of the cross, and now man in his turn must condescend and bow. He must yield up his will and pleasure if he would follow in the only road to heaven. I saw that God would not compel any to be saved. Jesus has made the great sacrifice, and if man will freely, gladly accept it; if he will choose life, he can have it. But his life must be one of continual yielding.” Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2. p. 277-278
Yes, on the cross Christ won the right to save us. He won the right to let Adam and all his descendants have another trial. He won the right as the Good Shepherd to pursue His lost wandering sheep. He earned the right to dwell in all who would choose to follow Him by faith alone. And last of all, Jesus earned the right to transform us into His image by His saving grace!
Satan, our defeated foe, is still pursuing God’s people. This is the last battle before Christ returns. He is not doing this in order to win the war. He knew his chances to accomplish this all ended at the cross. He only continues the fight in order to keep us from choosing to be on the winning side with Christ.
Satan, knowing he has but little time, pursues two things in his hateful desires. The first is to cause as many as possible to be lost. The second is to delay Christ’s second coming for as long as possible in order to delay his own inevitable death.
- Satan will cause as many as possible to be lost.
“There is power in the present truth;  but Satan is working in every conceivable way to keep the light away from the people. The controversy between Christ and Satan is not yet ended. The latter is constantly seeking to establish his own power and authority. If he can entangle minds, he will do it. If he can lead them to depend on human beings instead of upon the living God, he is well pleased. The deceptions of Satan are manifold, but the Lord will be our helper if we seek him earnestly.
“The Word was made flesh.” Who’s flesh?—“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same” …He took your flesh, my flesh, the flesh of all mankind, sinful flesh,…Those who would separate Jesus from the fullest share in our human nature do not realize that in so doing they are laboring to deprive mankind of all hope.”
EJ Waggoner, The Present Truth, December 9, 1897
“your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Satan is earnest and sincere in his work. He does not want souls saved. He does not want his power upon them broken. Satan does not merely pretend. He is in earnest. He beholds Christ inviting souls to come to Him that they may have life, and he is earnest and zealous in his efforts to prevent them from accepting the invitation. He will leave no means untried to prevent them from leaving his ranks and standing in the ranks of Christ. …He exerts his power with terrible effect. He does not wait for his prey to come to him. He hunts for it. He goes to and fro in the earth like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He does not always wear the ferocious look of the lion, but when he can work to better effect he transforms himself into an angel of light. He can readily exchange the roar of the lion for the most persuasive arguments or for the softest whisper….He charms and deludes many by flattering their vanity. Through his agents he presents the pleasures of the world in an attractive light, and strews the path to hell with tempting flowers,… Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 288
The antidote to all of Satan’s power is in the cross. Jesus’ promises are sure: “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.”...
Your strength in God will increase while you consecrate all to Him; so that you can say with confidence: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,…shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 288
- To delay Christ’s second coming for as long as possible, in order to delay his own inevitable death.
If Satan can keep us from seeing and believing in the true character and love of God, if he can continue to deceive God’s people in regard to the depth of the victory won at the cross, then man’s time on earth will continue and the return of Christ will be thus delayed.
The third angel’s message is to be sounded by God’s people. It is to swell to the loud cry. The Lord has a time appointed when He will bind off the work; but when is that time?—when the truth to be proclaimed for these last days shall go forth as a witness to all nations, then shall the end come. If the power of Satan can come into the very temple of God, and manipulate things as he pleases, the time of preparation will be prolonged. 9MR 212
He (Christ) has put it in our power, through cooperation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end. Education, p. 264 (1903)
Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.
It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69 (1900)
Our enemy has been defeated. Have we allowed the victory so freely offered to become ours? The world is still watching. The last battle is still being fought. Sides are still being chosen. Christ is offering His people one last gift. A gift we are to share with the world. Have you accepted the last gift offered so freely? Ellen White describe this gift in these words:
“Holiness is the gift of God through Christ. Those who receive the Saviour become Sons of God. They are His spiritual children, born again, renewed in righteousness and true holiness. Their minds are changed. They become conformed to His likeness, changed by His spirit from glory to glory.” Signs of The Times, December 17, 1902
“All through the scriptures He has given us assurances that through His grace we may attain the same perfection of character He attained.” Signs of The Times, June 10, 1903
"By His perfect obedience, He has made it possible for every human being to obey Gods commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness." [our last free gift] Christs Object Lessons, p. 312
When God’s people, by faith alone, allow Christ’s robe of righteousness to rest gently upon them, the world will see a living demonstration of the character of Christ! The choice for all will be easy to see: Either Christ and eternal life or Satan, their defeated enemy and eternal death! The final decisions will at last be made. And quickly the clouds will open and Christ in all His glory, will come to receive us as His own!
“Even so come Lord Jesus”!!