- Dark Side Resistance vs. "Contending for the Faith"
I hope you are following through on your New Years (2017) commitment to grow in your walk with the Lord. Fundamental to your growth as a christian, is regular scripture study. I want to keep growing and so these past few weeks, I have been reading and learning about Isaiah the "Pinnacle-Prophet". Chapter 14 in particular is very interesting, and helps me understand what runs counter to my growth. By the way, my experience is that when you do experience growth as a christian, you can soon expect to face opposition from the enemy. As you'll read further, we'll find that the Bible uses the Greek word "antistete" (ἀντίστητε) which means to resist Satan's opposition!
All around us, the unseen world is full of significant spiritual warfare and opposition that is ongoing 24/7. This warfare is participated in by God's angels as well as demons and spirits under Satan's command and control. This was as true in ancient Old Testament times, as well as New Testament times and it is still just as true today. Perhaps as we near Halloween with it's demonic inference and symbolism, it is helpful to remind ourselves of the truth of God's Word and what God has to say about this unseen spiritual world. Let's explore what the Isaiah has to say about the dark side and specifically the origins of "the deceiver of the brethren"!
The bible only identifies 3 angels by their name:
Gabriel, Michael and Lucifer.
1). Gabriel ~ The Messenger Angel
A pattern we can see in scripture is that when God has news to communicate, he uses Gabriel as the messenger. For example, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee to communicate to Mary:
Gabriel Visits Mary ~ Luke 1
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: ~ Luke 1
2). Michael ~ The Warrior Angel
In Daniel Chapter 10, we find a humble, prayerful, respected man of God, describing a time in his life when he was prompted to fast. At the twenty-one day mark, things began to happen. As the story pans out, an angel meets him and explains that Daniel's prayer was heard, but that enroute to Daniel, the angel was detained in a fierce battle led against him by the "prince of Persia". This caused delay in the angel's mission, because apparently he had to fight hard for twenty-one days. (Hmmm ...Ever wonder why it sometimes takes time to see the result of your prayer? Keep praying! Prayer moves the hand of God!). The passage actually says the angel's progress or mission was "resisted". This battle was actually so fierce that this angel was finally assisted by Michael, "one of the chief princes" who evidently is a very powerful fighting angel. With Michael's much-needed help, this angel was able to successfully proceed with the mission.
Michael appears to assist God's Angel
against the prince of Persia ~ Daniel 10
Incidentally, I find it engaging that scripture uses the word "resistance" to describe the battle this angel had with this darkness. I find this interesting, because James 4 encourages us to fight back or "engage" against the devil with "resistance"; as in "...resist (ἀντίστητε or 'antistete' in the Greek) the devil and he will flee from you". The Ephesians 6 list of the armor of God is both defensive and offensive and if you are thus equipped, you will resist well!
3). Lucifer ~ The Fallen Angel
The proud, former-angel (aka "light-bearer", the shining-one, (serpent, 'deceiver of the brethren', 'roaring lion', devil, Satan etc.)
The Bible is primarily written to bring us the story of redemption. It's reflected in every book and is the overwhelming theme. As the redemption story unfolds, we are given glimpses that the wonderful Redemption Plan is often spiritually resisted throughout scripture. The major prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 14) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 28) both write about Lucifer's origins and fall from grace. Lucifer's Ego and Pride are in sharp contrast to the humble, suffering servant that Christ was.
Researcher George Barna indicates that nearly 60% of Americans believe that Satan isn't a living being, but just a symbolof evil. Barna's research indicates that 45% of born-again Christians deny Satan's existence. WRONG! Even Satan has deceived us into thinking that he doesn't exist.
Five "I will's" of Lucifer ~ Isaiah 14
Despite all of his pride and ambition, Lucifer didn't amount to much. His five "I-Will's" all turned out to be unfulfilled pipe-dreams and even his position as "guardian-cherub" was taken from him as he fell. (Perhaps this position was then re-assigned to Michael? -See Ezekiel 28:14).
Lest you think Satan is any match for God and his Supernatural abilities, scripture indicates otherwise. Satan ISN'T All-knowing, he's NOT All-powerful. While Satan didn't know the exact whereabouts of the Christ child, he was aware of the prophesies that preceded his coming. Satan deceived Herod to attempt to kill all the baby boys, thinking that the great Redemption Plan would then be foiled.
Isaiah 28:15, 16 & 17 seem to hint that perhaps one day we will be amazed at how weak of a "thing" Lucifer really is. Here is how Isaiah comments on Lucifer and his fall; I detect an element of disdain as in "....him? ...that's all we were worrying about?" Is this the wimp who caused us all this trouble?" :
15"But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.
16Those who see you stare at you,
they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth
and made kingdoms tremble,
17the man who made the world a wilderness,
who overthrew its cities
and would not let his captives go home?”
My sense is that while potentially dangerous (through his deceptive schemes), he is mostly bark and bluster and hasn't got much bite when we are protected by the blood of Christ through his victory on the cross!
We are cautioned to Resist him, and he will Flee!
~ St Mark