Satan's Past, Present, and Future Defeat (Isaiah Sermon 15 of 81)
August 17, 2008 | Andy Davis
Judgement Day, Prophecy, Demons
In December of 1923, one of the most dedicated Satanists and occultists in Germany lay dying. His name was Dietrich Eckhardt, and he was the head of the secret Thule Society, known to inner circle members as the Satanic Brotherhood of Death Society. Eckhardt had studied black magic and eastern mystic techniques. He felt that it was his calling from Satan to prepare an antichrist who would rule the world. As he lay there dying, he revealed plainly to those that were standing around him that his 34-year-old apprentice, Adolf Hitler, was that man. Eckhardt said this, “Follow Hitler! He will dance, but it is I who have called the tune! I have initiated him into the ‘Secret Doctrine,’ opened his centers of vision, and given him the means to communicate with the Powers. Do not mourn for me: for I shall have influenced history more than any other German.” That’s eerie, isn’t it? But I think that Hitler had been prepared long before he met Eckhardt for that moment.
This testimony comes from a childhood friend of his when he was a fifteen-year-old youth. He was with a friend, August Kubizek, and suddenly he grabbed Kubizek’s hands with incredible force. A look came over his face that Kubizek had never seen before. His eyes turned feverish and he began to speak in a voice that was loud and hoarse and raucous. Kubizek felt that some strange being had seized control of his friend Adolf and was inhabiting his body. Hitler began to speak eloquently about a mandate to rule Germany and lead her back to her rightful glory. From that point until Eckhardt’s pronouncement, Hitler immersed himself in occultic studies, all kinds of black magic practices. The political party that he would eventually lead, The National Socialists, the Nazis, was to become more than merely a political party or government. It was to become a religion. Now, the Greek word “antichrist” doesn’t literally mean “against Christ,” although that is the effect. It means “in the place of Christ, taking his place.” Hitler would offer himself as a messiah to the German nation. The soaring oratory of his frenzied speech-making was the key to his demonic power. It would seize him and drive him to volcanic heights.
It was really scary to listen to him speak, eyewitnesses said. Hitler said privately to his closest followers, “I’m going to become a religious figure. Soon, I will be the great chief of the Tartars. Already, Arabs and Moroccans are mingling my name with their prayers.” The whole nation was sucked under his demonic spell. Hitler did become a god for millions. In one of the Nuremburg rallies, a giant photo of Hitler was captioned with the words “in the beginning was the Word.” One of his followers, Alfred Rosenberg, said, “Let it happen as it will and as it must. But I believe in Adolf Hitler. Above his head, hovers a star.” Hitler’s hold over people and over the German nation, I think, was supernatural and it was demonic. It is not easy to prove the central thesis of my message here, that the kings of Babylon, one generation after another, have been effectively influenced by Satan to accomplish his ends. How do you prove that from the pages of history? There’s all kinds of skepticism about that, but just think about the effect that this man had over people.
I think about his spellbinding effect. William L Shirer, who was a CBS correspondent, went to those Nuremberg rallies. He said that the people looked on Hitler as if he were their Messiah. People would swoon under his influence. It was hypnotic. I think it was demonic. Historian George Bruce concluded that Hitler had mediumistic powers that linked him with satanic forces, which spoke through him and gave him specialized information. I believe that, however great was the influence of this man and however dark and evil his deeds in history, they were a mere dress rehearsal for the final act in this great drama, when the future antichrist comes and rules the world. It will be the culmination of every tyrannical throne there has ever been on earth. The final form of Babylon the Great, that has ruled the world in various forms and in every era for thousands of years. Behind each of those tyrannical thrones has been the power of Satan himself. But as we mentioned last week, and this is the glory of this passage, above those evil thrones, above Satan and his throne, is the King of all Kings.
Isaiah 14 speaks of the casting down of the king of Babylon, the throwing down of this powerful force. This is what verse 12 says, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn!” This is the theme of Isaiah 14:12-15: the past, present, and future defeat of the King of Babylon, of Satan himself, the ruler of the kingdom of the air.
Two weeks ago, we looked at Isaiah 13, the fall of Babylon, and we saw that it referred not just to the destruction of that one city, the city of Babylon, by the Medes. It did refer to that, but also to the wicked form of government, the tyranny that is woven into Babylon itself, and into the wicked human governments that will rise up from the ashes of each tyranny until its time comes to be destroyed and the next tyranny rises. It’s Babylon and Babylon and Babylon to the end of time. That was Isaiah 13.
Last week, we looked at the human kings of all of these Babylons, the kings of Babylon, the rulers who are going to take up these thrones. We focused on the human side. We looked at Isaiah 14:1-23. We saw that it referred to human tyrants who use their thrones to crush and oppose the people of God. But this week we’re going to zero in on verses 12-15. We’re going to look at the spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realms at work in those who are disobedient. At work, specifically, in the kings of Babylon, to do the will of Satan. We’re going to talk about the fall of Satan. The key verse is verse 12, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” The King James Version famously gives this translation of verse 12, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” We hear that famous title “Lucifer” there. Because the language of these verses seems excessive to refer merely to the ambitions of a human king, I take a double meaning here. Isaiah 14, then, does speak of the human King of Babylon and how he is cast down, but it also speaks of the invisible force of evil behind the throne, which is also cast down by Almighty God.
Satan, I believe, is the original rebel whose pride and ambition is spoken of here in Isaiah 14. He introduced evil into a pristine, a holy universe. He sought to better his standing in heaven, his heavenly position, to raise his throne above that of all the others. He sought even to challenge God Himself, to receive worship as God. He was cast down to the earth. He decided to try to subvert God’s plan for the earth by recruiting man, the kings of the earth, to join him in his rebellion. He was successful in that recruitment. He recruited the human race to join him in rebellion, and that’s been the story of history since that time. I believe it is no coincidence that the clearest indications in the Old Testament, the clearest descriptions of the fall of Satan, of what led him to fall into rebellion are both given in prophetic passages that talk about human kings. I find that fascinating. Isaiah 14 talks about the King of Babylon. Put your finger here, on Isaiah 14, and go over to Ezekiel 28. We’re going to look at it later, but I’ve learned as a preacher, give people time to find the text. We’ll come to it later on, but it’s Ezekiel 28. There, we have the King of Tyre.
Tyre was an influential trading city in northern Palestine which used its widespread influence as a port city and a center of commerce to spread corruption, luxury, and pleasure throughout the world. In Isaiah 14, you have the King of Babylon. Babylon represents military power, conquest, and tyranny, crushing power. That’s Babylon. Then in Ezekiel 28, you have the King of Tyre. That represents commerce, trade, money, pleasure, and luxury. Those two together make up the world as the enemy of God. Military crushing power, the King of Babylon. Luxury, trade, and all the stuff, the commerce of the world, that’s the King of Tyre. Actually, there are many Christian commentators, conservative Christian commentators, who believe in the inspirational authority of the Bible, who will not touch this theme that I’m preaching on today. They wouldn’t preach this sermon. They say, “Satan isn’t in Isaiah 14. He’s not in Ezekiel 28.” Calvin was among them. He hated that kind of speculation. But I don’t find it speculative. I actually think it makes perfect sense.
Isn’t this what Satan does? Doesn’t he hide behind things? Isn’t he the ruler of the kingdom of the air? Isn’t it always hard to see what he’s doing? Do you find the word “Satan” in Genesis 3? Or when Even was tempted, and then Adam, to join the rebellion against God? Do you find the word “Satan” there, or “Devil?” No, you don’t. You find a talking snake. Is Satan there? Oh, he’s there. It’s not until Revelation 12 that you find that he’s called the ancient serpent who led the whole world astray. I think he’s hiding behind Isaiah 14. He’s hiding behind Ezekiel 28. But he is there. Therefore, I do believe that God is speaking of his fall in the fall of the King of Babylon. Satan, if he wants to rule the world, must do it through human beings. He must influence human authority figures, rulers, and government figures. He must influence them in order to achieve his ends. And I believe this is the story of the world, the story of Satan, his influence and his fall. May I say more joyously, his many falls? For the Lord did not ordain just one fall for Satan. He has ordained many.
Satan’s Past Defeat
Satan’s Original Creation: Perfect in Beauty and Holiness
That’s what we’re going to talk about today. So let’s start with Satan’s past defeat as we see it in the words of Isaiah 14. Isaiah 14 speaks of a fall from heaven. In verse 12, it says, “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!” This passage speaks of glory and beauty like that of a morning star. The Hebrew here is “heylal, ben shachar,” literally “shining one, son of the dawn.” Indications show that it refers to Venus, seen to be a star by those that stand on the earth. It’s a planet, but it never reaches its zenith before the sun rises and the glory of the sun eclipses or covers that of Venus. So it’s a competing star that doesn’t seem to win against the glory of the sun. The Greek translation of the Hebrew expression was “heosphoros” which also means Venus. When Jerome, in the fifth century, translated this into Latin for the Western church, he chose the Latin name for the planet Venus, and that was Lucifer, or “light bearer.”
Thus, Isaiah 14 speaks of a glorious, beautiful being like a star. The angels were created before the world began. God created spiritual beings and they watched God create the universe. They celebrated what God was doing. They enjoyed it, and they were worshipping God for the glories of his creation. You get this in God’s speech to Job. In Job 38:4-7, you see how God speaks to Job out of a whirlwind, and sets him straight. Some of the most fascinating therapy you’ll ever find in counseling is how God set Job straight, by basically giving him a tongue-lashing for a couple of chapters until he is the happiest he’s ever been in his whole life, still in the middle of his misery. But God has spoken to him, of His own greatness, and he is satisfied. He gets the stuff back. He gets things back, but that just doesn’t matter. He has God, and that’s enough for him. God speaks this way right at the beginning, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely, you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone – while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
The angels are watching God as He lays the foundations of the earth and they’re celebrating. They’re worshipping God for what He’s done. He calls them morning stars, plural. Isaiah 14 speaks of the morning star that’s fallen. I believe he was an angel, then, a fallen angel. Isaiah 14 also speaks of power and influence. You see the word “throne” there. Look at it. Verse 13 says, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.”
He's got a position of authority, of power. He’s got a throne. We’re going to find out that it just wasn’t enough for him. He wasn’t content with what God had assigned to him. No more details are given in Isaiah about that, but I think Ezekiel 28 give us more background information. So again, keep your finger on Isaiah 14, because that’s our focal point today, but go over to Ezekiel 28 and look at verses 12-15. It says, “You were the model of perfection.” He’s speaking of the king of Tyre here. “You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz, and emerald, chrysolite, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created.”
The phrases here are quite striking. “Model of perfection,” literally, the Hebrew gives us “sealed in perfect proportions.” “Full of wisdom,” that’s speaking of intellectual, mental ability, and moral judgment. “Perfect in beauty” uses the kind of language that we would understand in terms of precious stones, but just absolute radiance and beauty, a created being. This is very important: it says it three times there in Ezekiel 28: verse 13 “on the day you were created,” verse 14, “so I ordained you,” verse 15, “from the day you were created.” It very much emphasized that this cherub, this angel, was a created being.
Since Satan is a created being, created by God, God is infinitely more powerful than he is. We do not believe in dualism, in a dualistic universe, in which God and Satan battle it out, good and evil, light versus dark, yin versus yang, or whatever you want to do with that whole dualism thing. On roughly equal terms, that is absolutely untrue. I said it before, I can say it again: All power that Satan has is borrowed from God. It’s God’s power. He can take it back anytime He chooses. He can unplug Satan anytime He chooses. You’re all thinking, “Today would be good. It’d be good today.” But let’s let God be wise. God has ordained many falls for Satan. He’s got this worked out. His ways are better than ours. So we’ll let God do it in His own time, but we need to understand that they’re not equal, not at all. Satan is a created being.
Look at the location. In Ezekiel, he was in Eden, the garden of God. That places him there as God is crafting that beautiful garden where he would put Adam and Eve, making it a perfect place for man to live. The angels were watching God make it, celebrating its creation. It also speaks of the holy mountain of God, walking among the fiery stones. Satan seemed to have access to God Himself, and to walking among other glorious beings. He was given a position of authority. He was anointed, it says. He was a guardian cherub, standing watch to protect. It speaks of his purity, his holiness. He was blameless in his ways from the day he was created. That’s what Ezekiel 28 tells us of this being before the fall.
In summary, Satan is a created being, gloriously beautiful, powerful, established in a position of great authority, with access to God Himself on the holy mountain, blameless in holiness, walking in the truth. Jesus says in John 8:44 that he did not abide or remain in the truth. He started in the truth, and turned away from it.
Satan’s Unsolvable Mystery: “Wickedness Was Found in You”
Now we come to the great unsolvable mystery of the universe. The unsolvable mystery of theology. I do not have an answer to this question: what is the origin of evil? I have no answer. All I have are these verses. How could evil crop up in a perfectly good universe? I do not know. All I know is Ezekiel 28:15 says, “you were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” That’s it. It just comes up. Where, how, I cannot understand. I just know it’s happened, and it has covered the universe like a poxy plague ever since. It is a wicked, evil thing. It’s spreading. It continues to grow, and the Lord in His grace through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is dealing with this, the only force that CAN deal with it. That’s the grace of God through Christ. But there it is, it just crops up in the heart of Satan. Ezekiel describes more of Satan’s early thoughts in Ezekiel 28:17, “Your heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.”
Satan’s Pride and Ambition: Five “I wills”
He was apparently corrupted by pride. He was impressed with his own beauty, impressed with his own power. He liked himself in a bad way. It’s fine to be appreciative about what God has put in you. Give God the glory. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. That’s fine, but don’t take it too far. He was corrupted by pride in his own beauty. Go back to Isaiah 14. We’ll spend the rest of our time there. We’re done with Ezekiel. From there, Isaiah takes up the account of Satan’s pride in five “I wills.” Isaiah 14:13-14 says, “You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned in the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” So when he says, “I will ascend to heaven,” it is an upward mobility, an ambition, stemming from pride. Satan had been set perfectly where God wanted him. He was in the right place, but it wasn’t enough for Satan. He wanted more. He wanted to be higher than all the other angels. He wanted to rule over them. He wanted to sit enthroned in the mount of assembly.
Basically, he wanted to take God’s place and be worshipped as God. That’s what he wanted. He wanted to be God. And so he was thrown down. He was defeated. The fullest biblical account of this defeat, in my opinion, is in Revelation 12. Don’t take the time to turn there, but in Revelation 12:7-9, it says, “and there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”
So, it seems, reading from the Book of Revelation, that Satan was able to successfully recruit about a third of the angels up there, because it says that the tail of the Dragon swept a third of the stars and flung them to the earth. We don’t know how many angels there were. Daniel mentions 100 million. That’s a lot of angels. We have no idea how many he flung to the earth. But we believe these are fallen angels, what we call demons, spiritual beings that are part of his kingdom. They joined in his rebellion and he was thrown to the earth. Isaiah 14:15 says, “but you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” Ezekiel 28:16-17 says, “Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made you a spectacle before kings.” Jesus said in Luke 10:18, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
The Warning to the Earth
With this comes a warning to the earth. Heaven’s happy, but watch out Earth! Revelation 12:12, “Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” So God clearly ordained that Satan’s upward mobility, his pride, his self-love, his self-worship, and his soaring ambition would be judged.
Satan was cast down from his heavenly position. But God has ordained not just one fall for Satan, but that Satan will keep falling, and keep falling, and keep falling, forever, in different ways. And that he would ultimately end up suffering eternally in a hell designed for him and for the angels who joined him in rebellion. For Jesus says, in the passage about the sheep and the goats, speaking to those who joined Satan in his rebellion, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Mt 25:41) That’s the ultimate end and the ultimate fall of Satan. When Satan was cast down to the earth, he began the present phase of his fall, the modern earthly phase of his fall, by recruiting the king and queen of the earth, Adam and Eve, to join him in his rebellion.
Satan’s Present Defeat
Recruiting Man to Rebellion
That recruitment is written about in Genesis 3. This is what is says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’’ ‘You will not surely die’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” Does that sound familiar? Does that sound like the very thing that led Satan astray, that ambition to be like God, to take God’s place?
Just like the King of Babylon passage. Just like the King of Tyre passage. Satan isn’t mentioned here at all. He’s hiding behind the snake, making it talk. But it’s Satan. He is luring the human race into rebellion on the very same theme. “You will be like God, you get to take God’s place.” Remember the five wills: “I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain, I will ascend above the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.” He wanted to be like God. Now, he sells it to the human race. This corrupting influence, through Adam, has ruled in the hearts of all people ever since. I think especially clearly in the hearts of those ambitious empire-builders, those kings of Babylon who sit on human thrones and extend their tyranny over the surface of the earth and expect to be worshipped, or you die.
They are very Satan-like, they’re very demon-like in this, the kings of Babylon. God begins His defeat of Satan, His earthly defeat of Satan, by severing the alliance between Satan and the human race. He severs it right there in what’s called the first gospel promise. In Genesis 3:15, God says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
That is a clear prophecy of the coming of Christ, the seed of the woman. There will be a lineage of believing people, the elect, who will not suffer Satan’s torment, who will not be thrown to hell but actually will be redeemed by the seed of woman, by Christ. God predicts the coming dragon slayer, Jesus Christ.
The Power Behind Every Evil Throne
That’s not the end of Satan, of course. Satan then begins his active, invisible, spiritual influence over human beings as history unfolds from there. He is the power behind every evil throne. Listen to what’s said about him in the New Testament. Remember when he’s tempting Jesus in the desert, and he brings him to a high place, a mountain? In Luke 4:5, it says, “The devil led him to a high place and showed him in an instant [Oh, what did he show him!] all the kingdoms of the world.” He’s an expert in kingdoms. He knows which ones are powerful, which ones are not so powerful, all of these different regimes. He shows them all to Christ. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you will worship me, it will all be yours.” (Luke 4:6-7). He hasn’t changed, has he? I’ve said before, this is the most arrogant statement ever made by a created being. Saying directly to the Son of God, “Get down and worship me, and I’ll give you the earth.”
It’s a debate who gave it to Satan. I think Adam gave it to him. I think the sons of Adam continue to give it to him by giving him influence. He has this influence over the kingdoms of the earth. How then does he rule? Well, he rules silently, quietly behind the scenes. Ephesians 2:1-2 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air.” Now, just ponder that phrase, “the ruler of the kingdom of the air,” the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.” (Eph 2:3) He is the ruler of an invisible spiritual kingdom having influence over the disobedient. What does that mean? Well, I believe every single political leader on the face of the earth is either indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God or under the influence of Satan to accomplish Satan’s purposes. I do not say they’re all demon-possessed. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that he’s running the show. I’m just saying he’s influencing. I’m saying he’s whispering in ears. I’m saying he’s orchestrating. He is playing chess, and he is doing what he will do.
I am talking about presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, emperors, members of congress, and lower level officials. If they’re not filled with the Holy Spirit they are part of the problem, part of what Satan is doing in the world. He is the wicked king of kings, and that includes whatever nation is most powerful on the face of the earth at that given time. The King of Babylon, in Isaiah 14, was an actual man at one point who had a name: Nebuchadnezzar, or evil Merodach, or Belshazzar. Then it would be Cyrus the Great, Darius the Mede. Or it would be Alexander the Great, the Macedonian. Whoever it is that’s running it, but if he’s not filled with the Holy Spirit of God, he’s under the influence of Satan. In Revelation 18 it seems that Babylon represents all of these human kingdoms of the world that stand in opposition to God. Therefore, the true final king of Babylon will be the antichrist, and he will be in collusion with Satan.
Daniel gives us a glimpse into this whole invisible spiritual world. Daniel was the Prime Minister of the greatest empire on the face of the earth, Persia. At the time, in the Middle Persian Empire, he was the Prime Minister. He was a godly man, seeking the face of God every day in prayer. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to God and asking God, praying towards Jerusalem, that God would restore Jerusalem and restore the temple. He was praying in that way.
So God dispatches a glorious angel to answer him and tell him what’s going to happen. This glorious angel, when he finally arrives, is so incredible and powerful and glorious that the men that are with Daniel faint almost dead away from fear. They’re in terror. Daniel himself is in terror. This is a powerful being. I preached on this in Daniel 10. I said he is no sissy angel. Okay, he’s no weak angel. He’s a powerful angel, glorious and mighty. He’s a warrior. But he tells us this in Daniel 10:13, “The prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.” For twenty-one days, this powerful warrior angel couldn’t get to Daniel because the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted him. “Then Michael, one of the chief princes [I believe an archangel] came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” This is not just hinting. This is directly saying that there is this being called the Prince of Persia.
Persia, the most powerful nation on the face of the earth, this Prince of Persia, resisted this angelic being and the angel couldn’t get past. I’m telling you, no flesh and blood could have stopped that angel. I don’t know that the Prince of Persia was Satan. It would be even more terrifying if it wasn’t, if he was just one of Satan’s lieutenants. We don’t know. I just know he’s a spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realms, and it took two mighty angels to get the one past. The archangel Michael came down. At the end of the encounter, he says, “I want you to know where I’m going. This is what I’m about to do.” Daniel 10:20, he said, “Soon I will return to fight against the Prince of Persia, and when I go, the Prince of Greece will come.” That’s the next world-conquering empire. The Prince of Greece is going to come with his satanic being as well. It’s just the rise and fall of empires. It’s the rise and fall of the world.
Behind the scenes, there are these pulsating satanic forces and there’s a fight, a warfare, going on in the spiritual realm all the time. I find it fascinating that God allows those angels to battle it out on more or less equal terms. Whenever He wants to influence things, He can win. But He lets this first angel and Michael fight it out until the message can get through after twenty-one days. Fascinating. Paul the apostle, in Ephesians 6, uses governmental language to refer to Satan’s organized kingdom. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Friends, this is going on all the time around us. Rulers, authorities, powers. It’s happening.
The Destruction of the Earth: Laying Low the Nations.
In this way, Satan destroys the earth. Isaiah 14:12 says, “You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations.” He lays low the nations by influencing rulers to do the wicked things they do.
Christ Destroys Satan By Humbly Dying
And so God sent His Son, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to destroy the work of Satan. He sent His Son into the world, the one who had been predicted back in Genesis 3:15. Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Satan fell because of his upward ambition. He wanted to go up, up, up. And all of the demons fell for the same reason, their upward ambition. They wanted to go up, up, up. Human beings joined in that. They wanted to be like God, the upward mobility. So it says in 1 John 3:8, “the Son of God appears to destroy the devil’s work.” How does He do it? Philippians 2, speaking of Christ, says that he, being in very nature God, did not think it robbery, didn’t try to steal something that wasn’t His. Who does that sound like? Satan. Did not think it robbery to be considered equal with God but made Himself nothing. Taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
This is the downward descent of humility in Christ. It led to our salvation. As the hymn put it, “He left His Father’s throne above so free, so infinite, His grace. Emptied Himself of all but love and bled for Adam’s helpless race.” That’s what Jesus did. Christ, in dying on the cross, destroyed Satan and his kingdom, and freed those who, all their lives, were held in slavery by their fear of death. We, the helpless ones. We, the powerless ones. We, the evil ones, the wicked ones, who joined in Satan’s rebellion. He has freed us up by His blood. By His shed blood on the cross. You may still be in bondage. You may still be in Satan’s kingdom as you come here today. It says at one time we were living under the influence of Satan. The gospel has the power to rescue you. As though God Himself were making His appeal through me right now, be reconciled to God. Come to faith in Christ. The blood of Christ is shed, enough to destroy all the works of the devil. Flee to Christ.
Christ Plunders His Kingdom… for Two Thousand Years
Repent of your sins and of your rebellion. Throw down your weapons of rebellion. Throw down your lusts and your selfish ambitions and your anger and all. Throw it down and come to Christ. He will forgive you of all of your sins. For Christ has been plundering Satan’s kingdom for two thousand years. I told you, it wasn’t just one defeat He wanted. He wanted two thousand years of defeat. So He sends out seventy-two disciples and they have power to drive out demons and they come back celebrating. “Oh lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And remember what He said. I already quoted it. “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” But don’t rejoice that the demons are subject in His name. Rejoice that your names are written in Heaven. Oh, what a joy that is!
Satan’s Future Defeat
One Final “King of Babylon:” the Antichrist
Jesus has been plundering Satan’s kingdom, but there’s a future defeat left to come. The antichrist is coming and the final King of Babylon will come. He’s introduced in Revelation 13 with the dragon, Satan. He’s standing in front of the shore, and there’s this pulsating wave of turmoil. I think it represents the nations, and up out of the nations comes this beast, this dreadful beast. Revelations 13:1 says, “And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.”
Satan Finally Gets Worshipped by the World
The ultimate aim of both the dragon and the beast is to be worshipped. They want to be worshipped. It says in Revelations 13:4, “Men worshipped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshipped the beast and asked, ‘who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?’” I find this a bit humorous. I don’t know why. There’s just something funny about the fact that even then, the dragon has to get his worship through a human being first.
So they’re going to worship the antichrist, and then they’re going to ultimately worship the power behind the throne. He yearns for your worship. He yearns for the worship of human beings and of other angels, and so the final act of human history is this final King of Babylon, this antichrist imbued, infused with the supernatural wonder-working power of the devil. He’ll be able to do miracles. He’s going to captivate all the non-elect people on the face of the earth. They will receive his mark, and they will fall down and worship this human being. And they’ll worship the satanic power behind it. If they don’t, they’re going to be executed. They’re going to be killed. That is the crushing power of Babylon to the final degree. And then the final blasphemy, in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, speaking of the antichrist, says “he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” He’s going to receive worship at the end.
Christ Returns and Destroys Them Both
Christ is going to return and destroy them both. He’s going to come back and destroy them both. No more King of Babylon, either human or satanic. They will be gone forever. It says in 2 Thessalonians 2:8, “the lawless one [the antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” Revelation 19 pictures this one riding on a horse. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords fights that final battle of Armageddon, and he destroys the army that’s arrayed against Him. The beast is captured, and he’s thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, Revelation 19:20. Satan is chained up for a thousand years. At the end, he leads one final rebellion, and then he is also thrown into the lake of fire, along with the grave and death itself. The victory is complete. He’s thrown into the eternal fire that was prepared for him and for his angels from that original fall. Then come the final celebration. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we’re going to spend eternity celebrating this victory.
Final Celebration: Liberty Forever for God’s People!!
For eternity, we’re going to give thanks to God who liberated us from a force too great for us. We’re never going to have to deal with them again. Never again will we feel the influence of Satan’s temptations. Never again will we be pulled away from Christ by them. Never again will we have to suffer under the lash of worldly tyrants who are operating under his influence. Never again. Then at last, we will bow down and worship the true King of Kings in freedom forever.
Come to Christ
Now, what application can we take from this? Well, I’ve already given you the central one: flee to Christ. If you’re still in rebellion against God, there is forgiveness. Today could be for you the day of salvation, freedom forever from that tyranny that Satan has set up. Flee to Christ. Trust in Him. If you don’t know Jesus as your personal savior, come and talk to me after the service. There’s going to be people in the parlor that can talk to you about your personal walk with Christ. Don’t leave this place without trusting in Him.
Understand the Satanic Influence over the Politics of This World and Do Not Trust Too Much in Human Leaders, or Fear Them Too Much
But secondly, understand Satan’s influence over world governments, history, and politics. Understand it. I’m not saying we can always see what he’s doing. Just know he’s there. He is the ruler of the kingdom of the air. As I was driving to church this week, I saw a decal on someone’s rear windshield, and it had an artistic rendition of a candidate for President. Below it was the single word, “hope.” I thought, “Oh no, no.” How can we put our hope in some politician? How can we put our hope in government and government programs and all of that? How can we put our hope in man who fails in every generation? Don’t put your hope in man. Don’t put your hope in a political party or political process. Put your hope in Christ. Put your hope in God. That troubled me, as you can tell.
Seek Godly Ambitions … Not Satanic Ones
Also, understand this, and I mentioned this last week, but this is where the rubber hits the road with me. You know what led Satan to fall? Discontent with what God had given him. He just wasn’t satisfied with the boundary lines. God has put boundary lines around each of you, and around me too. Inside those boundary lines are some rich blessings, and outside those boundary lines, there’s stuff that isn’t ours. It belongs to somebody else, and you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, you shall not covet your neighbor’s goods, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. You shall not covet a position that isn’t even yours. Be happy and content with what God has given you.
Be content with it. It says in Psalm 16, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Can you say that, brothers and sisters? Are you satisfied with what God has given you in this world? Are you satisfied with what He’s promised to give you in the next? Is it enough for you? If so, then you’re free to serve others. Therefore, thirdly, let your ambitions be holy ambitions. It’s good to be ambitious. There’s nothing wrong with ambition, but let me tell you what to be ambitious for. How about this? “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Mt 5:6) Be ambitious to be as righteous and holy as Jesus. Or this one, Romans 15:20, where Paul says, “It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation.” I am ambitious to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Be ambitious for that. Or here’s a simple daily ambition, 2 Corinthians 5:9, “Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.” I have my ambition to be perfectly pleasing to Jesus for the rest of today, in all my works. Those are good ambitions. Have those.
Anticipate Shouting for Joy When Satan is Thrown Down Forever
Finally, anticipate the day when you’ll be free from this beast, from this tyranny forever. Celebrate it ahead of time. This is a taunt song, it’s meant to celebrate our fallen foe. We will not lament him. We will not miss him. We’ll be glad when he is gone. Look forward to that day. Close with me in prayer.