A great mistake made by countless warriors throughout history is to underestimate their adversary. Satan is no different, he has been portrayed in many ways such as a man in a red suit with a pitchfork to a half man, half goat creature from Greek mythology. In actuality he is a force unlike any to be reckoned with and is the most dangerous and cunning being ever created.
Not to give any glory to the devil, one must realize and acknowledge what he is up against in order to defeat him. The greatest scheme that Satan has introduced, especially in this electronic age is that he doesn't really exist. He's only a figment of our imagination, a fantasy of the mind or just an evil apparition who couldn't harm us in the least. But is that really the case, is this ancient foe real or fiction?
I can tell you from first hand experience that he is real and his motive is the same as it was when he was expelled from Heaven, to rob, kill and destroy. The Rolling Stones recorded a song called Sympathy for the devil and one of the lyrics read, "Pleased to meet you, hope you get my name, but what's puzzling you is the nature of my game." Well, the nature of his game is to lie, deceive, steal and murder anyone that he can and he does it in most cases without ever being detected. Let me introduce to you, Lucifer, the master of disaster, fallen arch angel of light.
Lucifer was created by God and was one of the most beautiful and powerful arch angels of all. His position in Heaven was to shield the very throne of the Most High and His light and glory would shine right through Lucifer's angelic body. The angels, like man were given a free will to serve God or not and Lucifer convinced a third of them to rebel against Him and to follow his lead. Blinded by pride he came against his Creator and he and the other angels were cast out of Heaven by Michael the great and mighty arch angel.
And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12: 7-9
From the point of his expulsion from Heaven a deep hatred for anything that God had created entered his already blackened heart. His sole mission from that day forward was to destroy the works of God and throughout history he has done just that. When evil and violence beyond measure enter the most powerful and cunning creature that was ever created you have a killing machine that has been enabled to cut down humanity for centuries with unmerciful and chilling results.
Although a worthy opponent, Satan has no power over the Christian other than what we allow him to have, in other words his sole purpose to harm us is in his ability to deceive us. The Bible says that we overcome him by the power of the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony. Jesus said, "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." Luke 10: 19
Satan's power was stripped when he fell from Heaven and from that time he operates under the guise of camouflage and subterfuge. In darkness he stalks his prey and by deceitful scheming lures them into his snare and in many cases causes their total demise. He has brought down many a mighty man by his clever schemes using a weakness or some other door found open through his patient observation.
How you are fallen from Heaven, Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the pit. Isaiah 14: 12-15
THE SCHEMES OF THE DEVIL
In 1968 I joined the Marine Corps during which the Vietnam war was raging, I was about to be drafted so I enlisted in the reserves to escape the conflict because I was a lover and not a fighter, but non the less I received the same training as a regular Marine. The Marine Corps is one of the world's greatest fighting forces and has earned this reputation because of their ability to train their men to fight under any circumstance, and in any climate and terrain.
Combat training consisted of basically two things, who your enemy is, and how to defeat him. Sounds simple but the Vietnamese were a different breed of cat. Mostly poor rice farmers, ill equipped in both training and equipment, but highly skilled in the art of subterfuge and entrapment. Subterfuge is the ability to trick or a device to conceal, escape or evade detection and the Vietnamese were experts when it came to hiding and evading detection. Its hard to fight someone you can't see and even harder to escape the tactics of entrapment.
Fifty thousand men lost their lives in Vietnam and many succumbed to a simple primitive trap set by a cunning adversary. In most cases they just walked into a well laid trap or pit dug out of the ground and filled with sharp stakes, when you fell in you were impaled and because the enemy would urinate and defecate on the stakes an infection would set in resulting in death.
One of the Marine Corps most famous training exercises is the infiltration course, a field designed and laid out to resemble a real battle field scenario. I wasn't really concerned about going through the course because I knew I was not going to war, but my buddies were, and they didn't seem to have a clue. There are two courses, one has to be traversed on your belly with live fire over your head and the other was a course laid with booby traps. The first wasn't too bad if you kept your head down and didn't encounter any rattlesnakes, but the second was a maize of traps and snares designed to kill or wound those that were not familiar with the many schemes of the enemy.
Our entire platoon went through the course and as we proceeded I began to realize that this was a real deal and that most of our fellow Marines were not going to make it in spite of the intense training that we were receiving. I was right because upon completion of the course the drill instructor announced that we were all dead. We had fallen for every trap and set off every explosive device and stepped into every snare that was laid for us. Life is an infiltration course and we must proceed with great caution, always on the alert for a trap or well laid snare designed to end our journey with Jesus.
As I look back upon my life I can see where the devil has cleverly seduced me with his schemes and ensnared me with his many traps, but hindsight is absolutely worthless in waging war against the enemy of your soul. God has provided us with spiritual weapons to defeat the enemy but they sometimes take years to master and if we are not mindful of the devil's schemes we can fall prey at any time because of our ignorance and lack of experience.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10: 3-5
The Body of Christ today for the most part is totally ignorant of the devil's schemes and untrained for even the least spiritual skirmish. For many, driving to church in the rain or just getting out of bed is their greatest spiritual battle. When one comes to Christ he becomes aware that he has an unseen enemy that he was not familiar with before his conversion. The reason that we didn't recognize the devil before we were saved is that he already owned us and controlled our lives.
The church has failed miserably in the training and equipping of the saints. The military can turn out a well trained fighting machine in six months but the church is lucky to have any in twenty years. Jesus knew what His disciples would face when He ascended to the Father and for three years He poured His life into the twelve. When the power of God was released upon the one hundred and twenty at Pentecost the disciples at least had a sense of who their enemy was and his tactics that he had already deceived some of them with.
Imagine the church as newly born sea turtles making their journey from their mother's warm nest to the sea. Above them soars the enemy, sea birds and gulls alerted to the mass exodus swoop down and make quick work of the tiny hatchlings. Its a miracle that any of them make it to the sea, and once in the water a whole other group of predators becomes aware of their presence and begins to cut the group back even further. How many have you observed in the church that truly seemed to give their life to the Lord and then shortly after disappear and the next thing you hear is that they are back in the world?
Don't ever underestimate your adversary the devil, he is always looking to trap you or seduce you from God's perfect will for your life. Sometimes the scheme is so subtle, but the results can be devastating if you allow him access to your life. Like a hungry lion he patiently watches his prey looking for a weakness or a mistake in judgment so that he can gain an advantage and attack his unsuspecting victim. Lions almost never attack the leader of the herd, or the strongest, they look for the weak, the young, and the old, or the stragglers. Once they set their sights on the target its just a matter of time, in many cases the victim never saw it coming until it was too late and it cost them their life.
THE ANOINTED CHERUB THAT COVERS
You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. Ezekiel 28: 14-16
Anointing means to smear or to cover something and Satan is a master when it comes to the art of the cover up. He can make black, white and bitter, sweet; he can turn darkness into what you think is light. The apostle Paul called him an angel of light and even his name is translated the shinning one. The word of God is not exempt either from his hypocrisy, he can twist it so that you believe that you are hearing from God Himself. If you don't believe it look at how many denominations, sects and cults there are just in the United States.
God's true anointing is poured out upon His people through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and brings healing, deliverance and revelation. Satan's anointing or according to Ezekiel, whitewash, always has a negative and sometimes even a life threatening effect. For instance false healers lay their hands on people and they seem to be healed, but there are always repercussions and negative results afterward. The laying on of hands is a transference of either a positive force, coming from the Holy Spirit or a negative force operated by demons. The Bible explicitly warns not to lay hands on anyone suddenly because you are either going to give something or receive something.
When Lucifer was created he was a magnificent creature and the Bible says, that he had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. With all of that going for him its not hard to see how things got out of control and his strength and beauty went to his head. Every gift that God gave him was turned into evil and violence. Everything in him is geared for the destruction of God's creation and for the people of God, his lifelong enemies.
Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you having great wrath, because he knows he has a short time. Revelation 12: 12