Yesterday, I had the opportunity to preach from Revelation 12–14 in our Apocalypse Series. One of the key elements of Revelation 12–13 is the presence of evil, in particular the Dragon and his two beasts. The dragon represents Satan whereas the first beast is the anti-Christ and the second beast is the false prophet. Rather than get wrapped up in figuring out the identity of the Anti-Christ and the false prophet, we focused our attention on understanding the Devil and his associates. One of the things I mentioned yesterday was our culture’s inclination to do one of two things: (1) Not believe in Satan and his dominion or (2) to celebrate or be hyper-sensitive to Satan.
The Reality of Satan
The Bible is abundantly clear of the reality of Satan. From the beginning of Scripture (Genesis) to the end of Scripture (Revelation), Satan is present. In our hyper-intellectual culture, we often treat Satan as if he’s a big fat mythological creature. Our pop culture doesn’t help with the creation of Satanic creatures who are red, have horns and a tail, and carry a pitch fork. On top of this, Satan is a spiritual creature, and therefore we cannot see him. This leads many, including Christians, to doubt Satan’s existence or not take him seriously. The Bible, however, never doubts his existence and takes him serious. Jesus acknowledges the existence of Satan and his wicked ways in his wilderness temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Jesus warns Peter about Satan’s plans for Peter: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat” (Luke 22:31). Peter himself warns of Satan: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Throughout the book of Revelation we see Satan wreaking havoc on the world and Christians.
We must be careful to not believe in Satan. He’s real, and he’s out to destroy you. His goal is not your good but your demise. While we cannot see him, we can see his evil at work throughout our lives and world. Don’t full around with the satanic. We must pursue God and flee from Satan. While Satan is real, don’t forget he’s already been defeated by Jesus!
Our Fascination with Satan
Others don’t doubt Satan. Instead they revel or focus on him. Some actually pursue Satan through the occult. Even Christians, while they do not follow Satan, focus too much of their attention on Satan. In New Orleans, Satan is alive and well, and openly so. People come to New Orleans to experience the occult. Through things like voodoo and witchcraft, people happily engage in satanic influences. We must take these things seriously. Satan exists and is active through these sort of activities.
Similarly though, Christians are often obsessed with Satan, giving him too much credit for things or being too fearful of him and what he can do. While Satan is very active in our world, not everything bad is his doing. Don’t forget we are all sinful and sometimes the evil and wrongdoing that occurs is simply an effect of our own sin. For those fearful of Satan, remember that he is not equal with God. Satan is a created being; he is not divine. Second, remember Jesus has already defeated him, and we see how the story ends in Revelation.
Let us take Satan seriously. We must remember that he is active in our world and that people do follow him. But remember God is victorious. In Christ, we have nothing to fear. As Christ is victorious, we too are victorious. Satan might still cause much trouble in our world, but one day he will be no more. Praise Jesus!