FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE FALL

PART 1: THE INVISIBLE WORLD: A REALITY WE DON'T SEE

 

Gen 3:14

 

God cursed the serpent

Satan [symbolized by the serpent] is cursed by God.

Job 1 and 2

 

Satan [the accuser] came before the Lord with the angels [sons of God] to present himself to the Lord. [1:6; 2:1] The Lord asked Satan where he’d come from.

This implies that Satan is accountable and answerable to God.  

 

Satan describes his whereabouts and his activity as 'roaming through the earth and going back and forth'

This parallels 1 Peter 5:8, where the purpose of this roaming the earth is to find someone to devour.

God's approval of Job stirs up Satan's hatred of God and his antagonism towards all who bear God's approval.

 

Similar reactions happened in the Garden of Eden, just after Christ's baptism, and after Peter's confession of faith. All that God approves/affirms are automatically the targets of Satan's destructive intent.

Satan cannot work evil upon Job without God's permission. With God's permission he has limited power to control nature and people and to inflict physical suffering.

 

This indicates

[1] that it is God who is in control, not Satan.

 

[2] that Satan and God do not stand on an equal footing,

 

[3] that Satan is not a free agent who can do whatever he pleases.

 

 [Compare 1 Corinthians 10:13]

God set a limit to what Satan could do to Job.

Satan expressed confidence that Job would react to the suffering by cursing God.

 

While Satan knows and understands man generally, he is not omniscient. He doesn't fully know Job as an individual. This is quite obvious from his utter confidence that Job's faith is fake. God, on the other hand, knows very well that Job's faith is genuine and will endure all that he permits Satan to do to him.

Job 1:11,12;

 

2:3b; 2:5,6

 

Satan: 'but stretch out your hand and strike everything he has …'

 

God: 'very well then, he is in your hands'

 

God: 'you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason'

 

Satan: 'stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones …'

 

God: 'Very well, then, he is in your hands'

 

There is a very interesting dynamic here:

 

 

[1] Satan suggests to God that God afflicts Job.

 

[2] God agrees ['very well then'], but states that Job is in Satan's hands, obviously implying that it is Satan who actually inflicts the suffering. [This happens twice.]

 

[3] After the first round of suffering has been inflicted on Job, God says 'you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason'. In this God clearly takes the responsibility for Job's suffering, even though it was Satan's idea and Satan's actions.

 

This is a clear indication of the sovereign authority of God, whereby he holds himself responsible for everything that happens. This sovereign assumption of responsibility is also reflected in God's words in chapter 42, where he states that what Job said about him was right. And Job's statements included his belief that it was God who had afflicted him.

 

To accept this dynamic requires a very high view of God's authority and sovereignty. A similar dynamic operates in the death of Christ.

 

This same dynamic is most probably behind the difficult statement in Isaiah 45:7: 'I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things'. [KJV: 'I make peace and create evil']

 

Dan 10:12-11:1

 

Reference to the 'prince of the Persian kingdom', 'the prince of Greece ' etc

 

Some Christian teachers and scholars believe these are references to demonic princes in charge of national territories. Other Christian scholars don't believe this. This is the only biblical reference of this kind, and contains no instructions that people should or need to do anything about these 'princes'.  [See note in section H below.]

 

Matt 9:34

[Matt 12:24]

'It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons'

The Pharisees express a belief that the demons are under the authority of a prince of demons.

Jn 14:30 etc

'the prince of this world'

 

 

Jesus refers to Satan as 'the prince of this world'

 

James 2:19

 

'You believe that there is one God. Good. Even demons believe that - and shudder.'

 

Although the demons/devils are rebels against God, they still believe that he is God, and fear his power and authority. [We can see this in practice in their encounters with Jesus.]

1 John 5:19

'The whole world is under the control of the evil one'

 

This describes the status of everyone before they come to faith in Christ.

Jude

 

'even the archangel Michael ...did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against [the devil] but said 'The Lord rebuke you.

Jude is contrasting the discretion demonstrated by Michael with the arrogant, irrational, slanderous and abusive way in which certain men spoke of and to 'celestial beings'. From this we can learn that Satan is not to be treated with arrogance and contempt - not because he is worthy of any honour, but because of his reality. He is not a joke or a dream. He is real. And he is powerful.

Rev 12:7-9

 

'there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back … He was hurled down to earth and his angels with him'

Depending on our eschatological viewpoint, this could refer [1] to the original fall of Satan from heaven; [2] to Satan's fall from power at the time of Christ's death/resurrection, [3] to some stage in the end time battles. In any case it is the good angels who engage in battle with Satan and his angels.

Rev 12:10

 

'the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night'

Note the constant activity of Satan: he accuses Christians before God day and night.

 

From what the Bible teaches about the order of the fall in the invisible world we can't see we learn:

[1] Satan is answerable to God

 

[2] Satan brings accusations against the people of God

 

[3] Satan seeks the destruction of the people of God

 

[4] Satan can do nothing to us without God's permission

 

[5] God sets limits to what Satan can do to us

 

[6] God acknowledges responsibility for what Satan does

 

[7] Whatever or whoever God approves becomes the target of Satan's attack

 

[8] Satan does not have total knowledge of us as individuals, although he does know some things about us, and he understands human nature generally.

 

[9] Demons are under the authority of ‘the prince of demons' 

 

[10] Demons believe in God and tremble. This is not the same kind of belief that is required of us.

 

[11] Satan is not to be treated with contempt. He is real and he is powerful.  

This is all happening without our being aware of it.