Initially, I thought that this would be the last study in this series of studies that I have done on the devil. However, after planning and preparing this week’s study, I realized that I needed to break this last part up into two different studies so that I am not leaving out information. So far we have studied about the devil’s origin, how he is not God’s equal, his fall from heaven, and his sealed defeat. There are two more topics that I want us to dive into when it comes to Satan with the first showing you the tactics of our great adversary.
Of Satan, Peter wrote to us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8).” Peter points out that Satan is your adversary and that he walks about as a roaring lion – the top predator of the jungle. With his defeat sealed, I believe the devil is more motivated to move against the Lord, and therefore, against us. So, Peter tells us to be sober and to be vigilant. To be vigilant means to be on high alert and aware of danger so that danger can be evaded and avoided.
In this week’s study, I want to point out to you the present danger posed by our great adversary, Satan. I want you to be aware of the tactics that Satan will attempt to use against you and the reason behind them. When we are aware of what Satan is up to, then we have an idea of what to look out for and be prepared.
To see how the devil wages war against us, the first place I want to turn to in scripture today is to Daniel 10. This chapter of Daniel is one of the most intriguing chapters in not only the book of Daniel but in the bible.
In this chapter of Daniel, we are told that Daniel was in mourning and fasting for three full weeks where he had not eaten, drank wine, or washed (Dan. 10:2-3). During this time of mourning, Daniel was near the Tigris river when he saw a certain man. Typically, when Jesus spoke in parables of a certain man, the certain man was representative of God.
We are told in this Scripture that the certain man was clothed in linen and was girded about the waist with gold (Dan. 10:4-5). We are also told how the certain man looked and what he sounded like as well (Dan. 10:6-9). The description of the certain man matches John’s description of the post-resurrected Christ as he saw Him when he was called up to heaven in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:12-16).
After seeing this vision of the post-resurrected Christ, another intriguing event occurs with Daniel. Daniel is awakened out of a deep sleep by an angel (Dan. 10:9-11). Let us take note that Daniel’s sleep came after he had seen the certain man. Daniel specifically states, “I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength (Dan. 10:8).” This encounter reminds me of when Paul had his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus; he fell to the ground and was trembling in astonishment (Acts 9:3-8).
The angel came to Daniel to deliver a message from God about what would happen to Daniel’s people (the Jews) in the latter days (Dan. 10:14). Daniel, who had likely been in mourning because of the struggles that the Jews were having after having returned to Jerusalem for two years (Ezra 1:1-4; Dan. 10:1), also required strength because of the vision that he had just seen of the post-resurrected Christ. So, the angel then touched Daniel and gave him strength he required (Dan. 10:16-18).
Let us recall that angels are ministering spirits that minister to those that will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14). The angel of this chapter was directed to minister to Daniel by the Lord. This all leads us to the most interesting scripture in this chapter of Daniel which we will now focus on because in this scripture, we will see one of the tactics of our great adversary.
Veil of spiritual warfare lifted
After waking Daniel, the angel tells him, “I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia (Dan. 10:12-13).” The angel says, “because of your words,” meaning that the angel was coming in response to Daniel’s prayers. So, God had heard Daniel’s prayers and was sending an angel to speak with him.
Now, let us note that the angel then tells Daniel about a battle that had prevented him from reaching Daniel for twenty-one days. Three weeks is the amount of time that Daniel had been in mourning and fasting, as I mentioned earlier in this study. The battle that the angel spoke of was not one that took place in this physical realm, but was taking place in the spiritual realm. We know this to be the case because of who the angel said was withstanding him.
The angel tells us that the prince of the kingdom of Persia was the one that was preventing him from reaching Daniel. Let us not think that this prince that was able to withstand an angel was a man. We know this to be the case because of how the angel spoke of Michael.
The angel calls Michael, the archangel mentioned in Jude 9, the “chief prince”. This title, I believe, is Michael’s rank in the heavenly kingdom among the heavenly beings. I say this because the angel speaks of Michael like Michael is a familiar, his chief. The angel then spoke of another prince that withstood him – meaning the other prince opposed him with firm determination. He called this prince the “prince of the kingdom of Persia.” So, this other prince was, in a way, similar to Michael but not quite the same.
The only being(s) that would attempt to withstand an angel would be Satan or his demons. Being that the title that was given to this being was the prince of the kingdom of Persia, we know that it was Satan that was opposing and preventing the angel from ministering to Daniel. Let us remember that Satan is known as the ruler of the world (John 12:31), so it is very appropriate that the angel tied Satan to being a prince of a worldly kingdom and not to heaven, like Michael.
We also know that it must have been Satan that withstood the angel because Michael was required to assist the angel with getting to Daniel. The veil that is lifted here by this angel is that Satan was and still openly wages war against the Lord by directly attacking God’s angels. Yes, I believe that the devil still does this to this day.
Satan blocking angels from ministering
Now, again, pay attention to the amount of time that Satan withstood the angel – twenty-one days. The devil was preventing (blocking) the angel from ministering to Daniel for three weeks! Daniel had been in mourning, prayed about his mourning, and it took him three weeks to hear from the Lord because Satan was blocking the line of communication! Satan did not block Daniel’s words from reaching the Lord’s ears, but he did attempt to block God’s response to Daniel.
So, one of the tactics of our great adversary has been made clear to us – he will attempt to block our line of communication with the Lord. Satan will attempt to block the Lord from ministering to you by trying to withstand the angels that are directed by God to tend to and minister to us.
To resist the angels from ministering to us is an attack against God and, at the same time, it is an attack against believers. You see, we need angels to tend to us and minister to us as often as possible. Our line of communication with the Lord lifts us up in our soul because of the ministering that is being done to tend to our soul. So, just imagine how hard it is on us when the devil is blocking an angel from ministering to us for long periods of time. I believe this is why we are encouraged to be diligent and fervent in our prayer (Luke 18:1; Col. 4:2).
Satan’s Cunning Tactics
Now, as open and as blatant as Satan is when it comes to openly withstanding angels, the devil is far more cunning when it comes to how he attacks mankind.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).” This, Paul said, to state that spiritual warfare is still present in our world and that the spiritual beings of wickedness, led by Satan, are our adversaries.
Twisting the word
Satan is a cunning enemy whose every attack is against our soul with the desire to get us to betray and stand in opposition against the Lord. The devil will work to deceive us, just as he did with Adam and Eve in the garden (Gen. 3:1-7). As he was permitted to do to Job, Satan will attempt to make you suffer, again, with the hopes that you curse the Lord (Job 1:6-22).
In his temptation of Jesus (Matt. 4:1-11), Satan twisted the word of God by misquoting scripture. Even more in the temptation of Christ, we find that one of Satan’s tactics against mankind is to deceive man on the perception of what a blessing is. To man, the Lord offers as His great blessing the reward of eternal life in His heavenly kingdom (John 3:16-17).
Satan, on the other hand, offers the riches of this world as his blessing. Many people are fooled into buying into Satan’s offer over God’s offering because they rather believe in the riches they can see rather than the heavenly riches they cannot currently see. So, Satan has twisted the word on what a blessing actually is; he has set a new definition for what a blessing is.
In doing this, Satan has taken people’s eyes off of God and God’s blessings. The Lord desires for us to focus on Him and all that He can, and will, do for us. Yet, Satan has been busy twisting the word of God to the point that people don’t believe God can do anything for them. Jesus needed to come to the world for this very reason! Jesus came teaching and preaching the word of God because the Lord’s word had been lost in our world through the twisting and bending of the word.
The word of God had been so bent out of shape by those that were supposed to be religious leaders that it was unrecognizable and leading people down the wrong path. So, we must be on guard for those that work to twist the work of God because they are doing the work of Satan. We often saw Paul speaking against those that went about in his day teaching a false doctrine. Paul encouraged us to withdraw from those who did not consent to wholesome words and to the words of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 6:3-5).
Sending wolves as sheep
Satan does not stop there with his cunning tactics against mankind. No, Satan continues in his schemes to deceive mankind into following after him and his lie. Where the Lord sends angels to minister to those that will inherit salvation, the devil also sends out his ministers as well.
Jesus warned, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves (Matt. 7:15).” At face value, this statement is simple to understand, but to understand Satan’s tactic here, we must understand the actions of sheep. Jesus often used sheep to characterize His followers, because sheep are considered to be one of the most docile creatures in the world; this means that they can be easily led.
Now, we need to understand that though sheep are docile animals, they will not follow strangers and they will flee at the first sign of trouble. Satan does not want you, as one of Christ’s sheep, to flee from him or his ministers. So, the best way to get you to not run from him or his ministers would be to present himself as not a danger to us. So, the ministers of his false doctrine will come to us in sheep’s clothing.
Of this tactic, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Cor. 11:13-15).”
You see, while sheep will flee from strangers and danger, they have absolutely no problem following other sheep and like cattle. Satan’s ministers will wear sheep’s clothing with the desire to get you to follow them. Satan, himself, will also present himself as something that he is not with the same goal of drawing you and other believers, and even non-believers, to him. Let us understand that they are certainly not trying to lead you to a good place. Satan’s desire is to draw people, especially the sheep of Christ, away from God.
Speaking of drawing people away with a false presentation, the last tactic of our great adversary that I want to focus on is one of old and deals with false presentations.
In the book of Deuteronomy, the children of Israel are warned about prophets and dreamers of dreams that come to them with signs and wonders. The scripture states, “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deut. 13:1-3).”
The false prophets and the dreamers that are mentioned in this scripture would be indicating to the children of Israel that they had either seen something (in a dream or vision) or could perform some sort of miracle (show a sign). The intent behind this would be to, again, draw them to themselves and then lead them wherever they want, which would be away from the Lord.
Jesus also warned of those that would do this in the days of the Great Tribulation. Jesus stated, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand (Matt. 24:23-25).”
Though Jesus was talking about the days of the Great Tribulation, and we are not living in those days at this time, we have certainly seen in our day where people pose as if they are Christ and can perform miracles. From what we have seen in our time, these people often tend to lead cults. The intent, again, is to draw people to them and lead them wherever they wish to lead them. These people will use the name of God and say that they are doing those things in His name, only to be leading people away from the Lord.
The one behind these works is none other than Satan. In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul wrote of the lawless one – the Antichrist – who would come in the days of the Great Tribulation. Paul stated that the lawless one would come “according to the working of Satan” with all power, signs, and lying wonders (2 Thess. 2:8-10).” This, again, sounds exactly like the same exact workings of the false prophets, false dreamers, and false christs which are all being led by Satan.
Satan is the master of deceptions and because we get so hung up on what we can see, one of his greatest attacks against us is the magic of lying signs and wonders. Jesus said to a nobleman of Cana who sought Him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe (John 4:48).” So, we have to be on guard when it comes to signs and feelings.
Again, Jesus warned about signs and wonders because we must be on guard. The reason why we have to be on guard when it comes to signs and feelings is because the devil will certainly play into your desire to see some kind of ‘message’ from God. When you are asking for the Lord to ‘show you a sign’, Satan has no problem giving you a false sign in order to direct your path; a path that will certainly take you away from the Lord.
Be on guard
So, we must be on guard of these tactics from our great adversary. I am certainly sure there are several more tactics of Satan that we could list in this study, but we would be here all day doing that. So, we are going to hold here with these tactics of the devil: attempting to block prayer and angels from ministering to you, twisting the word of God, using others to mislead you, disguising himself, and showing false signs and wonders.
I certainly hope that this study was both enlightening and helpful to you. Next week, we are not going to have a new study because of Thanksgiving. We will have a new study on December 1. That study will be the final study of this series on the devil as we will take a look at how we withstand these attacks from our great adversary, Satan. So, I hope that you will return in a couple of weeks as we close out this series of studies!