Spiritual warfare is very real. We must be able to stand in Satan’s war against God. What is spiritual warfare? We answer this question and several others in this study
Recently, Jude 9 came up in a Sunday school lesson. The lesson was not focused out of Jude 9, but my uncle made reference to an event that is only written about in Jude 9. In Jude, we come across this particular scripture where Michael, the archangel, is disputing with Satan (the devil) over the dead body of Moses.
Here is how that scripture reads:
Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
Jude 9 NKJV
What could the devil have wanted with the dead body of Moses? I remember reading this scripture years ago, and until it was brought up, I hadn’t thought much of the scripture. A week had passed by and the scripture remained on my mind, and so I had to do some studying and that is what I want to share with you today.
The question that I want to be answered is: why did Satan want the dead body of Moses? I can get kind of wordy so I hope that you are ready to do some reading, but I hope that you can also come away from this lesson having learned something or wishing to do more studying of your own. So, let’s introduce ourselves first to the epistle of Jude.
Jude is a rather short letter that’s tucked in after 3 John and before The Revelation of Jesus Christ; it’s rather easy to miss in the Bible because it’s just that short. Jude is the brother of James who we know was the half-brother of Jesus (because Jesus was born a virgin’s birth). James and Jude were two men who grew up with Jesus, and honestly, there’s no telling what all Jesus taught them as children. What I do know, from reading James and Jude, these were two very intelligent men when it comes to spiritual knowledge.
I say all of this because evidently there’s much controversy over Jude. Jude 9, the scripture that our study is based on, is a very controversial scripture to some. I don’t want to get too hung up on this, but I feel this must be shared with you before we dive into our study. The controversy is that some believe Jude is referencing an event from a non-canonical source of scripture; from a piece of work called the “Assumption of Moses”.
My thoughts on this are that scripture is true. Paul says (2 Timothy 3:16): “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness”. When we start to question scripture and wonder if scripture is wrong, we should first look inwardly to ourselves and ask if something is wrong with us in our understanding. I say all of this because we’re about to get into the study, and if you cannot accept scripture as truth, then this just might be the part where you should stop reading.
Satan was laying claim to the body of Moses and that seems rather odd to me. Moses, we know, was the man that stood before Pharaoh telling him that I AM said to let His people go (Exodus 8:1). This same Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, across the Red Sea, through the wilderness, and to the Jordan. Moses heard from the Lord and then spoke on the Lord’s behalf to the people – this means he was a prophet of God. So why was Satan laying claim to the dead body of Moses?
I want you to understand that Satan was essentially claiming authority over the body of Moses. Satan was claiming authority over a man of God’s dead body! To me, that simply sounds bizarre. How could Satan even think to claim authority over anything, let alone a righteous man’s dead body? This is part of Satan’s spiritual warfare against the Lord.
Satan has been at odds with God since before the time of mankind. I did a study on Satan not too long ago which you should definitely give a read. Satan held the high position as the anointed cherub in the Lord’s creation of spiritual beings (Ezekiel 28:14). Satan became prideful, arrogant, and chose his way over God’s way. This choice that Satan made in his heart was the first shot in the battle of spiritual warfare – it was also the first sin. Again, I tell you to check out my earlier study on “what is sin”.
Satan was cast out of heaven and fell to the earth (Isaiah 14:12) where the Lord permits him to roam. We often state that this world is the devil’s domain, only because this is where he dwells. Some have asked, why does the Lord allow him to live? There is an ultimate plan and I also answered that question in another recent bible study that you might want to read.
Since his fall, Satan has continued his spiritual warfare against the Lord like a spiteful person that wants to prove he was right, and as it happens, we are part of the battlefield in this war. Satan is fighting a fight that the Lord has already sent a Savior too. Remember that Jesus said this (Matthew 18:11): “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.”
Lost in this spiritual warfare that Satan has fought was heaven and earth. Scripture tells us (Revelation 12:4) that Satan took a third of the angels that were in heaven with him in his fall. Satan then deceived mankind, starting in the garden, and he still deceives man today in his warfare against the Lord. Satan, in his mind, still feels that his way is better than God’s way and he continues to persuade (deceive) mankind into believing this same belief. The devil feels he has authority over this world, even though Christ (God in the flesh), through His victory at the cross, has already established that Satan does not have authority over this world.
The idea that Satan feels he has authority over what goes in the world can be seen in scripture, and I want to show you some of these examples – examples you are probably already familiar with. The first example: comes from the scripture that this study is based on – Jude 9. Why did Satan want the body of Moses? The easy answer is that he believes he has authority over who goes where but I honestly feel there is more to it.
Moses, we know, killed an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12). Satan charged that Moses was indeed a murderer and was essentially claiming that Moses was not a “righteous man”. Moses was not a righteous man in Satan’s eyes so, therefore, Moses did not deserve a righteous burial. Michael was tasked with burying the body of Moses but Satan stood there disputing over the rights to the dead body of Moses. No matter what all Moses had done in his life for the Lord and his people, Satan stood by to point out possibly Moses’ most egregious moment in killing a man.
I believe that Satan was arguing that Moses was no different than he was. Satan is a murderer as well (Ezekiel 28:16; Revelation 12:7). Satan has killed and has/is also leading many to an eternal death. So, Satan is jabbing his finger in the face of Michael, who was there at Moses’ dead body, and he is also jabbing his finger in the face of God. Satan was telling God, “this man was a crooked sinner – he wasn’t righteous!”. I hope that you can understand what I am saying here, but I will continue to speak on this to paint a clearer picture of this creature.
In the opening of the third chapter of Zechariah, we find that Satan once again standing to oppose the Lord through another man – pay close attention to this. Zechariah saw Joshua, the high priest (not the Joshua that led Israel after Moses), standing before the Angel of the Lord (or Christ incarnate). Christ, the Lord, is the judge and ruler of all things and so anytime we come before Christ, let’s understand we’re coming before our judge.
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.
Zechariah 3:1 NKJV
Typically, when you’re standing before a judge, the person standing to your right is your lawyer and this person is either persecuting on your behalf or defending your innocence. Satan, on the other hand, was standing to Joshua’s right hand to oppose him! To me, that is absolutely disgusting, but this is who Satan is; he is ready to call out all of the wrongs that this high priest had done. This is actually no different than what was occurring over the dead body of Moses.
Satan, it seems, wants badly to point out to God the sins (wrongs) of His creation – that His creation is not perfect. This reminds me of a child that is caught doing wrong, but then he/she turns around and point out the others that are doing wrong – they should suffer too! Satan thought, in his heart, that he would establish his throne higher than the Lord’s throne (Isaiah 14:13). Yet, because he cannot do so, he settles for antagonizing mankind. Really, Satan wants to be lord over us because we are “no better than him”, and he wants to prove to the Lord that he is right.
If it is not clear, I will tell you plainly: Satan stands at the ready to accuse us of all of our wrongdoings. Satan uses our wrongdoings in his spiritual warfare against God. Not only that, but Satan then guilts us (makes us feel guilty) because he is keeping track of what we do. You ever have that nagging feeling in the back of your head about all of the wrongs that you have done? That’s not just your mind at play, but that’s your mind under the influence of sin and the devil himself. Satan, however, doesn’t stop his war (his antagonizing) at this point.
In the book of Daniel, we find that one of the angels of the Lord was held up from delivering a message to Daniel (Daniel 10:10-14). Daniel had seen a “certain man” (Daniel 10:5-7) who matches the description of the glorified Christ found in Revelation (Revelation 1:9-17).
5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.
Daniel 10:5-6 NKJV
There is much arguing over this scripture as well, and maybe I will break down why I feel that this certain man was Jesus in another study. Daniel, after seeing this certain man, passed out and was awakened by an angel; it’s possible this angel could have been Gabriel who had visited him earlier (Daniel 8:15-17; Daniel 9:21-22). That said, who this angel was does not really profit us anything in this study so I won’t focus on that. What I will focus on is what this angel told Daniel after waking him up.
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.
Daniel 10:13 NKJV
Some believe this “prince” to have been a demon, and others believe the prince was Satan himself. I believe this was one of Satan’s higher ranking demons – a powerful one at that. These demons work on behalf of Satan, so this demon withstood the angel of Satan’s behalf. So, in essence, Satan withstood this angel for three full weeks (21 days). This is a passage of scripture that should open our eyes to the spiritual warfare that is all about us.
Some people talk about their “blessings being blocked” but don’t understand that there is a war going on to block your blessing! I have heard some people talk about their prayers being “blocked” or that the “Lord did not hear my prayer.” This is why I always talk about genuine faith being required in our prayers – there are demons out there that stand to block you off from the Lord!
Satan had prevented (or withstood) the angel from getting to Daniel. Why? Why was Satan vehemently stopping the angel from getting to Daniel? The angel would later tell Daniel (Daniel 10:21), “I will show you that which is noted in the scripture of truth”. The angel had a message of the future and the truth of Persia and Greece. Satan (his high ranking demon) withstood the angel to block Daniel from receiving that which was noted in the scripture of truth. In my mind, I believe that Satan knew exactly who Daniel was, and also knew what Daniel had seen when he saw the “certain man”. Satan, I believe, was trying to block Daniel from the truth.
Do you see Satan’s character now? His war against the Lord is also against mankind. He is an antagonizing creature who doesn’t want mankind to experience joy, or for the Lord to dwell in peace.
How do we withstand?
I want to now apply these scriptures to us. Spiritual warfare goes on around us all day, every day, and even when we are asleep! I have been quoting Paul and this particular scripture (Ephesians 6:12) because it is more and more evident that it is the truth. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness.
Satan, as shown in Jude, feels that he has authority over us; so much so that he sat and fought over the dead body of Moses. Yet, those of us that are righteous in believing in Christ, Satan has absolutely no authority over us; we see this truth in the book of Job. Satan had to go cry to the Lord about the hedge that God had put up around the righteous Job (Job 1:9-10).
As shown in Zechariah, Satan, I believe is at the right hand of all of us – especially those that are genuine in their faith. God dwells in all believers, but Satan is right there to antagonize us. Remember, Christ was in the wilderness fasting and Satan was there at Christ right hand encouraging (tempting) Christ to sin (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan is still there, encouraging and wanting the believer to fall so that he can point this out to the Lord.
Like with Daniel, I feel that Satan is still vehemently blocking many people from receiving what is noted in the scripture of truth. Many people today are deceived by messengers (demons) who oppose the Lord at all costs. Many people today are deceived into accepting this truth because “scripture is not real” or “that preacher is not preaching real truth”. How can one know what the preacher should preach if they have never looked at or studied scripture?
Why did Satan want the dead body of Moses? For the same reason he wants our bodies – we cannot be righteous in his eyes. This is why Jesus had to come to this world, to save us from believing that we cannot be righteous. Satan, I also believe, wanted Moses’ body as a trophy. I believe he wants ours as a trophy in his war against the Lord.
We, as believers, certainly should do as Paul said and put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:13). We should also take a lesson from what Michael did when he came face to face with Satan. In Jude 9, you will notice that Michael refused to bring against Satan a reviling accusation; all Michael said to Satan was “The Lord rebuke you!” In Zechariah 3:2, we see the same thing where God literally says to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you!” In Matthew 4:10, when Satan was tempting Jesus, we see that Jesus says, “Away with you Satan!”
This spiritual warfare puts our faith on the line and to the test. Satan wants to snatch all of mankind away from the Lord, but mankind is not his to claim. Mankind, just like Satan, was created by the Lord and therefore the one who has authority over what happens with mankind is God. Satan is not, nor will he ever be God; he is not omnipotent, omniscient, nor is he omnipresent. Too often we give Satan the credit and the authority over this world.
Get your spirit right. Repent! Turn to the Lord and let Satan go down with those that will happily follow him to the place of outer darkness. Satan has already lost this war that he continues to fight. There is no need in joining the losing side – put on the armor of God so that you can stand in this day!