In eternity past, long before time began, God created Satan as the highest ranking angel in God’s realm. Sometime later, Satan’s ambition was to usurp God’s position and become the ruler over all. His first attempt failed and we read a brief summary of that in Isaiah 14:12-15:
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13: For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15: Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
And, in Ezekiel 28:14-15: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15: Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”
His attack on God through man started in the Garden of Eden. Since then, Satan has made an all out effort to confuse or eradicate the lineage of the One who would "bruise his head." His fate was sealed at that time but he has never ceased to try to overcome God. Many times in the history of this world he has attempted to take the position of God but he has failed and always will fail.
In his attempt to disrupt God's purposes in the Garden of Eden, he enticed the first man and woman to disobey God, ruining the harmonious relationship between God and the man and woman He had created in His own image. This strategy failed when God declared that the "seed of the woman" would be his undoing. Ever since then, Satan has known that he is defeated, and, although he would be able to bruise the heel of God's promised Redeemer, this special Human would "bruise his head."
Genesis 3:15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Satan knows the scriptures and he surely would have read Isaiah 9 and knew that Christ was coming to earth in human form. Isaiah 9:6: “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest upon his shoulders; and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
When we follow Satan's attempts to oppose God throughout the Old Testament, we can tell that his different attempts are directly related to his increasing knowledge of God's plans and purposes. Satan is not omniscient, he only knows what God has already revealed. It’s the information which God gradually revealed to man through prophecy. Satan has no more access to God’s future plans than we do.
Ephesians 1:9-10 refers to God's will for the future as a mystery until it is revealed. In Scripture, a mystery is some plan or program of God that is concealed until God chooses to reveal it.
Satan couldn’t foresee the virgin birth or the birthplace and identity of the Redeemer until these truths were revealed by God through the prophets. As God's plans were revealed, Satan formed his schemes to block them. It’s interesting to see how God used Satan's own plots and strategies against him.
God will always triumph, or He wouldn’t be God.
From Genesis 3:15, Satan knew that his defeat would come through the human race, the "seed of the woman." I’m sure Satan had no idea that God Himself would become that perfect human. All he knew was that his ultimate defeat would come through a member of the human race.
Logically, Satan's next move was to try to annihilate the human race. Undoubtedly, Satan promoted Cain's murder of Abel. Maybe he hoped that he could corrupt the whole human race by using murder to settle disputes and make all mankind unfit to carry out God’s plans.
That attempt failed, and Genesis 6:1-8 describes Satan's next move to destroy the human race. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2: That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3: And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4: There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5: And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6: And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7: And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
This time it appears that his plan was to genetically corrupt the human bloodline so that it was no longer truly human. Although there have been various interpretations of the "sons of God," other Scriptures seem to indicate that the "sons of God" were fallen angels who left the angelic realm and had relations with human women. The product of these unions would not be fully human nor would they have been created by God in His image. Jude 6-7 and 2 Peter 2:4.
In His wrath against sin, God sent the judgment of the flood. He not only destroyed the wickedness on this earth, He preserved the true human race through Noah and his family.
When God called Abraham, Satan learned that his conqueror would come through the family of Abraham. God's promise to Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, was that all the earth would be blessed through his seed and that his seed would conquer any enemy. Genesis 22:17-18a - "I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies, and in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
Later God revealed the lineage of this ruler would come through Jacob’s son, Judah. Genesis 49:10a: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
It wasn’t until Jacob gave his death-bed blessing to his twelve sons that Satan learned the promised Messiah, or "Shiloh" would come through the tribe of Judah, and that he would be a king. Since his defeat would come through the kingly line of Judah, Satan's attempts to get rid of the Jewish people included attacks on the kings of Judah.
Satan is still concentrating his efforts on eliminating the Jewish people. Long before the Holocaust and Jihod, Satan made many attempts to eliminate the Jewish people.
Pharaoh tried to murder every Jewish male baby but God had Pharaoh's own daughter save the life of the Jewish baby, Moses, and God would use him to bring His people out of Egypt.
Another example of his attempts to annihilate the Jewish race is in the book of Esther.
Haman persuaded the Persian king, Ahasuerus, to sign an edict to destroy all the Jews.
Esther 3:13: “And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.”
However, God placed the beautiful Jewish maiden, Esther, in the position of Queen, where she could speak to the king on behalf of her people. Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Esther's godly mentor and cousin, Mordecai, and Satan failed again.
The first king from the line of Judah to ascend the throne of Israel was David. Even before David became king and before God promised that his dynasty would never end, Satan tried to do away with David.
Satan jumped at the chance to send his well-armed giant, Goliath, against a shepherd boy with a slingshot. He probably thought God had miscalculated when He sent a boy to fight a giant but he was the one who miscalculated.
Satan assuredly was behind King Saul's attempts to kill David on several occasions but God protected David. God had promised David this: 2 Samuel 7:16: “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”
One of the most concentrated Satanic attack on the kings that descended from David is recorded in 2 Chronicles 21-22. This took place in Judah during the rule of Queen Athaliah. King Jehoram of Judah married Athaliah, the daughter of the King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel. When her son, King Ahaziah, was killed, Athaliah tried to seize the throne of Judah for herself. She ordered all her grandsons who were in line for the throne to be killed. She almost succeeded, but one baby, Joash, who was the only remaining direct link to the Davidic line, was rescued and hidden in the Temple for six years while Queen Athaliah reigned. At the age of seven, Joash was brought out of hiding and crowned king of Judah. God's promise of a Redeemer from the lineage of David was preserved, and Satan was defeated again.
Satan learned from the Old Testament prophets that his greatest foe would be born in Bethlehem, (Micah 5:2) That He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and the approximate time of His birth by reading Daniel 9.
From Isaiah’s prophecy, Satan knew that his conqueror would be the incarnate Son of God. What a shock to learn that his ultimate defeat would come from a human being who was also God. Isaiah called Him "Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." This would have revealed to Satan that it would be through the perfect God-man that he would lose his power and be defeated.
Satan would have known who Jesus was when He was born and he made every attempt he could to destroy the Son of God. As a result, from Christ's birth until His crucifixion on a Roman cross, all of his attempts backfired no matter what people or events he used.
He was foiled when he manipulated King Herod to kill all the Jewish baby boys born in Bethlehem. The baby Jesus was safe in Egypt. Matthew 2:16: “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.”
Before Jesus started His earthly ministry, Satan had the audacity to offer the Creator of the world, the kingdoms of the world if He would bow down and worship him. Matthew 4:1&7-10: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” Verse 8: Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9: And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10: Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Later on in His ministry, Satan tried to have Jesus thrown over a cliff. The Lord Jesus walked away unharmed because "His hour had not yet come." Luke 4:28-30: “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 29: And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 30: But he, passing through the midst of them, went his way.”
Satan failed again when he attempted to drown Jesus and his disciples during a storm on the Sea of Galilee, but Jesus used this event to demonstrate His power and control over nature.
Satan lost again when he influenced the Pharisees to try to stone Jesus. John 8:59: “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.” Again, in John 10:31: “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him."
There were other attempts to take Him and kill Him recorded in John 8:40; John 10:39; John 11:53 and John 11:57. Satan certainly influenced the Pharisees to try to do away with Jesus, in fact, Jesus described them as being "of their father, the devil” in John 8:44, and "doing the deeds of their father" in verse 40.
The death of Jesus Christ on the cross was Satan’s last attempt to prevent his predicted defeat by a descendant of “the woman.” The prophecy in Genesis 3 that Satan would "bruise his heel" indicated that Satan would be involved in the Redeemer's suffering and death.
As Jesus spoke these words there on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46) Satan must have been convinced that he had triumphed over God. The Son of God was dying on a Roman cross, away from the Temple and outside the walls of the holy city, Jerusalem. Satan must have rejoiced, thinking that he had finally separated the Son of God from the Father and by doing so had avoided his ultimate defeat.
Satan is not omniscient. He had no idea that God had ordained in eternity past that the Lamb of God would be sacrificed on a Roman cross outside the city walls, not on a Jewish altar in Jerusalem. God accomplished His ultimate, eternal plan for the redemption of mankind when the Lamb of God fulfilled the promise to "take away the sins of the world!" And it was there that "the prince of this world was cast out" (John 12:31).
Three days later Satan got the news that Jesus was alive. The "Head-bruiser" had triumphed over the “heel bruiser.”
Hebrews 2:14 states that “through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” Satan's head was crushed at the cross of Christ. His strategy to overcome God in the form of His Son, Jesus, resulted in his complete and ultimate defeat.
He knows what his final punishment will be and he has limited power but continues in his attempts to hinder God's plans.
Paul wrote that Satan, along with other fallen "rulers and authorities," is continuing to learn the eternal purposes of God and "the manifold wisdom of God" that is being "made known through the church." Ephesians 3:8-11: “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9: and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10: to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11: according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Satan continues to oppose God in every way possible. He tempts believers to sin and disrupts our fellowship with one another. Worse yet, he is trying to drag as many people as possible to eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire with him. He uses intellectual and physical roadblocks between them and the Good News of Jesus Christ. But God has empowered the church, the body of Christ, to assault the very gates of hell and snatch people out of Satan's clutches. Matthew 16:18b: “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Satan's schemes will continue until the day he is cast into the Lake of Fire by his own Creator.
For everyone who is truly born again,
the victory over sin and Spiritual death and hell
has been won for us by our Lord Jesus Christ
through faith in His death on the cross
for our sins!