power without power (1/3) | Jay Fesperman
Frankly, I don’t want to write about Satan, but I am constrained by the Lord to do so. I was reading in a magazine just this morning about the subtlety of Satan in this present-day world. The writer spoke of “the disappearance of the Devil”. Quoting Baudelaire, he says, “the devil’s cleverest wile is to convince us that he does not exist”. Actually, Satan is quite happy for us believers to picture him as some far-fetched boogeyman, dressed up in a skin-tight red suit, with horns and a tail with as evil leer on his face. he does not want us to know the truth – that he “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
I believe in angels. Many people today, in unusual circumstances, are beginning to see angels, but for most of us they are totally invisible; yet, they do exist all around us. And I’ve never seen the devil, and as an “angel of light” I don’t think I would recognize him. I would probably be looking for the red suit and not for an aura of brilliance.
Now, angels have many good qualities and some amazing traits. One of these is POWER! During Hezekiah”s reigns over Judah, an angel of the Lord – one angel – went out into the camp of the Assyrian army and killed 185,000 men (2 Kings 19:35)! I don’t know what instrument of power he used, but Satan would like to have the same power. In describing the devil’s aspirations, Isaiah quotes him as saying, “I will MAKE MYSELF LIKE the Most High”. But he was brought down to the pit. He had no qualities that could even approach being “like God”. Jesus was able to say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father”, but Jesus was the THE TRUTH! And He said about Satan, “He is the father of lies. There is no truth in him” (John 8:44). When He said this, He was talking to the Pharisees, the religious leaders of Israel of His own day. He said tho these men, “The devil is YOUR father!”
Jesus also called the devil “The PRINCE of this world” (John 12:31, et. al.). And Paul makes it clear that Satan has many sub-rulers under him (1 Corinthians 2:6,8). The Greek word used here is “arcon”, the same word for which the “arch” in “archbishop” is derived. It “chief” or “top ruler”, just as the “archbishop” is the chief of the bishops.
Now, if the “father of lies” is also the “prince (or ruler) of this world”, by what power does he rule? The answer is clear: he rules by ACCUSATION, DECEPTION, & CONFUSION! All various forms of lies!
And upon whom does he wreak more havoc with these instruments? Surely with those who are moving into (or have already moved into) the KINGDOM OF GOD, out of the kingdom of darkness where Satan does reign. And ALL his “power” is rooted in deception, accusation, and confusion. We, the people of God, often allow ourselves to be deceived by this “angel of light” pseudonym. You see, the devil CANNOT EVEN IDENTIFY HIMSELF AS AN IMPOSTER! If he did, he would be telling the truth. But since he only fathers lies – never the truth – he can only deceive us by pretending to be someone opposite to himself OR to give us the red-suit treatment, another way to say he does not exist! And so he tries to become “like the Most High God”.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 42, August/September 1984.