Harry Holland - The Devil - Special Meeting - 1956

Isaiah 14:12-17 gives a little picture of the devil; there is much in the world to give us an idea of his work.  I think it is a good thing for a child of God to know about our enemy and his subtlety.  Jesus and all the apostles and prophets had to face this same enemy.  God never created a devil and He never created sinners; men and women have made themselves sinners through disobedience.  God created our first parents perfect, physically, morally and spiritually, but they became sinners through disobedience.  God never created a devil.  He created a cherubim, an angel perfect in wisdom and beauty, and he was created for a purpose as all angels were. 


Hebrews 1 speaks of the angelic kingdom, and the last verse tells us that all angels were created to be ministering spirits.  God used the ministry of angels extensively in speaking to men and women in this world.  If an angel could make himself a devil through sin and disobedience, don't you think it would be possible for men and women to make themselves sinners in the same way?  It is clear where sin began. 


In Isaiah 14:12-14, we have the five "I wills" of the devil; he was going to run things or ruin them, and he fell through self-exaltation.  These are in great contrast to the "I wills" in the life of Jesus; He always felt "My Father is greater than I."  I don't believe the devil ever spoke those words audibly, but it was what he had in his heart, and this was the path that led him to absolute destruction. 


Verse 15 gives us God's answer to the devil.  The devil ministered lies, deception, and disobeyed God.  Our first parents were perfect human beings, in a perfect world, the most perfect condition that could exist, yet they fell in the first temptation.  Disobedience made an angel a devil; God never made him a devil.  He took a different course than Jesus took who became servant of all; very different "I wills" in the life of Jesus. 


Verse 17, "that made the world a wilderness."  He made it a place of beauty to dwell in, but the devil made it a wilderness.  "That opened not the house of his prisoners" - the devil never lets go his hold on men and women once he has them prisoners.  Our only hope is through Christ and the Gospel that we could be brought out of the chains of sin and darkness.  Jesus, because the spirit of God was upon Him, came to open the prison and proclaim liberty to the captives.  (Isaiah 6:11 and again in Luke 4:18)  This 12th verse we read took place when there was war in Heaven - Revelation 7:9 - and is the same instance as in Luke 10:18 when Jesus saw "Satan as lightning fall from Heaven," and took place before in the Garden of Eden.


Ezekiel 28:2-3, the prince of Tyrus is the devil, "because thine heart is lifted up…"  God has always warned against self-exaltation.  Verse 3, "Thou art wiser than Daniel."  The devil is wiser than any human being in this world, except Jesus.  Verse 23 and on, was God's message to the devil through His prophet Ezekiel.  This is a word picture of the devil "created in perfect angelic beauty," "full of wisdom and perfect in beauty," and in verse 15 "perfect in thy ways from the day thou wast created until iniquity was found in thee." 


Verse 13, "thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God;" we know what he did in the Garden of Eden, that he himself made himself by pride.  It was here that the devil sowed the seed of the first doubt, "hath God said…" and he told the first lie, "Ye shall not surely die."  These verses give us a very clear, vivid word picture of the devil.  In connection with these verses, we must always read John 8:44.  Jesus is talking to the most religious leaders of the world, people who knew the Bible from cover to cover. “No truth in him.”  God, the Father of truth.  The devil knows the truth but he does not love it.  It was the devil who caused Cain to murder his own brother. 


2 Peter 2:4, the devil had a terrible influence in Heaven and dragged down a lot of others with him.  Jude 6, the judgment of the great day, God's great day when every man, woman and angel will have to reap what they sowed.  2 Corinthians 11:13-15, the devil had light, but he never had life.  "If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness."


The major battles of the devil:  two of them he has already lost and the third one he will also lose completely and entirely.  He paid an awful price for deceiving human beings.  If he had won any of these battles, it would have been a terrible thing.  The first conflict in Revelation 12: 7-9. 


Luke 10:18 was when the seventy returned with joy and told of the victory they had had.  Jesus said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."  Jesus was warning them not to rejoice in anything, but that their “names are written in Heaven."  Jesus saw Satan fall: as far as God was concerned, this finished Satan in Heaven.  There was no carnal weapon in this warfare - this was a great conflict between the power of darkness and the power of light, between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error, between the mystery of Godliness (1 Timothy 3:16) and the mystery of iniquity (2 Thessalonians 2:7).  It was a spiritual conflict. 


Revelation 12:9 gives us his four names: dragon, serpent, devil, and Satan.  He was cast out into the earth and his angels were cast out with him.  No wonder the devil's spirit said to Jesus, speaking in the plural, "We knew thee, the Holy One of God…"  This was a major battle and a terrible defeat.  It tells us in verse 11 how we can overcome "the devil by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."  Our testimony is a very precious thing to preserve and cherish. 

Verse 1 is a picture of the true church, the Bride of Christ.  The moon suggests the clean, human wisdom God gave men to govern their human affairs, the light that governs the children of the night.  Verse 4 speaks of the birth of Christ.  Isaiah 9:15, speaks of the tail in the first part of this verse, look at Isaiah 9:15.


Matthew 4 and Luke 4 tell us of the second major battle that the devil lost when in all his corrupt, angelic beauty and wisdom, he met Jesus face to face in the desert temptation.  Perhaps this was the weakest moment of Jesus' life - hungry and weak; fasting forty days and nights, clothed in a body of flesh and blood, He faced the devil all alone.  Jesus had the backing of all Heaven, but He stood there as an individual.  It was no walk over for Jesus.  If there ever was a time that Jesus needed bread, it was at this time.  He answered from Deuteronomy 8, "Man shall not live by bread alone."  I thank God that we can live by every word of God. 


The pinnacle of religious power was a tremendous power, and it is yet today.  We have an accuser, but we also have an intercessor.  You and I don't realize how much was dependent upon that conflict that day, but Jesus knew the tremendous responsibility that was bearing down on Him.  After all God promised through the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15), which pointed the human family to the virgin birth, that God could not accept a sin tarnished life as a sacrifice for sin.  When Jesus died on the cross, He was the unspotted Lamb of God.  The devil was not able to put a spot or blemish on Him in any way.  Truth and error met that day and it was a terrible battle, but angels in Heaven, watching the conflict, saw the devil go away totally defeated.


Revelation 20:7-10 mentions a battle not yet fought.  Immediately after the thousand year reign, while the devil was bound, people had every privilege of hearing the gospel.  Romans 9:28, “a short work will God make on the earth” for He was speaking of the ultimate outcome of God's work on the earth.  Satan was chained for 1,000 years, but he was not changed.  This was a terrible battle as the devil compassed the camp of the saints and met absolute defeat.  Revelation 6:13-14 is when the devil faces that last great conflict, "The battle of that great day of God almighty."  This is that day we read about in chapter 20, when God allowed Satan to gather his power together and he met with entire defeat.  He lost all, everything.  He had no more place in Heaven or on earth.  We are not called to fight a losing battle because he lost in these three conflicts.  The nation that wins the last victory wins the war.  It would have been a disaster if the devil had won this last battle.  Because he lost in these three conflicts, he lost everything: he has paid an awful price for the reign he has had in this world. 


It is wise to consider well the contrast of 2 Thessalonians 2:7.  The mystery of Godliness in Colossians 1:27 says, "Christ in you, the hope of Glory."  No other power could make us God-like.  Worldly people talk about working for the Lord, but it is far more important for God to work in us, then we can work out what God works in.  God doesn't want to deceive people; to deceive people and to bring discord and sin is the work of the devil, the prince of this world.  Romans 8:9, "Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His."