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The Devil’s War

There have been many wars fought throughout history. Wars of conquest. Wars of punitive action. Wars of liberation. Wars, battles, blood-feuds and the like have been taking place for as long as man has dwelled upon the earth.

Prior to any of these earthly wars and battles, there was a spiritual warfare being waged by the devil against God. When and why this war started we have no way of knowing, but there are a few hints that suggest the motive for the devil’s war.

The Devil's War | Oak Grove Church of Christ, Jack McNiel, Evangelist

Why Does the Devil Wage War?

It may be suggested in 1 Timothy 3:6 that it began with the devil’s pride. The eldership qualification of “not a novice…” is stated as important “…Lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil…” Was pride the reason the devil was condemned? Perhaps.

Another passage in Jude states,  “…the angels which kept not their first estate but left their own habitation…” (verse 6). The word translated “their first estate” refers to their original place or position or rank. Were they not satisfied with the rank God had given them? Did they think the deserved something higher? That’s pride there.

Look also at Matthew 25:41, “…Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…” The devil has his angels. From these passages it seems to indicate that the devil, lifted up with pride, led other angels into rebellion against God and from this time on the devil was in a state of war against God. He was cast down in his attempt. He was defeated, and his angels were bound “in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment…” (Jude 6; c.f. Revelation 12:7-9)

He lost that war, but he was not finished fighting. Like Napoleon, after his first defeat and banishment, who came back a little while later from exile and started another war, the devil knew he could not defeat God, chose to make war upon his children instead.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ…” -Revelation 12:17

He could not defeat God, but still in his hatred he turned his attentions against man.

The Devil’s War with God’s Plan

The  devil saw mankind in the garden, beloved of God,  and looked upon him with pure, unadulterated and malicious hate. He thought he knew a way to punish God by making Him kill His creation. He knew that God was a God of Righteousness and Justice – he had already experienced that first-hand. He knew if man would rebel against God, that God’s justice would crush man. He did not reckon upon God’s extreme love and mercy. That first attempt failed.

Later, God declares his promise to Abraham, “…and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed….,” Genesis 12:3. From the “seed” or descendants of Abraham would all families of the earth be blessed by the coming of a savior. The devil tries for the next 2,000 years to destroy or spiritually wreck the nation of Israel. But again, he failed to reckon on the power of God in keeping His promises.

When Christ was born in Bethlehem, the devil made a direct attempt upon His life. He preys upon the ungodly jealousy and ambition of Herod, who orders the killing of all infant boys in Bethlehem. Still, unbeknownst to the devil, God is one step ahead of Him and sends Joseph, Mary and Jesus down into Egypt and safety.

When the man Jesus, was about to begin His earthly ministry, the devil makes another attempt to destroy mankind. He knows that if he can tempt Jesus into sinning, that Jesus would become disqualified as a savior and mankind would be bereft of the possibility of salvation. He makes three attempts, appealing to the “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life…,” 1 John 2:16; Matthew 4:1-11. Once again, he failed to reckon with the perfect purity and holiness of Christ.

The devil, unable to derail Christ from His mission, decides that He must be killed. Now at this point, we need to understand that the devil did not realize that God also had a plan. Had the devil known the plan of God, he would never have had Jesus crucified!  So, here’s the devil looking down upon the scene at Calvary with sadistic glee, thinking,  “At last I have done it! I have destroyed man’s savior and they’ll all spend eternity with me in hell!” But then what happens? The Son of God cries out “It is finished!” and there is a great earthquake and the vail of the temple is rent. Maybe the devil thinks that this is simply more proof that he has won.

He perhaps looked on smugly as Jesus was buried in the rich man’s tomb. Maybe he spent the next three days reveling in his apparent victory. But then, there is another earthquake and the stone rolls away from the tomb and Jesus arises victoriously from the grave! I can almost picture the devil screaming out,

“Noooooo! This is not possible!”

He just got sucker-punched. Oh, the irony! What he thought would bring him ultimate victory, instead was the very instrument of his final defeat! Like the not-so-Wiley cartoon coyote – he was caught up in his own trap and defeated!

“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55

The devil’s war has been lost, but like the with the battle of New Orleans, which took place a month after peace was signed with British in 1814, there are still casualties in this war! You don’t have to be one of them. You have a triumphant Savior who has already defeated the devil!


By: Jack McNiel
Acknowledgment: Adabpeted from a lesson by Larry Yarber’s lecture at the Midwest Lectures. 
I Can See What the Cross Means to Satan, 9-19-2018