Tuesday, June 20, 2023

No 7 Devil on a Chain

Any commander losing a war (and who yet remains alive) should reasonably expect limitations and restrictions to be placed on his whereabouts and movements. And so, Lucifer (Satan) has faced restrictions of his freedom to act as he chooses and to move about as he chooses since the loss of the war. Satan’s activities were severely restricted by Jesus Himself (or Michael―when Jesus is in His role as Warrior and Commander of Heaven’s armies). Notice some of these restrictions. Notice also that the Bible uses the imagery of the Devil being restricted by a chain (see Restriction No 7 below).

Restriction No 1
Lucifer (Satan) may have wished to remain in heaven. However, he was made to leave. After losing the war to Michael, Satan was expelled to this earth. 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth (Rev 12:7-9).

Restriction No 2
Satan would invent means to annoy the heavenly angels, and show contempt for his [God's] authority. As he could not gain admission within the gates of Heaven, he would wait just at the entrance, to taunt the angels and seek contention with them as they went in and out (Ellen G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy, Volume 1, p. 30).

Satan could only come back inside the Courts of Heaven under certain terms. That being he had to come before Michael Himself. Satan did not have free run of the Courts. And being made to stand in the presence of God was uncomfortable for him, I’m sure. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Rev 12:10).

In the account of Job, does Satan intrude into heaven at will? Does he come as an 
uninvited quest? The Bible gives us no definite answer. Was he periodically summoned to appear before the Courts of Heaven--whether he liked it or not? Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them (Job 1:6). Could it be that Satan was required to be present at regularly established intervals to answer to his affairs on earth? (It's somewhat akin to having to appear before one's Probation Officer, if for no other reason, than to show that he was still present and still chained, so to speak).

Restriction No 3 
Upon arrival to earth (after having been cast out of heaven), Satan was chained to a tree
(figuratively speaking)--the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Only at this point could he tempt the new beings created for earth--Adam and Eve.

Angels of God visited Adam and Eve, and told them of the fall of Satan, and warned them to be on their guard. They cautioned them not to separate from each other in their employment, for they might be brought in contact with this fallen foe. If one of them were alone, they would be in greater danger than if both were together. The angels enjoined upon them to closely follow the instructions God had given them, for in perfect obedience they were safe, and this fallen foe could then have no power to deceive them. God would not permit Satan to follow the holy pair with continual temptations. He could have access to them only at the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, Volume 3, p. 39).

Restriction No 4 
Upon the fall of Adam and Eve at the tree, Adam having forfeited his dominion of the earth, Satan did become ruler and prince of this world. Yet in the same moment, he would learn he was doomed. And still chained, only now to a planet―not a tree. 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 (Gen 3:15).

Restriction No 5 
The Book of Job teaches that Satan can do nothing against Job except as he asks permission and that permission be granted. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand (Job 1:12). And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life (Job 2:6). The principle still applies today. Satan can only work against God’s people under God's watchful eye and within God’s strict limitations. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (I Cor 10:13).

Bad things happen. The WHYS of it all, we may never understand. Sometimes we never accept. We may remain assured, however, that we are the apple of His eye (Zech 2:8), and that His tender care is always present even in the painful and dark moments Satan drags us through.

Very great troubles are coming upon the world, and the powers of Satan are stirring with intensity the powers from beneath to work suffering, disaster, and ruin. His work is to create all the misery upon human beings that is possible. The earth is the scene of his action, but he is held in check. He can go no farther than the Lord permits (Ellen G. White, That I May Know Him, p. 284).

Restriction No 6
Jesus cried, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost (John 19:30). In addition to the wonderful salvation gained for us in this moment, other wonderful things occurred in the universe. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night (Rev 12:10).

Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ's brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken (Ellen G. White, Desire of Ages, p 761).

Restriction No 7
While Satan may wish to escape this planet in the end of time, he finds himself still chained by circumstances. 1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season (Rev 20:1-3). Satan is still bound to this planet. And when loosed a little season, he still can go no further than this planet.

I heard shouts of triumph from the angels and from the redeemed saints, which sounded like ten thousand musical instruments, because they were to be no more annoyed and tempted by Satan and because the inhabitants of other worlds were delivered from his presence and his temptations (Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 290).

Restriction No 8
As he has so freely taken the lives of untold millions, he will lose his own life in the lake 
of fire. 7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:7-10).

God in Charge
I like the way the Book of Job presents Jesus as being in charge of the affairs of heaven and earth. The Lord initiated the interaction between He and Satan by asking a question of Satan. Satan must then respond. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? (Job 1:7 and repeated in 2:2). Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it (Job 1:8 and repeated in 2:2).

Jesus is still the One asking the questions. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? (Job 1:8). 

Jesus is not afraid to face Satan head-on. And through the remainder of this interaction, Jesus is still the Protagonist. He is still the One in charge. Jesus is still acting proactively. Satan never has the upper hand. Satan never towers above Christ. 9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord (Job 1:9-12).

God is Still in Charge
Satan described his activities as "walking up and down" on the earth. Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it (Job 1:7). Notice the Bible uses the same verb (walk) in describing Satan's activities on earth today. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet 5:8).

The Bible assures us in the following verse that we may escape this adversary. 
Whom resist stedfast in the faith (1 Pet 5:9). 

I wish to be stedfast in my faith. Don’t you?

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359.

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