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January 26, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Layton Talbert continues the series entitled “Our Ancient Foe,” from Revelation 12.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled our ancient foe, which is a study of Satan.
The reality of his presence and how Christians can be victorious against him. Today's message is entitled knowing our enemy preach by seminary professor, Dr. Layton Talbert Dr. Sam Horn will introduce him very excited to introduce Dr. Layton Talbert to you and many of you have had him as a teacher and you have sat through his classes and some of you attend the church where he has served and continues to serve but know that this is a man who has an unusual gift when it comes to communicating the word of God. He and his wife Esther have five children and he is a member of our seminary faculty appreciate his biblically faithful scholarship. His desire to communicate clearly the word of God and is hard to build a people through the message that were going here today on our ancient foe knowing our enemy. Would you please turn in your Bible to Revelation chapter 12 Revelation 12 and I just want to ask you to begin with.
How does the image on that slide the strike has kind of a fantastical science-fiction feel to it doesn't not. The problem is imagery like this is pretty much all we have. When were dealing with trying to image things that we can't actually see and things we've never seen we would have many photographs that I know of of dragons.
But the fact is you're open to one of the passages. I'm pretty sure inspired and informed this image that was created for this series. Revelation 12 verse three says there appeared another wonder in heaven, and behold a great red dragon. The word wonder in Greek is the word for sign signaling that this passage is symbolic of this description is symbolic is presenting truth under that kind of an image. Look at verse seven and there was war in heaven.
Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not neither was their place found any more in heaven. Symbols are designed to illustrate abstract ideas and magnify specific characteristics of whatever it is this being symbolized and yet behind every symbol in Scripture is a very low real literal reality that image that you're looking at is not how Satan actually looks.
I don't think, but it does magnify his character in a way that no other image really could as fierce and powerful and deadly and destructive. This passage introduces us to our ancient foe how ancient Izzy was talk a little bit about his history. He is older than we are is older than man.
He's powerful, but he is not omnipotent. This is God's arch nemesis, but this is not God's opposite. Don't ever think of Satan as God's opposite. God has no opposite. There is no evil, parallel, no evil parallel to or or counterpart to God is not God and Satan is God and the angelic creatures and man. Or you could make an argument for I have made an argument for God and man and angels. That's a separate discussion. The point is, he may be Michael's opposite he might be Gabriel's opposite. He may be there superior in terms of his original angelic rank and power that he is not God's opposite.
He is infinitely inferior to God. He is a creature we could say he's a fellow creature created like we were so what's his story will the details of his rebellion and fall are really just hinted at indirectly in passages like Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 passages that appear to be addressed to human kings and yet they include descriptions that most interpreters believe Transcend merely human rulers and applied to the being behind those human rulers who empowers them. These passages describe a creature of unparalleled beauty and wisdom and privilege, who became so infatuated with his own created glory that he aspired to be independent of God and equal to God. Summa speculated that when God created this spectacular world and all of its pristine newness. Satan expected that it would be given to him as his domain to rule of and instead God created this new what Milton calls race of upstart creatures, rival beings, a fragile pathetic weak naked little biped to inherit all this to rule all this and Satan was incensed and revolted and determined to spoil whatever he couldn't have no way to prove or disprove that part of the story were not told that part of the story, but where the record that God has given us is quite clear begins in Genesis 3 with his infiltration of the pristine and sinless creation to drive out again as Milton describes it, the puny inhabitants or if not drive, seduce them to our part, that their God may prove their foe and with repenting hand abolished his own works, seeking that way to affect their revenge on God. And yet, never understanding God well enough to even dream that though God would justly become our foe as a result of this, he would turn all of his righteous wrath on him self to make us his friends again, never entered Satan's darkest dreams that that is what God had in mind but having deceived and seduce the woman ruined man wrecked the world as God had created it. He has remained at war with God. Ever since, how you war against God. You vent your hatred and your hostility on anything and everything that belongs to him. The delights him that bears his image and there's only one thing in the entire universe.
It is described as being in God's image and that's you we just memorialize 1/15 anniversary of 9/11 and whether all our leaders recognize it or not, or simply wish for political purposes, not to publicly acknowledge it.
Radical Islam has declared war on the west on America in the most recent expression has come in the form of an and in an enemy that has identified himself by a variety of names Isis Islamic State of Iraq and Syria isolate Islamic State of Iraq and the LaBonte or more simply, IIS Islamic state which claims would reestablish the caliphate that ended with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire 1924 and claims to have worldwide influence over all worldwide claim over all Muslims. If you have a self identified enemy who is sworn to destroy you. You would be a fool not to make yourself aware of the character and the strategies of that enemy. So what can we know about our ancient foe struggled about his character and ancient historical biblical context names are significant names mean something. God's names reveal aspects of his being and highlight dimensions of his character and the names and titles and descriptions of Satan are significant in the same way for the same reason. What are some of them and what they reveal to us about in the passage that you're looking at in Revelation 12 gives us six distinct titles and descriptions. If you jump ahead to verse nine he is a huge depicted as a huge, cruel, destructive, devouring Dragon he is called that ancient serpent linking him back to the events in the garden of Eden is called the devil you know that means slanderer's modus operandi is basic strategy is to slander the character of God to you Satan he's called here in this passage adversary nemesis enemy foe deceiver of the whole world. Accuser of the saints, the brother Revelation 911 describes him as Apollyon in Greek Abaddon in Hebrew, the destroyer that tells you something about his character.
He's also called the tempter the evil one. He is evil personified the wicked one, a roaring lion constantly still stalking prey to kill Jesus in John 844 says that he was a murderer from the beginning he abandoned truth long ago. As a result, there is no truth in him. You will find none none when he speaks a lie he speaks of his own. Jesus said when he tells a lie. In other words, he speaking his native tongue. He's a liar by nature.
Deception is his native environment. God is invariably unfailingly speaking the truth. It's his nature. Satan is the ultimate pathological liar. How can you tell when Satan is lying whenever his lips are moving.
Whenever he speaking he's lying.
Lies come out of him like water out of the faucet when you turn the handle in fact is not just a liar. He's the father of lying. He invented it. Exhibit doesn't doesn't Satan deal in half-truths yeah usually is exactly what he did with Eve in the garden will then doesn't that mean that there is at least some truth in him that he sometimes does speak truth.
Let me ask you this doesn't debate that's put out to kill rats have a lot of good food and not really it's all tainted because the whole purpose of it is to kill his half-truths are complete lives because the whole purpose is to deceive and destroy to ruin. That's how he can also be characterized this way.
In one of the most stunning statements in Scripture about him him masquerades as an angel of light that may be the scariest image of him in Scripture lines are scary but you know what to expect from a lion, an angel of light error is not always immediately obvious is not always apparently evil sometimes it is camouflaged in the guise of what seems good and right and beautiful and noble and then there's these prince of the power of the air god of this age ruler of this world has at work. I thought God was sovereign, I thought the Christ was the ruler of the world and the god of this age, but these are clearly titles with reference to Satan. One of these comes from the mouth of Jesus himself.
And yet Scripture does teach the universal sovereignty of God. So how do we correlate God's sovereignty with these kinds of expressions and titles of domain power, rule, authority. Let's talk about his power within talking about him as our ancient foe kind of as though he's present everywhere, but it would be a serious mistake to ever think of him as able to read your thoughts.
He's not omniscient in the same way it would be a mistake to think of him as being everywhere like God is. He is not omnipresent. Theologians use the term ubiquity to describe Satan well air is omnipresent. It's everywhere even in LA there is air there heirs omnipresent. McDonald's is just ubiquitous.
It seems to be everywhere but it's technically not Satan is ubiquitous, he is helped by the fact that he is an angelic spirit, but also by the fact that Scripture informs us. He has a host of demons on his side as well, but is not a force he's not just an abstract concept.
He's a person, created supernatural powerful, utterly and irredeemably depraved. Always hostile to God, always hostile to God's people to you. Always hostile to God's purposes.
In fact, even if you are not one of God's people.
He is still intensely hostile to you because you still bear God's image.
He hates unbelievers.
I guess maybe I can say just as much, as believers, but he hates unbelievers. The Scripture causally reminds us that he has infinitely inferior in spite of all that, and subordinate to God and he can do nothing without permission.
He has zero independent discretionary power. None maybe the best way to illustrate this is with a specific example, Dr. Horn, had you turn to bat back to the book of Job last week and ask you to do that again this is a couple of other points I want to call to your attention a connection with this particular aspect Job chapter 1 bunch of bad stuff happened. Job right but who initiated the conversation who was the first one to notice Job, who was the first one to bring up Job's name. If your answer is Satan. You need to reread the story.
Look at verse eight. The Lord said in the Satan, the Lord said to Satan, have you considered my servant Job.
He's the one who brings it up. He initiates the conversation and everything that it leads to. He's omniscient Satan then counters with an accusation that Job's worship is insincere because it's bought and paid for by God, really Satan's accusation is not so much aimed at Job as at God course he worships you, you pay them off. Look at what he says in verse nine. Lord answered Satan to be Satan and the Lord said death Job fear God for naught has not thou made a hedge about him and about his house and that all that he has on every side that was blessed the work of his hands in his substances increase in land use by him. Now everybody knows you want to bring them up as a great example everybody knows now you just pay for is not sincere is not real worship put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curtsy to thy face so God grant Satan's permission, but sets the parameters. Verse 12 the Lord said to Satan, behold, all that he hath is in my power. When Satan said put forth your hand and touch all that he has God's response is okay. He's in your hand. Same term, except he can do this he sets the parameters you get the same exchange that occurs again in chapter 2 and God grants further permission but sets the parameters again. So who's ultimately responsible for what happens to Job, who is in charge that language is Artie been news this morning will remember who started the whole thing remember who brought up Job's name. Remember who started the conversation who is granting the permission every step of the way.
But more than that look in chapter 2 verse three the Lord said to Satan, look at the drop to the end of the verse. Still, he's holding fast his integrity, although use Satan have moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Who does God say has destroyed Job, God claims ultimate absolute responsibility for everything that Job experienced, and by extension for all the circumstances in your he's God enough to claim responsibility because he is God. God's claim into three deserves a whole lot more explanation because we know he has reasons and purposes, that's a whole another discussion. That's a separate message but the point here is for our purposes, one God is the one who sovereign and in control, and to Satan, though powerful and destructive operates only by permission. In fact, we skipped over one little detail on what you would back in chapter 1 verse seven is easily skipped over. But I think there's a wealth of encouragement here for us. God asked Satan for report when used in ways been doing and Satan's reply is going to infer arranging to and fro through the earth, and he describes his untethered roaming throughout the world and walking up and down in it he says, which implies wondering it will. The whole world is his field for observation and operation. The verb used in the Greek Old Testament. In this verse is actually related to the word that Peter uses to describe the devil in first Peter five is a roaring lion walking around seeking to devour these or is is is encouraging passage. These not very encouraging images because we are a lot like those unarmed natives trying to build a bridge over River working in jungle bounded fields by day and sleeping, and very vulnerable grass huts at night and every night. These two liens keep coming in and dragging people out of the huts and eating them or just killing them and leaving them but did you know that God uses exactly the same terms to describe his ceaseless activity. His Angel Zechariah 110 patrol two and fro through the earth. In fact, the eyes of the Lord run same expression same Hebrew verb run to and fro through the whole earth watching over his people.
Zechariah 410 second Chronicles 69 and while Satan walks around in search of praying using the same term. God says the Lord thy God walks same word in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to give your enemies over to 20. So a ferocious lion roams loose unbound, but watched the is a trespasser temporarily tolerated in the territory of a way bigger lion. Revelation 5 so yet he's the head of the demonic principalities and powers. He's the head of the rulers of the darkness of this world. The Paul says that we wrestle against in Ephesians 6, he's the little G God of this present age ruler over fallen humanity in its united opposition to God. The fact is, the Bible does not minimize the sinister power of the evil one who is the prince of the demons and the head of a godless world order a power enhanced by the allegiance witting or unwitting of sinful men, and accommodated by the corruption of man's heart in revolt against God. He aligned himself with Satan in this sense, Satan is his God and prince man is captive to the jurisdiction of darkness. This is from a good book on spiritual warfare by the you're interested in a book on the topic that were studying, but all of this is exercised within the strict parameters of God's invisible fence and that's a boundary that he doesn't just that that he doesn't just not want to cross because it might give them an electrical jolt. It's a boundary. He can't cross.
So how should we feel about our ancient foe would pity him respect him, fear him about this help out on mixed hatred that doesn't sound very Christian that is extremely Christian on mixed hatred toward this enemy of God in Christ and you have a absolute distrust about utter disdain. Why would you want to give this enemy one moments gratification by listening to his lies, or maybe tentatively exploring his suggestion while he standing on the side, grinning.
Scripture encourages us. In fact, with these kinds of truths through Christ we have conquered the wicked one because greater is he that is in you, that in then he that is in the world. Christ came in the flesh in order to undo the works of the devil and through his death he broke the power of the devil. He is powerful. Satan is but he's resistible he's resistible we overcome him by the blood of the Lamb to go back to Revelation 12 and he may receive power God's permission to sift us like wheat like he did the disciples read that passage by the way, it wasn't just Peter. The guy sifted by week. Jesus says to Peter, Satan has desired to have you all. It's a plural pronoun in Greek.
Satan has his received permission to sift all of you disciples like wheat but I have prayed for the in particular Peter because it's can hit you the hardest and when you have recovered.
You strengthen your brethren because they were sifted just like you were he may receive God's permission to sift us like we but if he receives it. That permission comes with the intercession of Jesus for you just like it did for Peter never thought about this. You are going to judge angels pulses. This first Corinthians 6.
I do know exactly what all that means or includes, but I'm pretty confident that it at least means that we will participate in his judgment and voice. Hardly our consent. When Christ condemns and consigns Satan and all the other demons to the lake of fire. Revelation 20 verse 10 for those passages. Revelation 12 Revelation 20 are a couple of passages that I really enjoy occasionally reading out loud. I mean, louder than usual. To be sure Satan can hear it to remind him of where all this is headed and remind him that I know where all this is headed. Paul encourage believers with this promise. This is remarkable, the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly, or swiftly, not just under Christ's feet, he will crush Satan under your feet was that mean I don't know exactly what all that means but it sounds like I'm to have a part in Christ defeat and humiliation of this adversary who blinded me for my first 15 years and who has dogged my heels ever since.
And so will you. So the Prince of darkness grim, we tremble for him. We don't tremble for him. His rage we can endure because his doom is sure feel bad about reminding him of that regularly. One little word shall fell him one little word. What's that word. You don't have to shout it. You don't have to say it with bravado. One little word will fail him. Christ is all it takes in the face of all Satan's lies to you all the doubts that he raises all the temptations and accusations that he throws at you. Christ is your strong tower Christ is your mighty fortress against this ancient foe and he cannot assail you there. Father, we are so grateful that you are sovereign, that you are wise that you are gracious that you are good that you have revealed yourself and these things to us that though we have a deadly enemy who hates and despises us who will do all that he can to take us where he is or, failing that, to ruin us in the process that he is under your surveillance.
So we rejoice in the confidence that we have in his demise and his defeat in your glory and in our glory with you over that over him and his defeat. Help us Lord to walk in utter confidence, not fearing him but magnifying you and glorying in you and finding all of our confidence.
We pray in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon preached by Bob Jones University seminary professor, Dr. Layton Talbert. This is part of the study series about our ancient foe Satan. Listen again tomorrow as we continue the series here on The Daily Platform