Scripture: Revelation 12:7-9, John 8:44, Luke 10:18
Satan has tried to capture this world by spreading the teaching that there is no devil. But the Bible teaches there is an adversary who is like a roaring lion seeking to devour people. Many times in the Scriptures, over 100 times, there is reference to the devil.
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Did you read about the Norwegian statistician who set a computer to work, counting up all the wars of history? During the 5,560 years of recorded human history, there have been 14,531 wars, or as the computer pointed out, 2.6135 a year. Of 185 generations of human life, only ten have known an uninterrupted peace. Right now, roughly speaking, ten wars are in progress somewhere in the world, ranging from petty conflicts with poisoned arrows to major jet bomber attacks. These facts about wars past and present were all duly recognized and reported by the statistician and the computer. But one major war of the past was not included in the figures. The reason, of course, is that it took place before this world was even created. It took place in heaven. It hardly seems possible to think of a war in heaven, the very last place we would connect with fighting or violence. So let's read about it right from the Bible. Revelation 12:7-9: "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 anymore in heaven. 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, and his angels were cast out with him."

Please notice that at one time Satan and his angels fought against Christ (Michael) and the good angels in heaven itself. How did such a conflict develop? How did Satan come to be in heaven anyway? Friends, the fact is that the devil was once a beautiful angel, who served God day and night in the paradise above. How he came to be our great enemy in this earth is the subject of today's broadcast.

I recognize that multitudes do not believe there is a personal devil. Thousands of theologians have gone on record as disbelieving the existence of such a creature. I submit that this is exactly the way Satan has planned it to be.

There was once a noted robber and his gang who lived in a high mountain. When he was about to raid a certain valley, he would hire men to go from house to house there and spread the report that the great robber whom they had so long feared was now dead. That was his trick to put the people off their guard and leave their property exposed. Then the wicked robber and his gang would swoop down on that valley and plunder the people's goods without resistance.

The devil has tried to capture this world in the same way. He has spread the doctrine that there is no devil. There are thousands of preachers these days who are spreading that report and telling the people that there is no devil. The devil is pleased, for it enables him to catch the people in his snares.

There is a real devil, and he is fighting against all who follow Christ. Notice what 1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." No doubt you have gone to the zoo and have watched the lions pace from one end of the cage to the other. How they would like to get out and pounce on you! That is exactly what the devil is doing. He is seeking to devour you.

The New Testament proves the existence of a devil. The term "devil" is mentioned there in 34 places. In an additional 37 places the term "Satan" is used, making 71 direct references to the devil and Satan. Then another 6 times the terms "tempter" and "wicked one" are mentioned. In fact, he is referred to over 100 times in all the Bible! The person who doesn't believe in his existence is probably the most deceived person in the world.

You may say there is no devil because you have never met him. Do you want to know why? It could be because you and the devil are going the same way! Accept Jesus, obey His commandments, and you will soon believe in a real, personal devil. Just because you have not seen him with your eyes does not prove there is no devil. There is air in the building, but you don't see it. Rabbit tracks tell us rabbits are around, and yet you may not see them. Just so the workings of Christ and the devil prove they are real personalities.

You may question: "Who is the devil? Is he merely a figure of speech? How can I be sure that the devil is real?" Let's read in John 8:44, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth; because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." You see, Jesus taught that the devil was a real being. Jesus knew, for He had met Satan in a hand-to-hand conflict. James 2:19 declares: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: The devils also believe, and tremble." An evil principle cannot believe in God. It takes an intelligent personality to believe. Therefore, as surely as there is a personal God, and Christ, there is also a personal devil. Do you believe the Bible? If so, you cannot but believe the devil is real on the basis of these two Scriptures.

Then again you may ask, "Who made the devil? Where did he come from?" The Bible makes it clear that the devil is a fallen angel from heaven. Here are the words of Christ in Luke 10:18. "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." These are the words of Jesus, and He is an authority that cannot be doubted. He knows what He is talking about and He says that the devil came from heaven. If we question this fact, we are questioning Jesus.

When Satan was in heaven his name was Lucifer. That is what we are told in Isaiah 14:12-14. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." Lucifer means "day star." When he rebelled, his name was changed to Satan, meaning adversary, devil, deceiver, or seducer.

His position was once that of the covering cherub to the throne of God. The prophet Ezekiel wrote: "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth: and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." Ezekiel 28:14, 15. When Moses led the children of Israel from Egypt to the Promised Land, he built an ark in which the ten commandments were placed. That ark had a covering cherub. The cherubim hovered over the ark. That ark was a shadow of heavenly things. We read in Psalm 80:1 that God sits between the cherubim in heaven. "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth." So Lucifer had the highest position an angel could hold.

How did he become the devil and Satan? He was cast out from heaven to this earth because of rebellion. Revelation 12:7-9 says: "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. 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, and his angels were cast out with him."

The Bible is a startling book. It says there was war in heaven, and in that war Michael (Christ) fought against the dragon (Satan).

Where is the devil now? He is going to and fro in the earth. That is what your Bible says in Job 1:7. "And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it." The devil is right here in this world at the present time. And he will be here until the day he is cast into the lake of fire and destroyed by Jesus. He is right around your neighborhood endeavoring to carry on his nefarious business of sin.

What does he look like? If you were to get a large canvas and then invite an artist to paint his conception of the devil on it, he would no doubt picture a hideous looking character with two great, long horns protruding out of his forehead, a long tail, and a long, slim red body with a pitchfork in his hand, pushing people into hell. But there is no such devil as that. He is a fallen angel. And the Bible says that he was noted for his beauty. Speaking of the devil the Scriptures say: "Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. ... Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee." Ezekiel 28:12, 17.

You ask, "Is God responsible for the evil of Satan?" I can best answer that question by citing a simple yet plain illustration. John is a drunkard. Would anyone dare say that his mother is responsible for what he is today? Of course not. He made himself a drunkard by going contrary to his mother's teaching. Likewise, God never made a devil. He created Lucifer, who then corrupted his own way. "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." Ezekiel 28:15.

The story is told that when Leonardo da Vinci was painting "The Last Supper" he searched for many days to find someone from whom he could paint the face of Christ. Finally, in one of the cathedrals he found a choir boy who had the facial expression he so much desired. He made arrangements with this fine looking young man to sit for the portrait of Christ. His name was Pietro Bandinelli. Later, the great artist looked for someone from whom he could paint the face of Judas. It is said that he searched in vain for twenty years before he found a person who had the facial expression to suit him. One day as the artist was walking down the street, he noticed a man standing by the side of a building. Upon the face of this man was an expression of cunning, dishonesty, and deceitfulness. He was poorly clothed, and at the time was under the influence of alcohol. The great artist made arrangements for him to come to the studio to sit for Judas' portrait. It took several days to finish the work. When the picture was completed, da Vinci was pleased with the face of Judas, and as he paid the stranger he asked him his name. The stranger replied, "My name is Pietro Bandinelli. I am the same man who 20 years ago sat for you while you painted the face of Jesus."

See what sin does for a person! As a young man he lived a clean life. He had expressions of love and kindness such as would be on the face of Jesus. But sin changed his whole face until he could represent Judas. Sin made the great change in Pietro Bandinelli. May God help you to take Jesus as your friend and Saviour, and follow Him all the way.

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