(As a follow-up to our “An Account of Irreligious Affections” Series, we’re taking a look at how the fictional exchange between Abaddon and Legion corresponds to Scriptural reality.)
So far we’ve seen that Satan and his demons attack using subtle methods of deception and doubt. This started way back in the garden when the devil first tempted Eve. In order to make this work of deception and doubt most profitable for them, they prefer obscurity – staying as invisible as possible while doing as much damage as they can; as seen in the examples of David and Job.
In the New Testament, you might assume that the story changes; especially given all of the “overt” demonic activity in the gospels. I would argue, however, that the phenomena in the gospels are a direct result of Jesus Christ being on earth to accomplish the pinnacle of God’s redemptive plan. Demonic activity was surely at its highest level during this time. That’s not to say that spiritual warfare cannot manifest itself today in the ways that it did in the first century, I’m simply suggesting that it’s not the norm. The norm is the covert, slippery, pretend-I’m-not-here method we see in the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament.
Paul warns us about this in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” (ESV) Satan does not want to be known as the bad guy. He wants to deceive people into thinking he’s the good guy. So, the false apostles and false teachers who follow him (some unwittingly, but some wittingly) do the same. They pretend to be (or deceive themselves into thinking they are) of God, speaking on behalf of God.
What do we see from all of these Scriptures? We see that Satan’s activity in this world against Christ, his people, and the unsaved is very aptly described by Peter in 1 Peter 5:8 as “prowling.” He’s like a lion, hiding in the tall grass while he watches his prey; blending in so that you don’t even know he’s there.
It is because of this prowling nature of Satan’s schemes that God, through the writers of Scripture, teaches us to fight against his spiritual onslaught with spiritual weapons.
(To Be Continued)