Satan’s primary motivation for his career of evil pride is clearly revealed in his statement: “I will be like the most High” in Isa_14:14. Being “like God” involves two main things: independence or self-determination and worship.
As stated in the previous chapter, God alone is the only absolutely independent being. Only God can unconditionally determine a course of action and then proceed to carry it out to completion. This is because God alone possesses omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, and eternality; no creature shares in these attributes of God. The possession of these is what makes God who He is. The lack of these attributes means that we are not God. And neither is Satan. Since Satan does not have these attributes, he cannot be independent or self-determining. This is the satanic insanity-Satan and his followers have lost the ability to understand that they will never be completely independent of the Creator.
The apparent success of Satan and his followers to live independently of God is no proof of their ultimate and final victory over the rule of God in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. Remember, all proposals are allowed by God to work themselves out to the end so that they will be shown to be false. “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men.” (2Ti_3:9)
God is the only proper object of worship; anything else is a perversion (Exo_34:14; Rev_19:10; Rev_22:9). Worship has been variously defined as:
Homage rendered to God which it is sinful (idolatry) to render to any created being (Exo_34:14; Isa_2:8). Such worship was refused by Peter (Act_10:25; Act_10:26) and by an angel (Rev_22:8-9). -Easton’s Bible Dictionary
To make obeisance, do reverence to (from pros, “towards,” and kuneo, “to kiss”), [proskuneo]is the most frequent word rendered “to worship.” It is used of an act of homage or reverence. -Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words
Chiefly and eminently, the act of paying divine honors to the Supreme Being; or the reverence and homage paid to him in religious exercises, consisting in adoration, confession, prayer, thanksgiving and the like. -Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
This is what Satan desires-the homage, reverence and adoration of angels and men. His insatiable lust for worship drove him to convince the first Adam to act independently of God, to become “like God” (Gen_3:5) and then to tempt the last Adam to do the same.
Satan’s Defeated Condition
His first endeavor was successful and resulted in the scepter of dominion over the earth passing from the vanquished Adam to Satan. His second attempt to make a full end of God’s dominion by tempting God the Son to worship him and act independently of God the Father ended in failure. Satan was defeated in the cross of Christ. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col_2:15) “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.” (Heb_2:14)
A secondary motive of Satan is suggested by the fact that he not only is jealous of God in his position and power, but he is jealous of every true child of God for the following reasons:
First, all men are made in the image of God. This image which was lost in the fall is restored in the new birth. The Bible clearly states that this image of God is righteousness and holiness. “That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. (Luk_1:75) “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” (Rom_6:19) “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph_4:24) Satan hates this righteous and holy image of God, is jealous of it and would corrupt and destroy it in every Christian has much as possible.
Second, Satan and his wicked hosts are not afforded the opportunity of salvation and forgiveness. The reason for this, although unrevealed, may involve the exalted position they enjoyed in Heaven and the Great Light that Lucifer and his angels sinned against. Men, however, have salvation by grace through faith in the blood of Christ offered to them freely. It would be reasonable for Satan and demons to be jealous of this and to be enraged because of it.
Third, 2Pe_1:4 says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Believers share in the divine nature as a result of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Satan will strike at God through the believer at every opportunity. The believer’s only defense against these hellish attacks is faith in God through Christ and complete reliance upon the power of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, Satan also resents the process of sanctification in the believer’s life and opposes it at every step. This process of sanctification ultimately leads to (1) glorification, (2) being an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ, and (3) being joined to Christ as His Bride who will rule and rein with Him forever. The believer who would remain within God’s will for his life will continually submit to the Holy Spirit and the sanctification process.
The method that Satan uses depends on the object of his activity. His activities may involve either God, the unregenerate, or Christians.
Method Toward God
As the activity of the Devil involves God, they are described as opposing and imitating Him. The central verse concerning Satan’s work of opposing and imitating God is found in 2Th_2:4 and states: “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” This, of course, describes the Satan-energized Man of Sin who will be the Devil’s final and most perfect attempt at dethroning God and enthroning himself. His work of opposing and imitating does not, however, begin with the Antichrist, it rather ends with him as both he and his false prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire at the return of Jesus Christ.
It must be remembered that the Evil One opposes all of God’s purposes, works and people all the time, unceasingly. He never stops, he never quits or gives up. It is not revealed whether or not Satan knows that his plans and works of opposition are sure to fail. He is probably self-deceived, sinfully-blinded and satanically insane to the point that he does not know or understand the plain and simple statements of the Word of God concerning his utter failure and doom.
His imitation of God is as complete as his wicked power can devise. For example: God’s great example of perfect man is Jesus Christ, Satan’s masterpiece is Antichrist. Both God and Satan have a plan for making humankind “like God.” It is simply a matter of method. The Satanic lie says you can be like God while being independently autonomous. God’s system of salvation and sanctification says that we become like God (Jesus Christ) by being dependently submitted to Him (the Holy Spirit). God is a Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Satan would have an unholy trinity of Himself, the Son of Perdition and the False Prophet. God has provided a religion whereby sinful mankind may be saved and enjoy eternal felicity in Heaven. Satan has devised a religion in which sinners can enjoy sin now, but suffer eternal anguish in Hell. Both of these religions are the same in every respect but one. The Great Omission of Satan will be discussed in Chapter Five.
Method Toward the Unregenerate
Concerning the unregenerate, the Wicked One is blinding them to the truth, binding them in slavery to sin, and murdering everyone he can by separating them from God for eternity. His work of blinding is unfolded in 2Co_4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” As a result of this blinding, the unbeliever lacks the ability to comprehend spiritual truth. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1Co_2:14)
The Devil not only blinds men to the truth, he also binds them in sin. Jesus mentions a binding of a Jewish woman in Luk_13:16 when he asked, “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?” Similarly the apostle Paul tells us, “that [some people] may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2Ti_2:26) Interestingly, the Bible reveals that Satan himself will be bound for a thousand years. “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 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.” (Rev_20:2-3) A fitting punishment for one who bound so many for so long.
The Lord Jesus teaches that Satan is a murderer. In Joh_8:44 he said to some of the Jews who did not believe on Him, “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.” Since death is not an end, but a separation, murder (in the spiritual sense) is any activity that causes someone to be separated from God. This is how Adam and Eve “died” on the day they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen_2:17). Satan tempted them to do it, therefore he killed them, he was and is a murderer.
Method Toward Christians
The work of Satan as it relates to the Christian is that he is lying to and deceiving them about the end result of their choice between independence and autonomy from God (relying on the flesh) or their duty of submission to God, he is hindering their work and testimony, and he is accusing them before God. As this subject will be taken up in Chapter Seven, no more will be related at this point. Let it suffice to say that the Christian’s obligation in this regard is to resist. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (Jam_4:7) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1Pe_5:8-9)