Torrey - Satan -3.2- The Work of Satan

II. THE WORK OF SATAN. Genesis 3:1-6 — "Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree' to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Compare to Revelation 12:9.)

First Proposition: Satan is the author of sin in this world. Acts 10:38 — "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him." Luke 13:16 — -"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"?

Second Proposition: Satan is the author of sickness. Hebrews 2:14 "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."

Third Proposition: Satan has the power of death.

He is its author. Every cemetery, every funeral, and every separation by death owes its existence to the devil. 1 Chronicles 21:1 RV — "And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel." Matthew 4:1,3, 5-6, 8-9 — "Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil .... And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread .... Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone .... Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."

Fourth Proposition: The devil tempts men to sin. He is the "tempter.' (Compare to 1 Thessalonians 3:5.) 1 Timothy 3:7 — "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." 2 Timothy 2:26 — "And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."

Fifth Proposition: The devil lays snares for people. Acts 5:3 — "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart, to keep back part of the price of the land?" John 13:2 — "And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him."

Sixth Proposition: The devil puts wicked purposes into human hearts.

This is, of course, by their consent, or when they leave an opening. Ephesians 4:27 — "Neither give place to the devil." James 4:7 — "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. John 13:27 — "And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly."

Seventh Proposition: The devil personally enters into humans.

He caricatures God's work ( John 14:23). Compare also Ephesians 2:2 with Philippians 2:13. 2 Corinthians 4:4 RV — "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them."

Eighth Proposition: Satan blinds the minds of the unbelieving that the light of the gospel of Christ may not dawn upon them.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to illuminate the minds of men — especially believers — and reveal Jesus. It is the work of the evil one to blind the minds of men — -especially unbelievers — so that they cannot see the glory that is in Jesus. It is for each individual to say which work he will surrender himself to. The awful, almost incredible blindness of men who are intelligent on other subjects to the simplest and plainest truth about Christ is due to this blinding work of Satan. Mark 4:15 — "And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts."

Ninth Proposition: Satan takes the word out of the hearts of those who hear it but do not understand and hold it fast. (See Matthew 13:19.)

Wherever the word is preached Satan is present, either in person or through his agents, to snatch away the seed sown. It is needful for us to pray for God to keep guard over the seed sown. It is also needful to hold fast to the truth we have heard lest Satan snatch it away ( Luke 8:15 RV). It is the work of the Spirit to "bring to remembrance" what Christ has spoken ( John 14:26). It is the work of Satan to make men forget it. The world and the flesh are quite ready to cooperate with the devil in this work. Matthew 13:39 — "The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."

Tenth Proposition: The devil sows tares in God's field.

The field here is the world (v. 38). Satan mixes his children up with God's.

He also does this in the visible church. Satan is ever busy corrupting the church and its doctrine (compare to Matthew 13:33 and Corinthians 5:6-7). 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 RV — "Even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that are perishing; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."

Eleventh Proposition: Satan will give power to the lawless one to utterly deceive the perishing, those who receive not the love of truth.

Men can have truth or lies, whichever they prefer. If they desire to do God's will, He will give them truth ( John 7:17 RV), and the Spirit will guide them ultimately into all the truth. ( John 16:13 RV). But if men will not have truth, Satan will lead them step by step into all manner of delusion and falsehood. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 — "And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works." Revelation 3:9 — "Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee."

Twelfth Proposition: Satan has his ministers and his churches to carry on his work. 2 Corinthians 12:7 — "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

Thirteenth Proposition: Satan, by his messengers, buffets God's servants.

This, however, results in good to them. It keeps them humble and drives them to prayer. (Compare to verse 8.) Zechariah 3:1 — "And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him." Daniel 10:13 — "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia."

Fourteenth Proposition: Satan resists the servants of God in the prosecution of their work. 1 Thessalonians 2:18 RV — "Because we would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; and Satan hindered us."

Fifteenth Proposition: Satan hinders Christ's servants in the carrying out of their desires.

But good may come of that. This hindering of Paul going to Thessalonica gave to the saints there, and to coming generations, this precious epistle. Luke 22:31 — "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat."

Sixteenth Proposition: Satan shakes Christ's disciples up and sifts them.

Only good comes of this in the end. Simon came out of Satan's merciless sieve purer wheat than he was before. Satan simply succeeded in sifting some of the chaff out of him ( Romans 8:28). Revelation 12:9-10 — "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. 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.

Seventeenth Proposition: Satan accuses the brethren before God day and night.

The Greek word for "devil" means traducer, accuser, slanderer. (Compare to Job 1:6-9; 2:3-5.) Revelation 2:10 — "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

Eighteenth Proposition: The devil casts Christ's servants into prison.

Only good need come of that. They are thus tried and purified and obtain the crown of life.