Football season recently began on September 8 and although I don’t watch sports, a lot of people do, so I couldn’t resist using the game as a metaphor for the universal spiritual battle between God and Satan.
God and Satan Duking it Out!
The Super Bowl is about the two best teams in pro football going at it head-to-head. You expect there to be a showdown of epic proportions as each team gives its all to win.
This brings to mind the fact that there are two cosmic “teams” currently battling to the death. What they’re fighting for is far more monumental than the Super Bowl trophy; it’s nothing less than the hearts and minds of every human being on Planet Earth. God and His followers are locked in mortal combat with Satan and his followers—good versus evil.
How it Began
How did this cosmic conflict start? Here is God’s comment to Satan:
This is what the Lord says: When I created you, you were perfect, full of wisdom and beauty. You were in heaven with God. . . . You were the anointed angel, the one who stood at my right hand. You lived with me on my holy mountain and walked in the fire of God’s presence. You were flawless and blameless from the day I created you until sin sprang up in you, and you became evil. Your nature changed, and you were filled with jealousy and violence. You spread evil to all who would listen. So I expelled you from heaven, and you fell from the holy mountain of God. I had to force you to leave my presence even though you had stood next to me. You had become proud of your wisdom and beauty. Your high opinion of yourself led you into sin, and you rebelled against me. You let the beauty and wisdom I gave you corrupt you. So I cast you out of heaven, and you walked the earth in shame (Clear Word, Ezekiel 28:12-17).
Isaiah gives more details about the pride and jealousy that Satan initiated and nurtured in himself, changing himself from the sinless being that God had created into the first sinful being in the universe.
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [Satan’s name in heaven before he sinned], son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit (New King James Version, Isaiah 14:12-15).
So Satan, in his desire to be equal with God, began to try to undermine God by spreading among the other angels the first rumors and lies ever told in the universe—lies about God’s character. Satan began cunningly hinting to the other angels that God was unfair, selfish, unjust, and holding them back from complete freedom to do as they wished.
God was patient with Satan and gave him chance after chance to repent and return to his exalted position in the heavenly family. But Satan stubbornly persisted in his rebellion and was so successful with his lying accusations against the character of God that he convinced large numbers of the angels in heaven to rebel with him. The Bible tells us what happened next: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael [another name for Christ] and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
The great controversy between good and evil began then and continues to this day.
“I Pledge Allegiance…”
What are God and Satan fighting over? The allegiance of every human being! God desires our love and loyalty. He wants us to choose the free gifts of salvation and eternal life. He longs to be our heavenly Father: “But as many as received Him [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
Satan, on the other hand, will do whatever it takes to keep us sinning so that we’ll be eternally lost. Misery loves company, and after Satan was thrown out of heaven, his main goal was to drag as many of us down with him as he could! It hurts God to lose even one of us, so Satan wants to torture Him to the max by claiming as many of us as he can. The apostle Peter warns:
Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”
(1 Peter 5:8). The apostle John records: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time [before Christ’s second coming] (Revelation 12:12).
Ready for the Battle?
The Apostle Paul describes this cosmic battle that we’re caught up in: “We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world” (Contemporary English Version, Ephesians 6:12. How can we overcome such foes?
Paul has the awesome answer:
Let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. . . . Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit. Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
How it Will End
Whenever you’re tempted to feel overwhelmed or to wonder whether Satan may win after all, just remember to read the end of the book. Pick up your Bible and turn to Revelation 20:9, 10. It announces the ultimate victory:
As they [the wicked] launched their attack, fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them completely. And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and consumed together with the sea beast, the land animal, and all the wicked. Their destruction will be forever and ever (Clear Word).
Early next year the two best teams will play at Super Bowl and everybody likes to pick the winning team, but who can know for sure whom it’ll be? Well, in the great battle between good and evil, we can be sure that God will win. The only question is this: Will you and I be on the right team? I certainly hope so!