The Continuing Conflict

Satan’s goal is to rule the world instead of God and have all humanity worship him (Isa. 14:12–14). Consequently, he has tried to destroy the woman and her Seed since he first heard God’s promise of a Redeemer in Genesis 3:15.

Before the Savior’s birth, Satan tried to destroy the Jewish people to prevent the Redeemer from coming. Failing that, he tried to kill Jesus prematurely before the Messiah could become the final atoning sacrifice for humanity’s sin. Failing again, he has been trying to prevent Jesus from returning to Earth by annihilating the Jewish people so there will be no Messianic Kingdom over which Jesus can rule. Here are but a few of his many attempts to thwart God’s plan of redemption:

Before Jesus’ Birth
→ Adam and Eve’s son Cain murdered his righteous brother Abel. This was Satan’s first attempt to destroy the Messianic line. But Eve bore Seth, who would continue it (Gen. 4—5).

→ Hagar the Egyptian bore Abraham’s first son, Ishmael (16:1–4, 15), who was not the son of promise. God’s plan of redemption necessitated Abraham’s wife, Sarah, to birth Isaac, through whom God would raise up Jacob and the Jewish people.

→ When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, Pharaoh issued a decree to kill all male Jewish children at birth (Ex. 1).

→ When the Israelites fled Egypt, Pharaoh attempted to destroy them at the Red Sea (chap. 14).

→ The nation of Moab tried to prevent the Israelites from entering the Promised Land by provoking God to destroy them because of their sin (Num. 22—24).

→ In 722 BC, the Assyrian army took the 10 northern tribes of Israel into captivity (2 Ki. 17).

→ In 586 BC, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and took the two southern tribes into captivity (2 Chr. 36).

→ When Ahasuerus ruled the Persian Empire, home to all of world Jewry, Haman tried to manipulate him into annihilating all of God’s Chosen People (Est. 3—8).

→ Around 175 BC, Antiochus IV (Epiphanes) tried to corrupt Judaism by Hellenizing Israel with Greek culture and language (cf. Dan. 8; 11:2–35). Jews who refused to comply were persecuted and murdered so brutally that Antiochus is considered a type of the Antichrist.

Before Jesus’ Crucifixion
→ After Jesus’ birth, Satan tried to “devour” the Child born by the woman (Israel, Rev. 12:1–4), using Roman King Herod to kill all the male children born in Bethlehem around the time of Jesus’ birth (Mt. 2:16). But an angel told Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, to flee with his family to Egypt (vv. 13–14). After Herod died, they returned and lived in Nazareth.

→ Satan tried to corrupt Jesus by tempting Him to compromise His sinless obedience and trust in God the Father (4:1–11). He tempted Him physically by trying to persuade Jesus to command that stones be turned to bread to satisfy His hunger. He tempted Him mentally by trying to coax Him to jump from the Temple’s high point, testing God’s faithfulness to rescue Him from death. And he tempted Jesus spiritually by promising to give Him “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory . . . if You will fall down and worship me” (vv. 8–9). Jesus rejected each temptation by quoting God’s Word (cf. Dt. 6:13, 16; 8:3).

→ Satan used Peter to try to persuade Jesus not to go to the cross. Peter rebuked Jesus (Mt. 16:22), prompting Jesus to reply, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (v. 23). God’s plan to redeem humanity depended on Jesus’ obedience all the way to His death.

→ People tried to throw Jesus off a cliff. Jesus had read the Messianic passage Isaiah 61:1 in a synagogue in Nazareth, saying, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk. 4:21). He also gave illustrations of God’s miraculous acts among Gentiles. The congregation clearly understood Jesus was declaring God gave divine grace to the Gentiles but not to Israel because of Israel’s unbelief (vv. 25–27). Filled with wrath, the congregation forced Jesus from the city and tried to kill Him by throwing Him over a high cliff. Jesus miraculously escaped, but Satan persisted in trying to kill Jesus throughout His ministry (cf. Jn. 7:30; 8:59; 10:39).

Before Jesus’ Second Coming
→ In AD 70 the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and scattered the Jewish people throughout the world, where Satan persecutes them continually and tries to destroy them.

→ Throughout the centuries, satanically driven antisemitism has taken many forms: inquisitions, expulsions, persecutions, pogroms, anti-Zionism. The list goes on. Satan will persist until the times of the Gentiles end (Lk. 21:24) with Messiah Jesus’ return to rescue the Jewish people from the Antichrist and establish His Messianic Kingdom.

5 thoughts on “The Continuing Conflict

  1. Excellent summary of the long running spiritual battle.
    Thank you for including Bible references in the summary!

    This list provides a clear overview of history and the reason why God included these events in His Word to further explain His redemptive plan for mankind.

    It also reveals the very reason why prophecy centers on Israel! John 4:22

    The battle continues today around the globe; Lawlessness and delusion. 2Thess 2v7-17
    1Pe 4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 1Pe 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

  2. After Jesus’ millennial reign on earth, the devil will lead one last, final rebellion. According to Revelation Chapter 20, Satan will try one last time to usurp the LORD, by using unbelievers, during the kingdom age:

    1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

    2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

    3 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: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

    4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

    5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

    6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

    7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

    8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

    9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.

    But one day, the devil will be totally and ultimately defeated.

  3. What about Revelation 20 when Satan leads the one last, final rebellion? It is after the 1,000 + years reign of Jesus Christ as King, before the new heaven and new earth.

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