What’s Satan’s End Game?

Satan and his end game for the world, for humanity, really for his own personal destruction, though he thinks it’s for his glory, is no secret. It’s what he’s planned from the beginning.

Some years ago, as part of our study in the book of Luke, our pastor showed something critical about Satan. But it starts first with why Luke said he was writing his book:

it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:3-4, emphasis mine)

The central purpose was so that Luke’s target audience, originally a man named Theophilus—but now the rest of us,too—would know the exact truth about the things “accomplished among us [the first century believers], just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word” (Luke 1:1b-2).

Luke then launches into an account of the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, interspersed with the angel’s announcement to Mary about Jesus’s coming birth, including this statement: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35b, emphasis mine).

Fast-forward thirty years and both Jesus and John are grown men. John was baptizing people in the Jordan and Jesus also came to him to be baptized. When he came out of the water, “the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased’ ” (Luke 3:22, emphasis mine).

Curiously, or so it would seem on the surface, Luke follows this account with a genealogy of Jesus. One thing His lineage shows is that He was a descendant of King David. But it doesn’t stop there. Rather it traces His heritage back to Abraham and beyond, until we get to this: “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38, emphasis mine).

So in these opening chapters, Luke shown the angel telling Mary her child would be the Son of God, the Holy Spirit announcing that Jesus is the Son of God, and that by lineage He is the Son of God.

Enter Satan. Behind the particulars of the three recorded temptations Satan threw at Jesus is a central theme: “If You are the Son of God” (4:3b); “if You worship before me” (4:7a); “If You are the Son of God” (4:9b, emphases in all three are mine). Satan was calling into question Jesus’s identity—the very thing Luke had clearly established in the first three chapters.

This strategy is not so different from what Satan used in the garden with Eve. He suggested that God was holding back from her, that if she would eat of the fruit, she would be like Him. Satan’s key question was, “Indeed, has God said . . .” (Gen. 3:1b). Satan’s tactic, then, is to call into question God’s words and God’s Word, the Incarnate Jesus Christ.

I suggest Satan’s plan of attack has not changed over the years. He still wants people to doubt God Word and His words. Surely God didn’t really mean . . . And Jesus is The Way? Really?

The issues with which we’re confronted in our postmodern/post truth culture fit nicely with Satan’s strategy. Nothing can be known for certain, our society tells us, least of all the Bible. It’s gone through so much copying and translating, not to mention interpreting. How can we know what He really said? The best we can do is identify the particular truths as defined by a particular faith community, understanding that someone else with a different mindset may well see things differently.

So “do not kill” doesn’t necessarily include abortion; “men with men committing indecent acts” because God turned us over to our “degrading passions” due to our exchanging “the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1) isn’t a statement against homosexuality; belief in creation instead of evolution is foolish dismissal of science; loving people is more important than loving a “wrathful tyrant God”; believing that hell awaits anyone is barbaric; and many more such beliefs.

Satan is working the audience. He’s getting applause, and he’s winning people to his side. He has the culture now asking, Did God say . . . And if the answer is, Yes absolutely, the accusations fly. How foolish to believe that, how hateful to say so, how cruel to claim it, how bigoted to think such. Accuse, accuse, accuse. But that’s what Satan is—the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12:10). He finds it intolerable that we cling to what God has said.

The best way to fight such a spiritual enemy is to stand firm and hold fast. Scripture tells us that, too.

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end (Heb. 3:12-14).

This post is a revised and updated version of one that appeared here in April, 2014.

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25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Apologies, Becky. I wanted to reply to you on IB’s post but as is her want, she refuses to allow any comment to you out of moderation.
    Again, apologies if you considered me not replying to be rude.

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    • Thanks, Ark. I understand that IB doesn’t enjoy the discussion as I do. I didn’t think you were being rude. I appreciate you following up.

      Becky

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      • Sadly, she moderates when questions become too near the bone.

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        • Then does this also explain why I am moderated at your site?
          Hilarious.

          Truth be told, WP must know there is a good reason for this tool, and some are far more discerning than others.

          (Loved the post Becky)

          Liked by 1 person

          • I generally release all of your comments and only began moderating as a tit-for-tat because you have always moderated me.
            However, if you would like to call a ”truce”, give me your word you will not moderate then I will extend the same courtesy to you. On this you have my word.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry, I should have at least offered something.
        Found this which, I hope, explains what I mean.
        Most Biblical scholars and historians hold that the investigation of a miracle report lies outside of the rights of historians acting within their professional capacity.

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        • “Most Biblical scholars” is a deceptive term, Ark. Anyone can study the Bible, but if they do so starting with the presupposition that the supernatural can’t happen and isn’t true, then they are not “genuine” Biblical scholars. It takes an open mind.

          Becky

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          • Once cannot study the supernatural, whether one believes or not, thus is can only fall within the realm of faith – not genuine scholarly endeavor, and this includes history.

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          • You’re right about the supernatural cause of things, but not the actual things themselves. People can see if a blind man regains sight, if a dead person is restored to life, if a few loaves of bread feed 5000+ people. Those are physical things, observable and can be recorded as history.

            In fact, the greatest complaint I hear from atheists is that there aren’t extra-biblical records of these things. As if more people writing stuff down makes it truer that the things that only a few people wrote down.

            But I suppose this “can’t be studied” approach is another way to dismiss what actually took place.

            Becky

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          • But there is no evidence of such things. Thus , as they are proclaimed as miracles in the bible they are not regarded as actual historical events, any more than the miraculous claims concerning Mohammed, Vespasian, Alexander or any other character from history.

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          • No evidence apart from all the eye witnesses. No, Ark. It’s not so simple to dismiss the Bible as a document that can’t be studied as history. Some of it, of course, is poetry. Some is prophecy. But some is history and can take a rightful place among other primary texts used by historians.

            Becky

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          • There were no eyewitnesses, Becky. These are simply claims.
            Yes there is some history, but in the main it is historical fiction – a fictional narrative overlaid onto a geopolitical background.
            But we are already deviating from the thrust of my post and the subsequent post by IB. namely the inability for historians who are Christians to be objective when it comes to evaluating such things as the resurrection of the character Jesus of Nazareth.

            And this I stand by and the evidence supports it.

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          • And this is what divides us, to a degree, Ark. I believe that the claims of eyewitness accounts, followed by events that could have been stopped if the people of that time, in that location, didn’t accept the statements they were told. For whatever reason, you and other atheists who bother to read or study the Bible at all, do not accept these accounts as eyewitness. But you have no proof. You have to admit, something happened that caused all those first century followers of The Way to behave the way they did. So I see what happened and accept the explanation given in the written records and you don’t. Doesn’t make your position “more historical.” I’d say, it’s just the opposite.

            Which brings us back to your original point. I don’t see how refusing primary documents and declaring them to be false, without going deeper, is historical.

            Becky

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          • I believe that the claims of eyewitness accounts,

            What claims?

            Proof is for mathematics.
            There is no evidence to support any claim of eyewitnesses. None.

            What evidence do you have for first century followers?

            Explain why millions believe in the so called testimony of Joseph Smith. And more to the point why don’t you believe it? After all, millions of people do and they established a religion based on his testimony.

            There is no evidence whatsoever to support any claims that the accounts in the gospels are records of historical and as always, the onus is on the claimant to support any such claims with evidence, not merely with arguments.
            Let«’s be honest, you would not expect a historian to accept the tale of Noah and the Flood, as reflecting an actual historical event. Neither the tale of Jonah and the Whale, not least because archaeological and scientific evidence flatly refute such nonsense.
            And this is why historians do not
            regard supernatural claims that abound in such such texts – be they the book of Mormon or the Bible as reflecting historical events,

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          • Ark, let’s use your example of Joseph Smith. There actually was something that he claimed, that swayed people to his view, whether or not he made it all up. He never claimed anyone else saw what he saw, and he could not produce the tablets he said he had. But indisputably his word convinced people to believe what he told them to believe.

            Christianity differs in this way: we have letters from Paul to various churches and individuals—ones that are included in our Scriptures. We have Dead Sea Scrolls and any number of other documents or document fragments or other archaeological finds.

            In addition the events that started The Way did not happen in secret. They happened publicly, with any number of people looking on—people who could have called the disciples all liars and frauds, but who did not. They could have produced Jesus’s body, but it was not there any longer.

            People died because they wouldn’t take back what they said about Jesus. That is evidence, historical, factual evidence (see Roman history) that people after Christ’s resurrection acted on what they had either witnessed or heard—meaning that they had heard from someone they believed to be credible. Not from a single voice, a la Joseph Smith, but from any number of people who lived during that time.

            As far as the flood is concerned, I do think that reflects actual history. And Jonah and the big fish (the Bible never calls it a whale) is perfectly believable if you don’t start with the premise that there is no god or that he can’t do the impossible. But think beyond our little minds, our puny senses. Just because you’ve never seen a man swallowed by a fish, does that make it impossible? Not if the God who is omnipotent appointed a great fish to do that very thing. Does it happen every day? Of course not. There would be nothing special or significant about the situation recorded in Jonah if it was a “possible” event from our perspective.

            What always surprises me is that atheists today talk as if miracles were somehow a part of superstitious belief and people in the first century were unaware of things like the unlikelihood of angels showing up or a virgin giving birth. But if you read the Biblical account, you see people shocked into terror, amazed into worship. They hadn’t seen any of the miracle stuff before, either. They were just as stunned as you or I would be. But they knew enough about the world to realize if God was at work, then Jonah could have indeed been swallowed by a great fish and survived.

            The point is, miracles are impossible if you factor out God. But if you factor Him in, what is impossible?

            Becky

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          • Christianity differs in this way: we have letters from Paul to various churches and individuals

            You have seven documents attributed to someone called Paul and generally regarded as being written but who same hand.
            Again Paul does not feature anywhere in the historical record outside of the bible
            There are scholars who consider Marcion or someone among his group were responsible for penning these ”authentic letters”. as Marcion is attributed woth collecting the epistles. Before they appeared in his gospel they did not feature on the Christian landscape.

            In addition the events that started The Way did not happen in secret. They happened publicly, with any number of people looking on

            What specific evidence do you have for these claims?

            They acted on what they HEARD. There are no eyewitness accounts, only claims.

            As far as the flood is concerned, I do think that reflects actual history

            Sorry but I am not really interested in what you believe unless you can show evidence. The geological , archaeological and biological evidence refutes the biblical tale of the flood., It is simply nonsense. A myth.

            The virgin birth narrative in gMatthew is a plagiarism lifted from Isaiah, as well you know and was included to supposedly fulfill prophecy, when in fact the passage in question refers to King Ahaz and has nothing whatsoever to do with any future birth.
            This is recognized by all leading biblical scholars. Simply use Google.

            Whether miracles are impossible or not they have never been demonstrated and thus are not regarded by genuine historians.

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          • The geological , archaeological and biological evidence refutes the biblical tale of the flood., It is simply nonsense. A myth.

            Actually, Ark, it doesn’t. Study the recovering of Mt. St. Helens and see how things the “in the know” scientists said take billions of years, yet they occurred in the blink of an eye in comparison. To say “we know,” is not taking into consideration all of the options. Another example of thinking too small.

            Ark, when you say “leading biblical scholars ” you are referring to the ones who don’t believe the Bible. They only pretend to be Biblical scholars. The ones who study the original text without making such wild assumptions as Matthew plagiarized Isaiah, understand exactly what was happening—God was in control, giving His word and performing His word.

            And clearly you haven’t read C. S Lewis on the subject of miracles—https://www.amazon.com/Miracles-C-S-Lewis-ebook/dp/B002BY77FY/ —or Lee Stroble The Case For Miracles.” You would not say they have “never” been demonstrated. In the intro there’s an account of a guy who lost his voice and for over three years he saw doctor after doctor—63 of them. In a miraculous way, his voice came back, and the moment is captured on an audio recording. What’s more a doctor made the observation, if we could explain how your voice coincidentally came back, we still couldn’t explain what happened to the scar tissue.

            No, just because you have not seen a miracle, the conclusion that there are no miracles, is clearly wrong.

            Becky

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          • What has Mt St Helens got to do with the geological evidence that flatly refutes the biblical flood tale?
            Surely you are not claiming a Young Earth Creationist worldview for goodness sake ? Dinosaurs and Humans co-existing and all that rubbish?
            Please tell me you haven’t stooped to such ridiculous levels?
            I reiterate, are you a Young Earth Creationist?

            There are NO ORIGINAL TEXTS and the virgin birth story was lifted from Isaiah 7;14. to demonstrate the supposed fulfillment of prophecy.
            It does not feature n gMark or gJohn, and for good reason.
            Good grief, the text even refers to KIng Ahaz.

            CS Lewis like all indoctrinated Christians has no evidence to support any of his claims either.

            There has never been a case of a claimed miracle where divine intervention has been demonstrated to be the cause of recovery.
            Furthermore the largest experiment/trial to demonstrate the veracity of intercessory prayer organised by the Templeton Foundation was shown to be an abject failure. The results are accessible online.

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          • Ark, this is what I mean about the thing that causes us to see the world differently. You make your unsubstantiated claims about the Bible and I accept the Bible as true and accurate. We won’t agree on things like cosmology as long as this difference exists. But re, Mt. St. Helen—it shows that the canyons like the Grand Canyon didn’t need millions or billions of years to form. It shows that peat fields didn’t need thousands of years to form. It shows that a cataclysmic event can impact the world in such a way that the age of the event can’t be determined by the “standard” way. Study it for yourself.

            Becky

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          • Citing the human genome project is not an unsubstantiated claim.
            The title is a bit of a bait and switch, I’m afraid but it will explain the basics.
            https://www.livescience.com/38613-genetic-adam-and-eve-uncovered.html

            Would you like me to cite any number of scientific references this demonstrate the scientific evidence for an old earth and how ridiculous the tale of Noah’s Ark is?
            Here’s the first scientific site I came across.
            https://www.livescience.com/44442-noahs-ark-true.html

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          • Here’s one good video that shows what Mt. St. Helen’s did—https://youtu.be/M0f4URsDWy0

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          • Here’s Christian site that explains why YEC is untenable.

            https://discourse.biologos.org/t/mount-st-helens-eruption-as-evidence-for-recent-creation/4799/5

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        • In truth, anyone with an ounce of logical thought knows that SOMETHING happened, or Christianity never would have gotten off the ground. Not only something happening, but a lot of people who spread the word about what happened. Believable people, who were not dismissed because of what they reported.

          Peter, in his first letter called himself a witness. Jesus said the things He did were witness of who He was. And of course the most irrefutable thing He did (though many even without any evidence, do refute it) was rise from the dead. It’s verifiable: Jesus’s body was no longer in the tomb. Witnesses saw it placed there, a guard was set up to insure that it would stay there, and still, it vanished. But yes, the accounts of the resurrection must be understood as true historical fact. And anyone can deny whatever they want. We see that today with people denying the moon landing and such things. But there it is.

          Becky

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          • I’m sorry, Becky this is nothing but faith based. There is no evidence for this and as I stated up front, it cannot be regarded as an historical event and no genuine historian regards it as such.

            Like


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