Dr. David Jeremiah Presents
Living inthe Ageof Signs
Living in the Age of Signs
Things Always Improve
Today's Devotion: Things Always Improve
When Hezekiah came to the throne of Israel, the land was traumatized by a reign of terror instituted by his father, King Ahaz. During his reign, he promoted child sacrifice, idolatrous worship, disastrous warfare, and religious persecution. He closed the temple of the Lord and prohibited anyone from worshiping Jehovah. When he died, his 25-year-old son Prince Hezekiah became king, and things changed quickly and dramatically. Hezekiah was a true worshiper of the Lord, and he immediately reopened the temple, mobilized the priests and Levites, reestablished worship, and promoted revival.
God prepared the people for that moment, and the land recovered more quickly than anyone could have imagined. The people rejoiced when the events took place so suddenly.
There’s a verse that says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). It is a faithful reminder that problems are temporary, but our blessings last forever. We persevere by faith and trust during the night, but as the dawn appears on the horizon, the sun rises quickly bringing hope and light. So don’t give up—God is preparing you to rejoice.
The best is yet to be and we can’t lose for winning!
C. S. Lewis wrote, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence, and the other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them."1 Students of the Bible cannot ignore demons, for they are mentioned over eighty times in the New Testament. On the other hand, dwelling on demonic activity is unhealthy and unnecessary.
Let me tell you that you don't need to know every word about demons. You just need to know the Word about demons, and that's what we'll examine here.
The Origins of Evil
Since God called Creation "very good" and He is the source of all goodness, it is clear that He did not create demons. They slinked onto the scene sometime after the world was created. Something curious happened between the glorious goodness of Genesis chapter 1 and the appearance of a cunning serpent who would forever change the course of human history in Genesis chapter 3. God did not invent evil or inspire evil; it grew apart from Him.
Revelation gives us insight into the origins of evil through a metaphor: A woman is laboring to give birth to a child, and there is a seven–headed dragon. The woman symbolizes the nation of Israel. Her child is none other than Jesus Christ. It is the description of the Dragon that informs us of the origins of Satan and his demons.
Another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth…. And war broke out in heaven: Michael 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 12:3–4, 7–9)
Before Adam and Eve fell into sin, there was a battle in heaven. It was started by an angel named Lucifer who rebelled against God, and one–third of all heaven's angels joined him. They waged war against the archangel Michael and all God's faithful angels. When it was over, Lucifer and his rebellious angels were thrown out of heaven.
The Fall of Lucifer
Lucifer was a magnificent being. The name Lucifer means "day star" or "son of the morning." Ezekiel 28:12–15 describes him before he was fallen:
You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
God held nothing back when he created Lucifer. Adorned with every precious stone, Lucifer was "full of wisdom." In all his splendor, he became prideful—Lucifer was jealous of God. He thought he deserved to be equal to the Most High. Because of this, he was thrown out of heaven, along with his followers. After his defeat, Lucifer's name changed to Satan, which means "adversary."
Lucifer Became Satan
A careful reading of Scripture helps us understand Lucifer's downfall. He was created perfectly, but inner iniquity and violence led him to sin. Isaiah describes what happened in Lucifer's heart when he decided it was no longer good enough to be a perfect angel created in the beauty of God. Notice the five "I will" statements of Lucifer found in Isaiah 14:12–15:
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, 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.
How could a perfect, holy being fall? How could the first unholy affection arise in his angelic being? Lucifer was created by God with one attribute exactly like you and I have—he had freedom to choose. Lucifer could have chosen humble obedience; instead, he chose prideful rebellion. Proverbs 16:18 warns us, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Indeed. Pride turned an angel into a devil—pride.
Not Every Angel Is From God
We must understand that not every angel is from God: Satan and his demons are fallen angels, and they are devoted to deceiving as many people, and taking as many people to hell, as they can. Second Corinthians 11:14 warns that Satan transforms himself into an "angel of light." This warning comes in the middle of a broader discussion about false teachers who masquerade as godly leaders. It takes discernment to see beneath the mask of an impostor. That is why we are instructed to "test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).
None of these fallen angels retain their original, pre–rebellion goodness. Some have been imprisoned already (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Those that remain free function as Satan's accomplices, subverting mankind, manipulating world events, and stirring up chaos to bring about the ultimate destruction of humanity.
The Book of Signs, p. 316
Defeating the Dragon
Evil originates in the Dragon's heart. He does not have the power to create anything new, but he instigates evil by damaging what is good. During the Tribulation, Satan will mount an assault against humanity like nothing we've ever seen. It will be a terrible time. Until then, he will work day and night to undermine all that is good in the world in more insidious ways.
Thankfully, Satan has already been defeated. When Jesus Christ ascended from the grave, He conquered every demon, every scheme, and every deception that could assault God's people. So the first step is to appropriate that power in our lives, which is easier than you might imagine. Romans 10:9–10 assures us:
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
It's that simple—confess and believe. You can do it right now. If this is new to you, I'd like to send you a copy of Your Greatest Turning Point, which will guide you through the foundations of Christian faith. You may also learn more about what it means to become a Christian here.
Once salvation is secure in Christ, God's limitless power is available to sustain each of us!
Here is a simple action plan for God's children as they deal with demons:
Read God's Word. The Bible provides detailed information about the enemy of our souls and how to defeat him.
Refuse to give Satan an advantage by being aware of his tactics. Second Corinthians 2:11 teaches that Satan gains an advantage when God's people handle relationships with a goal of retribution instead of restoration.
Recognize the difference between messages from faithful angels and fallen angels. First John 4:2–3 explains how we may recognize the Spirit of God: "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God."
Reject the temptation to be preoccupied with demons. Know what the Bible says about demons and walk in that truth. Immersing yourself in their world is just as dangerous as ignorance.
Resist Satan. James 4:7 says this will cause him to "flee from you." First Peter 5:8–9 illuminates the same truth: "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith."
Run from every connection with the occult. A lot of people, including some of God's people, wander off course with this. Any occult activity lays the groundwork for idolatry and immorality. Some examples are:
Dungeons and Dragons or any similar entertainment
Music with occult lyrics
Psychic or other paranormal encounters
Renew your mind daily through prayer and meditating on God's Word. Satan targets your mind, so you must be vigilant to avoid his mind games. If Satan was able to deceive Eve about God's truth—the same woman who had walked and talked directly with God in Eden—how much more vulnerable are we who have never had such an opportunity?
Remember who Satan is. He is an angel who was once perfect but now lives in rebellion against his Creator. Satan is not the opposite of God; he is the opposite of Michael. While Satan may be a formidable foe, he is no match for God.
Remember the score. Satan and his demons are on a long leash, but they're doomed! One of these days, they will be confined forever in the lake of fire. As God's children, we need not be terrorized by demons. Truly, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).
1Lewis, C.S., The Screwtape Letters (New York: HarperCollins, 2001), IX.
We are curious by nature, and we love to hear what goes on behind the scenes in sports, politics, and entertainment. When a tell–all book comes out, we can hardly wait to learn what really happened in the Oval Office, the West Wing, the backlots of Hollywood, or in the mansions of the rich and famous. When a celebrity writes an autobiography, we want the juicy details—what really happened when the cameras were off. We're fascinated to learn what goes on behind closed doors.
To me, that's part of the attraction of biblical prophecy. When we study prophecy, we're pulling back the curtain and looking behind the scenes at the unfolding drama of world history. We find an interesting cast of characters in the unseen realms—principalities, powers, rulers, spiritual hosts, angels good and evil, a diabolical villain, and most of all, a victorious Messiah whose return is imminent.
Without the Bible, we can only observe what we can see—nations in turmoil, wars and rumors of war, natural disasters, global threats, unstable governments, biological threats, and the chilling possibilities of extinction events—global disaster that could destroy all human life. These things are unfolding in full view on the global stage, beamed by millions of cameras onto billions of phones and screens.
But background drama is unfolding out of the reach of our cameras, behind the scenes. Only one book explains it to us—the Bible. As we read the Bible, it all comes down to the final book—Revelation. Only Scripture provides a behind–the–scenes explanation for the tribulations of our planet, and only the book of Revelation culminates the prophecies of the Bible.
Behind the calamities of the world, there is a figure so sinister that the Bible uses many names and titles for him: "Satan" (Job 1:6); "the devil" (Matthew 4:1); "the evil one" (Matthew 5:37); "the ruler of the demons" (Matthew 9:34); "Beelzebub" (Matthew 10:25); "the enemy" (Matthew 13:39); "a liar" (John 8:44); "a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44); "the god of this age" (2 Corinthians 4:4); "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2); "a roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8); "your adversary" (1 Peter 5:8); "Lucifer" (Isaiah 14:12); "Abaddon" and "Apollyon" (Revelation 9:11).
The Dragon's Fury
The fullest description of Satan, in terms of his involvement in the Last Days, is found in Revelation 12, where he is portrayed as "a great, fiery red dragon" (verse 3); "that serpent of old" (verse 9); "the Devil" (verse 9); "Satan, who deceives the whole world" (verse 9); and "the accuser of our brethren": (verse 10). We're shocked by the fury and rage he exhibits. Revelation 12:12 describes him as "having great wrath," and verse 17 calls him "enraged."
Here in Revelation 12, he is thrown out of the heavenly realms and falls to earth in blinding fury, knowing his time is short (verse 12). He will pour his wrath onto the earth like molten lava and viciously seek to implement the "final solution"—the annihilation of God's chosen people, the Jews.
According to Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, the roots of Satan's rebellion occurred in the early days of angelic history, when he, Lucifer, rebelled against God and led a third of the angelic hosts away from devotion and obedience to God (see Revelation 12:3–4). From that moment, Satan has raged against God and the created order, attempting time and again to destroy the Jewish people, to extinguish the lineage of the Messiah, and to thwart God's redemptive plan on earth.
From Genesis to Revelation, we're given a backstage tour of this conflict—in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3); in the temptation of David (1 Chronicles 21:1); in the attack on Job (Job 1:6–12); in the demoralization of the exiles rebuilding Jerusalem (Zechariah 3:1); in the attempt to exterminate the Jews in the book of Esther (Esther 3:6); in the effort to slaughter the baby boys in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16); in the betrayal and murder of Christ (Luke 22:3); in the war Satan currently wages against believers (1 Thessalonians 2:18); and in a final wave of anti–Semitism that will roll over the world in the Great Tribulation (Revelation 12).
Revelation 12 takes us to the heart of the conflict to show us the unseen war in the spiritual realm that will spill over onto our world and lead to the final climactic Battle of Armageddon and the return of Christ. We see the components assembling now, one by one, preparing for the coming cataclysm. We have an enemy who is attacking our world, attacking our Lord's Church, and attacking you and me, trying to render us helpless and hopeless.
The Dragon's Future
He cannot succeed. In truth, Satan was defeated long ago, when Christ died for us and rose from the dead. According to Hebrews 2:14–15, Jesus Himself shared in our humanity, "that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage."
According to Revelation 19, the Great Tribulation will abruptly and dramatically end at the moment Christ returns to earth to tread "the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Revelation 19:15). Satan will be captured, bound, and cast into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:3); and he will eventually be "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10).
One day our enemy will be banished forever, and we'll never again be attacked, troubled, accused, tempted, or oppressed. The book of Revelation takes us behind these astonishing events, shows us the world tomorrow, and assures us that, as Romans 16:20 puts it, "the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly."
The Believer's Stand
Perhaps you feel you're under attack by Satan today. The Bible warns, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith" (1 Peter 5:8–9).
Ephesians 6:11 says, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." The Bible warns us Satan is real, alive, and dangerous. He's like a snake that's been decapitated but is still writhing, twisting, and full of venom.
We must remember two things all the time.
First, we fight Satan with the spiritual weapons God provides, including the breastplate of righteousness—a determination to live above reproach (Ephesians 6:14). We must resist him by resisting the temptations he sends. For example, an angry spirit can give the devil an opening to create mischief in our lives. That's why the Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Ephesians 4:26–27, NIV).
Paul told married couples to enjoy intimacy in marriage "so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self–control" (1 Corinthians 7:5). He told the Corinthians to be forgiving of one another and to cast out bitterness, "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Corinthians 2:10–11).
How important to safeguard ourselves against sinful patterns Satan can exploit!
The second thing to remember is that Christ is Victor, and our Victor is our Protector. The Bible says, "Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4, KJV).
One day soon, the heavens will open and the trumpet will sound. The Lord Jesus will descend and take those who have put their trust in Him to heaven. In the meantime, while the enemy is thrashing around, we need to be doing our job sharing the Gospel because we've already won the war. We aren't fighting as defeated people but as victorious saints.
Martin Luther frequently felt himself troubled by the devil, but he never wavered in his conviction that Satan was a defeated enemy. He wrote: "And though this world with devils filled, / Should threaten to undo us / we will not fear, for God hath willed / His truth to triumph through us."
Let's live today in light of the world tomorrow, being warned and yet being encouraged, for our enemy is powerless against Him who has redeemed us with His own blood. As Luther said, "God's truth abideth still, / His kingdom is forever."