Satan, the Designated Loser
by Bob Burridge ©2018, 2019
At some ancient point in his existence, probably before the creation of our physical universe, God created beings to inhabit a spirit realm. These beings were made to carry out what God intended them to do. There were various assignments given to these spirit creatures. The general Hebrew term God used to describe them in the Old Testament is “malac” (מלאך). The Greek term God used to describe them in the New Testament is “angelos” (ἄγγελος). It’s from this word that we get our word “angel”. Both of these words identify someone who acts as a “messenger”, a being assigned to carry out various missions and duties. One duty was to worship and honor their Creator.
Since these spirit beings were not infinite, eternal, and unchangeable their existence moved along a timeline. Unlike the Creator, they experienced change. They were not all the same in their assignments and in their status in that spirit realm.
At some point along that timeline some of those beings rebelled against the Creator. God obviously knew this would happen before he created them. He is omniscient and his mind is unchangeable. Creating such beings while knowing some would rebel was part of God’s eternal plan. It would provide the stage upon which he would make known his divine attributes. In their fall from glory, God would display his power, justice, and superiority. They would also play a part in God revealing his redeeming grace to the humans he would at some point in time create.
Among those fallen angels was one who was given the ability to lead the others in this rebellion. This powerful one is Satan. God knew from before he made him that Satan would rebel and be cast out of the part of the spiritual realm in which God was still honored.
In the plan of God this would become part of the whole drama of redemption when it unfolds. Satan was cast out displaying a justice that is inescapable. His doom was certain. He would eventually be cast into everlasting torment and suffering.
What Satan in his rebellion thought would happen was impossible. God can’t be overcome. His authority and glory could not be taken up by another in revolt. In his foolish attack upon his Creator, Satan became the means by which God’s wonders would be displayed. Instead of defeating God, this fallen creature would reluctantly be used to display God’s power, justice, and glory.
Satan is the “Designated Loser“. In his every attempt to defy God and ruin his plans, Satan did what turned out to advance God’s plan.
– In ancient times when Satan led some of the spirit beings in rebellion, he only succeeded in condemning himself and those who followed him. God’s attribute of justice and superior power was declared dramatically.
– In Eden Satan tried to turn humanity against it’s Creator, and to destroy the glory of God displayed in the human race. He tempted Eve by leading her to doubt what God had said. But it didn’t turn out the way he imagined. Satan had unwittingly set the stage for God to reveal his plan of redemption. God would dramatically display more about himself in his answer to the fall of the human race. Satan thought he won a great victory when Adam ate that forbidden fruit. But he didn’t win. He was the loser. The perfect universe isn’t one where there was never any sin. It’s one where the Creator redeems his people from sin’s grip to reveal his amazing mercy, power, love, and grace. In the fall of mankind, Satan was condemned to be crushed by a Messiah, the promised child of a woman (Genesis 3:14-15) known to us today as Jesus Christ.
– Satan must have felt successful when the human race fell into rebellion in the time of Noah. But God sent a great flood bringing judgment upon those who rebelled against their Creator. After the flood God renewed his promise to his people and a new age began with a greater understanding of God’s glory, grace, and power.
– Jacob’s son Joseph suffered in an Egyptian prison after his brothers sold him into slavery. He wondered why he was put in a dungeon there for a crime he never committed. He could not yet see how God was setting the stage for great blessings through him. Joseph was placed there to save God’s people by opening the door for them to come to Egypt to escape a famine. When he was very old Joseph was able to see some of the reasons for his suffering. He said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” What Satan thought would make God’s people suffer, turned out to be another defeat of evil.
– While they were there in Egypt the people of Israel (the descendants of Jacob) became captives to the Pharaoh. This may have seemed like a great victory for Satan and evil, but it was the setting in which God would again display his power over even pagan and wicked world leaders. Israel’s captivity became the background for a most amazing delivery by God’s hand. The miracle of the pass-over of the angel of death and the great Exodus from Egypt led to the revealing of God’s Law at Sinai. Israel gained a greater understanding of God’s redemptive promises through Moses. A greater nation was born than was taken captive. Again, Satan was used to set the stage in Egypt for a miraculous deliverance and advancement of the people of God’s promise. The Devil was the loser, not the victor he had imagined himself to be.
– We can imagine the cheers in the den of Satan when God’s Prophet Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. Things didn’t go the way Satan would have hoped. Instead of silencing this messenger of the True God, the lions didn’t eat him. Daniel was delivered from the plan of the Evil one. The jaws of the lion were held shut. God’s power and sovereign control of all things was again displayed for all to see, even to the eyes of the pagan king.
– Evil tried to destroy the mission of Jesus by condemning him to death on the cross. But that became the great turning point in history as the price of redemption was paid for by the Savior to fulfill the redemptive promises, deliver his people, and doom the Deceiver forever. Satan may have found a perverted pleasure as nails were driven into the Savior’s hands, but it didn’t turn out as he may have imagined. Satan lost again. In Acts 2:23 the Apostle Peter explained, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
– The realm of evil must have rejoiced to see the imprisoning of the Apostle Paul in Rome. But it became the opportunity for bringing the Gospel to Rome. In that setting Paul was able to write several of those wonderful epistles of our New Testament.
– The same is seen all through church history as martyrs were awakened into the arms of their Savior, and as the church was stirred to renewed commitment and obedience to their great commission.
All the attempts of Satan to defy God and overcome him were actually part of a greater plan the deceived Deceiver refused to see. Satan, his minions, and the humans deceived by sin, provide the darkness in which the light of God’s glory has shined brightly.
Satan may be the great deceiver, but he was, is, and always will be, very deceived. He blindly played a part in the great plan of the Creator. Satan was the “Designated Loser” and all who foolishly follow after evil are deceived along with him, and will suffer great loss. The victory belongs to those loved eternally by the Creator’s grace and power. Though we are all unworthy and in need of forgiveness and redemption, we who trust in the work of our Savior and are moved by grace to seek to honor our Creator, will forever enjoy the glories of dwelling in the home of the Lord forever.
(Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.)
back to the articles index