Indeed, the vast majority of humankind would respond in the affirmative that they want happiness. However, humans have experienced anything but. For those who accept the theory of evolution, they would expect humankind to go through a period of extreme struggle, with conflict, animosity, wars and even death. However, they would be hard-pressed to explain the cruelty that has existed in humans, while the animal kingdom, a lower evolutionary form, has nothing of that sort. Yes, animals kill, grow old and die, even eat their young for survival. However, never will you find them torturing, raping, and killing for the mere pleasure of it.

How would the evolutionist explain humans with bombs strapped to them, getting on buses with children, and blowing themselves up with a bus full of innocents, just to make a political point? How would the evolutionist explain a man who kidnaps three young girls, chaining them in his basement for 10-12-years, torturing and beating them, using them as sex slaves? How would the evolutionist explain the crusades of the Medieval times, slaughtering hundreds of thousands in the name of a god? How would the evolutionist explain the inquisitions of the Reformation, where so-called holy men tortured and killed in the name of God? How would the evolutionist explain the biological chemical used in war, the concentration camps of the Second World War, the slaughtering of six million Jews? How would the evolutionist explain that these are not even closest to the cruelest things that humans have done to other humans that these lists could go on for thousands of pages?

While evolution would allow for some very terrible actions by the human race, how would they explain the wickedness of humankind that does not exist in the animal kingdom? Is there some outside force that has contributed to this heinous history? Is there some invisible power that has been influencing human history? As far as the Christian faith is concerned, we need not guess on the matter. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, referred to this invisible force, as “the ruler of this world.” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) Who or what has this kind of power?

When Jesus began his ministry at the age of 30 in 29 C.E., his cousin John baptized him. Thereafter, he went out into the wilderness for 40 days. At the end of that period, an invisible spirit creature known in the Bible as Satan the Devil tempted him. In the Gospel of Matthew the third temptation of Jesus reads this way, “the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.’”—Matthew 4:8-9

This invisible spirit creature offered Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world.” The question that comes to mind is, ‘how can he do that if they belong to God?’ Without getting bogged down in the history of how, suffice it to say that, the issues that were raised when Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, placed humankind under the influence of Satan until the issues were to be settled. Notice Jesus response in verse 10, “Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Jesus did not deny that “all the kingdoms of the world” were not under the rulership of Satan, which he would have logically done, if they were not. The apostle John informs his readers “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) The apostle Paul says, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:4) This latter text explains why humans are not aware of who is behind the cruelty that exists.

The Beginning of the Battle

We must go back to the beginning when this battle began with Adam and Eve. You likely remember that God laid only one restriction on the first human couple, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Gen 2:17, ESV) Adam must have gone over this restriction often and very well as Eve had it memorized and took it more serious than is usually taught. Satan through the serpent hanging from the tree was very clever and ingenious in how he indirectly said, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1) The woman replied to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”—Genesis 3:2-3

Notice how Eve, not only responded with the correct answer, but she was also very emphatic, going beyond the actual command, saying that they were to not only not eat from the tree, but they were not to even touch it. “You can be sure that you will not die,” the serpent said to the woman. “God knows that when you eat the fruit of that tree, you will know things you have never known before. You will be able to tell the difference between good and evil. You will be like God.” (Gen 3:4-5) The woman made two mistakes at that moment, (1) she did not consult her head Adam, and (2) she entertained, cultivated this misleading, slanderous information. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and the tree was desirable to make one wise, then she took from its fruit and she ate. Afterward[1] she gave it also to her husband with her, and he ate.”–Genesis 3:6

Here Eve was deceived because she looked at the tree differently than she had before. Eve lost the battle for her mind based on this supposedly new set of “truths,” (1) she would not die, (2) the fruit of the tree would make her wise, (3) she would be like God, i.e., independent. In other words, she would be able to determine for herself what is good and what is bad, setting her own standard. Now, this one tree looked no different from any of the other thousands of trees in the Garden of Eden. Eve now says, ‘the fruit of the tree looked good, it was pleasing to look at.’ The human eyes are the window to the human heart, the seat of motivation. Eve, even though she was perfect, meaning that her natural desire was to do good, stumbled based on the principle that James gave his readers. “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15)

We notice too that Satan was so crafty that he was able to deceive another perfect creature to go against the grain of her perfected leanings, and violate God’s one prohibition, even though it had been so deeply ingrained in her. Eve was misled by misinformation and lies that were ingeniously presented in a very subtle, indirect way. See Paul’s words to the first-century Corinthian congregation, “But I am afraid lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds may be led astray from the sincerity and the purity of devotion to Christ.” Yes, Satan has misled Eve by his craftiness, leading her mind astray from what she knew to be true, getting her to accept the lie. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Who Is Satan?

Satan is a real person, not some evil that exists in humans. In fact, he is an invisible spirit person, a higher life form than humans are. Just as God is a spirit person, so is Satan. (John 4:24) God did not create Satan per se; he created a spirit creature, just as he created millions of other spirit creatures. (Job 38:7; Psalm 104:4; Hebrews 1:7, 13, 14) This spirit creature became Satan (meaning, ‘resister, opposer’) the Devil (meaning, ‘slanderer’), when he chose to oppose God in the Garden of Eden, and slander his great name.

Satan Thrown Down to Earth

Revelation 12:9, 12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! Woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath because he knows he has a short time.”

We see here that Satan the Devil is thrown down, and his angels were thrown down with him from the heavens to the earth. The first question is, ‘when did this take place?’ First, let us deal with what is meant by “the heavens.” The Bible talks about the heavens, and it is only by the context that one can truly determine what is meant. The heavens can be the earth’s atmosphere where the birds fly. (Deut. 4:17; Pro 30:19; Matt 6:26) The heavens can be outer space, which is on the other side of the earth’s atmosphere. (Deut. 4:19; Isa 13:10; 1 Cor. 15:40, 41; Heb. 11:12) The heavens can be midheaven, which is where the eagles fly; thus, within our atmosphere. (Re 8:13; 14:6; 19:17; De 4:11 [Heb., “heart of the heavens”]) Heaven can also be the heaven of heavens or highest heavens (Deut. 10:14; Neh. 9:6). “The Hebrew expression [heaven of the heavens], however, may be nothing more than poetic imagery.”[2] This is an expression of completeness for the physical heavens, as they visually extended out from the earth in all directs as far as the eye could see.

Now that we have covered all of the aspects of the physical heavens, we can now turn our attention to the spiritual heavens. The spiritual heavens exist outside of the physical heavens and are the home of God and all other spirit creatures, like the angels, cherubs and seraphs. (Jude 6; Gen 28:12, 13; Matt 18:10; 24:36) The spiritual heavens would have a vastness, unlike anything we could imagine. In other words, the spirit creatures, who share the spiritual heavens with God, do not have access to his presence at all times, beholding the face of the Father.

For example, consider our Milky Way galaxy. There could be as many as a trillion stars in our galaxy. If humans had a spaceship that could travel at the speed of light, 186,282 miles per second, it would take 100,000 years to cross our galaxy. This boggles the mind does it not. Now, there are about 100 billion galaxies in our universe. We are not finished yet because there are approximately 125 billion universes. Now, this is almost impossible for our human mind to grasp. What a backyard for the human family. Whoever said that we would get bored if we lived for eternity, likely never considered the vastness of it all? Moreover, the universe(s) are continuously growing. If this is what we have, one cannot truly wrap their mind around the spiritual heavens.

Satan and his angels had access to the spiritual heavens in the days of Noah, and centuries later in the time of Job.  “Again it came to pass on the day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah that Satan came also among them to present himself before Jehovah.” (Job 2:1) Even centuries later Jesus speaks prophetically of a future fall that Satan is to have, as a result of Jesus ransom sacrifice. Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” He also said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.” (John 12:31) The time of this being cast down to earth from heaven is “at a time when Christian martyrs are being made (Rev 12:11). Further, it is at a time very shortly before the end of the age, when “he knows that his time is short” (Rev 12:12). This, then, must be a final exclusion of the devil from access to God shortly before Christ’s return.”[3]

In dealing with Satan and his angels being kicked out of the spiritual heavens, and cast down to the earth says, Revelation 12:12 says, “O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath because he knows that his time is short!” We do not know if this has specifically happened as of yet, but we do know that a great wrath will go with it, which will last for a short time. What a short time is specifically we do not know either. To whom is that great wrath going to be directed toward? Certainly, Satan is not interested in the world of mankind, but only the chosen ones of God and his sole efforts will be toward eradicating them, if he cannot turn them away. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus identifies the signs of Christ’s presence, and the conclusion of the age, followed by talk of the Great Tribulation. It would seem very likely that Satan’s being expelled from the spiritual heavens, having a great wrath for God’s people because he knows his time is short, could very well coincide with the Great Tribulation.[4]

Matthew 24:21-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22 And if those days had not been cut short, no flesh would have been saved: but for the chosen ones[5] sake those days will be cut short.

Satan knows that soon his time will be short! Therefore, his goal is no longer to disprove the rightfulness of God’s sovereignty, but rather to take as many with him as he can. His end goal now is to decimate the affirmative answer to Jesus’ question rose clear back in the first-century C.E. “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Yes, Satan is trying to hold this back from becoming a reality. The apostle Peter warned,

1 Peter 5:8-9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world.

How Satan Deceives

The apostle Paul was encouraging the Corinthians to “not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.” (2 Cor. 2:11) Satan is crafty, and he has outwitted most of humankind for thousands of years now, not to mention a third of the angels. However, because of the Bible, Christians do not have to be ignorant of his designs. In fact, think about, most of the world today does not even believe he exists, for them he is just a myth in a book written by men. Even eighty percent of Christianity does not believe in his existence. Paul explains: “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

Accordingly, we can anticipate that Satan’s cunning plan for deceiving the mass of humanity will look as if harmless, even advantageous. You will recall in the above that Satan came to Eve as some benefactor, who was helping her overcome the trickery of her Creator, who was trying to hide freedom from her. (Gen. 3:4-6) This is the same today, the desire for absolute freedom (something that is unattainable) keeps most humans from accepting the sovereignty of God. They are so blinded that they fail to see the real source of peace and security. – Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 6:9-10.

The apostle James admonished:

James 4:7-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

7 Submit therefore to God. Stand against[6] the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.[7]

Let us take a moment to revisit Jesus’ temptations by Satan. If we follow James’ advice above, and live by the example set by Jesus, we will survive the onslaught of Satan’s attacks on our Christian faith.

Jesus’ First Temptation

Jesus after his baptism by John the Baptist went out into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights, which left him weak and hungry. It was then that Satan chose to tempt Jesus, waiting until he was in a weakened condition. Read carefully as Satan offers the first temptation to Jesus:

Luke 4:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

3 And the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

First, Satan played on Jesus’ natural desire for food, as he deliberately waited until Jesus was in a weakened state from fasting. In addition, Satan knew that Jesus was the Son of God, as he had been in heaven with him. Notice how he is attempting to attack Jesus hunger, by starting his accusation with “if,” to get Jesus to use his powers for selfish gain. In other words, he wanted Jesus to be annoyed and say, ‘You know I am the Son of God, so watch as I turn these stones into bread!’ Was Jesus tempted into a selfish act, a needful feeling of proving himself right? No, Jesus did not permit Satan to bait him into rebellion.

Luke 4:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”[8]

Jesus’ Second Temptation

Luke 4:6-7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if you bow down before me, it shall all be yours.”

One way of being emphatic in Greek is to front word(s) before others, and in this case, the second-person pronoun (soi, “to you”) was fronted to the beginning of the Greek sentence by Luke to show just how important this question was. The English is not able to bring this out well, but the Greek makes it all too clear. What Satan was saying, is a bit like what a car salesperson might say,[9] ‘look, this deal is for you and you alone!’ Did Jesus even slightly consider Satan’s offer? No, he responds,

Luke 4:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

Jesus’ Third Temptation,

Luke 4:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

9 And he led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; 10 for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’

Notice that Satan even quotes Scripture, but of course twists it to suit his misleading purposes. This temptation is much more subtle than one might think. Satan wanted Jesus to get caught up in himself, and take the easy way out, as opposed to the humble three and half year ministry that lie ahead. If Jesus had stood on the top of the pinnacle of the temple, at the time of the day when everyone was out, with all gathered to see him there; it would have made his ministry easier. Because if he leaped in front of thousands of onlookers, and angels came to rescue him before he hit the ground, many would have had faith in him, based on his showmanship. However, Jesus knew his Father’s will was for him to have an education ministry of three and a half years, a ministry of humility. Moreover, how did Jesus feel about doing the will of the Father? Here are his own words, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” (John 4:34)

Matthew 4:7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”[10]

On many other occasions, Jesus used the Scriptures to help unsuspecting ones escape Satan’s influences, as well as the overbearing Jewish religious leaders, who were twisting the Scriptures for their ill-gotten gains. Jesus made more than 120 references or quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures to over half of the books of the Hebrew Old Testament, in his three and half year ministry. This may appear to be trivial when you think of a three and half year ministry. However, notice what John says about Jesus, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book.” (John 20:30)

John also said, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25) Thus, if we take everything Jesus said in the Gospels, it would only amount to 3-4 hours of speaking. Now imagine four speakers at a religious assembly, giving an hour talk each, and each of them referencing or quoting some 30 Scriptures in their allotted hour. These would be considered highly biblical talks. Moreover, Jesus usually never had any scrolls in front of him. Therefore, his quotes and references were from memory. In the famous Sermon on the Mount, he directly or indirectly referenced dozens of Scriptures from memory.

[1] Some Bible translations give a different impression. The King James Version renders the text: “She took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” The Hebrew verb wattitten for “gave” is “with a prefixed pronoun SUBJECT and a sequential waw, hence signifying a time-based or logical sequence of the events.” (A Systematic Glossary to the Andersen-Forbes Analysis of the Hebrew Bible) Are we to believe that Adam simply stood by, passively watching this conversation and events, without interjecting anything into it? German Bible scholar J. P. Lange comments on just that: “The presence of the man during the act of temptation, even his keeping quiet, is hardly imaginable.” And in explaining the phrase “with her,” Jewish commentator B. Jacob mentions that it does “not [mean] who was standing with her (during the previous act or while she ate).”

[2] , vol. 2, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised, ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 713 (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988).

[3] Kendell H. Easley, vol. 12, Revelation, Holman New Testament Commentary, 211 (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998).

[4] The Great Tribulation refers to tumultuous events that are described during the “signs of the times”, first mentioned by Jesus in the Olivet discourse. The Great Tribulation is also referenced in the Book of Revelation.

[5] Or the elect

[6] I.e., resist or oppose

[7] doubting, wavering persons

[8] Quotation from Deuteronomy 8:3

[9] I borrowed the car salesperson analogy from Dr. Darrell Bock, with some revision.

[10] Quotation from Deuteronomy 6:16