"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
Scripture refers to phrase "the enemy" over 100 times in the Bible. "The enemy" has been deceiving us since the beginning of time, starting with Eve in Genesis 3:1 "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’? ” As seen here, he is also referred to as the serpent. After digging a little more into scripture, I found that throughout scripture he is referred to by many other names as well. In total, these various names are used approximately 251 times. I'd say that's something God is wanting us to be acutely aware of, don't you?
So, in order to better understand the scriptural warnings and gain wisdom into the unseen dangers lurking right here in our midst, let's take a look at those names and their original meanings.
1. the enemy
2. the serpent (snake)
3. the dragon
5. the devil
Here are the various definitions of those names, which will help us grasp the full meaning as they were used in that time period. I compiled these with the use of the Strongs Concordance, a book that contains the original Hebrew and Greek words and definitions.
1. whisper a (magic) spell
2. divine, enchanter, learning by experience (watching its victims...learning them)
3. an artful malicious person, especially Satan:--serpent.
4. fabulous kind of serpent (drawing victims in)
5. the arch-enemy of good
7. False accuser, slanderer.
8. supernatural spirit (of a bad nature)
9. d√¶monic being; by extension a deity
In revelations, God ties these names together, showing us they are one in the same as Satan. "He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent (snake), who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years." Revelation 20:2
The reason for my writing on this dark topic, is that over the ages, churches have slowly moved away from teaching about "the great enemy". I suppose it's a result of preachers in the past, too often using hell, Satan and fear as a way to scare people into submitting to God...through "fire and brimstone" teaching. However, this is not the kind of relationship our Heavenly Father wants from us nor does it last or bring about true transformation, joy or peace that a loving mutual relationship with Him brings. Therefore, we moved to the far extreme and began only teaching of the grace and love of God, leaving out truth and eternal consequences. It's time we move to the center and teach both sides, as a whole, not neglecting either Grace or Truth. As Christians, especially American Christians, we need to become less ignorant of the deceptive power of Satan. We must study and teach about both, the eternal terror of eternity awaiting those without Christ and the amazing grace and love of our all powerful Heavenly Father! His loving, comforting and forgiving arms, that are always ready, willingly, and waiting for us to run to when we're overtaken by guilt, shame, fear or brokenness.
So, in what way is the devil our enemy? Why is He our enemy? He is the enemy of our very souls...the eternal part of ourselves! Even though, he may not be a visible, physical enemy he is our worst kind of enemy. He's invisible, cunning and very wicked. I know, sometimes things in life may actually seem perfect and strife free but don't be deceived by that because honestly, that is one of Satans biggest deceptions! He lulls his unsuspecting victims to sleep with everything our fleshly desires want. He makes everything seem so plush and perfect in order to fool you into thinking you have no need for God. I mean you're a "good" person and He must be pleased with you because He has blessed you with so much. The tragedy occurs when God never allows trials to come, in order to wake us up from the illusion. Therefore, some run the risk of spending their entire life never having a need for God, until one day it's too late and they pass over to the other side of life, into an eternal death. We must be aware not only for ourselves but for those who are in the dark, by sharing the full message of both grace and truth. For "The Lord...is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
So we must "Stay alert! Watching out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour and remembering that we have this Heavenly Father who in his kindness "...called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation." (1 Peter 5:8,10) also, "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
So let's heed the multiple warnings to be alert and wise to the enemies schemes "so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes." 2 Corinthians 2:11 and to cling to our Heavenly Fathers Love and Instruction He provides, as a way of protecting His Children and a map for the lost. Also, clinging to the promise that "the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ." (2 Thessalonians 3:3,5)