What picture comes to your mind when you think about the devil? How does he look to you? I imagine for most people in the world, he looks very different than the image that is painted in Revelation 12.
In that chapter, John vividly describes the power and authority of one who is not only our enemy, but the adversary of God. He is shown as a “great red dragon” (Rev. 12:3) with ten horns and seven heads for his seven crowns. He can, with one swipe of his tail, scatter a third of the stars of heaven. And he has at his disposal legions of angels who wage war against the army of God.
Our enemy is further described as the “serpent of old” (Rev. 12:9), which means his presence is known from Genesis to Revelation. He is called “the devil” or accuser and “Satan” (Rev. 12:9), simply meaning adversary. He is so opposed to God that he attempted to thwart His plan of redemption by destroying the nation of Israel and the Christ. When that failed, “he went off to make war with the rest of her offspring” (Rev. 12:17).
Part of the devil’s war is his assault on the three divine institutions of God: the home, the church, and the government. These are “established by God” (Rom. 13:2), also translated “ordained” (KJV) and “instituted” (ESV).
When you attack what God has created, you attack the purpose for which He created it. As the people of God, we should be aware of these assaults so that we can know how to respond to each of them.
Satan’s assault on the home is an assault on respect for authority. “Honor your father and mother” was one of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:12). When Paul quoted this passage, he said it was “the first commandment with a promise” (Eph. 6:2). What was the promise? “That you may live long in the land.” If Hebrew children were taught to honor their father and mother on the earth, they would be more likely to honor their Father who is in heaven.
How does Satan assault the home? By chipping away at the foundation. “Honor your father and mother” implies the male and female roles which God established in the beginning. “What God has joined together” (Matt. 19:6) indicates that we are not free to divorce and remarry for any cause at all. But these and other issues stem from the fact that children in our culture are not first being taught respect for authority in their homes.
What should be our response? “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15).
Satan’s assault on the government is an assault on protection of the innocent. The civil government is “a minister of God to you for good” (Rom. 13:1-7). It was established to reward the innocent and punish the evil doer. Since every person is made in the image of God (cf. Jam. 3:9), that gives great value to every single life. Even those in the womb.
How does Satan assault the government? By diminishing the value of life. So much has been said and written about the innocent people who were killed and wounded in the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. And rightly so. But where is the outrage over the thousands of innocent lives murdered by abortion each year?
What should be our response? Overthrow the government? Form a militia? Bomb abortion clinics? “Honor all men, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17).
Satan’s assault on the church is an assault on the importance of spiritual maturity. The local church was established to “equip the saints” (Eph. 4:11-13). Jesus said He would build His church (Matt. 16:18). He is the head, the Savior of the body. He created it for the growth and maturity of the individual.
How does Satan assault the church? Through false doctrine that spreads “like gangrene” (2 Tim. 2:17). Remember, he is the father of lies. Through inward fighting that draws our attention away from the real enemy and causes us to turn our swords on one another. Through social and recreational activities. The church becomes so burdened with these things that the spiritual mission of maturity is neglected or forgotten altogether.
What should be our response to this assault? “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to withstand the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:10-11).
Satan’s assaults will continue. Let us respond to this warrior with the greatest weapon at our disposal: the word of God!