|Luke 10:18, "And
he said unto them, I beheld Satan
as lightning fall from heaven."
This morning, man's thinking and understanding about certain things becomes swayed by different factors and influences almost unawares. Many of our modern and common thoughts are not upheld by Scripture, and yet many think (due to these outside influences) that, "One cannot be a Bible believer and not hold to this." Sometimes the things being espoused are not technically "un-Scriptural (against Scripture), but they are most certainly "non-Scriptural" (not in Scripture). For example, this segment today will not be dealing with the origin of the devil as I find that the Bible has very little to say about that subject, and therefore, I have little desire to investigate it. As a wise elder once told me, "I found something that gave me much peace long ago. I found that the Bible has a lot to say about Satan's devices and little to say about where he came from. Therefore, I will try to avoid his devices when I see them and fervently trust in the Lord with every step."
So, since we are not talking about where Satan comes from, what does our Lord mean by what He said here? What is the context of the thought? The context of this thought is that the seventy have just returned from preaching as the Lord had sent them out. They were given specific instructions on where to go and how to conduct themselves while ministering and preaching to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. When the seventy return, they are overjoyed about the experience. They felt the presence of the Lord with them, and rejoiced in the manifest blessing of the journey. One of the blessings that they saw manifest was that, "even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
It is right after this declaration that the Lord gives the words from our verse above. It is important to note that the ONLY way the devils are subject to these men was through the Lord's name. By our own name and might, the devils will overrun us much like some vagabond exorcists discovered in the book of Acts. Today, our might in overcoming the devil is only by drawing nigh unto God. Without this important point, we cannot resist the devil and him flee from us. But, through the most blessed name and power of that name, the devils were subject to these men as they healed those that were bound by those afflictions.
So now that we have established the context, let us look at the greater context. The Jewish world had been without a prophet of God for over 400 years. From Malachi to the time of John the Baptist and Christ, there was no direct word from God. Their nation was overrun by the Roman empire. Many among them were sick, diseased, possessed, and infirmed. Without any spiritual guidance, the rulers of synagogues and the temple (Pharisees, etc.) had started teaching for the commandments of God the traditions of men. In all these distresses (both naturally and spiritually)
What is happening during this scene? All the glee that Satan took in tormenting the people with these various and sundry distresses is disappearing. Even some of the devils cried out, "Art thou here to torment us before the time?" They know the time will come when they are cast into the lake of fire forevermore, but by their nature, they beseech the Lord to suffer them to continue until that time. Even knowing their end state, they desire to inflict as much harm and take as much pleasure as they can until that day. But, the Lord does not suffer many of them to continue as He casts them out and disperses the darkness that has come into Israel. His teachings astound the wise of the world and make the multitudes rejoice. As He speaks as never a man spoke and gives power to His disciples over these different things and blesses them to preach His unsearchable riches, the people are now in a better natural and spiritual circumstance than they have been in a long time.
Satan's hold and seat has fallen during this time. The word "heaven" employed here means either "the starry regions of the universe" or "upper regions of the air." Satan is not falling from the third heaven where God's throne is, but he is falling from an upper region of the air where he had power and brought much destruction. His power has been thwarted by the One who is Omnipotent. His hold on the people (such as the infirmed woman in Luke 13) is drying up. So, now the question arises, "Well, preacher, what does this mean for us today?"
Today, the delight of Satan increases when we teach for commandments of God the traditions of men (like in those days). He enjoys the situation when people are blinded by his darts and turned away from the good way. He takes glee in stealing away the word sown in the heart of those by the way side. While there is pleasure with him in the non-elect committing wickedness, they are not his targets as they are doing things he delights in anyway. But, when God's children walk astray (who have the ability and conscience to do righteousness)
Therefore, it pains him (brings him down) when our spirituality increases. It displeases him when we pray without ceasing, search the Scriptures daily, and have the gospel preached unto us. When his position comes crashing down to the earth by our godly walk with God, he seeks to be elevated again. While we should understand his ultimate fate (for he does), we should never underestimate him here. While our godly behaviour is discouraging to him, I do not find where he gets discouraged (gives up), for Peter tells us that we need to be vigilant and steadfast as he still walks as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
Finally, let us not get wrapped up in the devil's person. Where he comes from and things such as that are not nearly as important as where he is going and what he tries to do until that time. Since the Bible speaks of his devices and ultimate end, let our thoughts be on that. For, when we can see that he is a vanquished foe (by the work of our Lord on Calvary), we can take strength in Him to help us resist and overcome the devil and be able to rejoice that Satan has fallen again in his influence. While his influence rises from time to time in my life, I am thankful for those sweet moments lifted up in God's service, where his influence came crashing down to the earth. May we ever be vigilant in that endeavour and set our sights upon the mark of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.