A couple of years ago, for some light reading I really got into the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and read the entire thing. The turns of phrase of an English author from a century ago are nothing short of really cool!
Of course, Holmes had many enemies and villains come across his path, but none as dastardly as the evil Professor Moriarty. When Holmes first reveals to the dear Dr. Watson the characteristics of this wicked creature, he describes him this way…
“He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed—the word is passed to the Professor, the matter is organized and carried out. The agent may be caught. In that case money is found for his bail or his defense. But the central power which uses the agent is never caught – never so much as suspected.” (from The Final Problem in Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)
The biblically literate person cannot read that paragraph without thinking how very much of it could apply to Satan, the great enemy of the biblical hero, Jesus Christ. Consider the similarities… the source of the bulk of all evil, the great mind and power, the sinister nature of the personality, the web of organization, an association of confederates, the seeming immunity from arrest and prosecution, etc, etc.
The presence of Satan is revealed early in Scripture, appearing in chapter three. He raises doubts about the goodness of God, displaying his position as the enemy of righteousness. Originally created as the most extraordinary of the angelic host, his history of rebellion against God is recorded in passages from two of the major prophets…
Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
Ezekiel 28:14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. 16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. 17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
Many years ago, a favorite professor of many of us who attended Philadelphia College of Bible was Ron Showers. Professor Showers wrote a marvelous little booklet that has surely been out of print for decades now called “What On Earth Is God Doing?” This booklet spoke of the plan of God through the ages, with a special emphasis on the activity of Satan to thwart God’s purposes step by step. From the temptation of Adam and Eve, to the introduction of murder… From the plan of the fallen angels to intermingle with the human race (Gen. 6), to the tower of Babel with evil human leaders, and multiple efforts to destroy God’s chosen people… all the way down to the death of Jesus – Satan has worked to prevent the redemptive ministry of Christ, and he works now to negate its application to people even of our generation.
Satan is the enemy of God. He is the enemy of Jesus. He is your enemy and passionately hates you! Our theme switches now to consider the pursuit of evil that is a part of all great stories, is part of the biblical story, and is therefore a part of your story as well. Looks like you need to journey on with us!