Unfortunately, the English language uses the word “god” in different ways to mean different things. There can be idols made by the hands of people that are falsely worshiped and called gods. From the perspective of those who worship false gods, they use the word “god” with a capital “G” in their minds, hearts and writings when referring to their objects of worship. However, those who know that an idol is nothing (1 Corinthians 8:4) refer to them using the small “g” because our perspective is different.
At one point in his existence, Satan decided he wanted to exalt himself above God. The root of his evil is found in scriptures referencing his beginning acts of disobedience. Satan was once the guardian of the throne of God, but he sought a higher position. Ezekiel 28:11-19 is speaking of an earthly king, but the prophet is also speaking of our enemy the devil. Satan not only wanted a higher position, as will be seen in the next passage of scripture, but he wanted to be like “the Most High.”
Isaiah 14:12-17 is also referencing an earthly king as well as making statements of fact about our real enemy, the devil.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”
Did you know that the devil was here on Earth before humans were created? Jesus spoke of how he saw our enemy cast from heaven down to Earth like lightning in Luke 10:18. Then, in Job, which was likely the first book of the Bible that was written, we see that our enemy moves about walking to and fro in the earth (Job 1:6-7).
The enemy was present in the garden that God planted eastward in Eden where he placed the first man (Adam) and the Mother of All Living (Eve). Our enemy took the form of a subtle serpent to make a counter offer based on a deception against the spoken word of our Creator (Genesis 3:1-24). Jesus tells us that our enemy is not only a liar, but the father of them (John 8:44). Peter warns us that our lying enemy is busy roving about like a roaring lion searching for a victim to gulp down entirely (1 Peter 5:8-9).
It sounds scary, especially considering that all human beings and the entire universe fell into a state of corruption of sin due to disobedience that began with an original lie. Seriously, if it could get this bad, what hope do we have as individuals trying to stand up against such a traducer? (The New Testament Greek word referring to our enemy often uses “diabolos.” It means a traducer. Merriam-Webster’s definition of “traduce” is “to expose to shame or blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation.” Or, if you will, to falsely accuse. Does that tactic sound familiar?) The answer to the hope we have in standing up to such an enemy is found in 1 John 4:4.
Some make the mistake of seeing the devil as not only opposite to what God is, but as an all-powerful opposite of God. This is such a misunderstanding of what our enemy really is. God has the qualities of being omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnipresent (present in all places at once). Satan has none of those qualities. He is just a created being. Compared to the fleshly power of us humans, he would be considered incredibly powerful, but there is no comparison between his limited abilities and the infinite power of God.
The facts are that though the devil is not omniscient, he knows more than what we are capable of knowing in our flesh alone. After all, he was there when human beings were created. Though he is not omnipotent, he has abilities far beyond what we can do in our flesh alone. Finally, though he cannot be in more than one place at one time because he lacks God’s omnipresent ability, there is no mention of how fast or how slow he actually travels from point to point as he moves to and fro here on Earth.
We also know that one-third of the angels fell with him when he was cast down from heaven (Revelation 12:4), so there is likely a network of spiritual communication among them that surpasses anything we have as humans. This little bit of information, I believe, is behind how our enemy can know things about us. I believe it is the method that demons use to tell fortune tellers secrets about us that supposedly no one would ever know. They are operating under the influence of a “familiar spirit” (demon) that is providing the information.
Amongst the fallen angels there obviously are demons who are aware of us as individual believers.The sons of Sceva and the demon who knew both Jesus and Paul show that they are aware of what we are doing in this physical world to affect the spiritual (Acts 19:13-17). It would be nothing for any of them to share information with other demons or Satan himself of things they have observed anyone do when the information would be useful to promote another lie through such an avenue as a fortune teller. The capability of communication among them obviously surpasses even our vast human capabilities of instantly sharing information. However, that is a far cry from what omniscience means.
All of these little tricks, or “wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11), can alter our perspective of the truth about God. The tricks of our enemy can seem overwhelming to us at times. This is especially true if we are looking at the situations through the perspective of the flesh instead of the proper spiritual perspective (2 Cor 5:7).
To get a better idea of how our enemy uses tricks to make himself look bigger than God, let us take a look at the massive power of a celestial phenomenon called a solar eclipse. It is an example that shows how our enemy tries to trick us into not understanding the true depth and power that God, our Creator, has, and it is all based on perspective.
For a total solar eclipse to occur, the moon has to be in the correct phase, and it has to be in the right position in its orbit. Then, for it to be witnessed, people have to be within a specific geographic region on Earth to see it occur. There are people who are dazzled and some who are made afraid when a total solar eclipse occurs even in today’s times.
The moon has a specific size and a current orbit in this age that makes a total solar eclipse possible. The math works out that the sun has a diameter (864,327 miles) and distance from Earth that corresponds to the fractional diameter of the moon (2,160 miles) and its distance from earth to permit the light of the much larger sun to be temporarily blocked by Earth’s diminutive moon during a solar eclipse.
In order for it to work, you have to be within a narrow path on Earth during the actual eclipse that is only about 100 miles wide. The path, called “The Path of Totality,” extends out over the Earth’s surface during a total solar eclipse for about 10,000 miles, but if you are more than a hundred miles above or below that path, you miss the total eclipse.
It is all based on perspective. In order to witness the tiny moon blocking out the light from the gigantic sun, you have to have yourself planted in a very specific position on Earth to have the perspective necessary to observe the total eclipse. It is comparable to how you can block your eyes from seeing a skyscraper by holding your thumb out in front of your face if you are standing in the right spot. It is based on the perspective of how you are seeing things based on where you are standing and what is blocking your path. Though your thumb is so much smaller than the skyscraper, position and perspective permits your thumb to obscure the building.
Now, did you know that your enemy, the devil, desires to eclipse God in your life? He has no hope of even remotely being as powerful as God, so he tries to position you and himself in a way that all you can see is the darkness of lies, deception and sin instead of the glorious light of freedom in Christ. It all begins when you are out of the will of God (James 1:13-15). And yes, getting ourselves into a position where God is not above everything in our lives is contrary to God’s will for us (Mark 12:28-31).
Another neat thing about a solar eclipse is the umbra and penumbra shadows cast by the moon during a total solar eclipse. The umbra shadow is the darkest part where the sunlight is totally blocked. Outside of the boundary line of the umbra shadow is the partial eclipse region of the penumbra shadow. This is where the light of the sun is partially eclipsed. If you are not walking on a path where our enemy is tricking you into not seeing any of God’s light, are you walking in his penumbra where even a portion of the light of truth is being overshadowed?
To those who do not understand how an eclipse works, fear may have them believe the sun goes dark for a time. We know that it is just an optical trick of celestial timing, sizes of the celestial bodies and their current orbital position. Understanding it takes away the fear. Knowing, and I mean really knowing, how your enemy is trying to eclipse God’s glory takes away the fear too. Knowing that it is only witnessed when you find yourself in a narrow band of perspective, you can then make sure to change your perspective to be sure you are in God’s will and fully within his shining light in your life. Then, you see that the god of this world truly is very small.
One day we will all “narrowly look upon” Satan (Isaiah 14:16) to see that he was only capable of whispering lies to us. It is good for all of us followers of Christ if we get to the place in our lives that we realize that truth now and walk in it daily. Pray for me that I keep this understanding in my heart the next time my enemy tries to loom large over me.