Is The Devil Really Defeated? Well, Yes and No!

Dr. Steven Lambert ministering

To many people, including many who claim to be Christians or believers in Christ, the matter of the existence and operations of the devil on earth are either basically an unknown or a spiritual conundrum. That is understandable, given the fact that unbiblical or in some cases, antibiblical, preaching and teaching on the matter is ubiquitous, even in the context of self-purported Christian churches. The central theory of that biblically-incorrect teaching to varying degrees is the somewhat misleading assertion (in whatever terms it is expressed): “Jesus defeated the devil on the Cross of Calvary.”

While that statement and the set of teachings it represents bears some truth, it nevertheless is not “the whole truth and nothing but the truth!” Rather, it is actually partial truth. Did Jesus defeat the devil on the Cross of Calvary? YES! Jesus did indeed defeat the devil on the Cross of Calvary, but the problem is: what specifically did that “defeat” entail? Was it entire and complete in the sense that that devil and his power and authority to bring adversity into people’s lives and into the world system were brought to an end, or ceased? Was the devil annihilated or eliminated, or did he cease to exist? Was the devil’s domain—the kingdom of darkness—annihilated and rendered null and void and no longer existent? Unfortunately, the answer to all those questions is a resounding “NO!”

The purpose of this article, while it is far from being a theological treatise on the topic, is to shed some light on this seeming spiritual enigma that has caused many to hold untrue opinions and maintain destruction-producing misunderstanding about this somewhat complex matter. To do theological justice to this matter would require a more thorough treatment in a volume much larger than a simple article like this one, such as a book, which is exactly what the text here will be included in, namely, the soon-to-be-released expanded edition of my book, Deliverance From Demonic Powers.

“How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! (Isa. 14:12)

The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” (Job 1:7; 2:2)

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Pet. 5:8; NASB)

“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” {1 Pet 5:8; AMP}

THREE times Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world,” thereby attributing to him spiritual authority over the world’s system:

“Now judgment is upon this world; now [1] THE RULER OF THIS WORLD will be cast out. (Jn. 12:31)

“I will not speak much more with you, for THE RULER OF THIS WORLD is coming, and he has nothing in Me; (Jn. 14:30)

“and concerning judgment, because THE RULER OF THIS WORLD has been judged.” (Jn. 16:11)

The Apostle Peter, who, of course, was one of the original apostles, or Apostles of the Lamb, personally witnessed:

  • His demonstrations of miracle power and authority, all of which were trained upon the purpose of “destroying the works of the devil” (1 Jn. 3:8), thereby demonstrating He possessed all authority and power in the cosmos, including over the devil, devils, and the domain of darkness;
  • the death of Christ on the Cross;
  • the empty tomb and Christ’s glorious resurrection on Resurrection Morning;
  • the upper-room visitation of the resurrected Christ on the Resurrection Evening;
  • the visitation of the resurrected Christ on the shores of the Sea of Galilee when Peter and some of the other apostles fished all night and caught nothing and Jesus cooked breakfast for them;
  • the glorious ascension of Christ into Heaven on the Day of Ascension on the Mt. of Ascension.

Nonetheless, Peter wrote this sober and poignant afore-cited admonition in his first letter, which was addressed to BELIEVERS then residing in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Pet. 1:1), as well as to ALL believers for all times wherever they may reside in the world, to be ever vigilant concerning the wiles and schemes of our adversary, the devil, because he ever roams about on the earth seeking individuals who will allow or permit him to devour them:

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8; NASB)

The King James Version correctly translates that passage as “whom he MAY devour.” The English word “may” is a term of permission, vis-à-vis, the word “can,” which speaks to ability, capability, power to do something. God states categorically and unequivocally in Hosea 4:6: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge!” Lack of knowledge by even purporting Christians about the fact that the adversary only has ability, capability, and power to render destruction in a believer’s life when the believer grants him permission to do so by being passive to his aggression against them is the main reason so many multitudes of believers are experiencing constant devastation and destruction in their lives.

Moreover, we also know that this epistle of Peter, along with his second epistle, is included in canonized Scripture, because it passed all the tests required to be included in canonized Scripture. Thus, we know also then that not only is this the admonition and words of Peter, the man, but also that it is actually recognized as being the God-breathed or God-inspired Words of the Holy Spirit, and we must regard and heed it as such:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

Thus, from a Biblical standpoint it is manifestly obvious that if the devil is still prowling or walking about on the earth seeking souls to devour by way of tacit permission and failure to resist him, as the words of the Holy Spirit penned by the Apostle Peter reveals (1 Pet. 5:8-9), then the devil has not been removed from the planet, is still alive (spirits never die or cease to exist, anyway, and the devil is an evil spirit) and well, so to speak, and he still has the capabilities he has always had to inflict adversity and opposition against human beings upon the earth. His capabilities and authority to implement those capabilities have not yet been abolished or diminished in any way (with the exception of the exceptions addressed herein).

Add to that the Scriptural revelations about the irrefutable fact that Satan, the fallen arch-angel formerly named, Lucifer, was evicted from Heaven and the presence of God, and was forcefully cast or thrown down to the earth subsequent and consequent to his seditious rebellion against God, along with one-third of all the angels who allied with him:

“And the great dragon was THROWN DOWN, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was THROWN DOWN to the earth, and his angels were THROWN DOWN with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been THROWN DOWN, he who accuses them before our God day and night. (Rev. 12:9-10)

“‘For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.’ And when the dragon saw that he was THROWN DOWN to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child.” (Rev 12:12-13)

“‘How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been CUT DOWN TO THE EARTH, You who have weakened the nations!'” (Isa. 14:12)

And it was because Lucifer was evicted from Heaven and was forcefully cut (as a tree is felled) or cast or thrown down to the earth that he was in the Garden of Eden according to the Genesis account of “In the beginning…” (Gen. 3:1), conversed with Eve, and thereby deceived her (1 Tim. 2:14), and she in turn then seduced Adam in joining with her in the deception of partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (the sin nature).

The consequence of this single act of disobedience and sedition against God, mirroring the very act Lucifer himself committed in Heaven, was not only apostasy and the infusion of the sin nature into the lineage of Mankind, but also was the forfeiture of the dominion God had consigned to Adam over the entire earth (Gen. 1-2) and subjection of Mankind under the dominion (authority, rule, power) of Satan, which he had just obtained through the deception and seduction he had just successfully perpetrated upon Adam and Eve.

In other words, Adam and Eve’s disobedience to the specific command of God handed over the keys of the Kingdom on the earth to the devil, “the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9; cf., 20:2).

The tragic and inscrutably far-reaching result of the human progenitors’ abject disobedience was that the fallen archangel, Satan, had now become the perpetual spiritual “father” of unredeemed Mankind’s lineage—the human race (Jn. 8:44)—and Mankind was now subjected under the dominion of the domain of darkness! This is the end result that extends to every human ever born since the Garden of Eden, and remains so until a messenger bearing the glad tidings of the Good News of the Gospel of Christ is sent to every individual living under that domain of spiritual darkness “to open their eyes so that they may TURN FROM darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me'” (Acts 26:18). All those who accept the message and receives Christ as their personal Lord and Savior is thereby delivered “from the power (exousia, Gr.; authority) of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13), whose Kingdom is the Kingdom of Light.

Couple those facts with the fact that in the historical story of Job, when God commanded Job to appear before Him and inquired of him from where he had come, his response was “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it”:

“The LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.'” (Job 1:7; 2:2)

Add to that the fact that POST-Cross, the Holy Spirit through the writings of the Apostle Paul refers to Satan as “the prince of the power of the air”:

“in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:2). [The Greek word translated “prince” here is archon, which means chief, chief-ruler, magistrate, prince. The Greek word translated “power” is exousia, which connotes authority, mastery, jurisdiction, potentate, control, dominion.]

As well as the fact that also POST-Cross, the Holy Spirit through also the writings of the Apostle Paul refers to Satan as “the god (“theos,” Gr.) of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). When Eve was “quite deceived” and Adam joined her in partaking of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” — the sin nature — “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2), the consequence was that Man (Adam and Eve) forfeited, relinquished dominion and authority over the earth, and allowed Satan to steal it from them and Mankind. That’s when Satan became the ruler or god of the world.

It was POST-CrossPOST-Resurrection that the Resurrected Christ issued the Great Commission, the first tenet of which was to CAST OUT DEVILS” (Mk. 16:17). Obviously, if the devil and devils was entirely defeated, their capabilities and power negated, and they were annihilated or removed from the earth, there would be no need to CAST OUT devils, and would make Jesus’ charge to the Church to cast out demons inane, nonsensical, and down right silly!

Why is all this so? Because the undeniable, unimpeachable, irrefutable TRUTH is that the inscrutable and incredible victories Jesus won on/through the Cross and His Resurrection did NOT include the REMOVAL of either Satan and his fallen angelic cohorts from the earth OR “the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience,” (i.e., the fallen or sin nature), nor did those victories obtained in His FIRST Coming include the annihilation or bringing to an end of Satan and his fallen angelic cohorts or his authority and power and his authority and capability to exercise it upon the earth as He WILL do in His SECOND Coming by the mere breath of the Holy Spirit exhaled upon him/them and by the the inherent POWER of His mere PRESENCE:

“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming” (2Th 2:8).

Therefore, any teaching that contradicts these truths revealed in Scripture and what it reveals and warns concerning the sober as opposed to cavalier attitude we are to have concerning the works and wiles of the devil, is false teaching, doctrine, theology, and thinking. Plain and simple. Not to mention the far worse fact that it is actually stupid and self-inflicting!

The flaw in such inane notions is centered upon the false supposition that Christ dealt with the devil and his authority and capabilities to operate on the earth at the Cross. Don’t we all wish that was true. But, unfortunately, it’s not!

The fall out from all this unbiblical theological excess and overstatement is that some purporting believers continue to stubbornly or ignorantly hold to the entirely false belief that the adversity they experience in life, whether it be troubles, trials, tribulations, financial adversity, or infirmities and maladies, i.e., physical attacks on their health, for example, cannot possibly be demonic in origin and nature because they falsely believe Satan’s powers and authority on the earth were taken away from him or negated entirely as a result of the workings of the Cross of Christ, and wholeheartedly (albeit, stubbornly) cling to their spiritually prideful conviction that because they are “a child of God” the devil cannot touch them and that they are impervious to or exempt from the schemes, wiles, and adversity authored and carried out by the devil.

As already indicated, it is certainly understandable how that this can — at least on the surface — seem to be a somewhat confusing and contradiction-filled matter to some people.

Nevertheless, the truth is that while Christ DID indeed TOTALLY DEFEAT Satan and the effects of the sin nature through His substitutionary death on the Cross and the wages of sin — DEATH — with His glorious resurrection from the dead, all those effects are NOT automatic and automatically applied, if you will, to ALL of Mankind, but rather to all of REDEEMED MANKIND, that is, GENUINE, BORN AGAIN, SPIRIT-INFUSED, SPIRIT-BAPTIZED BELIEVERS who not only know and BELIEVE it all, but also are OBEDIENT in ENGAGING in the SPIRITUAL WARFARE required to ENFORCE and ESTABLISH the victories and spiritual effects Christ Jesus obtained for REDEEMED MANKIND in and thereby applying it to their own personal lives!

The absolute bottom-line on this entire matter, however, is the immeasurably profound truth that the power and authority Satan gained in the Garden of Eden was only of the world’s system manifest in the natural or carnal realm, NOT in the spiritual realm. God’s sovereignty in the spiritual realm is sacrosanct, incontestable, and impenetrable! In the spirit realm God reigns eternally supreme! That’s why it is imperative that believers engage the enemy with the spiritual weapons of “our warfare” which is spiritual warfare, or warfare in the spirit realm, and are NOT human, carnal, fleshly, natural, or physical weapons, and are “DIVINELY POWERFUL for the DESTRUCTION of fortresses [spiritual fortifications of the enemy] (2 Cor. 10:4). These spiritual weapons are “divinely powerful” because they are weapons of the Spirit of God, not merely human, carnal, fleshly, natural, or physical weapons, that really only amount to psychological or intellectual weapons and are totally ineffectual against spiritual foes and their spiritual warfare.

SATAN IS THE ORIGINAL OUTLAW AND REBEL! He does not obey God! He is a spiritual felon with an eternal rap-sheet filled with countless acts of spiritual criminality! He is an illegal, unauthorized trespasser! He does pay any attention to the boundaries and limitations set against him by God on his own! He must be arrested and incarcerated by every individual believer in terms of his operations in their own lives!

SATAN REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND ABIDE BY THE VICTORIES AND EFFECTS JESUS OBTAINED! He has not simply backed down and backed away and backed off because of what Jesus did—the victories and spoils of victory he obtained for us on our behalf—or simply because you became a Christian! Christians are in no way impervious to or exempted from the schemes (strategic battle plans) of adversity of the devil!

SATAN IS IN DENIAL! He’s the original denier! His strategy since his utter defeat at Calvary is to simply deny and ignore! But, that strategy cannot work against the INFORMED BELIEVER!

THUS, IT IS UP TO EVERY BELIEVER TO ASSUME THEIR RESPONSIBILITY TO BECOME THE SPIRITUAL SHERIFF OF HIS/HER OWN LIFE AND ENFORCE THE LAWS JESUS HAS ESTABLISHED AND CODIFIED BY HIS WORD!

It’s now all about invoking and thereby applying “the Word of His power (authority)” (Heb. 1:3) in your own life and living in order to establish and enforce the victories Christ obtained on our behalf! THEY’RE NOT AUTOMATIC OR AUTOMATICALLY UNIVERSAL!

Don’t allow/permit the devil to put diseases, maladies, financial restrictions, and the multitudinous results of the sin nature that permeate the world and earth upon YOU!

Fight the good fight of faith! Stand against the schemes/wiles of the devil! Jesus defeated him, but you have to enforce that defeat in your own life because you have been given volitional autonomy over your own life that not even God will violate, and the devil doesn’t have the power or authority to violate!

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE – IN JESUS NAME! THE AUTHORITY TO DO SO HAS BEEN PLACED IN YOUR HANDS, AND THE ABILITY TO INVOKE IT IS IN YOUR MOUTH!
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[Endnote:]
[1] Strong’s Dictionary indicates the Greek word here, nun (pronounced, noon), though it is rendered as “now” in most English translations, more accurately means: henceforth, henceforward, hereafter, from this time forward, or the present era of time, as opposed to that specific current moment in time. Thus, on the backdrop of all of Scripture as a whole we can safely conclude that Jesus was referring not to that very moment when the voice from Heaven was heard was Satan cast out as a fait accompli, but rather He was indicating that the process of Satan being dethroned or removed as the ruler of the world’s system had begun.
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