Satan's Methods
by Dr. Ken Matto
(Eph 6:11 KJV) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.


One of the ways a Christian can have success in their Christian walk is to understand the methods of Satan, our adversary. To know your enemy is wise, to over-emphasize him as many signs and wonders churches do is to give him excess credit, to under-emphasize him, like the liberal, unbelieving churches do is to pave the way for him to enter in, but to understand him, his reasons for doing what he does, and his methods will give the Christian a great advantage over him, especially when temptation comes into our lives.  There are some people who completely deny his existence and have the unbiblical temerity of determining that Satan is our flesh. Let me destroy that nonsense immediately.


(1 John 3:8 KJV) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.


Let us look at the first two uses of the word devil and replace them with "flesh." "He that committeth sin is of the flesh; for the flesh sinneth from the beginning." It sounds good and it seems there is a correlation here. Now for the rest of the story. Did you notice the second part of that verse that he might destroy the works of the devil? Let us take it to it's logical conclusion. If the devil is the flesh, and Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (flesh), then His atonement was a great failure, because even the redeemed of God sin every day, which means the power of the devil (flesh) was not destroyed.


Let us not attend to such nonsensical theories created in the mind of Satan himself and given to his disciples so they can do his work of denying his existence. Satan is a real foe but remember that he is also a defeated foe. His defeat came at the cross. This article is not designed to adulate Satan but to help the believer identify some of his methods which is biblical as we see in the following verse.


(Prov 22:3 & 27:12 KJV) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.


A Christian who does not sharpen his or her spiritual understanding will not foresee the evil and is sure to get snared by Satan. This verse also tells us that those who are simple or biblically ignorant of Satan's devices will fall prey to them. (Eph 6:16 KJV) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.


The word "darts" comes from a word which means "something that is thrown." In ancient times, one of the most capable weapons was the javelin which was thrown. The fiery darts come from both the wicked people and the wicked one (which is how the word is best interpreted). Even though we are saved, Satan will attempt to marshal his forces against the people of God. He is such a great deceiver, that even though he knows he is a defeated foe, he believes somehow he will be the victor. His greatest victim of his deceit is himself.
Satan's reasons for doing what he does
• To discredit God
• To deceive Christians
• To blind as many as he possibly can to truth
• To cast aspersions on the word of God
• To adulterate God's salvation plan by making the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ a part of salvation instead of all of it
Satan's Methods
(Eph 6:11 KJV) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.


The word "wiles" is the Greek word "methodeia" which carries with it the meaning of "strategy, scheming, or planned deceitful procedure." This is why it is so important that we recognize early enough in our Christian walk some of the methods Satan uses to attack us in our Christian life. Satan can never have us nor can he indwell us but he sure can cause havoc in a believer's life, however, nothing can happen to any child of God unless God approves it first and then whatever is approved, will work out for our benefit and spiritual growth. Let us now attend to some of the methods Satan uses.
1) He contradicts God's Word
(Gen 3:4 KJV) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
God told Adam and Eve that if they eat from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, they would surely die. Here Satan offers Eve a total contradiction of God's word. Notice Satan can only offer an idea as he does not have the power to force anyone to accept his lies. When we come in contact with modern theories and philosophies which contravene God's word, then if we are biblically literate, we will immediately recognize a satanic attack. Have you ever heard the saying, even in churches, "keep an open mind?" This basically means there is more than just the Bible so you should accept other philosophies also. What does the world have to offer the Christian: Humanism? Free Thinkers? No-Consequence Morality? Our responsibility is to keep steadfast on the Word of God no matter what is before us.


(Josh 1:7-8 KJV) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. {8} This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.


These words are not just idle words in that "turn not from it to the right hand or to the left" carries with it the meaning of "not turning aside the Word." When any Christian inculcates any type of outside theories into their life, they are literally setting aside the word of God in favor of those other teachings. Then we wonder why we get into spiritual trouble and have no power to resist the theories of the world. I remember when I was a young Christian about 7 months old in the faith and was attending a Family Radio Bible Conference in 1981. I was sitting in the shade of a nice tree in summer and a man came over to me with something called the "Urantia Book." This book is another new age writing. He told me "never be afraid of truth." If I was afraid of truth, I wouldn't be reading the Bible. The Lord protected my mind because from my birth I desired to get into the Scriptures and knowing the Bible caused me to be very uneasy about the book this misguided individual was reading.
2) He counterfeits God's word
(Gen 3:5 KJV) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
In this verse we see Satan putting words into God's mouth, "God doth know." How can this evil being know exactly what is in the mind of God? Satan uses the word "shall" twice in which he is being dogmatic in his assertion and accusation against God. Satan is laying the groundwork for false teaching. Have you ever heard anyone say "God told me?" The false teachers use this term on a consistent basis so their hearers are convinced that they have some kind of direct connection to God. God points out this problem he had in Jeremiah's time:


(Jer 14:14-15 KJV) Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. {15} Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.


(Jer 29:8-9 KJV) For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. {9} For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD.


We see the same counterfeiting of God's word today when people claim to be receiving prophetic words. The written word of God is the only true, unmovable word and is not to be supplanted by verbal ejaculations called "prophetic utterances." There are other ways by which God's word is counterfeited. Have you ever heard of the Apocrypha? These books were written sometime between Malachi and the New Testament and have been placed in many Bibles, especially Roman Catholic versions and dead Protestant versions like the RSV for use in dead churches. Some other so called divine writings which counterfeit God's word are the Pseudepigrapha and the Kabala. More modern counterfeits are The Book of Mormon, writings of Ellen White the founder of the 7th Day Adventists, The Koran, modern versions of the Bible like NIV and Living Bible which are not translations but counterfeit paraphrases, any new age writing which portends any divinity attached to it.
3) He persuades or entices
(1 Chr 21:1 KJV) And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.
If there is one thing Satan is good at, it is enticing or tempting God's people. We may look at this verse and think that the event which is mentioned is trivial but when we look a little deeper at the significance of this verse we will see the reason why God smote Israel for this act of David.


(1 Chr 21:7-8 KJV) And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. {8} And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.


Since the nation of Israel was born, God had always been their protector. (Psa 121:4 KJV) Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. Now when David took the census, it seemed he was now turning his faith from God to the size of his army. He was now beginning to place his trust in the military might of Israel instead of realizing that all the battles were won by the Lord. This may be the reason that David, through the Holy Spirit, penned the following words in Psalm 118:8-9, "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. {9} It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes."


When we look at the temptations which come into a believer's life and when we succumb to these temptations, they may seem trite in nature, but we do not realize that any such compromise with sin has dire consequences. David's census caused the death of 70,000 people. (1 Chr 21:14 KJV) So the LORD sent pestilence upon Israel: and there fell of Israel seventy thousand men. It is a grave mistake to believe that our sins do not affect others around us. Satan tries to get us to believe that our sin is private and only affects us, when the Bible states the contrary. When Jonah was fleeing from God's presence, didn't his disobedience affect the mariners? Did the ripple effect stop at the boat? The answer is no! Did you ever consider the cargo which was shipped by this boat and was lost overboard? There were people who lost money in both shipping cargo and there were those who lost by not receiving the cargo? The ripple effect of sin can be endless and is tragic.
4) Satan diverts our objectives
(Mat 16:22-24 KJV) Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. {23} But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. {24} Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
The Lord Jesus Christ had to go to the cross to pay for the sins of His people but here Peter in his non-understanding of God's salvation plan desired that the crucifixion of Christ not take place. Satan can get us to look at the immediate but not the big picture, which is a great tool of discouragement used many times on believers. The Lord Jesus knew the motives of Peter and His love for Him but yet saw that what Peter was saying was of Satan. If Christ did not go to the cross, then Satan's power would not have been broken and his doom would not have been made sure. Satan was defeated at the cross.


Satan loves to divert us from God's perspective back to a limited human perspective on any situation. Verse 24 speaks of denial of ourselves which is a precept totally foreign to human perspective. (Luke 9:53 KJV) And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus came down to earth for a specific purpose and He was not going to allow any diversion from that mission. Let us evaluate our own lives. How have we been diverted from the mission of sending forth the gospel to the world? What excuses do we use for not getting involved in some manner? Too much TV? Too much Sports? Too much Job? Too many secular family responsibilities? Simple Laziness? Letting someone else do it? Each Christian can do something because each one has at least one spiritual gift. The sending forth of the gospel is every true Christian's responsibility. If you are not involved in any phase of evangelism, then please e-mail me and tell me what your reason of existence is.
5) Changes times and gives extended time period fallacy
(Dan 7:25 KJV) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Up until 1830, Christ was returning on the last day and that would usher in eternity. The unsaved would then be judged and cast into Hell and the redeemed would go directly into Heaven. A woman named Margaret MacDonald in 1830, trance channeled the mythical two-stage appearance of Christ. Of course, theologians picked up on this and promulgated that doctrine throughout all Christendom without biblical basis for its existence. Now all judgments of God and prophetic happenings in the church are all looked at in terms of future and nothing is viewed in the present, which means the signs of the nearness of Christ's return are discounted for present time and are propelled into some future dispensation of time.


Now Christians do not have to get busy in evangelizing the world because if anyone misses the pre-trib rapture, they will have a whole 1,007 years to "accept Christ." Do you see what Satan has done to the timing and its effect on the great commission? Go to any pre-trib church and you will hear with great profundity this escapist doctrine. The Bible teaches that when Christ returns the next time, that will be the end of recorded history and then will come the judgment. Even though Satan has duped 95% of the Christians into believing pre-trib mythology, that has no effect on the true teachings of Scripture.


Let's bring this evil method into a personal arena. How many times have you said when asked to do something "I'll do it later" or "I'll get to it next week" when it is something which should be handled sooner. How do you know you will be able to do it next week? Many people die from curable diseases simply because they keep putting off going to a doctor or nutritionist. At what point is the dividing line between cure and incurable?
6) Satan mollifies the true gospel
(1 Th 2:5 KJV) For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of covetousness; God is witness:
If there is one thing which Satan has successfully done over the course of many years it is the mollifying or softening the intensity of the true gospel. The term "Thus saith the Lord" appears in the Old Testament 415 times. When was the last time you heard your pastor or TV/radio preacher use it to convict their hearers? The gospel which is preached today has become so innocuous that unbelievers can actually look forward to going to church since they will hear nothing that will cause them any reason to believe they are unsaved. The modern bible versions all read like story books so a person can come to church and hear a cute little narrative with the preacher giving the moral of the story and then we can all run back to our homes and watch sports. The word "flattery" in the above verse carries with it the meaning of "insincere speech with intent of manipulation." This is the only place in the New Testament the underlying Greek word is used.


Some time ago in an A&E interview, Robert Schuller says that he stopped calling himself a Christian and started calling himself a follower of Jesus. This is fine, after hearing his gospel, I doubt he ever was a Christian. Those who believe that God has softened his stance on sin should read passages like:


(2 Th 1:6-10 KJV) Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; {7} And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, {8} In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: {9} Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; {10} When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Satan has many methods to deceive anyone and everyone. He is a defeated foe and is not to be feared. Movies like The Exorcist portray Satan in an erroneous way. He is coming with deceptions and works through his people to attempt to accomplish his plans. His methods are cunning and many times mazelike so a person who is unsaved or a saved person who is biblically illiterate will fall for his schemes. When a situation arises which seems suspect, ask the question, is this of God or Satan? God uses situations to build His children, Satan uses evil to destroy his children. The best advice I can offer is to continue to be biblically astute and prayerful, then you will be able to identify the schemes of Satan.
(Rev 20:10 KJV) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.