In Part 1 and Part 2 of this 3-Part series on how Satan casts out Satan, we learned that Satan uses violent religion to attack and kill the messengers of God, and thus, appear to be “casting out Satan” while in reality, he is only solidifying his own power and influence in the world.
In this post, we see how Jesus used this ploy of Satan to truly cast out Satan.
Satan Cast out Satan
In killing Jesus, Satan cast out Satan for real and his kingdom crumbled around him in ashes and ruin. The great victory of the cross is that in killing Jesus, Satan unwittingly handed the dominion over the earth back to Jesus.
In seeking to prey upon Jesus, Satan had fallen prey to the “deep magic” which C. S. Lewis writes about in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. By refusing to retaliate, by refusing to resort to redemptive violence, by refusing to play the devil’s game, Jesus beat the devil at his own game and revealed Satan’s scheme to the entire world. Jesus showed that there is no power in violence, but only more slavery.
True power and true victory lie in love for your enemies, in self-sacrificial service, in infinite forgiveness, and in bearing sin and shame for the sake of others.
As Jesus shuddered and died, Satan watched in horror as his death blow upon Jesus also caused his own kingdom to collapse and crumble. All of Satan’s power and Satan’s lies fell to dust and ashes.
With the death and resurrection of Jesus, a new green shoot of a new Kingdom sprouted up from the midst of the ashes of Satan’s kingdom, and has been growing ever since, even to this very day. This new Kingdom is the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom built upon forgiveness and mercy, grace and generosity, love and kindness, rather than a kingdom built upon blame, victimization, persecution, and violence toward others for selfish gain.
The Defeat of Satan in the Death of Jesus
The beauty and majesty of the cross is that just when Satan thought he had won his greatest victory, it is exactly then, as the last breath escaped from the lips of Jesus, that Satan realized to his complete horror what he had done. Satan had truly cast out Satan.
Though with every previous charade, Satan had erected a false Satan and then used society, culture, government, and religion to “cast out Satan,” when Satan turned that same ploy upon Jesus, it truly was Satan himself who got cast out, and as a result, his kingdom crumbled. “Christ’s death represents the loss of Satan’s kingdom: the Satanic circle is broken, and the truth and grace of Jesus can now descend on those who are not afraid of accepting it” (Girard, The One by Whom Scandal Comes, 62, cf. also p. 40, 53 ).
Up until the crucifixion of Jesus, and even in the minds of most today, humanity believed the essential lie of the devil, that if someone was attacking you, you attack back. If someone was threatening you, you strike first and strike hard.
But Jesus did none of these things. He did not defend Himself. He raised no objection. He brought forth no weapon. He did not resort to violence or to blame in the least little way. He died.
But most shockingly of all, in dying, Jesus won!
In this way, Jesus revealed the emptiness of Satan’s power, the futility of Satan’s lies, and the falseness of his claims. By killing Jesus, Satan cast out Satan, and his power over the earth was seen to be no power at all.
Jesus launched a full-out assault on the gates of hell and prevailed against them by dying at hell’s door. But much to hell’s surprise, when they opened their doors to drag his body in so that they might parade it through their bloody streets, Jesus rode through the wide-open gates as a victor over a defeated city. His robe, stained in His own blood, swept through the streets, and washed them white as snow.
Jesus died at hell’s gates so that He might ride through them in victory.
The poor were given good news, the brokenhearted were given hope, the captives were set free, the blind were restored their sight, and the oppressed were granted liberty. The first year of God’s favor had begun. “Mankind, thanks to the Cross, for the first time in its history, is no longer in bondage to Satan” (Girard, The Girard Reader, 206).
This again shows why God allows humanity to blame Him for the violence of the world. Throughout the ages, Satan thought that by turning God into a devil, Satan was defeating God. But on the cross, God finally revealed what had truly been going on all along. It was so that He could defeat sin, death, and devil by taking all the violence upon Himself without retaliating in any way, but forgiving and reconciling instead, thus showing the powerlessness and emptiness of the way of violence.How can a God who says "Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44) be the same God who instructs His people in the Old Testament to kill their enemies?
These are the sorts of questions we discuss and (try to) answer in my online discipleship group. Members of the group can also take ALL of my online courses (Valued at over $1000) at no charge. Learn more here: Join the RedeemingGod.com Discipleship Group I can't wait to hear what you have to say, and how we can help you better understand God and learn to live like Him in this world!
J. Valenzuela says
A film from the perspective of Satan with this story line, from the beginning to Jesus, would be a remarkably great movie. I can imagine it all especially the realization of what he did when Jesus was dying.
Jeremy, something you haven’t touched on in these posts is the mechanism for how Jesus defeated Satan… how, why, did Jesus’ death (and I feel that I have a grasp on why and I understand the reference to the deeper magic) cause the destruction of Satan’s kingdom, why did that give dominion of the Earth back to Jesus?
Jeremy Myers says
That would be a great movie (though probably much condemned by Christians… ha!). I need to think more on the mechanism you talk about. I think I understand your question, and am not sure I have a good answer right now.
Pastor Dan Watson says
Satan didn’t give the dominion of the earth back to Jesus in dying on the cross. Satan is still very much in control of the powers of this world and of those who do not believe.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The dominion of sin and death was conquered in the hearts of those that believe. [cf. Rom. 5:12-21].
Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
I agree with a caveat. At the second coming Jesus will definitely use violence. I dont believe violence or lack of violence is the real issue. JUSTICE is the issue. Jesus paid the price for us. He could have not done so. It was His choice and it WAS VIOLENT. His death was wholly VIOLENT. It was the Just dying for the unjust. Violence is relative to context. As a man who would be encountered with another man holding a knife to his wifes throat and him aiming and shooting the perpetrator dead- the violence was only a means to justice. My son served three tours in Iraq and he stated to me he now knew that there were times violence was necessary to preserve liberty and freedom.
Jeremy Myers says
I will write a lot more about the book of Revelation in the future. I do not think that Jesus will return with violence.
Mark R says
I believe He will against His enemies. How else would He defeat them-(I suppose He could use any method He liked-but scripture is pretty clear to me)? Are you a pacifist? Don’t mean to be provocative but I am catching a degree of pacifism in your words and tone. Revelation 19:11-16 would seem to clearly indicate it will not be pleasant for unbelievers and of course Satan himself. Anyway Jeremy I must say your words disturb me. Thanks for hearing me out.
Jeremy Myers says
I am not a pacifist (I’m not courageous enough), but why is it more disturbing to say that Jesus will not use violence toward His foes than to say that He will? Especially when He told us to love our enemies? Isn’t a violent approach more disturbing? There are ways to “defeat” enemies that do not involve violence.
Powerful post! Your posts on God not bring violent have really touched me and opened my eyes!
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks, there are a lot more coming! This is going to be a LONG series.
Mark R says
Violent- 1 : marked by extreme force or sudden intense activity.
Second even when you looked up the Definition of violence at M-W.com, did you over look the 3 definition?
3 a : intense, turbulent, or furious and often destructive action or force b : vehement feeling or expression c : a clashing or jarring quality :
This was a violent action.’
Matthew 21:12-13 (New American Standard Bible)
Mark R says
Thanks for the response to me Jeremy. I suppose you could be right. I just don’t see it in the text. Please don’t get me wrong- I am not pro violence. I however see the evidence in scripture that the fate of those who reject and deny Christ during the tribulation are faced with violence- AM I WRONG IN READING THIS? I cant see how. Violence isn’t appealing- but neither is rejection of Gods Son. It just seems to me a fair reading of the scripture indicates violence is utilized.
Jeremy Myers says
I suppose some of it depends on how you define violence. I am primarily thinking of bloodshed and death. As to Revelation, I am still trying to come to grips with that myself and will write more about Revelation near the end of this current series.
Rudransh Saraf says
Jeremy the name of the film is: Son of God”
Howard E Chinn says
I personally have a hard time believing that self defense is not a God given right? What it sounds like to me is Christianity is always sought a cheap why to heaven called martyrdom?
Most early Christian accepted the idea that we all sin. But then they took it to far in believing the way to avoid sin was to seek martyrdom. In fact early Christians sought it out. Eventually, this was called suicide by the church.
In some ways, early Christians remind me of Islamic terrorist today.
To which I think we have made a mess of things.
Mi, a name I call myself says
You said that, “Christ’s death represents the loss of Satan’s kingdom:” That is incorrect. The ruler of this world, the Prince of this world, according to Christ and Paul, is still Satan.
Three times Jesus referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Other passages of Scripture call Satan “the god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4),and “that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).
Christ breaks through the lies by the Power of His Word, as He is the Word made flesh. We STILL have zero power over sin without Christ’s grace and salvation.