In the ’60’s, there was a cartoon series created by Jim Ward that chronicled the villanies of Snidely Whiplash in Dudley Do-Right of the Mounties. He is a stereotypical villain with a tall black top hat and cape and a long nose and mustache. He tries everything he can to get rid of Dudley Do-Right, the man who can do no wrong, and foil the Mounties, usually smuggling things across the border, kidnapping Nell Fenwick, or trying to take over the Mountie’s post. Snidely knows he is a villain and takes pride in it. Will Canada ever be safe? How many damsels can you tie onto a train track? In a great parody of silent films, Snidely took enjoyment by tying ladies (mainly Nell) to railways and let them sit. Luckily his plans were always foiled by some way or another by the good-doer, Dudley DoDo-Right. Evil would triumph for a while, but good would always win out in the end.
While all the characters in these cartoons were caricatures, much of what it portrays pertains to our world today. Just as Snidely was proud of his evil, so too, is Satan, who fell from grace because of pride. How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star (Lucifer), son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14) Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels. (Revelation 12:7-9)
So, what? This is very ancient history. Where was Satan during Jesus’ time? Matthew tells the story in Matthew 4:1-11. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1) The devil tempted Him three separate times. Each time Jesus refused the temptation by quoting Scripture. Then the devil left Him and angels came and attended Him. (Matthew 4:11) Jesus himself was accused of being associated with Satan. But some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” (Luke 11:15)
So why do so many question the existence of Satan and believe in the power of humanitarianism–the inherent good in mankind? But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. (II Corinthians 11:14-15) For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
So what should we do in today’s world? Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8) And remember, the story of Satan has an ending: Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while. (Revelation 20:1-4) But in the end, absolute good will triumph over absolute evil. Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10) And God will reign forever more.