How Does Satan Work?

Q. In the recent post “Satan’s Greatest Defeat,” 1 Cor. 2:6-8 seems to indicate that Satan and his minions were behind the crucifixion of the Lord. How do you think he goes about making his plans happen? Is it mind control of some sort? I know that God is actually in control and uses Satan to accomplish His plans, but am uncertain just how Satan works and what powers he has over people.

A. Satan is not able to control the minds of men directly. But by planting a series of ideas at the threshold of man’s mind he can let man’s sin nature pick up the ideas and use them as if they were his own. Over a period of time Satan can influence man’s actions by influencing the direction of his thoughts. Believers can torpedo this process at any time by applying 2 Cor. 10:3-5, but unbelievers have no such ability.

In the matter of the crucifixion of Jesus, this had been decided between the Father and the Son before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:18-20). Hundreds of prophecies dating back to the fall of man explain this in great detail.

God had kept Satan in the dark about what the crucifixion would accomplish. In this way He was able to trick Satan into believing that by getting Israel to orchestrate the Lord’s death, he would achieve a great victory against God. When it was too late to do anything about it, Satan discovered that he had done exactly what God wanted. Had Satan undeestood God’s plan ahead of time, he would have tried to oppose the crucifixion as Paul said in 1 Cor. 2:6-8.

The tragedy for Israel is that by rejecting the Messiah, they were in effect refusing to let His death pay for their sins, making it meaningless to them. So they helped God accomplish His plan, but received none of the benefit it was meant to bring them. God knew this would happen too, and that it would open the door to salvation for countless millions of Gentiles. The result is that the Kingdom that God promised to Israel has been delayed for nearly 2,000 years.

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