Present Occupation of the Devil
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 11. We want to review the subject that we are discussing in this series of lessons. You will remember that some weeks ago we began a discussion of the Devil, his origin, his work, and his ultimate destiny.

We have already considered what we refer to as the pre-historic existence of the Devil, before he sinned and after he sinned. In chapter 28 of the book of Ezekiel, we have presented to us the story of the pre-historic existence of the Devil while he was yet in Heaven. We discovered from our study of that portion of the Word of God that the Devil had a threefold office. He was the anointed cherub that covereth, which means that he had a special duty in relation to the throne of God in the mountain of God.

Then we noticed that he was the leader of the angelic choir. When all the sons of God got together to sing, which they did on special occasions such as the creation of the earth, the choir sang, and Satan, the Devil, (Lucifer, as he was known then) led them in their singing.

Then we noticed that he was given a very special task upon the creation of the earth. That is, he was God's vice-regent upon the earth—God's representative on the pre-Adamic earth. He lived in the Garden of Eden, carrying on whatever government was necessary in relation to the pre-Adamic earth, described in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, verse 1, and Isaiah, chapter 24.

We learned when we looked at chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah, that while Satan was on the earth in the capacity of vice-regent, he became very much interested in everything that everyone had to say about him because they spent their time praising him and telling him how wonderful he was. They were saying to him in so many words that he ought not to be vice-regent of the earth. He ought to be in charge of things in Heaven. So, he aspired to be like the most-high God.

In the story that is recorded in chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah, he ascended up into the mountain of God and said, “I am going to be like God Himself,” and God said, “That is enough!” God cast him out of the mountain of God, down to the earth. When He did, this earth became the wreck and ruin that is described in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 2—such a wreck and ruin that it became necessary for God to re-create the earth completely.

The sentence that God passed upon the Devil for his sin was that he should roam up and down this present earth of ours without any certain dwelling place. He never got over his original aspirations to be like the most high God. From the day that he was cast down to the earth to roam this earth as some lost being, he has left no stone unturned to counterfeit the work of God and to do what he could do to hinder the work of God.

Devil Compared to a Serpent

We want to think about the present occupation of the Devil and about his present dwelling place upon this earth. There are many ways that this might be considered, but I believe that one of the most contracted ways, and perhaps one of the simplest ways, is to notice the names, titles, and synonyms of the Devil as they reveal his present occupation.

For that reason, I have asked you to turn to II Corinthians, chapter 11, where we find the comparison which reveals what the Devil is doing in the present hour. Will you notice verse 1, where the Apostle said:

II Corinthians 11:

1Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

We will stop our reading right there and notice the creature that is presented to us in verse 3—a serpent. We are told that as the serpent beguiled Eve in the Garden of Eden, there is danger of our being beguiled from the simplicity that is in Christ. We will not take the time to read it now because I think we are all fairly familiar with the story of what occurred in the Garden of Eden. You will remember that the Devil appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent, and he tempted Eve so that sin came upon the whole human race.

We recognize the first of three comparisons. The Devil is compared to a serpent who is subtle, who is wise, who is careful to lay down various things that will trick us in our onward march for Christ.

If you very carefully read the letter that is written to the Corinthians, you will find that the Devil was not tempting these individuals in relation to open acts of sin, as we think about them. He was tempting them to place in the forefront of their lives something other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The Devil, when he works with many of us, knows better than to try to tempt us into some terrible sin because many of us have had our fingers burned, so-to-speak, and we are wise to what is going on. So the Devil slips up on the blind side of us and causes us to doubt the authenticity of the Word of God as did Eve, and causes us to fail to remember the awfulness of sin in itself.

Will you turn with me to II Corinthians, chapter 2. You will notice in verse 11 that Paul is warning these Corinthian believers more specifically about the subtlety of Satan and about how easy it is for Satan to beguile us—that is, to soothe us into thinking that the thing we are doing is all right. Paul said:

II Corinthians 2:

11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

If you will take the time to read this whole chapter, you will find why Paul was saying this particular thing. There was a man among the believers in Corinth, according to chapter 1, who was living in an open act of sin. The Corinthian believers were very carnal. They said, “We are broad-minded. We should just welcome anyone, no matter what he does.”

Paul remonstrated with them about it. He said that a little leaven leaveneth the whole loaf, so they should do something about that man. They should warn him about his sin. They should withdraw fellowship from him because if they did not, the whole assembly would be permeated.

So these Corinthian believers, having received the first letter, did what Paul suggested. They told the man, “You just straighten up and get right, or we are not going to have any fellowship with you.” They withdrew fellowship from the man, and the Devil was momentarily defeated.

What could the Devil do? He was defeated at first, but then he thought, “Well, no, I can't tell them that what they have done is wrong. But I am not going to give up.” So he caused the pendulum to swing all the way over to the other side. He said, “You know, you did a good deed when you withheld fellowship from that fellow. Now, why don't you kick him while he is down? Why don't you step in his face? Why don't you make it awfully hard on him? If I were you, I would not ever have anything to do with him again.”

Word came to Paul about what was going on, and he wrote to them and said, “Now, look. That man has profited by his mistake. He has seen the error of his ways. Don't be mean to him any more. Welcome him back into your fellowship. Tell him that you forgive him. Encourage him in the way of the Lord.” Then he said, “I want you to do this, because if you don't, Satan is going to get an advantage of you, and we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Just as the serpent slips in and does his work before anyone knows he is around—and he doesn't make a lot of noise—the Devil beguiles us in this day in which we live to bring about our downfall. You had better watch out for snakes. They are everywhere around. The Devil will do all that he can to bring about your downfall in a quiet, rational sort of way. You know you do not need to be afraid of any animal that will let you know he is there. But you need to be afraid of the snake because you do not know he is around until after he strikes you. That is the way the Devil is. He beguiles you in the most rational things, and we need to remember he is there.

Devil Compared to a Roaring Lion

Turn with me to I Peter, chapter 5, for a drastic contrast in what we are thinking about. The Devil, in the Word of God, is not only compared to a quiet, slinking, slithering thing like a serpent. Of all things, almost paradoxically, he is compared to a roaring lion. In I Peter, chapter 5, verse 8, we read:

I Peter 5:

8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Because the roaring of the lion is so loud, we are apt to be more interested in the roaring than in what the roaring signifies. Actually, very literally rendered, this verse of Scripture says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion in fierce hunger, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

The thing that should hold our attention is not the noise that the Devil is making, but what the noise signifies. Whenever a lion roars, he is walking about roaring because his stomach is empty. He hasn't had anything to eat for a long time. He has to have food, and he is going to pounce upon the first thing that he sees. Naturalists tell us that you do not need to be afraid of a lion unless he is roaring. His roaring is an indication that he is hungry, and he is going to pounce upon the first thing that he sees.

The comparison that the Holy Spirit of God has been pleased to bring to our attention in relation to the Devil is not to call our attention to the noise that he makes, but to remind us that the Devil is out to get us. The Devil's purpose, and he is constantly on the alert, is to pounce upon the first thing that he sees to fill the hunger in his stomach.

The idea that people have that you don't need to be afraid of the Devil is certainly an idea that does not have its roots in Scripture. The Bible very plainly teaches that you need to be as afraid of the Devil as you would be of a lion that is hungry and ready to eat the first thing that he sees. The Devil is going about all the time looking for something to gobble up.

That is the reason we are told in this verse of Scripture to be sober, to be vigilant, to keep our eyes open. If you don't, this roaring lion may pounce upon you and gobble you up, figuratively speaking.

I would like to remind you that none of us should think even for a moment that we are not fit food for the Devil. We are. We would make a luscious bite for him, and that is the reason we need to be on our guard. That is the reason you need not think, even for a moment, that you or your children are safe. You are not. There is a wild lion loose, and he is ready to gobble you up if he has even the faintest chance. The Devil is fiercely hungry for the souls and lives of people.

Devil Compared to a Dragon

Turn, please, to Revelation, chapter 12. Here we have presented to us another comparison of the Devil, and that is that the Devil is compared to a dragon. We are not going to read this whole chapter because there are many things in it that would need discussion, and that would give us cause to digress from our original subject. Notice in verse 9:

Revelation 12:

9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Notice in verse 9 that the great dragon was cast out. Who was the great dragon? He was the old serpent who is called the Devil.

I do not imagine that many of you in your travels among the zoos of this country or in any other parts of the world have ever seen a dragon. It is a well recognized fact that there is no such animal as a dragon. A dragon is a mythical character or a mythical animal character. You say, “Why, then, is the Devil compared with a dragon if there is no such thing as a dragon?” He is compared with a dragon because of what a dragon represents.

If you will take the time to read chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, you will find presented to you a picture of a mother who is about to give birth to a child. The dragon is crouched in front of this mother waiting for the child to be born, and as soon as the child is born, the dragon is going to pounce upon the child. But the child is miraculously delivered so the dragon cannot have his way and his will. That gives us an illustration of what the Devil does today.

The Greek word from which we get our English word dragon is a word that could just as well be translated “fascinator.” It is a word that comes from the word see , with the idea of seeing something that fascinates you.

You have all read, I am sure, the story of serpents or snakes which can fascinate a bird as it sits in a tree so that the bird is absolutely helpless to fly away. The serpent keeps staring at him, and eventually the bird weakens and falls where the serpent can get it. That is the picture that you have in this one word dragon .

The Devil is a fascinator. He hypnotizes those who are attracted by him. He will stare, figuratively speaking, at an individual to the extent that the individual is hypnotized by the Devil and is in his power and absolutely helpless.

As a serpent, he beguiles. As a lion, he devours. As a dragon, he fascinates to where we are absolutely in his power. The only explanation that we can have for some people doing what they do is that they are hypnotized by the Devil. In this day and time, we hear a lot about hypnotism, and we do not doubt that there is such a thing. And we do not doubt that it is effective.

The Devil is the greatest hypnotist of all time. That is the reason I think Christians should be very, very careful about any relationship to hypnotism of any kind. It was born in the pit, no matter how much good it may be used for at the present time. The Devil is able to hypnotize people to cause them to do the things that he wants them to do. Don't be blaming a lot of people for what they do. Don't criticize them. Pray for them. They have been fascinated by the Devil, and they are just as helpless as a person under a hypnotic spell.

These comparisons should help us to understand a little about what the Devil is doing at the present hour, as he is compared to a serpent, a lion, and a dragon.

Accuser of the Brethren

I would like for us to look at some of the things that the Devil is called. The Devil is called by three names that I want to suggest to you. One is found seventy-eight times in the Bible.

The first one that I want you to notice with me is found in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, verse 9:

Revelation 12:

9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:…

The first title that is given to this being whom we once knew as Lucifer, who has been referred to as the serpent, the lion, and the dragon—and perhaps the most familiar title—is the Devil. Devil means “accuser.” That is what it means. And that is one of the chief works of the Devil at this present time. He is the accuser of the brethren. You will notice in verse 10:

Revelation 12:

10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

The Devil is accusing you and me night and day before God. There is never a moment that he is not leveling some accusation against us.

When you have time, read the first chapter of the book of Job and the second chapter of the book of Zechariah. You will see immediately how it is that the Devil is accusing the brethren. The accuser of the brethren stands in the presence of God, and he levels his accusations against those of us who claim to know Christ. And he says terrible things about us.

The only thing in the world that we can do is to live quietly before the Lord as someone else intercedes in our behalf. In chapter 2 of the first epistle of John, we find that the Lord Jesus Christ is our advocate. The Devil is the accuser, and the Lord Jesus Christ is the advocate. And every time the Devil levels an accusation against us, the Lord Jesus Christ stands up and answers the accusation. That is the reason you must trust the Lord Jesus Christ completely and fully because you cannot answer these accusations yourself. It is a sad thing, and a thing that must make all of Heaven sad, that quite often the accusations which the Devil levels are true. He loves to tell God everything about us that is not as it should be.

You remember well the story of Job, I am sure. When God said to the Devil, “Have you thought about My servant Job when you thought about people who are not making a very good testimony for Me? Job is giving a good testimony. What about him?” The Devil accused him, and do you know what he said? He said, “God, Job does not really love You. He has done everything in the world that he has done for You because You are good to him. Why, everything that Job asks You for, You give him. Every good thing that could be done for him, You have done. He does not love You. If You took down the hedge that You have built around him, and You let some mean things happen to him, You would find out in half a minute that he does not care a thing in the world about You.”

God said to the Devil, “All right. You are the accuser. You are going to have to back up your word. I am going to take down the hedge that I have around Job. You do anything that you want to do to him. Now, do not kill him. You cannot do that. You can do anything else you want to, but do not kill him. I know Job, and he is still going to love Me, and he is still going to serve Me, no matter what you do to him.” The whole book of Job is based upon the accusations which the Devil made against Job, and which the Devil tried to fulfill in causing Job to deny the Lord.

Beloved, some of the things that happen in your life and mine can find their explanation in this very thing that the Devil is doing today—accusing the brethren.

Adversary of the Children of God

You will notice in chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, verse 9, another name of this person about whom we are speaking:

Revelation 12:

9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world:…

Sometimes we refer to this individual as the Devil, which means “the accuser.” And sometimes we refer to him as Satan. The word Satan means “adversary.” Sometimes you hear of him referred to as adversary, and you could substitute the word Satan , because that is what the word means. The devil is called Satan because he is the adversary of the children of God.

What does the word adversary mean? It means “one who hinders.” The Devil is always throwing a monkey wrench into the machinery. The Devil is always putting a stumbling block in our way. The Devil is always doing everything he can to hinder us.

When you can, read chapter 2 of I Thessalonians. In verse 18 of that chapter, you will find that the Apostle Paul tells the Thessalonican believers, “I wanted to come to see you. I packed my grip, bought my ticket, and was all ready to come, but I couldn't. Do you know why I couldn't come? Well, some of you said it was because I did not want to come to you, that I did not really care about you. You said that I was not really interested in you. But do you know why I did not come? Satan hindered me. The adversary stood in the way, and he hindered me. He kept me from doing the thing that I wanted to do.”

Let us recognize that not all of the doors that are closed are closed by God. Let us recognize that the Devil can close doors. Let us recognize that God does not order all the failures in our lives. Sometimes the Devil puts a stumbling block in our way, and we stumble over the thing that he puts there. And we are a failure because the Devil, our adversary, is going about doing everything he can to hinder us, and to keep us from going on with God.

The Fowler

Will you turn with me now to the Old Testament, Psalm 91. This Psalm is a Psalm of great promise of what God is able to do for those who learn the secret of abiding. In verse 1, we read:

Psalms 91:

1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

That is as far as we are going to read. Will you notice verse 3:

Psalms 91:

3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler,…

Do you know who the fowler is here? The Devil. That is another name for the Devil. He is called Satan. He is called the Devil. He is called the fowler. God in His grace has promised that He will deliver us from the snare of the fowler. If we did not have this Old Testament passage of Scripture, there are some New Testament passages of Scripture that we could not readily understand.

Will you turn with me, please, to Paul's first letter to Timothy, where Paul is giving Timothy some very important advice concerning the conduct of his ministry in the place where he was pastoring. He was telling him what kind of men to appoint to leadership in the fellowship there. In chapter 3, there is presented what we commonly refer to as the requirement for a bishop or an elder. A bishop and elder are the same thing in the New Testament. Notice verse 7:

I Timothy 3:

7Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

The snare of the adversary. You see, the fowler lays out snares, and you and I must be very careful that we do not fall into those snares. You know that a snare is a trap that you do not see until after you have gotten into it. It is hidden in some way so that you do not even see it until you put your foot into it. It snaps shut, and up you go. That is the way the Devil tricks us.

If the Devil stood with a big, red flag saying to people today, “Don't do what you are about to do because if you do, you are going to get into trouble,” you would never do it. Do you know what he does? He lays the snare. He covers it over with leaves. And you don't know a thing in the world about it until you have been taken captive.

Will you notice in this passage of Scripture the snare in relation to your testimony? The Devil has snared more of God's children through careless testimony than he has in any other way. When you begin to become careless in the way that you live and in the testimony you are presenting, you are stepping on the leaves that cover the snare. You are going to be snared by the fowler if you don't become more careful. Will you notice II Timothy, chapter 2, verse 24:

II Timothy 2:

24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

Will you notice that last verse:

II Timothy 2:

26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

There are people everywhere who have been taken captive by the Devil at his will. He decides whom he is going to ensnare. He decides whom he is going to lay a trap for, and he takes them captive. Only by patience on the part of those who are yet free are they able to deliver themselves from the snares of the fowler.

I am not psychic, and I have no way of knowing the future, but I would not be at all surprised but that the Devil has laid a snare for some of you this week. Perhaps even for me. He has laid the snare. He has laid it to trip us up, and we had better be sure that we tread sure-footedly, for he certainly will ensnare us in the trap that he has laid for us.

The God of This Age

Turn in your Bibles, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 4, as I suggest to you the last title by which the Devil is known in the Bible. We read from verse 1:

II Corinthians 4:

1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Note particularly this verse:

II Corinthians 4:

4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The Devil in this verse of Scripture is called “the god of this world.” It is more accurately rendered, “the god of this age.” The Devil is the god of this age. He is the one who is worshipped.

And what is the Devil doing with unsaved people? He is blinding their eyes, and he is blinding their minds. Why? Because he doesn't want the “light of the glorious gospel of Christ” to shine through to them.

Beloved, this consensus that it is easy for people to be saved is not borne out in the Word of God. The Devil is blinding the eyes of unsaved people all the time. He blinds them in many, many different ways. He holds before them the enormous light of this age, so that they will not realize the tremendous truth of the gospel. That is the reason we need to be very much in prayer to combat the powers of the Devil.


We want to remind you that the Devil is not sitting on a throne in Hell, laughing in hellish glee every time someone comes to Hell. The Devil is walking up and down throughout this earth, doing everything he can to hinder the cause of Christ. You had better look out for him because you are going to have trouble with him. The more you do for God, the more trouble you will have from the Devil. If he can deal you one knock-out blow that will put you out of the running, then he is not going to bother you further. If you go around saying that you do not have very much trouble with the Devil, that is a pretty good indication that he is not very much concerned with you, or with what you do. If you try to do very much for God, you had better look out for him.

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