On Memorial Day, every American should remember with great gratitude all that our armed services personnel have done for us throughout our country’s history. For Christians, this day provides a good opportunity for us to remember also the ultimate reason that we have to have such a day.
Satan’s Assault on Adam and Eve
Human sin, loss, sorrow and all other negative realities that we face continually had their beginning in the Garden of Eden when Satan assaulted the first humans, Adam and Eve (Gen. 3). Because they did not resist his assault, they forfeited many of the glorious privileges that God had blessed them with when He created them and put them there.
Satan’s Role in Cain’s Slaying Abel
Immediately after the account of the Fall of man (Genesis 3), we read of the first conflict between humans and its aftermath (Gen. 4:1-15). Cain slew his brother Abel “because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous” (1 John 3:12b-c).
Cain thus became the first human to murder another human, but it is a serious error to think that he did so only because he himself was an evil person. Rather, we must not fail to note the role that Satan had in Cain’s doing so—“Cain . . . was of that wicked one, and slew his brother” (1 John 3:12a).
As Jesus taught, Satan was “a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44), and we must keep in mind that he had a part in the first conflict between humans that led to one party’s slaying another.
Satan’s Role in the Slaying of Job’s Servants
At the prompting of God, and only with His permission, Satan assaulted Job fiercely (Job 1:1-19). His assault included the coming of Sabeans and Chaldeans to slay Job’s servants “with the edge of the sword” and to steal his oxen, asses, and camels (Job. 1:15, 17).
Satan, therefore, was behind the murderous actions of these humans who assaulted Job. As he was active in the mortal conflict between Cain and Abel, so Satan was active also in the armed conflicts that Job and his household experienced.
Satan’s Role in the Slaying of Jesus
Satan entered Judas (Luke 22:3; John 13:27) and energized him (John 13:2; cf. Eph. 2:2-3) to betray Jesus to those Jewish authorities who played leading roles in His being assaulted by armed men (Luke 22:52) and ultimately slain (Acts 3:15; 4:26; 5:30; 10:39). Satan preeminently displayed his murderous nature in his role in the crucifixion of Christ (cf. Rev. 12:4).
Satan’s Continuing Role in the Slaying of Multitudes of Believers
The NT repeatedly warns of Satan’s leading role in the conflicts that believers have experienced since the crucifixion of Christ (Eph. 6:11, 12, 16; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; Rev. 2:10, 13), including some being martyred (cf. Rev. 2:13). Satan will yet assault the world on an unprecedented scale, resulting in vast numbers of believers being martyred (Rev. 12:12-17; 13:7, 15).
Beginning with the first human conflict between Cain and Abel, and right up to this present day, Satan has played a leading role in the conflicts that God’s people have experienced. He has been responsible for the unrighteous slaying of multitudes of believers at the hands of other humans.
On this Memorial Day and hereafter, we, therefore, as Christians would do well to remember the ultimate reason we have to have a day like this—the horrific murderous assaults of the wicked one on all mankind, especially God’s people. Remembering his unceasing wicked assaults on the world, we should continually pray what Jesus taught us to pray: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever, Amen” (Matt. 6:13).
Let us also obey God’s commands to us concerning our putting on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) and pray for the soon return of our Lord: “’Surely I come quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).