This review appeared in the Jan-Mar 2013 vol. 170 no. 1 issue of Biblotheca Sacra, DTS’s quarterly academic journal.Subscribe Today
The Devil Is in the DetailsCrossBooks Publishing, Bloomington, IN March 15, 2010
“Knowing your enemy is an ingredient in any battle strategy. The more you know about the enemy, the better you are prepared to expect certain actions and anticipate certain measures. This book is being written to examine Scripture and see what it says about the greatest enemy of God and of man, Satan” (p. xi). In this way the author begins his introduction to this book on Satan.
Presenting a thorough discussion of Satan, the book begins by discussing the existence of angels, one of whom was Satan who fell from his lofty position in heaven. After discussing Isaiah 14:12–15 and Ezekiel 28:11–17, Kissinger concludes that these passages, especially the latter, describe the fall not of a human being but of “Lucifer,” the Latin term for the Hebrew lleyhe, “light bearer, morning star,” who desired to be like God and whose pride led to his downfall.
Kessinger suggests that “the sons of God” in Genesis 6 were not unfallen angels who cohabited with women, but were demons, that is, angels who fell with Satan (pp. 31, 50). “These once-holy angels [are] cursed and destined for hell [and are] waging war against God through man” (p. 43). The children of this union “were truly human and not some bizarre half-human, half-spirit offspring. They were under the influential control of the fallen angels” (p. 50).
In chapter 5 Kessinger discusses Lot, who remained “in a culture that was obviously hostile to his core values” (p. 72). Chapter 6 discusses Satan’s accusations against Job and Job’s consequent physical and emotional pain. Chapter 7 discusses the names of Satan, Belial, Beelzebub, which were given to this ruler of demons.
Chapter 8 considers in detail eleven activities of demons, revealed in the Gospels and Acts (pp. 104–7). Then the author discusses additional facts about demons, recorded in the New Testament epistles (pp. 108–15). Twelve passages in Revelation reveal Satan’s activities in the tribulation.
Kessinger suggests that the battle of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel 38–39 will begin at the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation and will be a battle that will last for three and a half years. He then adds that the battle of Gog and Magog will culminate “in the Valley of Jezreel, more often referred to as Armageddon” (p. 150).
The beast from the sea (Rev. 13:1–7) is the Antichrist, who will be assisted by the beast from the earth, the false prophet (Rev. 13:12–16). Chapter 11 discusses death, in which the body is separated from the soul, and the place of the dead is sheol, hades, and hell.
Kessinger’s chapter 12 discusses at length “the top ten list of evil,” which includes secular humanism, universalism, “half a gospel” (by which he means “an undue reliance on the love of God or . . . an unrealistic dependence on the ability of man to follow the law,” p. 188), astrology (which, he says, is “a system of divination”), prosperity gospel, a low view of God, denial of the deity of Christ, false teachers, replacement theology, and a low view of Scripture.
Chapter 13, “The Personality of Evil,” discusses Satan’s attitudes and actions and the believer’s defense against Satan in Ephesians 6:11–17. The final chapter briefly considers the extinction of evil, when Satan and his cohorts will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10) and the final enemy, death, will be defeated.
This book, which can guide believers in understanding the spiritual battle they face against their enemy, Satan, will be useful for pastors and laypersons alike.
—Roy B. Zuck