There is something funny in scripture that I’ve noticed. I do not think it gets enough attention. We all know that God is good and powerful and mighty and victorious, etc. etc. But I’ve noticed that God is also quite a show off. This is particularly reflected in the following passage from 1 Corinthians:
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
For example, this is why the Lord directed Gideon to conquer the Midianites — who were “like locusts in their number” — with only 300 soldiers. To show off even more, God directed the chosen Israelites to wielded torches and horns — not swords — to accomplish it. Why? So that no human being might boast in the presence of God. Instead,
as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31)
But I’m not talking about winning battles. Instead, I’m talking about something much stranger. This post discusses four instances where God uses people to spread his message and “prophesy” on his behalf. But in the end, it involves God’s utter and COMPLETE victory over Satan and his works.
The strange part is how God accomplishes his purposes by people who do not even know what they are doing. But it’s even crazier than that. It involves not only people who are ignorant of what they are doing. Instead, God uses people who are trying to accomplish LITERALLY THE OPPOSITE of what God ends up making them do.
It becomes absolutely spectacular when you start to notice it. So let’s get started.
Example 1: The Prophesy of Caiaphas
The first example is most obvious. It is explicitly described as God causing someone to prophesy, even though they do not know they are prophesying:
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, “What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.” He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. (John 11:45-52)
That’s some next-level stuff. John notes that Caiaphas THINKS that he is giving a good reason to kill Jesus to save the Jewish nation from the Romans. What he does not realize is that he is ACTUALLY saying that Jesus would be a sacrifice to save all the children of God, both Jew and Gentiles, from the wrath and judgment of God.
Example 2: The First Prophesy of the Jews
The next instance also involves Caiaphas, but also includes many other leading Jews who were seeking a reason to kill Jesus. Look at what John indicates about what they were saying:
Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” (John 18:28-30)
This is part 1 of the Prophesy of the Jews, and you might not have caught what’s so funny here. Let me explain. Notice how the Jews are saying that IF Jesus was not doing anything wrong, THEN they would not be bringing Jesus to Pilate. This was their opening argument to Pilate that Jesus deserved death.
What’s funny about this is that THIS STATEMENT IS ACTUALLY TRUE. We know that Jesus did NOT do anything wrong. But if you are reading the gospel of John, you can also notice that it is NOT THE JEWS who are brining Jesus to Pilate. Notice what Jesus said earlier in the book of John:
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. (John 10:17-18)
The Jews think that they are giving a persuasive opening statement about why they should be allowed to kill Jesus. Actually, they are correctly stating that it is Jesus who is taking the action, not them.
Example 3: The Second Prophesy of the Jews
The next instance of God making people say things that they don’t know that they’re saying is in the same passage. It happens in the next verses:
Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. (John 18:31-32)
What is funny here is that the Jews actually DO have the authority to kill Jesus, but only by certain means. For instance, note that without much Roman objection, the Jews pick up stones to STONE Jesus (which is the penalty for blasphemy) in two places in the book of John, and the Jews actually do this to Stephen in the book of Acts:
So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. (John 8:59)
The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. (John 10:31)
Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. (Acts 7:51)
Note that there is no objection from the priests or the Romans. So what do the Jews mean when they say this to Caesar? It means two things. First, the Jews want Jesus to die by CRUCIFIXION, not by stoning. What is the significance of this? Well, look what Jesus told his disciples privately beforehand:
And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” (Matthew 20:17-19)
This is something that Jesus had even vaguely referenced tot he same people who were trying to kill him now much earlier in the gospel of John:
Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. (John 12:30-32)
But they did not understand this at that time. John as a narrator has to point it out to us. That is the first way that the Jews are accomplishing Jesus’s purposes without them knowing it. The MANNER in which he was going to die was BY CRUCIFIXION. This type of death was uniquely Roman and something only the Romans could do.
The second way the Jews accomplish Jesus’s purposes is a bit more literal. Notice what we read in the Old Testament law:
Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked. (Exodus 23:7)
False charges? Innocent? Righteous? Sounds like the Jews and Jesus to me. This is how the makes people prophesy without them knowing what they’re doing. They THINK that they’re telling Pilate that it is not lawful for Jesus to die by crucifixion. Instead, what they are ACTUALLY doing is prophesying that IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR THEM TO KILL JESUS.
Example 4: The Prophesy of Those Mocking the Christians at Pentecost
The next example of God using people to prophesy without them knowing comes in Acts 2:
Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day
So, this is a very familiar story where the Holy Spirit descends on the church at Pentecost. But notice the insult of those who are mocking them. They claim that these individuals are drunk, and filled with “new wine.” The Greek word is Γλεύκους (Gleukous), and there is something VERY FUNNY about this word.
The Greek word Gleukous is where we get our modern word “glucose,” which as diabetics know is the word for “sugar,” and that’s why in Greek, it means one of two things:
Akin to glukus; sweet wine, i.e. (properly) must (fresh juice), but used of the more saccharine (and therefore highly inebriating) fermented wine — new wine. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, 1098)
Therefore, we see the word can mean simple and “un-fermented grape juice.” In other words, this is the sweet form of grape juice that has no alcoholic content whatsoever. On the other hand, this word can mean a very sweet wine that is EXTRA alcoholic in its content.
As is clear from the “mocking” designation and the defense that these men were not drunk because it was only 9:00am (apparently, brunch and bottomless mimosas were not a thing at this time), we can see that the mockers had a very specific joke in mind. They are claiming that the church is drunk on “very sweet and fermented wine.” In other words, these men are not drunk on something manly like scotch or beer or some sophisticated and dry wine. Instead, they are drinking GIRLY drinks like long-island iced-teas, like little GIRLS! Haha! What a bunch of ridiculous people, right? That’s what the mockers THINK that they are saying.
But remember, this is the arrival of the Holy Spirit. Have we seen “wine” mentioned anywhere else by Jesus? In fact, we have. There is something NEW going on in the Church. The writer of Hebrews states as much when he says the following:
For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. (Hebrews 7:12)
Jesus is the new high priest, and Jesus himself speaks of this change when he is told why his disciples do not fast. Notice what he describes this new change in the law:
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:14-17)
The Church is the NEW WINE of the NEW COVENANT.
But wait, there’s more. Notice how the word has two different meanings. One meaning is for something that is not inebriating at all. The other meaning is for something that is EXTRA-inebriating.
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:17-18)
This is what is so crazy about the insult. The mockers THINK that they are making a funny joke about people being drunk on girly drinks, but they are ACTUALLY prophesying that the church is now FILLED with the NEW WINE of the HOLY SPIRIT.
Example 5: The COMPLETE Defeat of Satan Through the Work of Christ
It’s one thing for God to mess with small and weak human beings, pulling them like puppets to accomplish his purposes. But what about mighty supernatural beings that are supernatural dragons, ruling entire planets? Yes, we have even that, too. This victory of Christ over Satan is the craziest example, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. But it’s hard to miss the fact of the matter. It involves knowledge, nature, life, and death.
Knowledge in Christ
And look again at how Paul describes Christ’s work as it involves seeing Christ and seeing ourselves:
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:8-12)
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:12-18)
Notice that we know both ourselves in our current state and Christ because the veil has been lifted, and we can behold the glory of the Lord. That is what Christ did.
Our Nature in Christ
In the passage above, we can also see how we are “transformed into the same image from one DEGREE of glory to another.” In other words, we become MORE glorified than we were before. This idea is explained by Peter, too:
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Do you see that? Partakers in the “divine nature”? That is a very big deal. As John states in his letter:
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
The “stuff” that God is made of somehow becomes the “stuff” that we have access to because of Christ. That is how we become God’s children. That is what Christ did.
Our Life in Christ
We also see the work of Christ in his life:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
So before, we were spiritually dead — not all dead, but mostly dead, and on our way to full death — in our trespasses and sins. But we were MADE ALIVE together with Christ. Not only that, we were seated with Christ in the heavenly places. That is the work of Christ.
Our “Death” that is Actually “Life”
Notice how our “Death” is treated because of the work of Christ. It is not a death at all:
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)
That is the work and victory of Jesus Christ
How Complete is Satan’s Defeat?
Now, that’s a lot of (seemingly) random stuff about the work of Christ, but what does it have to do with a “prophesy” of Satan? Well, I’ll tell you. We know that Satan is the “father of lies”:
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
And this same Satan, who is called the devil, is the liar that will be defeated by Christ:
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (Romans 16:20)
And we also know that God will crush not only Satan but the works of Satan, too:
Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
And here’s why this is so important. I want to ask a question. Exactly how THOROUGH will Christ’s destruction of Satan and his works be? How COMPLETE will Christ’s victory be? Not only that, how much BRAVADO will Christ have in his defeat over Satan? This is how complete I’ve found it to be. Notice the FIRST LIE that Satan tells, the same Satan who has been “MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING”:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
Satan’s first lies are to to assure Eve the following:
- She will not surely die.
- Her eyes will be opened.
- She will know good and evil.
- She will become like God.
In light of the work of Christ, which one of those lies of Satan REMAINS FALSE after the work of Christ? Answer:
NONE OF THEM
So how complete is Christ’s victory over his enemies?
- Those who sought to kill him prophesied on his behalf,
- Those who sought to mock his church proclaimed its power, and
- The work of Christ caused the Father of Lies NOT ONLY TO FAIL, but to PROPHESY ABOUT THE VICTORY OF CHRIST, right down to the FIRST WORDS HE EVER SPOKE IN REBELLION AGAINST HEAVEN.
THAT is how complete Christ’s victory will be.