The word enemy is used in different contexts in the Bible. In the Old Testament, lots of wars were fought and anyone whom Israel was fighting with was considered an enemy. However, the phrase enemy of God may have different connotations. So, what does the enemy of God really mean?
Satan is the main enemy of God. In fact, the Bible calls him the enemy (Luke 10:19) and he lives up to the name right from Genesis when he tempted Adama and Eve. But the Bible also associates sin with enmity with God. this means that when you choose a life of sin, you have chosen to be an enemy of God. Simply put, an action/person who acts contrary to the Bible’s teachings and commandments can be considered an enemy of God.
Before a person accepts Jesus as their savior or becomes born again, they are living in sin and opposition to God. Additionally, engaging in sinful tendencies, driven by the flesh, creates resistance to God’s transformative work in their lives (Romans 8:7). It also causes a division between God and them and since God is holy, He cannot associate with or accept sin (Isaiah 59:2).
Furthermore, sin causes us to fall short of God’s glory and rebel against His will. This rebellion is a form of opposition to God’s righteousness and establishes enmity with God (Romans 3:23).
Romans 1: 18-32 points to what is considered an enemy of God. When we are in sin, our spiritual life is dead, and we are separated from God. But He doesn’t intend to leave us there because we are His creation. So, even when we are dead because of our sins, there’s still a chance of redemption because God gave us life when He raised Jesus from the dead.
A Sinful Flesh Is An Enemy Of God
Humans’ natural sinful state disobeys the teaching of God, which makes them an enemy of God. In fact, the flesh can be considered naturally sinful and, by default, an enemy of God. Our Lord saw this fault and knew the flesh is weak and likely to be tempted. That’s why He directed us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” However, we can take comfort in the fact that the Son of God died on the cross for our sins, and even though we were enemies, through His death we have been reconciled to God (Romans 5:10).
Humans opposed the Son of God from the time he was born. King Herod tried to kill Him and failed (Matthew 2:13), and Judas Iscariot betrayed Him for a few pieces of silver. In the New Testament, Jewish leaders plotted numerous times to kill Jesus (Matthew 12:14; 27:1; Mark 3:6). In fact, the book of John mentions several instances where Jews tried to kill Him (John 5:18; 7:1, 19; 11:53).
Satan Is An Enemy of God
Satan is the original enemy of God. The enmity started when he revolted against God in heaven. However, archangel Michael trumped against the devil and he was thrown out of heaven together with his cohorts. The story of Satan’s revolt is recorded in Isaiah 14. Since then, Satan has remained as the enemy of God and he is always trying to interfere with whatever God is doing. For instance, he beguiled Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden which resulted in their banishment from the garden.
Attempts to thwart God’s purposes, as seen in the biblical narratives such as Job or the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, exemplify his adversarial role. Satan can also be associated with the promotion of sin and spiritual separation from God. His influence leads man away from righteousness and into rebellion against God’s laws, which further points to him being a spiritual enemy of God.
Another classical example is the three temptations of Jesus after his 40-day fast. It’s almost like Satan was looking for a way to stop Jesus before he even began. When he failed, he continually tried to tempt Jesus through his disciples, family as well as the Pharisees and other religious leaders of his day.
Some Nations Were Considered Enemies of God
Several nations throughout Israel’s History oppressed God’s people including Babylonians, Egyptians, and the Canaanites. For instance, under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonians worshiped idols and demanded that everyone bow to the Golden statue. Those who refused because they were faithful to God were thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3).
Babylonians also destroyed the First Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE (2 Kings:25, 2 Chronicles:36) and forced the people of Judah into exile. These oppressive acts were against the people of God.
Canaan can also be considered an enemy of God as they had many gods, such as Baal and Asherah. From King Rehoboam to King Ahaziah, idolatry became so bad that the people of Israel also worshiped Baal. As a result, God gave a harsh judgment against them. (Ezekiel 6:13, ESV).
Egypt is also another example of a nation considered an enemy of God. Pharaoh enslaved and forced the Israelites to harsh labor (Exodus 1:11-14). God then chose Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery, but Pharaoh refused. Through Moses, God repeatedly demanded that Pharaoh release the Israelites from slavery.
But due to his stubbornness Egyptians suffered various plagues that included the death of firstborn sons. The plagues were a means to persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go and also emphasize God’s power as well as point to the consequences of resisting His will. Pharaoh’s refusal to release the Israelites, despite witnessing miraculous signs, is an act of defiance pointing to a ruler who is an enemy of God.
These examples serve to demonstrate that nations that go against God’s teaching can be considered enemies of God.
To sum it up, the bible describes sin (or being carnally minded) as enmity with God. God, being inherently holy, can’t align with actions that contradict His divine nature. However, we are given a way out through repentance. Because sin causes enmity with God, it is therefore no surprise that Satan, who is the origin of sin, is the main enemy of God. And unlike mankind who have a way out, Satan has already been judged to eternal fire in hell.