Have you ever wondered what Satan was doing on the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday? No doubt the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4) must have been celebrating the death of Jesus Christ. After all, Satan had tried to destroy Israel, especially the royal line, throughout history. He was trying to prevent the advent of the seed of the woman (Gen 3:15), the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16), the son of David (Mt 1:1) from being born. Lucifer failed.
After Messiah was born, Satan tried to kill Jesus at Bethlehem via Herod the Great (Mt 2:16–18). Later, the devil tempted Jesus to commit suicide (Mt 4:6; Lk 4:9). He himself had tempted Jesus to accept dominion over the kingdoms of this world on his own terms (Mt 4:8–9; Lk 4:5–7). Satan had tried to convince the people that Jesus was one of his own (Mt 9:34).
The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8). Well, who won? Did Jesus, who claimed to be the Son of God (Jn 8:58; Jn 10:30), fail in His mission? The prince of darkness seemed to have reason to declare his own victory. Jesus was dead. Maybe Lucifer even threw a party for himself.
Satan is a usurper. He tricked Adam and Eve and stole their dominion over the earth (Acts 26:18). Satan is a destroyer. He would have killed Job, in addition to utterly ruining his life, if God had not set the boundary (Job 1:12). The adversary prowls like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Pet 5:8). Satan is a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8:44). He filled Ananias’ and Sapphira’s heart to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5).
Clearly, Jesus knew the devil had fully persuaded the Jewish religious leaders to follow his wicked plan. Satan is a deceiver. He filled Judas Iscariot’s heart to betray Jesus Messiah (Lk 22:3). We know he was the spirit behind the crucifixion of Jesus Christ because he was a murderer from the beginning (Jn 8:44).
Satan thinks more highly of himself than he ought, and his first sin was the pride of self-exaltation. He is a fallen angel who wants to be God (Is 14:13). Satan has many followers, for the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning (1 Jn 3:8).
On the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, the Bible is silent. It was the weekly Sabbath, and the people were observing it. However, we must imagine, if Satan understood what was actually happening at the Cross, he obviously would have chosen a different strategy. People went home from Calvary beating their breasts. They were hopeless, in mourning for the One man who proved different than every other man.
No one understood the ramifications of Jesus’ death on the Cross. This was true for Saturday, and it would take some more time for his disciples to grasp the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. What we know of it came from the revelation granted to the apostles. One of the largest chapters in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 15. It is an explanation from the apostle Paul, regarding events culminating the Passion week. The King of the Jews was dead, and so what were the royal ramifications?
One thousand years before Christ, there is the story of Adonijah, the son of King David. Now, remember, King David had many wives who gave David many sons. As David was nearing death in his seventieth year (970 B.C.), the heir to the throne was not apparent to anyone.
Through an act of political intrigue, Adonijah gathered all of the noblemen of Israel, except his half brother Solomon, Nathan the prophet, David’s mighty men, and a few others who would not be in support of him. He declared himself the successor to the throne of his father, King David, “Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king (1 Kgs 1:5).”
God’s people must learn to wait on the Lord. God has a plan, and it is better than our plan. There are many people in the Bible who are poor examples of this principle. The list begins with Adam and Eve. Waiting on God is not just about time, it is about service.
Lucifer was created, as were all of the angels, to serve God. God had placed him above the rest of the angels, and with only one position above his own, it drove him mad. Adonijah was only one place lower than the king. Men of the world act out of turn, driven by sinful ambitions for power and position.
If you are inclined to throw a coronation party for yourself, as Adonijah did in 1 Kings 1, then you are probably guilty. One of the sons of David was to be king, but God would determine who would be David’s successor. Men cast lots, but the decision is from the Lord (Prv 16:33).
God resists the proud, and self-promotion is not the way of the humble. Some will stand before kings, and some will be kings, but both will be there because of God’s intentional will. Therefore, we can learn a lesson from Satan and from Adonijah: walk humbly before your God (Mic 6:8), and He will exalt you in His time and in His way for His purposes. The alternative to humbling oneself is to be humiliated (Dan 4:37).
As the son of one of the priests came into Adonijah’s self-styled dinner at Ein Rogel, he reported the news of the trumpet sound and the roar of the people at Gihon, just up the valley. Solomon had taken his seat on the throne of David with David’s approval. The result of the heralded news is telling, “Then all the guests of Adonijah were terrified; and they arose, and each went on his way (1 Kgs 1:49).”
Satan’s demons trembled in the presence of Jesus Christ on earth (Mt 8:29; Jas 2:19). King Jesus has taken His seat at the center of the throne of God, at the right hand of majesty (Heb 1:3; Rev 7:17). How much more terrifying is this prospect for the usurper and his legions?
As far as application, we could ask at which table do you dine? Adonijah or Solomon’s? Satan or Christ’s? There is the party of the usurper and the party of rightful heir. Paul asked, “Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (2 Cor 6:15).” On the Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, examine yourself. If God is against you, who could be for you?
In conclusion, and by way of disclaimer, I do not know what really happened that quiet Saturday, but the story of Adonijah strikes me as one image that might be helpful in understanding the mis-timed party of the self-exalting king, and nobody does the role of usurper better than Satan.
Spokane Valley, Washington
March 27, 2021