Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

Vol. 2, No. 3 Page 3 March 2000

Gospel Gazette, Bible Articles

A Study of Satan, 1 of 2


By Allen Webster


Some people think that if you believe in the devil, you never really graduated from childhood.  Or as one put it, “belief in a personal Satan is part of mankind’s nursery furniture.”  The Bible, however, is not unclear about the existence or work of our adversary.  It should be enough to say that Jesus believed in Satan and talked often of him (e.g., Matthew 25:41; John 8:44).  Satan is found in the Bible 55 times (19 times in the Old Testament; 36 in the New Testament).  Devil is found 59 times (all in the New Testament).  An analysis of these texts gives us much detail about our enemy.


Origin: From where
did the devil come?


  Satan was on the scene as early as the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1).  But since he is not introduced and no account of his birth or creation is given, how are we to know his origin?  Consider that there are only three kinds of beings: Deity, angels and human.  Satan is not divine since he is obviously subject to God (cf. Job 1).  He is not human because he possesses powers superior to humans (cf. Matthew 4).  Therefore, he must belong to the class of angels.  God does not create evil (James 1:17[1]), so he must have been created good and became evil (like man).  It follows then that Satan is a rebellious angel who was judged by God and fell from holiness to wickedness.  Jesus indicated this when he said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18).  Peter adds to our understanding when he wrote, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4).  Pride seems to have been the cause of his fall (1 Timothy 3:6).  The angels who fell with him make up his army of spirits opposed to God and God’s people (Ephesians 6:10-13; Luke 11:18; Jude 6).


Nature: What is
the devil like?


v    He is a slanderer (Job 1:7-8; Psalms 109:6).  Devil means “slanderer” or “accuser.”  Satan slandered Job, but, take heart, God defended him.  When Satan accuses us before God (or to ourselves), we should remember that Jesus is defending us as our Advocate in heaven.  Take comfort—a faithful Christian’s case is in good hands (1 John 2:1-2; Romans 8:31-39; Revelation 12:10)!


v    He is a counterfeiter of God (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).  He seeks to confuse men and one of the easiest ways is to duplicate—with significant but hard to notice changes—God’s creations.  In the parable of the tares, the enemy (Satan) sows tares (a poisonous plant that looks like wheat) among the farmer’s wheat (God’s world).  Satan is in the religion business!  He has counterfeit gods, counterfeit religions, counterfeit Bibles, counterfeit churches and counterfeit preachers.  He might prefer that we all become atheists, but he is content with us being idolaters or participants in false religions.  The only way to determine the difference between the genuine and the fake, is to shine the light of God’s Word upon it in careful examination (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).


v    He is a liar, deceiver and murder (John 8:44).  Since the Garden, he has been lying to us, and has brought death to every single person who has lived here, starting with Adam and Eve (except, of course, those translated like Enoch and Elijah and those living presently).  Paul warned, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).


v    He is the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 1 John 5:19) and the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4).  He has more followers presently than God does (Matthew 7:13-14).  In fact, the only times the “good guys” have outnumbered the “bad guys” were when Adam stepped into the Garden and when Noah stepped off the boat.  Nonetheless, when God gets ready to enforce his will, Satan will bow just as will the knee of his every devotee (Revelation 22:2-3; cf. Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10).


v    He is our adversary (1 Peter 5:8-9).  The word Satan means “adversary.”  Though we do not see him, he is there laying traps for us (2 Timothy 2:24).  He is a soldier against whom we struggle in hand-to-hand combat.  Paul explained,


“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).


v    He is a destroyer (Revelation 9:11; Abaddon means “destruction”).  It is his goal to wreck every couple’s marriage, every person’s health, every mind’s sanity, every heart’s peace, every maiden’s virtue, every friendship’s bond, every good work’s capability, every servant’s ministry, every church’s harmony, every sermon’s effectiveness and every soul’s destiny.


[1] Isaiah 45:7 says that God creates evil, but means that he brings adversity on his people to test them (evil ra’, adversity, affliction, bad, calamity, sorrow, trouble).

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