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By Richard Gunther
being called Satan really exists. This being, an angel, was created by God,
along with many others, and was included in some vast and unnamed crowd of
individuals, in which are many other equally mysterious beings called the
seraphim, and cherubim. Scripture is almost silent when it comes to this
heavenly realm so any attempt to see into it at present would be a matter of
presumption. But the fact that Satan really exists is not based on some
unfounded theory. It is clearly taught in the Bible, and should therefore be
accepted as truth, regardless of whether we fully understand what or who this
Bible does not give us a comprehensive teaching on Satan, or his fellow angels,
probably because the main focus of the Bible is the Messiah, the Son of God, and
not some would-be rival and pretender to the throne. But here and there, through
the Bible, there are glimpses and clues as to what Satan is, and what he usually
does. As Jesus said “The thief comes not but to kill, steal, and destroy”,
so we can trace the work of Satan in the way he disrupts, corrupts and causes
degeneration in the lives of nations and individuals. We cannot always discern
whether Satan is directly responsible for the misery in the world, because Man
also has a free will, and, like Satan, he too can choose the wrong path in life.
In fact, Man left to himself would probably do just as well at destroying the
good things of God as he does with Satan’s prompting.
The following notes are not supposed to present everything the Bible says
about Satan, but to give a simple ‘lead in’ to the subject. If readers look
up the references and do some study of their own they should be able to gather
all the Biblical information available.
name for Satan is Lucifer.
name Lucifer comes from Heb. helel = shining one, or brightness. It refers to
the king of Babylon, and also to Satan, who was the power behind the throne. Is.
14:12 - 14.
far-reaching passage goes beyond human history, being the first recorded sin in
the universe. Ez.28:ll - 15 describes Satan's original state before he 'fell'.
In both passages Satan is not just described as alone, but as working out his
plans through different nations and leaders. He is called "the prince of
the kingdom of Persia" in Dan. 10:13, and Eph.6:12 shows that when
Christians make a stand for Jesus, they are actually fighting him in the
= Heb. Satan. Greek = Satanas = an adversary, or opponent. He is the chief of
the fallen spirits. He is also known as the Devil, the Dragon, the Evil One, the
Angel of the Bottomless Pit, the Prince of this world, Apollyon, the Power of
the air - Eph.2:2, Abaddon, Belial, Beelzebub, the wicked one, son of the
morning - Is. 14:12.
is also called the king of Tyre - Ez.28:ll - 18.
is first mentioned (after his appearance in the Garden, and his indirect
appearance in and through the wizards of Egypt), in Job 1:6 - 12, 2:1 on. He
mixes with the sons of God (Gen.6:2 with Job 2:1 and 6) - the angels, even
though he doesn't belong with them any more. We find him again in Zech. 3:1
where he tries to stop the restoration of the priesthood.
says "Though he has his special purposes and aims, he is yet the servant of
God for punishment or trial, the asserter or executor of the negative side of
the Divine justice."
This view may sound to some readers as rather peculiar. Why should God
deliberately create a being whose purpose in life was to thwart and destroy the
good plans of God? The answer is simple. God did not originally create
Satan with this intention. It was Satan’s freedom to choose and his pride
which led him into rebellion. God punished Satan and the other rebellious
angels, by sending them out of heaven and on to this planet Earth, where they
discovered another rival: Mankind. God gave planet Earth to humans, and they too
were given a free will. Satan learned that if the humans sinned, as he had, they
would be destroyed, so, in order to take the planet, Satan tempted the humans.
They sinned, but instead of destroying them, God offered them a way of
salvation. Adam and Eve accepted the offer and wore the skin of the sacrifice,
thus beginning the line of faith for all who believed in like manner, through to
the Messiah. Jesus, the Lamb of God gave his life as a final and supreme
sacrifice for all sin, and at the same time sealed the doom of Satan.
But as an opposer of God Satan serves a very useful purpose. Suppose an
athlete had no competition to beat. Without an opposing team, there would be no
sense of achievement in any sport or contest. In a similar way, in a world
totally neutralized by God, Christians would not be able to resist temptation
– because there would be none to resist. Or suppose God wanted to teach
certain virtues. How could He teach endurance without a trial? How could He
teach love without some hateful person to test it out on? These very crude
illustrations throw a little light on the problem of conflict in the world.
Mankind, as always, has exactly the same free will which Adam and Eve were
given, so exactly the same potential exists in the world for obedience or
disobedience. To put it another way, Satan has only as much power over us as we
The world is vastly complex. It comprises billions of individuals all
making freewill decisions, and at the same time the consequences of these free
will decisions impact on the world and other people. Like millions of spreading
ripples from a handful of sand, the causes and effects of trillions of choices
intercept and impact on each other. In all this there are angelic forces at
work, some rebellious, some obedient. God overrules all things, steering and
controlling in infinite wisdom, yet still allowing for free will, caring for
every detail in every life, turning consequences first one way and than another
as He shapes and moulds every life.
In the New Testament, spirits are referred to, with Satan as their leader
- Mat.8:28, 9:34, 12:26. Luke 11:18,19.
spirits, or demons, or fallen angels, are:
Endowed with high talents, power and knowledge - Mat.8:29, Mark 1:24
Satan is used in a figurative sense - Mat. 16:23
Jesus said the "wicked one" is the Devil - Mat. 13:19, 39, and Mark
Jesus was literally tempted by the Devil - Mat.4:10, Luke 22:31
Satan was a murderer from the beginning - John 8:44
Satan is the enemy and falsifier of God's Word- Mat.13:19, 39
Satan aroused hatred against Jesus and put treachery into Judas' heart - John
13:27, 6:70, Luke 22:53
Satan is judged,, and hurled from heaven - Luke 10:18. He is as good as done
for. Vanquished. Destroyed.
history of this world is the story of Christ's struggle against Satan.
= Gr. diabolos = accuser. One who slanders another for the purpose of injury; a
calumniator, i.e. a gossipmonger - lTim.3:ll, 2Tim,3:3, Titus 2:3.
Devil has a certain amount of power over certain believers for a limited time,
as God uses him for His own purposes - Job 1:6, Luke 22:31, 32. He has the power
to take life - lCor.5:5 and ITim. 1:20, when given permission to do so. He tries
to discredit and destroy upright Christians - ITim. 3:6,7. He is, of course,
unable to overcome the power of Jesus Christ the Advocate for Christians, to
Whom they are to come immediately when they sin -1 John 2:1-3.
are some Christians who have an overbalanced interest in Satan. They delve into
the dark and horrible things connected with him, and read extensively about him.
This sort of obsessive interest may even become borderline adulation. Their
library on Satan resembles that of a crime-novel enthusiast. What they ought to
do is find out the truth about him and then concentrate on the antidote, the
Saviour, the Mighty God.
best way to defeat Satan, on a day by day basis, is to live an obedient, upright
life for Jesus. This means to stay as close to Jesus as possible, in prayer, in
decisions, in obedience and in lifestyle. A good basis for a consistent
Christian life is to take the discipline of Psalm 1 seriously and practice it.
Christians must maintain close fellowship with other strong Christians in order
to encourage and build themselves up. They ought to develop habits which tend to
cover ‘weak’ areas (inbuilt weaknesses) with Christian behavior so the
weaknesses are compensated for. They should be wary and on guard, because Satan
is always looking for something to use to mess a Christian's life up – not
that he usually needs much help, because Christians are quite capable of ruining
their fellowship with God all by themselves.
does no good to blame Satan for everything either, because Satan is not
responsible for all sin, all misery, and all suffering. He is an instigator, an
insinuator, a whisperer. His minions work in the heads of humans, suggesting
ideas, placing thoughts, challenging the truth of God’s Word. Satan also works
through cults, heresies and false teachings. He uses well-mannered and
‘civilized’ people as his advocates, lettered men and women with high social
standing. He speaks through misguided ministers, preaches lies from pulpits,
fosters Man-centered traditions and rituals. He uses very educated people to
promote anti-Christian ideas and to give respectability to errors. Having
started a fire Satan then ‘sits back’ to watch ignorant and misguided humans
fan it into a blaze.
Knowing these things, Christians are able to identify the influence of sin and/or Satan and counteract it by behaving like Christ. In this way the victory is won for God, and Satan loses yet another place of dominion. By successfully resisting Satan’s influence Christians also gain a reward.
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