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By Richard Gunther


A 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 Satan is.

The 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.

Another name for Satan is Lucifer.

The 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.

This 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 spiritual realm.

Satan = 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.

He is also called the king of Tyre - Ez.28:ll - 18.

Satan 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.

Domer 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 give him.

   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.

These spirits, or demons, or fallen angels, are:

1. Endowed with high talents, power and knowledge - Mat.8:29, Mark 1:24

2. Satan is used in a figurative sense - Mat. 16:23

3. Jesus said the "wicked one" is the Devil - Mat. 13:19, 39, and Mark 4:15

4. Jesus was literally tempted by the Devil - Mat.4:10, Luke 22:31

5. Satan was a murderer from the beginning - John 8:44

6. Satan is the enemy and falsifier of God's Word- Mat.13:19, 39

7. Satan aroused hatred against Jesus and put treachery into Judas' heart - John 13:27, 6:70, Luke 22:53

8. Satan is judged,, and hurled from heaven - Luke 10:18. He is as good as done for. Vanquished. Destroyed.

The history of this world is the story of Christ's struggle against Satan.


The devil.

Devil = 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.

The 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.

There 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.

The 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.

It 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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