Satan In The Bible: 14 Sobering Facts About The Devil
Hes the universes public enemy number one, the chief opponent of God and his people, and the leader of uncounted demonic forces. Jesus says hes been a murderer from the beginning, and hes engaged in an all-out war against the forces of good in the universe.
The Bible calls him the devil, Satan, the evil one.
Paul tells the Ephesian church to put on the full armor of God, so that they can stand firm against his schemes. James tells Christians that if they resist the devil, he will flee from them. Peter tells believers to beware: he is always on the prowl.
We have an enemyand if were going to stand firm against him, we need to know whom were up against.
However, theres a lot of devil folklore out there. It can be difficult to distinguish traditions from what the Bible actually says about Satan.
So, lets take a look at some biblical facts about Satan in the Bible.
Satan In The Bible Satan And Jesus
Satan also features quite prominently in the gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And as always, takes on the role of a deceiver and attempter, but in some unique ways.
Firstly, theres the account in Matthew 4, where Jesus is led up into the wilderness and fasts for 40 days and 40 nights. Whilst here, Satan comes to Jesus and reminds him that if he is the Son of God, and he neednt starve, for he can turn the stones around him into loaves of bread, but Jesus resists him, telling him,
One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Here, Jesus sets an example to believers in how best to deal with Satan, and that is to simply dismiss him. Jesus reaffirms his affinity with God, and Satan is out of loss. But far be it from Satan to give up so easily he takes Jesus to the holy city and the pinnacle of the temple and tells him to jump. For if he jumps, God will surely save him, for he is the Son of God.
Here, we see Satans frustration, for he had started his temptation of Jesus by just getting him to eat bread, but now hes trying to kill him by getting into a jump. But Jesus recognises this and tells him,
Again, it is written, Do not put the Lord your God to the test.
Jesuss dismissal of Satan is made to look effortless, for he of all people cannot be tempted by evil, as the Son of God. Here, Jesus serves as an inspiration to believers and likely encourages them to aspire to be the same.
Important Bible Verses About Satan
Satan made his first Biblical appearance as the Serpent in the Garden.
Bible Verses about Satan:Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, Did God really say, You must not eat from any tree in the garden? Genesis 3:1
The temptation was simple: You can be like God. You can know what he knows, and be in charge of your own life. Giving into his temptation led to our exit from the Garden, and the life of bondage that we know today. Because of the tempter, we know death, birth pain, the need to work hard on the land, war, hatred, and sin. This tempter had once been close to God in heaven.
Bible Verses about Satan: How you are fallen from heaven,O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! Isaiah 14:12
To tempt us to be like God is an easy temptation for Satan, since this was the same temptation that he faced when he was cast down.
Consider the Garden from the book of Genesis. It was a place where we could walk and talk with God enjoying his presence without guilt or shame. We had a perfect and complete relationship with God. Since the time when man was cast out of the garden, God has been working to restore that intimate relationship. The replacement for the garden, where we will be in his presence forever, is what we know as Heaven.
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Satan In Literature And Popular Culture
The Satan which appears in fiction and popular culture is mostly influenced by the Christian conceptions of the devil and other evil forces. Classic works of literature involving the character Satan include: John Miltons Paradise Lost , William Blakes The Marriage of Heaven and Hell , Johann Wolfgang Goethes Faust , and William Goldings Lord of the Flies . In more recent years, Salman Rushdies bestselling novel The Satanic Verses was widely banned in Middle Eastern countries due to the demonic attributes bestowed upon certain characters, and even earned its author a death sentence by the Shi`i Muslim cleric Grand Ayatollah Khomeini .
The concept of Satan has also been a recurrent figure in numerous films, particularly those in the horror genre, including Rosemarys Baby , The Exorcist , The Omen , and The Amityville Horror . Satan has also appeared in more mainstream films including, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and The Passion of the Christ , as well as popular television shows such as South Park. Another prominent source of Satanic imagery is the musical genre of heavy metal, which has given Satanism the Hail Satan! hand-sign. This hand sign is made when one holds down the middle and ring fingers with the thumb while keeping the index and pinkie raised to resemble horns.
Adapted from New World Encyclopedia
Satan Influenced Judas Iscariot
John tells us that the devil had been prompting Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus before the night of the Last Supper . Both John and Luke say that the devil entered Judas on the night he betrayed his Lord .
The Bible doesnt give us the mechanics of what happened here. But it is important to note that on this occasion, Satan found it necessary to be personally involved in making sure Jesus died.
However, if Satan could do it all over, he probably wouldnt have taken this course of action. Jesus death was not the victory Satan thought it was.
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Satan Has Spiritual Children Just Like God Does
The New Testament often refers to God as our Father, and to believers as children of God. This is obviously a spiritual statement, not a biological one. Were part of Gods spiritual family. We live under Gods roof, abide by his rules, and enjoy the benefits of being his.
However, God isnt the only spiritual father the Bible speaks of. Satan has children, too.
This comes up multiple times in the New Testament:
- In the same passage where Jesus calls Satan the father of lies, he tells the Jews who want to kill him: You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your fathers desires .
- When the disciples ask Jesus to explain his parable of the wheat and tares, Jesus tells them that the good seed represents the sons of his kingdom, while the tares represent the sons of the evil one .
- The newly converted apostle Paul tells a sorcerer: You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery .
- And in his first epistle, John says the children of the devil are evident based on their sinful behavior and their lack of love for their brothers and sisters .
Like most things involving Satan, this concept goes right back to Genesis.
When God cursed the serpent, he put enmity not only between the devil and the woman, but between both of their descendants.
Where Is Satan Mentioned In The Bible
Satan has a few names in The Bible. You can the names,but here are a few: serpent, adversary, devil, evil one, Lucifer,prince of this world, murderer, father of lies, etc. I have alsoincluded some other scriptures that are referenced to Satan in theOld Testament/Covenant. You can see most books in the NewTestament/Covenant refers to Satan.
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Satans Defeat Is Certain And Imminent
Even though our adversary may gain a tactical advantage here and there, his fate is sealed.
John the Revelator sees the ultimate end of Satan, the devil, the serpent of old:
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever .
The Bible doesnt tell us exactly when this will happen. But we can trust that the war will be won. Satan will be defeated, and God will ultimately run the universe in partnership with his human image-bearers.
Why Would God Who Is Not Evil Allow Evil To Continue To Exist
As with the other questions in this chapter, great theologians have struggledover how to effectively answer this. Paul, in his book to the Christiansin Rome, offers some insight into the overarching perspective that we shouldhave:
And we know that all things work together for good to thosewho love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
All things, including the evil in this world, have a purpose. God is glorifiedthrough the plan of salvation that He worked out from the beginning. From thefirst Adam to the Last Adam, God planned a glorious way to redeem a peoplefor himself through the promise of a Savior who would conquer both sin anddeath.
Jesus was glorified when He conquered Satan, sin, and death through Hisdeath and resurrection . Both God the Son and God the Father were glorified through the resurrection. Everything that happens is for the gloryof God, even when we cant see how God can be glorified from our limitedperspective.
Those who have received the gift of eternal life look forward to the timewhen we join God in heavena place there will be no evil . This 6,000-year-old cursed world is only a blip compared to eternity.This relatively brief time on earth is all the time that evil will be permitted.
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Satan Mimics What God Does
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:14
Everything that God does, especially the work of The Holy Spirit, Satan tries to mimic.
He is a great actor and knows how to play the part. But remember, his goal is deception. The imagery of a little red devil with a pitchfork is not reality. He will try to impersonate the Holy Spirit or come as an angel of light but within him is great darkness. Thats why discernment is so important and why knowing the truth of Gods word is so important.
When they teach people how to spot counterfeit bills they have them study real bills. They become so familiar with the real bill so that when they see a counterfeit they will be able to recognize it. This is your charge. Become so familiar with the truth of Gods word and the work of the Holy Spirit that even if Satan himself comes, you will be able to spot the counterfeit.
The Satan In The Hebrew Bible
Meanwhile, in the Hebrew Bible, they exist a heavenly prosecutor known as The Satan, and he is a member of the angelic hierarchy known as the Sons of God, those that serve Yahweh.
The Satan is seen to prosecute the kingdom of Judah and test the loyalty of Yahwehs followers, in a similar way to Job by forcing them to suffer. Over time, this Satan figure gained more notoriety, and soon he was viewed as a malevolent being and wanted to be despised for his wickedness.
The book of Jubilees, an apocryphal Jewish work, sees this Satan character described as Mastema, and Mastema is seen to negotiate with Yahweh to let him keep some of the fallen angels that had turned against him. Yahweh agrees and Mastema uses the fallen angels to tempt humans into sinning, to determine whether they are righteous or not, or to punish them for their offences.
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The Names Of Satan The Devil
Lucifer and Satan are just two of the names that the devil has. Well, hes also known as Beelzebub, the Antichrist, and Moloch.
In the Greek Old Testament, Satan is referred to as Diabolos. But hes also thought that Diabolos is about wicked people or spirits. Diabolos were also thought to mean Slanderer, and act as demonstrated by Satan as he slanders the word and name of God.
In early Germanic, the term Diabolos was used, and the equivalent of the term diabolical.
Abaddon is also another term frequently equipped with Satan. Abaddon is a place of destruction in the Old Testament, as well as an angel of death in some interpretations and various laws.
In the classification by Peter Binsfeld , both Lucifer and Satan appear to be two separate entities, in that Lucifer maintains his role as the Demon of Pride, and Satan takes on the role as the Demon of Wrath.
This fits in with the fall of the angels after having been cast out of heaven, in that it was Lucifers pride that led him to be expelled in the first place, which saw him hurtling towards Earth, where he seems to become Satan.
Satan, as mentioned is identified as the demon of wrath from Peter Binsfelds classification and this is most fitting given that he becomes vengeful against God and equally vengeful against mankind, those which youve used as his enemies.
What Is Known Of The Actual Words Of Jesus
Prior to the Babylonian Exile, Judaism had no heaven or hell – souls of the dead simply went to a place of rest, sheol, regardless of the life that had been led. There was no Satan and no angels. The notion of Satan entered Judaism during the Babylonian Exile, so no biblical Book written before that time contains any reference to Satan. Chronicles was actually written during the Exile, as a revision to the Deuteronomic History, and thus is the first book in the Bible to contain the name Satan. 1 Chronicles 21:1: “And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel.”
Because the Book of Kings was written before the Exile, the corresponding passage contains no mention of Satan.
Many Christians believe that the serpent of Genesis chapter 3 was Satan in disguise, but for this to be so Satan must have successfully deceived God. When God realised that Adam and Eve had eaten the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he did not condemn Satan he condemned serpents saying that henceforth all snakes will crawl on their bellies.
Satan is described in Job as the loyal assistant of God, whose role was to test the righteousness of God’s people. There is a brief mention in the Book of Zechariah.
In the King James Version, Psalms 109:6 refers to Satan, but the Hebrew Masoretic text for Psalm 109:6 only refers to an Adversary.
Finally, the New Testament contains numerous references to Satan. In Christian theology, Satan is the devil, the adversary of God.
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Gnostic And Other Perspectives
Gnostic sects sometimes interpreted Satan as a positive figure since he had enabled knowledge to be brought forth, and thusly he was venerated in worship for this deed . Some Gnostics also claimed that the creator God worshiped by Jews and mainstream Christians had to be Satan, as the highest God could not bring forth a world of such imperfect nature.
Adherents of Mormonism believe Jesus Christ and the Devil are actually siblings Christ is a son of God in the flesh while Satan is His bodiless spirit son. Jehovahs Witnesses accept the mainstream Christian belief that Satan was responsible for the temptation in the Garden, though they believe Satan was at first a real person who was transformed into Satan the Devil upon trying to win Adam and Eves favor for himself.
Classical Depiction Of Satan The Devil
Whilst we often see Satan depicted in a multitude of different ways, that doesnt appear to be one true way. Across the Bible and other scripture, there doesnt appear to be an area where Satan is ever described.
It wasnt until the 9th century did Christian artists begin to depict Satan with horns, hoofs, tails and often or not, as seriously hairy. A pitchfork was also shoved into his handsthough theres no mention in the scripture that Satan wielded any sort of weapon. In fact, in most cases, he is depicted naked, almost as if to show how much of a shameful figure he is.
When looking at other more modern depictions, hes a winged humanoid monster that has red eyes, pale skin, and usually sporting the number of the beast somewhere.
Perhaps the first place that many will think to look for Satan is in the Bible. And perhaps one of the most interesting accounts about Satan is in the form of the Book of Revelations.
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Satan In The Book Of Revelations
It is understood that the angel once known as Lucifer was a close ally to God, a perfect creation of beauty and excellence, a being God cherished above all. But the angel grew arrogant with his position, and since believe that he ought to have been risen above God and that the world and everything in creation ought to have bowed before him.
In his belief, many of the other angels shed his notion, for they believe Lucifer to be more powerful than God and decided to side with him. In Revelation 12:7, we are told that a war broke out in heaven, and many scholars perceive this to be the war between Lucifer and God. In that civil war between angels erupted with one side led by Lucifer and the other by Archangel Michael.
We are told,
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.
It is believed here that Lucifer transformed into a dragon to defeat Archangel Michael. But in doing so, he was still defeated, and both he and his angels were cast off from heaven. Here, we see this dragon which is thought to have been Lucifer take on the name of Satan, a being who now leads the whole world astray.