Discord Gives Satan An Advantage
While Satans power is broken, hes not powerless yet. In fact, some New Testament passages tell us that there are certain ways for the devil to gain a tactical advantage against us.
The apostle Paul indicates that anger, unforgiveness, and resentment between Christians give Satan a particular edge.
We have several examples in Scripture of this:
- Paul encourages the church at Corinth to forgive and reassure any repentant believer who may have caused the rest of the church grief. The apostle urges the church to make such a person feel welcome and loved. Why? Because Paul particularly does not want Satan to outwit them .
- Paul tells married couples not to deprive one another sexually, otherwise Satan will capitalize on the deprived spouses lack of self-control .
- Paul tells the Ephesians not to let the sun go down on their anger, so as not to give the devil a foothold .
Satan can be resisted, and we need to be vigilant against giving him any opportunities to get the better of us .
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The idea that the Devil governs hell may have come from the poem by Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, published in the early fourteenth century. In it, God created hell when he threw the Devil and his demons out of Heaven with such power that they created an enormous hole in the center of the earth.
And Christ’s Death Destroyed The Power Of The Devil
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”“the great dragon was hurled down that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him”“What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God!”“Be quiet!”“Come out of him!”“What is this? A new teachingand with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”
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Dante’s Inferno: The Winged Devil
The 14th-century poem “Inferno,” written by Dante Alighieri as part of his “Divine Comedy,” recounts a fictional journey through the seven circles that make up hell before the protagonist comes face to face with Satan himself. Dante describes Satan with “two mighty wings, such as befitting were so great a bird sails of the sea I never saw so large. No feathers had they, but as of a bat.” .
According to Montesano, Satan’s wings may originate in Babylonian mythology, due to the devil’s association with the figure of Lilith. “Lilith comes from the ancient Babylonian Lilitu demons: Winged females who flew through the night, seducing men and attacking pregnant women and infants,” she said.
Dante also introduces elements from Greco-Roman mythology into his traditional Christian lore. He refers to the devil as “Dis,” which comes from Dis Pater, the Roman god of the underworld. In “Inferno” Dante writes: “Hence in the smallest circle, where the point is Of the Universe, upon which Dis is seated, Whoe’er betrays for ever is consumed.” .
Devil In The New Testament
In the New Testament, the translators of the Authorised Version of the Bible have translated the Greek words “diabolos” and “daimon” by the same English word “devil”. We can become confused between two quite separate ideas. Most of the modern translators are more helpful, however, and translate “diabolos” as “devil” and “daimon” as “demon”. The word “daimon” is considered in the “demons” section of the Additional notes.
We will now look at the use of “devil” when it is translated from the word “diabolos” – this is the word used in the record of the temptations of Jesus in Luke 4.
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The Devil And Witches
Fear of the Devil is at least partially responsible for the witchcraft hysteria of Europe and New England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Protestants and Catholics accused many people of practicing witchcraft and making deals with the Devil.
The Puritans living in New Englands early colonies were petrified of the Devil. They believed he gave powers to witches to those faithful to him. This fear gave rise to the infamous Salem Witch Trials in Salem, Massachusetts.
The Puritans strict lifestyle, their fear of outsiders and their terror of so-called Devils magic led them to accuse at least 200 people of witchcraft between 1692 and 1693twenty of the accused were executed.
Devil In The Old Testament
The word “devil” occurs only four times in the Authorised Version of the Old Testament, and not at all in the New King James and New International Versions.
The references in the Authorised Version are:
- Leviticus 17 v 7
- 2Chronicles 11 v 15
- and Psalm 106 v 37
If you look at these verses and the verses around them, you will see that they are referring to false gods.
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What Is The First Mention Of Satan Or Evil In The Bible
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 Kings was written before the Exile, the corresponding passage contains no mention of Satan.
Another post-exilic reference to Satan is in the Book of Job, which introduces Satan, not yet as the adversary of God portrayed in later Christian belief, but as a ‘son of God’ or angel, whose role was to prove the righteousness of people by tempting them to do wrong. God twice gave Satan a challenge to have Job curse God, first by destroying his family and his property , then by afflicting him with a terrible disease. If Job cursed God, he would be judged as evil.
Also: in the King James Version, Psalms 109:6 refers to Satan, but the Hebrew Masoretic text for Psalm 109:6 refers to an Adversary, rather than Satan.
Evil is mentioned much earlier – in Genesis.
Jesus Victory Over Satan/satans Limited Power Over Believers
15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
31 Now is the judgment of this world now will the ruler of this world be cast out.
25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can someone enter a strong mans house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
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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.
How Could Satan Who Was Created Good Become Evil
The answer to this question delves deep into the sovereignty of God vs.mans responsibility debate over which the Church has battled for ages.
From what we can tell from studying the Bible, Satan was the first to sin.He sinned before the woman sinned, and before Adam sinned. Some claim thatwe sin because Satan enters us and causes us to sin, but the Bible doesnt teachthis. We sin whether Satan enters us or not. Satan was influencing the serpentwhen the woman sinned and when Adam sinned they sinned on their ownaccord without being able to claim, Satan made me do it.
But what causes this initial sin why did Satan sin in the first place?
Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself temptanyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his owndesires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birthto sin and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death (James 1:1315 NKJV
Death is the punishment for sin. Sin originates in desireones owndesire. James 1:14 hints that evil comes from ones own desire. It was by Satansown desire that his pride in his own beauty and abilities overtook him.
In the very good original creation, it seems likely that Satan and mankindhad the power of contrite choice.1 In the Garden of Eden, the woman wasconvinced by her own desire . Satan had not entered her she was enticed by her own desire.
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Satan Commands His Own Host Of Demons
The Jews of Jesus time believed that Satan was the ruler of the demons. In fact, some even claimed that it was only by Satans power that Jesus could cast out demons the way he did.
But Jesus says this isnt the case: How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand .
Freeing people from the influence of these demons was a major part of Christs earthly ministrywhich makes sense, as Jesus came into the world to destroy the devils work .
Late Medieval: Satan As The Beast
Depictions of the devil during the Medieval period were commonly dragon-like, Montesano said. For example, an early pope known as Saint Sylvester reportedly slayed a devilish dragon, impressing a group of pagan priests and confirming the Christian faith of the Roman emperor Constantine.
However, while mythical creatures were often associated with the devil during the medieval period, so too were real animals. According to the British Library, many medieval portrayals of the devil have animalistic features, including the iconic cloven hooves, tails, talons and even webbed hands.
Illustrations from a 14th-century French manuscript called the Smithfield Decretals show the devil with animal body parts, and depict him as a humongous beast. “We find foxes, bears, lions and many others having connotations that can signify those attributed to the devil,” Montesano said.
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Satans Work In The World Today
8 Be sober-minded be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience
19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
18 because we wanted to come to youI, Paul, again and againbut Satan hindered us.
5 For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain.
20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
15 For some have already strayed after Satan.
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.
God Did Not Create The Devil As We Know Him
When God created the world, we are told that God examined it and declared that it was good . This means that even the angelic world did not have evil angels or demons in it at that time. But by the time of Genesis chapter three, we find that Satan, in the form of a serpent, was tempting Eve to sin. Therefore, sometime between the events of Genesis chapter one and Genesis chapter three, there must have been a rebellion in the angelic world, with many angels turning against God and becoming evil. This rebellion was led by Satan himself.
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Paradise Lost: The Devil As An Adonis
Many modern audiences are used to seeing Satan as a chiseled, handsome man, such as in the 2016 Netflix series “Lucifer”. This incarnation of the devil first appeared in the 17th century. In 1667, John Milton published his epic poem “Paradise Lost,” which tells the story of Satan’s expulsion from heaven and his temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. According to Nancy Rosenfield’s book “The Human Satan in Seventeenth-Century Literature” , Milton shows Satan as “a heroic military leader,” who is “the most attractive of the satanic characters of 17th century literature.”
In the 18th and early 19th century, there was a revival of interest in “Paradise Lost.” Artist William Blake found Milton’s character of Satan so compelling that he produced several illustrations to accompany a version of “Paradise Lost” in which a nude Satan is shown as a handsome, god-like figure, with entirely human features.
Summary Of Old Testament Teaching On The Devil And Satan
- Satan is used of people who oppose others or wish evil on others
- Satan is used of angels who oppose people for their good
- The satan of Job was under Gods control and used Gods power
- The Old Testament uses the term “devil” in the Authorised Version of false gods
- The satan of Job was involved in the circumstances that tested Jobs faith in God
- The satan of Job plays a minor role and his identity is not revealed
- There is no satan who has the power to rival that of the Lord God
This would have been the understanding of those in New Testament times who read and understood the Old Testament.
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Jewish Vs Christian Conceptions Of Satan
On the whole, Satan occupies a far more prominent place in Christian theology than in traditional rabbinic sources. The Book of Revelation, in the New Testament, references an ancient serpent commonly understood as the snake that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden who is the Devil and Satan. It describes a reg dragon with seven heads and 10 horns that stands opposite a pregnant woman about to give birth in order to devour the child that is, Jesus. Revelation further describes a war in heaven in which Satan is hurled to earth, where he proceeds to lead the world astray. According to Christian prophecy, Satan will be bound by a chain for 1,000 years after the return of Jesus.
Some of these Christian ideas are echoed in Jewish tradition, but some also point to fundamental differences most notably perhaps the idea that, in the Hebrew Bible at least, Satan is ultimately subordinate to God, carrying out his purpose on earth. Or that he isnt real at all, but is merely a metaphor for sinful impulses.
Pronounced: TALL-mud, Origin: Hebrew, the set of teachings and commentaries on the Torah that form the basis for Jewish law. Comprised of the Mishnah and the Gemara, it contains the opinions of thousands of rabbis from different periods in Jewish history.
Lucifer Father Of Lies Accuser Tempter Thief: What The Bible Says About Satan
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2:11
Who is Satan?
Before we discuss some of the devices of Satan, we first need to know who he is. The name Satan comes from a Hebrew word signifying an adversary, an enemy, and an accuser. In Gods Word, we discover that Satan is Gods enemy and is against all for which God stands. He is the archenemy of good.
Surprising as it may seem to some, Satan was not always evil. In the beginning, he was an angel created in perfection and beauty. Angels were given a will with a free moral choice, and Lucifer chose to do evil and rebelled against God. He was cast out of heaven to the earth because of his sin. His present domain is limited to the earth and hell.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isaiah 14:12-15
Sin Comes Before a Fall
From these verses, we see that God did not create Lucifer evil, but made him perfect. By Satans own choice, he became evil and was cast out of heaven.
Satan Cast Out of Heaven
Jesus Defeats Satan
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