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Sa’tan. The word itself, the Hebrew, satan, is simply an “adversary”, and is so used in 1Sa 29:4; 2Sa 19:22; 1Ki 6:4; 1Ki 11:14; 1Ki 11:23; 1Ki 11:25; Num 22:22-23; Psa 109:6. This original sense is still found in our Lord’s application of the name to St. Peter in Matt 16:23. It is used as a proper name or title only four times in the Old Testament, namely, (with the article), in Job 1:6; Job 1:12; Job 2:1; Zech 2:1, and without the article in 1Ch 21:1. It is with the scriptural revelation on the subject, that we are here concerned; and it is clear, from this simple enumeration of passages, that it is to be sought in the New Testament, rather than in the Old Testament.
The personal existence of a spirit of evil is clearly revealed in Scripture; but the revelation is made gradually, in accordance with the progressiveness of God’s method. In the first entrance of evil into the world, the temptation is referred only to the serpent. In the book of Job, we find, for the first time, a distinct mention of “Satan,” the “adversary,” of Job. But it is important to remark the emphatic stress laid on his subordinate position, on the absence of all, but delegated power, of all terror and all grandeur in his character. It is especially remarkable that no power of spiritual influence, but only a power over outward circumstances, is attributed to him.
The captivity brought the Israelites face to face with the great dualism of the Persian mythology, the conflict of Ormuzd with Ahriman, the co-ordinate spirit of evil; but it is confessed by all that the Satan of Scripture bears no resemblance to the Persian, Ahriman. His subordination and inferiority are as strongly marked as ever. The New Testament brings plainly forward the power and the influence of Satan. From the beginning of the Gospel, when he appears as the personal tempter of our Lord, through all the Gospels, Epistles, and Revelation, it is asserted, or implied, again and again, as a familiar and important truth.
Of the nature and the original state of Satan, little is revealed in Scripture. He is spoken of as a “spirit” in Eph 2:2; as the prince or ruler of the “demons” in Matt 12:24-26; and as having “angels” subject to him in Matt 25:41; Rev 12:7; Rev 12:9. The whole description of his power implies spiritual nature and spiritual influence. We conclude, therefore, that he was of angelic nature, a rational and spiritual creature, superhuman in power, wisdom, and energy; and not only so, but a cherub, of high rank having special duties.
We cannot, of course, conceive that anything essentially and originally evil was created by God. The spirit-person known as Satan the Devil was not created wicked but rather became an adversary of God when he slandered him in the Garden of Eden, taking a course of opposition and resistance to God. We can conclude, therefore, that Satan is a fallen angel, who once was a perfect angelic creature like Gabriel or Michael, but whose condemnation is now irrevocably fixed. As to the time, cause, and manner of his fall, Scripture tells us scarcely anything; but it describes to us distinctly, the moral nature of the evil one. The ideal of goodness is made up of the three great moral attributes of God — love, truth, and purity or holiness; combined with that spirit, which is the natural temper of the finite and dependent, we find creature, the spirit of faith. We find, accordingly, opposites of qualities are dwelt upon as the characteristics of the devil.
The power of Satan over the soul is represented as exercised, either directly, or by his instruments. His direct influence over the soul is simply that of a powerful and evil nature on those, in whom lurks the germ of the same evil. Besides this direct influence, we learn from Scripture, that Satan is the leader of a host of evil spirits, or angels, who share his evil work, and for whom, the “everlasting fire is prepared.” Matt 25:41. Of their origin and fall we know no more than of his. Satan the Devil became puffed up with pride, seeking worship that belonged to God, used the serpent in Eden as his mouthpiece, and is called “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.”—1 Ti 3:6; Ge 3:1-5, 14-15; Rev 12:9; 2Co 4:4.
But one passage Matt 12:24-26 — identifies them distinctly with the “demons,” who had the power to possess the souls of men. They are mostly spoken of in Scripture in reference to possession; but in Eph 6:12, we find them sharing the enmity to God and are ascribed in various lights. We find them sharing the enmity to God and man, implied in the name and nature of Satan; but their power and action are little dwelt upon in comparison with his.
But the evil one is not merely the “prince of the demons;” he is called also the “prince of this world” in John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11, and even the “god of this world,” in 2Co 4:4; the two expressions being united in Eph 6:12. This power, he claimed for himself, as the delegated authority, in the temptation of our Lord, Luke 4:6, and the temptation would have been unreal, had he spoken altogether falsely.
The indirect action of Satan is best discerned, by an examination of the title, by which he is designated in Scripture. He is called, emphatically, ho diabolos, “the devil”. The derivation of the word in itself implies only the endeavor to break the bonds between others, and “set them at variance;” but common usage adds to this general sense, the special idea of “setting at variance by slander.” In the application of the title to Satan, both the general, and special senses, should be kept in view.
His general object is to break the bonds of communion between God and man, and the bonds of truth and love, which bind men to each other. The slander of God to man is best seen in the words of Gen 3:4-5. They attribute selfishness and jealousy to the Giver of all good. The slander of man to God is illustrated by the book of Job. Job_1:9-11; Job_2:4-5.
Genesis 3:4-5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 And the serpent [Satan] said to the woman, “You shall not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” knowing good and evil.
Here Satan has called God a liar, slandering Him. He told Eve that she would not die if she ate of the tree when God explicitly stated that she would surely die. Satan intimates that God was withholding special knowledge from Eve when he said, “when you eat of it your eyes will be opened.” Both Adam and Eve knew the difference between “good” and “bad.” If they ate from the tree of knowledge, this was bad, if they refrained and obeyed, this was “good.” The “knowing good and evil” was independence from God, rebellion against God, rejecting his sovereignty, and taking for themselves the right to choose for themselves what was “good” and what was “bad.”
The method of satanic action upon the heart itself. It may be summed up in two words — temptation and possession. The subject of temptation is illustrated, not only by abstract statements but also by the record of the temptations of Adam and of our Lord. It is expressly laid down in
James1:13-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God.” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He himself tempts no one. (1:13)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God.” If any Christian were under any kind of affliction or hardship, he would be wrong to attribute this to God, as though God were trying to tempt him into sinning. If he lets some aspect of the trial turn into a temptation for him (e.g., if he goes from a refusal to give in to the temptation, to giving in or bending under pressure because of some selfish gain, or because he is looking for a way to evade facing and enduring the trial), it is not God who deserves the blame. We need to understand that God will strengthen us to endure the trials of this imperfect world, only if we continue unwaveringly in our own heart. (Phil. 4:13) God will never carry out any action that would lead his servant to sin. While God permitted sin and imperfection to come into the world after the rebellion of Satan, Adam, and Eve, it was not to test or tempt humanity into sin, but rather to teach us the object lesson that we were not designed to walk on our own. We were designed to be under God’s sovereign rulership, which Adam rejected. The world under Satan’s rulership caters to the fallen flesh, not to God.
God is holy and pure so he cannot be tempted with evil. It is impossible for God to be tempted by evil of any kind or by any unacceptable situation, or by some condition that would motivate him to commit wrong. It is impossible to make something that is contrary to God’s standards and values attractive to the point that it would be trying him.
God himself tempts no one, just as he himself cannot be tempted into sin. God does not place alluring things before his creatures, to embolden them to transgress against him. He is not seeking to test their weaknesses or their steadfastness. He does not place things before us that we must have for survival, and the situation requires us to violate his standards to achieve it. However, God has allowed the trials of an imperfect world of humanity to continue, as he has “morally sufficient reasons for permitting the evil and suffering in the world.” (William Lane Craig) God offers us nothing but good for our improvement, never for our impairment. The ruler of this imperfect world, Satan the Devil, has no qualms about using trials as a means of tempting us to violate God’s Word. This is not to say that God will not allow some trial that he could have prevented for the sake of disciple (i.e., correction), making his servants more complete. – Hebrews 12:7, and 11
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. (1:14)
James states but each one is tempted, which signifies that temptation is on an individual basis. The temptation is not another individual’s problem but is an individual choice that one gives into or rejects. James also writes one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his desire, which exposes that the problem of temptation lies not with God, but rather it is in oneself. James says that temptation is always directed at the desire of one’s heart. Therefore, God is not the one who is causing the temptation, but the temptation comes through the enticement of one’s lust within his heart.
The Greek word James uses here for enticed is deleazo, which means to “lure as bait.” (Vine 1996, 203) James tells us in the passage that the underlying motivation for all temptation is selfish desire, that all temptations spring from man’s desire to satisfy his own flesh and personal forbidden desires. This means the temptation that Satan offers to people always deals with that which is pleasurable to man and appeals to his desires. This is not to say that human desires in and of itself are wrong. Moreover, human pleasure is not bad in and of itself. Satan has corrupted the desires of the flesh, which was perfectly natural before the sin of Adam. For example, there was a natural desire for a physical relationship between man and woman. After the fall, Paul tells us that it has become a standard practice “For their women [to] exchange natural relations for those that are contrary to nature,” i.e., homosexuality. (Rom. 1:26) Once the lust is manifested in the heart then the more it lingers there without being dealt with then it will begin to carry away the individual with the enticement of what that fulfilled lust can bring.
Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (1:15)
Temptation always begins with an enticement towards one’s lust or an unwarranted desire. If not cast down, one then is carried away by the bait of the enticement. Then soon after, one will take the bait, give in to the temptation, and satisfy the lust of his flesh. It is for this reason that James writes then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin. James continues with the progression stating sin when it is fully-grown brings forth death. Once the desire is conceived, or once the individual gives acts upon that temptation by giving into its evil desire, it gives birth to sin that can lead to death.
James is telling these believers that once sin is conceived and begins to take root in the heart if it is not dealt with, it will become full-grown within the heart, to attain what their hearts desire. James makes it very clear that once we give in to the temptation of that lust, it will inevitably give birth to sin. What was meant to produce pleasure and satisfaction, now only causes chaos and devastation. James warns these believers that the only result of fulfilling their lust brought about death. This death could for some have led to physical death depending upon the lust they were giving into. James has a deeper meaning in the fact that it was causing spiritual death to these believers when they gave into sin.
Again, we can see from Adam and Eve that when they ate of the fruit, they did so out of their desire and pleasure for power and control that stemmed from their lust. When they ate of the fruit, the promise of fulfillment only resulted in death. When Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, they faced spiritual death, in the fact that their sin had separated them from God. In turn, because of the curse, they would also suffer physical death due to their sin. James is warning these believers of the serious danger of temptation and the consequences if they were to give in to their lust. James wants his readers to understand that for the one who persisted in his temptation and living in that manner, and then, in the end, he would face eternal destruction. Paul wrote in Romans 7:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.”
Devil. (slanderer). The name describes Satan as slandering God to man and man to God. The former work is, of course, a part of his great work of temptation to evil and is not only exemplified, but illustrated as to its general nature and tendency by the narrative of Genesis 3. The other work, the slandering or accusing men before God, is the imputation of selfish motives, Job 1:9-10, and its refutation is placed in the self-sacrifice of those “who loved not their own lives unto death.”
- DOES SATAN THE DEVIL EXIST OR IS HE A MYTH?
- THE EXISTENCE OF SATAN AND HOW TO OVERCOME SATANIC INFLUENCES
- HOW COULD SATAN, ADAM, AND EVE HAVE SINNED IF THEY WERE PERFECT?
- CAN SATAN THE DEVIL READ (KNOW) THE THOUGHTS OF THE HUMAN MIND?
- CAN SATAN THE DEVIL CONTROL HUMANS?
- 2 CORINTHIANS 4:3-4: IN WHAT WAY HAS SATAN BLINDED THE MINDS OF THE UNBELIEVERS?
- HOW ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND SATAN’S BATTLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN MIND?
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