FOUNDATIONS

Lessons designed to promote the integrity of scripture and church!

I Corinthians 3:11“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is    JESUS CHRIST  

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

 

"The Adversary!"

FACT OR FICTION:

The popular image of Satan as the devil dressed in red with a long pointed tail and pitchfork is an image born as a figment of the imaginations of men; along with many other misconceptions.

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However, in the Bible we can see Satan standing diametrically opposed to God and human well being.

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The origin of Satan is not a subject of scripture where God has determined it necessary to reveal every detail. However, in the book of Revelation; the Apostle John was shown an underlying conflict that took place at the very beginning, when man fell from grace and sin came into the world. This original battle was a foundation that led to the events that John recorded concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and all the judgments of God for the sins of men, and the victory of Christ and the saints who are victorious because of Him.

Revelation 12:7-9 “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

 

After developing the opposing sides, John sees the war as it develops in the spiritual realm. To understand the war, we must understand the problem. Man fell in the Garden. Sin separated man from God, and since there was not a method for sin to be forgiven man; Satan reigned supreme.

The war and Satan being cast out of heaven were events at the beginning of time, which coincides with 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6. These two passages indicate that the angels that did not maintain their proper domain were cast into ‘Tartaros' (which Jesus said was reserved for the devil and his angels - Matthew 25:41.

Even though this battle was fought and Satan cast out at the very beginning, the conflict with Satan has not stopped from that time, even to now.

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Since passages like these tend to enlist as many questions as they answer (especially since origins and answers concerning Satan were not the point); we need to match this passage to what the rest of scripture has to say concerning Satan. The best way to do this is to first define His name and then see how the Bible refers to him in all his interactions.

 

HIS NAME:

His Hebrew name is ‘Satan' and transliterates to the Greek ‘Satanas' . Both mean an adversary! Since we have already read that he is the chief of the fallen spirits; there can be little doubt that he is the grand adversary.

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The name ‘devil' is a Greek word ‘Diabolos' and means a slanderer. It was a name Jesus used to describe Satan and the place that had been reserved for him and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

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There is a name used for Satan that does not apply to him, and is misused; that is Lucifer. Lucifer is a Latin word that has is original meaning in the planet Venus as a bright star or day star just before the dawn (this word, ‘Lucifer' does not appear in the original Hebrew texts). There is one place in scripture that this word is used. It is in Isaiah 14:12-20; a proverb concerning the king of Babylon . It is a direct reference to his brightness (day star) just before his fall, as a cause of judgment. This passage and Ezekiel 28:12-19 being attributed to Satan instead of the judgments of God on Babylon , Tyre , and Sidon , have led to much difficulty and falsehoods.

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The Apostle Paul would call him, "the god of this age" (NKJV), or "the god of this world" (KJV); the word "god" being used as ruler or lord, describing a domain. Paul describes him as blinding the minds of those who cannot and will not see the Gospel message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 4:4 "whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them."

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Paul would additionally refer to him as, "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" - Ephesians 2:2. Paul additionally states that we all once conducted ourselves as his minions by serving the lusts of our flesh.

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Paul continues to develop the image of the adversary by stating that we wrestle against him and all the rulers of the darkness of this age - Ephesians 6:12. This is an important understanding to the evil of the world. Many are quick to blame God for the evil of this world; however, what we see here is a much different origin for this evil. We will talk about its existence later in the lesson. Jesus would support this definition of the borders of his reign -

John 12:31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out."

John 14:30 "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me."

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Jesus would state to the Jews He taught that they were of their father the devil (this does not mean that they were physically sired by him; however, when they do his bidding by the rejection of God and His word, they are his offspring by choice).

John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."

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Jesus would be accused of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub (this was a name by which the idolatrous god Baal who was worshiped in ancient times by the Philistines of Ekron - 2 Kings 1:2-16; by N. T. times this name was associated with the prince or ruler of demons). In the Lord's defense, He stated that if their accusation were correct, then Satan was divided (Jesus giving the definitive source of evil). Since this would not make sense, He stated that One with greater power than Satan has come to overcome Satan - Luke 11:14-23.

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Peter will refer to him as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" - 1 Peter 5:8.

Peter then states that Christian's are to resist him by being steadfast in the faith.

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Finally, one of the best descriptions of the adversary comes from a title (actually, it would be better described as a predicate - "To state or affirm as an attribute or

a quality of something") that defines his greatest tool against men -

Matthew 4:3 "Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

1 Thessalonians 3:5 "For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain."

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We learn a great deal about the adversary by these descriptive terms; there are some additional facts to be learned about him from God's word:

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He is not independent of God, but subject to what God allows -

Job 1-2; Luke 22:31.

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Since he is the ruler of this world, his greatest efforts are not to keep the sons of disobedience that he already possess, but to spend his efforts on the sons of God - 1 Peter 5:8; even the Son of God - Matthew 4:9.

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Satan has a kingdom and it is in the power of darkness and among the sons of disobedience (Matthew 12:26; Ephesians 2:2; 6:12; Colossians 1:13). This teaches us to understand that the evils of this world are not random; in fact, we can find a cause for every evil we see in the world. Crime, war, religious confusion, famine, starvation, and disease in their many tragic forms all exist for a reason. Broken marriages, broken families, broken relationships and broken societies do not just happen. They are the venue of Satan's influence. They are accomplished by those who are submissive to his will and their own lusts, who have rejected their true purpose as the creation of God.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil."

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Satan, along with all angelic beings, is a created being. In the descriptions of scripture, his influence is clearly defined as having limitations. Since he is a spiritual being, his activities are not physical, thus he is in need of servants who are to do his bidding. His authority has been given him (Luke 4:6), and is limited by God.

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A clear cut picture of Satan's abilities and power are not fully developed because the writers of scripture were primarily interested in God and His purposes, and only secondary in the powers of darkness. Thus the figure of the adversary is only outlined against the light of God's holiness and the glory of the Christ.

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Satan is clearly represented in scripture as the enemy of both God and man. Jesus described him as the evil one, as a general understanding of His nature from the beginning to now - Matthew 13:19; 38; John 8:44. We are not told in definite terms how Satan became the evil one, but certainly it could be no other process than a fall, whereby an evil will takes the place of a good one by choice. This is the very description of free moral will. He is thus, the father of all who fall from grace or original purpose (John 8:44).

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This is the understanding of the war that has raged since the fall of man, brought about by a fall. Satan brought his wares to men ,who then chose to serve the lie. His place has been determined by the will of men to follow after his traits and influence.

This is a picture of every person before they come to Christ. We turned from God to serve the devil and the pleasures of sin . The Bible says that there is a “spirit” that works in the children of disobedience. 1 John 3:8 says "He that commits sin is of the devil..."

Aleister Crowley (who died in 1947), is considered to be the father of modern Satanism. In his publication called, The Book of the Law , he sums up the essence of Satanism. It is: "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."

 

And that sums up the desires of many who profess to have faith in Jesus Christ. Their lack of concern for the lost shows that something is radically wrong. They have never given up their selfish will, and cried, "Not my will but Yours be done." They have never sought to serve God by doing His will in reaching out to the unsaved.

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The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God's Law and show the nature of sin. This is the Christian teaching and preaching, which God be praised, we know and possess; and it is not necessary at present to develop it further, but only to offer the admonition that it be maintained in Christendom with all diligence. For Satan has attacked it hard and strong from the beginning until present, and gladly would he completely extinguish it and tread it under foot.

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Although he is, and he reigns over the evil of this world, his power has been diminished by the Christ of God. In addition, his final fait has been established in a permanent expulsion from all that is God; along with all who serve Him - Matthew 25:41.

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Paul states that Christ now reigns till all his enemies are under His feet (to include Satan). Christ has conquered Satan's greatest weapon by the resurrection from the dead; death! In addition, He has provided for man the same opportunity for victory over the evil one - 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.

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Paul received an Apostolic commission, after his conversion, from the Lord, note:

Acts 26:17-18 "I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me."