Satan holds the power of death over all people in this world. He is the beginning of sin and plays a key role in how sin enters our world. We should not be ignorant of his reality or his activity in our lives.
The central message of the NT is salvation from death and the means whereby it happens. Christ's sacrificial death, His moral instruction, prophecies of a coming kingdom... are all meaningless if there is no salvation from death. We may leave the world better or worse that we found it... You may have morally improved your soul... but who cares if there is no future hope of conscious being?
Hebrew 2:14-15 Christ saves us from the power that Satan, the devil, has over us. Today we are going to look into the power he has over us, how he got it, how he uses it, and how we might be saved from it.
We cannot remove the devil from NT teaching and focus only in ethical or moral improvement [as so many have tried to do]. Take the devil out out of the gospels... and you are not left with much... Jesus even brought the evil one into the model prayer.
Proper proclamation of the coming kingdom of God on earth [which is the gospel] is built upon a biblical understanding of Satan's status/authority, his present activity in our world, and reality as a personal being.How The Gospels & Epistles Refer to This Being
Group 1: Jesus and the apostles referred to Satan using the words and phrases that were descriptive of his actions as opposed to God.
- The most used way to address Satan is a transliteration of the Hebrew word satan [used 33x]. This is description of function... the adversary. One who opposes God. 2 Corinthians 12:7 2 Corinthians 12:7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
American King James Version×, Matthew 13:39 Matthew 13:39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
American King James Version×.
- Just as often the word echtros is used. Another description of function... the enemy. Matthew 13:25 Matthew 13:25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
American King James Version×, 39; Luke 10:19 Luke 10:19Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
American King James Version×
- Another common word used is diablos or devil [33x]. Another variation on the description of function... the slanderer. Matthew 13:39 Matthew 13:39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
American King James Version×
- To a lesser degree, synonyms of these descriptive names also occur like: pierzon... the tempter [Matthew 4:3 Matthew 4:3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
American King James Version×], kategorous.... the accuser [Revelation 12:10 Revelation 12:10And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
American King James Version×], poneros... the evil one [Matthew 13:19 Matthew 13:19When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
American King James Version×, 1 John 5:18 1 John 5:18We know that whoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.
American King James Version×, Matthew 6:13 Matthew 6:13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×].
Group 2: less common but significant are references to Satan which address his status/role/authority both over activity on the earth, and as head of the spiritual powers of wickedness active on earth:
- ho tou kosmos archon... prince of this world [John 12:31 John 12:31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
American King James Version×, 14:30]
- archon tes exousis ton aeros... prince of the power of the air [Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 2:2Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
American King James Version×]
- archon daimonion... prince of demons [Matthew 9:34 Matthew 9:34But the Pharisees said, He casts out devils through the prince of the devils.
American King James Version×]
- beelzebub... Baal the prince [6x Matthew 10:25 Matthew 10:25It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
American King James Version×, Luke 11:15 Luke 11:15But some of them said, He casts out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.
American King James Version×]. A word that goes back to the OT [2 Kings 1. A name indicating some sort of authority, and a connection to false/idolatrous worship.
Prince indicates a high ranking authority... but one that is subordinate. A prince is subordinate in authority to a king. Satan only has any degree of authority as it is granted to him from God.Satan is a Person... Not a Personification
Evil does not spring forth from the substance of the universe... it is not baked in to creation. God said that what He created was good... The true biblical message is that evil, with its real and painful consequences, has been introduced into God's creation from an external agent acting on his own initiative.
That external agent is Satan, who is a personal being active in the physical and spiritual world. A personal being means he has thoughts, plans, a freedom to choose what actions and attitudes he follows. A personal being who also was created good... but given the freedom to choose.
Satan used the personal freedom God gave and chose to oppose his creator. He made this choice at some point prior to human history and since them he has worked to spread his message of rebellion to as many as will listen.
You and I have been created in the flesh and declared good... part of that good design is the freedom to choose. However, it is through that choice given to human beings that Satan has entered into the created physical universe. And it is through the ongoing choices humans make that Satan is able to operate and dominate our world.Sin & Evil Are Matters of Choice
Romans 5:12 Romans 5:12Why, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned:
American King James Version× this is a reference to the choice Adam made to rebel against God. As a result of that choice death became the only option for flesh and blood human beings.
Many interpret this verse to mean that Adam sinned and that all subsequent human beings inherit personal guilt for that sin. In other words, you and I are considered sinners worthy of the punishment of death from the moment we are born because of our long lost ancestor. This common teaching of original sin is simply not true.
We do not share Adam's guilt for the choice made... but we do share in the consequences of his action. Let's say we have a leader [president] who makes bad decisions and leads the country into war or economic hardship. The citizens of that country do not bear the guilt for making the bad decisions... but we do share in the consequences... if there is war our sons will die... if there is economic collapse our families will become impoverished.The Consequences of Adam’s Choice
There were two trees in the garden; the tree of good and evil [which was forbidden] and the tree of life [which was accessible]. The first humans chose to rebel against God and eat of the forbidden tree of good and evil. God said “because you have done this you are now going to die”. But Adam does not immediately slump to the ground and stop breathing. What happens is, he and the woman are cast out from the garden and as a consequence loose access to the other tree.
Genesis 3:22-23 Genesis 3:22-23  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from from where he was taken.
American King James Version× notice carefully that Adam would not have everlasting life unless he ate of the tree of life. His flesh and blood body was never designed to live forever. He and the woman would eventually die whether they ate the forbidden fruit or not. Adam did not have an immortal soul or spirit essence that would lives on... he would simply cease to exist.
Through this disobedience Adam and all his children lost access to the tree of life.Like them, we too will die a natural death and cease to exist unless God intervenes. Access to eternal life is not a natural right. You do not have an immortal soul.
Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version× God would like to give eternal life to you as a gift... but He has a process. That process of giving eternal life to you is only to be accomplished through the life, death, and the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ.
It is through Him you can be saved from death
Access to the tree of life means access to the life giving holy spirit... it is the seed of eternal life planted in you, and also the seed of understanding, instruction, conviction, and follow through. Without it death is the only option.Satan Opposes Your Salvation From Death
Christ wants you to be aware of the reality and the activity of the devil… a personal being with motives and intent who opposes and interferes with the process and plan God has for granting you eternal life.
2 Corinthians 2:11 2 Corinthians 2:11Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
American King James Version× God makes you aware of how the devil operates… and tells you about his intent, motives and practices
- Satan is a Liar - John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version× a powerful tactic of your adversary is deceit. Human beings are suckers for a good lie well told. We naively expect others to speak truthfully and are caught off guard when someone actually lies. Satan preys upon this trait to flood the world with false teaching and disinformation [fake news]: concerning creation, the nature of death, freewill, who God is, who man is…
- Bad doctrine creates a false image of God and His purpose in the world. This leads to disobedience, lack of faith, false hopes, and disappointment directed toward God.
- 2 Timothy 2:2 2 Timothy 2:2And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit you to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
American King James Version×2-26 Christ works through His church to rescue people from this snare of the devil.
- Satan is the Instigator of sorcery, idolatry, and false worship - Acts 13:6-10, 1 Corinthians 10:20 1 Corinthians 10:20But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that you should have fellowship with devils.
American King James Version× - idolatry and sorcery are extensions of the previous point about deception and lies. Leading people into false worship practices leads them away from God.
- Christ through His Church proclaims and maintains the biblical worship of God built on the foundation of the Sabbath and the biblical festivals as found in scripture. Straying away from these leads human beings into all sorts of error.
- Satan blocks and obstructs - 1 Thessalonians 2:18 1 Thessalonians 2:18Why we would have come to you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
American King James Version× - Satan actively hinders the effective working of the Church and the proclamation of truth in the world. He does on a worldwide scale but he uses the same tactic with you... he hinders your participation in the life and work of the church. You must persevere in the face of obstacles. Let's say some thing gets in your way and hinders your observance of the feast... your response should not be "oh well, I guess that's God's will"... it should be "what can I do to get around this obstacle".
- Satan is a Tempter - 1 Thessalonians 3:5 1 Thessalonians 3:5For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.
American King James Version× to be put off from obedience because of trials is temptation to leave to path of life, 1 Corinthians 7:5 1 Corinthians 7:5Defraud you not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
American King James Version× to be put off obedience in pursuit of pleasure is temptation that leads away from eternal life, [1 Timothy 5:15 1 Timothy 5:15For some are already turned aside after Satan.
American King James Version×].
The Difference Between Testing and Tempting - God tests the heart of human beings. He allows them to get into situations where they have to make choices, sometimes hard choices. Satan puts human beings into situations where they have to make hard choices. The difference is intent and purpose.
God's intent and purpose is to prove the soundness of faith, your conviction regarding obedience, and your commitment to His way of life. He wants to see you succeed and provides you with everything necessary to overcome... information, instruction, encouragement, support from other believers. Sometimes we do not prevail because we cannot gain mastery over the evil desires of our heart.
Satan's intent and purpose is to trick you, or lure you, into error. He wants to prove you unworthy, sinful, and deserving of death. His goal is that you fail as he has failed. He does not want you to have the necessary information or instruction. He obstructs the encouragement and support you might gain from others. He accomplishes these goals through his number one tactic: deceit.
- Satan hurts people - Luke 13:11-16 Luke 13:11-16  And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said to her, Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.
 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said to the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.
 The Lord then answered him, and said, You hypocrite, does not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound, see, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?
American King James Version×, 2 Corinthians 12:7 2 Corinthians 12:7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
American King James Version×successfully dealing with suffering is a matter of perspective. Satan's purpose in suffering is to convince or prove to that God does not love you and will not take care of you. But with the mind of God suffering is elevated to the level of spiritual development and growth... Paul had the choice of viewing his own suffering in the flesh as God’s indifference... but he chose to see his own suffering as a necessary [although unpleasant] antidote to his pride.
Satan is a Murderer - John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version× - although he is able to make lies appear as if they are the bright source of enlightenment itself... his deceptions lead to death... your death.
Deception lead us away from the path that leads to eternal life and restored access to the tree of life, the holy spirit of God. Proper doctrine is necessary for guarding moral behavior.The Fall Festivals Address the Removal of Deception
It is Christ’s present purpose to save you from death but He’s also interested in more that just you.
The feast of trumpets teaches us that Christ will return to expose the weakness, and overthrow the source of deception, interference, and everything that hinders human beings from attaining life. Satan will be deposed.
The day of Atonement teaches us that once deposed Satan will be bound and have no influence on humanity for 1,000 years while Christ administers the rule of God on earth.
The feast of tabernacles pictures the fruits and benefits of that time when the source of deception and misery is not longer among us.
The last great day pictures the time when everyone who has ever lived will be raised to physical life, have the veil of deception removed, and live before God in judgment. And when that final period of judgment is complete... death will be no more. Salvation and freedom from death will be complete.