Is Satan Winning?

Bob Kudla joins us to discuss the economy. Jessie Czebotar addresses whether or not the forces of darkness and Satan are winning the spiritual war. Peter Kirby presents “The Power Behind The Chemtrails”. Plus…open lines. Leave the world you think you know behind and join us at the Dark Outpost!

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9 Comments

  1. As I mentioned before, the higher angelic beings, being radiant and resplendent need not struggle in knowing anything. Human beings must have faith that that tomorrow will be like today, or hopefully better but we do not know. We do not know, and that is a blessing by the true and divine creator.

    It is a morality play, a riddle that we choose to participate, or not. The great creator, which Satan is insanely jealous; because the Devil determined a destiny of his own making. Better to rule in hell, albeit for a short while than to serve in heaven. Satan chose losing as a way, he believed in determining a destiny and free will.

    A great criticism of Jehovah (Tetragrammaton YWWH) which IS the name of the true creator of the Universe with definition or All Knowing, All Sensing, All Seeing, All Caring, Omnipotent (All Powerful), Omnipresent (All present everywhere) is that the creator is a despot or tyrant, and those closest to him have no free will to do anything but serve the Almighty. It is not possible for the creator to abdicate or step-down because of the infinite character of God himself. Jesus Christ however is an emanation of the divine as part of the same in a human body. The infinite live outside of space and time, and as such can see the events of space and time, and are not affected by them. Satan chose a losing path to determine a destiny separate from that of divine eternity. He knows that he is a dead duck, and keeps transforming himself into an angel of light-a traveler of both time and space. A fugitive of his own choice, a path which he freely took and accepted, because he could SEE in advance the consequences of his rebellion. We are forgiven, because unlike the higher angelic beings, we can not know and see the future events–COMPLETE END GAME and what cause results of individual choice. He saw the outcome as clear as anyone watching a movie, because he felt he needed to gain free will. He had it, but could not see it. God let him choose a destiny which was an error.

    It is not about the free will of a selfish child that matters. Its the free will of the creator that matters. He gives everyone angel and finite intelligent being a choice to serve truth with free will or the RIGHT TO GIVE IT UP.

    This is understandable, in that a petulant child has been punished. “Satan, GO TO HELL”. This I think, is the greatest act of LOVE by the Great Creator that could possibly ever be shown to the rebellious Lucifer. He had to comply, because he is NOT GOD, and NEVER WILL BE GOD.

    Anything that the created and infinite wishes to know or understand is made aware to them by bringing that thought desire into conscious mind. When God declared in heaven, “I am God, and there is No other before me”. He was not bragging,…. he was stating fact. Even so only 66.6% of the angels remained loyal. So a multitude of infinite beings are alive living a perpetual existence in the vicinity of the Earth.

    It is a riddle, in that while the powerful and keenly aware angels, being of formidable intelligence and beauty, CAN NOT KNOW THE TOIL AND STRUGGLE OF BLINDLY LIVING and having faith in the good. The angles watch events here on Earth, and those who stick with the creator finite and infinite are on the WINNING side. The angels in heaven can see it. The humans must have faith as they can not see Providence.

    It is about proving that the great Creator is NOT a tyrant. He wants everyone to chose life and freedom. The tyranny and lies belong to the dark side. Those who choose to go with darkness, choose a losing side.

    • יהוה is the name of the Hebrew’s God. Pronunciation is a matter of debate because of the uncertainty of the exact vowels which aren’t written in Hebrew. There is no “J” in Hebrew so “Jehovah” can’t be the correct pronunciation. The most popular candidates for correct pronunciation are Yahweh, Yahovah and Yahuah. At least in public, I spell the name, “yod hey vav hey”. I do that out of repect to not pronounce it wrong. I do not believe we will know the correct pronunciation till the two witnesses arrive and tell us. All that being said, I’m sure יהוה will know Whom you mean no matter how you pronounce it. He has many names in Torah that we do know the pronunciation for, such as, “יהוה צבאות”, usually pronounced, “Adonai Tzevaot” – “Lord Of Hosts”.

        • Daniel Furrer, not sure why but I have the strong feeling I should pass on a little more Hebrew you might find useful when encountering someone who has given themselves over to evil and won’t be quiet or are violent. The human probably will not understand the Hebrew but the unclean spirit will and must obey. Keep in mind the Hebrew letters are read right to left.

          #1: שקט בשם ישוע המשיח , pronounced, Sheket b’shem Yeshua Hamashiach, “Quiet in the name of Jesus The Messiah”.

          #2: צאו בשם ישוע המשיח , Ezev b’shem Yeshua Hamashiach, “Leave in the name of Jesus The Messiah”.

          • Hello Kevin:

            I don’t know Hebrew. Sorry, most Christians do not.

            I am going to take my luck with my Swiss heritage and the languages that I know. Jesus Christ, who you probably do not believe in, myth or man, because most who call themselves Jews do not believe in Jesus Christ. Fine, your choice, either way.

            Jesus Christ, who probably spoke Aramaic, was the Son of God, and he will do all of the translation I will ever need, if any.
            Religions, like languages are temporal things, becoming meaningless for those wishing to be with the One True God and seek eternal life.

            Take Care and God Bless

  2. Kevin:

    As an American that is what I believe. Freedom. Exercise of Liberty. Exercise of Freedom of Speech, and the right to discuss any topic and to express my opinions about religion, politics, satire.

    If those free expressions winds me in the eternal KLINK of Hell, then we can discuss your view point at that time. We’ll have plenty of time to talk.

  3. The Word Satan Means Adversary Not Some Supernatural Being!

    Many sects of Christendom, along with many other religions, believe that there is a being or monster called the Devil or Satan who is the originator of the problems which are in the world and in our own lives, and who is responsible for the sin which we commit. If we truly believe these things, then it is impossible that there is any supernatural being at work in this universe that is opposed to Almighty God. If we believe that such a being does exist, then surely we are questioning the supremacy of God Almighty. This issue is so important that the correct understanding of the devil and satan must be considered a vital doctrine. We are told in Heb.2:14 that Jesus destroyed the devil by his death; therefore, unless we have a correct understanding of the devil, we cannot understand the work or nature of Jesus.

    The TRUTH about The Word Satan and It’s meaning.

    “SATAN” is a Hebrew word signifying “adversary,” “enemy,” or “accuser.

    The Bible certainly does contain a number of allusions to the devil and Satan. And so to the Bible we turn. But let us get one thing clear right at the beginning: we must make every effort to understand what the Bible writers themselves meant by “devil” and “Satan”. It is very easy for us, as we read Bible verses, to give to the terms devil and Satan the meaning which we prefer. And if that meaning is not the same as the Bible writer intended, then we are changing the true sense!

    Many of us have had the experience of discussing the devil and Satan with others and have found that the discussion does not seem to get anywhere. And the reason is obvious: when Bible passages are read, devil and Satan are being understood by different readers in different senses. The conclusion is clear: if we are to arrive at the truth about the devil and Satan, we must find out what the Bible writers meant when they used those terms. It is no good relying upon our own understanding or other people’s. We must know what the inspired writers of the Word of God understood about this important subject.

    In a short work like this we cannot examine all the verses in the Bible which refer to the devil and Satan. But what we really need is a key-a basic understanding of what these terms mean. Armed with this, we should be able to unlock quite a lot of Bible passages.

    First, Satan . . .
    To find the vital key it is important to begin with the Old Testament, and not with the New. To modern ears this may sound strange, but remember that the Old Testament was written first, many centuries before the New. And since they both really form one revelation from God, the New Testament writers knew the Old Testament very well indeed. They quoted from it and they used its terms; and among the terms they used is Satan. (In fact the term “devil” occurs rarely in the Old Testament and is used differently there from the way it is used in the New.)

    So, we begin with Satan, the Old Testament term. What does the word “Satan” mean? It is not hard to find out. Take the case of Balaam who lived in the days when the children of Israel were wandering in the wilderness. He was a prophet who had been told by God not to go on a certain hired mission to curse the Israelites. But he wanted the money offered him as a reward, so he went. Riding upon an ass, he soon found his way blocked by an angel: “The angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary” (or enemy) (Numbers 22:22, RSV).

    Adversary or Enemy
    The word for “adversary” is Satan (from which we get our “Satan”) and that is just what it means. Notice two things: Satan here is an ordinary word meaning adversary or enemy, and not the name of a person. The word occurs again only 10 verses later: the angel said to Balaam, “Behold, I am come forth to withstand you” (verse 32), literally “to be an adversary to you”.

    This is the first time the word Satan appears in the Hebrew record. Notice that this Satan is a good angel, “the angel of the Lord”, who is doing what God wants, and not an evil one! If we look up in a Bible concordance the way the word Satan is used in the Old Testament, we shall find that it means an adversary and an enemy. For example: “Why,” cried David, “should you (Joab and his brothers) be adversaries (satans) unto me?” (2 Samuel 19:22). And so in half a dozen other cases, where the allusion is usually to men.

    Here we have one of the most frequently quoted cases in all the Bible. The first few verses of chapter one describes Job as living in the land of Uz, a God-fearing man who had many possessions. Then, verse 6:

    “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.”

    Satan-Who Is The Satan In The Book Job
    “There you are”, some people say, “Satan was in heaven among the angels! He must be a supernatural being!”

    The first few verses of chapter one describes Job as living in the land of Uz, a God-fearing man who had many possessions. Then, verse 6: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.”

    The phrase ‘sons of God’ occurs again in Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? The ‘sons of God’ here are clearly angels and so it is reasonable to conclude that the ‘sons of God’ in Job 1:6 is also referring to angels. [Let scripture interpret itself. If we have a problem understanding a word or phrase, look to see how it is used elsewhere in the same book. If it is not used again in the same book, expand the search to the rest of scripture.]

    Is ‘Satan’ the angel’s name? Here the English translators have not really played fair with us, for all the Hebrew says is “the adversary”. The capital S in Satan is the translators’ own invention. Hebrew makes no distinction between capital letters and others. Even in the margin the Authorized and Revised Version translators have printed “the Adversary”, suggesting by their capital A (for which they have no evidence) that this is that special Adversary, Satan. All that the Hebrew justifies us in saying is “the adversary came among them”.

    The angel is an adversary to Job but not to God.

    9 Then Satan (the angel the adversary) answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

    12 And the LORD said unto Satan, (the angel the adversary) Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.
    So, Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

    The angel (Satan the adversary) suggests that Job only serves God because he receives material benefits from Him. This is a valid piece of reasoning. It is not in itself ‘evil’. God says effectively, go and bring trouble upon him but don’t touch Job himself. The angel does what God has given him the power to do. All power is of God and the angel cannot go beyond what God allows. God knows the end from the beginning and so has control over what the angel does.

    Job understands that everything is under God’s control so when the angel (Satan the adversary) brings the evil upon him, we read:

    21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

    The next time the sons of God come together, God says that He (God) is responsible for what the angel did. This confirms that the evil done to Job was under God’s control.

    Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, (the angel the adversary) “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you (the angel Satan the adversary) bring the evil upon him, we read:
    incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.”

    The angel (Satan the adversary) now suggests that Job still holds fast to his integrity because God hasn’t allowed Job himself to be touched. Again, it is a valid piece of reasoning that is not in itself ‘evil’.

    5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. 6 And the LORD said unto Satan, (the angel the adversary) Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

    Again, it is clear that the angel is an adversary to Job and not to God, because God now gives him permission to afflict Job, with the provision that Job is to be kept alive. Again, Job accepts that his suffering comes from God.

    10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

    If Job ‘did not sin with his lips’ he must be speaking the truth. The evil that he suffered was from the hand of God. The evil that he suffered was not ‘sin’ because the angel obeyed God. Everything that God does with men, whether good or evil is done via his angels who all obey Him perfectly.

    Everything that was done to Job was by the hand of God. Far from opposing God, Job’s angelic adversary did the will of God.

    Peter — a Satan!
    With this valuable background understanding we now look at an example of the use of “satan” in the New Testament. Peter had just made his great declaration of belief in Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” and Jesus had pronounced a blessing upon him as a result. But Jesus then went on to speak of his own fate; he would have to go to Jerusalem and there the leaders of the Jews would seize him and he would be killed, but he would rise again the third day (Matthew 16:21). Peter could neither understand nor accept this and began to rebuke Jesus: “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” In other words, “You must not think of such a thing.” But Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan: you are a hindrance to me.”

    Why was Peter a “satan”? Because he was being “an adversary” to Jesus; he was trying to persuade the Lord not to do what he knew had to be done in his obedience to the will of God. If Peter had had his way, Jesus would have rejected his Father’s will and his great sacrifice for sin upon the cross ( tree ) would never have taken place. So Jesus had to tell this “adversary” (satan) to “get behind me”. And then he adds a comment which is most important for our understanding: You are an adversary and a stumbling block to me, says Jesus in effect to Peter, for your mind is not on the “things of God, but the things of men” (verse 23, R.V.).

    So this most important New Testament example teaches us some valuable lessons. First, this “satan” was a man; second, he rejected the will of God; third, what marked him out was that he desired to do the will of man instead-a most important clue, as we shall see later.

    Let us remind ourselves what we have learned so far: a “satan” is an adversary, and nearly always an evil adversary. In the examples we have looked at, “satan” was:

    an angel of God, doing his will;
    a man posing as a worshipper of God;
    other men who were “adversaries”;
    and now Peter, an apostle of the Lord, who was opposing the will of God.
    With this general understanding of the meaning of “satan”, we should find a lot of Bible passages much clearer.

    And now the Devil
    This is a Greek term, not a Hebrew one, and so it is found only in the New Testament. [The word “devils” in “casting out devils” etc. is a different word, which really means “demons” (cf. R.S.V.).] Again we must try to discover what the term really means. We can easily do this, for there are passages where the translators themselves have shown us. Writing to Timothy the apostle Paul says that “in the last days there will come times of stress”; in these times “men will be lovers of self, lovers of money . . . slanderers,” etc. (2 Timothy 3:1-3). The word translated “slanderers” is the plural of the one usually rendered “devil” and is related to our English “diabolical”.

    Again, giving instructions on how believers are to behave as they meet to worship, he comes to the women members:

    “Women in like manner must be serious, no slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things” (1 Timothy 3:11).

    Again the word is the one usually translated “devil”, though here it is plural. The translators in these two passages have given us the basic sense of the word. Notice once more: these “devils” are people.

    But the great test passage for understanding “the devil” in the New Testament is in Hebrews chapter 2. As we read the early verses of this chapter, it is clear that the Apostle is writing about Jesus and his followers; and he calls the followers “children”. Now, in verse 14, he comes to his great statement about “the devil”. We set it out here in full first, and then we shall go over it, phrase by phrase, to make sure of understanding it:

    “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature; that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil . . .”

    The first phrase says quite clearly that the followers of Jesus are “flesh and blood”, that is, they are ordinary men and women. No problem there.

    Human Nature
    The second says that Jesus shared the same nature, “flesh and blood”. The apostle must have been very anxious indeed that his readers should clearly understand that the nature of Jesus really was the same as that of his followers — human nature — for he emphasizes the point: “he himself likewise took part of the same”. There was no need for the apostle to write in this emphatic way unless he had felt that it was particularly important for his readers to understand this vital truth: that Jesus was a man, in every respect.

    The third sentence contains three declarations:

    that Jesus destroyed the devil;
    that he did it “through death”, and that can only mean through his own death, by dying himself; and
    that the devil has “the power of death”.
    Before we go any further, we must clear up one cause of misunderstanding. The English reader, seeing a phrase like “him who has the power of death”, is naturally led to assume that the devil must be a person, or a being. But this is not necessarily so.

    In English we have a very simple system of arranging gender: all male persons are masculine and are referred to as “he”; all female ones are feminine, and are referred to as “she”; all other things are neuter and are referred to as “it”. And at times we refer to things as if they were persons: a ship as “she” for example. This is called personification.

    Greek, however (in which the New Testament was written), is different. It has three genders, but they are used in another way. Males are “he”, of course, and females “she”; but other things may be any one of the three genders, masculine, feminine, or neuter.

    Now the Greek word for devil is masculine, and so the pronoun standing for it is “he”. But this does not make clear whether the devil is a person or is not. The Greek is quite neutral. If we wish to prove that the devil is, or is not, a person, we must get our evidence from somewhere else, not from this expression.

    Destroying the Devil
    We look now at our “three declarations” in this verse.

    Jesus destroyed the devil. So the devil is “dead”, or at the very least will be destroyed by the time the work of Jesus is finished. But there are two remarkable points about this statement in Hebrews 2:14. The apostle distinctly says that in order to destroy the devil, Jesus partook of human nature. Now is not this an astonishing thing? If Jesus’ purpose was to destroy a powerful enemy, would he not have done far better to have had a strong, immortal nature like the angels? What was he doing sharing the weak nature of flesh and blood? Obviously there is a mystery here that needs explaining.

    But that is not all. The apostle distinctly says that the way Jesus destroyed the devil was “through death”. Now this can only mean through his own death. What an extraordinary way to get rid of a powerful enemy, by dying oneself!

    From these two points, that in order to put an end to the devil Jesus first shared weak human nature and then had to die himself, it is clear that “the devil” of the Bible must be something quite different from the idea of the devil usually held.

    When you come across a Bible passage difficult to understand, it always helps to find another one saying much the same thing, though in different terms. The two passages will throw light on one another. Now there is such a passage to help us in this case. The same apostle, in the same letter, in Hebrews chapter 9, is writing about the work of Christ. He refers to his first coming (which led to his death on the cross or tree) like this:

    “But (Jesus) . . . has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (verse 26).

    We notice at once that one of the things said here is the same as in Hebrews 2:14. “By the sacrifice of himself” clearly means the same as “through his own death”. So probably the other terms mean the same thing. Let us set them out side by side:

    Hebrews 2:14 Hebrews 9:26
    through (his own death) by the sacrifice of himself
    he might destroy the devil = put away sin

    From this valuable parallel comment we learn that “destroying the devil” is the same as “putting away sin”. The devil, then, must be a way of referring to that human. rebellion against God which the Bible calls sin.

    The Power of Sin
    We now have a valuable way of testing this understanding, for Hebrews 2:14 declares that the devil “has the power of death”. Now what in the Bible is said to have this power? The Apostle Paul gives us the answer in two very helpful passages in the Letter to the Romans:

    5:21 — “As sin reigned in death . . . so through Jesus grace will reign unto eternal life.”

    Here sin is regarded as a king who is ruling over his subjects; and the effect of his power over them is death. Again in

    6:23 — “For the wages of sin is death . . . but the free gift of God is eternal life.”

    Here sin is a master who pays his servants wages; he rewards them for service to himself — with death.

    Both these passages are examples of personification: that is, something is spoken of as if it were a person when in fact it is not. In both of them sin is personified; and in both clearly it is sin that “has the power of death”.

    And so the Bible is telling us that the real devil is sin.

    What is the Real Enemy of God?
    We break off our consideration for a moment to ask a very important question: What does the Bible say is the great enemy of God? Is it some fallen angel? Is it some mysterious spirit being trying to undo God’s work in the earth? Not at all. From the first page of the Bible to the last there is one stubborn enemy of the purpose of God-the human heart and mind, the will of men and women everywhere to satisfy their own desires.

    We have had a hint of this already in Christ’s rebuke to Peter: “Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:23, R.V.). He had said much the same to the Jews who were rejecting him:

    “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts (or desires) of your father you will do” (John 8:44, A.V.).

    We have only to ask: What are “lusts” associated with throughout the Bible? The answer is clear: it is always with human nature.

    The natural tendencies of our nature are set out very strongly by the Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Romans. He is contrasting the life of service to God (the spirit) with the life spent satisfying natural desires (the flesh), and declares:

    “To set the mind on the flesh is death; but to set the mind on the spirit is life and peace.”

    So there are two ways we can choose to live: trying to do the will of God, or doing our own will. About the second Paul now has this shattering comment:

    “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God.”

    So here is the great enemy of God: human desire. And what a determined enemy it is! For Paul goes on:

    “For it (the mind of the flesh) does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot” (8:5-7).

    He had said the same thing in writing to the Galatians:

    “Walk in the spirit” (that is, live in God’s way) “and do not gratify the desires of the flesh” (notice that “the flesh” demands to be satisfied). He then adds:

    “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other”, and the result is “to prevent you from doing what you would” (Galatians 5:16-17).

    Temptations Within Us
    There is no doubt then where we must look for the great enemy of God: it is in our own hearts and minds. So James tells us where we must look for the source of our temptations to do wrong. Are we led astray by some supernatural spirit whispering in our ear? Not at all; for, he says,

    “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire”.

    So our own “desire” is the origin of our temptations; and James tells us what is the result:

    “Then the desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown brings forth death” (1:14-15).

    The long history of mankind in the Bible shows how true this teaching is. The first pair of human beings preferred their own desire to obedience to God, and sinned. The human race fell away into “corruption and violence” and God had to judge it at the Flood. Israel, rescued by God from slavery in the land of Egypt and given a special opportunity to be God’s people, turned away and preferred to worship idols and to behave in immoral ways like the godless peoples around them. Jesus, the Son of God, demonstrated His Father’s truth and grace among men; they rejected and crucified him. And in the centuries following, men have abandoned God’s teaching and perverted His ways. Yes, the great enemy of God is men and women rejecting His authority and fulfilling their own natural desires.

    How Devil and Satan are used
    So then the devil and Satan are personifications of sin; that is, they are words used to represent sin.

    The personification is sometimes in a single individual. We have seen how Peter was “Satan”. To the disciples Jesus said, “Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70). And that one was Judas who betrayed him. In this class comes the serpent in Eden, who suggested to Eve that what God had told her was not true. So “the serpent” becomes a symbol in the Bible for the power of sin.

    Sometimes a body of people, a government for example, could be referred to as the devil or Satan. There are two interesting examples of this in Revelation chapter 2. In his letter to the believers at Smyrna the Apostle John passes on the words of Jesus like this:

    “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested . . . Be faithful unto death” (verse 10).

    This was written in the first century A.D., when the believers in Christ were suffering persecution, because of their faith, at the hands of the Roman pagan government. That was “the devil” which would put some of them in prison: fitly called “the devil” because it was an enemy to the servants of God.

    Or verse 13, in the Letter to Pergamum:

    “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.”

    So Satan reigned in Pergamum This one did certainly; no doubt it was the headquarters of the Roman government for that part of the province of Asia.

    Peter refers to the same time of persecution in these words:

    “Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

    That he is indeed referring to the Christians being persecuted is clear from what he says next:

    “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

    The Roman pagan government was the devil here.

    Jesus’ Temptations
    Sometimes the “devil” or “satan” stands for the principle or power of sin, however it may be manifested. In this sense we can understand the Gospel record of the Temptation of Jesus. We have seen already how Jesus shared in full our human nature (Hebrews 2:12). As a result, he felt all our temptations, for the Scripture tells us, “In every respect he has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning”. In his temptation in the wilderness “the devil” is the personification of that human urge to gratify his own desires; he utterly conquered it and remained sinless.

    When the disciples returned to Jesus, delighted because they had been able to cure diseases, he said to them: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18); that is, he foresaw the time to come when not just disease but all the power of sin and evil, summed up in the term “Satan”, will be thrown down from its ruling position in the world; it will be “dethroned” and replaced by the power of God, when Christ returns to establish God’s Kingdom in the earth.

    This, then, is the simple key which unlocks the problem passages about the devil and Satan: look for the source of it in the power of sin shown in the desires, the weaknesses and the actions of men; and the majority of passages will become plain.

    Why it Matters
    Does it really matter whether we understand this? Yes, it does, for two reasons at least.

    First, if the Bible is really teaching us that the devil and Satan stand in general for human sin in all its activities, then that is what God wants us to know. It is a truth revealed in His Word, the Bible, and we ought to want to understand it; we ought not to be content to be misled by false ideas common in the world.

    Second, the reason why God has expressed this truth in His Word is that it makes a great difference to us. Consider a moment: if we have the idea that our weaknesses and failures in the sight of God are due to the subtle influence of some supernatural evil spirit outside of ourselves, are we not going to be tempted to make excuses for ourselves? Shall we not be inclined to say, “Well, it wasn’t my fault — the devil tempted me . . .”

    Putting the blame for our sin on to somebody else is something the Bible never allows us to do. It is absolutely essential that we should understand our natural state in the sight of God. As the Apostle Paul put it so powerfully: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). To understand the Bible teaching about the devil and Satan is a great help in accepting this truth.

    The Precious Truth
    But then think of the benefit! If we really do understand that we all have a powerful impulse within us to ignore God’s will and to follow our own desires and seek our own satisfactions, then we are well on the way to realizing how great is our need to be delivered from this pressure towards sin, so that we may receive forgiveness of sins from God and have a hope of eternal life in the Kingdom that God will establish through His Son. The more we realize our own desperate need of deliverance from the natural state in which we live, the more we shall appreciate how precious is the Gospel which Christ preached. How can we value an offer of life if we do not know we are dying-forever? To a man who knows he is drowning, a rescuing hand is life indeed. And this is our case: God is offering us life in place of eternal death.

    Have we to fear a devil, then?

    Most surely, we have — but not the devil of popular belief. Our devil is inside ourselves, in our own hearts and minds. But once we understand that and accept it, we shall be able to rejoice in the great offer of life which God makes to us in His Word through the sacrifice of His Son.

    THE DEVIL NOT A PERSONAL SUPERNATURAL BEING, BUT THE SCRIPTURAL PERSONIFICATION OF SIN IN ITS MANIFESTATIONS AMONG MEN
    IN the religion of the devil figures almost more prominently than God. If we have found astray as to the nature of man, it will not be wonderful if we find it astray on the subject of the devil, with which, scripturally, man has so much to do.

    The theology of places the devil in juxtaposition with God. As the one is presented for worship as the source and embodiment of all good, so the other is held up for detestation and dread, as the instigator and promoter of all evil. Practically, the one is regarded in the light of the good God, and the other as the bad god. It is the polytheism of paganism in its smallest form: and the philosophy of the ancients embodied in names and forms supplied by the Bible.

    Good and evil are regarded as separate essences, and each is attributed to the control of a separate being. Instead of having a god for war, a god for love, a god for thunder, a god for fire, a god for water, and so on, down the whole list of nature’s phenomena, modern theology confines the ruling powers of the universe to two agencies, with whom respectively it leaves the contest of good and evil–God and the devil–a contest in which they measure strength in what would appear to be a somewhat equal encounter.

    We have looked at Bible teaching concerning God. It is appropriate now to consider what it teaches about the devil, for there is a Bible doctrine of the devil, as there is a Bible doctrine of GOD. And it certainly is not less important to know the truth about the one than it is to know the truth about the other. The doctrine of the devil has as intimate a bearing upon the truth of Christ as the doctrine of God. This may be a surprising proposition at first; but on due investigation it will become apparent from two separate points of view.

    First, the orthodox point of view. From this, the devil is seen in large proportions. He occupies the first position in the scheme of religion. He is the principal figure in the picture. He is the great enemy from which our immortal souls are supposed to stand in need of being delivered. He enters largely into Methodistic outpourings, hortatory or devotional. He is the great nightmare, the great object of terror, the great fowler, with net-snare, exerting his utmost cunning and device–which are something superhuman–to entrap souls. Cruden describes him as “a most wicked angel, the implacable enemy and tempter of the human race… deadly in. his malice, surprisingly subtle possessing strength superior to ours, having a mighty number of principalities and powers under his command . . . He roves, full of rage, like a roaring lion, seeking to tempt, to betray, to destroy us, and to involve us in guilt and wickedness . . . In a word, he is an enemy to God and man, and uses his utmost endeavors to rob God of His glory, and men of their souls.”

    Common belief assigns something like omniscience to the evil being thus described; he is regarded as universally at work, alike active in England and America, and all other parts of the globe at the same time and exerting his seductive arts in millions of hearts at once. He is also believed to be, in some sense, omnipotent, achieving his behests by a power superior to nature, and certainly more successfully than God in the mutual strife for human souls; since hell, according to tradition, receives a far larger proportion of the earth’s inhabitants than find their way to the celestial city.

    If this be the truth about the devil, it is of the first importance to know it; for how can we mentally adapt ourselves to our spiritual exigencies if we ignore the very first relation we sustain, in our exposure to assault and capture at the hands of an unseen, but potent and untiring, malignant foe? A denial of this truth–if it be a truth–is a mistake of the first magnitude, and cannot fail to imperil the soul thus deluded, unless indeed–which no one believing the Bible can maintain–it is a matter of indifference whether a man know the truth of the matter or not. We must presume every orthodox believer will estimate the doctrine at its inherent value and maintain that it is of vital consequence for a man to believe in the peril from which Christ came to save him.

    From the second point of view, the doctrine appears in the same light-of essential importance, though the picture seen is different in hue and outline. Assuming for the moment that there is no such being as the devil of orthodox belief, but that the devil is something occupying an entirely different relation to the universe and ourselves from that assigned to the infernal monster of , it is equally important that we understand this, as it is that we accept the popular doctrine of the devil, if that is the truth. How this is will presently appear. No one acquainted with the teaching of the New Testament will dispute, that it is necessary to understand and believe the truth concerning Christ. James, speaking of himself, and those who were Christ’s, says, “Of his own will begat he us with the word o! truth” (James i, 18). Paul, describing the spiritual cleansing to which obedient believers of the truth are subject, styles it “the washing of water by the word” (Eph. v, 26). Christ also says to his disciples: “Ye are clean through the word I have spoken unto you” (John xv, 3), and to the Jews who were disposed to be his disciples: “Ye are clean through the word I have spoken unto you free” (John viii, 32). Now, this truth is styled “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. i, 5), “by which also ye are saved” (I Cor. xv, 2).

    Descending from these general intimations to particulars, we find that the word of the truth of the gospel, designed to cleanse and save men, consists of “the kingdom of God and those things that concern our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts xxviii, 31), elsewhere styled, “the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts viii, 12). From this it follows, that for a man to believe the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. i, 16), he must believe the truth concerning Jesus Christ. In view of this, let the reader ponder the following testimonies :–

    “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL” (I John iii, 8).
    “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, (Jesus) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might DESTROY HIM THAT HAD THE POWER OF DEATH, THAT IS, THE DEVIL” (Heb. ii, 14).

    Is it possible to believe the truth concerning Christ, and be ignorant of the nature of the devil that he was expressly manifested to destroy with his works? It is unnecessary to answer the question. It is necessary to put it for the purpose of shewing that the doctrine of the devil (in whatever form the truth of the matter may be found to exist) is so far from being an unimportant matter, that it is one of the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, ignorance of which argues a fatal want of knowledge in relation to the first of divine principles. The doctrine of the devil is not an “advanced” subject but bears upon the most elementary aspects of divine truth. The idea that it is otherwise is due to the obscurity arising from tradition and an imperfect translation of the Scriptures. The sense of the thing, alone, would indicate the importance of the subject; for how can a man be in a state of enlightenment in relation to divine things, who is ignorant of a matter so vastly affecting the relation of man to God, on whichever side the truth may lie?

    Now, we make bold at once to assert that the popular doctrine of a personal devil has no foundation whatever in truth, but is the hideous conception of the heathen mind, inherited by the moderns from the mythologies of the ancients, and incorporated with Christianity by those “men of corrupt minds,” who, Paul predicted, would pervert the truth, “giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. iv, 1). In taking this position, we are not unaware that apparent countenance is given to the doctrine in the Scriptures. Nay, it is because of this circumstance that it becomes worthwhile to attack the monster conceit, in order that conscientious minds, over-shadowed with the nightmare of theology, may see that, as in other instances, the apparent sanction accorded by the Scriptures to a false doctrine is no sanction at all, but arises from a misconstruction under educational bias, of certain allusions to other agencies altogether.

    In the first place, there are certain general principles which exclude the possibility of the devil’s existence. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. vi, 23). “Sin entered into the world, and DEATH by sin” (Rom. v, 12). This is an eternal principle; death and sin are inseparable. “God ONLY hath immortality” (I Tim. vi, 16); and He bestows it on the principle of obedience. Disobedience, which is sin, in every case, He visits with death. Therefore, the angels which kept not their first estate, were cast down to hell (the grave), and reserved under chains of darkness (the bonds of death)–(Jude 6; II Peter ii, 2, 4), therefore Adam was sentenced to return to the ground (Gen. iii, 19); therefore Moses was prohibited from entering the promised land, and condemned to die (Deut. xxxii, 48, 52); and, therefore, Uzzah was slain for harmlessly (humanly speaking) saving the ark from a fall (II Sam. vi, 6, 7); therefore “the man of God that came out of Judah” was torn by a lion for turning back to eat bread with another prophet, in disobedience to a divine command, under the sincere impression that in so doing he was obeying the commands of the Almighty (1 Kings xiii, 1, 25).

    An immortal rebel is an impossibility. With God is the fountain of life (Psalm xxxvi, 9). No one can steal a march upon Him, so as to retain life and power in rebellion. “In His hand is the life of every living thing” (Job xii, 10), and He cuts away the life that is lifted against Him; He consigns all disobedience and sin to death. Will it be suggested that God has made an exception in the case of the devil? The Bible devil is a sinner (1 John iii, 8): therefore the devil cannot be immortal. God is no respecter of persons, whether of men or angels. God is not double in His modes of action. He is one. He is the same forever and in all places. He does not act one way on the earth, and on another principle in the sun or other parts of His dominion; His ways are wise, uniform, and unvarying. Therefore, the operation of His law, which links death with sin, would destroy the devil if he were a person; “for the devil sinneth from the beginning,” and must, therefore, have been mortal from the beginning.

    In some cases, the popular view so far yields to this argument on the subject, as to admit that the devil cannot be immortal, and must, in course of time, be destined to die; but saves itself by suggesting that, though mortal, he may have an existence contemporaneous with that of the human race, and that his career will only end with the triumph of the Son of God on earth. But this is, if possible, more absurd and untenable than the ordinary view. The theory of an immortal, supernatural devil, who was once an angel, has an air of plausibility and consistency about it, when not scanned too closely; but the idea of a mortal devil–who never was anything but a sinner himself—entrusted ‘with a general jurisdiction over other sinners (for it is said he has the power of death and disease), for the purpose, not of dispensing the divine law, but of antagonizing the Deity in His dealings with the human race–doing all he can to afflict and damn those whom Deity is represented as striving to save, is something exceedingly difficult to conceive. If this is the Bible devil, why was it necessary that Jesus should die to compass his destruction? He took part of flesh and blood, that “THROUGH DEATH he might destroy him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. ii, 14). Why through death? If the devil is a being separate from mankind, what had the immolation of flesh and blood on Calvary to do with the process of his destruction? If he were the strong, personal, active power of evil contended for, it wanted strength, and not weakness, to put him down. It wanted “the nature of angels,” and not “the seed of Abraham,” to enter into a successful encounter with “the personal power of darkness.” But Jesus, to destroy him, was manifested in the flesh, and submitted to death. Victory crowned his efforts, and the devil was destroyed; in what sense, we shall see…

    The words “devil” and “Satan” occur repeatedly in the Scriptures, and are used in a personal sense; but there is no affirmation of the doctrine popularly attached to the words. This is remarkable; for if the doctrine be true, it would be reasonable to expect that it would be formally enunciated like other points of truth. The doctrine of God’s existence; of His creative power; of His relation to His universe, is not only implied in the appellations He appropriates to Himself, but expressly propounded. “I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah xlvi, 9). “To whom will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift-up your eyes on high and behold who hath created these things” (Isaiah xl, 25, 26). “God dwells in heaven.” “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. There is not a word on my tongue, but lo, O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me: it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from Thy spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?” (Psalm cxxxix, 2-7).

    These and many other like declarations affirm the reality of God’s glorious existence, His attributes, and power; but there is no such information in the case of the devil. The popularly received theory of his origin and relation to God and man is definite enough; and there are some things in the Scriptures at which we shall look, which are supposed to bear out the theory; but this is principally due to Milton, whose Paradise Lost has done more to give shape and body to the tradition of a devil than all other influences put together. His poetry has woven together a number of Scriptural things which have really no connection one with another, but which work admirably into a consistent whole when the parts are not too closely scrutinized. The narrative of the temptation in the Garden of Eden is one of those parts. In Milton, and in the general popular conception of the subject, the supernatural devil took the shape of a serpent, and became the tempter of Eve. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible narrative to warrant this view. The narrative exhibits the natural serpent, “more subtle than any BEAST OF THE FIELD which the Lord God had made” (Gen. iii, 1), as the tempter. The creature was endowed with the gift of speech (no doubt, especially with a view to the part it had to perform in putting our first parents to the test). Possessing this power, it reasoned upon the prohibition which God had put upon “the tree in the midst of the garden,” and coming to the conclusion, from all he saw and heard, that death would not be the result of eating, he said, “Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. iii, 5).

    To say that a supernatural personal devil put this into the serpent’s head is to go beyond the record. It is to put something into it that is not there. The narrative accredits the serpent as a natural agent with the part it took in the transaction, and the sentence afterwards passed upon the serpent, rests upon the same basis: “Because THOU hast done this, THOU art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Gen. iii, 14). If the serpent had been a passive and irresponsible tool in the hands of Infernal Power, it is difficult to see the appropriateness or justice of a decree which heaps all the blame and visits all the consequences upon it, instead of upon the Being supposed to have instigated its crimes. To suggest that the serpent was Satan in reptile form is again to go beyond the record and enter a region where one guess or one assertion is as good as another. The idea is forbidden by the sentence which condemns the serpent to eat dust all the days of its life. Paul evidently recognized nothing beyond the serpent in the transaction. “I fear,” says he, “lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty,” etc. (II Cor. xi, 3).

    Some people make a great difficulty about the serpent speaking; but surely there is as much difficulty about a serpent speaking under satanic inspiration as in one speaking by faculty divinely conferred for a purpose. If a “dumb ass, speaking with man’s voice, forbad the madness” of a Balaam—-(II Pet. ii, 16)–why not a serpent be enabled to utter its thoughts when it was necessary to try the faithfulness of Adam and Eve? How otherwise could they be put to trial? It would never occur to their childlike and inexperienced minds to disobey. The suggestion had to come from without and could only emanate from some of the living forms by which they were surrounded. If it be asked why temptation was necessary at all, it has to be answered that the obligation to obey is never so palpable to the consciousness, as when a temptation to the contrary is presented. Obedience that cannot stand the shock of temptation is weak and ready to die. Trial strengthens and makes manifest. Hence, the probation through which the race is passing.

    It is commonly believed that the devil was once a powerful arch-angel, and that he was driven out of heaven on account of his pride; after which, he applied his angelic energies to oppose God in all His schemes and movements, and do as much evil as he could in the universe, being assisted in this by a host of angelic sympathizers, who were driven down to hell along with him. This view is supposed to have a certain degree of countenance in the Bible. Let us look at all the places where it is supposed this countenance is given, The case of the fallen angels is largely relied upon:.–

    “If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (II Pet. ii, 4). ..
    “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6).

    This is all the information we have on the subject. It is scanty and obscure, but such as it is, it points in a very different direction and to a very different occurrence from that indicated in popular tradition. It does not tell of angels being expelled from heaven to engage in marauding expeditions against human interests and divine authority, wherever their caprice might lead them; but of disobedient angels, not necessarily in heaven, being degraded from their position, and confined in the grave against a time of judgment. It speaks of them as in custody, “in chains of darkness “–a metaphor highly expressive of the bondage of death–in which they are held and from which they will emerge, to be judged, at a time when the saints shall sit in judgment (I Cor. vi, 3). The time and locality of their fall are matters of-speculation. The probability is that the globe was the scene of the tragedy in pre-Adamic times, since both Peter and Jude categorize it with the Flood and the perdition of Sodom. The dark, chaotic, aqueous condition of things that prevailed at the time when the spirit of God illuminated the scene, preliminary to the six days’ work of reorganization, may be presumed to have been due to the catastrophe which hurled the illustrious transgressors into destruction. This idea is countenanced by the words addressed to Adam: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill again) the earth,” which was only appropriate on the supposition that the earth was occupied before Adam’s time. This was the command delivered to Noah after the Flood, when the earth had been cleared of its population by judgment. The sin of the angels, so far as indicated in the statements before us, consisted in leaving the earth without authority, and probably against command.

    Be that as it may, it will be seen that the Scripture allusions to the fallen angels afford no countenance whatever to the idea that there was “a rebellion in heaven” under the leadership of “Satan,” resulting in the expulsion of the rebels, and the establishment in the universe of a great antagonism to God, having its center and headquarters in the hell of popular creed. Superficial believers in the Miltonic antecedents of “the Prince of Darkness,” quote Rev. xii, 7, in proof of them

    “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon, and the Dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven; and the great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
    Surely those who quote this to prove a rebellion in heaven before Adam, must stagger a little, when it is pointed out to them that it describes something that was to happen after the days of John. The things seen by John in “Revelation” were representative of events future to his time. This is evident from Rev. iv, 1: “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Hence, how absurd to quote any of his descriptions as applicable to an event alleged to have occurred before the creation of the world!

    Secondly, what John saw were not real things, but signs or symbols of real things. This is evident from the opening statement of the Apocalypse: “He (Jesus) sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Rev. i, 1). The seven churches of Asia were represented by seven candlesticks, and Christ by a seven-horned lamb; the totality of the redeemed by four beasts full of eyes; an imperial city by a woman, etc. This being so, it is inadmissible to read the above-quoted account of “war in heaven” literally, which must be done before the popular view can be maintained. The very nature of the scene described precludes the possibility of a literal construction. Only read the chapter and realize it.

    A woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, is opposed by a dragon with seven heads and ten horns, who, with his tail, sweeps the third part of the stars from their places in the sky. The woman gives birth to a child, which the dragon is waiting to devour. The child is snatched up to heaven, whither it is apparently followed by the dragon, for we find the dragon engaged in a war upon Michael and his angels in heaven. The war ends in the triumph of Michael. The dragon is expelled, falls to the earth, gives chase to the woman, and, unable to catch her, ejects from his venomous jaws a flood of water intended to drown her, but the earth opens, the water sinks through the rent, and the woman is saved.

    It is worthy of remark that in the divine dealings with the Jewish nation, as exhibited in Biblical history or the writings of the prophets, there is an absence of everything giving countenance to the idea of a personal devil. In all God’s expostulations with His people, the appeal is to themselves. There is no recognition of diabolical agency or occult influence? How shall we account for this? If Satanic influence, of the type recognized by popular tradition, were a fact, it would surely be recognized in proceedings intended to remedy its evil working. Would it be righteous to charge the responsibility of devilish suggestion upon poor beleaguered human nature? Devil-influence must detract from human accountability in the ratio of its potency. No account of the existence of such an influence is taken in God’s extensive communing’s with His chosen nation. This is one of the strongest evidence that it is a fiction.

    If there is no such devil, then, as the arch-fiend of orthodox repute, busy hunting souls and scheming, with irrepressible and untiring activity, to thwart God’s beneficent designs, what are we to understand by “the devil” so often mentioned in the Bible, and, spoken of in the “third personal pronoun, singular, masculine gender “? This is the question now demanding an answer, and the demand will be met by facts which will show the impossibility of the existence of the devil of popular superstition.

    We first look at the original words, devil and Satan, for these (with very slight modification) are the original words, though now so long current as English words. Devil is Greek; Satan is Hebrew, and Greek only by adoption. Devil, in the singular number, only occurs in the New Testament; Satan is found in both Old and New. It is no use referring to an English dictionary to ascertain the exact meaning of the terms as employed in the original tongue. The English language was unknown at the time the words were written. An English dictionary only gives the meaning of current words as currently understood. No doubt the dictionary would favour the popular view of the matter, by defining the devil to be “a fallen angel, the enemy of God and man,” but this is of no more value than any utterance on the subject one might hear in society. The whole question is whether the received (and, therefore, the dictionary) doctrine of the devil is true. This we can only settle by going to the original sources of information.

    SATAN

    “Satan” is a Hebrew word, and transferred to the English Bible untranslated from the original tongue. Cruden (himself a believer in the popular devil) defines it as follows:– “Satan, Sathan, Sathanas: this is a mere Hebrew word, and signifies AN ADVERSARY, AN ENEMY, AN ACCUSER.” If Satan is “a mere Hebrew word, signifying adversary,” etc., obviously it does not in itself import the evil being which it represents to the common run of English ears. This conclusion is borne out by its uses in the Hebrew Bible. The first place where it occurs is Num. xxii, 22 :–“And God’s anger was kindled because he (Balaam) went; and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary (SATAN) against him.”

    It next occurs in the same chapter, verse 32 :–

    “And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand (marg., to be AN ADVERSARY–a Satan to) thee.”
    In this case, Satan was a holy angel. Understanding “Satan” to mean adversary in its simple and general sense, we can see how this could be; but, understanding it as the evil being of popular belief, it would be a different matter. The following are other cases in which the word is translated “adversary,” in the common version of the Scriptures:–

    “Let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary (SATAN) to us” (I Sam. xxix 4).
    “And David said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries (SATANS) unto me?” (II Sam. xix, 22).

    “But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary (SATAN) nor evil occurrent” (I Kings v, 4).

    “And the Lord stirred up an adversary (SATAN) unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom” (I Kings xi, 14).

    “And God stirred him up another adversary (SATAN), Rezon, the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah.”

    “And he was an adversary (SATAN) to Israel all the days of Solomon” (I Kings xi, 23, 25).

    The three other cases in which Satan is untranslated are the following:–

    “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel” (I Chron. xxi, 1).
    “Set thou a wicked man over him, and let Satan stand at his right hand” (Psa. cix, 6).

    “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem,” etc. (Zech. iii, 1, 2).

    With regard to the first, the adversary seems to have been God; for we read in II Sam. xxiv, 1, “The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and HE moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.” The angel of God was a Satan to Balaam, as we have seen, and, in this case, God proved a Satan to Israel. Moved, doubtless, by the general perversity of the people, He impelled David to a course which resulted in calamity to the nation.

    In the second case, it is evident that Satan (margin, an adversary) is synonymous with “wicked man” in the first half of the verse. The second part of the verse is the first part repeated in another form, as is so frequently the case in Hebrew writing, e.g., “He washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.” “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.” On the same principle, a wicked man standing over the subject of David’s imprecations, was Satan standing at his right hand; of course, not the orthodox Satan.

    As to the case of Joshua, the high priest, the transaction in which “Satan” appeared against him was so highly symbolical (as anyone may see by reading the first four chapters of Zechariah), that we cannot suppose Satan, the adversary, stood for an individual, but rather as the representative of the class of antagonists against whom Joshua had to contend. The nature of these may be learnt from the following :–

    “Then stood up Joshua, the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the Man of God Now when THE ADVERSARIES Of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel, then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you, etc. But Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God, but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the King of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, and hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even unto the reign of Darius king of Persia” (Ezra iii, 2, 3: iv, 1-5).
    The individual adversary seen by Zechariah, side by side with Joshua, represented this class-opposition to the work in which Joshua was engaged. Those who insist upon the popular Satan having to do with the matter, have to prove the existence of such a being first, before the passage from Zechariah can help them; for “Satan” only means adversary, and in itself lends no more countenance to their theory than the word “liar” or “enemy.”

    The Hebrew word “Satan” was adopted into the Greek language; whence we meet with it in the New Testament, which, as the generality of readers well know, was written in Greek. It is here where the word is most jealously cherished as the synonym of the popular “angel of the pit.” People think, if they cannot prove the existence of the devil from the Old Testament, they certainly can from the New, most abundantly. A critical consideration of the matter, however, will show that in this, they are entirely mistaken. Satan, in the New Testament, no more means the arch-fiend of popular superstition, than Satan in the Old. This will be quickly manifest to the unprejudiced mind.

    In the first place, if Satan is the popular devil, in what a curious light the following statement appears, addressed by Jesus, in the first century, to the church at Pergamos:–

    “I know thy works and where thou dwellest, even WHERE SATAN’S SEAT IS: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, WHERE SATAN DWELLETH” (Rev. ii, 13).
    According to this, in the days of John, the apostle, Satan’s headquarters were Pergamos, in Asia Minor. The fact is, the enemies of the truth were notably numerous, energetic, and powerful in that city, and indulged in relentless and successful persecution of those professing the name of Christ. This earned for the place. the fearful distinction of being styled by Jesus “Satan’s (the adversary’s) seat,” and “the dwelling place of Satan” (the adversary). This is intelligible: but if the popular devil is in reality Satan, we are invited to contemplate the idea that the devil had forsaken hell in those days and pitched his tent for a while in the salubrious city of Pergamos, whence to despatch his busy emissaries all over the globe!

    Jesus, on a certain occasion, styled Peter “Satan “:–“But he turned, and said unto PETER, Get thee behind me, SATAN: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. xvi, 23; Mark viii, 33; Luke iv, 8).

    Understanding “Satan” to mean adversary, we can comprehend this incident. Peter protested against the sacrifice of Christ. He thereby took the attitude of an enemy, for had Jesus not died, the purpose of his manifestation would have been frustrated: the Scriptures falsified, God dishonored, and salvation prevented. In opposing the death of Christ, Peter was, therefore Satan, in the Bible sense. This sense Christ actually defines: Thou (Peter) savourest (or favourest, or hast sympathy with) not the things that be of God but THOSE THAT BE OF MEN.” To be on the side of men against God is to be Satan. Peter was, for the moment, in this position. He made himself part of the great adversary–the carnal mind–as collectively exemplified in the word that lieth in wickedness (I John v, 19)–the friendship of which is enmity with God (James iv, 4). Jesus, therefore, commands him from his presence. But how about the popular devil? Was Peter Satan in the orthodox sense? He was, if the orthodox construction of the word is correct; for Jesus says he was. But Peter was a man who became Christ’s leading apostle. Therefore, the orthodox construction is the mistaken and ridiculous construction, from which we shake ourselves free, in recognition of the fact that Peter for the moment was a Bible Satan, from which he afterwards changed by “conversion” (Luke xxii, 32).

    Paul says, “Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered unto SATAN, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Tim.1:20). This also shows that the New Testament Satan is not the popular Satan: for no one ever hears of the popular Satan being employed by Christian teachers to correct the blasphemous propensities of reprobates. It is presumable that Satan’s influence would have an entirely contrary effect; and accordingly, clerical endeavors are generally directed with a view to rid sinners of his presence. At Methodist prayer and revival meetings-in which orthodox religion is carried to its full and consistent issue–the cry is, “Put the devil out “; and this prayer is uttered with especial vehemence over any hardened sinner who may be got hold of.

    The process of “delivering over to Satan,” according to apostolic practice may be gathered from I Cor. v, 3-5:–“For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

    The meaning of this is, simply, the expulsion of the offender from the community of the believers. This is evident from the verse immediately preceding those we have quoted: “Ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed MIGHT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM AMONG YOU “; and also the concluding sentence, “PUT AWAY FROM AMONG YOURSELVES THAT WICKED PERSON” (verse 13). This was the apostolic recommendation in all cases of recalcitrancy.

    “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject” (Tit. iii, 10).
    “Withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly… ; . .If any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him” (II Thess. iii, 6, 14).

    “Mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them” (Rom. xvi, 17).

    “I would they were even cut off which trouble you” (Gal. v, 12).

    To repudiate the fellowship of anyone, was to hand him over to the adversary, or Satan, because it was putting him back into the world, which is the great enemy or adversary of God. The object of this was remedial :– “Have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” (2 Thess. iii, 14, I5). In this way, Paul, by cutting off Hymenaeus and Alexander, hoped to bring them to their senses, and arrest their contumaciousness. They were in the ecclesia, and speaking against Paul and others, and against things that they did not understand; and by the bold measure of excommunication, he hoped to teach them a lesson they could not learn in fellowship. It was likely to make a man think, to thus “hand him over to Satan” (the adversary). The object of it, in the recommendation to the Corinthians, was “for the destruction of the flesh “–that is, the extirpation of the carnal mind in their midst: for he says immediately after, “A little leaven leaventh the whole lump. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. Put away from among yourselves that wicked person” 6-7, 13). By this policy they might hope to preserve in purity the faith and practice of the spirit, resulting in the salvation of the ecclesia as a whole. All this is intelligible. But if the New Testament Satan be the popular Satan, then the whole matter is involved in inextricable fog. The infernal devil is made to play a part in the arrangements of the apostles for sending men to heaven–a part, be it observed, which he is never called upon to perform now.

    “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again, but SATAN hindered us” (I Thess. ii, 18). Who obstructed Paul’s travels? The enemies of the truth. On several occasions they watched the gates of the city where he was, to intercept and kill him, and he only eluded them by adroit expedients. “Satan,” or the adversary, was the general name for the whole of them; but when he comes to particulars, Paul mentions names: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil The Lord reward him according to his works. Of whom be thou ware also, for he hath greatly withstood our words” (II Tim. iv, 14). “As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (II Tim. iii, 8). “Their word will e. at as doth a canker, of whom is Hymenaeus and Phitetus” (II Tim. ii, 17). The orthodox devil took no part in the opposition which Paul encountered from. these men. Who ever heard of Bunyan’s “Apollyon” stopping him in the way, and defying him with arrows and terrors of the pit? Yet, if the New Testament Satan be the popular Satan, this ought to have been among his experiences. “And after the sop, Satan entered into him” (Judas)–(John xiii, 27). Judas’s adverse or Satanic intentions with regard to Jesus, developed themselves immediately after Jesus handed him a morsel of bread, dipped, after oriental custom, in the bowl on the table. Why? Because the handing of the sop to him marked him as the man who was to be traitor. Jesus had said, “One of you shall betray me.” The intimation excited a painful and eager curiosity among the disciples, who began to question to whom it was that Jesus referred. In answer to John’s whispered enquiry who it was, Jesus said “He it is to whom I shall give a sop when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot. And after the sop, Satan entered into him. He then, having received the sop, went immediately out.” It was not surprising that Judas, thus openly identified, should no longer parley with his own evil designs. His treacherous inclinations took fatal decision. This was, in New Testament phrase, “Satan entering into him,” that is the adversary rising within him. If the Satan in the case was the popular Satan, the hard question would present itself, why was Judas punished for the devil’s sin? “It had been good for that man,” said Jesus, “if he had not been born,” showing that the in of Christ’s betrayal was charged upon the man Judas. There is another case where the sinful action of the human heart is described as the inspiration of “Satan” (Acts v, 3). Ananias and Sapphira went into the presence of the apostles with a lie on their lips; Peter said, “Ananias, why hath SATAN filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” The meaning of Satan filling the heart, crops out in the next sentence but one: “Why hast THOU conceived this thing in thine heart?” (verse 4); also, in Peter’s address to Sapphire, who came in three hours after Ananias. Peter said unto her, “How is it that YE HAVE AGREED TOGETHER to tempt the spirit of the Lord?” (verse 9). The action of Satan in this case was the voluntary agreement of husband and wife. But supposing we had not been thus informed that the lie of Ananias was due to a compact with his wife, from selfish motives, to misrepresent the extent of their property, we should have had no difficulty in understanding that Satan filling the heart was the spirit of the flesh, which is the great Satan or adversary, moving him to the particular line of action which evoked Peter’s rebuke. James defines the process of sin as follows: “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth death” (James i, 14, 15). Hence, the action of lust in the mind is the action of the New Testament Satan, or adversary. All sin proceeds from the desires of the flesh. This is declared in various forms of speech in the Scriptures and agrees with the experience of every man. The following are illustrations :–

    “OUT OF THE HEART proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness (this was the sin of Ananias), blasphemies,” etc. (Matt. xv, 19).
    “The CARNAL MIND is enmity against God. IT is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. viii, 7).

    “Now the WORKS OF THE FLESH are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, retellings, and such like” (Gal. v, 19-21).

    “For ALL that is in the world, the LUST of the FLESH, and the LUST of the EYES, and the PRIDE OF LIFE, is of the world” (I John ii, 16).

    The great Satan, or adversary, then, which every man has to fear, and which is ever inclining him to a course opposed to wisdom and godliness, is the tendency of the mere animal instincts to act on their own account. This tendency is the spirit or inclination of the flesh, which must be vigilantly repressed for a man to keep out of the way of evil. The truth alone, which is the utterance and power of the Spirit, will enable him to do this. If he surrenders to the flesh, he walks in the way of death. “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. viii, 13).

    The object of the gospel being sent to the Gentiles by Paul, was to “turn them from DARKNESS to light, and from the power of SATAN unto God.” Ignorance, or darkness, is the great power of the adversary lurking within us; for where a man is ignorant of God’s will, the flesh has a controlling power with him. The Gentiles are alienated from God, “through the IGNORANCE that is in them” (Eph. iv, 18). Enlightenment, through the hearing of the Word, creates a new man within, who, in process of time, kills the old man “which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph. iv, 22), or, at least, keeps him under, lest the new man become a castaway (1 Cor. ix, 27). Introduce the active, plotting, intelligent fiend of orthodoxy, and the whole picture is changed and involved in bewildering confusion. But he cannot be introduced. Our experience forbids.

    Look at the fact; men are prone to evil in proportion to the relative strength of the animal nature. Some men are naturally amiable, intellectual, benevolent, and correct; they cannot be anything else in the circumstances and with the organization which they have. Others, again, are naturally coarse, rough, brutish, thick-headed, low, and selfish, through the power of ignorance and an inferior organization, which prevent them ever ascending to nobility of nature. Jesus recognizes this fact in the parable of the sower. The seed fell into different kinds of soil. One is styled “good ground.” In this, the seed grew well, and brought forth much fruit. In his explanation of the parable, Jesus defines the good ground to be “honest and good heart” (Luke viii, 15). This is in exact accord with experience. Only a certain class of mind is influenced by the word of truth. There are people on whom the preaching of the Word is wasted effort. Jesus terms such “swine,” and says, “Cast not your pearls before them; give not that which is holy unto dogs.” A much larger result attends the proclamation of the truth among the English, for instance, than among the Caribs of South America, or the Zulus of Africa. The soil is better, both as to quality and culture. Now, in view of this fact that good and evil, in the moral sense, are determined by organization and education, what place is there for the Satan of orthodox belief, whose influence for evil is reputed to be of a spiritual order, and whose power is believed to be exerted on all, without distinction of education, condition, or race?

    These general explanations will cover all the other instances in which the word “Satan” is used in the New Testament. All will be found capable of solution by reading “Satan” as the adversary, and having regard to the circumstances under which the word is used. Sometimes “Satan” will be found a person, sometimes the authorities, sometimes the flesh; in fact, whatever acts the part of an adversary is, scripturally, “Satan.” “Satan” is never the superhuman power of popular belief.
    Hope this helps
    Tony

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