Yesterday, I discussed the origins of Satan. Today, I want to think about Satan in general and see him as “The Christian’s Foe.”
Names of Satan
The Bible gives many names for Satan; these names help us better understand his work.
He is called the accuser. The name “Satan” means “an adversary.” Satan is an accuser, adversary. He stood at Joshua’s right hand to oppose him (Zechariah 3:1). He is the accuser of our brethren (Revelation 12:10). Satan stands before God’s throne to accuse God’s people. When Satan stood before God’s throne, he said that if God removed all his material blessings and health, that Job would curse God and die. No doubt, Satan still accuses God’s people.
He is called the devil. The name “devil” means “the slanderer.” Because of his slanderous activity, Satan is called the devil. When Satan tempted Eve, he wasn’t totally honest with her. Eve told Satan that God had commanded her and Adam not to eat of the tree in the midst of the Garden; if man ate or touched the fruit, he would die (Genesis 3:3). Satan told Eve, “You will not surely die. God knows that if you eat this fruit, you will become like God and know good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
He is called the tempter. The tempter came to Jesus (Matthew 4:3). Paul was afraid the tempter had tempted the Thessalonian Christians (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
Satan can be called the tempter, for he tempts God’s people to evil. Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). Satan came and tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3). Satan moved David to number Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1).
He is the evil one. Jesus prayed that we would be delivered from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). John wrote to those who had overcome the evil one (1 John 2:13-14). As the evil one, Satan is the epitome of all that is evil.
Satan is called Beelzebub. Beelzebub is the ruler of the demons (Matthew 12:24). Beelzebub was originally a Philistine deity whose name means “Lord of the flies.”
Satan is called Belial. Christ has no accord with Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15). “Belial” is a transliteration from Hebrew and means “wickedness.” The term came to be applied to lewd and vile persons who had no regard for God. Seeing that Satan is the epitome of wickedness, “Belial” seems an appropriate name.Satan is the ruler of this world. Jesus said that the ruler of this world would be cast out (John 12:31). Jesus said that the ruler of this world was coming (John 14:30). Paul referred to Satan as the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
“The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19).
That Satan is the ruler of this world means that the present world is under his control. Because Satan is the ruler of this world, this present world is full of evil. Evil abounds in this world because Satan rules this age.Satan is the prince of the power of the air. Paul refers to Satan as
“the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Demons were said to inhabit the air, and Satan as their overlord is the prince of the air. When we read of demonic activity in the New Testament, we know full well that Satan was active through these demons.
The Work of Satan
Satan tempts individuals to sin. Satan moved David to number Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1). Satan tempted Jesus not to die (Matthew 16:23). Satan filled Ananias’ heart to lie to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3). Paul was concerned that Satan had tempted the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Satan prowls around like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
When Satan does tempt us, our duty is to resist the temptation. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). When we are tempted, God will provide a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Being steadfast in our faith, we are to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:9).
Satan attempts to thwart the spread of the Gospel. The wicked one will snatch the seed of the Gospel that has been planted in men’s hearts (Matthew 13:19). Satan blinds the hearts of men lest they believe and accept the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Satan prevented Paul from going to the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He makes sin look enjoyable and free of guilt. However, sin brings nothing but heartache and despair.
The Good News about Satan
God has power over Satan. God told Satan what he could and could not do to Job. Satan asked permission to sift Peter as wheat (Luke 22:31); notice Satan had to ask permission before he could sift Peter. Satan cannot do whatever he wants. God has limited Satan’s ability. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Satan will be defeated at the end. Hell has been prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41). Paul promised the Romans that God would crush Satan under their feet (Romans 16:20). Jesus told his disciples that the ruler of this world would be cut out (John 12:31). The devil will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).
Satan’s kingdom will fall, and God and those with him will be victorious.