In 1 John 2:1-3 we read, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
Remember these words — “We have an Advocate … Jesus Christ the righteous. “Remind yourself often of this truth. The reason is that we also have an adversary. Our Advocate is for us. Satan, our adversary is against us and will do everything he can to sabotage our lives.
In 1 Peter 5:8 we read, “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walked about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
He is referred to in the Scriptures by a number of names.
A. He is called Satan.
That name means adversary or opposer. I wonder how many of us ever stop to consider how often we as Christians are attacked by Satan.
1. In the book of Job, Satan acts like a prosecuting attorney. He questions Job’s loyalty to God. “Job is serving you because you have blessed him so many ways.”
“Job is serving you because he values his health.”
Of course, those weren’t the reasons Job served the Lord and Satan knew that but he brought the false charges anyway.
2. Sometimes we see him as one who hinders the servant of God. In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, the Apostle Paul wrote,
Therefore we wanted to come to you — even I, Paul again and again — but Satan hindered us.”
I wonder how many times we are intent on doing something good for God and Satan hinders us? He is hostile towards God and mankind and he works to hinder the Lord’s beneficent purposes.
B. The Scriptures Refer to Him as the Devil.
The word “Devil” literally means ‘hairy’ and is used regarding a goat or satyr.
Isaiah 13:21 reads, “But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches will dwell there and wild goats will caper there.”
Isaiah 34:14 reads, “The wild beasts of the desert shall meet with the jackals, and the wild goat shall bleat to its companion; also the night creature shall rest there and find for herself a place of rest.”
The Greek word for ‘Devil’ is diablos and it has the idea of slanderer or malignant accuser. This word is used thirty-five times in the New Testament.
· It was the devil who tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
· In Eden he basically slandered God to Eve. He cast doubt on God’s integrity and love. He is so skillful in accusing us in our living and serving or even accusing God and His motives.
In Revelation 12:10, we read, “Then I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and kingdom of our God, and the powers of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers, who accused them before our God, day and night, has been cast down.”
For a long time, I felt guilt and despair over some sin I had confessed, repented of and had been forgiven. I wondered why I felt so miserable and then I read this passage about the devil being our accuser and I realized what was happening. He was accusing me and keeping me from realizing I had truly been forgiven. O the freedom I began to experience when I realized what it was going on and called the devil on his accusations.
C. He is also referred to as Beelzebub. In the Old Testament, he is called Beal-zebub. This was a god of the Philistines of Kron. King Ahaziah tried to consult with this false entity in 2 Kings 1:2, 16.
“Now, Azariah fell through the lattice in his upper room in Samaria, and was injured; so, he sent for messengers and said to them, ‘Go inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury.’”
“Then he said to him, ‘Thus says the LORD — Because you sent messengers to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word? Therefore, you shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.”
It is interesting to know that these names mean “lord of flies”. This suggests that Satan, the devil and Beelzebub, who are one and the same, preside over corruption. WOW! That makes sense. We see his corrupting influence everywhere we look.
· He corrupts people’s personal lives in so many ways.
· He corrupts our marriages and families.
· He corrupts our judicial system and government.
· He even corrupts our churches with false teaching that the Bible refers to as the doctrine of demons.
Jesus was accused of doing His miracles by the power of Beelzebub. Matthew 12:25-28
D. Satan is also called the Serpent.
In Revelation 12:9, we read, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” In Isaiah 27:1, we read, “In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent. Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.”
Jesus used the serpent as a picture of deceit and hypocrisy. Matthew 23:33, “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”
The Apostle Paul conveyed the similar idea in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, least somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
The devil is first referred to as a serpent in Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more cunning (crafty) than any beast of the field which the LORD God has made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden.”
In Proverbs 22:3, the word for crafty appears as prudent. “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.” The idea put forth is that the wisdom of Satan is seen as craftiness and evil cunning.
v I wonder how many of us are so in touch with our Lord and God’s word that we spot Satan’s cunning and craftiness?
It is interesting to note that Eve evidently had no sense of fear of the serpent as he appeared in the garden. It could be because the Hebrew word for serpent is nachash which means “to hiss or to shine”. So Satan may have appeared as the bright shining one.
Listen to what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore, it is not great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
Are we surprised that so many churches have lost their way and compromised their message?
I am going to make this meditation into two parts as there is so much more to share about our adversary. I urge you to read and re-read this article so as to be armed for the battle we face.
God bless you,