Angels

SATAN

             (1.) Meaning and Use of the Word. The English word is from the Hebrew term Satan in the Old Testament and the Greek term Satanas in the New Testament. Its basic meaning is "adversary." And it is translated thus a number of times in the Old Testament with reference to both men and angels. But when it is employed as a personal name in the Old as well as the New Treatment it is always rendered simply as "Satan," and applied to the supreme adversary of God and man – with one exception, when Jesus called Peter "Satan" in the sense of a Satan-like man when he challenged our Lord’s prediction of his approaching death in Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33).

In reference to the supreme adversary, likely a rebel and fallen angel (to be discussed later), "Satan" occurs 14 times in the Old Testament in the first two chapters of Job; once in Psalm 109:6 in the King James Version but not in the American Standard Version; and twice in Zechariah 3:1-2. It also occurs once in the text in 1 Chronicles 21:1 in both the King James and American Standard Versions, but the latter has "Or, an adversary" in the margin. That makes a total of either 16, 17 or 18 times in the Old Testament. And in the New Testament it occurs 34 times – in Matthew, 3; Mark, 5; Luke, 6; John, 1; Acts, 2; Romans, 1; 1 Corinthians, 2; 2 Corinthians, 2; 1 Thessalonians, 1; 2 Thessalonians, 1; 1 Timothy, 2; Revelation, 8. That makes a grand total for both Testaments of 50, or 51, or 52 times that the supreme adversary of both God and man is referred to as "Satan," who is tolerated by God within certain bounds for the duration of man’s probationary period on earth but is doomed to "eternal fire" afterward along with his agents (Matthew 25:41).

(2) Character and Identity. In Revelation 12:9, where he is symbolically represented as a "dragon." He is described as "the old serpent, he that is called the Devil; and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world." The word "Devil" means calumniator or slanderer. And being called "the old serpent … the deceiver" is evidently an allusion to the serpent who, as an agent of Satan, by falsehood and slander of God deceived Eve in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3), and led her and Adam into sin that eventuated in physical death for them and all posterity. Accordingly, Jesus said to Jews who were seeking to kill him: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and standeth not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof" (John 8:44). The apostle Paul speaks of "the serpent [who] beguiled Eve in his craftiness" (2 Corinthians 11:3), of "the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). And of "his devices" (2 Corinthians 2:11). He may appear as "an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). Also, oppositely, "your adversary, the devil as a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

(3) Origin and Destiny.

(a) It seems likely that Satan was created as an angel of God of high rank, but not quite the highest, and was leader of "the angels that sinned" and were "cast down," as referred to in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6. In the latter passage, it is stated that "they kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation," implying that they were not pleased with their assigned rank and sphere.

(b) And in Revelation 12:7-9, we read: "And there was a war in heaven: Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred, and his angels; and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world; he was cast down to the earth, and his angels were cast down with him."

This was part of a vision John had on the Isle of Patmos, symbolic of what happened as a result of Satan’s attempt to destroy Jesus after he had been born, and finally did, of course, achieve his crucifixion – only, however, for him to be raised by God from the dead and "caught up unto God, and unto his throne" (12:4-5). But the symbolism could well have been based on a prior reality.

(c) In Matthew 25:41, Jesus speaks of the "eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels." So, Satan must have been a mighty angel with other angels aligned with him, just as Michael was a mighty angel ("the archangel, "Jude 9) and, according to the imagery of Revelation 12, had still other angels aligned with him. The fallen angels, including Satan, have not yet been cast into the "eternal fire," but are reserved unto judgment" (2 Peter 2:4) – Jude says "unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). This is no doubt the "day" God appointed for judging the world in righteousness by the "man" he raised from the dead (Acts 17:31) – when we must all appear before the "judgment-seat of Christ"(2 Corinthians 5:10) – when, also, "we shall judge angels" (1 Corinthians 6:3) – evidently after we have received favorable judgment ourselves and are privileged to remain on Christ’s right hand and concur in the judgment he pronounces of unrighteous men and sinful angels (see Matt. 25:31-46).

(d) In the first two chapters of the Old Testament book of Job (1:6,7,7,8,9,12,12; 2:1,2,2,3,4,6,7) we have our first mention of "Satan" by that name – designated in Hebrew as "the Satan," evidently by way of preeminence. According to ancient Jewish tradition, Moses was the author of that book, which would make it among the oldest in the Bible, if not the oldest – possibly written before the Pentateuch, which was authored by Moses except for the last two chapters of Deuteronomy and an occasional explanatory editorial note. It had its setting in Patriarchal times, in the land of Uz (1:1), and could have been written during the 40 years that Moses was in the land of Midian prior to his call by Jehovah to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage.

Ancient tradition identifies Job with Jobab, the second King of Edom (Genesis 36:33); and Uz is thought to have been along the border between Palestine and Arabia, extending from Edom northerly and easterly toward the Euphrates river. That part of the land of Uz which tradition has called home to Job was Hauran, east of the Sea of Galilee, a part of which was later called Bashan, also Golan (to this day). And it is thought that early kings of Edom may at time migrated northward and extended their rule into Uz as far as Hauran. It is possible for Moses to have learned of the story of Job from Job’s descendants, if not from Job himself, since Uz to the north and Midian to the south were connected by the King’s Highway (see Numbers 20"17; 21:22; cf. Deuteronomy 2:27) running from the Gulf of Aqabah in the south to Damascus in the north. And Halley’s Bible Handbook aptly remarks: "Job’s being a descendent of Abraham, naturally Moses could have recognized him as being within the circle of God’s revelation" 24th edition, 1965, p.241, which also supplies the above mentioned traditions).

The Book of Job is mostly a historical poem, based on an event in the life of the greatest and most widely known man in his part of the world in his day. It has been eulogised as "perhaps the Greatest Masterpiece of the Human Mind" (Victor Hugo), as "one of the grandest things ever written" (Thomas Carlyle), and as rising "like a pyramid in the history of literature, without a predecessor and without rival" (Philip Schaff) – but surely is not solely the product of human mind.

The first two chapters and the greater part of the last chapter are written in prose. The intervening chapters, giving the content of the discourses recorded, are presented in poetical form. We are concerned in a general way with the book as a whole, but with the prose section in particular, and shall present a summary in an Excursus for some of the richly significant insights it affords in regard to both the malevolent agency of Satan and the problem of human suffering that has been with every generation of mankind.

 (4) Other Appellations.

 (a) THE DEVIL. The term "devil" has already been mentioned, and described a smearing calumniator of slanderer – a false accuser. Not all of Satan’s accusations are necessarily false, but all are of evil intent, and most of them are false. Being an inveterate {firmly established or of long standing} enemy of God and man, he accuses man to God (Job 1:6-11; 2:1-5; Revelation 12:9-19), and God to man (Genesis 3:1-15).

 In the King James Version, the Hebrew words sair (Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15) and shed (Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalm 106:37) in the Old Testament, and the Greek words diamon (5 times) and daimonion (60 times) are translated "devil" in the New testament, but do not refer to Satan. The American Standard Version renders sair as "he-goat," and the other terms as "demon." So we ignore these for the present, and return to them only when we get to "demons" later in our study.

 The Greek word more appropriately rendered "devil: is diabolos meaning calumniator of slanderer, as mentioned above. It is translated "false accuser" in 1 Timothy 3:1 and 2 timothy 3:3, and "slanderer" in Titus 2:33, in the King James Version, but as "slanderer" in all three passages in the American Standard Version, when not applying to Satan. It is also rendered "devil" one time (John 6:70), where Jesus said of Judas Iscariot that he was a "devil" – not "the devil," as Satan is called in 34 other New Testament passages.

 (In the Old Testament diabolos is used by the LXX 21 times where the Hebrew word is Satan (1 Chronicles 21:1; Ester 7:4; 8:1; Job 1:6,7,7,9,12,12; 2:1,2,2,3,4,6,7: Psalm 109:6; Zechariah 3:1, ,2,2 – with the Ester and Psalm references not likely to be referring to "the devil," but to an adversary or enemy nevertheless.)

 (b) BELIAL. This is a Greek form of the Hebrew word beliyaal, meaning worthlessness or wickedness, and occurring in the King James Version of the Old Testament 16 times in such expressions as "son(s) of Belial," "man of Belial," or "daughter of Belial" (Deuteronomy 13:13l,Judges 19:22 20:13; 1 Samuel 1:16; 2:12; 10:27;25;17,25; 30:22; 2 Samuel 16:7; 20:1; 23:6; 1 Kings 21:10,13,13; 2 Chronicles 13:7), where it may or may not refer to Satan; and it occurs in the New Testament one time (2 Corinthians 6:15), where in some Greek text it is beliar instead of belial and where it definitely refers to Satan, in opposition to Christ. In the pseude-pigraphic literature it is said to be often miswritten beliar, and is uniformly regarded as a proper name of the Prince of Evil.

 The American Standard Version renders the above Old Testament expressions as "base fellow(s)," "worthless fellow(s)," "base men," "wicked women," and "the ungodly" (with persons understood) in 2 Samuel 23:6. Such are acceptable as interpretive renderings, whether or not in said expressions "Belial" is intended as a name for Satan as it did later come to be used. And in the King James Version itself renders belial as "evil (1 time), naughty" (1 time), "ungodly" (2 times), "ungodly men" (2 times), and "wicked" (5 times), where it is used as an adjective.

 (c) BEELZEBUB. This is the rendering in the Latin Vulgate by Jerome (in the late 4th century A.D.) of the Greek New Testament work Beelzeboul in Matthew 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15,18,19), and adopted in most if not all English translations until recently, when some rendered it "Beelzebul." It was used by the Jewish enemies of Jesus and by himself as well of "the prince of the demons" and applied to "Satan" (Matthew12:24-27).

 It is supposed that Jerome took the Greek beelzeboul to be the equivalent of the Hebrew baalzebub, used in the Old Testament (2 Kings 1:2,3,6,16) of the god of the Philistines at Ekron, which term meant lord of the fly. And it may have been an allusion to it. But if so, it likely was a contemptuous Jewish pun and corruption of it, meaning lord of dung, or of filth, that is, of idolatry.

 (d) THE PRINCE OF THE DEMONS. That appellation has just been cited in the foregoing and occurs in Matthew 12:24-27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15-19. We reserve further remarks on it until coming to it in the study of "demons" as a topic.

 (e) THE PRINCE OF THE POWERS (POWER) OF THE AIR. That appellation occurs in Ephesians 2:2. The Greek text and the King James Version have "power," singular. We need not discuss this any further untill we study "demons," except to mention the fact that when Satan was allowed to destroy what belonged to Job he caused a great windstorm to demolish the house where his sons and daughters were, killing them (Job1:18-19).

 (f) THE TEMPTER. That description occurs in Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5 – literally, the tempting one, and the one tempting, respectively. Satan as a tempter solicits to evil. When God is said to "tempt," as when in the King James Version it is stated that God "tempted Abraham," it means to test or prove – the American Standard Version saying, "God did prove Abraham" (James 1"13). He seeks rather to dissuade him from evil, yet not coercing – not preventing his exercise of the power of choice.

 (g) THE EVIL ONE. See Matthew 13:19,38-39; ! John 2:13-14; 3:12; 5:18.

 (h) THE DECEIVER. See Revelation 12:9; cf.. 20:3,8.

 (i) THE ACCUSSER. See Revelation 12:10; cf. Job 1:11; 2:4-5.

 (j) THE ENEMY. See Matthew 13:39.

 (k) ADVERSARY. See 1 Peter 5:8; cf. Zechariah 3:1. In the former passage , the Greek word is antidikos, which originally meant an opponent in a lawsuit, but came to be used as a general word for an adversary whether in a court of law or not. In the latter passage, Satan is used as a verb, meaning to accuse of be an adversary, and some versions is translated as "accuse" or "oppose."

 (l) LUCIFER??? WE THINK NOT. The King James Version of Isaiah 14:12 does contain that name, to be sure, as follows: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations." But in a note it says. "Or. O day star." and the American Standard version reads: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, that didst lay low the nations!" The word translated "Lucifer," or "day star," is the Hebrew term helel, meaning shining one, and was used for Venus, the morning star, or "the son of the dawn [or, morning]." But the context (14:3-23) shows the term to be used in addressing the "king of Babylon" (v.4), the brightest star in the political heavens at that time, not Satan, notwithstanding any comparisons between the two and any hyperbolic descriptions used, most of which represent the king’s own egotistical and arrogant pride and ambitious designs, soon to be thwarted by overthrow and downfall.

 The context just mentioned represents the second part of a "burden" or oracle against the nation of Babylon itself, beginning with Isaiah 13:1. Another similar prophecy is found in Ezekiel 28: 1-19, against the "prince of Tyre," describing his overweening pride and warning him of approaching death (vs.1-10), followed by a satirical "lamentation over the king of Tyre" (vs.11-19), almost certain to have been the same as the "prince."

 The latter text is much more hyperbolic than any of that about the king of Babylon. Hence, many have thought that not all said about the "king of Tyre" could possibly apply to him but must refer to Satan instead. Yet such can hardly be. For in vs. 13-15, he seems to be described as if one of the cherubim placed at the entrance of the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had sinned, and likewise alluded to as one of the cherubim whose wings covered the mercyseat in the sanctuary on the "holy mountain of God." Yet such is most improbable of Satan, since it was he who through the serpent had seduced Eve in the garden. So all that was said must have referred to the "king of Tyre," in extreme hyperbole and scathing satire, to point up the greatness and tragedy and pity if the tremendous fall.

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