In the last article I went through the references to “the Satan” mentioned throughout the Old Testament. NOWHERE did we find any reference to some other world being called Satan. Instead we saw quite plainly that the Hebrew term “Satan” is used to speak of those who might come up against you- in regards to war, accusations of violating the Law of Moses, and so forth.
We must keep in mind that the Israelites were known for taking practices of other traditions and utilizing them in worship of their God (something they were continually rebuked and judged for). I say that to point out that YES many of the religious leaders of the Jews during the first century would have had a sort of convoluted view of Satan and “the devil” (we see a similar thing happen within Josephus’ historical Discourse on Hades, wherein he has clearly adopted a Grecian view of the afterlife).
In this article we will deal with “the Satan” and the “devil” in the New Testament. In the New Testament the terms that are translated as “the devil” and “the Satan” are:
Diablos which translates to mean accuser, slander, derived from “cross over” or to “throw away”.
Satanas used as a title meaning the accuser or the slanderer.
diamon which translates to “demons” or “devils”.
So…TO THE BIBLE WE GO!
Our first mention of “the devil” or “the Satan” in the New Testament is when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness (Matthew chapter 4, Mark chapter 1, and Luke chapter 4). In Matthew the term “diablos” is used and in Mark chapter 1 “Satanas” is used- therefore showing these are one and the same. As if Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20: 2 don’t make it clear that “the devil”, “the Satan”, and the serpent are the same thing.
“Then Jesus was LED UP BY THE SPIRIT into the wilderness TO BE TEMPED BY THE DEVIL”.
So, Jesus was led up with the intent to be temped and to defeat the devil, right? What does Scripture say about temptation which leads to sin? Did the devil appear to King David when he lusted after Bathsheba and convince him to go down and talk to her? Consider the “sin of Achan”. Read Joshua chapters 7-8. How sin Achan sin?
“…when I SAW among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, THEN I COVETED them AND TOOK THEM,… (Joshua 8:20-21)”.
Did Satan appear to help Achan sin? Seems awfully similar to the story of David and Bathsheba, huh?
“But each one it TEMPTED when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death (James 1:15)”.
So let’s see. Does Jesus sin when he is TEMPTED in the wilderness? Does this require some angelic being to be there with Him? I dare say no. Instead this is an account as to whether “the adversary” – his own lust- will TEMPT Jesus to sin (covet and take).
Nowhere in this text is the need for some angelic being to be created. Instead we force that there when we come to the text with a presupposition. Instead all we read is that “the adversary” is tempting Christ, which on other texts shown above we see that temptation comes when one is drawn away by his own lust. Jesus fought the “lust of the flesh” by the Word of God- not giving in to hunger, pride, and tempting God.
Turn to Matthew 12:26 (which we also read about in Mark 3:23-26 & Luke chapter 11), this is a passage where Jesus is being accused of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub (which is a false god therefore attributed to being “the Satan”). No worries, I will be getting into demons in a further article.
Jesus’ statement, “If I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges (Matthew 12:27) makes two clear references. Jesus is alluding to 2 Kings chapter 1 wherein Elijah the prophet called down fire to prove the power of God over this false god- Baal-Zebeel. First the clear thing that was revealed from that account in 1 Kings chapter 18 was that this false god, “the Satan” had no power whereas the power of God was revealed. The point Jesus is making here is that if He is casting them out by Beelzebub whom did Elijah’s power come from? ahh…get’s sticky, huh? Instead, since the power was being shown, it was clearly of God. What a way to make the Pharisees put their foot in their mouth!
Again, nothing here notes “the Satan” as an angelic being, instead he is being attributed to a false deity.
Next we turn to Matthew 13. Herein we read the parable of the wheat and tares beginning in verse 24. Jesus them explains the parable starting in verse 36. Jesus says this:
“The one who sows the seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world, and as far as the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares ARE THE SONS OF THE EVIL ONE; AND THE ENEMY WHO SOWED THEM IS THE DEVIL, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels”.
I will be getting into “the sons of the evil one” in an article coming very soon (in the meantime you can read John chapter 8; Ephesians 2:2; and Matthew chapter 23 to arrive at some Scriptural understandings regarding whom were those that “the devil” was working through during that “age”).
Where here does the text necessitate that “the devil” is some angelic being? It doesn’t! Instead contextually you will arrive at “the devil” being the Spirit that works in the “sons of disobedience” that was causing them to speak against the truth that Christ was revealing- the coming new covenant reality!
Get this…in Matthew 16:23 (also referenced in Mark 8:33), Simon Peter is called Satan. Is this become he transformed into some angelic being or was influenced by some “devil”? No instead the text clearly says, “…for YOU are not setting YOUR MIND on God’s interests, but man’s”.
Did you catch it? Remember our talk about sin above? What moves man to sin? His own lusts! A mind not set on the things of God. Satan!
But wait…Pastor Mike what about Luke 10:18, Jesus says that He saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. So far every verse we have went through has spoken of “the devil” or “the Satan” as being an adversary of God- NOTHING has said anything about him being an angelic being, so what do we make of this text? Notice the context. The disciples are returning excited with joy (v.1) regarding the power of God over “the devils”. Jesus then makes the statement of watching “the Satan” fall from heaven like lightning- in other words, I have been watching the power of that which opposes God failing, coming to it’s demise (also important to remember that the Jews didn’t have an understanding of “heaven” as some place in the sky, or upward).
“Michael used to be loved by everyone. Once he accepted Preterism, many saw this as his fall from grace”. – Does this mean I literally fell from some place? NO!
Verse 19 clarifies what Jesus is speaking about. NOTHING in this text demonstrates that this MUST BE an angelic being falling from some otherworldly place in the sky, UNLESS OF COURSE- WE FORCE IT TO BE THERE!
In Luke 13:16 do you suppose some angelic being was holding the woman? NOPE instead verse 11 of the same chapter says she was bound by a sickness caused by a spirit. More on “demonic influence” in an article to come. In Luke 22:3 and verse 31 we read about how Satan entered into Judas…ummm “angelic being”? I think not! Judas at that moment began to think thoughts that were not of God- he would stand as an adversary to the things of God.
Guess what? I have just went through EVERY NEW TESTAMENT VERSE that deals with “the devil” and “the Satan” with you and we are none the more closer to seeing an angelic being described. What is going on here?
The fact is…you will arrive at much different view of “the devil” and “the Satan” if you allow the Scriptures to have precedence over what the popular teachings of man are in the Church today.
What we are seeing thus far is that “the devil” and “the Satan” being the same thing are that which oppose God. Individuals are continually referred to as “the devil” or “the Satan” especially when they have a mindset that is set up in contrast to the things of God.
Could it be that the enemy of God is the mind set up against God? (Romans 8:7)?
Until next article.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano