Bible Teachings on Satan
by Dave Brown
Return to Demons and Occult page
As we have with several other subjects (and specifically the comparable article on demons), our intent here will be to copy out the passages that apply with a minimum of comment. The reason that this article is so long is that we copied in the relevant scriptures to spare you the time of looking them up. As much as possible we want to take a comprehensive approach to the subject. We have faith in your ability to understand what the bible teaches on this or any other subject, but we will provide comments to assist with the context. We will also try to keep things in biblical order except in a few cases where grouping of passages facilitates understanding. [Our comments for the passages will be in brackets and italics.]
How Satan Operates Today
Please do not think Satan to be a fairy tale or one who operated only in and before the first century. Satan is operating today, and due diligence requires that we all recognize just how he operates; otherwise we may be overtaken as described in the passages to be discussed in this section. Today Satan operates through seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, as described in:
1 Timothy 4:1
4:1 But the Spirit saith expressly, that in latter times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons...
This is talking about the current day -- we are in the latter times as much, if not moreso, than Timothy was. And while Satan does not have the supernatural power that he did in the first centry (see Bible Teaching on Demons, Part 3), the fact is, he does not need miracles to accomplish his goals today. In fact, I know of no passage of scripture that tells of Satan directly rewarding those who he corrupts, but that is a common belief among Satanists today.
The reason for this is that as long as people believe that Satan can deliver success to them, it really does not matter at all if he can or not. In fact, he must get a big laugh out of how people can be deceived into believing he has miraculous powers when, in fact, he does not, since he is the father of lies (see John 8:42-44, below).
So how is he effective? and we are definitvely asserting that HE IS EFFECTIVE. Recent revelations have given us insight into the wickedness that he has caused by some who are involved at the highest levels of government, industry, and the entertainment industry. It is as though we were a "fly on the wall" (so to speak) as recently we have been able to obtain the direct monitoring of communications among many of the elites. We do not need to be a fly on the wall to know about the entertainment industry -- they flaunt it for all the world to see.
We would ask you to avail yourselves of this information if you have a stomach for it. If not, then take the word of others who have been exposed to it. We warn you, if you are a person with any sense of decency, what you will find will make you sick to your stomach and might affect you psychologically -- so please be careful as you avail yourself of what is readily available on such search engines as Google and media outlets such as YouTube.
If you ask yourself, how could anyone be so cruel and wicked, here is the answer. It is very much akin to the old story of selling your soul to the Devil (Satan) for wealth or success. As stated above in 1 Tim 4:1, the instrumentality of seducing spirits is used by Satan. These are not demons -- they are humans, but for all intents and purposes, they are extremely demonic in their subtlety. They are usually in a higher position of status than the victims. They convince the victims that they can be successful if they will just serve Satan in some small way. The "lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life" (1 John 2:16) are sufficient to drive events from that point. The next step is to tell the victim what he/she will have to do in order to get what they are after. Most victims rationalize the matter away as being worth it, or "if I don't do it someone else will," or anything else to pacify their consciences at this point. So they do the sin, and sure enough, they get their raise or whatever it was that they were after. They fail to realize that it was the seducing spirit (a human, remember) that was the one who had the power to make that happen, not Satan. But no matter, they will attribute it to Satan (or perhaps some proxy being, since we know Satan disguises himself -- 1 Peter 5:8).
Once the victims take that first step, they have in mot cases effectively sold their souls, and the steps that follow get worse and worse as the victim climbs whatever ladders of success that they have chosen. The ultimate seducing spirits are never seen -- they know that they must stay behind the scenes, and so they have their surrogates doing Satan's dirty work, all of whom have themselves been seduced along the way.
The worldly motivation of success (usually money, often power) is extremely strong in many people and thus motivates them to use Satan for their purposes. But this is not the only thing that keeps the victims on their paths to ultimate doom. Once they embark on the path, the seducing spirits (also callen "handlers") now have almost total power over them through blackmail should the victim wish to retreat. The sin required of the victim to move up the ladder will be of sufficient gravity so that the handlers can threaten to expose the victim if they do not continue to comply. With every step up, the sin requirements gets worse. That is why we see some (we believe many) at the very top of our economic, political, religious, and entertainment sectors guilty of the most heinous wickedness imaginable (and some beyond imagination).
We are not saying that serving Satan is essential to success, and that all of the elite have sold their souls in this way -- PLEASE do not draw that conclusion. But the evidence is strong that a sufficient number of them have done just that. We know from their overt behavior that they have little regard for God and His Son, Jesus Christ. But make no mistake, everyone has some religion. It is the fact that some many have given themselves over to the idea that they will be rewarded for their evil that accounts for the sin that runs rampant in our society. These sins of the masses are not only not discouraged by those in power, quite often we see it actually being encouraged. Do we need to get specific? Is the murder of millions in the womb (and many outside), the selling of baby body parts, the prevalance and legalization of drugs, prostitution, pornography, pedophilia, homosexuality, debauchery, disregard for the rule of law to the point of destructive riots ... we will not consume space with this, just open your eyes and see (it is nothing new, see Romans 1:18-32). To deny that it exists at the wholesale level and that many of the elite are not involved is a lie to oneself.
What is stated above should be so obvious to all good people that it need not be proven. But if you want further proof, it is amply available to us today in ways that were not available a decade ago. How did our society get to this point? Please review the passages given below and realize that if you do not give yourself to Jesus Christ, you are in grave jeopardy of being totally overcome of Satan.
Origin of Satan
Before getting started in a systematic review of the bible’s mention of Satan, let us give consideration to where these beings came from. Since everything was created by God, we must realize that they were created by God as well. Does God create evil? No. They were not created in their current sinful state, but for a reason that we can only address with speculation, they were given sufficient free will to rebel against God. The following passages explain this:
2 Peter 2:4
For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; …
And angels that kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
There has been much speculation over this, and we urge you to respect the silence of the scriptures and do not allow your (or others’) imaginations to generate false doctrine. Do not believe anything unless there is definitive scripture to support it. Let us be satisfied with what the bible says on this subject. It is sufficient.
Passage in order of Their Appearance in the Bible
The first appearance of Satan in the bible (not necessarily chronologically) is in 1 Chronicles 21:
1 Chronicles 21:1
21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel.
[It seems clear that the writer at this point felt that the readers understood who Satan was. We have to assume that their oral tradition defined who Satan was and his nature. The book of Job probably well predates Chronicles, it being regarded by many scholars as being the oldest book currently known to man. This could be one place that the Chronicles’ understanding came from. From this very first verse we see the nature of Satan in provoking people to sin.]
6 Now it came to pass on the day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, that Satan also came among them.
7 And Jehovah said unto Satan , Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8 And Jehovah said unto Satan , Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and turns away from evil.
9 Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught?
[The name Satan means adversary. We see his nature clearly displayed. The term “sons of God” in this context is usually seen to be angels (compare Job 38:7). Satan is also an angel, but one who has rebelled against God, which we saw above in 2 Pet. 2:4 and Jude 6, and will be further confirmed as our study progresses.]
7 So Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
[From this we see that Satan can have physical powers over the things of the material world; however the context shows that this cannot extend beyond what God allows. God is ultimately in total control.]
3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary.
2 And the LORD said unto Satan , the LORD rebuke thee, O Satan ; yea, the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?
[This passage shows the adversary or enemy, Satan apparently accusing a metaphorically described “Joshua the high priest” (perhaps representative of all of the Jews). No doubt Satan had many legitimate accusations against them, but instead of hearing his accusations the vision shows God (the LORD) and perhaps Jesus Christ (my Lord, as in Psalms 110) indicating that the Jews have been punished enough comparable to a brand plucked out of the fire – God showing mercy to the punished nation by rescuing them from further punishment (sounding much like a messianic prophecy). While much of what we are saying here is speculative and we urge more study of it, Satan’s role is not speculative – he is playing his normal part of accusing and trying to create evil.]
[This is all of the references to the name Satan in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we will see (especially in Matthew 4) that when the article “the” is placed before the word “devil,” this is referring to Satan. This term to reference Satan is not used in the Old Testament. This will be further defined as we continue, but we bring it up here since the first reference to Satan in the New Testament is in reference to the temptation of Jesus, and Satan is first referenced as “the devil” and then later in the chapter as Satan.]
4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
10 Then said Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
11 Then the devil left him; and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
[We will not go through the temptation of Jesus in detail. We can see the role that Satan played mis-quoting Old Testament scripture in an attempt to get Jesus to sin. The fact that Jesus could sin is necessarily implied, since if he could not sin there would be no legitimate temptation. We know that God cannot sin, and we know Jesus is God; however we also know that Jesus emptied himself of some of his divine characteristics in becoming a man, and we must assume this was part of it. We can only speculate what would have happened had Jesus sinned – a scenario which is unthinkable. We thank God the Father and Jesus Christ that He remained the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Satan took his best shot, and afterward left him for what he thought would be a more favorable opportunity.]
24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This man doth not cast out demons, but by Beelzebub the prince of the demons.
25 And knowing their thoughts he said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26 and if Satan casts out Satan , he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand?
27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
28 But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you.
[This is a very interesting passage that shows the connection of Satan, demons and idols, the idol being Beelzebub, the god of the flies, and here called the “prince of demons” by the Pharisees. (Interestingly, the Jews mockingly changed the name to Beelzebul, meaning “the god of dung.”) In any event, idols and demons have a close connection – idols are false, contrived and of no power whatsoever. However, demons have power, as is illustrated by the evil that they were doing in the people that they possessed – they are not imaginary beings. To state that Beelzebub is the prince of the demons is a falsehood – but then that is what Satan is all about. Jesus did not state that Beelzebub was the prince of the demons – the Pharisees did that. Jesus subtly corrects them in verse 26 by replacing the name of a fictitious god with the name of a real being, thus implying that Satan is, in fact, the prince of the demons. There is nothing in the bible that refutes this role of Satan, and much that supports it.]
37 And he answered and said, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
38 and the field is the world; and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil (one);
39 and the enemy that sowed them is the devil : and the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with fire; so shall it be in the end of the world.
41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity,
42 and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.
43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears, let him hear.
[This is part of the parable of the sower. The role of Satan, called here again “the devil,” is to foil and destroy all that is good. It is hard to build and create; it is quite easy to destroy. Satan has an easy job and his followers are legion, both demons and human, going about and destroying that which has been created by the righteous for the benefit of mankind.]
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men.
[Was Peter in fact Satan? See our discussion of what we call X=Y metaphors, of which there are many in the bible. No, of course Peter was not Satan, but he was acting very much like Satan in trying to temp Jesus to entertain worldly things.]
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels:
[As we have seen defined above, “the devil” is Satan. “His angels” would be those fallen angels (demons) that have followed him rather than remaining faithful to God. This is further evidence that Satan is the prince or chief over the demons (see article).]
17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us in thy name.
18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven.
[This relates closely to the previous passage in that it reinforces the relationship between the demons and Satan. The disciples told Jesus how the demons were subject to them; Jesus answered that Satan (the leader of the demons) was seen by him falling from heaven. Not as a man would fall from an airplane, but as lightning would strike a rock. Let us be careful – this passage does not tell us when Jesus saw it, nor does it tell us whether he saw it as a past event, or whether he saw it prophetically as a certain future event. This will come up again when we get to the book of Revelation, so it need not be resolved at this point. It cannot be resolved from this passage alone.]
15 But the Lord answered him, and said, Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, (these) eighteen years, to have been loosed from this bond on the day of the Sabbath?
[The hypocrites here were the Jews who laid in wait of Jesus so that they could accuse him of something. He healed this woman on the Sabbath day, and so they thought they had him. Jesus describes her plight as being bound by Satan, again showing that at this time demons and Satan had certain limited powers. If their power was unlimited they would probably not stop at such afflictions but perhaps kill all good people everywhere. So rest assured, their power is limited, and we are not subject to it while in the fold of Jesus.]
3 And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
4 And he went away, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might deliver him unto them.
5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
6 And he consented, and sought opportunity to deliver him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
[This is an interesting passage. Why did Judas, after seeing all that Jesus had done, still wish Jesus evil? He had help. Satan was right there, and when Judas called upon him, he blinded his conscience to anything other than his evil and the 30 pieces of silver. It is not that this was the first time that Satan influenced Judas, as we will see from passages from John below. The implication is that Judas may have at times pushed Satan aside and not allowed him full course in influencing his actions. Certainly when Judas went out with the other 11 disciples in Matthew 10 and preached and performed miracles, he could not have been under the degree of influence of Satan that this passage indicates. In fact, he well could have been under the influence of the Holy Spirit at that time. And in this regard the spiritual working of Satan and the Holy Spirit are quite comparable in their mechanism (most certainly not in their effects). In both cases it is the individual that must invite them in. And in both cases, once invited in, they have a tremendous influence in transforming the soul that they inhabit. If we perceive that neither of them can be invited in, we err – the default of not seeking the Holy Spirit (Romans 8) is to be overcome of Satan (see Mt. 12:43-44).]
42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me.
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? (Even) because ye cannot hear my word.
44 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 speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.
[No passage gives us the insight into Satan (the devil) quite as succinctly as this one does. They claimed that their father was God; Jesus refutes this claim in verse 42. Notice the question in verse 43 is answered – they could not “hear” what he was saying. The word “hear” in this and many other New Testament contexts means “listen to” or even more definitively “understand.” If they wanted to understand they could listen and they would be able to understand. But since they did not want to understand (for whatever reason) it was impossible for them to even begin to parse out what he was saying. How can we say this? Read verse 44. Read it over 10 times if you need to – it needs no further explanation. We hear whom we choose to hear.]
70 Jesus answered them, Did not I choose you the twelve, and one of you is a devil?
71 Now he spake of Judas (the son) of Simon Iscariot, for he it was that should betray him, (being) one of the twelve.
[Judas was no more a devil than Peter was Satan; again see the X=Y metaphor figure of speech. So what was Jesus saying? No doubt he wanted to warn the faithful disciples that one among them was not going to continue to be faithful. He did not at this point tell all who it was that would betray him – verse 71 is a comment of the writer John. But it is clear from the fact that this comment was necessary that Jesus did not state who it was at this point. He will shortly, as we will see below. It is obvious that being “a devil” while not literal is a very harsh figure indicating that this man was fully capable of allowing Satan to enter into him and to take control, blotting out all of the good things that he had observed of Jesus. A terrible condemnation, and one that we should avoid at all costs.]
2 And during supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's (son), to betray him,
3(Jesus), knowing that the Father had given all the things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and goes unto God,
4 rose from supper, and laid aside his garments; and he took a towel, and girded himself.
[Satan had put it in Judas’ heart “already” – we do not know just at what time Judas had given himself over to Satan, but we do know that it was prior to this event. Jesus knew the precise time, but nevertheless, as a symbol of grace and humility, he washed Judas’ feet along with the other disciples. John makes it clear that Jesus did this knowing what Judas was about to do.]
27 And after the sop, then entered Satan into him. Jesus therefore saith unto him, What thou doest, do quickly.
[The devil had put it into his heart (Jn. 13:2 above), but now after eating in close fellowship with Jesus, Satan enters into him. How Judas must have rationalized away all of the good things that Jesus was, all of his beneficent miracles, all his teachings of love. When we see people reject the love of God today and turn to Satan, realize that they did not have the benefits that Judas did. But when one has a heart to reject Jesus Christ, the rationalized reasons come easy. Perhaps Judas thought of all of the good he could do with those 30 pieces of silver, and that this “Jesus thing” was only a flash in the pan anyway – why not make a profit off of it while you can? After all, someone is going to betray him if I don’t. We have all done it, and we all need to repent lest Satan enter into us and entice us to perform some horrendous, heinous act that catapults us into hell as it did Judas.]
31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan asked to have you, that he might sift you as wheat:
32 but I made supplication for thee, that thy faith fail not; and do thou, when once thou hast turned again, establish thy brethren.
[Satan talking to Jesus? Probably more temptations. “If you are not going to sin yourself how about giving me Peter? He will never hold up.” If that is what Satan said he was using the truth for his sinful purposes – one of his favorite devices. True, Peter would never have held up to Satan’s sifting, and Jesus spared him. He would be tempted and give in to denying Jesus, but after that, in humility he would be able to establish the brethren. Interesting comparison of Peter with Job here, who God did allow Satan to sift as wheat.]
3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back (part) of the price of the land?
[Ananias and his wife Sapphira conspired to say that they contributed twice what they did. (It might be noted that their contribution was substantial!) They did not have to give any specific amount from the sale of their land, but it is clear that they lusted after the status and praise that Barnabas received when he gave the entire price of a field that he sold. Peter puts part of the blame on Satan, the father of lies, but as with the case of Judas, there was an open door for him to come into their hearts – that choice was made by them, and when given a chance to repent and tell the truth they refused.]
36 The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings of peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all.)
37 that saying ye yourselves know, which was published throughout all Judaea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;
38(even) Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
[This is similar to the previous passage in contrasting the truth of with that of the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel to save those who are “oppressed of the devil (Satan).”
9 But Saul, who is also (called) Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him,
10 and said, O full of all guile and all villany, thou son of the devil , thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
12 Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
[This appears to us to be a major turning point in Luke’s account of Saul (who was from this point forward called by his Greek name “Paul”). Not only that, but if there was a point in time when Paul assumed his role as an apostle, it would have to be at this point. Prior to this it was Barnabas and Saul; henceforth it will generally be Paul and Barnabas, and Luke will talk about “Paul’s company” that accompanied him. Important is that Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit when he encountered this sorcerer who was trying to influence the person Paul was teaching. Paul calls the sorcerer the “son of the devil,” or the son of Satan. Just as those who give themselves to the Lord are counted as sons/daughters of God, so those who would use the powers of demons (whether legitimate or not) can aptly be references as sons of Satan.]
18 … to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me.
[This is Paul quoting Jesus as Paul recounts his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Here Jesus talks about the power of Satan and how the people of the world needed to be turned from it by the truth that would be preached by Paul. The power of God unto salvation is the gospel (Romans 1:16), as opposed to the power of Satan, which has considerable strength when the saving power of the gospel is absent.]
20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
[This is a very interesting way of describing the battle between God and Satan in that it brings to our mind the curse on the serpent (Genesis 3:15): “ … and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Since all lies originate with the father of lies, Satan, even the serpent was under his control at the point of the temptation. Just how he spoke through the serpent is unknown, but we can be sure that he did. And here Paul is prophesying that at least part of the prophecy that God spoke in Genesis 3:15 was shortly to come to pass, obviously in a metaphorical way.]
1 Corinthians 5:3-5
3 For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing,
4 in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5 to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
[In this incident some of the faithful members of the church at Corinth had reported to Paul that a given man who at one point was a baptized believer and still meeting with the local church there was cohabitating with his father’s wife in an obvious adulterous relationship. Paul calls for them to take disciplinary action against this man and “to deliver such a one unto Satan.” Obviously this does not have a physical meaning, other than that they were to no longer consider him a member of that local church. “For the destruction of the flesh” carries with it that this disciplinary action would cause them man to have grief in his flesh. It is not talking about their inflicting physical harm on him. Rather, the idea is that in his recognition that he is now separated from the people of God, he would come to grips with his sinful condition and repent, and thus “be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,” i.e., in the day of judgment. This is not the end of the story, for we find that the Corinthian Christians obeyed Paul and disfellowshipped this man, and he in fact, repented. See the next passage.]
2 Corinthians 2:10-11
10 But to whom ye forgive anything, I (forgive) also: for what I also have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, for your sakes (have I forgiven it) in the presence of Christ;
11 that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
[Paul encourages them to forgiven and receive this man now that he has repented. If they did not then an advantage would be gained over them by Satan. What is the “device” of Satan being employed here that Paul was not ignorant of?” The answer seems to be in tempting good people to take good acts too far. Think of any good act. Most of them can be taken to an extreme, and if nothing else, take time away from other perhaps more important good works. In this case they had applied the “delivery to Satan” to an adequate degree such that the man had repented and was now seeking fellowship once again with the saints. But some wanted to continue the process even further, obviously thinking that this would do some good in punishing the man and perhaps preventing others from being so tempted. They thought they were doing good, and that is the device of Satan – to lie to them and convince them that they were still doing good, when in fact, they were doing harm.]
1 Corinthians 7:5
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer, and may be together again, that Satan tempt you not because of your incontinency.
[This is the only verse we know of in the bible that indicates that sexual activity between married couples have more than the purpose of procreation. The purpose indicated is to keep them from temptation, and the one who is doing the tempting is, of course, Satan. How does he do this? In a large variety of natural way by exposing those who are trying to live chaste lives to his agents, those who have long since given themselves over to sin. There is nothing supernatural implied here, and in fact, if it were a supernatural process it would interfere heavily with the free will nature of humans. But be assured, the temptation is a very powerful one.]
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light.
15 It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.
[Here again, the ministers of Satan are not supernatural beings, i.e., demons. They are false apostles and deceitful workers. How can these humans be ministers of Satan? The same way that Christians can be ministers of Christ. When we allow the Holy Spirit through the word of God to come into our lives and to dominate us, we are ministers of Christ. The ONLY alternative to this is to allow Satan and his influences come into our lives and quench the Holy Spirit. The two are totally incompatible.]
2 Corinthians 12:7
7 And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch.
[This entire part of the chapter is extremely profound and we urge you to study it all in depth. This verse also gives us unique information about Satan, so we will isolate on it for our current discussion. Focus on the word “given.” Paul viewed his “thorn in the flesh” to be a gift. It was a gift given by God through the messenger of Satan. The purpose for this is that Paul would not become proud of the fact that he was practically unique in the revelation (to the third heaven) that he received. The question of why bad things happen to good people is a complex one, and not our subject here (click this link if interested). What I see that this verse shows us is that God can use Satan for a useful purpose – I am thinking that this is without Satan’s even knowing it, because if he knew it he would not play the role. So God uses Satan by allowing his perverted mind to run free, and thereby shows his infinite wisdom to be superior to anything that is in this world. The death of Jesus is an example of another time when God used Satan (1 Corinthians 2:6-9) to ultimately accomplish a good purpose. Can we say that ultimately God will turn all evil things into that which produces good (see Romans 8:28)?]
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 neither give place to the devil .
[Well, we have all been mad – perhaps some reading this still are. So, perhaps unlike Paul’s experiences in 2 Cor. 12, we can all relate to the temporary insanity that comes from being consumed with anger. Anger per se is not condemned – indeed the anger of Jesus was witnessed when he cleansed the temple. However if we allow our anger to control our thoughts overnight we are “giving place to Satan.” Giving place = letting him come into our lives as Judas did to wreak his havoc. Let us pray on our beds that we do not allow this to take place, and wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to do the Lord’s work.]
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
[Wiles = tricks intended to deceive or ensnare. One of these whiles is that Satan can trick you into doing evil while you believe you are doing good. Paul describes the whole armor of God in this context, mapping the various metaphors to the spiritual gifts from God.]
1 Thessalonians 2:17-18
17 But we, brethren, being bereaved of you for a short season, in presence not in heart, endeavored the more exceedingly to see your face with great desire:
18 because we would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; and Satan hindered us.
[Paul’s being hindered was not of human origin, nor was it that God providentially hindered him. No, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he attests that it was Satan who was doing the hindering. Paul recognized that there was a greater work that he could be doing if he could just get to Thessalonica; but he was thwarted in this endeavor by the one whose every intent is that of evil.]
2 Thessalonians 2:8-10
8 And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming;
9(even he), whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 and with all deceit of unrighteousness for them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
[Reading the context, this event may have occurred in the first or second centuries. Or, human nature (and Satan’s) being what it is, it recurs over and over again, and thus, we can observe it today. The “lawless one” is not Satan. However, the lawless one comes “according to the working of Satan,” which includes “power and signs and lying wonders.” “Powers and signs” generally refer to supernatural (i.e., miracles) throughout the New Testament. Some reason that the word “lying” indicates that these were not supernatural, but just faked and contrived. Does it matter? If someone believes that they are real miracles and is thereby deceived, would it not be just as effective as with legitimate miracles? We hope this is clear – deception will occur – read verse 10 again. Reason – they received not the love of the truth. Those who do not love the truth will be overcome by Satan one way or another. Resolving whether Satan still has or someday will again have supernatural powers is relatively unimportant and perhaps even impossible. We know in the first century his demons could possess people, so the fact that he at one time had supernatural abilities cannot be disputed.]
1 Timothy 1:18-20
18 This charge I commit unto thee, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to thee, that by them thou mayest war the good warfare;
19 holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith:
20 of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered unto Satan , that they might be taught not to blaspheme.
[This delivery over to Satan is the same as that spoken of in 1 Corinthians 5 (see above). While Paul says that he did it, this is not something that one person can do. Paul has to be speaking with regard to his influence over the local church, which is the only group that can put individuals out of their fellowship. Interesting: “that they might be taught not to blaspheme” – Paul does not say that they “would be,” but that they “might be.” So, as was the case in 1 Cor. 5 and 2 Cor. 2, the purpose of the delivery over to Satan is not purely punitive; in fact the superior purpose is a concern and love for the souls of Christians who are in sin, so that they will return to the fold, as was true in Corinth. Love is paramount (2 Thes. 3:15), and the hope is that they will repent. Clearly it is not Satan who causes repentance to take place; however, those who see and experience the terror of Satan and his ultimate plans for those who follow him should be ample motivation for anyone to repent.]
1 Timothy 3:6-7
6 not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil .
7 Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil .
[Speaking in the context of the qualifications of the elder (aka, bishop, overseer, pastor). Those who are not humbled by their appointment will fall into the same condemnation as that of Satan – not a very good prospect. While men are encourage to seek the office of the elder, the gravity and responsibility of such an office should be well understood, and it is hard to see how this can be true in the case of a novice.]
1 Timothy 5:14-15
14 I desire therefore that the younger (widows) marry, bear children, rule the household, give no occasion to the adversary for reviling:
15 for already some are turned aside after Satan.
[The context give examples of the behavior of those “who have turned aside after Satan.”]
2 Timothy 2:24-26
24 And the Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing,
25 in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth,
26 and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will.
[Here again we have the influence of Satan causing sin – in this case speaking of those who are not Christians, i.e., they need a knowledge of the truth that will lead them to repentance. They are currently in the snare of the devil – they have taken the bait and perhaps even currently think that they are on top of this world and free. But in reality, they are enslaved – captive to Satan to do his will. And typically the do his will day after day without any conscience about it.]
14 Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil ;
15 and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
[This passage states that Satan has the power of death. It cannot be said better than how the Holy Spirit inspired Paul in
1 Cor. 15: 55-57:
55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law:
57 but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan’s enslavement (Romans 6) can only be broken by being in the Lord Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1-5)].
7 Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
[Resist = stand against, oppose, withstand. When we take a firm stand for the Lord it will resist Satan and, as the coward that he is, he will flee from you. This is the solution for you – do not neglect the teachings of this short verse.]
1 Peter 5:8-9
8 Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil , as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,
9 whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world.
[A very similar admonition to James 4:7, adding that we need to be watchful. It is easy for us to get caught up in the moment and not see that Satan is using us for his purposes. Also, that we can take comfort from the fact that we are not alone, and that others are withstanding his onslaughts quite successfully.]
1 John 3:7-10
7(My) little children, let no man lead you astray: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous:
8 he that doeth sin is of the devil ; for the devil sinned from the beginning. To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil .
9 Whosoever is begotten of God doeth no sin, because his seed abides in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loves not his brother.
[Have you ever thought in your heart: “I just could not do that.” Think of the wickedness being perpetrated on many children today to the point of and including death. Do you think: “I could never do that.” Well what you are saying is not that you are prevented from doing that, or worse yet – that you could do it but it would not be charged to you as a sin. These are false interpretations of this passage for sinful purposes. The passage is teaching that those who are born again (John 3:1-16; Romans 6) will assume a state of mind where sin becomes less and less predominant in their lives, and ultimately, unthinkable. Yes, we can sin, we do sin, and we will sin, and 1 John 1 deals with the remedy for this if we are trying to serve God faithfully. Verse 10 indicates that those who are children of Satan might be masked temporarily, but ultimately their master will be made manifestly clear.]
8 Yet in like manner these also in their dreamings defile the flesh, and set at nought dominion, and rail at dignities.
9 But Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
10 But these rail at whatsoever things they know not: and what they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, in these things are they destroyed.
[There has been much speculation over this event, but it is not mentioned elsewhere in the bible, so all we have is what is here – which is quite a bit. The subject here again is against human false teachers. As we have seen, there is no such thing in the bible as Satan, a demon or an angel engaging in false teaching directly, but clearly they influence the human false teachers, including those behaviors covered in verse 8. In contrast to this is Michael the archangel who we can view as the opposite of Satan: always truthful and full of good. So the two of them engaged in a dispute about the body of Moses. That is all we know and all that we need to know. Clearly it would seem that Michael would have every right to use the strongest of language in this contention. However, he rightfully restrained himself (as humans rarely do). His only statement was “the Lord rebuke you” indicating his total faith in God to take care of whatever needed to be done in this regard. Did this event actually happen or was it just part of the Jewish tradition? We lean toward it being a historic reality that was incorporated into the Jewish tradition, probably with considerable enhancement excluded here. We see no reason to assume that the event did not actually happen.]
9 I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
12 and to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These things saith he that hath the sharp two-edged sword:
13 I know where thou dwellest, (even) where Satan's throne is; and thou holdest fast my name, and didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth.
[Written to the churches of Smyrna (9-11) and Pergamum (12-13). They were poor physically but rich spiritually. They were enduring the blasphemy of some who were hereditary Jews, but were not Jews spiritually -- Romans 9:6: “For they are not all Israel, that are of Israel …” So Jesus labels them as a “synagogue of Satan.” Their actions can be attributed to the influence of Satan over them. Some of these persecutions are described in verse 10. But the remedy is quite simple: “Be faithful unto death.” Several versions say “until death.” This is splitting hairs since either implies the other. Some would suffer death (see Rev. 6:9 and 20:4), but the tribulation appears to be short lived. In verse 13 we learn that Pergamum is “where Satan’s throne” was, although there is no indication at all that this was a physical throne. It seems clear that there were many there who worshipped Satan. The figures of both the synagogue and the throne indicate the very heavy influence that Satan was exerting upon those who were persecuting the Christians in these locations.]
24 But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this teaching, who know not the deep things of Satan, as they are wont to say; I cast upon you none other burden.
[Prior to this Jesus had given stern warnings about what would happen to those who committed fornication with the metaphorical woman Jezebel. In contrast to this, Jesus was casting no other burden upon those “who know not the deep things of Satan.” This term indicates that there are some aspects of Satan that we might best not get ourselves involved in. Of course, knowing that things exist is quite different from being involved in them, and learning something about them is important to due diligence. So this is a fine line, like many others that we need to weigh out – let us not get ensnared in the things of Satan.]
9 Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan , of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels (going forth) to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels;
8 And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 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.
10 And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who accuseth them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death.
12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe for the earth and for the sea: because the devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the woman that brought forth the man (child).
[See verse 7 for the identity of the dragon = Satan. Remember that what John was seeing was a vision – it is generally regarded that these things were not going on concurrently with his vision (all of them could not possibly occur in the short duration of the vision). Generally, these were either things that had already transpired or would occur in the future. Alternatively, some things that he saw are recurring and ongoing. This would seem to be a vision of hope to Christians who were clearly being persecuted (as was John) when he received this vision. We see that although Satan appears to be invincible (as a dragon), that he is easily handled by the forces of God and cast down to the earth with the rest of his angels. This is unlikely to apply to the first casting of Satan and his angels out of heaven that occurred when they first sinned because at this point Satan is described as “the deceiver of the whole world.” This should call to mind all that we have pulled from the scriptures and described above. In addition, verse 10 indicates the imminent announcement of salvation. See the vision as one of hope to Christians persecuted in the first century as well as to those who are faithful today. The victory is assured. But let us notice some other aspects of this passage:
· Vs. 10 – Apparently Satan had more status in heaven than on earth. Previously (in Jude 8-10) we saw him arguing with Michael the archangel – something that would have required a common ground – that of heaven. We also saw Jesus saying that he had seen Satan being cast down when Jesus’ disciples had shown their power over Satan’s demons. It seems that while Satan was allowed to accuse Christians much as he had accused Job “before God day and night,” now that he is cast down, this power has also been curtailed. Accused “them” i.e., the faithful Christians, which would include the faithful today.
· Vs. 11 – They (the ones being accused) overcame him. He was trying to enslave them, but they overcame him. They overcame the evil within themselves and the evil that constantly entices them all around. How did they do it? The blood of the lamb, the word of their testimony, and the fact that they valued truth above their very lives.
· Vs. 12 – Rejoice oh heavens because Satan is no longer in your environs; but woe for the earth. The sea is a figure of the human masses who are generally controlled by Satan. These have great reason to fear because Satan is about to do terrible things on the earth. Perhaps we can see the effects of this round about us even today. We do not believe that this can be pinned to any one event, although the progression of Satan with the nations is quite clear in our current day and age when compared by those of us who lived a half century ago.
· Vs. 13 – Satan is frustrated having lost considerable power being cast to the earth. To whom does he exercise his wrath? The man child is clearly Jesus who is now in heaven and beyond of reach of the cast down dragon. So the next best/worst thing is for Satan to persecute “the woman.” This obviously cannot refer to Mary since she is not on earth. Who is it that “brought forth” Jesus? There appears to be no other alternative than those who were faithful at the time of his birth, and this maps to those who are still faithful to him today – faithful Christians. Is this not who Satan now persecutes?]
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan ,and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut (it), and sealed (it) over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time.
[Here is a further restriction of Satan, and in particular his current inability to exercise any type of supernatural power. Not that he needs miracles. His influence is spread by calling evil good and good evil, coupled with the masses’ inclination to readily accept anything that will appease their lusts. The evil today is rampant around us. We will not comment on timing, since no one knows, when the figurative “thousand years” will be over and Satan will once again enjoy being loosed. The word “must” is used here indicating that this is an essential part of God’s overall plan. We had better be on the right side of it when it takes place.]
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7 And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
[The first resurrection is figurative of being born again – see John 3:1-17 (and Romans 6) for a full description. The second death is not only physical death but the ultimate and final separation of those who are lost from God. Those who are faithful at this point are described in verse 6. We are in this period now and are “more than conquerors;” Romans 8:37: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Paul said we should be enjoying this status NOW, not looking for it in the future. Those who are outside of Jesus Christ will suffer along with Satan the fate described in verse 10. Let us all give thanks for the free gift of God which is eternal life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The blessings of it are both now and in the world to come (Mark 10:30).]
20 He who testifies these things says, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.
21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with the saints. Amen.
For more discussion on the Revelation passages see the Commentary on the Book of Revelation
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