The Bible and the Devil
by Rod Jackson
All verses are quoted from the NASB anything in [square brackets] is added by me for clarity.
There is only one verse in the bible that mentions the "elect angels", and it says -
"I [Paul] solemnly charge you [Timothy] in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality." 1 Timothy 5:21
So there are "chosen" or "elect" angels. Implying that Satan is not an elect angel.
In the following prophesy from Ezekiel, the prophet is literally talking about the "King of Tyre". Theologians believe that it is also talking symbolically about Satan.
"The word of the LORD came again to me [Ezekiel], saying, `Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, "Thus says the Lord GOD, Because your heart is lifted up And you have said, `I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods In the heart of the seas'; Yet you are a man and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God - Behold, you are wiser than Daniel; There is no secret that is a match for you. By your wisdom and understanding You have acquired riches for yourself And have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries. By your great wisdom, by your trade You have increased your riches And your heart is lifted up because of your riches" - Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Because you have made your heart Like the heart of God, Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you, The most ruthless of the nations. And they will draw their swords Against the beauty of your wisdom And defile your splendor. They will bring you down to the pit, And you will die the death of those who are slain In the heart of the seas. Will you still say, `I am a god,' In the presence of your slayer, Though you are a man and not God, In the hands of those who wound you? You will die the death of the uncircumcised By the hand of strangers, For I have spoken!" declares the Lord GOD!' " Ezekiel 28:1-10
"Again the word of the LORD came to me [Ezekiel] saying, `Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, "Thus says the Lord GOD, You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created Until unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified And you all cease to be forever.' " Ezekiel 28:11-19
If this is correct then we see that Satan was in the garden of Eden. We can read a similar passage in the prophesies of Isaiah, except in this prophesy he is literally talking about the "King of Babylon" not the "King of Tyre". Again theologians believe that it symbolically also refers to Satan.
"How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning [Lucifer], son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, `I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, `Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to go home?' " Isaiah 14:12-18
This is the passage where the name "Lucifer" (light bearer / morning star) comes from. Again in this passage it is believed that Satan before rebelling against God, was created a perfect angel. The best of all the angels. Then he seems to have become proud of his wisdom and beauty, which resulted in him becoming a "fallen angel".
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. The LORD said to Satan, `From where do you come?' Then Satan answered the LORD and said, `From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.' The LORD said to Satan, `Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.' Then Satan answered the LORD, `Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.' Then the LORD said to Satan, `Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.' So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD." Job 1:6-12
Notice here that Satan cannot just go and attack Job, God's servant. Rather Satan must first get permission and even then God sets limits on how Satan can attack Job.
"Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. The LORD said to Satan, `Where have you come from?' Then Satan answered the LORD and said, `From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.' The LORD said to Satan, `Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.' Satan answered the LORD and said, `Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face.' So the LORD said to Satan, `Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.' Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head." Job 2:1-7
Again, notice that Satan cannot just go and attack Job, God's servant. Rather Satan must first get permission and even then God sets limits on how Satan can attack Job.
In the New Testament we see the same thing -
"Simon [Peter], Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I [Jesus] have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31-32
Notice that Satan must ask permission before "sifting Peter like wheat". And yet Scripture calls Satan "ruler" or "god of this world", in passages like the following -
"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out." John 12:31
"I [Jesus] will not speak much more with you [disciples], for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me;" John 14:30
"and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged." John 16:11
"in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." 2 Corinthians 4:4
So the "god/ruler" of this world must get permission from the real God. Below we will see some verses that describe the people who follow Satan -
"Little children [Christians], make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He [God] is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:7-10
"We [Christians] know that we are of God, and that the whole world [non-Christians] lies in the power of the evil one." 1 John 5:19
Satan is called the "god of this world" because most people in the world follow him, not because he is divine. What other adjectives or descriptions of Satan does the bible use?
"But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, `This man [Jesus] casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.' And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, `Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand? If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can anyone enter the strong man's house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.' " Matthew 12:24-29
"The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, `He [Jesus] is possessed by Beelzebul,' and `He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.' And He [Jesus] called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, `How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! But no one can enter the strong man's house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.' " Mark 3:22-27
"But some of them said, `He [Jesus] casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.' Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. But He knew their thoughts and said to them, `Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder. He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.' " Luke 11:15-23
We see Satan is described as "the Strong man" and as "Beelzebub the ruler of Demons".
"in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience." Ephesians 2:2
Satan is called the "prince of the power of the air".
"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon The dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him." Revelation 12:1-9
Notice that the passage clearly describes Satan as - "the great red dragon", "the devil", "the serpent of old" (ie. the serpent in the garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve). The child is easily identified as Jesus (cf. Psalm 2:9). It seems to me that the woman is Israel (cf. Genesis 37:9-10). One could argue whether it is physical Israel - the nation of the Jews or spiritual Israel - all genuine Christians. But it seems to me to be physical Israel as we will see later. The stars represent angels according to Revelation 1:20. The bit above where Satan is seen sweeping one third of the angels from heaven to earth (v 4), is where the belief that there are half as many demons (fallen angels) as there are good angels [ie. 1/3 demons and 2/3 angels of God]. However, we should be careful as this is the only scripture in the bible that describes this (let every matter be established by 2 or 3 witnesses!).
The passage continues -
"Then I [John] heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, `Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.' And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore." Revelation 12:10-13:1
Notice that Satan is overcome by the blood of Jesus and Christian martyrs (v 11). In other words, the "war in heaven" was affected by events on earth! Also notice that after Satan persecutes the Jews for a time he then goes after the Christians [spiritual Israel]. That is why I believe the woman is physical and not spiritual Israel.
"Then he [an angel] showed me [Zechariah] Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The [angel of the] LORD said to Satan, `The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?' " Zechariah 3:1-2
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, `The Lord rebuke you!' " Jude 1:9
So Michael the archangel who we saw in Revelation 12 making war on Satan, makes war in a manner that is valid in God's eyes. It therefore seems unlikely to me that the "war in heaven" is a war as we would typically picture it. As Michael is waiting for God's judgement on Satan.
"Submit therefore to God Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7
The good angels fight against Satan, but so should we...
"BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26-27
Not resolving issues gives Satan a chance to attack.
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:11-12
Our fight against Satan is a spiritual fight. But what "powers" does Satan have in this world?
"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He [Jesus] Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil," Hebrews 2:14
Satan has the "power of death".
"You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." Acts 10:38
One of Satan's "powers" seem to include sickness, as implied by the above verse.
"And He [Jesus] was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all." Luke 13:10-11
"And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?" Luke 13:16
This woman's crippling sickness, Jesus attributes to Satan. So at least some problems can be attributed to Satan. This does not mean all problems are his doing, we live in a "fallen world".
"And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve." Luke 22:3
"Jesus answered them, `Did I Myself not choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is a devil?' " John 6:70
"During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, [Jesus]" John 13:2
"After the morsel, Satan then entered into him [Judas Iscariot]. Therefore Jesus said to him, `What you do, do quickly.' " John 13:27
Judas Iscariot was possessed by the devil.
"But He [Jesus] turned and said to Peter, `Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.' " Matthew 16:23
Therefore like other demons Satan can possess people.
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." John 8:44
Satan is a liar and a murderer and has been since his rebellion against God.
"But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife's full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, `Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.' " Acts 5:1-4
When people lie they are doing the devil's work.
"Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:5Satan has the ability to tempt people to sin. He cannot force one to sin, but he can put the temptation there. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
"No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14
Since Satan is a liar it is no wonder that he sometimes comes in a disguise. Some things that seems "beautiful" are really not, Satan does this to deceive people.
In the Old Testament law, if one wanted to take a census they would also have to take up a "census tax" (Atonement money). As it is written -
"The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, `When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them.' " Exodus 30:11-12
Now let us see an example of someone who didn't take up the "census tax".
"Now again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, `Go, number Israel and Judah.' The king said to Joab the commander of the army who was with him, `Go about now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba, and register the people, that I may know the number of the people.' But Joab said to the king, `Now may the LORD your God add to the people a hundred times as many as they are, while the eyes of my lord the king still see; but why does my lord the king delight in this thing?' 2 Samuel 24:1-3
"Now David's heart troubled him after he had numbered the people So David said to the LORD, `I have sinned greatly in what I have done But now, O LORD, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.' " 2 Samuel 24:10
The things I want you to notice above are that David was the one who ordered the census to be taken. Joab carried this out. But above both of them, God "incited" King David to take up this tax. However in the parallel account we read -
"Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, `Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, and bring me word that I may know their number.' Joab said, `May the LORD add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord's servants? Why does my lord seek this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?' " 1 Chronicles 21:1-3
"God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel." 1 Chronicles 21:7
Here in the parallel account King David orders the census to be taken up. And Joab takes the census. But it is Satan who "incites" David to take this census. In other words God wanted this census to be taken up, Satan then had his own plans to get King David to sin by taking this census. And David was the one who ordered the census to be taken up and then Joab finally carried it out. Like in the story of Joseph when he is sold into slavery by his brothers. What his brothers intended for evil, God intended for good (Genesis 50:19-20)! Another example similar in nature is seen -
"And the word of the LORD came to me [Ezekiel] saying, `Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, "Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I [God] will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords;" Ezekiel 38:1-4
Here we see that God is the one who brings Gog out for battle.
"Then I [John] saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time." Revelation 20:1-3
"When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore." Revelation 20:7-8
Here we see that Satan is the one who brings out Gog to battle. Now, I could be wrong, but I believe both the Ezekiel prophesy and this one in Revelation are referring to the same event. So again we see that God who is good can use Satan who is evil for His own ends. What is Satan's final outcome?
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." Romans 16:20
God in the future will "crush" Satan, in other words He will severely punish Satan for his evil ways. In fact Jesus speaking about the day of judgement said -
"Then He [God] will also say to those on His left, `Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire [hell] which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;' " Matthew 25:41
So hell was originally created to punish Satan and the demons. If we finish the prophesy in Revelation 20, we see that it says -
"And they [Gog and Magog] came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Revelation 20:9-10
So we see that Satan and his angels are tormented eternally in hell. The Devil does not "reign in hell", he is punished in hell.
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