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Satan, Who? Is Satan Real?

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As I read what others are posting, it seems to me that a number of people believe Satan to be a kind of chimera, a mythological monstrous creature and therefore only fictional.  They believe that he is an invention used to frighten people, and that he is not real.  I thought it would be good to review what the scriptures have to say about who or what Satan really is.  Does he really exist?

First, remember that God does not lie, so I do not believe that Satan is only an imaginary contrivance.  Second, there is plenty of evidence of both his existence and his nature to be found in the scriptures.  But, instead of guessing, let’s see what God says.

By looking at all of the uses of the name “Satan” found in the King James and then comparing those to Young’s Literal Translation, I find that most of the time “Satan” is “the Adversary”

Satan….as rendered in the KJV, with Young’s Literal Translation in parentheses, and bold emphasis mine:

1 Chron. 21:1, “And Satan (an adversary) stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.”

Job 1:6, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the Adversary) came also among them.”

Job 1:7, “And the Lord said unto Satan (the Adversary), Whence comest thou? Then Satan (the Adversary) answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

Job 1:8, “And the Lord said unto Satan (the Adversary), Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?”

Job 1:9, “Then Satan (the Adversary) answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?”

Job 1:12, “And the Lord said unto Satan (the Adversary), Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan (the Adversary) went forth from the presence of the Lord.”

Job  2:1, “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (the Adversary) came also among them to present himself before the Lord.”

Job 2:2, “And the Lord said unto Satan (the Adversary), From whence comest thou? And Satan (the Adversary) answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.”

Job 2:3, “And the Lord said unto Satan (the Adversary), Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.”

Job 2:4, “And Satan (the Adversary) answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.”

Job 2:6, “And the Lord said unto Satan (the Adversary), Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.”

Job 2:7, “So went Satan (the Adversary) forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.”

Psa. 109:6, “Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan (an adversary) stand at his right hand.”

Zech. 3:1, “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan (the Adversary) standing at his right hand to resist him.”

Zech. 3:2, “And the Lord said unto Satan (the Adversary), The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan (Adversary); even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?”

Matt. 4:10, “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan (Go – Adversary): for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Matt. 12:26, “And if Satan (the Adversary) cast out Satan (the Adversary), he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?”

Matt. 16:23, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan (adversary): thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

Mark 1:13, “And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan (the Adversary); and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.”

Mark 3:23, “And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan (the Adversary) cast out Satan (the Adversary)?”

Mark 3:26, “And if Satan (the Adversary) rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.”

Mark 4:15, “And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan (the Adversary) cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”

Mark 8:33, “But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan (Adversary): for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”

Luke 4:8, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan (Adversary): for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”

Luke 10:18, “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan (the Adversary) as lightning fall from heaven.”

Luke 11:18, “If Satan (the Adversary) also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.”

Luke 13:16, “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan (the Adversary) hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”

Luke 22:3, “Then entered Satan (the Adversary) into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.”

Luke 22:31, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan (the Adversary) hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:”

John 13:27, “And after the sop Satan (the Adversary) entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.”

Acts 5:3, “But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan (the Adversary) filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?”

Acts 26:18, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan (the Adversary) unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Rom. 16:20, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan (the Adversary) under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”

1 Cor. 5:5, “To deliver such an one unto Satan (the Adversary) for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

1 Cor. 7:5, “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan (the Adversary) tempt you not for your incontinency.”

2 Cor. 2:11, “Lest Satan (the Adversary) should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

2 Cor. 11:14, “And no marvel; for Satan (the Adversary) himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

2 Cor. 12:7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan (the Adversary) to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

1 Thes. 2:18, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan (the Adversary) hindered us.”

2 Thes. 2:9, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan (the Adversary) with all power and signs and lying wonders,”

1 Tim. 1:20, “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan (the Adversary), that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

1 Tim. 5:15, “For some are already turned aside after Satan (the Adversary).”

Rev. 2:9, “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan (the Adversary).”

Rev. 2:13, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan‘s seat (the throne of the Adversary) is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan (the Adversary) dwelleth.”

Rev. 2:24, “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan (the Adversary), as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.”

Rev. 3:9, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan (the Adversary), which say they are Jews, and 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.”

Rev. 12:9, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan (the Adversary), which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

Rev. 20:2, “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan (Adversary), and bound him a thousand years,”

Rev. 20:7, “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan (the Adversary), shall be loosed out of his prison,”

These are the references in the King James version to Satan. I believe I have found all of them, but let me know if I missed any.  In every instance except three, Young’s has it as “the Adversary”.  The definite article “the” along with the capitalized “A” indicates one specific being.  Some versions will occasionally render it as “the Accuser”.

1 Chron. 21:1 uses “an adversary”, which means it is not the devil or specifically Satan, but merely one enemy who is standing against Israel.  Psa. 109:6 is also “an adversary” or better translated as an accuser, so not “the Adversary”. 

When Jesus is rebuking Peter in Matt.16:23 Satan is rendered “adversary”, which indicates “an” adversary, not “the” adversary.  But, in both Mark 8:33 and Luke 4:8 recording the same event, the word is “Adversary” with a capital “A”.

Rev. 20:2 identifies the Devil, and Adversary (Satan)… the definite article appears before Devil and is understood again as before Adversary, meaning again one specific being… who is both the dragon of Revelation and the old serpent of Genesis 3 who tempted Eve in the garden of Eden.

Therefore the Devil and Satan and “that old serpent” are the same being.  We should check then and see what the King James version say about the Devil.  From the KJV, (and Young’s).

Matt. 4:1, “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (the Devil).”

Matt. 4:5, “Then the devil (the Devil) taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,”

Matt. 4:8, “Again, the devil (the Devil) taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;”

Matt. 4:11, “Then the devil (the Devil) leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

Again we have the definite article “the” before each which means a specific being. The same usage is in the other Gospel records of the temptation of Jesus in the desert.

Luke 8:12, “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil (the Devil), and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

John 8:44, “Ye are of your father the devil (the devil), and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode 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 of it.”

John 13:2, “And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;”    See again Luke 22:3.

Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil (the devil); for God was with him.”

Acts 13:10, “And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil (son of a devil), thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”

Eph. 4:27, “Neither give place to the devil (the devil).”

Eph. 6:11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (the devil).”

1 Tim. 3:6, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil (the devil).”

1 John 3:8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil (the devil); for the devil (the devil) sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil (the devil).” 

Rev. 20:10, “And the devil (the Devil) that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

In all of the verses listed above, and there are a few more beside, “the devil” is rendered either with a lower case “d”, and sometimes with an upper case “D”, but always with the definite article “the”, except in Acts 13:10 where it is “a” devil.  It is one specific being, the same one as is called Satan, and that old serpent in Rev. 20:2.

When you see the word in plural form (devils) or adjective form (devlish) it is translated as demons or demon-like in Young’s.  Other versions will translate these forms as evil spirits, demonaic, or unclean spirits as shown in:

James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils (demons) also believe, and tremble.”

It seems obvious from this study that there is one evil and wicked being that is responsible for sin entering into this world, and that every one of us who gives into the temptation of that sinful one becomes of him, and will participate in his downfall if we do not repent.  Read again 1 John 3:8.

We can see an allegory in Ezek. ch. 28 in which God pronounces judgment against the king of Tyre for becoming too proud and boastful, for comparing himself to God, and exalting himself above God.  The allegory presents a picture of Satan, although it does not name him, displaying the same attitude of pride and ego which is the iniquity found in all of us when we disobey God, or desire to become equal to God.  This allegory in Ez. c. 28 is a comparison, a metaphor, in figurative language.  But, it is a glimpse into what probably happened between God and Satan.

Isaiah c. 14 has a similar instance where God pronounces judgment against the king of Babylon, most likely Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar.  The king was displaying the same boastful and proud attitude as the king of Tyre, exalting himself above God.

Both the king of Babylon and the king of Tyre were destroyed, thrown down from their “heavenly” palaces (figurative language of prophesy).  Kings and rulers were stars and suns and moons occupying “heaven” while the people they ruled dwelt on “earth” in figurative prophetic language.  It appears that the devil or Satan was guilty of the same proud and boastful attitude, and envious…wanting to have the glory and power of the Most High.

While this is not an exhaustive study, I believe it is sufficient to draw some conclusions:

1.  There is one specific being called Satan, the Devil, and the serpent who became sinful, and considered that he was equal to or better than God.  (Rev. 20:2, Ez. 28:13-14)

2.  Satan brought sin into the world.  (Gen. 3:4-5, 1 John 3:8)

3.  God is not the author of sin.  Satan is.  (John 8:44, 1 John 3:10; 3 John 3:11)

4.  God does not create evil.  Satan is the author of all lies, all evil, all wicked and proud ways.  (Psa 119:142; John 8:44 – 47)

5.  God will not allow evil to dwell with him.  (Psa. 5:4, Psa. 34:16, Psa. 37:9, Prov. 8:13, Is. 33:15-24; Matt. 25:41; Matt. 25:46; John 5:29; 2 Thes. 1:8-9; 1 Pet. 3:12; Jude 5-7; Rev. 21:27)

God created us, breathed life into all of us, but we are the ones who decide to commit evil deeds.  We have free will, and when we give into temptation, we give into the spirit of the devil, or Satan.  He didn’t make us do it, but he presented the opportunity. (Matt. 15:18-20; Mark 7:20-22; John 3:20; James 1:13-15)

Prov. 6:16-19, 16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

Prov. 11:1, A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.”

Prov. 12:22, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

Prov. 16:5, “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”

Prov. 16:12, It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.”

Prov. 17:15, “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.”

Prov. 20:10, “Divers [different or false] weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.”

Prov. 24:20, “For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

God does not deceive us.  Satan does.  God does not make up fairy tales to frighten us, and manipulate us.  Satan does.  We need to trust God’s word.  The Holy Spirit has recorded it faithfully, and we can be sure that what He has told us is true.

The Devil, Satan, stands accused of all of the above detestable things which God hates, and more.  He is real, and he is very wicked, desiring to take down as many souls with him as he can, rather than see us be saved.  Don’t take him lightly.  He is playing for keeps.

If you do not know what the scriptures of God say, if you are not strong in the word of God, then you are leaving yourself open to the lies of the devil.  You will be weak and vulnerable, and ripe for his deceits.  (Eph. 6:11)

1 Peter 5:8, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”


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