The Names and Nature of Satan

The term Satan has the general meaning of “an adversary” or “an enemy.” In I Samuel 29:4 it is used of David who is considered an enemy in battle. In 1 Kings 11:14,23,25 it designates political adversaries of Solomon. In Psalm 109:6 the word Satan is used of a human accuser. With the article, “the Adversary,” it becomes a proper name and denotes the person of Satan. He is referred to as the devil thirty-three times, which means “the slanderer.” The terms Satan and Devil are essentially interchangeable. John called him “the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11). Both words mean destruction or destroyer. The Abyss is the place of destruction. In the Bible, names are often more than labels for identification. In the case of Satan,they imply character and purpose as well. The following are additional names given to Satan in Scripture:

1.      “The accuser of the brothers” (Revelation 12:10). Satan accuses Christians before God day and night, but Jesus always lives to make intercession saying, “My grace is sufficient since I died once for all their sins.”

2.      “Enemy” or “adversary” (1 Peter 5:8) The adversary prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Satan is the enemy of our souls.

3.      “Belial” (2 Corinthians 6:15). It means worthlessness or wickedness. Satan is the personification of wickedness. There is no harmony between Christ and Belial.

4.      “The great dragon” and “the ancient serpent” (Revelations 12:9). The word dragon is used figuratively of Satan to convey craft and power but also of the serpent’s role as tempter in the garden (Genesis 3).

5.      “The evil one” (Matthew 13:29,38). The evil one snatches away the good seed and sows the bad seed.

6.      “The father of lies, liar, and murderer” (John 8:44). The devil stands in direct opposition to the Spirit of Truth. God is the author of life; not death, and he cannot lie. The devil is a liar and is the author of death.

7.      “The ruler of the kingdom of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Satan is no mere earthbound enemy. He is a spiritual being who roams the earth and pollutes the atmosphere.

8.      “The prince [ruler] of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). This world is still dominated by the kingdom of darkness. Satan will rule all those who he manages to deceive until Jesus comes again.

9.      “The tempter” (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). The tempter came to Jesus to stop Him from continuing on His mission and Paul is concerned that the tempter would make his converts useless.

Dr. Neil

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