The Devil and his Angels

Satan.

To understand why Paul doesn’t refer to Satan in his extensive letter on the subject of sin, we must understand what the word satan means, and how it is used in the Bible.

The word satan is a Hebrew word, and has been transliterated into the English language. This means that the word itself has been left unchanged, but each letter of the Hebrew alphabet that is used has been substituted with the corresponding English letter. The word simply means ‘an adversary’. Since the Hebrew language does not distinguish between capital and small letters, the use of the capital ‘S’ depends solely on the translator’s preference. The New Testament was originally written in Greek, and so when the New Testament writers wanted to express the Hebrew word, they also simply carried it over to their language by transliteration, as we have done into English. And so the Greek meaning is exactly the same as that for the Hebrew word. The Greek alphabet consisted of only capital letters, and again the use of a capital ‘S’ merely reflects the choice of the translators. Knowing these elementary facts behind the word enables us to see why Jesus reprimanded the apostle Peter in the way he did, when the latter tried to negate the crucifixion of Jesus, when Jesus had intimated that it was close at hand.

Peter took [Jesus] aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said, ‘this shall never happen to you!’
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’ ” Matthew 16: 22, 23

Now, in this incident, Jesus was not talking about the intentions of any devil, but the actual and genuine intentions of the apostle Peter. However well-meaning Peter may have intended his remarks, they were in opposition to the declared will of God; that Jesus would have to die for the people.
Peter’s comments were contrary to this mission, and he was therefore inadvertantly acting as an adversary, or in the Hebrew or Greek, a satan.

Consequently, the adversary, or satan, can take on many forms, according to the context of the situation. In one instance the adversary relates to God Himself.

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David top take a census of Israel.” 1Chronicles 21:1

Again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, ‘Go and count Israel and Judah.‘ ” 2 Samuel 24:1

These two passages relate to the same incident, and by understanding that the word ‘satan’ is an adversary or opposing spirit enables us to see that even God can be a satan under certain conditions — even an angel of the Lord, or an ordinary person can be a satan.

But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose [Heb.: satan] him.” Numbers 22:22
May my accusers [Heb.: satan] perish in shame;
may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.” Psalm 71:13

With this understanding in mind, many passages in the Bible referring to Satan become much clearer.

To the church at Pergamum write:
“These are the words of him who has the sharp double-edged sword. I know where you live – where Satan has his throne Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city — where Satan lives.” Revelation 2:12, 13

So Satan lived in Pergamum! Yes, that Satan did, because Pergamum was the headquarters of the Roman government for that part of the province of Asia, and the Romans at that time were determined to suppress any Christian movement.

The Devil.

There are principally two Greek words that have been translated as devil in the King James version of the Bible…
The intended meaning and application of the word satan can be understood only when we understand its meaning. To falsely think of it purely as a proper name leads to a completely misleading picture. Similarly, the consideration of the devil leads to a trure perspective of the intended meaning only if we understand the meaning of the word ‘devil’. The devil is not an Old Testament concept, and so is not found as such. We must turn to the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek, in order to understand the word.

There are principally two Greek words that have been translated as devil in the King James version of the Bible, though more modern translations generally distinguish between the two words by using ‘devil’ or ‘demon’ according to whichever of the two Greek words is being translated.

When the word used is ‘devil’ then the translation is from the Greek word, ‘diabolos’, which means ‘a false accuser, a slanderer’. As with the term ‘satan’, the word is used for any occasion where someone is being slandered or falsely accused.

In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers [Gk.: diabolos] but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” 1 Timothy 3: 11
“People will be lovers of themselves without love,unforgiving, slanderous [Gk.: diabolos], without self-control, ” 2 Timothy 3: 3

It is obvious that these devils were people, just as the satans were also people.

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    Lea
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    Lea

    Hi Jason, thank you for this information, it clears lots of things up for me. However I was wondering the same question Lisa had back in June. Who is Lucifer?

    Jason
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    Jason

    Hi Lea, The origin of Lucifer was from the Latin word “lucifer” which meant “light-bringing” and was the word used in the Latin Vulgate translation of Isaiah 14:12. In the Latin language it referred to such things as the moon and the brightest stars. In this instance, the translators of the KJV chose to transfer the word from the Vulgate to their English translation without translating it into English. All modern versions translate it correctly as “Day star” or “morning star”. The Latin Vulgate also used the word “lucifer” in Job 11:17 (the meaning there being “the light of the… Read more »

    Robert
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    Robert

    In regard to whom the Serpent is in Genesis, and alluded to in God’s taunt against the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:1ff (v.13) is described in full within John’s Revelation (12:9), in revealing the Dragon. The Serpent of old was a created “”beast of the field”” endowed with special beauty, abilities and status “”until iniquity was found in him.”” The Serpent of old (i.e., the devil, the Satan) was not created as an angel, but was allowed to appear before the “”sons of God”” regarding Job, and tempted Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4. The Evil One has… Read more »

    Taught
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    Taught

    The reason Satan isnt responsible for introducing sin is simply because Adam ate the forbidden fruit- or more importantly- disobeyed God. Sin and Death would not have entered the world if he had refused his wife’s invitation to eat. However, the REAL personage of Satan has been denounced and is reserved for judgement. Satan is in many of the O;d Testament scriptures: Gen (obvious); Job (Jehovah spoke right to him and he responded as a person talking boldly about his strolls in the earth and being up to no-good); Psalms (refers many times to the “”wicked one””); Ezekiel (Takes care… Read more »

    Mia
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    Mia

    That is absolutely correct..

    Lisa
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    Lisa

    Hi Jason. Thanks for your detail explanations. but there’s one more thing i still need to know and understand.. If Satan is a formed of human dark thoughts because we are on the low level of existences..So who is the Lucifer that is being called as the Fallen Angel and what is the relation between him and sin. Jesus died and resurrected and then destroyed death. and who is the AntiChrist who’ll come to the world and will be destroyed killed by Jesus in His 2nd Coming? is Lucifer the AntiChrist, what makes him dangerous towards human, if human himself… Read more »

    KB
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    KB

    Oh Yeah, I almost forgot…Who is the God of this world if Satan is just a word that describes adversary? Certainly not our thoughts…please explain..

    KB
    Guest
    KB

    Also, back to Eden. Who or what was the reptile who seduced Eve into trangressing the law? If it was only Eve’s thoughts that tempted her, then why give a reptilian being credit by way of analogy at all? Why not just say SHE had an epiphany and decided to eat the fruit to prove to Adam that nothing would happen to them? Thank you in advance for your consideration.I will post more questions as they come to me.

    KB
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    KB

    “And also, just to be clear, you are saying that there is nor has there ever been an evil being who tempts mankind into sin…there is only God and our minds at war here. when I say mind, I mean our thoughts and nature. Please explain the scripture that states, Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth for the devil has come down among you..Im terrible with quoting scriptures by chapter and verse as well as verbatim, Im paraphrasing here, but I know that’s scriptural. Who is HE? And why is time of the essence to him as he “”knows… Read more »

    KB
    Guest
    KB

    Hi Jason. Thank you for the article..I have a question or two and would appreciate your thoughts or understanding regarding the matter of Noah and the flood. I think I may already know the answer to this, but just for clarification, please explain to me the PURPOSE of the flood. Then explain to me How could Noah (a known sinner in the form of a drunkard) be spared from destruction when Jesus Christ had not yet been born or sacrificed as the ultimate atonement for the sins of all Mankind. In other words, If Noah and his offspring were sinful,… Read more »