An Introductory Study on an urgent topic. Underline each Bible reference and make your own study.
Allow me to introduce to you a wondrous, dazzling, powerful being -- greater than any you have ever seen. He is a king, a genius at organization, a terror in battle. And, he knows the Bible by memory.
His name? Satan. This word in original Hebrew means "an adversary." The Greek word diabolis, or "devil," means "a slanderer."
Our common King James Authorized Version of Scripture often translates the word for demons as "devils." However, in the original Greek the demons, or evil, unclean spirits, are designated by a distinct word. The devil is a superior one, a leader of the evil forces.
Imagine such a widely spoken name as "devil" belonging to such a little known being! Surely, every sincere Christian will want to know the basic truths about Satan. Our text I John 3:8 contains three of these basic truths.
I. SATAN IS THE ORIGINATOR OF SIN.
All sin and rebellion began with him. Hear our text, "the devil has been sinning from the beginning."
Jesus once told his disciples, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven," Luke 10:18. There are certain texts in Isaiah and Ezekiel which seem to point to Satan's place of honor with God, before his head turned in pride. The Apostle Paul make an interesting point in I Timothy 3:6 when he warns that a young, inexperienced man should not be lifted up to authority in the church, or he might fall into the very haughty sin into which Satan turned.
Nor did Satan fall alone. Many were the glorious creatures which God drove from their places of honor after this great uprising, Jude 6 and 2 Pet. 2:4.
Not content to accept his defeat, our great enemy begins universal war against God's creatures on earth. These fundamentals are dramatically pictured in Revelation 12 where the dragon is trying to devour the royal Son born as the offspring of the woman.
Surely, this is the very thing predicted when that very serpent, or the devil, stood before the first woman and beguiled her, Genesis 3. God there warned Satan that the woman would one day produce a seed who would be conqueror, verse 15. Of course, Jesus Christ is that royal Son who crushes the serpent's head.
What an enemy! The first (physical) death has no power over him, but we know that he shall at last be sent by Christ Jesus the Lord into eternal (second) death, Revelation 20.
Let us now see how Satan orders his kingdom throughout history. A look at Ephesians 6:12 will show that hell's forces are a well-organized, disciplined, powerful kingdom. The prince of demons is called "Beelzebub" by Jesus, Mark 3:22.
Daniel 10:12, 13 suggests that evil forces attempt to work in and through the governments of men. No doubt, Israel's ancient wars with their enemies were but a physical expression of spiritual warfare between God and "spiritual wickedness in high places." What their King David was to them our King Jesus is to us today. This throws much light on Old Testament history and many Psalms.
Organized down to the level of assaulting -- even possessing individuals -- the enemy forces present an awesome array of might. Note Luke 8:2. Near the end of history, this strategy will culminate in actual human leadership. That strong personality the Bible calls "antichrist." 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10 says that his appearance in history will be like the very "working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness."
Our Lord told a parable which pictures him as being in the position of the man whose field is found to have tares, or weeds, mixed in with the good grain. His servants ask in perplexity, "Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from? 'An enemy did this,’ he replied." Matthew 13:27, 28. Now, we can understand this a bit better.
Indeed, "the whole godless world lies in the power of the power of the evil one!" That is what I John 5:19 says, NEB translation. To get a closer look at the range of our enemy's power, turn to Job 1 where Satan is seen to cause economic disaster, direct robbery and murder, and employ a wind storm to bring tragic death to all ten children of Job. Finally, the next chapter shows him prostrating Job with horrible sickness. (See also Luke 13:16.)
To keep this in balance with the overseeing power of Almighty God one needs to study 1:9, 12 and 2:6 where it is evident that He, not Satan is in ultimate authority. However, sinners are allowed to be punished by evil and even saints are tested.
An important aspect of the devil's work is his unrelenting sway over the unbelievers. He virtually inspires, or energizes, their wicked hearts, Ephesians 2:2. Like an evil bird, Satan devours the seed of the Gospel that chances to fall upon hardened hearts, Matthew 13:3,4,19. Thus is the good news about Christ "And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age (note that title!) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God," 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4.
As a further stratagem against God's powerful Gospel, our sinister enemy devises his own doctrine, I Timothy 4:1-5, and field his own shining preachers, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, and these false teachers are many, I John 4:1. Thus, contradictory teachings in the world do not disprove the truth of Scripture, it rather fulfills it.
The diabolical foe is even found stumbling believers, whether Peter or King David. See I Chronicles 21:1 and I Thessalonians 3:5.
What is his greatest weapon against mankind? Death. Read Hebrews 2:14 and rejoice in Christ's victory in that very regard.
II. SATAN IS THE SPIRITUAL FATHER OF THE SINNER
This shocking truth is in our text I John 3:8, "The one who does what is sinful is of the devil," and verse 10, "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are." Satan and sinners are related. He works within them, Ephesians 2:2.
Search the teachings of John 8:42-47.
III. SATAN IS CONQUERED BY THE SON OF GOD
Our text I John 3:8 adds the hope-filled truth, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work." Then Colossians 1:13 adds, "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves."
We can be released from our sins by committing our lives to Jesus Christ. What a difference this makes in the Believer's life! "It is the Son of God who keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot touch him," I John 5:18, NEB.
Study of such passages as I Peter 5:6-11 and meditation on our Lord in glory above all other powers gives new strength to the Christian. In the Lord Jesus Christ, victory is ours!