We Have an Adversary
Perhaps you are wondering why I am writing about Satan or Lucifer or the devil. They are one and the same. Whether you are a Christian or an unbeliever, you are a target of Satan. His goal is to deceive, accuse and destroy. He hates all humans because we were made in the likeness and image of God. Every time Satan looks at a human being, he is filled with blind, prideful rage, because in us he sees the handiwork of God.
In John 10:10, we read of the devil when it says — “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy: I (Jesus) have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
Satan’s driving ambition is to lead people to death and destruction. He uses every worldly weapon at hand to accomplish his mission — addictions, laziness, success, disease, pleasure, power, people, pride, sex and the list goes on and on.
Satan was and is a created being. He is not self-existent. He was created as a free moral agent and was capable of choosing good or evil. We believe that what was written in Ezekiel 28:13,15 does, in fact, speak of the devil.
“You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”
In Ezekiel 28-12, we read “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre and say to him, “Thus sayeth LORD GOD: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”
Our adversary was breath-takingly beautiful, and perfect in all of his ways but for some reason it wasn’t enough. He wanted more. He wanted to be God. He had an unholy ambition and his heart was lifted up or filled with pride. Listen to what he declared in Isaiah 14:13-14,
“For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. I will be like the Most High’.”
Did you notice all of the “I will’s?” His real goal — I will be God!” Isn’t it amazing what pride will do to us!
Augustine pondered all that the devil planned and he wrote, “Bartering, the lofty dignity of eternity for the inflation of pride, trading the most assured verity for the slyness of vanity, they became proud, deceived, envious.”
I have always been fascinated with the meanings of people’s names. When parent’s name their children, I am not sure how many choose a name for their son or daughter based on the character qualities hidden in the name. What is amazing to me is how often the child grows up and displays the character qualities resident in that name. My parents named me Leonard, not because of any character qualities, but after mom’s one and only brother, whom she dearly loved. It is interesting to me that the name ‘Leonard’ means lion — like or lion-hearted. That is why I roar much of the time.
In the scriptures we have at least thirty different names that describe him and the nature of his work. Let’s look at a few of them to gain some insight as to the kind of person we are dealing with.
1. Satan — his name means “adversary and opposer.” According to J. Oswald Sanders, Satan is presented in fifty-six instances as the implacable adversary of God and man. In Job, we see him like a prosecuting attorney bringing a charge against God’s loyal servant.
He is also seen as one who hinders the purposes of God. The Apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 2:18 wrote, “Therefore, we wanted to come to you – even I Paul, time and again – but Satan hindered us.”
In Daniel 10, we read how one of Satan’s cohorts interfered with the angel sent to assist Daniel.
“Then he said to me”, Do not fear Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes came to help me; for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.”
2. Devil – the Hebrew word that is frequently used for ‘devil’ literally means ‘hairy’ and is usually used regarding a goat or satyr. In Isaiah 13:21, we read, “But wild beasts of the desert will lie there and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches and dwell there and wild goats will caper there.”
In Isaiah 34:14 we read, “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the jackals, and the wild goat shall bleat to its companion; also, the night creature shall rest there; and find for herself a place of rest.”
Satyrs were conceived of as demon spirits who inhabited the desert and who had to be appeased by sacrifice. The word always has an evil connotation.
The Greek word used is ‘diabolos’; and it means “slanderer, traducer, malignant accuser.” It was the devil who tempted Jesus in the wilderness. In Eden, he slandered God to Eve, casting doubt on God’s integrity and the reality of God’s love. He slandered Job to God.
He loves to get one Christian to slander another. He loves to disrupt and destroy the unity of the Spirit and the witness of the church.
I will only refer to one more term although there are many more.
3. He is referred to as the serpent.
In Revelation 12:9 we read, “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth and his angels we cast out with him.”
In Isaiah 27:1 he is referred to as “Leviathan, the fleeing serpent.” The whole verse reads, “In that day the LORD with His severe sword great and strong will punish leviathan the fleeing serpent, leviathan that twisted serpent; and He (God) will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
Jesus personally used the “serpent” as a symbol of deceit and hypocrisy. “Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?”
The Apostle Paul had a similar thought when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
One of the primary ways the devil attacks us is in our thinking. If he can corrupt us there, he can corrupt our very lives, influence, relationships, witness and so much more.
There are numerous other names by which he is identified in the Scriptures; just know we have an adversary and he has no good thoughts about you and your life.
Praise God, that in Jesus Christ we have an Advocate who is far greater than our adversary.
1 John 2:1-2
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”.
Glory to God,