Satanology



We’re still talking ST I, and we’re in the spiritual realm.


We’ve covered angels in a 3 part series.

We now come to the doctrine of Satan (Satanology).

And this is going to be a short one, but it’s just going to be some introduction to the person of Satan, and some of his designations throughout Scripture.


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His Personality (i.e., his personhood).

His personhood is often denied by anti supernaturalists. 


They view the presence of the devil in the Scriptures as simply the personification of evil. But this is a presupposition and ignores the plain reading and meaning of the Scriptures.


His personhood is evident in many ways.


Here’s some indications of his personhood.

--- He plots:

Job 1-2

The entire story of Job is a product of Satan scheming and making plans for His own evil purposes. Just read it.


2 Corinthians 2:10 -11 “But one whom you forgive anything, I forgive also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

 11 so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.


*Note: The word, here, for “schemes,” is a word that speaks of plans, designs, and strategies. In the context, Paul is saying we’re not ignorant of these schemes, but as the relate to the necessity for forgiveness among the brethren. The implication, then, is that the way he works his designs (and schemes) within the church, is through interpersonal realities (e.g., anger, bitterness, etc.).


Ephesians 6:11 - “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”


*Note: The word, here, for “scheme” is a word that refers to plans that are crafty and deceptive. The idea is that he labors to pull us into his plans, but through deception. The result is that we unknowingly become accomplices in his efforts and work. 


---- Intelligence (2Cor. 2:11)

---- Emotion (Rev. 12:12)

---- Will (Jude 1:9; possibly 2 Tim. 2:26)

---- Speech (Matt. 4:1-11)

---- Responsibility [in a moral sense] (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:1-3, 10)


Regarding his personality, it should also be noted that at the outset, he’s entirely characterized by pride.


1 Timothy 3:6 (regarding the qualifications of an elder) - “he is not to be a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.”


His Designations:

Names (none of these are technical).

“Satan”

This is not a proper name.


In the Old Testament:

There are 14 occurrences of “satan (שָׂטָן )” They all carry the idea of adversary. 

**Important note: When referring to Satan the article “the” appears in the Hebrew. If it is not present, then it refers to an adversary.


You see examples of this “accusing” work in Job 1:6-9; Zech. 3:1, 2.

So his persona as “the adversary” is to accuse.


In the New Testament:

The NT picks up the OT term as significant, so it simply transliterates it (Σατανᾶς).

There are 35 occurrences in the NT, most of which refer directly to Satan.


A notable exception:

Matthew 16:23 - “But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.”

* Note: This doesn’t have the article (ho) in front of it, so it merely means adversary. 


However, it does mean that Peter is acting in accordance to the nature of the devil. He’s attempting to thwart the Son’s purpose in going to the cross-- something the devil’s been trying to do since Genesis.


Devil (διάβολος)”

It’s where we get the term “diabolical” from.


This is a term that should not be seen as a name, but a characteristic. It’s the idea of being one who plots wickedness.

In 34 of 38 occurrences in the NT, it refers to Satan.


The exceptions would be John 6:70; 1Tim. 3:11; 2Tim. 3:3; Titus 2:3


--- Secondary names:

“Beelzebul” (Matt. 10:25, Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15, et. al).

It’s basic meaning is “master of the heavenly dwelling.”

The Latin and Syriac versions translate it to mean “master of flies.”


“Abbadon”

Comes from the Hebrew root “to perish,” or “to destroy.”

It’s transliterated into Greek as “Apollyon” in Rev. 9:11 --

“They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon.”


Belial (or ‘Beliar’).”

Appears in Judges 20:13; 1Sam. 10:27; and 1Kings 21:13 as a proper name.


KJV renders it as “children of Belial.”

NASB "Worthless fellows.”

RSV “Base fellows.”


In Jewish apocalyptic writings, the term was used to describe Satan or the antichrist. In fact, that’s the sense in which Paul uses it in 2 Cor. 6:15 --

“Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?”


--- Misused names and references:

Azazeel (עזָאזֵל).”

This is a term used in Lev. 16:8-10, and the key, here, is to understand that it’s not being used as a proper name.


Lev. 16:8 - “Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.”


So here, there’s two goats:

One functions as a sacrifice to YHWH → signifying an appeasing of God’s wrath (propitiation)

And the other as a sacrifice to Azazel → signifying the removal (or sending away) of sin (expiation).

Now the Hebrew word “azal” means “to go away…” And so when it’s combined with the word for goat (az), it makes the word “azazeel.”

And so it’s a term, then, that means nothing more than “the goat of going out” … or in simple terms, “the scapegoat.”


In some Jewish traditions, Azazel is sometimes understood to mean, “demon-goat.” That is, it was a goat offered to a demon, named Azazel.


And then in various Christian writings, it’s understood to be a referent to Satan.

But both of these are wrong, because the term, here, doesn’t function as a proper name.

Rather, it’s simply the idea of “scapegoat,” where the priest was to place his hand on the scape goat (symbolically showing the transfer of sin). And he was to then send it into the wilderness, to signify the removal (and sending out) of sin.


So if you do see the term as a referent to Satan, it’s because you’re reading into the term (with no actual textual evidence for doing so), and not letting the text stand on its own.


“Lucifer”

The name comes from a translation of Isa. 14:12 in the KJV.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”


“Lucifer” comes from three Hebrew words that mean something along the lines of: “shining one, son of dawn” or “boastful one, son of the morning.”


Many have assumed the person described in Isaiah 14 is Satan, and so due to the overwhelming popularity of this thought, it’s often a futile effort to try and convince a person otherwise.


But nevertheless, “Lucifer” actually comes from the Latin Vulgate.

And what’s interesting about that, is the Vulgate also gives the same name to Christ in 2 Peter 1:19.


And so the Latin term was then later transliterated in a few English versions, most notably the KJV.

The debate becomes rather complex, so we’re not going to get into here, but suffice it to say, that the context demands that the term be a reference to the king of Babylon.


The entire context speaks of literal nations and kings.

So when you get to 14:12, you should understand it as a reference to a literal king (i.e., the king of Babylon [in v. 14], if you’re going to keep a consistent hermeneutic.


So just understand, Lucifer comes from a translation in the KJV, and it’s a bad one. It’s not Satan’s name.


Ezekial 28:12-19

This is the passage that many will say describes Satan’s fall.

Again, the arguments are rather complex with this one as well. [If you really want to know what they are, send us a message].

But the key, here (like the previous) is to keep a consistent hermeneutic.


If you keep a consistent hermeneutic, then there’s just no way to understand this as a reference to Satan. Moreover, you have to read a number of assumptions into the passage, and they’re assumptions that have nothing to do with the greater context.


So if you’re not familiar with Ezek. 28, then don’t worry about it. But if you’ve always thought that it was a reference to Satan, and want to know the arguments as to why you shouldn’t understand it as as a reference to Satan, then send us a message.


But it’s just going to be too tedious for this forum.


--- Descriptive Titles:


“The evil one” (Matt. 13:19, 39)

“The tempter” (Matt. 4:3; 1Thess. 3:5)

“The ruler/prince of this world” (John 12:21; 14:30; 16:11)

“The ruler/prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2)

“The spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2)

“The ruler of the demons” (Matt. 12:24)

“The god of this (evil) age” (2Cor. 4:4)

“The accuser” (Rev. 12:10)

“The adversary/opponent.” (1 Pet. 5:8)

“The deceiver” (Rev. 12:9)

“The enemy” (Matt. 13:25, 28, 39)

“Murderer” (John 8:44)

The father of lies” (John 8:44)


--- Representations (graphic images):


“Serpent” (נחָשׁ [Heb.] /ὄφις  [Gk.]).

The context in which the devil is called a serpent always for the purpose of describing his craftiness.


Gen. 3:1 - “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?”


2 Cor. 11:3 - “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”


This isn’t to say that Satan didn’t take on the form of a literal snake in the garden, but it does function to show the craftiness of his deception. He deceives with shrewdness and skill.


“Dragon”

The term has definite mythological associations.

It’s found 13 times in Revelation 12-13, and it’s only used in reference to Satan.


“Leviathan” (Isa. 27:1)


“Angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14)

This one speaks to the nature of his deception.

A person being deceived by him doesn’t actually know that they’re being deceived.


In fact, they think what they’re believing is truth.

They think they’ve been enlightened. But the reality is they’reunder massive deception by one who is described as the very messenger (or angel) of light.


“A roaring lion” (1 Pet. 5:8-9)


Possibly, “a fallen star” (Rev. 9:1)


So these are the many designations and various representations (or images) of Satan in Scriptures.

But the point to understand is that none of them are a proper name.


In fact, Satan is never actually given a name by God in the Bible.

He’s not worthy of a name, and so he has no name.


Rather, he’s that ancient foe of God (and God’s people), who’s entire existence is one of opposition and destruction to the plans and purposes of God.

And so he’s constantly given titles and description befitting his character and purposes.


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So this is just an introduction to Satan.


Next time we’re going to give an outline of his career.

We’ll then give a survey of His program (i.e., his plots, his schemes, and the nature of his deceptions throughout redemptive history).


We’ll talk about his powers and limitations.

And then we’ll give some counsel regarding the attitudes and thoughts that Christians ought to have toward Satan (and even about Satan).





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