From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

("adversary".) Four times in Old Testament as a proper name (  Job 1:6 ;  Job 1:12 ;  Job 2:1 ;  Zechariah 3:1 , With Ha- , The Article) ; without it in  1 Chronicles 21:1;  1 Chronicles 21:25 times in New Testament; the Devil also 25 times; "the prince of this world" three times, for Satan had some mysterious connection with this earth and its animals before man's appearance. (See Devil .) Death already had affected the pre-Adamic animal kingdom, as geology shows. Satan had already fallen, and his fall perhaps affected this earth and its creatures, over which he may originally in innocence have been God's vicegerent, hence his envy of man his successor in the vicegerency ( Genesis 1:26;  Genesis 3:1-14). "The winked one" six times; "the tempter" twice. "The old serpent, the devil, and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world" ( Revelation 12:9;  Revelation 20:23). In Job his power is only over outward circumstances, by God's permission. Instead of being a rival power to good and God, as in the Persian belief as to Ormuzd and Ahriman, he is subordinate; his malicious temptation of David was overruled to work out Jehovah's anger against Israel ( 2 Samuel 24:1;  1 Chronicles 21:1).

As the judicial adversary of God's people he accuses them before God, but is silenced by Jehovah their Advocate ( Zechariah 3:1-2;  1 Peter 5:8;  Psalms 109:6;  Psalms 109:31;  1 John 2:1-2). The full revelation of "the strong man armed" was only when "the stronger" was revealed ( Luke 11:21-23). He appears as personal tempter of Jesus Christ. (See Jesus Christ The Zendavesta has an account of the temptation in Eden nearest that of Genesis, doubtless derived from the primitive tradition. Christ's words of Satan are ( John 8:44), cf6 "ye are of Your father the devil; he was a murderer (Compare As To His Instigating Cain  1 John 3:9-12 ) from the beginning and abode not in the truth. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it." He is a "spirit," "prince of the powers of the air," and "working in the children of disobedience" ( Ephesians 2:2). "Prince of the demons" (Greek), at the head of an organized "kingdom" ( Matthew 12:24-26), with "his (Subject) angels."

They "kept not their first estate but left their own habitation"; so God "hath reserved them in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" ( Judges 1:6). Again "God spared not the angels, but cast them into hell ( Τartarus , The Bottomless Pit:  Luke 8:31 ;  Revelation 9:11 ) , and delivered them to chains of darkness" ( 2 Peter 2:4). Their final doom is Τartarus ; meanwhile they roam in "the darkness of this world"; step by step they and Satan are being given up to Τartarus , until wholly bound there at last (Revelation 20). "The darkness of this world" ( Ephesians 6:12) is their chain. They are free now to tempt and hurt only to the length of their chain;  Revelation 12:7-9 describes not their original expulsion, but a further step in their fall, owing to Christ's ascension, namely, exclusion from access to accuse the saints before God ( Job 1:11; Zechariah 3). Christ's ascension as our advocate took away the accuser's standing ground in heaven (compare  Luke 10:18;  Isaiah 14:12-15).

Pride was his "condemnation," and to it he tempts others, especially Christian professors ( Genesis 3:5;  1 Timothy 3:6). As love, truth, and holiness characterize God, so malice or hatred (The Spring Of Murder) , lying, and uncleanness characterize Satan ( John 8:44;  1 John 3:10-12). Disbelief of God is what first Satan tempts men to (Genesis 3); "IF Thou be the Son of God" was the dart he aimed at Christ in the wilderness temptation, and through human emissaries on the cross. Also pride and presumption ( Matthew 4:6). Restless energy, going to and fro as the "roaring lion"; subtle instilling of venom, gliding steadily on his victim, as the "serpent" or "dragon"; shameless lust ( Job 1:7;  Matthew 12:43); so his victims ( Isaiah 57:20). He steals away the good seed from the careless hearer ( Matthew 13:19), introduces "the children of the wicked one" into the church itself, the tares among and closely resembling outwardly the wheat ( Matthew 13:38-39).

His "power" is that of darkness, from which Christ delivers His saints; cutting off members from Christ's church is "delivering them to Satan" ( 1 Corinthians 5:5;  1 Timothy 1:20;  Acts 26:18;  Colossians 1:13). The Jews might have been "the church of God," but by unbelief became "the synagogue of Satan." His "throne" opposes Christ's heavenly throne ( Revelation 4:2;  Revelation 2:9-10;  Revelation 2:13). He has his "principalities and powers" in his organized kingdom, in mimicry of the heavenly ( Romans 8:38;  1 Corinthians 15:24;  Colossians 2:15;  Ephesians 6:12). He instigates persecution, and is the real persecutor. He has "depths of Satan" in opposition to knowledge of "the deep things of God" ( Revelation 2:24); men pruriently desire to know those depths, as Eve did. It is God's sole prerogative thoroughly to know evil without being polluted by it. Satan has "the power of death," because "the sting of death is sin" ( 1 Corinthians 15:56); Satan being author of sin is author of its consequence, death. God's law ( Genesis 2:17;  Romans 6:23) makes death the executioner of sin, and man Satan's "lawful captive."

Jesus by His death gave death its deathblow and took the prey from the mighty; as David cut off Goliath's head with his own sword ( Matthew 12:29;  Luke 10:19;  Isaiah 49:24;  2 Timothy 1:10;  Psalms 8:2;  Hebrews 2:14). "Christ ... through death ... destroy ( Katargeesee , "render powerless") him that had the power of death." Satan seeks to "get an advantage of" believers ( 2 Corinthians 2:11); he has "devices" ( Noeemata ) and "wiles" ( Methodeias , "methodical stratagems") ( Ephesians 6:11), and "snares" ( 1 Timothy 3:7), "transforming himself (Greek) into an angel of light," though "prince of darkness" ( 2 Corinthians 11:14;  Luke 22:53;  Ephesians 6:12). "Satan hinders" good undertakings by evil men ( Acts 13:10;  Acts 17:13-14;  Acts 3:8-10), or even by "messengers of Satan," sicknesses, etc. ( 2 Corinthians 11:14;  2 Corinthians 12:7;  1 Thessalonians 2:18;  Luke 13:16). Satan works or energizes in and through antichrist ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9;  Revelation 13:2) in opposition to the Holy Spirit energizing in the church ( Ephesians 1:19). The wanton turn aside from Christ the spouse after Satan the seducer ( 1 Timothy 5:11-15).

The believer's victory by "the God of peace bruising Satan" is foretold from the first ( Genesis 3:15;  Romans 16:20). The opposition of Satan in spite of himself will be overruled to the believer's good, the latter thereby learning patience, submission, faith, and so his end being blessed, as in Job's case. Man can in God's strength "resist Satan" ( James 4:7); by withholding consent of the will, man gives Satan no "place," room or scope ( Ephesians 4:27). "The wicked one toucheth not" the saint, as he could not touch Christ ( 1 John 5:18;  John 14:30). Self restraint and watchfulness are our safeguards ( 1 Peter 5:8).

Translate  2 Timothy 2:26 "that they may awake ( Ananeepsosin ) ... being taken as saved captives by him ("The Servant Of The Lord",  2 Timothy 2:24 ; Autou ) so as to follow the will of Him" ( Ekeinou ; God,  2 Timothy 2:25): Ezogreemenoi , taken to be saved alive, instead of Satan's thrall unto death, brought to the willing "captivity of obedience" to Christ ( 2 Corinthians 10:5). So Jesus said to Peter ( Luke 5:10), cf6 "henceforth thou shalt catch [Unto "Life" ( Zogron )] men." Satan in tempting Christ asserts his delegated rule over the kingdoms of this world, and Christ does not deny but admits it ( Luke 4:6), "the prince of this world" ( John 12:31;  John 14:30;  John 16:11;  2 Corinthians 4:4;  Ephesians 6:12). Satan slanders God to man ( Genesis 3:1-5), as envious of man's happiness and unreasonably restraining his enjoyments; and man to God ( Job 1:9-11;  Job 2:4-5).

Satan tempts, but cannot force, man's will; grace can enable man to overcome ( James 1:2-4;  1 Corinthians 10:13;  James 4:7, etc.). Satan steals the good seed from the careless hearer ( James 1:21) and implants tares ( Matthew 13:4;  Matthew 13:19;  Matthew 13:25;  Matthew 13:38). Satan thrusts into the mind impure thoughts amidst holy exercises;  1 Corinthians 7:5, "come together that Satan tempt you not because of your incontinency," i.e., Satan takes advantage of men's inability to restrain natural propensities. Satan tempted Judas ( Luke 22:5;  John 23:27), Peter ( Luke 22:31), Ananias and Sapphire (Acts 5). Augustine's (De Civit. Dei, 22:1) opinion was that the redeemed were elected by God to fill up the lapsed places in the heavenly hierarchy, occasioned by the fall of Satan and his demons.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]


1. In the OT . The term Satan is Hebrew and means ‘adversary.’ In the earlier usage of the language it is employed in the general sense of ‘adversary,’ personal or national: (cf. e.g.   Numbers 22:22 ,   2 Samuel 19:22 ,   1 Kings 5:4;   1 Kings 11:25 etc.). In such passages no trace of a distinct being designated ‘Satan’ is to be seen. Such a being meets us for the first time in the OT in the prologue (chs. 1 and 2) of the Bk. of Job, in the person of one of ‘the sons of God’ who bears the title of ‘the Satan.’ Here Satan appears as a member of the celestial council of angelic beings who have access to the presence of God. His special function is to watch over human affairs and beings with the object of searching out men’s sins and accusing them in the celestial court. He is thus invested with a certain malevolent and malignant character; but it is to be observed that he has no power to act without the Divine permission being first obtained, and cannot, therefore, be regarded as the embodiment of the power that opposes the Deity. In   Zechariah 3:2 essentially the same view of ‘the Satan’ is presented. But in   1 Chronicles 21:1 (‘And Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel’) the personality of this being is more distinct: he appears now as ‘Satan’ (a proper name without the article), the tempter who is able to provoke David to number Israel. This is the Chronicler’s (4th or 3rd cent. b.c.) reading of the incident which in the earlier narrative (  2 Samuel 24:1 ) is ascribed to the direct action of God Himself. Here (in Chron.) the work of Satan is apparently conceived of as more or less independent of, and opposed to, the Divine action.

2. In the extra-canonical literature of the OT . In the later (apocryphal) literature of pre-Christian Judaism the dualistic tendency becomes more pronounced a tendency powerfully affected by Persian influence, it would seem, which is also apparent in the development of an elaborate Jewish angelology and demonology. This is most clearly visible in the apocalyptic literature . In the oldest part of the Bk. of Enoch (chs. 1 36), dating, perhaps, from about b.c. 180, the origin of the demons is traced to the fall of the angelic watchers, the ‘sons of God’ who corrupted themselves with the ‘daughters of men’ (  Genesis 6:1 f.). It was from the offspring of these sinful unions the ‘giants’ or nephîlîm that the demons were sprung. Of these demons the Asmodæus of the Bk. of Tobit ( Tob 3:8; Tob 3:17 ) seems to have been regarded as the king (Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] Pes . 110 a ). The name AsmodÅ“us (or in Heb. Ashmedai ) has plausibly been connected with the ancient Persian Aeshma daeva, i.e. ‘the covetous or lustful demon’; in its Hebrew form it suggests the meaning ‘destroyer’ or ‘bringer of destruction,’ and this demon may be intended by ‘the destroyer’ of Wis 18:25 and by the Apollyon (= ‘Destroyer’) of   Revelation 9:11 . In the latest part of the Bk. of Enoch, however, the so-called ‘Similitudes’ (chs. xxxvii lxxi), which perhaps dates from about b.c. 64, ‘the fallen watchers’ (and their descendants) are carefully distinguished from the Satans, who apparently belong to ‘a counter kingdom of evil’ which existed before the fall of the watchers recorded in   Genesis 6:1 , the latter, in consequence of their fall, becoming subject to the former. Apparently these ‘Satans’ are ruled by a single chief, who is styled ‘Satan’ in one passage (Enoch 54.6). ‘Their functions were threefold: they tempted to evil (69.4, 6); they accused the dwellers upon earth (40.7); they punished the condemned. In this last character they are technically called “angels of punishment” (53.3, 56.1, 62.11, 63.1)’ (Charles).

In the Bk. of Wisdom ( Wis 2:24 : ‘by the envy of the devil death entered into the world’) we already meet with the identification of the Serpent of   Genesis 3:1-24 with Satan, which afterwards became a fixed element in belief, and an allusion to the same idea may be detected in the Psalms of   Song of Solomon 4:11 , where the prosperous wicked man is said to be ‘like a serpent, to pervert wisdom, speaking with the words of transgressors.’ The same identification also meets us in the Book of the Secrets of Enoch (? 1st cent. a.d.), where, moreover, satanology shows a rich development (the pride, revolt, and fall of Satan are dwelt upon). Cf. art. Fall.

The secondary Jewish (Rabbinical) Literature which is connected with the text of the OT (esp. the Targums and the Midrashim) naturally reflects beliefs that were current at a later time. But they are obviously connected closely with those that have already been mentioned. The Serpent of  Genesis 3:1-24 becomes ‘the old serpent’ who seduced Adam and Eve. The chief of the Satans is Sammael, who is often referred to as ‘the angel of death’: and in the Secrets of Enoch he is prince of the demons and a magician. It is interesting to note that in the later Midrash one of the works of Messiah ben-Joseph is the slaying of Sammael, who is ‘the Satan, the prime mover of all evil.’ In the earlier literature his great opponent is the archangel Michael. The Rabbinic doctrine of the ‘evil impulse’ ( yetser ra ’), which works within man like a leaven ( Berak . 17a), looks like a theological refinement, which has sometimes been combined with the popular view of Satan (Satan works his evil purpose by the instrumentality of the ‘evil impulse’).

3. In the NT . In the NT, Satan and his kingdom are frequently referred to. Sometimes the Hebrew name ‘Satan’ is used ( e.g.   Mark 3:26;   Mark 4:15 etc.), sometimes its Greek equivalent ( diabolos: cf. our word ‘diabolical’), which is translated ‘devil,’ and which means ‘accuser’ or ‘calumniator.’ In   Matthew 12:26-27 (cf.   Matthew 10:25 ) Satan is apparently identified with Beelzebub (or Beelzebul), and is occasionally designated ‘the evil one’ (  Matthew 13:19;   Matthew 13:38 etc.; so, perhaps, also in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘deliver us from the evil one ’). Some scholars are of opinion that the name Beelzebub means not ‘fly-god’ but ‘enemy’ ( i.e. the enemy of God). He is called the ‘prince of the devils (or demons)’ in   Matthew 12:24 , just as Sammael, ‘the great prince in heaven,’ is designated the ‘chief of Satans’ in the Midrash.

The demonology that confronts us in the NT has striking points of contact with that which is developed in the Enochic literature. The main features of the latter, in fact, reappear. The ‘angels which kept not their first estate’ ( Judges 1:6 ,   2 Peter 2:4 ) are the angelic watchers whose fall through lust is described in Enoch 6 16. Their punishment is to be kept imprisoned in perpetual darkness. In Enoch the demons, who are represented as the evil spirits which went forth from the souls of the giant offspring of the fallen watchers, exercise an evil activity, working moral ruin on the earth till the final judgment. In exactly the same way the demons are described in the NT as disembodied spirits (  Matthew 12:43-45 ,   Luke 11:24-26 ). The time of their punishment is to be the final judgment (cf.   Matthew 8:29 : ‘Art thou come hither to torment us before the time  ?’). They belong to and are subject to Satan. As in the Book of Enoch, Satan is represented in the NT as the ruler of a counter-kingdom of evil (cf.   Matthew 12:26 ,   Luke 11:13 ‘if Satan cast out Satan, how shall his kingdom stand?’); he led astray angels (  Revelation 12:4 ) and men (  2 Corinthians 11:3 ); his functions are to tempt (  Matthew 4:1-12 ,   Luke 22:31 ), to accuse (  Revelation 12:10 ), and to punish (  1 Corinthians 5:5 : impenitent sinners delivered over to Satan for destruction of the flesh). It should be added that in the Fourth Gospel and Johannine Epp. the lesser demonic agencies disappear. Opposition is concentrated in the persons of Christ and the devil. The latter is the ruler of this world (  John 16:11 ), and enslaves men to himself through sin. The Son of God is manifested for the express purpose of destroying the devil’s works (  1 John 3:8 ).

Both in St. Paul (cf.  Romans 16:20 ,   2 Corinthians 11:2-3 ) and in the Apocalypse Satan is identified with the Serpent of   Genesis 3:1-24 . It is also noteworthy that St. Paul shared the contemporary belief that angelic beings inhabited the higher (heavenly) regions, and that Satan also with his retinue dwelt not beneath the earth, but in the lower atmospheric region; cf.   Ephesians 2:2 , where ‘the prince of the power of the air’ = Satan (cf. also   Ephesians 6:12 and   Luke 10:13 ‘I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven ’). For Satan’s rôle in the Apocalypse see art. Eschatology. Cf. also art. Devil.

4. The attitude of our Lord towards the Satan-belief . Our Lord, as is clearly apparent in the Synoptic tradition, recognized the existence and power of a kingdom of evil, with organized demonic agencies under the control of a supreme personality, Satan or Beelzebub. These demonic agencies are the source of every variety of physical and moral evil. One principal function of the Messiah is to destroy the works of Satan and his subordinates (  Mark 1:24;   Mark 1:34;   Mark 3:11-12;   Mark 3:15 etc.). Maladies traced to demonic possession play a large part in the Synoptic narratives (see Devil, Possession). In the expulsion of demons by His disciples, Jesus sees the overthrow of Satan’s power (  Luke 10:13 ). The evil effected by Satanic agency is intellectual and moral as well as physical (  Mark 4:15 ,   Matthew 13:19;   Matthew 13:33; cf.   2 Corinthians 4:4 ). That our Lord accepted the reality of such personal agencies of evil cannot seriously be questioned; nor is it necessary to endeavour to explain this fact away. The problem is to some extent a psychological one. Under certain conditions and in certain localities the sense of the presence and potency of evil personalities has been painfully and oppressively felt by more than one modern European, who was not prone to superstition. It is also literally true that the light of the gospel and the power of Christ operate still in such cases to ‘destroy the works of darkness’ and expel the demons.

G. H. Box.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

Among the angelic spirits of the unseen world there are those that are evil, though the Bible nowhere records how they fell into such a condition. The chief of these evil angelic spirits is one known as the adversary – the adversary of God, his people, and all that is good. The Hebrew word for ‘adversary’ is satan, which later became the name used in the Bible for this leader of evil ( Job 1:6). He is also called the devil ( Matthew 4:1-12;  1 John 3:8;  Revelation 12:9), the prince of demons ( Matthew 9:34;  Matthew 12:24; see also Beelzebul ), the prince of this world ( John 12:31;  John 14:30;  John 16:11), the god of this world ( 2 Corinthians 4:4), the prince of the power of the air ( Ephesians 2:2), the evil one ( Matthew 13:19;  Ephesians 6:16;  1 John 2:13;  1 John 3:12) and the accuser of the brethren ( Revelation 12:10; cf.  Job 1:6-12;  Zechariah 3:1).

God’s rebellious servant

We should not think that Satan is in some way the equal of God, one being a good God and the other an evil God. God alone is God ( Isaiah 44:6). Satan is no more than an angelic being created by God. There are good angels and evil angels, Satan being chief of the evil ones ( Matthew 25:31;  Matthew 25:41;  Ephesians 6:12;  Judges 1:9;  Revelation 12:7-9; see Angels ; Demons ). God, however, is above all and over all.

Also there are not, as it were, two kingdoms, a kingdom of good where God is absolute ruler and a kingdom of evil where Satan is absolute ruler. Satan is not a sovereign ruler but a rebel. Like all created beings, he is under the rule and authority of God and he can do his evil work only within the limits God allows ( Job 1:12;  Job 2:6; cf.  Revelation 20:2-3;  Revelation 20:7-8). He is still the servant of God, even though a rebellious one ( Job 1:6-7;  Job 2:1-2;  Zechariah 3:1-2). In spite of the evil he loves to do, he is still fulfilling God’s purposes, even though unwillingly ( Job 1:9-12;  1 Kings 22:19-23; cf.  John 13:2;  John 13:27;  Acts 2:23;  1 Corinthians 5:5;  2 Corinthians 12:7;  1 Timothy 1:20).

This does not mean that God tempts people to do evil. It is Satan, not God, who is the tempter ( Genesis 3:1-6;  1 Chronicles 21:1;  Matthew 4:1-11;  1 Corinthians 7:5;  James 1:13). God desires rather to save people from evil ( Matthew 6:13;  1 Corinthians 10:13). Yet God allows them to suffer the troubles and temptations that Satan brings in life, for through such things he tests and strengthens their faith ( James 1:2-3;  James 1:12; cf.  Hebrews 2:18;  Hebrews 5:8-9; see Temptation ; Testing ).

Satan is hostile to God and fights against God’s purposes ( Matthew 4:1-12;  Mark 8:31-33). But in the long run Satan cannot be successful, because Jesus Christ, by his life, death and resurrection, has conquered him and delivered believers from his power ( Matthew 12:28-29;  Luke 10:18;  John 12:31;  John 16:11;  Acts 26:18;  Colossians 2:15;  Hebrews 2:14-15;  1 John 3:8). (Concerning Jesus Christ’s conquest of Satan see Kingdom Of God .)

Enemy of the human race

Although Jesus has conquered Satan, the world at present sees neither Jesus’ conquest nor Satan’s defeat. God allows evil angels to continue to exist just as he allows evil people. He has condemned them but not yet destroyed them. The world will see Jesus’ conquest and Satan’s defeat in the great events at the end of the age, when Christ returns in power and glory ( Revelation 20:10).

In the meantime Satan continues to operate ( Matthew 13:24-26;  Matthew 13:37-39). He opposes all that is good and encourages all that is evil. At times he works with brutality and ferocity ( 1 Peter 5:8;  Revelation 2:10), at other times with cunning and deceit ( 2 Corinthians 2:11;  2 Corinthians 11:14;  1 Timothy 3:7). He works not only through people who are obviously evil ( Acts 13:8-10;  Ephesians 2:1-3;  1 John 3:10;  1 John 3:12;  Revelation 2:13), but also through those who appear to be good ( Mark 8:33;  John 8:44;  Acts 5:3;  Revelation 2:9;  Revelation 3:9).

Satan causes people physical suffering through disease ( Luke 13:16;  2 Corinthians 12:7; see Disease ), and evil spirits ( Mark 3:20-27;  Mark 7:25;  Acts 10:38; see Magic; Unclean Spirits ) He brings mental and spiritual suffering through the cunning of his deceit and temptations ( 1 Corinthians 7:5;  2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 :  2 Timothy 2:24-26). Above all, he wants to prevent people from understanding and believing the gospel ( Matthew 13:19;  2 Corinthians 4:4).

Christians, because they have declared themselves on the side of God, may at times experience Satan’s attacks more than others. They have a constant battle against Satan, but they do not fight entirely by their own strength. Certainly, they must make every effort to resist Satan and avoid doing those things that will give Satan an opportunity to tempt them ( Ephesians 4:27;  James 4:7), but God gives Christians the necessary armour to withstand Satan’s attacks ( Ephesians 6:11-13).

Just as Satan opposed Jesus in his ministry, so he will oppose Jesus’ followers in their ministry ( John 8:42-44;  Acts 13:10;  1 Thessalonians 2:18). But through the victory of Jesus, they too can have victory ( Luke 10:17-18;  Luke 22:31-32;  Revelation 12:10-11).

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [4]

One of the names of the devil; and as all the names of this apostate spirit have special signification beside that of identifying his person, we may consider this of Satan as implying that horrid part of his character, the adversary and accuser of the brethren. Thus he is particularly called Satan as the accuser,  Job 1:1-22. and  Zechariah 3:1, etc.

It would form subject sufficient for a volume more than a Concordance to enter into the particulars the Holy Bible hath given us concerning this old serpent, the devil, and Satan which deceiveth the whole world. Nevertheless, in a work of this kind, I cannot prevail upon myself to pass it wholly by, without offering a few brief observations concerning the Scripture account which is given us of one, to whose infernal malice we owe all the miseries, sorrows, and evils of the present life.

Now the Scriptures of God relate to us that the devil, under the appearance of a serpent, beguiled our first parents in the garden of Eden, prompted them to break the divine commands, and by so doing introduced death into the circumstrances of them and all their posterity.

The Scriptures farther teach concerning Satan, that having thus by the introduction of sin brought in all the consequent effects of sorrow and misery, he hath set up a kingdom in the hearts of men and is "the ruler of the darkness of this world," and carries on a despotic government over all men, yea even the Lord's own children while remaining in their unregenerate and unawakened state. Hence he enticeth them to sin, as he did Ahab, when he became a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. ( 1 Kings 22:22) And the same in the instance of Ananias and Sapphira, when he filled their hearts to lie unto the Holy Ghost. ( Acts 5:3, etc.) So in the ease of Hannah while going childless, he is said to have made her fret. ( 1 Samuel 1:6) In like manner the traitor Judas, concerning whom it is expressly said, "Satan, entered into him." ( John 13:27)

Hence, therefore, when the Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of in the holy Scriptures as coming for the redemption of his people, this great feature of character is intimately linked with it; "for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. ( 1 John 3:8) So again the apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, was commissioned to tell the church that forasmuch"as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he, that is, Christ, also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage. ( Hebrews 2:14-15)

I stay not to remark, what hath not indeed in so many plain words Scripture authority, positively saying so, but what hath been the received opinion of learned and studious minds in all ages pondering over the word of God on this subject, that the devil's enmity began not with our nature, but with the Son of God for assuming our nature. Personally first with Christ, and then with all mankind in Christ, that so he might persecute and render miserable the seed of Christ. I must not go so far into the subject as to bring in all that the Scripture seems to intimate of the quarrel of the devil being first levelled against Christ for becoming the Head of his body the church. This would lead too far. The war, said to be in heaven between Michael and his angels, and the Dragon and his angels, ( Revelation 12:7) hath been thought by some very able and learned divines to say as much. But I do not speak decidedly on the subject, though I had not even mentioned it, if I had not inclined to the same opinion. But be this as it may, very certain it is, that among the grand purposes for which the Son of God became incarnate this was eminently one, that he should conquer the devil and all the powers of hell, and "root out of his kingdom all things that offend." This formed as great a part in the plan of JEHOVAH for the glory of Christ, as the salvation of men for his glory.

In this view of the subject, if we take a comprehensive survey of what the Scriptures have said on the matter, we shall find that the kingdom Satan hath attempted to set up in the earth is personally directed against the kingdom of God and of his Christ: hence our Lord, speaking of Satan, calleth his empire a kingdom. Thus, when the Jews charged the Lord Jesus with casting out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, Christ made this answer, "If Satan cast out Satan he is divided against himself: how shall then his kingdom stand?" ( Matthew 12:26) So that the struggle of life and glory, hath been from first to last directed against Christ's kingdom, and to establish the kingdom of Satan through the earth.

When therefore we behold the Lord Jesus going forth for the salvation of his people, we behold him, as he is represented through all the Scriptures, as first conquering Saran in his own person and then destroying his dominion in the hearts of his people. The first he did when through death, as the Scripture speaks, he destroyed him that had the power of death; and the second conquest was, and is, in every individual instance of his people, when by his regenerating grace in the sinner's heart he converts him from sin to salvation, and the sinner is translated out of "the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son." ( Colossians 1:13)

And there is another and a open display of victory: which the Lord Jesus Christ will obtain over Satan, before a whole congregated world, when he will set up a visible kingdom upon earth before the final judgment, during which period the Scriptures tell us Satan will be shut up, and his power restrained from tempting any of Christ's church, as he now is permitted to do, neither will he during that period be allowed to deceive the world and make the ungodly harrass and afflict Christ's people any more. The beloved apostle John, in one of the chapters of the Revelations, hath most sublimely stated those great truths, ( Revelation 20:1, etc.) "And I saw an angel come down from heaven having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand; and he laid hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season." To this account succeeds the relation of Christ's kingdom upon the earth. "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them. And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image neither had received his mark upon their foreheads or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

To this succeeds the accounts of the final and everlasting triumph, of the Lord Jesus Christ over Satan, when bringing this infernal spirit to open trial before the whole world of angels and of men at the last day, the day of judgment. At the close of which follows the everlasting and eternal, destraction of the devil and his angels in hell forever.

I must not farther enlarge. Let what hath been said suffice to comfort every, child of God under all the exercises he is called to go through, from the subtilty of Satan still working upon, and with the remains of indwelling corruption in our poor fallen nature. Blessed be our triumphant Jesus, his devices are but for a season, for Christ hath conquered him for us, and he will conquer him in us; the victory is not doubtful, for it is already won, and, "the God of peace will bruise Satan under our feet shortly." ( Romans 16:20) In the meantime let us join that song of heaven, for we truly bear a part in it—"Now is come salvation and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death." ( Revelation 12:10-11)

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [5]

The Hebrew word satan [   1 Samuel 29:4 ), Rezon of Damascus ( 1 Kings 11:23,25 ), and the angel of the Lord ( Numbers 22:22,32 ).

In the Old Testament, then, Satan is not an evil principle opposing God. In Job "the Satan" is not God's adversary, but Job's. He Acts as one of God's subordinates/courtiers to follow his directives. (This view is premised on the idea that there is a difference in this being while he is still in heaven, rather than being cast out and being assigned to the realm of earth.) He does not seem, at this point, to be an adversary of all humans, but rather, of selected people. In  Zechariah 3:1 , he is a potential accuser; in  1 Chronicles 21:1 , one inciting David to evil. Within the Job narrative, Satan Acts at God's directive. While 1:12; 2:6-7 point to Satan's causal role in Job's life, later texts like 6:4; 7:14; 9:17 appear to lay blame on God. Thus Satan carries out divine directives.

Not Job's piety, but the connection between his piety and his prosperity was what Satan was questioning. (This is one of the "wisdom" themes of the Old Testament.) He implied that Job's piety was based on self-interest. The tests that followed were meant to demonstrate what that relation was.

"Satan" occurs thirty-six times in the New Testament, eighteen of that number in the Gospels and Acts. The Greek term satanas [   Mark 1:13 ). In the famous "Beelzebub controversy" Jesus made clear his intention to drive Satan out of people's lives and to destroy his sovereignty ( Matthew 12:26;  Mark 3:23,26;  Luke 11:18 ). He liberated a woman "whom Satan ( had ) kept bound for eighteen long years" ( Luke 13:16 ). Paul spoke of his being sent to turn people "from the power of Satan to God" ( Acts 26:18 ), and that the works of the "lawless one (were) in accordance with the work of Satan, " in doing sham miracles, signs, and wonders ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9 ). Christ will come, he wrote, to overthrow that agent of Satan.

While the activity of Satan is carried out in "the world" (i.e., among those who do not acknowledge Christ as Lord), he also works against the followers of Christ. He influenced Peter's thinking about Jesus to the extent that Jesus said to his disciple, "Get behind me, Satan!" ( Matthew 16:23 ). He asked for all the disciples in order to severely test them ( Luke 22:31 ). He "entered" Judas Iscariot ( Luke 22:3 ), and "filled the heart" of Ananias ( Acts 5:3 ). Believers can be tempted by Satan due to a lack of self-control in sexual matters ( 1 Corinthians 7:5 ), and he can even masquerade as "an angle of light" to accomplish his purposes ( 2 Corinthians 11:14 ). He tormented Paul by means of "a thorn in ( his ) flesh" ( 2 Corinthians 12:7 ). Some people even turn away from their faith to follow Satan ( 1 Timothy 5:15 ).

Satan opposes the proclamation of the gospel, snatching away the seed ( the word ) that was sown in people's hearts ( Mark 4:15;  Luke 8:12 ). He also "stopped" Paul from traveling to Thessalonica ( 1 Thessalonians 2:18 ).

Satan is regarded in the New Testament as "master of death and destruction, " who carries out God's wrath against sinners. Twice we read of persons "handed over to Satan" for spiritual discipline by the church ( 1 Corinthians 5:1-5;  1 Timothy 1:19-20 ). This appears to mean that excommunication puts people out into Satan's realm, a sovereignty from which believers have been rescued ( Colossians 1:13; cf.  Hebrews 2:14-15 ). In other cases, Satan attacked the disciples of Jesus by "sifting" them ( Luke 22:31 ), a figure that is enigmatic. It may have meant to test their faith (with the intent of destroying it), or, it may have meant "to separate off the rubbish" (I. H. Marshall). In any case, Satan was up to no good. He was able to "enter" Judas Iscariot ( Luke 22:3; cf.  John 13:27 ), resulting in that disciple becoming a betrayer of his Master. Peter's sifting may have brought about his threefold denial of Jesus.

The nascent church in Jerusalem felt the brunt of Satan's attacks. He "filled" Ananias' heart and he lied to the Holy Spirit ( Acts 5:3 ), resulting in his sudden demise. The believers in Smyrna felt the sting of persecution ( Revelation 2:9-10 ). The nations of earth in John's vision were deceived by him ( Revelation 20:7-8 ).

Jesus spoke of seeing Satan "fall like lightning from heaven" ( Luke 10:18 ), a fall not identified but spoken of within the context of demons being cast out—a sign of Satan's loss of authority. In Revelation, amid a war in heaven, Satan was "hurled to the earth" along with his angels/demons (12:9). He, the Accuser, was overcome by One stronger than he. Finally, he is bound, imprisoned in the abyss for one thousand years, then ultimately banished in the fiery lake to suffer eternal torment (20:1-3,10; cf.  Matthew 25:41 ).

The other common appellation for Satan in the New Testament is "the devil" ( diabolos [Διάβολος]), not found in the Old Testament, but thirty-four times here, meaning one who is traducer, a slanderer. The word often translates satan [Σατάν] in the Septuagint (either as "the satan" or an "adversary"). In the New Testament the "devil" becomes "an evil principle/being standing against God."

In the New Testament the word appears to be used interchangeably with "Satan." Mark refers to "Satan" five times, but never uses "devil." Matthew has three of the former, but six of the latter. The Fourth Gospel has one instance of "Satan" (with none in the Epistles of John), while the "devil" (as Satan) occurs twice in the Gospel and three times in the Epistles.

Jesus would drive out "the prince of this world" by his cross ( John 12:31 ); the latter would have no hold on Christ, for he was without sin (14:30); and Satan stood condemned at the bar of God's judgment (16:11). While the devil has had a career of sinning "from the beginning, " the Son of God came to destroy his wicked works ( 1 John 3:8 ). Those unable to hear and receive Jesus' words belong to the devil, who is their "father" ( John 8:44 )they share a family likeness to him.

Believers need to exercise care about anger, so as "not to give the devil a foothold" ( Ephesians 4:26 ). They are to don God's full armor so as to stand against the devil's schemes. With the shield of faith they are to thwart his "flaming arrows" ( Ephesians 6:11,16 ). Ultimate victory comes by "the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, " as the devil is cast down from heaven to the earth ( Revelation 12:11 ).

Walter M. Dunnett

See also Demon; Evil; Sin

Bibliography . H. Bietenhard, NIDNTT , 3:468-72; O. Bocher, EDNT, 1:297-98; D. J. A. Clines,  Job 1-20  ; W. Foerster, TDNT, 2:1-20; E. Lanyton, Satan, A Portrait  ; D. W. Pentecost, Your Adversary, The Devil  ; G. von Rad, Old Testament Theology .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Sa'tan. The word itself, the Hebrew, satan , is simply an "Adversary", and is so used in  1 Samuel 29:4;  2 Samuel 19:22;  1 Kings 6:4;  1 Kings 11:14;  1 Kings 11:23;  1 Kings 11:25;  Numbers 22:22-23;  Psalms 109:6. This original sense is still found in our Lord's application of the name to St. Peter in  Matthew 16:23. It is used as a proper name or title only four times in the Old Testament, namely, (with the article), in  Job 1:6;  Job 1:12;  Job 2:1;  Zechariah 2:1, and without the article in  1 Chronicles 21:1. It is with the scriptural revelation on the subject, that we are here concerned; and it is clear, from this simple enumeration of passages, that it is to be sought in the New Testament, rather than in the Old Testament.

I. The personal existence of a spirit of evil is clearly revealed in Scripture; but the revelation is made gradually, in accordance with the progressiveness of God's method. In the first entrance of evil into the world, the temptation is referred only to the serpent. In the book of Job, we find, for the first time, a distinct mention of "Satan," the "adversary," of Job. But it is important to remark the emphatic stress laid on his subordinate position, on the absence of all, but delegated power, of all terror and all grandeur in his character. It is especially remarkable that no power of spiritual influence, but only a power over outward circumstances, is attributed to him.

The captivity brought the Israelites face to face with the great dualism of the Persian mythology, the conflict of Ormuzd with Ahriman, the co-ordinate spirit of evil; but it is confessed by all that the Satan of Scripture bears no resemblance to the Persian, Ahriman. His subordination and inferiority are as strongly marked as ever. The New Testament brings plainly forward the power and the influence of Satan. From the beginning of the Gospel, when he appears as the personal tempter of our Lord, through all the Gospels, Epistles, and Apocalypse, it is asserted, or implied, again and again, as a familiar and important truth.

II. Of the nature and original state of Satan , little is revealed in Scripture. He is spoken of as a "spirit" in  Ephesians 2:2; as the prince or ruler of the "demons" in  Matthew 12:24-26; and as having "angels" subject to him in  Matthew 25:41;  Revelation 12:7;  Revelation 12:9. The whole description of his power implies spiritual nature and spiritual influence. We conclude, therefore, that he was of angelic nature, a rational and spiritual creature, superhuman in power, wisdom and energy; and not only so, but an archangel, one of the "princes" of heaven.

We cannot, of course, conceive that anything essentially and originally evil was created by God. We can only conjecture, therefore, that Satan is a fallen angel, who once had a time of probation, but whose condemnation is now irrevocably fixed. As to the time, cause, and manner of his fall, Scripture tells us scarcely anything; but it describes to us distinctly, the moral nature of the evil one. The ideal of goodness is made up of the three great moral attributes of God - love, truth, and purity or holiness; combined with that spirit, which is the natural temper of the finite and dependent, we find creature, the spirit of faith. We find, accordingly, opposites of qualities are dwelt upon as the characteristics of the devil.

III. The power of Satan over the soul is represented as exercised, either directly, or by his instruments. His direct influence over the soul is simply that of a powerful and evil nature on those, in whom lurks the germ of the same evil. Besides this direct influence, we learn from Scripture, that Satan is the leader of a host of evil spirits, or angels, who share his evil work, and for whom, the "everlasting fire is prepared."  Matthew 25:41. Of their origin and fall we know no more than of his.

But one passage  Matthew 12:24-26 - identifies them distinctly with the "demons," (Authorized Version, "devils"), who had power to possess the souls of men. They are mostly spoken of in Scripture in reference to possession; but in  Ephesians 6:12, find them sharing the enmity to God and are ascribed in various lights. We find them sharing the enmity to God and man, implied in the name and nature of Satan; but their power and action are little dwelt upon in comparison with his.

But the evil one is not merely the "prince of the demons;" he is called also the "prince of this world" in  John 12:31;  John 14:30;  John 16:11, and even the "god of this world," in  2 Corinthians 4:4; the two expressions being united in  Ephesians 6:12. This power, he claimed for himself, as the delegated authority, in the temptation of our Lord,  Luke 4:6, and the temptation would have been unreal, had he spoken altogether falsely.

The indirect action of Satan is best discerned, by an examination of the title, by which he is designated in Scripture. He is called, emphatically, ho diabolos , "The Devil". The derivation of the word in itself implies only the endeavor to break the bonds between others, and "set them at variance;" but common usage adds to this general sense, the special idea of "setting at variance by slander." In the application of the title to Satan, both the general, and special senses, should be kept in view.

His general object is to break the bonds of communion between God and man, and the bonds of truth and love, which bind men to each other. The slander of God to man is best seen in the words of  Genesis 3:4-5. They attribute selfishness and jealousy to the Giver of all good. The slander of man to God is illustrated by the book of Job.  Job 1:9-11;  Job 2:4-5.

IV. The method of satanic action upon the heart itself. It may be summed up in two words - temptation and possession. The subject of temptation is illustrated, not only by abstract statements, but also by the record of the temptations of Adam and of our Lord. It is expressly laid down, as in  James 1:2-4 , that "temptation," properly so called, that is, "trial," is essential to man, and is accordingly ordained for him, and sent to him by God, as in  Genesis 22:1. It is this tentability of man, even in his original nature, which is represented in Scripture as giving scope to the evil action of Satan. But in the temptation of a fallen nature, Satan has a greater power. Every sin committed makes a man, the "servant of sin" for the future,  John 8:34;  Romans 6:16, it, therefore, creates in the spirit of man, a positive tendency to evil, which sympathizes with, and aids, the temptation of the evil one. On the subject of possession, See Demoniacs .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

A name by which THE DEVIL, the great enemy of God and man, is designated. The name may be said to be the same in Hebrew, Greek, and English, and signifies ' adversary ,' as the word is rendered in several places where other adversaries are alluded to: cf.  Numbers 22:22;  1 Kings 11:14,23,25 . It was Satan who at the outset deceived Eve, for it is clear that the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, and Satan all represent the same evil spirit.  Revelation 20:2 . Satan was the great adversary of God's people in O.T. times,  1 Chronicles 21:1; the tempter of the Lord Jesus, who treated him as Satan; and is the tempter and adversary of the saints and of all mankind now. He endeavours to neutralise the effect of the gospel; catches away the good seed sown in the heart ( Matthew 13 ), and blinds the minds of the unbelieving lest the light of the gospel of Christ's glory should shine to them. His efforts are frustrated by God or none would be saved.

Further, to counteract God's work, Satan has raised up heretics to mingle with the saints and to corrupt them by evil doctrine, as taught in the metaphor of the tares sown among the wheat. He goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but saints are told to resist him, and he will flee from them. The power of death, which Satan had, has been annulled by Christ in His death. Saints are warned against his devices, for he is transformed into an angel of light, a teacher of morality. God has provided complete armour for His saints in order that they may withstand him and all his wiles, and has given them the sword of the Spirit (the word of God), as a weapon of attack.  Ephesians 6:11-18 .

The origin of Satan is not definitely stated, but if  Ezekiel 28:12-19 refer to him, under the appellation of the king of Tyre (as was very early believed in the church, and may be correct), he is described as the anointed cherub that 'covereth;' all the precious stones and gold were also his covering, resplendent by reflected light; he had a place in Eden, the garden of God, and was upon the holy mountain of God. He was perfect in his ways from the day he was created, until iniquity was found in him. Tyre, in its worldly wisdom and beauty, is looked at morally as the creation of the prince and god of this world. He will eventually be cast out as profane and find his portion in the lake of fire.

In the Epistle of Jude, the act of Michael the archangel in reference to Satan is given as an example of restraint in speaking of dignities: he dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." This implies that Satan had been set in dignity, which, though he had fallen, was still to be respected — as Saul's life was sacred in David's eyes because he was the anointed of God, though he had then fallen. That Satan had been set in dignity is confirmed by the fact of Christ having on the cross spoiled ' principalities and authorities ' (ἐξουσία), not simply 'powers.'  Colossians 2:15 .

The expressions "the prince of this world," "the god of this world," and "the prince of the power of the air," all presumably refer to Satan. When the Lord was tempted in the wilderness, Satan, after showing Him "all the kingdoms of the world," proposed to give to Him all the power and glory of them, if He would worship him, adding " for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it."   Luke 4:5,6 .

From the Book of Job we learn that Satan has access to God in the heavens; the Christian wrestles with the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenlies; and a day is coming when Michael and his angels will fight against Satan and his angels, and the latter will be cast out of heaven. This seems to indicate that Satan has a place in heaven originally given to him by God. During the millennium he will be shut up in the abyss, then loosed for a little season, and finally be cast into the lake of fire, a place prepared for him and his angels.

When Jesus was born, Satan attempted to destroy Him.  Matthew 2:16;  Revelation 12:1-5 . At the close of the Lord's course Satan was the great mover in His being put to death. To accomplish this Satan entered into Judas the traitor, whereas, as far as is revealed, in other cases, possession was by a demon, and not by Satan himself. When the Lord was arrested He said to the Jews, "This is your hour and the power of darkness." But Christ was morally the victor: in His death He annulled him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: He led captivity captive. Still Satan works, and will, when cast down to earth, be the spirit of a trinity of evil. He gives his throne and authority to the beast, that is, to the resuscitated Roman Empire, whose power is wielded by the Antichrist.  Revelation 13 . He will also be the leader of the nations in the last battle against the camp of the saints.  Revelation 20:7-9 .

It is remarkable that, notwithstanding the malignity of Satan, God uses him in the discipline of His saints, as in the case of Job, but allows the evil one to go only as far as He pleases. Paul used his apostolic power to commit some to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.  1 Corinthians 5:5;  1 Timothy 1:20 . The thorn in the flesh which Paul himself had was a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should be puffed up because of the marvellous revelations made to him in the third heaven. It is well to remember that Satan is morally a vanquished foe, for he is exposed; and that no Christian can be touched by him except as permitted and controlled by his God and Father in discipline for his good.

The epithet ' Devil ' is from 'to strike through,' and hence figuratively to stab with accusation: so Satan is called "the accuser of the brethren."  Revelation 12:10 : cf.  Zechariah 3:1,2 . Satan and the devil being identical, there is but one devil. In the A.V. of the N.T., where 'devils' are spoken of, the word in the original is always 'demons.'

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [8]

Śâṭân ( שָׂטָן , Strong'S #7854), “adversary; Satan.” This word appears 24 times in the Old Testament. Most uses of the term relate to the cosmic struggle in the unseen world between God and the opposing forces of darkness.

In Ps. 38:20, David cried out because he was the target of attack by his “adversaries.” Possibly David suffered because of mistakes he made; and within the permissive will of God, He used David’s enemies to discipline His servant.

In another psalm of distress by an individual, a godly man expressed his deep faith in the Lord. The writer prayed concerning those who were “adversaries” to his soul: “Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonor that seek my hurt” (Ps. 71:13). He expressed the reality of the powers of darkness against an individual who sought to live for God.

Imprecatory psalms call for judgment upon one’s enemies, reflecting the battle in the unseen world between darkness and light. David’s enemies became his “adversaries,” but he continued to pray for them (Ps. 109:4). Because those enemies repaid him evil for good and hatred for his love, the king prayed: “Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand” (Ps. 109:6). When they spoke evil against his soul, David called for the Lord’s reward against his “adversaries” (Ps. 109:20), and finally, became David’s accusers had intended him so much harm, he asked that his accusers be clothed with shame and dishonor (Ps. 109:29). In all of these passages, God worked indirectly by permitting individuals to act as “adversaries” of His people.

In another instance, David was merciful with members of Saul’s family who cursed him and wished him harm when he fled from Absalom (2 Sam. 16:5ff.). David restrained his army commanders from killing Saul’s family who had repented of their misdeeds. The king did not want his officers to be his “adversaries” on the day of victory and joy (2 Sam. 19:22).

God can also be the “adversary.” When Balaam went to curse the sons of Israel, God warned him not to do so. When the prophet persisted, God disciplined him: “And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him” (Num. 22:22). God stood as an “adversary” because no curse could undo the covenants and agreements already made with Israel.

God took up a controversy with Solomon. When Solomon added more and more pagan wives to his harem, God was greatly displeased (Deut. 17:17). But when the king built pagan shrines for his wives, God raised up “adversaries” against him(1 Kings 11:14), a direct action which caused the Edomites and Syrians to revolt against Israel.

Another special instance of intervention was the occasion when “… Satan [literally, “an adversary”] stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel” (1 Chron. 21:1). (No definite article is here in Hebrew and, therefore, “an adversary” is in mind.) In a parallel passage the Lord moved David to number Israel and Judah (2 Sam. 24:1). Even as the Lord stirred up an “adversary” against Solomon, so here God took a direct action to test David to help him learn a vital lesson. God tests believers to help them make the right choices and not depend upon their own human strength.

In the Book of Job, the word śâṭân always has the definite article preceding it (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7), so the term emphasizes Satan’s role as “the adversary.” God permitted Satan to test Job’s faith, and the adversary inflicted the patriarch with many evils and sorrows. Satan was not all-powerful because he indicated that he could not get beyond God’s protection of Job (Job 1:10). He penetrated the “hedge” only with God’s permission and only for specific instances that would demonstrate God’s righteousness. Job became the battleground between the forces of darkness and light. He learned that Satan could be defeated by making the right choices and that God can be glorified in every circumstance. Zechariah recorded a vision of “… Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him” (literally, “be his adversary”; Zech. 3:1). The Lord rebuked “the adversary” (Zech. 3:2). Satan was once again in conflict with God’s purposes and the angels of God, but “the adversary” was not all-powerful and was subject to rebuke by God Himself A general usage of śâṭân (“adversary”) appears in 1 Kings 5:4: “But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary or evil occurrent.” In another instance, David went over to the side of the Philistines; in attempting to fight with them against Israel, some of the Philistine leaders doubted David’s sincerity and felt that he would be “an adversary” in any battle between the two armies (1 Sam. 29:4).

In the Septuagint, the word is diabolos .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [9]

1: Σατανᾶς (Strong'S #4567 — Noun Masculine — satanas — sat-an-as' )

a Greek form derived from the Aramaic (Heb., Satan), "an adversary," is used (a) of an angel of Jehovah in  Numbers 22:22 (the first occurrence of the Word in the OT); (b) of men, e.g.,   1—Samuel 29:4;  Psalm 38:20;  71:13; four in  Psalm 109; (c) of "Satan," the Devil, some seventeen or eighteen times in the OT; in  Zechariah 3:1 , where the name receives its interpretation, "to be (his) adversary," RV (see marg.; AV, "to resist him").

 Matthew 4:10 12:26 Mark 1:13 3:23,26 4:15 Luke 4:8  John 13:27 Luke 22:31 Acts 5:3 Romans 16:20 1—Corinthians 5:5 7:5 2—Corinthians 2:11 11:14 12:7 1—Thessalonians 2:18 1—Timothy 1:20 5:15 Revelation 2:9,13  Luke 13:16 Acts 26:18 2—Thessalonians 2:9 Revelation 12:9 20:7 Luke 10:18 Revelation 20:2,10 Romans 16:20 Matthew 16:23 Mark 8:33 2—Corinthians 5:21 Hebrews 4:15Devil.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [10]

Is a Hebrew word, and signifies an adversary, or enemy, and is commonly applied in Scripture to the devil, or the chief of the fallen angels. "By collecting the passages, " says Cruden, "where Satan, or the devil, is mentioned, it may be observed, that he fell from heaven with all his company; that God cast him down from thence for the punishment of his pride; that, by his envy and malice, sin, death, and all other evils, came into the world; that, by the permission of God, he exercises a sort of government in the world over his subordinates, over apostate angels like himself; that God makes use of him to prove good men and chastise bad ones; that he is a lying spirit in the mouth of false prophets, seducers, and heretics; that it is he, or some of his, that torment or possess men; that inspire them with evil designs, as he did David, when he suggested to him to number his people; to Judas, to betray his Lord and Master; and to Ananias and Sapphira, to conceal the price of their field. That he roves full of rage like a roaring lion, to tempt, to betray, to destroy, and to involve us in guilt and wickedness; that his power and malice are restrained within certain limits, and controlled by the will of God. In a word, that he is an enemy to God and man, and uses his utmost endeavours to rob God of his glory, and men of their souls."

See articles Angel, Devil, Temptation More particularly as to the temptations of Satan.

1. "He adapts them to our temper and circumstances.

2. He chooses the fittest season to tempt: as youth, age, poverty, prosperity, public devotion, after happy manifestations; or when in a bad frame; after some signal source; when alone, or in the presence of the object; when unemployed and off our guard; in death.

3. He puts on the mask of religious friendship,  2 Corinthians 11:14 .  Matthew 4:6 .  Luke 9:50 .  Genesis 3:1-24 :

4. He manages temptation with the greatest subtlety. He asks but little at first; leaves for a season in order to renew his attack.

5. He leads men to sin with a hope of speedy repentance.

6. He raises suitable instruments, bad habits, relations,  Genesis 3:1-24 :   Job 2:9-10 .

See Gilpin on Temptation; Brooks on Satan's Devices; Bishop Porteus's Sermons, vol. 2: p. 63; Burgh's Crito. vol. 1: ess. 3; vol. 2: ess. 4; Howe's Works, vol. 2: p. 360; Gurnall's Christian Armour.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [11]

Signifies, properly, adversary, enemy,  1 Kings 11:14   Psalm 109:6 , and is so applied by Jesus to Peter,  Matthew 16:23   Mark 8:33 . Hence it is used particularly of the grand adversary of souls, the devil, the prince of the fallen angels, the accuser and calumniator of men before God,  Job 1:7,12   Zechariah 3:1,2   Revelation 12:10 . He seduces them to sin,  1 Chronicles 21:1   Luke 22:31; and is thus the author of that evil, both physical and moral, by which the human race is afflicted, especially of those vicious propensities and wicked actions which are productive of so much misery, and also of death itself,  Luke 13:16   Hebrews 2:14 . Hence Satan is represented both as soliciting men to commit sin, and as the source, the efficient cause of impediments which are thrown in the way of the Christians religion, or which are designed to diminish its efficacy in reforming the hearts and lives of men, and inspiring them with the hope of future bliss,  Matthew 4:10   John 13:27   Romans 16:20   Ephesians 2:2 . See Devil .

The "synagogue of Satan,"  Revelation 2:9,13 , probably denotes the unbelieving Jews, the false zealots for the Law of Moses, who at the beginning were the most eager persecutors of the Christians. They were very numerous at Smyrna, to which church John writes.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [12]

 Job 1:6-12 2:1-7

He is also called "the dragon," "the old serpent" ( Revelation 12:9;  20:2 ); "the prince of this world" ( John 12:31;  14:30 ); "the prince of the power of the air" ( Ephesians 2:2 ); "the god of this world" ( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ); "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" ( Ephesians 2:2 ). The distinct personality of Satan and his activity among men are thus obviously recognized. He tempted our Lord in the wilderness ( Matthew 4:1-11 ). He is "Beelzebub, the prince of the devils" (12:24). He is "the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom, of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood and all malice, and exciting and seducing to evil in every possible way." His power is very great in the world. He is a "roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" ( 1 Peter 5:8 ). Men are said to be "taken captive by him" ( 2 Timothy 2:26 ). Christians are warned against his "devices" ( 2 Corinthians 2:11 ), and called on to "resist" him ( James 4:7 ). Christ redeems his people from "him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" ( Hebrews 2:14 ). Satan has the "power of death," not as lord, but simply as executioner.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [13]

signifies an adversary or enemy, and is commonly applied in the Scriptures to the devil, or the chief of the fallen angels. By collecting the passages where Satan, or the devil, is mentioned, it may be concluded, that he fell from heaven with his company; that God cast him down from thence for the punishment of his pride; that by his envy and malice, sin, death, and all other evils came into the world; that, by the permission of God, he exercises a sort of government in the world over subordinate apostate angels like himself; that God makes use of him to prove good men, and chastise bad ones; that he is a lying spirit in the mouth of false prophets and seducers; that it is he, or his agents, that torment or possess men, and inspire them with evil designs, as when he suggested to David, the numbering of the people, to Judas to betray his Lord and Master, and to Ananias and Sapphira to conceal the price of their field; that he is full of rage like a roaring lion, and of subtlety like a serpent, to tempt, to betray, to destroy, and involve us in guilt and wickedness; that his power and malice are restrained within certain limits, and controlled by the will of God; in a word, that he is an enemy to God and man, and uses his utmost endeavours to rob God of his glory, and men of their souls. See DEVIL and See Demoniacs .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [14]

Satan ( Sâ'Tan ), Adversary.  1 Chronicles 21:1. The adversary of God and man, the foe to goodness, and the tempter to evil. The proper name appears five times in the Old Testament,  1 Chronicles 21:1;  Job 1:6;  Job 1:12;  Job 2:1;  Zechariah 3:1; in the New Testament 25 times; the word "devil" occurs 25 times; "the prince of this world," three times; "the wicked one," six times; "the tempter," twice. In one remarkable verse several epithets are combined—the old serpent, the devil, and Satan, who deceiveth the whole world.  Revelation 12:9. The most striking mention of Satan is in Job, where he appears among "the sons of God," This is in itself sufficient to prove the subordination of the powers of evil unto God and the permissive nature of sin, and that Satan has no authority to vex save as God grants it. The existence of Satan is a perpetual menace to godliness. See Devil.

Holman Bible Dictionary [15]

 Numbers 22:22 22:32 1 Samuel 29:4 2 Samuel 19:22 1 Kings 5:4 1 Kings 11:25 Psalm 109:6 Job 1-2 Zechariah 3:2 1 Chronicles 21:1Satan Evil DemonicDevil

King James Dictionary [16]

SA'TAN, n. Heb. an adversary. The grand adversary of man the devil or prince of darkness the chief of the fallen angels.

Webster's Dictionary [17]

(n.) The grand adversary of man; the Devil, or Prince of darkness; the chief of the fallen angels; the archfiend.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [18]

See Devil.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [19]

sā´tan ( שׂטן , sāṭān ), "adversary," from the verb שׂטן , sāṭan , "to lie in wait" (as adversary); Σατᾶν , Satán , Σατανᾶς , Satanás , "adversary," διάβολος , diábolos , "Devil," "adversary" or "accuser," κατήγωρ , katḗgōr (altogether unclassical and unGreek) (used once in   Revelation 12:10 ), "accuser"):

I. Definition

II. Scriptural Facts Concerning Satan

1. Names of Satan

2. Character of Satan

3. Works of Satan

4. History of Satan

III. General Considerations

1. Scripture Doctrine of Satan Not Systematized

2. Satan and God

3. Satan Essentially Limited

4. Conclusions


I. Definition.

A created but superhuman, personal, evil, world-power, represented in Scripture as the adversary both of God and men.

II. Scriptural Facts Concerning Satan.

1. Names of Satan:

The most important of these are the Hebrew and Greek equivalents noticed above. These words are used in the general sense justified by their etymological significance. It is applied even to Yahweh Himself ( Numbers 22:22 ,  Numbers 22:32; compare  1 Samuel 29:4;  2 Samuel 19:22;  Psalm 109:6 , etc.). The word "Satan" is used 24 times in the Old Testament. In Job ( Job 1:6 f) and Zec (  Job 3:1 f) it has the prefixed definite article. In all cases but one when the article is omitted it is used in a general sense. This one exception is   1 Chronicles 21:1 (compare   2 Samuel 24:1 ), where the word is generally conceded to be used as a proper name. This meaning is fixed in New Testament times. We are thus enabled to note in the term "Satan" (and Devil) the growth of a word from a general term to an appellation and later to a proper name. All the other names of Satan save only these two are descriptive titles. In addition to these two principal names a number of others deserve specific enumeration. Tempter ( Matthew 4:5;  1 Thessalonians 3:5 ); Beelzebub ( Matthew 12:24 ); Enemy ( Matthew 13:39 ); Evil One ( Matthew 13:19 ,  Matthew 13:38;  1 John 2:13 ,  1 John 2:14;  1 John 3:12 , and particularly  1 John 5:18 ); Belial ( 2 Corinthians 6:15 ); Adversary (ἀντίδικος , antı́dikos ), ( 1 Peter 5:8 ); Deceiver (literally "the one who deceives") ( Revelation 12:9 ); Dragon (Great) ( Revelation 12:3 ); Father of Lies ( John 8:44 ); Murderer ( John 8:44 ); Sinner ( 1 John 3:8 ) - these are isolated references occurring from 1 to 3 times each. In the vast majority of passages (70 out of 83) either Satan or Devil is used.

2. Character of Satan:

Satan is consistently represented in the New Testament as the enemy both of God and man. The popular notion is that Satan is the enemy of man and active in misleading and cursing humanity because of his intense hatred and opposition to God.  Matthew 13:39 would seem to point in this direction, but if one were to venture an opinion in a region where there are not enough facts to warrant a conviction, it would be that the general tenor of Scripture indicates quite the contrary, namely, that Satan's jealousy and hatred of men has led him into antagonism to God and, consequently, to goodness. The fundamental moral description of Satan is given by our Lord when He describes Satan as the "evil one" (  Matthew 13:19 ,  Matthew 13:38; compare Isaiah's description of Yahweh as the "Holy One,"  Isaiah 1:4 and often); that is, the one whose nature and will are given to evil. Moral evil is his controlling attribute. It is evident that this description could not be applied to Satan as originally created. Ethical evil cannot be concreated. It is the creation of each free will for itself. We are not told in definite terms how Satan became the evil one, but certainly it could be by no other process than a fall, whereby, in the mystery of free personality, an evil will takes the place of a good one.

3. Works of Satan:

The world-wide and age-long works of Satan are to be traced to one predominant motive. He hates both God and man and does all that in him lies to defeat God's plan of grace and to establish and maintain a kingdom of evil, in the seduction and ruin of mankind. The balance and sanity of the Bible is nowhere more strikingly exhibited than in its treatment of the work of Satan. Not only is the Bible entirely free from the extravagances of popular Satanology, which is full of absurd stories concerning the appearances, tricks, and transformations of Satan among men, but it exhibits a dependable accuracy and consistency, of statement which is most reassuring. Almost nothing is said concerning Satanic agency other than wicked men who mislead other men. In the controversy with His opponents concerning exorcism ( Mark 3:22 f and parallel's) our Lord rebuts their slanderous assertion that He is in league with Satan by the simple proposition that Satan does not work against himself. But in so saying He does far more than refute this slander. He definitely aligns the Bible against the popular idea that a man may make a definite and conscious personal alliance with Satan for any purpose whatever. The agent of Satan is always a victim. Also the hint contained in this discussion that Satan has a kingdom, together with a few other not very definite allusions, are all that we have to go upon in this direction. Nor are we taught anywhere that Satan is able to any extent to introduce disorder into the physical universe or directly operate in the lives of men. It is true that in   Luke 13:16 our Lord speaks of the woman who was bowed over as one "whom Satan has bound, lo, these eighteen years," and that in   2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul speaks of his infirmity as a "messenger of Satan sent to buffet him." Paul also speaks (  1 Thessalonians 2:18 ) of Satan's hindering him from visiting the church at Thessalonica. A careful study of these related passages (together with the prologue of Job) will reveal the fact that Satan's direct agency in the physical world is very limited. Satan may be said to be implicated in all the disasters and woes of human life, in so far as they are more or less directly contingent upon sin (see particularly  Hebrews 2:14 ) On the contrary, it is perfectly evident that Satan's power consists principally in his ability to deceive. It is interesting and characteristic that according to the Bible Satan is fundamentally a liar and his kingdom is a kingdom founded upon lies and deceit. The doctrine of Satan therefore corresponds in every important particular to the general Biblical emphasis upon truth. "The truth shall make you free" ( John 8:32 ) - this is the way of deliverance from the power of Satan.

Now it would seem that to make Satan pre-eminently the deceiver would make man an innocent victim and thus relax the moral issue. But according to the Bible man is particeps criminis in the process of his own deception. He is deceived only because he ceases to love the truth and comes first to love and then to believe a lie (  2 Corinthians 1:10 ). This really goes to the very bottom of the problem of temptation. Men are not tempted by evil, per se , but by a good which can be obtained only at the cost of doing wrong. The whole power of sin, at least in its beginnings, consists in the sway of the fundamental falsehood that any good is really attainable by wrongdoing. Since temptation consists in this attack upon the moral sense, man is constitutionally guarded against deceit, and is morally culpable in allowing himself to be deceived. The temptation of our Lord Himself throws the clearest possible light upon the methods ascribed to Satan and The temptation was addressed to Christ's consciousness of divine sonship; it was a deceitful attack emphasizing the good, minimizing or covering up the evil; indeed, twisting evil into good. It was a deliberate, malignant attempt to obscure the truth and induce to evil through the acceptance of falsehood. The attack broke against a loyalty to truth which made self-deceit, and consequently deceit from without, impossible. The lie was punctured by the truth and the temptation lost its power (see Temptation Of Christ ). This incident reveals one of the methods of Satan - by immediate suggestion as in the case of Judas ( Luke 22:3;  John 13:2 ,  John 13:27 ). Sometimes, however, and, perhaps, most frequently, Satan's devices ( 2 Corinthians 2:11 ) include human agents. Those who are given over to evil and who persuade others to evil are children and servants of Satan (See  Matthew 16:23;  Mark 8:33;  Luke 4:8;  John 6:70;  John 8:44;  Acts 13:10;  1 John 3:8 ). Satan also works through persons and institutions supposed to be on the side of right but really evil. Here the same ever-present and active falseness and deceit are exhibited. When he is called "the god of this world" ( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ) it would seem to be intimated that he has the power to clothe himself in apparently divine attributes. He also makes himself an angel of light by presenting advocates of falsehood in the guise of apostles of truth ( 2 Corinthians 11:13 ,  2 Corinthians 11:15;  1 John 4:1;  2 Thessalonians 2:9;  Revelation 12:9;  Revelation 19:20 ). In the combination of passages here brought together, it is clearly indicated that Satan is the instigator and fomenter of that spirit of lawlessness which exhibits itself as hatred both of truth and right, and which has operated so widely and so disastrously in human life.

4. History of Satan:

The history of Satan, including that phase of it which remains to be realized, can be set forth only along the most general lines. He belongs to the angelic order of beings. He is by nature one of the sons of Elohı̄m (  Job 1:6 ). He has fallen, and by virtue of his personal forcefulness has become the leader of the anarchic forces of wickedness. As a free being he has merged his life in evil and has become altogether and hopelessly evil. As a being of high intelligence he has gained great power and has exercised a wide sway over other beings. As a created being the utmost range of his power lies within the compass of that which is permitted. It is, therefore, hedged in by the providential government of God and essentially limited. The Biblical emphasis upon the element of falsehood in the career of Satan might be taken to imply that his kingdom may be less in extent than appears. At any rate, it is confined to the cosmic sphere and to a limited portion of time. It is also doomed. In the closely related passages  2 Peter 2:4 and   Judges 1:6 it is affirmed that God cast the angels, when they sinned, down to Tartarus and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. This both refers to the constant divine control of these insurgent forces and also points to their final and utter destruction. The putting of Satan in bonds is evidently both constant and progressive. The essential limitation of the empire of evil and its ultimate overthrow are foreshadowed in the Book of Job (chapters 38 through 41), where Yahweh's power extends even to the symbolized spirit of evil.

According to synoptic tradition, our Lord in the crisis of temptation immediately following the baptism ( Matthew 4 and parallel) met and for the time conquered Satan as His own personal adversary. This preliminary contest did not close the matter, but was the earnest of a complete victory. According to Luke (  Luke 10:18 ), when the Seventy returned from their mission flushed with victory over the powers of evil, Jesus said: 'I saw Satan fall (not "fallen"; see Plummer, "Luke," ICC , in the place cited.) as lightning from heaven.' In every triumph over the powers of evil Christ beheld in vision the downfall of Satan. In connection with the coming of the Hellenists who wished to see Him, Jesus asserted ( John 12:31 ), "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." In view of His approaching passion He says again ( John 14:30 ), "The prince of the world cometh: and he hath nothing in me." Once again in connection with the promised advent of the Spirit, Jesus asserted ( John 16:11 ) that the Spirit would convict the world of judgment, "because the prince of this world hath been judged." In Hebrews ( Hebrews 2:14 ,  Hebrews 2:15 ) it is said that Christ took upon Himself human nature in order "that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil." In  1 John 3:8 it is said, "To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil." In   Revelation 12:9 it is asserted, in connection with Christ's ascension, that Satan was cast down to the earth and his angels with him. According to the passage immediately following (  Revelation 12:10-12 ), this casting down was not complete or final in the sense of extinguishing his activities altogether, but it involves the potential and certain triumph of God and His saints and the equally certain defeat of Satan. In  1 John 2:13 the young men are addressed as those who "have overcome the evil one." In   Revelation 20:1-15 the field of the future is covered in the assertion that Satan is "bound a thousand years"; then loosed "for a little time," and then finally "cast into the lake of fire."

A comparison of these passages will convince the careful student that while we cannot construct a definite chronological program for the career of Satan, we are clear in the chief points. He is limited, judged, condemned, imprisoned, reserved for judgment from the beginning. The outcome is certain though the process may be tedious and slow. The victory of Christ is the defeat of Satan; first, for Himself as Leader and Saviour of men ( John 14:30 ); then, for believers ( Luke 22:31;  Acts 26:18;  Romans 16:20;  James 4:7;  1 John 2:13;  1 John 5:4 ,  1 John 5:18 ); and, finally, for the whole world ( Revelation 20:10 ). The work of Christ has already destroyed the empire of Satan.

III. General Considerations.

There are, no doubt, serious difficulties in the way of accepting the doctrine of a personal, superhuman, evil power as Satan is described to be. It is doubtful, however, whether these diffificulties may not be due, at least in part, to a misunderstanding of the doctrine and certain of its implications. In addition, it must be acknowledged, that whatever difficulties there may be in the teaching, they are exaggerated and, at the same time, not fairly met by the vague and irrational skepticism which denies without investigation. There are difficulties involved in any view of the world. To say the least, some problems are met by the view of a superhuman, evil world-power. In this section certain general considerations are urged with a view to lessening difficulties keenly felt by some minds. Necessarily, certain items gathered in the foregoing section are here emphasized again.

1. Scripture Doctrine of Satan Not Systematized:

The Scriptural doctrine of Satan is nowhere systematically developed. For materials in this field we are shut up to scattered and incidental references. These passages, which even in the aggregate are not numerous, tell us what we need to know concerning the nature, history, kingdom and works of Satan, but offer scant satisfaction to the merely speculative temper. The comparative lack of development in this field is due partly to the fact that the Biblical writers are primarily interested in God, and only secondarily in the powers of darkness; and partly to the fact that in the Bible doctrine waits upon fact. Hence, the malign and sinister figure of the Adversary is gradually outlined against the light of God's holiness as progressively revealed in the providential world-process which centers in Christ. It is a significant fact that the statements concerning Satan become numerous and definite only in the New Testament. The daylight of the Christian revelation was necessary in order to uncover the lurking foe, dimly disclosed but by no means fully known in the earlier revelation. The disclosure of Satan is, in form at least, historical, not dogmatic.

2. Satan and God:

In the second place, the relationship of Satan to God, already emphasized, must be kept constantly in mind. The doctrine of Satan merges in the general doctrine concerning angels (see Angel ). It has often been pointed out that the personal characteristics of angels are very little insisted upon. They are known chiefly by their functions: merged, on the one hand, in their own offices, and, on the other, in the activities of God Himself.

In the Old Testament Satan is not represented as a fallen and malignant spirit, but as a servant of Yahweh, performing a divine function and having his place in the heavenly train. In the parallel accounts of David's numbering of Israel ( 1 Samuel 24:1;  1 Chronicles 21:1 ) the tempting of David is attributed both to Yahweh and Satan. The reason for this is either that 'the temptation of men is also a part of his providence,' or that in the interval between the documents the personality of the tempter has more clearly emerged. In this case the account in Chronicles would nearly approximate the New Testament teaching. In the Book of Job ( Job 1:6 ), however, Satan is among the Sons of God and his assaults upon Job are divinely permitted. In Zec ( Job 3:1 ,  Job 3:2 ) Satan is also a servant of Yahweh. In both these passages there is the hint of opposition between Yahweh and Satan. In the former instance Satan assails unsuccessfully the character of one whom Yahweh honors; while in the latter Yahweh explicitly rebukes Satan for his attitude toward Israel (see G. A. Smith, BTP , II, 316 f). The unveiling of Satan as a rebellious world-power is reserved for the New Testament, and with this fuller teaching the symbolic treatment of temptation in Gen is to be connected. There is a sound pedagogical reason, from the viewpoint of revelation, for this earlier withholding of the whole truth concerning Satan. In the early stages of religious thinking it would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, to hold the sovereignty of God without attributing to His agency those evils in the world which are more or less directly connected with judgment and punishment (compare  Isaiah 45:7;  Amos 3:6 ). The Old Testament sufficiently emphasizes man's responsibility for his own evil deeds, but super-human evil is brought upon him from above. "When willful souls have to be misled, the spirit who does so, as in Ahab's case, comes from above" (G. A. Smith, op. cit., 317). The progressive revelation of God's character and purpose, which more and more imperatively demands that the origin of moral evil, and consequently natural evil, must be traced to the created will in opposition to the divine will, leads to the ultimate declaration that Satan is a morally fallen being to whose conquest the Divine Power in history is pledged. There is, also, the distinct possibility that in the significant transition from the Satan of the Old Testament to that of the New Testament we have the outlines of a biography and an indication of the way by which the angels fell.

3. Satan Essentially Limited:

A third general consideration, based upon data given in the earlier section, should be urged in the same connection. In the New Testament delineation of Satan, his limitations are clearly set forth. He is superhuman, but not in any sense divine. His activities are cosmic, but not universal or transcendent. He is a created being. His power is definitely circumscribed. He is doomed to final destruction as a world-power. His entire career is that of a secondary and dependent being who is permitted a certain limited scope of power - a time-lease of activity (  Luke 4:6 ).

4. Conclusions:

These three general considerations have been grouped in this way because they dispose of three objections which are current against the doctrine of Satan.

(1) The first is, that it is mythological in origin. That it is not dogmatic is a priori evidence against this hypothesis. Mythology is primitive dogma. There is no evidence of a theodicy or philosophy of evil in the Biblical treatment of Satan. Moreover, while the Scriptural doctrine is unsystematic in form, it is rigidly limited in scope and everywhere essentially consistent. Even in the Apocalypse, where naturally more scope is allowed to the imagination, the same essential ideas appear. The doctrine of Satan corresponds, item for item, to the intellectual saneness and ethical earnestness of the Biblical world-view as a whole. It is, therefore, not mythological. The restraint of chastened imagination, not the extravagance of mythological fancy, is in evidence throughout the entire Biblical treatment of the subject. Even the use of terms current in mythology (as perhaps  Genesis 3:1 ,  Genesis 3:13 ,  Genesis 3:14;  Revelation 12:7-9; compare  1 Peter 5:8 ) does not imply more than a literary clothing of Satan in attributes commonly ascribed to malignant and disorderly forces.

(2) The second objection is that the doctrine is due to the influence of Persian dualism (see Persian Religion; Zoroastrianism ). The answer to this is plain, on the basis of facts already adduced. The Biblical doctrine of Satan is not dualistic. Satan's empire had a beginning, it will have a definite and permanent end. Satan is God's great enemy in the cosmic sphere, but he is God's creation, exists by divine will, and his power is relatively no more commensurate with God's than that of men. Satan awaits his doom. Weiss says (concerning the New Testament representation of conflict between God and the powers of evil): "There lies in this no Manichaean dualism,... but only the deepest experience of the work of redemption as the definite destruction of the power from which all sin in the world of men proceeds" ( Biblical Theology New Testament , English tanslations of the Bible, II, 272; compare G.A. Smith, op. cit., II, 318).

(3) The third objection is practically the same as the second, but addressed directly to the doctrine itself, apart from the question of its origin, namely, that it destroys the unity of God. The answer to this also is a simple negative. To some minds the reality of created wills is dualistic and therefore untenable. But a true doctrine of unity makes room for other wills than God's - namely of those beings upon whom God has bestowed freedom. Herein stands the doctrine of sin and Satan. The doctrine of Satan no more militates against the unity of God than the idea, so necessary to morality and religion alike, of other created wills set in opposition to God's. Just as the conception of Satan merges, in one direction, in the general doctrine of angels, so, in the other, it blends with the broad and difficult subject of evil (compare "Satan," Hdb , IV, 412a).


All standard works on Biblical Theology, as well as Dictionaries, etc., treat with more or less thoroughness the doctrine of Satan. The German theologians of the more evangelical type, such as Weiss, Lange, Martensen (Danish), Dorner, while exhibiting a tendency toward excessive speculation, discern the deeper aspects of the doctrine. Of monographs known to the writer none are to be recommended without qualification. It is a subject on which the Bible is its own best interpreter.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [20]

Sa´tan (the adversary or opposer). The doctrine of Satan and of Satanic agency is to be made out from revelation, and from reflection in agreement with revelation.

Besides Satan, he is called the Devil, the Dragon, the Evil One, the Angel of the Bottomless Pit, the Prince of this World, the Prince of the Power of the Air, the God of this World, Apollyon, Abaddon, Belial, Beelzebub. Satan and Devil are the names by which he is oftener distinguished than by any other, the former being applied to him about forty times, and the latter about fifty times.

The word Satan occurs in its specific sense as a proper name in , and in Job 1-2. See also . When we pass from the Old to the New Testament, this doctrine of an invisible evil agent becomes more clear. With the advent of Christ and the opening of the Christian dispensation, the great opposer of that kingdom, the particular adversary and antagonist of the Savior, would naturally become more active and more known. The antagonism of Satan and his kingdom to Christ and his kingdom runs through the whole of the New Testament.

Devil is the more frequent term of designation given to Satan in the New Testament. With one or two exceptions, which go to confirm the rule, the usus loquendi of the New Testament shows this term to be a proper name, applied to an extraordinary being, whose influence upon the human race is great and mischievous (;;;;;;; ). In the original this name is given exclusively to the prince of evil spirits, never to these spirits themselves, who, in connection with demoniacal possessions, are almost always termed 'demons'—a distinction which the Authorized Version has failed to observe.

We determine the personality of Satan by the same criteria that we use in determining whether Caesar and Napoleon were real, personal beings, or the personifications of abstract ideas, viz., by the tenor of history concerning them, and the ascription of personal attributes to them. All the forms of personal agency are made use of by the sacred writers in setting forth the character and conduct of Satan. They describe him as having power and dominion, messengers and followers. He tempts and resists; he is held accountable, charged with guilt; is to be judged, and to receive final punishment. On the supposition that it was the object of the sacred writers to teach the proper personality of Satan, they could have found no more express terms than those which they have actually used. And on the supposition that they did not intend to teach such a doctrine, their use of language, incapable of communicating any other idea, is wholly inexplicable.

The class of beings to which Satan originally belonged, and which constituted a celestial hierarchy, is very numerous: 'Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him' . They were created and dependent . Analogy leads to the conclusion that there are different grades among the angels as among other races of beings. The Scriptures warrant the same. Michael is described as one of the chief princes as chief captain of the host of Jehovah . Similar distinctions exist among the fallen angels . It is also reasonable to suppose that they were created susceptible of improvement in all respects, except moral purity, as they certainly were capable of apostasy. As to the time when they were brought into being, the Bible is silent; and where it is silent, we should be silent, or speak with modesty. It is probable, that as they were the highest in rank among the creatures of God, so they were the first in the order of time; and that they may have continued for ages in obedience to their Maker, before the creation of man, or the fall of the apostate angels.

The Scriptures are explicit as to the apostasy of some, of whom Satan was the chief and leader . Those who followed him in his apostasy are described as belonging to him. The company is called the devil and his angels . The relation marked here denotes the instrumentality which the devil may have exerted in inducing those called his angels to rebel against Jehovah and join themselves to his interests. As to what constituted the first sin of Satan and his followers, there has been a diversity of opinions. Some have supposed that it was the beguiling of our first parents. Others have believed that the first sin of the angels is mentioned in . The sacred writers intimate very plainly that the first transgression was pride, and that from this sprang open rebellion. Of a bishop, the apostle says , 'He must not be a novice, lest, being puffed up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.' From which it appears that pride was the sin of Satan, and that for this he was condemned. This, however, marks the quality of the sin, and not the act.

The agency of Satan extends to all that he does or causes to be done. To this agency the following restrictions have been generally supposed to exist: it is limited, first, by the direct power of God; he cannot transcend the power on which he is dependent for existence—secondly, by the finiteness of his own created faculties—thirdly, by the established connection of cause and effect, or the laws of nature. The miracles, which he has been supposed to have the power of working, are denominated lying signs and wonders . With these restrictions, the devil goes about like a roaring lion.

His agency is moral and physical. First, moral. He beguiled our first parents, and thus brought sin and death upon them and their posterity (Genesis 3). He moved David to number the people . He resisted Joshua the high-priest . He tempted Jesus (Matthew 4); entered into Judas, to induce him to betray his master instigated Ananias and Sapphira to lie to the Holy Ghost hindered Paul and Barnabas on their way to the Thessalonians . He is the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience and he deceiveth the whole world .

But his efforts are directed against the bodies of men, as well as against their souls. That the agency of Satan was concerned in producing physical diseases the Scriptures plainly teach . Peter says of Christ, that he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil .

It is, no doubt, true that there are difficulties connected with the agency ascribed to Satan. But objections are of little weight when brought against well-authenticated facts. Any objections raised against the agency of Satan are equally valid against his existence. If he exists, he must act; and if he is evil, his agency must be evil. The influence exerted by wicked spirits no more militates against the benevolence of God, than does the agency of wicked men, or the existence of moral evil in any form. Evil agents are as really under the divine control as are good agents. And out of evil, God will cause good to come. He will make the wrath of devils as well as of men to praise him, and the remainder He will restrain.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [21]

But the evil one is not only the "prince of the daemons," but also he is called the "prince of this world" ( Ἄρχων Τοῦ Κόσμου Τούτου ) in  John 12:31;  John 14:30;  John 16:11, and even the "god of this world" ( Θεὸς Τοῦ Αἰῶνος Τούτου ) in  2 Corinthians 4:4; the two expressions being united in the words Τοὺς Κοσμοκράτορας Τοῦ Σκότους Τοῦ Αἰῶνος Τούτου , used in  Ephesians 6:12. (The word Κόσμος , properly referring to the system of the universe, and so used in John 1, is generally applied in Scripture to human society as alienated from God, with a reference to the "pomp and vanity" which make it an idol [see, e.g., 1 John 2]; Αἰών refers to its transitory character, and is evidently used above to qualify the startling application of the word Θεός , a "god of an age" being of course no true God at all. It is used with Κόσμος in  Ephesians 2:2.) This power he claimed for himself as a delegated authority in the temptation of our Lord ( Luke 4:6), and the temptation would have been unreal had he spoken altogether falsely. It implies another kind of indirect influence exercised through earthly instruments. There are some indications in Scripture of the exercise of this power through inanimate instruments, of an influence over the powers of nature, and what men call the "chances" of life. Such a power is distinctly asserted in the case of Job, and probably implied in the case of the woman with a spirit of infirmity (in  Luke 13:16), and of Paul's "thorn in the flesh" ( 2 Corinthians 12:7). It is only consistent with the attribution of such action to the angels of God (as in  Exodus 12:23;  2 Samuel 24:16;  2 Kings 19:35;  Acts 12:23), and, in our ignorance of the method of connection of the second causes of nature with the supreme will of God, we cannot even say whether it has in it any antecedent improbability; but it is little dwelt upon in Scripture in comparison with the other exercise of this power through the hands of wicked men, who become "children of the devil," and accordingly "do the lusts of their father." (See  John 8:44;  Acts 13:10;  1 John 3:8- Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Satan'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [22]

An archangel who, according to the Talmud, revolted against the Most High, particularly when required to do homage to Adam, and who for his disobedience was with all his following cast into the abyss of hell. See Devil .