From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

Devil . The word came into English from Greek either directly or through its Latin transliteration. Used with the definite article, its original meaning was that of the accuser or traducer of men (see Satan), whence it soon came to denote the supreme spirit of evil, the personal tempter of man and enemy of God. With the indefinite article it stands for a malignant being of superhuman nature and powers, and represents the conception expressed by the Greeks in the original of our term ‘ demon .’ At first the idea of malignancy was not necessarily associated with these beings, some being regarded as harmless and others as wielding even benign influence; but gradually they were considered as operating exclusively in the sphere of mischief, and as needing to be guarded against by magic rites or religious observances.

1. Earlier conceptions . Jewish demonology must be traced back to primitive and pre-Mosaic times, when both a form of animism was present in a belief in the ill-disposed activity of the spirits of the dead, and a variety of places and objects were supposed to be rendered sacred by the occupation, permanent or temporary, of some superhuman power. Of these views only traces are to be found in the earliest parts of Scripture, and the riper development of later ages may fairly be ascribed to foreign, and especially Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] and Greek, influences. That certain animals were believed to be endowed with demonic power appears from   Genesis 3:1-15 , though here the serpent itself is represented as demonic, and not yet as possessed by an evil spirit ( Wis 2:24 ,   Romans 16:20 ). So with the ‘he-goats’ or satyrs ( Lev 17:7 ,   2 Chronicles 11:15 ,   Isaiah 13:21;   Isaiah 34:14 ), which were evidently regarded as a kind of demon, though without the rich accompaniments of the Greek conception. Their home was the open field or wilderness, where Azazel was supposed to dwell (  Leviticus 16:8 f.), and whither one of the birds used in cleansing cases of leprosy was let go to carry back the disease (  Leviticus 14:7;   Leviticus 14:53 ). On the contrary, the roes and the hinds of the field (  Song of Solomon 2:7;   Song of Solomon 3:5 ) seem to have been thought of as faun-like spirits, for whose aid a lover might hopefully plead. Under Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] influence the spirit was conceived as abstracted from any visible form, and as still capable of inflicting injury; hence the need of protection against ‘the destroyer’ of   Exodus 12:23 . In Greek thought there took place a development partly parallel. The word used by Hesiod for the blessed soul of a hero becomes with Plato an abstract influence sometimes beneficent and helpful, but emerges in the orators and tragedians as descriptive of baleful genii, who bring misfortune and even revel in cruelty.

2. Later Judaism . Under these various influences the demonology of later Judaism became somewhat elaborate. The conception of demon or devil was used to embrace three species of existences. (1) It included the national deities, conceived as fallen, but not always as stripped of all power (  Exodus 12:12 ,   Isaiah 19:1;   Isaiah 24:21; cf.   Isaiah 14:12 ). (2) It covered such of the angels as were thought to have been once attendants upon the true God, but to have fallen (  2 Peter 2:4 ,   Judges 1:6 , Ethiop. Enoch chs. 6, 7). For a variety of personal spirits were interposed between God as mediating agencies according to Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] and Persian views, or, according to the strict Jewish view, as ministers of His will. (3) To these were added a survival with modification of the primitive animism the spirits of the wicked dead (Josephus, Ant . VIII. ii. 5, BJ VII. vi. 3), who were supposed to haunt the tombs, or at least to cause the men they possessed to do so (  Matthew 8:28 ). The devils of later Judaism accordingly are thought of as invisible spirits, to whom every ill, physical or moral, was attributed. Their relation to God was one of quasi -independence. At times they do His bidding and are the ministers of His wrath, but in this sense are not classed in Scripture as devils; e.g. , the demon of pestilence is the destroying angel or even ‘the angel of the Lord’ (  2 Samuel 24:16 ,   2 Kings 19:35 ,   Isaiah 37:36 ,   Psalms 78:49 ). Yet they were thought to reside in the lower world in an organized kingdom of their own (  Job 18:14; cf.   Revelation 9:11 , Ethiop. Enoch 54:6,   Matthew 12:24-27 ); though the kingdom is not entirely outside the sovereign rule of Jehovah, who is the Lord of all spirits and of the abyss in which they dwell (Enoch 40,   Deuteronomy 32:22 ,   Job 11:8 ,   Psalms 139:8 ,   Luke 16:24 ).

3. In the NT . In the period of the NT the belief in devils as spirits, evil and innumerable, was general amongst the nations, whether Jewish or Gentile; but in Jesus and His disciples the cruder features of the belief, such as the grotesqueness of the functions assigned to these spirits in the literature of the second century, do not appear. The writers of the Gospels were in this respect not much in advance of their contemporaries, and for Jesus Himself no theory of accommodation to current beliefs can be sustained. The Fourth Gospel is comparatively free from the demonic element. Possession is thrice alluded to (  John 7:20;   John 8:40;   John 10:28 ) as a suggested explanation of Christ’s work and influence; but evil generally is traced back rather to the activity of the devil (  John 6:70 , where ‘a devil’ is not a demon, but the word is used metaphorically much as ‘Satan’ in   Matthew 16:23 ,   John 13:2;   John 13:27 ), whose subordinates fall into the background. The Synoptics, especially Lk., abound in references to demons, who are conceived, not as evil influences resting upon or working within a man, but as personal spirits besetting or even possessing him. The demon was said to enter into a man (  Luke 8:30 ) or certain animals (  Matthew 8:32 ), and to pass out (  Matthew 17:18 ,   Luke 11:14 ) or be cast out (  Matthew 9:34 ). This demoniacal possession is referred to as the cause of various diseases, the cases being preponderantly such as exhibit symptoms of psychical disease in association with physical (see Possession). St. Paul and the other writers in the NT evidently shared the views underlying the Synoptics. Possession so called is a familiar phenomenon to them, as it continued to be in the early years of the Church, though there is a marked disposition towards the Johannine view of a central source of evil. St. Paul speaks of doctrines emanating from devils (  1 Timothy 4:1 , where the word should not be taken metaphorically). The devils of   1 Corinthians 10:20 were demigods or deposed idols. St. James recognizes the existence of a number of devils (  James 2:19 ), whose independence fit God is not complete. The Apocalypse (  Revelation 9:20;   Revelation 16:14;   Revelation 18:2 ) similarly speaks of a diverse and manifold activity, though again its derivation from a common source is frequent. In all these books the conception of devils seems to be giving way to that of the devil; the former gradually lose any power of initiative or free action, and become the agents of a great spirit of evil behind them.

In the OT this process has advanced so far that the personal name Satan (wh. see) is used in the later books with some freedom, Asmodæus occurring in the same sense in Tob 3:8; Tob 3:17 . But in the NT the process is complete, and in every part the devil appears as a personal and almost sovereign spirit of evil, capable of such actions as cannot be explained away by the application of any theory of poetic or dramatic personification. It is he who tempted Christ ( Matthew 4:1 ff.,   Luke 4:2 ff.), and in the parables sowed the tares (  Matthew 13:39 ) or snatched up the good seed (  Luke 8:12; cf. ‘the evil one’ of   Matthew 13:19 ); and for him and his angels an appropriate destiny is prepared (  Matthew 25:41 ). According to Jn., the devil prompted the treason of Judas (  John 13:2 ), and is vicious in his lusts, a liar and a murderer (  John 8:44 ), a sinner in both nature and act (  1 John 3:8;   1 John 3:10 ). He prolongs the tribulation of the faithful who do not yield to him (  Revelation 2:18 ); after his great fall (  Revelation 12:9 ) he is goaded by defeat into more venomous activity (  Revelation 12:12 ), but eventually meets his doom (  Revelation 20:10 ).   Judges 1:9 preserves the tradition of a personal encounter with Michael; and St. Peter represents the devil as prowling about in search of prey (  1 Peter 5:8 ), the standing adversary of man, baffled by Jesus (  Acts 10:38 ). To St. James (  James 4:7 ) the devil is an antagonist who upon resistance takes to flight. If ‘son of the devil’ (  Acts 13:10 ) is metaphorical, St. Paul considers his snare (  1 Timothy 3:7 ,   2 Timothy 2:26 ) and his wiles (  Ephesians 6:11 ) real enough. To give opportunity to the devil (  Ephesians 4:27 ) may lead to a share in his condemnation (  1 Timothy 3:6 ). Death is his realm (  Hebrews 2:14 , Wis 2:24 ), and not a part of the original Divine order; though not inflicted at his pleasure, he makes it subservient to his purposes, and in its spiritual sense it becomes the fate of those who accept his rule. Such language, common to all the writers, and pervading the whole NT, allows no other conclusion than that the forces and spirits of evil were conceived as gathered up into a personal bead and centre, whose authority they recognized and at whose bidding they moved.

This opinion is confirmed by the representation of the devil’s relation to men and to God, and by many phrases in which he is referred to under other names. He is the moral adversary of man ( Matthew 13:39 ,   Luke 10:19 ,   Ephesians 4:27 ,   1 Peter 5:8 ), acting, according to the OT, with the permission of God (cf.   Job 1:9-12 ), though with an assiduity that shows the function to be congenial; but in the NT with a power of origination that is recognized, if watched and restrained. Hence he is called the ‘tempter’ (  Matthew 4:3 ,   1 Thessalonians 3:5 ), and the ‘accuser’ of those who listen to his solicitation (  Revelation 12:10 ). In hindering and harming men he stands in antithesis to Christ (  2 Corinthians 6:15 ), and hence is fittingly termed the evil and injurious one (  Matthew 6:13;   Matthew 13:18 ,   John 17:15 ,   Ephesians 6:16 ,   2 Thessalonians 3:3 ,   1 John 2:13 f., 1Jn 3:12;   1 John 5:18 f. but in some of these passages it is open to contend that the word is not personal). Bent upon maintaining and spreading evil, he begins with the seduction of Eve (  2 Corinthians 11:3 ) and the luring of men to doom (  John 8:44 ). Death being thus brought by him into the world (  Romans 5:12 , Wis 2:24 ), by the fear of it he keeps men in bondage (  Hebrews 2:14 ). He entices men to sin (  1 Corinthians 7:5 ), as he enticed Jesus, though with better success, places every woful obstacle in the way of their trust in Christ (  2 Corinthians 4:4 ), and thus seeks to multiply ‘the sons of disobedience’ (  Ephesians 2:2 ), who may be rightly called his children (  1 John 3:10 ). In the final apostasy his methods are unchanged, and his hostility to everything good in man becomes embittered and Insatiable (  2 Thessalonians 2:9 f.,   Revelation 20:7 f.).

In regard to the devil’s relation to God, the degree of independence and personal initiative is less in the OT than in the NT, but nowhere is there anything like the exact co-ordination of the two. The representation is not that of a dualism, but of the revolt of a subordinate though superhuman power, patiently permitted for a time for wise purposes and then peremptorily put down. In  Job 1:6 the devil associates himself with ‘the sons of God,’ and yet is represented as not strictly classed with them; he has the right of access to heaven, but his activity is subject to Divine consent. Another stage is marked in   1 Chronicles 21:1 , where the statement of   2 Samuel 24:1 is modified as though the devil worked in complete and unshackled opposition to God. In the Book of Enoch he is the ruler of a kingdom of evil, over which kingdom, however, the Divine sovereignty, or at least suzerainty, stands. The NT preserves the conception in most of its parts. God and the devil are placed in antithesis (  James 4:7 ); so ‘the power of darkness’ and ‘the kingdom of the Son of his love’ (  Colossians 1:13 ), as though the two were entirely distinct. The devil is the prince and personal head of the demons (  Mark 3:22 ). According to Jn., he is ‘the prince of this world’ (  John 12:31 ), and Jesus is contrasted with him (  John 8:42;   John 8:44 ,   John 18:36 ), and outside the sphere of his influence (  Mark 14:30 ). St. Paul expresses similar views; the devil is ‘the god of this world’ or age (  2 Corinthians 4:4 ), ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (  Ephesians 2:2 ), ruling over the evil spirits who are located in the sky or air (  Luke 10:18 ,   Revelation 12:9; cf. ‘heavenly places,’   Ephesians 6:12 ), and who are graded in orders and communities much like the spirits of good (  Ephesians 1:21 ). The dualism is so imperfect that Christ has but to speak and the demons recognize His superior authority. He is the stronger (  Luke 11:22 ), and can even now, under the limitations of the moral probation of men, frustrate the devil’s designs (  Luke 22:32 ), and destroy his works (  1 John 3:8 ), and will eventually bring him to nought (  Hebrews 2:14 ). Already the triumph is assured and partially achieved (  John 16:11 ,   1 John 4:4 ), and Christians share in it (  Romans 16:20 ). It becomes complete and final at the Parousia (  1 Corinthians 15:26 ,   Psalms 110:1 ).

The personality of the devil must consequently be regarded as taught by Scripture. He is not conceived as the original or only source of evil, but as its supreme personal representative. His existence, like that of evil itself, may be ascribed to the permissive will of God, with analogous limitations in each case. The psychical researches of recent years have tended to confirm the belief in spiritual existences, good and bad, and thereby to reduce a fundamental difficulty, which would otherwise attach also in a degree to the belief in the Holy Spirit. And the tradition of a revolt and fall of angels has this in its favour, that it fits in with the belief in devils and the devil, and provides a partially intelligible account of circumstances under which such a belief might take shape. It supplies the preceding chapters in the history, and enables the career to be traced from the first stage of moral choice through the process of hardening of purpose and increasing separation from God to the appropriate abyss at the close. The devil thus becomes a type of every confirmed evil-doer: and the patience and the righteousness of God are alike exemplified.

R. W. Moss.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [2]

Diabolus, an evil angel. The word is formed from the French diable, of the Latin diabolus, which comes from the Greek διαβολος , which, in its ordinary acceptation, signifies calumniator, traducer, or false accuser, from the verb διαβαλλειν , to calumniate, &c; or from the ancient British diafol. Dr. Campbell observes, that, though the word is sometimes, both in the Old Testament and the New, applied to men and women, as traducers, it is, by way of eminence, employed to denote that apostate angel, who is exhibited to us, particularly in the New Testament, as the great enemy of God and man. In the two first chapters of Job, it is the word in the Septuagint by which the Hebrew שטן , Satan, or adversary, is translated. Indeed, the Hebrew word in this application, as well as the Greek, has been naturalized in most modern languages. Thus we say, indifferently, the devil, or Satan; only the latter has more the appearance of a proper name, as it is not attended with the article. There is, however, this difference between the import of such terms, as occurring in their native tongues, and as modernized in translations. In the former, they always retain somewhat of their primitive meaning, and, beside indicating a particular being, or class of beings, they are of the nature of appellatives, and make a special character or note of distinction in such beings. Whereas, when thus Latinized or Englished, they answer solely the first of these uses, as they come nearer the nature of proper names. Διαβολος is sometimes applied to human beings; but nothing is more easy than to distinguish this application from the more frequent application to the arch- apostate. One mark of distinction is, that, in this last use of the term, it is never found in the plural. When the plural is used, the context always shows that it refers to human beings, and not to fallen angels. It occurs in the plural only thrice, and that only in the epistles of St. Paul,

 1 Timothy 3:11;  2 Timothy 3:3;  Titus 2:3 . Another criterion whereby the application of this word to the prince of darkness may be discovered, is its being attended with the article. The term almost invariably is ο διαβολος . The excepted instances occur in the address of Paul to Elymas the sorcerer,  Acts 13:10; and that of our Lord to the Pharisees,  John 8:44 . The more doubtful cases are those in  1 Peter 5:8 , and  Revelation 20:2 . These are all the examples in which the word, though used indefinitely or without the article, evidently denotes our spiritual and ancient enemy; and the examples in which it occurs in this sense with the article, are too numerous to be recited.

2. That there are angels and spirits, good and bad, says an eminent writer; that at the head of these last, there is one more considerable and malignant than the rest, who, in the form, or under the name, of a serpent, was deeply, concerned in the fall of man, and whose head, in the language of prophecy, the Son of Man was one day to bruise; that this evil spirit, though that prophecy be in part fulfilled, has not yet received his death's wound, but is still permitted, for ends to us unsearchable, and in ways which we cannot particularly explain, to have a certain degree of power in this world hostile to its virtue and happiness,—all this is so clear from Scripture, that no believer, unless he be previously "spoiled by philosophy and vain deceit," can possibly entertain a doubt of it. Certainly, among the numerous refinements of modern times, there is scarcely any thing more extraordinary than the attempt that has been made, and is still making, to persuade us that there really exists no such being in the world as the devil; and that when the inspired writers speak of such a being, all that they mean is, to personify the evil principle! A bold effort unquestionably; and could its advocates succeed in persuading men into the universal belief of it, they would do more to promote his cause and interest in the world than he himself has been able to effect since the seduction of our first parents. But to be armed against this subtle stratagem, let us attend to the plain doctrine of divine revelation respecting this matter. In the old Testament, particularly in the first two chapters of Job, this evil spirit is called Satan; and in the New Testament, he is spoken of under various titles, which are also descriptive of his power and malignity; as for example, he is called, "the prince of this world,"   John 12:31; "the prince of the power of the air,"  Ephesians 2:2; "the god of this world,"  2 Corinthians 4:4; "the dragon, that old serpent, the devil,"  Revelation 20:2; "the wicked one,"

 1 John 5:19 . He is represented as exercising a sovereign sway over the human race in their natural state, or previous to their being enlightened, regenerated, and sanctified by the Gospel,  Ephesians 2:2-3 . His kingdom is described as a kingdom of darkness; and the influence which he exercises over the human mind is called "the power," or energy, "of darkness,"  Colossians 1:13 . Hence believers are said to be "called out of darkness into marvellous light,"  1 Peter 2:9 . Farther, he is said to go about "as a roaring lion, seeking its prey, that he may destroy men's souls,"

 1 Peter 5:8 . Christ says, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him; when he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of that which is his own, for he is a liar, and the father of it,"  John 8:44 . We are also taught that this grand adversary of God and man has a numerous band of fallen spirits under his control; and that both he and they are reserved under a sentence of condemnation unto the judgment of the great day,  Judges 1:6; and that "everlasting fire," or perpetual torment, "is prepared for the devil and his angels,"  Matthew 25:41 . In these various passages of Scripture, and many others which might be added, the existence of the devil is expressly stated; but if, as our modern Sadducees affirm, nothing more is intended in them than a personification of the abstract quality of evil, the Bible, and especially the New Testament, must be eminently calculated to mislead us in matters which intimately concern our eternal interests. If, in inferring from them the existence of evil spirits in this world, we can be mistaken, it will not, be an easy matter to show what inference deduced from Scripture premises may safely be relied on. It ought not, however, to surprise Christians that attempts of this kind should be made. St. Paul tells us, that in his day there were "false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ; and no wonder," says he, "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light,"  2 Corinthians 11:13-14 .

3. To the notion, that the Jews derived their opinions on this subject from the oriental philosophy, and that like the Persians they set up a rival god; it may be replied, that the Jewish notion of the devil had no resemblance to what the Persians first, and the Manicheans afterward, called the evil principle; which they made in some sort coordinate with God, and the first source of all evil, as the other is of good. For the devil, in the Jewish system, is a creature as much as any other being in the universe, and is liable to be controlled by omnipotence,—an attribute which they ascribed to God alone.

4. The arguments from philosophy against the existence of evil spirits are as frail as that which is pretended to be grounded upon criticism. For that there is nothing irrational in the notion of superior beings, is plain from this: that if there be other beings below us, there may be others above us. If we have demonstration of one Being at least who is invisible, there may be many other created invisible and spiritual beings. If we see men sometimes so bad as to delight in tempting others to sin and ruin, there may exist a whole order of fallen beings who may have the same business and the same malignant pleasure; and if we see some men furiously bent upon destroying truth and piety, this is precisely what is ascribed to these evil spirits. It is one of the serious circumstances of our probation on earth, that we should be exposed to this influence of Satan, and we are therefore called to "watch and pray that we enter not into temptation."

5. The establishment of the worship of devils so general in some form throughout a great part of the Heathen world, is at once a painful and a curious subject, and deserves a more careful investigation than it has received. In modern times, devil-worship is seen systematized in Ceylon, Burmah, and many parts of the East Indies; and an order of devil-priests exists, though contrary to the Budhist religion, against the temples of which it sets up rival altars.

Mr. Ives, in his travels through Persia, gives the following curious account of devil-worship: "These people (the Sanjacks, a nation inhabiting the country about Mosul, the ancient Nineveh) once professed Christianity, then Mohammedanism, and last of all devilism. They say it is true that the devil has at present a quarrel with God; but the time will come when, the pride of his heart being subdued, he will make his submission to the Almighty; and, as the Deity cannot be implacable, the devil will receive a full pardon for all his transgressions, and both he, and all those who paid him attention during his disgrace, will be admitted into the blessed mansions. This is the foundation of their hope, and this chance for heaven they esteem to be a better one than that of trusting to their own merits, or the merits of the leader of any other religion whatsoever. The person of the devil they look on as sacred; and when they affirm any thing solemnly, they do it by his name. All disrespectful expressions of him they would punish with death, did not the Turkish power prevent them. Whenever they speak of him, it is with the utmost respect; and they always put before his name a certain title corresponding to that of highness or lord." The worshippers of the devil mentioned by Ives were also found by Niebuhr in the same country, in a village between Bagdad and Mosul, called Abd-el-asis, on the great Zab, a river which empties itself into the Tigris. This village, says he, is entirely inhabited by people who are called Isidians, and also Dauasin. As the Turks allow the free exercise of religion only to those who possess sacred books, that is, the Mohammedans, Christians, and Jews, the Isidians are obliged to keep the principles of their religion very secret. They therefore call themselves Mohammedans, Christians, or Jews, according to the party of him who inquires what their religion is. Some accuse them of worshipping the devil under the name of Tschellebi; that is, Lord. Others say that they show great reverence for the sun and fire, that they are unpolished Heathens, and have horrid customs. I have also been assured that the Dauasins do not worship the devil; but adore God alone as the Creator and Benefactor of all mankind. They will not speak of Satan, nor even have his name mentioned. They say that it is just as improper for men to take a part in the dispute between God and a fallen angel, as for a peasant to ridicule and curse a servant of the pacha who has fallen into disgrace; that God did not require our assistance to punish Satan for his disobedience; it might happen that he might receive him into favour again; and then we must be ashamed before the judgment seat of God, if we had, uncalled for, abused one of his angels: it was therefore the best not to trouble one's self about the devil; but endeavour not to incur God's displeasure ourselves. When the Isidians go to Mosul, they are not detained by the magistrates, even if they are known. The vulgar, however, sometimes attempt to extort money from them. When they offer eggs or butter to them for sale, they endeavour first to get the articles into their hands, and then dispute about the price, or for this or other reasons to abuse Satan with all their might; on which the Dauasin is often polite enough to leave every thing behind, rather than hear the devil abused. But in the countries where they have the upper hand, nobody is allowed to curse him, unless he chooses to be beaten, or perhaps even to lose his life.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

(Greek) "the accuser" or "the slanderer" ( Job 1:6-11;  Job 2:1-7;  Revelation 12:10). In Hebrew Satan means "adversary." The two-fold designation marks the two-fold objects of his malice - the Gentiles and the Jews. There is one one Devil, many "demons" as KJV ought to translate the plural. Devil is also used as an adjective.  1 Timothy 3:11, "slanderers";  2 Timothy 3:3, "false accusers." Peter when tempting Jesus to shun the cross did Satan's work, and therefore received Satan's name ( Matthew 16:23); so Judas is called a "devil" when acting the Devil's part ( John 6:70). Satan's characteristic sins are lying ( John 8:44;  Genesis 3:4-5); malice and murder ( 1 John 3:12; Genesis 4); pride, "the condemnation of the Devil," by which he "lost his first estate" ( 1 Timothy 3:6;  Job 38:15;  Isaiah 14:12-15;  John 12:31;  John 16:11;  2 Peter 2:4;  Judges 1:1:6).

He slanders God to man, and man to God (Genesis 3; Zechariah 3). His misrepresentation of God as one arbitrary, selfish, and envious of His creature's happiness, a God to be slavishly-feared lest He should hurt, rather than filially loved, runs through all pagan idolatries. This calumny is refuted by God's not sparing His only begotten Son to save us. His slander of good men, as if serving God only for self's sake, is refuted by the case of "those who lose (in will or deed) their life for Christ's sake." Demons, "knowing ones," from a root Daemi , to know, are spirits who tremble before, but love not, God ( James 2:19), incite men to rebellion against Him ( Revelation 16:14). "Evil spirits" ( Acts 19:13;  Acts 19:15) recognize Christ the Son of God ( Matthew 8:29;  Luke 4:41) as absolute Lord over them, and their future Judge; and even flee before exorcism in His name ( Mark 9:38).

As "unclean" they can tempt man with unclean thoughts. They and their master Satan are at times allowed by God to afflict with bodily disease ( Luke 13:16): "Satan hath bound this woman these eighteen years" with "a spirit of infirmity," so that she was "bowed together." Scripture teaches that in idolatry the demons are the real workers behind the idol, which is a mere "nothing." Compare  1 Corinthians 10:19-21;  1 Timothy 4:1;  Revelation 9:20. Compare  Deuteronomy 32:17, Hebrew Sheedim , "lords" ( 1 Corinthians 8:5);  Acts 16:16, "a spirit of divination" (Greek of Python, an idol);  Acts 17:18, "a setter forth of strange gods" (Greek: demons);  2 Chronicles 11:15;  Psalms 106:37;  Leviticus 17:7. Idolatry is part of the prince of this world's engines for holding dominion.

Our word "panic," from the idol Pan, represented as Satan is, with horns and cloven hoofs, shows the close connection there is between the idolater's slavish terror and Satan his master. The mixture of some elements of primitive truth in paganism accords with Satan's practice of foiling the kingdom of light by transforming himself at times into an "angel of light." Error would not succeed if there were not some elements of truth mixed with it to recommend it. Corrupting the truth more effectually mars it than opposing it. Satan as Beelzebub ( Matthew 12:24-30) is at the head of an organized kingdom of darkness, with its "principalities and powers" to be "wrestled" against by the children of light. For any subordinate agent of this kingdom, man or demon, to oppose another agent would be, reasons Christ, a division of Satan against Satan (involving the fall of his kingdom), which division Satan would never sanction ( Ephesians 6:12-13).

Demons are "his angels" ( Matthew 25:41;  Revelation 12:7;  Revelation 12:9). Natural science can give no light when we come to the boundary line which divides mind from matter. The Bible-asserted existence of evil among angels affords no greater difficulty than its manifest existence among men. As surely as Scripture is true, personality is as much attributed to them as it is to men or to God. Possession with or by a demon or demons is distinctly asserted by Luke ( Luke 6:17-18), who as a "physician" was able to distinguish between the phenomena of disease and those of demoniac possession. The Spirit of God in the evangelists would never have sanctioned such distinction, or left people under a superstitious error, not merely connived at but endorsed, if the belief were really false. There is nothing wrong in our using the word "lunacy" for madness; but if we described its cure as the moon's ceasing to afflict, or if the doctor addressed the moon commanding it to leave the patient alone, it would be a lie (Trench, Miracles, 153).

In  Matthew 4:24, "those possessed with demons" are distinguished from "those lunatic" (probably the epileptic, but even this caused by a demon:  Mark 9:14, etc.). Demons spoke with superhuman knowledge ( Acts 16:16); recognized Jesus, not merely as son of David (which they would have done had their voice been merely that of the existing Jewish superstition), but as "Son of God" ( Matthew 8:29). Our Lord speaks of the disciples' casting out of demons as an installment or earnest of the final "fall" of Satan before the kingdom of Christ ( Luke 10:18). People might imagine the existence of demons; but swine could only be acted on by an external real personal agent; the entrance of the demons into the swine of Gadara, and their consequent drowning, prove demons to be objective realities.

Seeing that physical disease itself is connected with the introduction of evil into the world, the tracing of insanity to physical disorganization only partially explains the phenomena; mental disease often betrays symptoms of a hostile spiritual power at work. At our Lord's advent as Prince of Light, Satan as prince of darkness, whose ordinary operation is on men's minds by invisible temptation, rushed into open conflict with His kingdom and took possession of men's bodies also. The possessed man lost the power of individual will and reason, his personal consciousness becoming strangely confused with that of the demon in him, so as to produce a twofold will, such as we have in some dreams. Sensual habits predisposed to demoniac possession. In pagan countries instances occur wherein Satan seemingly exercises a more direct influence than in Christian lands. Demoniac possession gradually died away as Christ's kingdom progressed in the first centuries of the church. There are four gradations in Satan's ever-deepening fall.

(1) He is deprived of his heavenly excellency, though still having access to heaven as man's accuser (Job 1-2), up to Christ's ascension. All we know of his original state as an archangel of light is that he lost it through pride and restless ambition, and that he had some special connection, possibly as God's vicegerent over this earth and the animal kingdom; thereby we can understand his connection and that of his subordinate fallen angels with this earth throughout Scripture, commencing with his temptation of man to his characteristic sin, ambition to be "as gods knowing good and evil;" only his ambition seems to have been that of power, man's that of knowledge. His assuming an animal form, that of a serpent, and the fact of death existing in the pre-Adamite world, imply that evil probably was introduced by him in some way unknown to us, affecting the lower creation before man's creation. As before Christ's ascension heaven was not yet fully open to man ( John 3:13), so it was not yet shut against Satan. The old dispensation could not overcome him (compare Zechariah 3).

(2) From Christ to the millennium he is judicially cast out as "accuser" of the elect; for Christ appearing before God as our Advocate ( Hebrews 9:24), Satan the accusing adversary could no longer appear against us ( Romans 8:33-34). He and his angels range through the air and the earth during this period ( Ephesians 2:2;  Ephesians 6:12). "Knowing that he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12), in "great wrath" he concentrates his power on the earth, especially toward the end, when he is to lose his standing against Israel and expulsion shall be executed on him and his by Michael ( Revelation 12:7-9;  Daniel 12:1; Zechariah 3, where Joshua the high priest represents "Jerusalem," whose "choice" by the Lord is the ground of the Lord's rebuke to Satan).

(3) He is bound at the eve of the millennium ( Revelation 20:1-3). Having failed to defeat God's purpose of making this earth the kingdom of Christ and His transfigured saints, by means of the beast, the harlot, and finally Antichrist, who is destroyed instantly by Christ's manifestation in glory, Satan is bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years during which he ceases to be the persecutor or else seducer of the church and "the god and prince of the world" that "lieth in the wicked one."

(4) At its close, being loosed for a while, in person Satan shall head the last conspiracy against Christ (permitted in order to show the security of believers who cannot fall as Adam fell by Satan's wiles), and shall be finally cast into the lake of life forever ( Revelation 20:7-10). As the destroyer, he is represented as the "roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" ( 1 Peter 5:8). As the deceiver he is the "serpent." Though judicially "cast down to hell" with his sinning angels, "and delivered into chains of darkness to be reserved unto judgment" ( 2 Peter 2:4), he is still free on earth to roam to the length of his chain, like a chained dog, but no further. He cannot hurt God's elect; his freedom of range in the air and on earth is that of a chained prisoner under sentence.

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

Old Testament The Old Testament centers on the unique nature of Yahweh, the God of Israel, as the only true God. It speaks of an opposing, personal power of evil in only a few places and uses diverse language to refer to this evil power. The most familiar term is Satan. Satan is a Hebrew common noun meaning, “the accuser” or “the adversary.” The word can refer to human adversaries ( 1 Samuel 29:4;  2 Samuel 19:22; 1Kings 11:14, 1 Kings 11:23 ). An angel or messenger of God can serve as a satan ( Numbers 22:22 ).  Psalm 109:6 apparently describes the human accuser in a trial (Nas; Niv; Nrsv ) despite a traditional interpretation as Satan (KJV).

As a figure of evil the word satan appears in  Job 1:1;b12 and   Zechariah 3:1-2 . The Hebrew construction with the definite article in these passages does not appear to represent a personal name. Rather it is a title for one of the beings attending the heavenly council. In Zechariah and  Job 1–2 the satan appears as God's agent and minister who seeks to bring charges against individual people before God and the heavenly court. Here the satan is “the accuser.” He made a wage with God using Job as the stake. He acted, however, with the express permission of God and kept within the limits which God fixed for him (  Job 1:6 ,Job 1:6, 1:12;  Job 2:6 ). He unsuccessfully accused Joshua, the priest, before God ( Zechariah 3:1-2 ). Satan appears without the definite article and is thus certainly a personal name in  1 Chronicles 21:1 . He provoked David to take a census of Israel. In the parallel passage, God in His anger told David to number Israel ( 2 Samuel 24:1 ).

In  Genesis 3:1 the subtle serpent coaxed Eve to get her husband to join her in disobeying God. This brought a curse upon the serpent so that it crawls on its belly, eats dust, and is more cursed than any other animal (  Genesis 3:14 ). Its weapon against the woman is to bruise the heel of woman's seed ( Genesis 3:14 ).  Revelation 12:9 reveals that the serpent is Satan.

The Old Testament uses other language to talk about evil influencing human actions.  Judges 9:23 refers to God sending an “evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem.” The “Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him” (  1 Samuel 16:14 ). This evil spirit came and went from Saul ( 1 Samuel 16:23; compare  1 Samuel 18:10;  1 Samuel 19:9 ).  1 Kings 22:21 speaks of a “lying spirit” going out from the heavenly council to false prophets. Such language maintains the unique claim of God to be the only God and testifies to His sovereign rule over all earthly activities. It hints at a personal power opposed to God without describing the origin or nature of this power. The Old Testament makes clear the satanic opposition humans face in this world as they try to obey God.

New Testament God led New Testament authors to a much more clear-cut teaching about Satan. The New Testament recognizes Satan as a personal reality distinct from human wills. Satan is a major factor in causing evil situations and in tempting people to evil actions. The New Testament avoids identifying evil with the direct will of God, but evil is always subordinate to God.

Satan abides in hell, which was expressly prepared—apparently by God—for Satan and his angels ( Matthew 25:41 ). Satan rules over the demons, indicating a political power structure ( Mark 3:22 ). Satan has messengers to afflict God's servants ( 2 Corinthians 12:7 ). He dared ask even the son of God to worship him as he tempted Jesus ( Matthew 4:9 ). Jesus could call Satan the “ruler of this world” but only as He spoke of Satan's judgment and defeat ( John 12:31;  John 16:11 ) because he does not have power over Jesus ( John 14:30 ). Thus the devil rules on earth only as people let him. Compare  Ephesians 2:2;  1 John 5:19 . People can escape his power through prayer for deliverance from evil ( Matthew 6:13; compare  John 17:15 ). In that case, Satan is limited to being the “prince of the devils” ( Matthew 9:34 ). As such he and his demonic companions have power to cause human illness ( Matthew 17:5-18;  Luke 13:16 ). See  Luke 22:3 ). Those who do not believe and follow Jesus cannot claim God as Father. Satan is their father ( John 8:44;  Acts 13:10 ), for only Satan has been a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies ( John 8:44 ) as opposed to Jesus who is the Truth. Compare  Acts 5:3 . Even one who followed Jesus most closely and recognized His role as Messiah could be called, “Satan” for seeking to prevent Jesus from carrying out His role as Suffering Servant ( Mark 8:33 ). Satan constantly tries to snatch God's word from those who hear it ( Matthew 13:19 ). The church can be commanded to hand an immoral member over to Satan for discipline resulting in final salvation ( 1 Corinthians 5:5; compare  1 Timothy 1:20 ). Satan constantly seeks to tempt and outwit believers ( 1 Corinthians 7:5;  2 Corinthians 2:11;  1 Timothy 3:6-7;  1 Timothy 5:15;  2 Timothy 2:26 ), often pretending to be what he is not ( 2 Corinthians 11:14 ). He does everything possible to hinder Christian ministry ( 2 Corinthians 12:7;  1 Thessalonians 2:18 ). Believers, on the other hand, are warned even in their anger not to give Satan a foothold to tempt them ( Ephesians 4:27 ). They must use all efenses possible against him ( Ephesians 6:11 ). People can turn from Satan to find forgiveness and salvation ( Acts 26:18 ). The constant use of violence and deceit by Satan requires that believers manifest courage and extreme vigilance ( James 4:7;  1 Peter 5:8-9 ).

The New Testament, as the Old, avoids talking of the absolute origin of Satan. It does talk of “angels that sinned” ( 2 Peter 2:4 ) and “angels which kept not their first estate” ( Jude 1:6 ).

Satan is not eternal. Satan faces God's judgment as seen in the discussion of the “ruler of this world” above. The church has concrete evidence of Satan's defeat in the experience of the disciples in their first mission efforts. By speaking in Jesus' name, the disciples subjected demons, leading Jesus to say, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” ( Luke 10:18 ). Jesus gave His followers power over the enemy, that is over Satan ( Luke 10:19 ).  Revelation 12:1 connects the birth of Jesus with a heavenly battle in which Satan and his angels were cast from heaven “into the earth” (  Revelation 12:9 ). The “blood of the Lamb” and the testimony of faithful disciples overcame Satan. Still for a “short time” ( Revelation 12:12 ) Satan will exercise his great wrath on earth. Thus the current age is an age of warfare between Satan and Christ's disciples, but the ultimate victory is sure. Christ in His death has destroyed Satan, who holds the power of death and causes people to fear death ( Hebrews 2:14 ).

In summary, the New Testament teaches that Satan and his demonic allies are not coequal with God. He is a created being who had rebelled against God and can tempt—but not force—humans to join in his rebellion. The main concern of the Bible is not with the devil but with God and the gospel of His grace. In His life, death, and resurrection Jesus Christ has overcome the demonic forces. In the end Satan and his angels will be completely overcome, for Jesus came into the world to “destroy the works of the devil” ( 1 John 3:8 ). The cross won a decisive victory over Satan ( Colossians 2:15 ). This victory insured that countless numbers would be delivered from the dominion of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of Christ ( Colossians 1:13 ).

People continue to concretize their fears, seeking a scapecoat to deliver them from responsibility. But even though Satan is a created, rebellious, and tempting evil power active in the universe, this fact does not exclude a person from responsibility. Satan and the demonic forces cannot dominate or possess us except by our consent. The believer will not be tempted beyond his or her power of resistance ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 ). The power of Satan is limited. He acts within the limits divine sovereignty has set.

The recent fascination with Satan and demons is in reaction to an earlier disbelief. Christians should beware of excessive gullibility as well as extreme oversimplification. Knowledge about Satan and evil angels alerts Christians to the danger and sublety of satanic temptation. Interest in knowing about Satan should not turn to an absorbing fascination with Satan. Christians are to be absorbed in the availability of God's power and love in Jesus Christ and through the Spirit to overcome Satan and all demonic forces.

John P. Newport and Trent C. Butler

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Devil, Slanderer . A name given to the greatest of evil spirits. He is so called 34 times in the Scriptures. He is called Satan 39 times; Beelzebub, the prince of the demons, 7 times.  Matthew 12:24. He is called the angel of the bottomless pit, Abaddon, in Hebrew; Apollyon, in Greek; that is, destroyer,  Revelation 9:11; adversary,  1 Peter 5:8; accuser,  Revelation 12:10; Belial,  Judges 19:23;  2 Corinthians 6:15; deceiver,  Revelation 12:9, R. V.; dragon,  Revelation 12:7;  Revelation 20:2; the god of this world,  2 Corinthians 4:4; the evil one, from whom, in the Lord's prayer, we are to pray to be delivered,  Matthew 6:13;  Matthew 13:19;  Matthew 13:38;  Luke 11:4, A. V.;  Ephesians 6:16;  1 John 2:13-14;  1 John 3:10;  1 John 3:12; liar,  John 8:44; Lucifer,  Isaiah 14:12, A. V., but R. V. reads day star; murderer,  John 8:44; prince of the power of the air,  Ephesians 2:2; prince of this world,  John 12:31; serpent.  Genesis 3:1-4;  Revelation 12:9;  Revelation 20:2; a sinner from the beginning,  1 John 3:8. From the beginning of the world the devil has had a hand, and sometimes a controlling one, in the most important events in the history of man. He tempted Eve,  Genesis 3:1; he tried Job,  Job 1:7; provoked David to number Israel,  1 Chronicles 21:1; he tempted our Lord in the wilderness.  Matthew 4:1; he "entered into Judas,"  Luke 22:3; he is the deceiver which deceiveth the whole world,  Revelation 12:9, etc. "He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."  1 John 3:8. The time is coming, and may be near at hand, when "the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan," shall be bound for a thousand years, "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."  Revelation 20:2. "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison and shall go out to deceive the nations."  Revelation 20:7. The fall and punishment of the devil is recorded.  Matthew 25:41;  Luke 10:18;  John 8:44;  2 Peter 2:4;  1 John 3:8;  Judges 1:6;  Revelation 20:10. The word devil is sometimes applied to a very wicked man or woman.  John 6:70;  Acts 13:10; and in the Greek of  2 Timothy 3:3;  Titus 2:3, where the A. V. reads "false accusers."

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

A fallen angel; and particularly the chief of them, the devil, or Satan. He is the great principle of evil in the world; and it is his grand object to counteract the good that God desires to do. He exerts himself, especially with his angels, to draw away the souls of men from embracing salvation through Jesus Christ.

His name signifies the calumniator, or false accuser; as the Hebrew Satan means the adversary. But the Scriptures give him various other appellations descriptive of his character. He is called, "The prince of this world,"  John 12:31; "The prince of the power of the air,"  Ephesians 2:2; "The god of this world,"  2 Corinthians 4:4; "The dragon, that old serpent, the devil,"  Revelation 20:2; "That wicked one,"  1 John 5:18; "A roaring lion,"  1 Peter 5:8; "A murderer," "a liar,"  John 8:44; "Beelzebub,"  Matthew 12:24; "Belial,"  2 Corinthians 6:15; "The accuser of the brethren,"  Revelation 12:10 . He is everywhere shown to be full of malignity, cruelty, and deceit, hating God and man. He is ceaselessly active in his efforts to destroy souls, and uses innumerable devices and wiles to adapt his temptations to the varying characters and conditions of men, enticing wicked men, and even good men at times, as well as his own angels, to aid in his work. Almost the whole world has been under his sway. But he is a doomed foe. Christ shall bruise the serpent's head; shall dispossess him for the world, as he has done from individuals, and at length confine him for ever in the place prepared for him and his angels,  Matthew 25:41 .

The word "devils" occurs frequently in the gospels; but it is the translation of a different Greek word from that used to denote the devil, and might be rendered "demons." The Bible applies the other word only to Satan-"the devil", and his angels, who are like their leader in nature and in actions. There are many examples in the New Testament of persons possessed by demons. These are often called demoniacs. Some have argued that these were afflicted by natural diseases, such as epilepsy, insanity, etc., and were not possessed by evil spirits. But our Savior speaks to and commands the demons who actuated the possessed, which demons answered and obeyed, and gave proofs of their presence by tormenting those whom they were obliged to quit. Christ alleges, as proof of his mission, that the demons are cast out; he promises his apostles the same power that he himself exercised against those wicked spirits. Campbell says, "When I find mention made of the number of demons in particular possessions, their actions so particularly distinguished from the actions of the man possessed, conversations held by the former in regard to the disposal of them after their expulsion, and accounts given how they were actually disposed of-when I find desires and passions ascribed particularly to them, and similitudes taken from the conduct which they usually observe, it is impossible for me to deny their existence."

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [7]

 Job 1:6 (a) (Satan). As a mighty commander-in-chief of all evil forces Satan was and is permitted to come before GOD to accuse the believers. (See also  Revelation 12:10).

 Matthew 12:24 (a) (Beelzebub). This name describes a false leader who is occupied with a clean-up campaign of the soul. Under this name the devil seeks to get his followers to put away evil habits and wicked ways and became a clean, upright, moral person. This person remains a lost sinner, although the devil has enabled him to put away many evil characteristics.

 Matthew 12:29 (b) (Strong Man). Here the Lord Jesus refers to the devil as one who has mighty power and is able to hold his followers firmly a prisoner in his grasp. He does this by tradition, by fear, by wrong teaching, and by ignorance.

 2 Corinthians 11:14 (a) (Angel of Light). The devil is very clever at presenting various and sundry religions to deceive human hearts. He brings about a new religion which claims to give light to those who believe and follow the teachings of that false leader. The devil seems to be a heavenly person in this role. He presents a method of living that is clean, upright, moral and attractive, but which eliminates Christ Jesus and Calvary.

 Ephesians 2:2 (a) (Prince). As a prince the devil seeks to obtain the throne of the heart and become a king. He wants to rule this world and render no account to GOD. Somehow the GOD of Heaven has permitted Satan to have pretty much his own way in the lives of individuals and in the affairs of nations.

 1 Peter 5:8 (a) (Lion). Under this title the devil is presented as one who is fierce, strong, malicious and cruel. In this character he is contrasted with the angel of light in2Co  11:14. The lion character may be seen emanating from Moscow. The angel of light character may be seen emanating from Mrs. Eddy at Boston.

 Revelation 9:11 (b) (Apollyon). This word and the Hebrew word Abaddan describe the devil as being the sovereign ruler over sin, and able to deceive the world, whereby many are sent down to hell.

 Revelation 12:9 (a) (Dragon). The devil is presented in this horrible character as one who has no regard whatever for the lives nor the property of those with whom he comes in contact. This characteristic of the devil is perfectly exhibited in the history of the Roman Catholic Church.

 Revelation 12:9 (a) (Serpent). The cunning of the devil and his clever subtlety is compared to the snake. By beautiful phraseologies and clever manipulation of the Scriptures he entices many to follow his wicked ways, thus deceiving them into hell.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

The accursed enemy of Christ and his church. He is known in Scripture under a great variety of names, all, more or less, expressive of his character. Abaddon, and the angel of the bottomless pit, ( Revelation 9:11.) Beelzebub, ( Matthew 12:24.) Belial, ( 2 Corinthians 6:15.) the Old Dragon, ( Revelation 12:3.) the father of liars, ( John 8:44.) Lucifer, ( Isaiah 14:12.) a murderer from the beginning, ( John 8:44.) Serpent, ( Isaiah 27:1.) Satan, ( Job 2:6.) the god of this world, ( 2 Corinthians 4:4.) a roaring lion. ( 1 Peter 5:8.) See Satan

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [9]

Calumniator, or slanderer; a fallen angel, especially the chief of them. He is called Abaddon in Hebrew, Apollyon in Greek, that is, destroyer.

Angel of the bottomless pit,  Revelation 9:11 .

Prince of the world,  John 12:31 .

Prince of darkness,  Ephesians 6:12 .

A roaring lion, and an adversary,  1 Peter 5:8 .

A sinner from the beginning,  1 John 3:8 .

Beelzebub,  Matthew 12:24 .

Accuser,  Revelation 12:10 .

Belial,  2 Corinthians 6:15 .

Deceiver,  Revelation 20:10 .

Dragon,  Revelation 12:3 .

Liar,  John 8:44 .

Serpent, Is. 27: 1.

Satan,  Job 2:6 .

Tormentor,  Matthew 18:34 .

The god of this world,  2 Corinthians 4:4 .

See Satan

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Job 1:6 Revelation 2:10 Zechariah 3:1 Revelation 12:10

In  Leviticus 17:7 the word "devil" is the translation of the Hebrew Sair , Meaning a "goat" or "satyr" (  Isaiah 13:21;  34:14 ), alluding to the wood-daemons, the objects of idolatrous worship among the heathen.

In  Deuteronomy 32:17 and   Psalm 106:37 it is the translation of Hebrew Shed , meaning lord, and idol, regarded by the Jews as a "demon," as the word is rendered in the Revised Version.

In the narratives of the Gospels regarding the "casting out of devils" a different Greek word (daimon) is used. In the time of our Lord there were frequent cases of demoniacal possession (  Matthew 12:25-30;  Mark 5:1-20;  Luke 4:35;  10:18 , etc.).

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(1): ( v. t.) To make like a devil; to invest with the character of a devil.

(2): ( n.) A dish, as a bone with the meat, broiled and excessively peppered; a grill with Cayenne pepper.

(3): ( v. t.) To grill with Cayenne pepper; to season highly in cooking, as with pepper.

(4): ( n.) A machine for tearing or cutting rags, cotton, etc.

(5): ( n.) A very wicked person; hence, any great evil.

(6): ( n.) An evil spirit; a demon.

(7): ( n.) The Evil One; Satan, represented as the tempter and spiritual of mankind.

(8): ( n.) An expletive of surprise, vexation, or emphasis, or, ironically, of negation.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [12]

Devil. (Slanderer). The name describes Satan as Slandering God To Man And Man To God. The former work is, of course, a part of his great work of temptation to evil and is not only exemplified, but illustrated as to its general nature and tendency by the narrative of Genesis 3. The other work, the slandering or accusing men before God, is the imputation of selfish motives,  Job 1:9-10, and its refutation is placed in the self-sacrifice of those "who loved not their own lives unto death." See Satan; Demon .

King James Dictionary [13]

DEVIL, n. Devl. L., to calumniate.

1. In the Christian theology, an evil spirit or being a fallen angel, expelled from heaven for rebellion against God the chief of the apostate angels the implacable enemy and tempter of the human race. In the New Testament, the word is frequently and erroneously used for demon. 2. A very wicked person, and in ludicrous language, an great evil. In profane language, it is an expletive expressing wonder, vexation, &c. 3. An idol, or false god.  Leviticus 17 .  2 Chronicles 11 .

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [14]

See Satan

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [15]

DEVIL. —See Demon and Satan.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

( Διάβολος , of which the English term is but a variation). This term signifies one who travesties another's character for the purpose of injuring it, a Slanderer , and is sometimes applied to any calumniator, e.g. a gossip- monger ( 1 Timothy 3:11;  2 Timothy 3:3;  Titus 2:3); but it is spoken especially, by way of eminence, of the arch enemy of man's spiritual interest, whom the Jews represented as continually impugning the character of saints before God (comp.  Job 1:6;  Revelation 12:10;  Zechariah 3:1). (See Accuser). In  1 Peter 5:8, he is expressly called "the accuser ( Ἀντίδικος ) "of the brethren," with a reference to forensic usages. (See Advocate). The word is found in the plural number and adjective sense in  1 Timothy 3:11;  2 Timothy 3:3; and  Titus 2:3. In all other cases it is used with the article as a descriptive name of Satan, except that in  John 6:70, it is applied to Judas (as "Satan' to Peter in  Matthew 16:23), because they the one permanently, and the other for the moment were doing Satan's work. (On  John 11:31, see Engelhard's Commentatio , Erf. 1794; "Hane, Schriferkl . p. 51-75; on  Hebrews 2:14, Anon. De Diabolo , G Ö tt. 1784; Oestmann, De Loco  1 Peter 5:8, Gryph. 1816). The name describes him as slandering God to man, and man to God. (See Diabolus).

a. The former work is, of course, a part of the great work of temptation to evil; and is not only exemplified, but illustrated, as to its general nature and tendency, by the narrative of Genesis in. We find there that its essential characteristic is the representation of God as an arbitrary and selfish ruler, seeking his own good, and not that of his creatures. The effect is to stir up in man the spirit of freedom to seek a fancied independence; and it is but a slight step further to impute falsehood or cruelty to God. The success of the devil's slander is seen, not only in the scriptural narrative of the Fall, but in the corruptions of most mythologies, and especially in the horrible notion of the divine Φθόνος , or envy, which ran through so many (see, e.g. Herod. 1:32; 7:46). The same slander is implied rather than expressed in the temptation of our Lord, and is overcome by the faith which trusts in God's love even where its signs may be hidden from the eye (comp. the unmasking of a similar slander by Peter in  Acts 5:4).

b. The other work, the slandering or accusing of man before God, is, as it must naturally be, unintelligible to us. The All-seeing Judge can Need no accuser, and the All- Pure could, it might seem, have no intercourse with the Evil One. But, in truth, the question touches on two mysteries, the relation of the Infinite to the finite spirit, and the permission of the existence of evil under the government of him who is "the Good." As a part of these it must be viewed to the latter especially it belongs; and this latter, while it is the great mystery of all, is also one in which the facts are proved to us by incontrovertible evidence. (See Satan).

The word "devil" also often stands, but improperly, in our version as a rendering of Δαίμων , an impure spirit from the other world acting upon a human being. (See Daemon).

In  Leviticus 17:7, the word translated "devil" is שָׂעַיר (sa Ï r ´ , Hairy ), ordinarily a "goat," but rendered "satyr" in  Isaiah 13:21;  Isaiah 34:14; probably alluding to the Wood-Daemons , resembling he-goats, supposed to live in deserts, and which were an object of idolatrous and beastly worship among the heathen. (See Satyr). The term rendered "devil" in  Deuteronomy 32:17;  Psalms 106:37, is שֵׁד (Shed , properly Lord , Sept. and Vulg. Demon ), an Idol , since the Jews regarded idols as demons that caused themselves to be worshipped by men. (See Idolatry).

The belief of the Hebrews down to the Babylonian exile seems but dimly to have recognized either Satan or daemons, at least as a dogmatic tenet, nor had it any occasion for them, since it treated moral evil as a properly human act (comp. Genesis 3), and always as subjective and concrete, but regarded misfortune, according to teleological axioms, as a punishment deserved on account of sin at the hands of a righteous God, who inflicted it especially by the agency of one of his angels ( 2 Samuel 24:16; comp.  2 Kings 19:35), and was accordingly looked upon as the proper author of every afflictive dispensation ( Amos 3:6). Apparitions were part of the popular creed: there were beings inimical to mankind inhabiting solitudes, but not yet adopted in the association of religious ideas. (See Spectre).

The Azazel (q.v.) is thought by many to have been held to be such a daemon; yet, if we grant even this, it still remains but an isolated being, one might almost say, a mere liturgical idea. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that these representations were fitted to serve as introductory to dogmatic daemonology, when the belief was eventually carried out to its full conclusion. The period of the exile is the time of this development; and when also the Medo-Persian tenets of Ahriman and his emanations came into direct contact with the Israelitish faith, they exerted so powerful an influence in drawing out the national conceptions that the Amshaspands of the Zend-Avesta (q.v.) are strongly reflected in the Jewish angelology. Earlier, indeed, a Satan, so called by way of eminence, occasionally appears as the malicious author of human misfortune, but only under the divine superintendence: e.g. he incites David to a sinful act ( 1 Chronicles 21:1); casts suspicions upon Job's piety ( Job 1:6 sq.), and, with Jehovah's permission, inflicts upon him a lot gradually more severe to the utmost point of endurance; appears as the mendacious impeacher ( Κατήγωρ ,  Revelation 12:10) of the high-priest Joshua before the Angel of God, but draws upon himself the divine malediction ( Zechariah 3:1 sq.). Yet in all this he is as little like the Ahriman of the Zend-Avesta (Rhode, Heil. Sage , p. 182 sq.; Matthai, Religionsglaube D. Apostel , II, 1:171 sq.; Creuzer, Symbol . 1:705) as an indifferent prosecuting attorney-general or judicial superintendent commissioned by Jehovah: ill-will actuates him, and desire for the misery of the pious. Daemons are not mentioned in the canonical books of the Old Test., unless (with many interpreters) we understand "the host of the high ones" in  Isaiah 24:21 ( צְבָא הִמָּרוֹם , Army Of The Lofty , comp.  Daniel 8:10), of the evil angels (comp.  Isaiah 14:12), and interpret the whole passage as referring to their punishment. (See Lucifer).

"In the Apocrypha, the old Hebrew notion of Jehovah's angels who allot disaster occurs but partially, and in case mishap overtakes the enemies of the pious, the angels are alluded to as auxiliaries and friends of the latter ( 2 Maccabees 15:23 sq.), although we may search in vain such passages for a single mention of daemons. On the other hand, the books of Tobias and Baruch are full of representations concerning them ( Δαιμόνια ), while they never refer to Satan. These beings dwell in waste places ( Baruch 4:35;  Tobit 8:3; comp. Sept. at  Isaiah 13:21;  Isaiah 34:14); also; ruins (Gemara, Berachoth , p. 16, Rabe's trans.; they are the heathen gods,  Baruch 4:7; comp. Sept. at  Psalms 95:5;  1 Corinthians 10:20); but mingle among men, take their abode in them as tormenting spirits (Tob. vi, 9), and can only be expelled by mystical means (Tob. 6:20). One of them, Asmodaeus (q.v.), is licentious (on the lust of daemons as being signified in  Genesis 6:2, see the book of Enoch, ch. vii, and the Testam. Reuben , c. 5, in Fabricii Pseudepigr. V. T. 1:530), falls in love with a beautiful maiden, and through jealousy kills her seven successive bridegrooms on the wedding night ( Tobit 3:8; comp. 6:15). In the took of Wisdom (ii. 24), the devil ( Διάβολος ) comes plainly forward as an interpretation of the serpent that seduced Eve (Genesis in; the Targum of Jonathan actually names, at  Genesis 3:6, Sammael as the "angel of death," מִלְאִךְ מוֹתָא : see Gerlach, De Angelo Mortis , Hal. 1734), and here the Zend-avestic parallel becomes more evident (the serpent was a symbol of Ahriman, Creuzer, Symbol . 1:724). Josephus knows nothing of Satan, but Daemons ( Δαίμονες or Δαιμόνια ), souls of dead men ( War, 7:6, 3), are with him tormenting spirits, which take possession of men (ib.), and inflict upon them severe, incurable diseases, particularly of a psychical character ( Ant. 6:8, 2; 11, 3, in explanation of  1 Samuel 16:14). Their expulsion can be effected (see Gemara, Berachoth , p. 28, Rabe's tr.) by magical formulae ( Ant. 8:2, 5) and mystical means ( War, 7:6, 3). Such daemoniacs ( Δαιμονιζόμενοι ) are, as is well known, mentioned in the gospels, and Jesus restored many of them by a simple word. (See Possessed (With A Devil).)

But perhaps the daemonology of the New Test. is exhibited in a more strictly dogmatic light than any other. The daemons have Satan as their chief ( Ἄρχων ,  Matthew 12:24), dwell in men as "unclean spirits" ( Πνεύματα Ἀκάθαρτα or Πονηρά ,  Matthew 12:43;  Luke 8:2;  Luke 10:20;  Luke 11:24;  Ephesians 6:12; one inferior to the other,  Luke 11:26), and induce maladies as "spirits of infirmities"' ( Πνεύματα Ἀσθηνειῶν ,  Luke 8:2;  Luke 13:11; comp.  1 Corinthians 5:5;  1 Timothy 1:20). They appear in association with Satan in the Apocalypse ( Revelation 12:7;  Revelation 12:9;  Revelation 16:13 sq.). Satan himself ( Σατανᾶς , Διάβολος , Πονηρός , Βεελζεβούλ , (See Beelzebub), Βελίαλ [ בְּלַיִּעִל ] or Βελίαρ ,  2 Corinthians 6:15 (See Belial) ), is the originator of all wickedness and mischief ( Luke 10:19;  Luke 13:16;  Luke 22:31;  Acts 5:3;  2 Corinthians 11:3;  Ephesians 2:2), therefore the opponent ( Ἐχθρος ) of the kingdom of God ( Matthew 13:39;  Luke 10:18;  Luke 22:3 sq.; for whose subjugation Christ came,  John 12:31;  John 14:30;  John 16:11), and the tempter ( Πειράζων ) of the faithful ( 1 Corinthians 7:5;  1 Thessalonians 3:5;  1 Peter 5:8 sq.), as Jesus himself was tempted by him in the beginning of his ministry (Matthew 4). Satan's first act towards mankind was the leading of Eve into sin ( 2 Corinthians 11:3; comp.  Revelation 12:9;  John 8:44), and so he became the originator and king of death ( 1 Corinthians 15:26;  Hebrews 2:14; the Sammaell', סַמָּאֵל , of the later Jews, see Buxtorf, Lex . Chald . col. 1495). He and his angels ( Revelation 12:9; comp.  2 Corinthians 12:7), i.e. apparently the daemons, were originally created good (inasmuch as from the hand of God only good can come, but against him, the Creator of the universe, no opposing being could originally exist); but through their own fault they fell ( John 8:44 [?];  2 Peter 2:4;  Judges 1:6); yet they rule in the kingdom of darkness ( Ephesians 6:12; comp.  Colossians 1:13; roving about in the atmosphere,  Ephesians 2:2), as well as over all mankind alienate from God ( Κόσμος , as Κοσμοκράτορες ,  Ephesians 6:12; but Satan as Ἄρχων Τοῦ Κόσμου Τούτου or Θεὸς Τοῦ Αἰῶνος Τούτου ,  John 12:31;  John 14:30;  John 16:11;  2 Corinthians 4:4;  Ephesians 2:2), although destined to a future fearful sentence ( 2 Peter 2:4;  Judges 1:6), when Christ shall appear to overthrow the kingdom of Satan ( 1 John 2:8); indeed, Satan has already through him received his condemnation ( John 12:31;  John 16:11; comp.  Hebrews 2:14). The later speculations of the Jews on the subject of Satan and daemons may be seen in Eisenmenger ( Entdeckt. Judenth . ii, c. 8, p. 408 sq.). The Targums often introduce Satan into the O.T. text; in fact, whenever an opportunity presents itself (e.g. Jonath. on  Exodus 32:19;  Leviticus 9:2). On this subject, see especially Mayer, Historia Diaboli (2d ed. Tub. 1780); Ode, De Angelis (Traj. ad Rh. 1739), sect. 4, p. 463 sq.; Schmidt, in his Biblioth. fiur Krit. u. Exegese, 1:525 sq. ("Comparison of the New.-Test. daemonology with the Zendic books"); Winzer, De daemonologia in N.T. proposita (Viteb. 1812, Lips. 121, incomplete); Matthai, Religionsglaube der Apostel, II, 1:98 sq.; Colln, Bibl. Theol. 1:423 sq.; 2:69 sq.; 229 sq.; M. Stuart, in the Bibliotheca Sacra (1843), 1:120 sq. (See Angel); (See Exorcism); (See Satan).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

Devil [[[Demon; Satan]]]