The Existence of Satan.
THE EXISTENCE OF SATAN.
Bible Study Guide/ The Doctrine of Angels: Satan/ 76-010 (Matthew 13:39,)/ Key Text: “The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.” (Matthew 13:39, NKJV)
Opening Remarks: Who is Satan? Some people think of him as a silly cartoonish character with a pointed tail and horns, while others think of him as a force, or an abstract concept of evil. The Bible gives us a very clear picture of who Satan is, what he is like, and his goals and aims concerning humanity. In a nutshell, Satan was once a holy angel, but fell from heaven because of a desire to usurp God’s power, and he is now God’s enemy who opposes Him, His purposes, and His people with every ounce of his considerable strength.
- The Reality of Satan (Facts/ Myths)
- His existence is doubted by the world.
- His existence is declared by the Bible.
THE REALITY OF SATAN (FACTS/ MYTHS)
Who is Satan? NEGATIVE.
- Satan is not a myth—Many people believe that Satan is a myth, a person existing only in the imagination of men and not in reality, but this is contrary to the Biblical revelation concerning Satan.
- Satan is not an invention—Some believe that Satan is an invention of priestcraft, that priests and preachers invented Satan (and hell) to scare their flocks and so hold them in subjection and obedience, but Biblically this is not true.
- Satan is not a superstition—Many believe that Satan is a superstition, a relic of the superstitious beliefs of the Middle Ages but this belief is contrary to Biblical teaching.
- Satan is not an abstract principle of evil—Some teach that God is the abstract principle of good and that God’s name should be spelled with two “o’s” (good) and that the devil is the abstract principle of evil and that the devil’s name should be spelled with no “d” (evil), but these beliefs are erroneous.
- Satan is not a bogie—He is not a hobgoblin, a specter, a person invented to scare children into obedience and goodness.
- Satan is not a grotesque monster—He is not, as he is pictured in paintings and on billboards, a grotesque monster, with horns, hoofs, a forked tail, a tight-fitting red asbestos suit, and a pitchfork. This description comes from “The Inferno,” a Middle-Ages’ poem written by the Italian poet Dante.
- Satan is not just a suitable subject for a good joke—Millions of persons use him in this way (but see Jude 9).
- Satan is a person: Persons are beings having intellect, sensibility, and will (the members of the godhead, the members of the angelic orders, and the members of the human family are persons.) In the Bible, Satan is pictured as possessing these three attributes. He thinks, he knows, he plots, he devises, he desires, he hates, he speaks, he tempts, he accuses, etc. All of these things are associated with a person and not with an abstract principle.
- Satan is a supernatural person: He is a person not subject to the laws of nature for apparently he has an immaterial body, but he can make himself visible to men and can converse with them, Matt. 4:1–11.
- Satan is a normal person: Nowhere in the Bible is Satan pictured as a weird, grotesque person but as a person meeting all the norms of personality. [Roy E. Gingrich, The History of Satan, (Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing, 2000), 4–5].
HIS EXISTENCE IS DOUBTED BY THE WORLD.
1. As shown by the typical “Walt Disney cartoon concept” – Most of the world today pictures the devil as a medieval and mythical two-horned, fork-tailed impish creature, dressed in red flannel underwear, busily pitching coal into the furnace of hell. Satan is ignored or downplayed by the world.
2. As shown by the denial from liberal pulpits – Satan is ignored or downplayed in liberal churches today. These Christ-denying liberals have, of course, long since thrown out such concepts as the “old devil” and the “new birth.” They now leave out the d in devil and add an o to God. It’s a shame, but most words like hell, damned, and devil are found in the vocabularies of factory workers, politicians, school children, college students, and even professional people. They are not heard from behind pulpits of liberal churches – where they should be heard. These liberal churches are the places from which people need to hear these words. In the fifties, a national secular magazine took a poll of some 5,000 American clergymen and discovered that a full 73 percent ridiculed the concept of a personal devil of any sort.
3. As shown by the silence from conservative pulpits – Satan is even ignored or downplayed among many Bible-believers. Many Bible-believing pastors and lay people are, it would seem, extremely reluctant to “give the devil his due.” Some time ago, this author wrote an article entitled, “If I Were the Devil.” In this article the following points were stressed:
- The first thing I would do would be to deny my own existence. The Bible informs us that God desires, perhaps above all else, to be fully believed in. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). But this is not so with Satan! This disciple of doubt seems to thrive best when he is either underestimated, ignored or denied.
- Suppose there is a Bible-believing church which is going through a spiritual crisis. For some months no soul has walked its aisles. The attendance and offerings are down and the members are becoming restless. All Bible pastors have had these experiences. Finally, in desperation, a special committee is appointed by the congregation to discover the source of this coldness and lifelessness. After considerable prayer and probing, the committee submits its report. What are its findings? I believe it may be safely assumed that the average committee would lay the blame on one or more of the following: (1) the pastor; (2) certain officials; (3) a cold congregation; or (4) a difficult neighborhood.
- But what fact-finding group would return the following indictment? “We believe the main source of our heartaches for the past few months is satanic! We believe the reason no souls have been saved recently is due to an all-out attack on our church by the devil! We close this report with a strong recommendation that the congregation call a special meeting, rebuke Satan, plead the blood of Christ and claim the victory!”
- If I were the devil I would deny my existence in the world and down-play it in the local church, thus freeing me to go about my business unheeded, unhindered, and unchecked. (The Baptist Bulletin, Dec. 1971, p. 13)
The following poem by an unknown author vividly describes this devil-denying attitude:
The Devil Men don’t believe in a devil now, as their fathers used to do.
They’ve opened the door to the broadest creed to let his majesty thru.
There isn’t a print of his cloven feet or a fiery dart from his bow
To be found on earth or anywhere, for the world has voted it so.
But who is mixing the fatal draught that kills both heart and brain,
And loads the earth each passing year with ten hundred thousand slain?
Who blights the bloom of the land today with the fiery breath of hell?
If the devil isn’t or never was – won’t somebody please rise and tell?
Who dogs the steps of the toiling saint and digs the pits for his feet?
Who sows the tares in the field of time when God is sowing pure wheat,
But the devil is voted just not to be – and of course the thing is true –
But who is doing the kind of work the devil is supposed to do?
Won’t somebody step to the front right now – and immediately begin to show –
How the frauds and the crimes of the day spring up – for surely we want to know!
The devil was fairly voted out – and of course the devil’s gone –
But simply folk would like to know, who carries his business on?
This overall scriptural ignorance concerning the person of Satan has, in all probability, greatly contributed to one of the most frightening developments in the final decades of the twentieth century, namely, the worship of Satan.
Josh McDowell observes: In a chapter on Satanism today, William Petersen in Those Curious New Cults comments on the fact that since the mid-1960s Satanism is making a come-back. He points to the catalyst for the strong upswing as being the box office smash of Rosemary’s Baby, Of the film he states:
- “Anton Szandor La Vey, self-styled high priest of San Francisco’s First Church of Satan and author of The Satanic Bible, played the role of the devil. Later, he called the film the ‘best paid commercial for Satanism since the Inquisition.’ No doubt it was” (p. 75).
Many people are becoming involved in Satanism from all walks of life. They vary in age, occupation and educational background. (Handbook of Today’s Religions, p. 237)
The Satanic Bible has reportedly sold over 250,000 copies and is now in its third printing. Concerning the doctrine of Satanism, La Vey writes: “It is a blatantly selfish, brutal religion. It is based on the belief that man is inherently a selfish, violent creature, that life is a Darwinian struggle for survival of the fittest, that the earth will be ruled by those who fight to win” (Ibid., p. 238).
HIS EXISTENCE IS DECLARED BY THE BIBLE.
 The devil is mentioned in seven Old Testament books – Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Job (12 times), Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah.
 He is to be found in 19 New Testament books and is referred to by every New Testament writer.
 He is referred to by our Lord Jesus Christ some 15 times – Note but a few of these.
- In Matthew 4, Jesus was not arguing with some type of principle in the desert, but with a vile person by the name of Satan – “Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Matthew 4:10, NKJV)
- In Matthew 16, Jesus realized that Satan was prompting or influencing Simon Peter to rebuke him – “But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”” (Matthew 16:23, NKJV)
- In Luke 22, Jesus speaks again to Simon Peter – “And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.” (Luke 22:31, NKJV)
- In Luke 10, Jesus speaks of seeing Satan fall – “And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18, NKJV)
- In Matthew 25, Jesus speaks of the final abode of Satan and his followers (the unsaved) – “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matthew 25:41, NKJV)
- In John 8, Jesus accuses a group of ungodly Pharisees of being from their father, the devil – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44, NKJV)
- In John 6, Jesus reveals that one of his disciples, one of the Twelve, was at that point (early in his ministry) being influenced by Satan – Later on, that person (Judas) would become possessed by Satan. “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70, NKJV)
In Revelation 20, we see his fate: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10, NKJV)
Beloved, Satan is real and very much alive! We cannot believe in the Bible and deny the existence of Satan. “If one accepts the Scriptures as revelation from God, rather than merely a record of man’s thoughts about God, then the reality of Satan cannot be denied. Satan did not evolve as a personal being; he existed and acted from the earliest to the last books of God’s revelation. Seven books of the Old Testament teach his reality (Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah). Every writer of the New Testament affirmed his reality and activity. Christ’s teaching also assumes and affirms Satan’s existence and activity. In twenty-five of the twenty-nine passages in the Gospels that speak of Satan, our Lord is speaking. In some of those passages there can be no question of Christ’s accommodating His teaching to the crowd’s supposed ignorances or faulty concepts of Satan due to Persian dualism. Notice especially passages like Matthew 13:39; Luke 10:18; and 11:18.” [Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 156–157].
DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: Does Satan exist?
“The Bible makes it clear that Satan exists and that he is our enemy (Genesis 3:15). He is known as the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10), and in fact, the name “Satan” means “adversary.” Satan was originally the angel named Lucifer, but he was prideful and wanted the glory that was for God only. He rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven along with one third of the angels who sided with him (Isaiah 14:12–17; Ezekiel 28:11–17).
Ever since, Satan has made it his purpose to be in direct opposition to God, deceiving people and leading them to rebellion against God. Paul refers to him as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4) and “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).
Satan’s primary tool is deception. He tries to deceive us about who God is, who he is, and who God says we are. It is how he tempted Adam and Eve to commit the original sin in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1–6). He attempted to deceive and manipulate Jesus while He was fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11), and he still attempts to deceive us today: “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). In reality, Satan is “the father of lies” and there is no truth in him (John 8:44). This is why we must “be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Jesus came to earth to destroy the works of the Devil (1 John 3:8). The earth is still under Satan’s power and it will be until Jesus returns again to set up His kingdom on earth and ultimately create a new heavens and new earth (John 12:31). The good news is that we can submit our own individual lives to Jesus and place them under His authority. When we are living for Jesus Christ, we can trust that God living in us is greater than Satan and we need not fear him or succumb to his attacks against us (Luke 10:17–20; 1 John 4:4). As we submit to God, we can resist the Devil and he has to flee (James 4:7).
By reading the Bible, we can learn not only that Satan exists; we can learn how he operates. The power of God will always be greater than the power of Satan, but we have to remain aware that we are in a spiritual battle that will not end until Jesus returns (Ephesians 6:10–18). We can be confident in the fact that Jesus defeated Satan once and for all at the cross, and when the final judgment occurs, Satan’s eternal end is guaranteed (Revelation 19:20; 20:7–10).” [Compellingtruth.org/does-Satan-exist.html]
Have a Blessed Day: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10, NKJV)
The Gospel’s Voice/ Bible Study Guide/ Doctrine of Angels/ Satan—the chief opponent of God/ Lesson # 10.