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The word Devil is the translation of the Greek word Diabolos literally meaning ‘false accuser, slanderer’. It is used of men and women.
John 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil ?
1Timothy 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers , sober, faithful in all things.
2Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers , incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Titus 2:3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers , not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
It is used in the New Testament to personify the ‘lust’ or propensity to sin which is in the heart of all men.
Jesus says that all the evil that men are prone to comes from inside their minds.
Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
This agrees with what God says through Jeremiah in the Old Testament.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked...
When we are tempted to sin the temptation comes from within.
James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
This helps us to understand what John says.
1John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil ;
This simply means that the man who sins is ruled by his own lust. Once we understand this, seemly contradictory statements become clear.
1. Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place (ie an opportunity) to the devil .
2. James 4:7...Resist the devil , and he will flee from you.
3. 1Peter 5:8 ...your adversary the devil , as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
4. Revelation 2:10 ... the devil shall cast some of you into prison,
If the devil spoken of in 1 and 2 is the same as that in 3 and 4 the statements are contradictory.They could avoid being devoured or cast into prison simply by resisting him and he would flee from them.If the devil in 1 and 2 is the evil within themselves and the devil in 3 and 4 is the evil in other people (the authorities for example) then the scripture is reconciled.
The evil within themselves they can resist by self control.The evil brought upon them by others they cannot resist.
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
So they would be devoured (killed as James and Stephen were) and put into prison (as Peter and Paul were). Going back to James we see that it is the outworking of lust that brings death.
James 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
And we can understand Hebrews
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he 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;
The importance of Christ having our nature and overcoming the lust that is inherent in that nature becomes clear. It is lust that has the power of death and here it is plainly called the devil.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Because Christ overcame his nature and did no sin, when he died death could not be his end.
Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
The temptation that took place in the wilderness was not from an external source.
Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him,
This is a personification of the thoughts that came into his mind.This can be understood from the temptation given to Jesus to take control of the whole world.
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
1. There is no mountain high enough from which the kingdoms of this world can be seen.
2. The devil (if he be the fallen angel of popular Christian mythology) does not have the kingdoms of this world within his power to give.
The kingdoms of this world are appointed by God.
Daniel 4:17 ... the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
Christ, being the rightful king of Israel and having the holy spirit without measure had the power not only to turn stones into bread but to take the kingdoms of this world in his own way.
The angels had the charge to keep him from harm.(Even at the crucifixion he only had to say the words and 12 legions of angels were at his disposal).He could rule the world and avoid crucifixion.It was a greater temptation than any other has faced.
Had he succumbed, at the end of his life he would have died of old age and neither he nor we would have had the hope of resurrection to life eternal.
If we believe that Christ could not be tempted by his own lust in the same way as we are then we deny the magnitude of his victory.
It is one thing to resist external temptation and quite another to deny our own desires. To do what God wants and not what we want.
Is the translation of the Greek word Satanas from the Aramaic satan literally meaning ‘adversary’. It is used of men and angels. In the New Testament satan is used interchangeably with devil.
Mark 8:33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
Consistent with the idea that devil refers to lust in man; Peter, being called satan is said to ‘savour the things that be of men’ (not as we might otherwise expect the things that be of the devil).
It helps us to understand how Paul seemingly colludes with Satan.
1Timothy 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
If Paul has delivered them to ‘Satan the fallen angel’ it is hardly likely that he will teach them not to blaspheme; rather the contrary.
If as would seem from the context Paul has put them out of fellowship to fulfil their own desires and suffer the consequences, then they might indeed learn the error of their way.
The Devil in Heaven.
In Revelation we are presented with the symbol of a great red dragon in heaven.
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Everything in Revelation 12 is symbolic representation.
None of the symbols, the heaven, woman, child, dragon, stars, Michael and his angels, war in heaven, casting out into the earth are intended to be understood literally. (Try to clothe a woman with the sun or imagine stars cast upon the earth by a dragon’s tail – stars are suns in their own right, just one would obliterate the earth).
It only makes sense if the symbols are describing a cataclysmic change in the religious/ political ‘heaven’ of the Roman Empire. In the fourth century with the advent of Constantine, Christianity usurped Pagan idolatry as the state church of the Roman Empire within 70 years.
The great dragon is said to represent that old serpent, called (named) the Devil, and Satan. The Devil and Satan, then are names given to the old (ancient) serpent. The serpent referred to is the one in Eden which deceived Eve.
2Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled (deceived) Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The serpent’s deceit of Eve and Adam’s subsequent disobedience brought sin and death into the world.The fruit of the tree gave them the knowledge of good and evil within themselves.
Genesis 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;
They and their progeny became subject to lust and consequent death.
1John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Lust had its origin in the serpent’s deceit. The literal serpent in Eden is long dead but the bible makes the serpent a cipher for the evil lust in the heart of man.So John Baptist can call the Jews of his day a generation of vipers.
Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
And Jesus says of the same:
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
The prophecy in Genesis relates to the triumph of Christ over the lust in our nature.
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The DEVIL and SATAN are names given to the serpent which is the personification of the evil in the heart of man which causes him to die. In Christ’s day it was enthroned in the heaven of Pagan government in the form of Idolatry where the true God was neither accepted nor worshipped.
When Christianity replaced Pagan Idolatry in the government of the Roman Empire, Satan ‘fell from heaven (Luke 10:18), and the great dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, was cast out into the earth (Revelation 12:9).
The victory came about by the preaching of the gospel and the willingness to die rather than deny Christ.
Revelation 12:11 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.
There could never be an angel in the heaven of God’s presence who disobeyed God.God’s will is done perfectly in Heaven, hence the clause in the ‘Lord’s prayer’.
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.The clause would be meaningless if there could be rebellion in Heaven.
The promise that our reward is to be equal to the angels becomes an empty promise if angels can sin.
Luke 20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
The wages of sin is death.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
By definition, eternal life (equal to the angels) excludes the possibility of sin.
The presence of an angel disobeying God in Heaven is literally not possible.
The reality of Godless government in the ‘political heavens’ is manifestly still with us today in every country of the world.
If you want to come to grips with what the Bible really teaches, why not take the free online Bible study course available on our website, www.thisisyourbible.com? This course will give you a background in the major themes of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. As with everything we offer, there is no cost to you other than your time and effort... You will also have a personal tutor to whom you may pose questions either from the course itself or those questions which come to you as you read the Bible.
I hope this helps.