Satan in the Bible
is an adversary
What is meant is determined
by the context
But it never means "a fallen angel", as claimed by "ministers" of "the church" (a pagan doctrine - link below to 'devil' & 'angels'). The original Hebrew word 'satan' was simply adopted into the Greek and the English; the translators, thinking it represented the being of their imagination, "the devil", "lucifer" etc., transliterated it into the New Testament. In this way they have perpetuated the pagan myth of a supernatural monster.
It is translated correctly as "adversary" in Numbers 22v22 & 1st Samuel 29v4 & 1st Kings 5v4;11v14,23,25 - and also as "adversaries" in 2nd Samuel 19v22. It is easy to see why - teaching heresy there would be impossible.
(see similar inconsistency with 'devil')
It is possible to be a good 'satan' (adversary) if the one being opposed is committing evil..let us look at one of the quotations above -
Numbers 22v22 - "And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary (Heb. 'to be a satan') against him". Because Balaam's actions were "perverse before" God, the angel "went out to withstand (Heb. 'to be a satan unto') thee", v32.
On most occasions, however, the "adversary" is shown to be someone opposing the will of God. This does not, however, back up the popular view!
We shall now consider some passages where 'satan' opposes God - note that there is no special capital 's' in 'satan' in the original texts - it was only inserted by biased translators believing in a satanic monster. See a similar doctrinal bias concerning 'spirit'.
Matthew 16v23 - "But he (Jesus) turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, satan". Jesus had said that He would "be killed". Peter, no doubt because of his love for his Lord. "began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee", v22. But in doing this, Peter became an adversary to the will of God. Jesus continued in verse 23, defining Peter's sin - "thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men". Peter's own feelings had betrayed him. To insert "a fallen angel" here would be madness!
Matthew 4v10, Mark 1v13, Luke 4v8 - "Get thee hence, satan..And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of satan..Get thee behind me. satan". We suggested, when considering the aspect of 'devil' (= 'false accuser'), that this false accuser "appears to have been the Jewish leaders" (link to 'devil' below). They were false accusers, and they were also collectively "the satan" (Mark 1v13, original). Jewish opposition was a virulent 'satan' or adversary, which re-surfaced time and again when the Gospel was preached, especially as it was, later to the Gentiles (the other nations). We see this in 2nd Corinthians 2v11; 11v14. This perennial adversary was "transformed into an angel of light" by the means of Acts 15v1 -
"And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved". Paul speaks of these heretics when he writes in 2nd Corinthians 11v22,23 - "Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they the ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more". He emphatically rejected their heresy, telling the believers in Galatians 5v1,2 - "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing".
Later, when John was given the Apocalypse, the satan had become established, Revelation 2v9; 3v9 as "the synagogue of the satan", "which say they are Jews (i.e. spiritually), and are not, but do lie". Such apostate assemblies are sown by "the devil" (= the flesh - link to 'devil') and are "the tares" of the parable of Matthew 13v24-30; 36-43 - link to 'tares'.
In Romans 2v28,29 Paul wrote - "he is a Jew (i.e. spiritually) which is one inwardly..whose praise is not of men, but of God". Paul prophesied of the time (then to come, but now occurring) when a system of iniquity would be set up claiming to represent the Truth, which would oppose Christ, & which would be destroyed at His return. This false religion would be "after the working of the satan" - see 2nd Thessalonians 2.
(It is a fascinating study to follow, in both the Old and New testaments, the passages which include the definite article before 'satan' - thus identifying that particular adversary with one or more person(s) falsely claiming to represent the Truth - see further below re 'the satan' who opposed Job).
This 'satan' against the Truth
became more organized & greater in influence, & is now become the evil entity referred to in Revelation 17v5 -
"MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH". The members of this shocking family of false religions are revealed by their common adherence to false teachings such as "the trinity", "immortal souls", "a fallen-angel devil", etc. etc. The journey to its "own base" in Rome is revealed in Zechariah 5.
See the following links to:
The process of apostacy is traced out in
And so we see that "the satan" is a personification of all those who falsely claim to represent the Truth -
link to 'proverbs' - page 2.
("the devil" is a personification of sin as embodied in "sinful flesh" -
link to 'devil').
Job 1v16,7; 2v1-7 - "the sons of God came..before the LORD, and satan came also among them". Note firstly that the term "sons of God" is used of mortal believers - cp 1st John 3v1,2..and secondly that to come "before the LORD" means simply to come "before the priests and judges, which shall be in those days" - Deuteronomy 19v17. Cp Job 1v5 - this was the constant work of Job, "perfect and upright",ch.1v1,8. The setting therefore was UPON THE EARTH. And although God says - ch.1v12 - "all that he hath is in thy power" and ch. 2v6 - "he is in thy hand", he also states - ch.2v3 - "thou movest ME against him". Job himself recognized in ch.19v21 - "the HAND OF GOD HATH TOUCHED ME". In ch.42v11 he was "comforted over all the evil THAT THE LORD HAD BROUGHT UPON HIM". The adversary confessed that only God had this power - ch.1v9-11; 2v4,5.
This is consistent with Isaiah 45v5-7, where God addresses the Persian king Cyrus the Great (v1-4). The Persian idea of an opposing force which brought evil later became the 'Pagan-Christian fallen- angel devil' - link to 'departure'. But God is omnipotent over His creation. How could there be a force of evil against Him? And here, to one who believed in such a being, He DENIES ITS EXISTENCE when He states - "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me..I make peace, AND CREATE EVIL: I the LORD do all these things".
In the passages where 'satan' appears- Job 1v6,7,8,9,12;2v1,2,3,4,6,7, in the Hebrew there is the definite article, so that literally it should be 'the satan'.
God allows evil for the ultimate benefit of His children - cp Hebrews 12v1-11. In the case of Jesus, Peter testified - Acts 2v23 - "Him, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" - but also that it was "BY THE DETERMINATE COUNSEL AND FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD". Evil men did it, but as in the case of Job's suffering, GOD CONTROLLED EVENTS. This "satan" had no power independently of God. This would not have been the case if the pagan idea of a supernatural being was true. The facts are easily understandable. Concerning Divine foreknowledge and freewill link to:
So who was "the satan" in the book of Job? The use of the definite article throughout the book confirms that whoever is meant, it is simply an early case of one falsely claiming to represent the Truth as a "son of God" - cp notes above re Matthew 4v10 etc. We know he was a much travelled person, ch. 1v7, and obviously jealous of Job's justly privileged position. There was "a devil" even amongst the inner circle of Jesus, cp John 6v70. Is it any wonder then that Job had to contend with one such? In fact, this sad situation has recurred many times through the ages since. The jealousy he revealed is fully explained by Jesus - Matthew 15v18-20 - such sins proceed "OUT OF THE HEART". There is no need for any other influence!
Zechariah 3v1,2 - this is dealt with under Jude 9 in 'devil' - page 2. The definite article appears also in Zech. 3v1,2 - see above notes.
2nd Corinthians 12v7,8 - "a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me". It was evidently a physical affliction. Paul wrote of "infirmities of the flesh". His enemies claimed "his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible" - Galatians 4v13; 2nd Corinthians 10v10. Sicknesses are said to "depart", cp Luke 8v38. This indeed was Paul's prayer (see above). But the Lord refused his request, saying - "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness". Paul accepted this decision, writing that he (would) "rather glory in (his) infirmities" - v9. Indeed, all sufferings of this present time may well be evidence of God's love towards us - Hebrews 12v6; Revelation 3v19. For further discussion concerning sicknesses, link to 'spirit' - page 2.
1st Chronicles 21v1-"And satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel". This is dealt with extensively in page 2 - link below.
There are several passages which, although the word 'satan' does not appear, are mis-used as imagined support for the orthodox heresy. These include:
Isaiah 14v12 - "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!". Compare v4 - "thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon". 'Lucifer' simply means 'day star' (RV) and the king was merely part of the political heavens (powers) of his day - the terms "heavens" and "earth" in Biblical symbology simply mean the rulers and the people they rule - cp. ch. 1v2,4,10,21,23 and Deuteronomy 32v1; 31v30 - "Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth...And Moses spoke in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended".
These "heavens" contain the "sun" - i.e. political powers - and "moon" - i.e. ecclesiastical powers reflecting the "sun" - and "stars" - i.e. individual potentates of the "heavens". The "king of Babylon" as one of those "stars" would disappear when the "heavens" of which he was a part was removed - cp Matthew 24v49; Revelation 6v12-17.
The above explanation is endorsed by Isaiah 14v7-12……….this tells us where "Lucifer" had sinned...it was upon the earth, which would be delivered from Babylonian bondage - "the whole earth is at rest...he who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth" - v7,6. "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave" - v11. The great sin of Babylon was human pride. Nebuchadnezzar tried to revive & even to surpass the grandeur of Babel - see Genesis 11v1-9 - "... let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven" - cp Isaiah 14v12- "How art thou fallen from heaven...how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations".
"Lucifer" is identified as a "man" in v16,17 - "is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms, that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof…?" What words could be plainer? The boast of Nebuchadnezzar has been found as recorded in the section 'Scripture endorsed by archaeology' - 'Bible' - page 3. Compare his boastful words in Daniel 4v30, for which he was punished - v31-33.
Ezekiel 28v1-19 - "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God...thou art the anointed cherub that covereth...thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee". Compare v2 - "say unto the prince of Tyrus...take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus". It is instructive to read these verses in the original, which brings out the meaning of the text. "Eden" was a vast area in what is today called the Middle-East, & "there was "a garden eastward in Eden" Genesis 2v8. Tyre was situated in the westward part of "Eden", a fortified city famous for its maritime trade. But God sent "many nations" against her, and it is now only "a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea...a spoil to the nations" - ch. 26v3,5.
Its king to whom the above words were addressed was 'a man" v2 - "yet thou art a man, and not God". However, like Nebuchadnezzar (above) his "heart" was "lifted up" - hence the words of judgment against him and his city. In v14 & v16 we read in the RSV - "with an anointed guardian cherub I placed you...the guardian cherub drove you out". The angels of God do His will - 'God' - p.2 - and this is just one example. Finally, the king of Tyre was not "perfect...from the day (he) was created" but as the RSV translates "blameless". Tyre began by co-operating with David and Solomon in the provision for and the building of the Temple. But later Tyre sold many Israelites into slavery, & "remembered not the brotherly covenant". In Jezebel's day, Tyre corrupted Israel with Baal worship. See 1st Chronicles 22v4; 1st Kings 5 & 16v31*; Joel 3v4-8*; Amos 1v9,10. *Tyre/Zidon (Sidon) were linked together - cp Matthew 11v21,22.
It is impossible for immortal "angels" to sin - link to 'angels'.