Religious Essays

The Origins of Satan: The Most Powerful Influence on Human Destiny

 

        His influence and power over humanity is unprecedented. He is responsible for all of the iniquity to have ever have existed; by his original nature, the purpose of his existence is to cast separation between salvation and mercy. He is known by many names, but we shall just call him Satan. Despite what we ‘think’ we know of him, Satan himself carries a lot of folklore. What we believe about him and what The Bible actually tells us is a bit profound in perception.

  • ‘Satan’ means adversary:

 

        Satan is a transliteration of a Hebrew word (שָּׂטָן) that means adversary. In the Hebrew Bible, this term is used on multiple occasions. Example: The angel of the lord opposes Balaam. (Numbers 21: 22-32) Solomon faces political opponents after he turns his back on God. (1 Kings 11: 14-25) In these episodes, the Hebrew Bible calls these figures Satan because they are acting on adversary. Over the vast centuries between Malachi and Jesus, Jewish writers chose this particular name to make the BIGGEST adversary of them all stand out; A DIVINE BEING who rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden.

2.Pride Fueled the Devil: The last place most folks would seek to find information about Satan is in pastoral qualities; however, that is precisely where the Apostle Paul gives us a clue. Saint Paul lays out the requisition of what he believes a clergyman should be in possession of by making specific mention of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:6) While The Bible does not reveal a generous amount of information on how exactly Satan rebelled against God, Pride does seem to enhance the scenery of the action. A better example would be the prophet Ezekiel’s stunning words that he makes reference with. ‘You were the seal of perfect wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God {…} you were anointed as a guardian cherub for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of  God; you walked among the fiery stones.’ (Ezekiel 28: 12-14) As a result the BEING is punished; he is expelled to a new domain: earth and the underworld! The prophet Isaiah also has something to say on this matter when he makes mention to a being who has ‘fallen from heaven.’ ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned above the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself the Most High. (Isaiah 14: 13-14)

3.Satan’s Domain is Earth and Sheol: In the third chapter of Genesis, Satan makes his debut. He convinces Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit, sealing humanities doom. Although Adam and Eve are punished, Satan’s punishment is much more severe! The Lord says to him: “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.’ (Genesis 3:14) It is interesting that I pause here to note that most of the ancient cultures surrounding Jews and Christians do not hold such a view on the serpent; it was highly respected by their neighbors. Please see my article here on the Star of Life: http://markgrago.com/starofliferodofasclepius/. However, this will again echo the passages of Ezekiel and Isaiah. The prophets tell us that this rebel was cast to ‘erets’ a Hebrew term for the underworld.

  1. Satan Rules the Nations of the Earth:

   The author of 1 John tells us that ‘the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’ (1 John 5:19) (This is a concept that was deeply established by Gnostics.) Then there is, of course, Satan’s offer to Jesus himself when he tempts him: ‘Again, the Devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you if you fall down and worship me.’ (Matthew 4: 8-9) When Jesus rejects his offer, the answer is clear. Jesus will take back HIS nations and HIS people in HIS own time. They cannot be bargained for. This was just a clever paradigm to attempt Jesus to be tricked into ‘buying’ back something Satan thought he stole in the first place. (You cannot steal from God.) There is no indication that Satan was just spilling out words here; in fact, when we read the Gospel of John, Jesus calls Satan the ‘prince of this world!’ (John 12:31; 14:30; 16: 11) These perceptions of Satan were firmly established by Second Temple and 1st century Christian theology time-lines.

  1. Satan Commands an Army of Demons:

   It seems to appear that by the time of Jesus’ ministry, the Devil has not only become the Ruler of ALL nations, but has also accrued a legion of demons to help him in his diabolical purposes. (Again, this is the theology that continues to develop over several centuries.) Hence, freeing people of the Devil’s influence and power was one of the major purposes of Christ’s ministry; to overcome death and the final judgment of eternal damnation. Jesus came into the world to destroy the work of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

  1. The Bible Does Not Say He Rules Over ALL Demons:

    Surprisingly, scripture does not give us a perfect picture of divine hierarchy, good or evil. So, while we can ‘assume’ Satan is the most primary of God’s enemies, there is no reason to believe that all demons are under Satan’s control. (There are several hundred demons mentioned in the Hebrew Mishnah that are not related to the Satan we know.)

  1. Satan Has Spiritual Children Just As God Does:

   The New Testament teaches us that God is our Father, and as believers, we are Children of God; this is a spiritual statement, not a biological one. We live in God’s world, obey his rules, and enjoy the benefits of being HIS. However, God IS NOT the only spiritual father. Satan also has children! The New Testament tells us so! In the passage where Jesus calls Satan the Father of lies, he tells the jews who want to kill him: ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.’ (John 8:44) Also, when the disciples ask Jesus to explain his parable of the wheat and tares, he tells them the GOOD seeds represent the sons of his kingdom, while the tares represent the sons of the evil one. (Matthew 13: 36-40)

  1. Satan Influenced Judas Iscariot:

   In the Gospel of John, it tells us that the devil had been working on Judas, one of the twelve disciples, to betray Jesus. Both John and Luke tell us that the devil entered Judas on the night he handed Jesus over. (John 13:27; Luke 22:3) Once again, The Bible doesn’t give us all the information we would like leading up to this important event; however, it seems that Satan found it mandatory to participate in the crucifixion of Jesus. It does prove, though, that Satan himself is not without error. Had Jesus not died for the sins of the world, Satan may have been spared death as well, but there were much more important things at stake here. Satan drastically underestimated the outcome.

In summary, while Satan’s power is broken, it is not harmless! The New Testament teaches us that there are tactical methods at work in his influence on mankind. Anger, unforgiveness and resentment give the devil his particular edge over humanity. He and his legion prey upon the weakest desires of humans. Greed, sex, money, political power, adultery and deceit. SATAN IS CAPABLE OF OUTWITTING ANY HUMAN! As the centuries progressed, Satan’s appearance took on many variances. The most famous, of course, is him with a pitchfork, red skin, scales and horns. This is (mostly) a medieval development and not of the Bible. Dante’s epic poem The Divine Comedy, and John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost, also gave rise to the ‘modern appearance’ of Satan. In reality, he is the master of trickery and can assume any form he wishes. Satan’s fate, according to New Testament theology, has been sealed. No one knows when this will take place, but it is inevitable. ‘And the Devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the Beast and the False Prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.’ (Revelations 20:10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

  

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