One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. JOB 1:6
Satan, leader of the fallen angels, comes like them into full view only in the New Testament. His name means “adversary” (opponent of God and his people), and the Old Testament introduces him as such (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1-2; Zech. 3:1-2). The New Testament gives him revealing titles: “devil” (diabolos) means accuser (i.e., of God’s people: Rev. 12:9-10); “Apollyon” (Rev. 9:11) means destroyer; “the tempter” (Matt. 4:3; 1 Thess. 3:5) and “the evil one” (1 John 5:18-19) mean what they say; “prince” and “god of this world” point to Satan as presiding over mankind’s anti-God life-styles (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; cf. Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19; Rev. 12:9). Jesus said that Satan was always a murderer and is the father of lies—that is, he is both the original liar and the sponsor of all subsequent falsehood and deceits (John 8:44). Finally, he is identified as the serpent who fooled Eve in Eden (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). The picture is one of unimaginable meanness, malice, fury, and cruelty directed against God, against God’s truth, and against those to whom God has extended his saving love.
Satan’s deceptive cunning is highlighted by Paul’s statement that he becomes an angel of light, disguising evil as good (2 Cor. 11:14). His destructive ferocity comes out in the description of him as a roaring, devouring lion (1 Pet. 5:8) and as a dragon (Rev. 12:9). As he was Christ’s sworn foe (Matt. 4:1-11; 16:23; Luke 4:13; John 14:30; cf. Luke 22:3, 53), so now he is the Christian’s, always probing for weaknesses, misdirecting strengths, and undermining faith, hope, and character (Luke 22:32; 2 Cor. 2:11; 11:3-15; Eph. 6:16). He should be taken seriously, for malice and cunning make him fearsome; yet not so seriously as to provoke abject terror of him, for he is a beaten enemy. Satan is stronger than we are, but Christ has triumphed over Satan (Matt. 12:29), and Christians will triumph over him too if they resist him with the resources that Christ supplies (Eph. 6:10-13; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9-10). “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Acknowledging Satan’s reality, taking his opposition seriously, noting his strategy (anything, provided it be not biblical Christianity), and reckoning on always being at war with him—this is not a lapse into a dualistic concept of two gods, one good, one evil, fighting it out. Satan is a creature, superhuman but not divine; he has much knowledge and power, but he is neither omniscient nor omnipotent; he can move around in ways that humans cannot, but he is not omnipresent; and he is an already defeated rebel, having no more power than God allows him and being destined for the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
Title: Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs
Section: God Revealed as Creator
Author: Packer, J.I. (James Innell)
Index: Concise Theology index – CLICK HERE