In our last study we established the fact that there exists a personal, real devil; and then we outlined who he is. We said that reason, and revelation, and experience all corroborate to substantiate the existence of this being. And the Bible tells us very clearly that he is a fallen angel; not just a fallen angel, but perhaps the supreme angel in God’s creation: the cherubim that covers, the highest of the cherubim who, perhaps, were the highest of the angelic hosts. He is a spiritual being. Though he is spirit, he is not omnipresent; but he moves rapidly, and his work is conducted, not only by himself, but by the host of angels who fell with him in his rebellion.
So we answered the first question, “Is he?” by saying yes. And we answered the second question, “Who is he?” by saying he’s a spiritual being, a fallen angel who is intensely powerful, and who rules a host of demons like himself, fallen angels who are set against the purposes of God. And we said that the battlefront is at the very throne of God, as illustrated in the book of Job; in the heavens, as illustrated in the book of Daniel; and on the earth, as illustrated time and time again throughout the Bible. We realize the conflict occurs.
Now, tonight we want to look at the third of our questions: “Is he? Who is he?” Thirdly, “What is he like?” And we want to define a little more carefully and clearly the character of Satan; and the reason we want to do this is because our clear understanding of what’s going on in the world is dependent, in some sense, on knowing what the adversary is doing. And when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he said, “I do not want you to be ignorant of his devices.” The better able we are to anticipate his activity, the better able we are to set a defense against it. And so it’s important to know what he is like.
Now, first of all, under this point, what he is like – and have your Bible handy, we’ll be looking at several Scriptures tonight – let me say this: There are some things we ought to say about what he is not like. And please note that Satan is not like God. He is not like God. And by that I mean several things, and you’ll understand them in reference to what we’ve been saying about God in our morning hours.
Number one: Satan is not self‑existent, he was created. He is a creature, and that puts him supremely inferior to God. Secondly, he is not sovereign. Satan rules a domain of demons, but he does not rule beyond the bounds of that confinement of rule which God has given him.
In fact, Satan never has cast off the government of God. You realize that, that the rebellion totally failed. And if you want to look at Satan properly, you will look at him in exile. He has been exiled to the earth and the domain around it. He never did cast off the government of God; he is only in rebellion against it. He is in chains, chafing against the chains; and his chains stretches just so far, and God allows him to go that far and no farther. He operates completely within the sphere of God’s allowance.
The apostle Paul gives us an indication that God even uses Satan to His own ends. In 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 7, Paul says that which was given to him, to buffet him, to make him aware of his own weakness, that thorn in the flesh was “the messenger of Satan to buffet me.” And yet he prayed to God to have God remove it, and God chose not to. God was actually allowing Satan to do something that would redound to God’s honor. Satan operates in rebellion; but even his rebellion fails, as God uses him to His own ends.
Satan, then, is not like God. He’s not self‑existent and he’s not sovereign. Thirdly, he’s not omnipotent. He is definitely not omnipotent. He is not all-powerful. Powerful, yes; not all-powerful.
First John 4:4 says: “Greater is He that is in you than he that is” – where? – “in the world.” And who is it that is in you? It is God in the form of His Spirit. Satan is less, by far, than He.
Next, Satan is not omniscient. He does not know everything. There are Christians, I suppose for years, who have discussed the idea of whether Satan can read your thoughts. As far as I can understand in the Bible, there is no statement to that effect at all. And the reason that I believe that Satan doesn’t know everything is because Satan is an angel, and the angels don’t know everything. That is illustrated in 1 Peter, chapter 1:11 and 12, where we saw this morning that the whole area of salvation, angels desire to look into. There are some things angels don’t understand.
We talked this morning a little bit about things like mercy and grace and forgiveness, which are incomprehensible experientially to an angel. There are some things they don’t understand; and if holy angels don’t understand everything, there’s no reason to believe a corrupted one would. There is no indication in Scripture that Satan can read our thoughts. Now he’s pretty good at predicting our behavior, because he’s had a lot of time to work on human nature, and he can tell by attitudes and actions pretty much what’s going on inside; but he is not omniscient.
One good illustration of the fact that Satan doesn’t know everything is the confusion in his own kingdom. Have you ever noticed how Satan keeps running into himself? He does really stupid things. For example, if Satan knew everything, he never would have gotten Christ to the cross. At the beginning of the ministry of Christ, it appears as though he tried to stop Him from getting to the cross. He wanted to give Him everything; remember His temptation?
Later on, through the incident with Peter, he tried to say, “Christ, don’t do it that way.” But when he knew he couldn’t stop Christ, he forced the issue. Well, if he’d have known everything, he would have known that was the deathblow to his own head. He’s not omniscient.
You read Acts chapter 19 and see the terrible confusion that goes on there: the confusion between the demon‑possessed people who are prophesying and predicting, and the people who are trying to cast the demons out, who were also demonic. Satan is very confused. If you’ve ever studied the Bible very carefully and studied the character of Satan, you know that he’s terribly inconsistent, and that’s because one thing about corruption: corruption also affects the intellect. And the angels have intellect, but the fallen ones have corrupted ones. They don’t function too well.
Not only is Satan not omnipotent and omniscient, but he’s not omnipresent. As I told you last week, he’s fast, but he’s not omnipresent. No angel is. Daniel 9, Daniel 10 clearly indicate this. So angels have limitations, and particularly corrupt ones, and Satan is a very limited creature. That’s what he’s not like.
What is he like? Now the best way to see what he’s like – and this is what we want to do tonight – the best way to see what he’s like is to see the names and titles and terms that are used to describe him, because these descriptions give us information about what he’s like. First, let’s look at his names and titles, the names and titles that describe to us the character of Satan.
Number one: He is called Satan. That’s a good place to start. Now I don’t want to take you to all the scriptures where he’s called Satan, because he’s called Satan fifty‑two times – take us a little long. But, for example, Zechariah 3:1, Revelation 12:9, and others. The word comes from a Hebrew word which means adversary or opposer. We learn then from the name Satan that he is an adversary. And whose adversary is he primarily? Whose? God’s.
And, secondarily, he is the adversary of God’s holy angels, as evidenced by Revelation 12, where he fights against Michael and the heavenly angels, the holy angels. He is also the adversary of God’s people, of those humans who have identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is an adversary. That is his name that defines his character.
Secondly, he is not only called Satan in the Bible, but he is called the devil, and this term is used of him some 35 times, diabolos. It means one who slanders, or one who trips up; and if we were to combine those, he wants to injure people by malicious slander. He slanders God. He slanders Christ. He slanders the Holy Spirit. He slanders the church. He slanders the Bible. He slanders the true doctrine. He slanders the character of Christians. He slanders continually. He defames everything that even relates itself to God. That is his character. He is not only an oppose, but he is a slanderer. And this is why it’s sometimes very difficult for a Christian to exist with a good reputation in the world, because the world is in the lap of the evil one, 1 John 5:19 says, and he is busy slandering everything there is about Christianity.
Thirdly, he is called – and these are in no particular order. But, thirdly, he is called in Revelation 12:9 the old serpent, the old serpent. In Genesis chapter 3, we see him as a serpent.
In 2 Corinthians, an interesting comment is made in chapter 11. It says in verse 3, “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his craftiness, so your mind should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” The characteristic apparently connected to the serpent idea is craftiness, subtlety, sneaky, wily, deceitful, deceiving. That is the character of Satan.
In fact, in writing to the Ephesians and the others who read that, what was a circular letter, the apostle Paul said that children were tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, and he uses the term sleight of hand and cunning craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive us. Satan is seen as a crafty, subtle deceiver.
Fourthly – and this is a different concept – he is called, in Revelation 12, verses 3, 7 and 9, and all through that passage he is given many of his names; but he is called in that particular passage the great dragon. In verse 3, it says, “There was a great red dragon,” – Revelation 12 – “with seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his head,” and it goes on to discuss it. And down again in verse 7, calls him the dragon; and again in verse 9, the great dragon, the great red dragon.
Now what is this to indicate? Well, this is to indicate the power and the destructiveness of this beast. He is a terrifying, destructive beast, who is out to destroy; and it pictures him that way in Revelation 12 because he’s seen there as the general of the hosts of hell. He’s seen there as marshaling the army of demons. And so he’s seen in his great awesome, fearsome character: the great dragon.
Also he is called by another animal name. In 1 Peter, chapter 5, verse 8, he is called a roaring lion. Now I don’t know a whole lot about lions, but I did a little reading just to find out about them, because I want to know how Satan works.
Do you know when lions roar? Lions roar when they have their prey. Isn’t that interesting? Lions don’t roar when they’re chasing their prey, or their prey knows they’re coming. Lions are sneaky – as sneaky as you can be when you’re eight feet long and 400 pounds, I guess, pounding through the forest. But they are sneaky. And when a lion reaches his prey and is assured of victory, it is then that he roars before he devours. By the time you hear him roaring, folks, you’re in deep. And the idea of a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour is that Satan’s desire is to capture men and engulf them in his sin, swallow them up in his evil.
Departing from those names which are related to the animal world to those which are a little bit more abstract, he is called in John 17:15 ho ponēros. In the Greek, it means the evil one, the evil one. And this is something that is characteristic of Satan.
In I John 5:18, it says, “We know that whosoever is born of God does not continue to sin; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one” – that ponēros – “doesn’t hold him.” It doesn’t mean touch, it means can’t hold on to him. When God has a hold of a life, Satan can’t hold that same life. But it calls him there the wicked one.
Now what this word ponēros refers to, I believe, as best understood, is it refers to an intrinsic, internal evil. He is evil personified. He is evil at its deepest possible point. And like all evil people, and all evil demons, they are never satisfied with their own evil, but desirous of corrupting everybody else. It’s like Romans 1, where people delight in evil; not only their own, but that of others.
Next, he is also called the tempter. And in Matthew chapter 4, when it says the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, you remember; and after He had fasted for 40 days, He was hungered, and Satan came to Him. It says, “the tempter.” And what that means is he entices men to evil. We’ll see more on that as we get further into our discussion.
Another thing that he is called, a name or a title, is recorded in Revelation 12:10, he’s called the accuser. One thing that Satan loves to do is accuse believers; he’s busy at this. And our Lord is our advocate. Satan may accuse; our Lord will defend. Satan may say, as he did in the case of Job, “Job isn’t any good. Just do this, do this, do this, and he’ll bail out and curse You. That’s typical of human nature, they’ll all curse You if You really treat them evil, God.”
Satan is the accuser. And I’m sure Satan is busy trying to accuse us before God so that God would turn us loose. Satan would say, “Well, he’s not worthy. He’s not fulfilled what You require. He’s not deserving of Your grace, and Your love, and Your salvation.” And then we read Romans 8, where it tells us that nobody can lay any accusation against God’s elect. It’s Jesus Christ who has already made us righteous; it’s God who has already declared we are justified; we have nothing to fear.
Then Satan is not only called all of these things, tempter, accuser, et cetera, but he is called, with an interesting title in Ephesians 2:2. Some say this is not a title, but simply a string of terms; others say it’s a title. He is called “the spirit that works in the children of disobedience.” What that means is that he is the spirit who works in unbelievers; he rules the hearts of the unsaved.
Now there you have in just a simple few statements something of the character of Satan. He is Satan: adversary. He is the devil: slanderer. He is the old serpent: subtle, crafty, deceiver. The great dragon; a powerful terrifying destructive beast out to destroy. He is a roaring lion, ready to devour and engulf anybody that he can into his evil system. He is called the evil one, intrinsically evil; not even content with his own evil, but wanting to corrupt everybody else. He is tempter, seducing men to evil. He is accuser, attempting to bring down on men the judgment of God by saying we are undeserving of His favor and salvation. He is called the spirit that works in the children of disobedience in Ephesians chapter 2, and verse 2. Every man who lives in the world apart from God is dominated by this being.
Now those are just titles and names. Let me take you to a second concept. Another way that we can understand Satan is to see the terms that are used to describe him. They’re not much different than his names and titles, but they’re more descriptive adjectives or nouns that define him to us. And I’m going to give you at least three to start with, and we’ll see how far we get.
Number one: Satan is called a murderer, John 8:44. Our Lord, in having dialogue with the Pharisees who claim to be the children of God, told them that they were anything but the children of God. In verse 44 of John 8, He says, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there’s no truth in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks of his own, for he is a liar and the father of it.” He is not only a liar, but he is a murderer. The crime that was committed, that stands out in our minds after the fall, was the crime of Cain’s murder of Abel. And Satan began his career as a murderer.
In 1 John 3:12, it says: “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and killed his brother.” Why did he murder? Because he was of Satan; and Satan is a murderer. Murder is Satanic. Satan entices to murder. He has been busy doing that. In fact, he has tried to slaughter Israel time and time again. He has tried to wipe them out repeatedly.
We find that in Revelation, chapter 12, one of the things that Satan has tried to do is not only wipe out the nation of Israel, but wipe out the child that was delivered of Israel, who was the Messiah. Now, you think back and you’ll remember many times when Satan attempted to destroy the Messiah. Let me take you back into the Old Testament and give you an illustration: 2 Kings chapter 11; 2 Kings chapter 11, just a thought. There was a very evil woman here by the name of Athaliah. Ahaziah had died, and his mother, this evil Athaliah, really took over. “And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal seed.”
Now here was Satan’s emissary, going to wipe out the messianic line, going to wipe out the seed of those who had the right to reign, and thus the seed in the coming of Messiah. But, friends, I want you to know that that is a big word. At this point in history, the royal line of David got down to one person. If anything happened to that one person, the whole messianic hope was gone.
“But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons who were slain;” – now I don’t know how she did that, but that must have been an interesting little caper – “and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hidden in the house of the Lord six years. And Athaliah did reign over the land.” And God protected the one little baby that was the thread of the messianic hope.
Finally that Messiah came. And you get over into Matthew, chapter 2, and Satan realized that that child was born, and he set about to murder Him again. “And when they were departed, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, ‘Arise and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt;’ – Matthew 2:13 – ‘be thou there until I bring thee word, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy Him.’
“When he arose he took the young child and His mother by night, departed into Egypt, and they were there until the death of Herod that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord to the prophet saying, ‘Out of Egypt have I called My Son.’ Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceedingly angry, sent forth, slew all the children that were in Bethlehem and in all its borders from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. And that fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah, ‘In Rama there is a voice of lamentation and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and would not be comforted because they are not.’” Again, Satan through Herod tried to destroy the Messiah. God protected the Messiah. Satan is a murderer. He has always been a murderer; he will always be a murderer.
Secondly, in defining his character – and this we’ll spend a little more time on – Satan is a liar. I just read you John 8:44. It says “he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” Listen, you can never believe Satan, he lies all the time.
You know, there are people who say, “Well, you know, I had a wonderful experience. Why, I had problems in my life and I went to a certain person, and they revealed these various demons and they cast out this demon, and this demon. And such-and-such a demon said this, and such-and-such a demon said that.” And, you know, invariably I’ll say to someone like that, “You know something? Just a basic thought: you can’t believe one word they said.”
A man told me, “Well, I thought my problem was this; but I got into a meeting and somebody cast out a demon. And you know what? It turned out that it wasn’t that demon at all, it was a totally different demon.” Well, don’t you think a demon is going to tell you a lie if it will make you think you don’t have a problem? It’s like the man who said he got delivered of the demon of post-nasal drip. They’ll say anything if you’ll believe it, anything. You can’t believe them. You can’t believe anything you hear.
Satan is a liar. There is no truth in him. He speaks nothing but lies. That’s why I really have questions about these deliverance ministries. Those people are not on a level to cope with demons and Satan, because they can’t deal with the truth. Satan is a liar, and he’s really good at it.
Listen to me. In Revelation 12:9 it says he deceives the whole world. He is sharp at it. He deceives the whole world. Satan is a liar, don’t think that you’re going to get in with Satan and have a conversation that’s going to reveal the truth. He’s a liar.
The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 1, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth.” He says, “One thing that happened to me immediately when I got out of Pharisaism and got into Christianity was I quit telling lies and started telling the truth.” All false religion is built on lies. He says, “I stopped the hidden things of dishonesty, I ceased walking in craftiness and handling the Word of God deceitfully, and I started manifesting the truth.” Christianity is the truth, everything else is a lie.
In 1 John – and we’ve just completed our study, so this will be fresh in your minds – I John 2:21, “I have not written unto you because you know not the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” Who is a liar, but he that denies that Jesus is the Christ. He is antichrist that denies the Father and the Son.” This is characteristic of Satan.
Now over to chapter 4, verse 1: “Believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they’re of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Satan is a liar, and you’re not on a level to deal with it.
Now let me add something here. Satan has some very effective lies. And I really feel that one thing Satan has done today, with the preoccupation with witchcraft and the occult and all of that stuff, is he has directed people’s attention away from the real issue. People, I know there’s a lot of real fantastic and exciting things about Ouija boards. And even those of us who are Christians and reject all of that kind of like to fiddle around with it and read about it, because it’s kind of funny, kind of weird, and we’re all kind of hung up on finding out a little more about the next world. And what Satan, I’m sure, would like to do would be to get everybody diverted into his overt activity and forget his covert activity, which is really where he works the hardest, and that is at lying.
I think an interesting statement that I read recently by Dave Breese is this: “Witchcraft is certainly dangerous, but it deceives only the simple-minded. Toying with Ouija boards or holding a reference for fetishes can produce a dreadful spiritual infection. Their main appeal, however, will be to those limited intellects who feel more than they think. External phenomena may be interesting, even spectacular, but are limited in their appeal to reasonable people. With witchcraft, orgies, and séances and demon possession, he has captured thousands; with false doctrine, millions,” end quote. He’s right. The real work of Satan is in false doctrine.
If you want to know what I believe, it is much more seriously Satanic in terms of its ultimate influence to have somebody standing in a pulpit and denying the Word of God than to have a séance going on. That is obvious; this is subtle. Satan’s deadliest activity, beloved, is in the area of perverting the truth. That’s where he spends his time. And I’m sure he’d like to get a whole lot of Christians diverted into thinking that all he’s doing is running around with his demons and playing little games in people.
In 1 Timothy 4:1, “The Spirit speaks expressly,” – now watch this – “that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons.” There you have the two works of Satan. Notice them. His overt work: seducing spirits. His covert work: doctrines of demons. He works in two ways: overtly seducing spirits, the spiritual world, Spiritism. But most significantly, the doctrines of demons, and it defines it: “Speaking lies in hypocrisy.” Now this is why we are commanded to study the Word of God in order that we might counteract the lies of Satan.
Paul said to Titus, “We should be holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine to exhort and confute the opposers.” Of course, that’s in reference to an elder, but certainly true for all of us.
And I think too that whenever people get on the experiential kick, they play right into Satan’s hands. Most, most experience-oriented systems are loaded with false doctrine. I see that so much today in what is called the charismatic movement. Wherever you have a preoccupation with experience, you invariably have loads of false doctrine: misconceptions of God, misinterpretations of Scripture, misrepresentations of how the Holy Spirit operates. When you accept the experiential as the test of truth, you have played right into his hands.
Satan works in false doctrine. He has muddied the world with false doctrine. And you know, inevitably it is taught by reasonable, educated, intelligent people.
I turned on my television today to watch Religion Today – or some other innocuous thing, but it was called Religion Today. And they had a particular person on there, a Catholic priest, who was talking about the pope’s disc jockey, who wanted to let the world know on the Vatican radio station that God was contemporary and with it, so he played rock music; and he was a priest. And then there was a protestant minister from the Methodist church in Los Angeles, and he had some graffiti about the news. And then there was a Rabbi, who wanted to talk about some other things. You know, they were three intelligent men, three very conservative-looking men, three very nice men. Very typical. Very typical of the deceit of Satan.
You know, let me just give you an illustration. I thought when I was growing up that the greatest deceiver Satan had in the world – and this was just my own thinking as a kid – that the greatest deceiver Satan had in the entire world was a man by the name of Mahatma Gandhi. You know why? Because he was such a nice guy. Everybody liked Gandhi. He would just sit around: “Yeah.” What could he do, right? The all-time wonderful peacemaker. Tragedy of all tragedies was he was Satan’s man to just deluge an entire civilization with lies.
You know, if you think that Satan’s man is a drunken bum, you’ve got it wrong. Satan’s man is a reasonable, logical, religious man. That’s Satan’s man. If you think Satan’s man is a warlock, that’s wrong. There are some of those on the fringes. Satan’s man is the man who looks just like every other Christian, and who uses Christian terms, but speaks the devil’s message.
Satan’s good at lying. I want you to know that. I’m going to tell you some of the best lies he’s got, just so when you hear them, you can knock them off. I’ve got his bag of tricks tonight and I’m dumping it.
Number one: here’s one of his super lies. Go to Genesis 3:1, and I’ll look at a couple of them here, and then in Job a couple of them, and then in Matthew. First lie that I see here is God is a cosmic killjoy. That’s his first lie.
Genesis 3:1, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said you shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Why, Eve, you mean God put you here and then said you couldn’t eat it all? What kind of God is He? Why would He do that? You know what God is? He’s a tyrant, who just delights in putting people in frustrating situations. He just loves to stick you there and say, ‘Now don’t touch that.’” See? He just loves to frustrate.
God just loves to lay down a Mosaic law that nobody can keep, and then frustrate everybody out of their wits. He’s some kind of a killjoy. “You can’t live up to that stuff. Chuck it and do what you want”. Have you ever heard that one? Maybe it rattled around in your computer once upon a time.
Let me give you another lie. Here’s another lie he tells. You know what that is? God’s a liar. That’s right. “The woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, “You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it.”’”
Did God say that? No. God didn’t say that, Eve was just making it worse. Eve thought, “Well, God probably is a killjoy; I mean He won’t even let us touch it.” He didn’t say that. You wouldn’t be too smart if you touched it if you weren’t going to eat it; you’d just be playing into temptation, lest you die. And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘You shall not surely die.’” Being translated, God is a what? A liar.
The Bible says, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” Satan says, “No, it won’t. Go ahead and do it. Who will know?” The Bible says if you sin, God will chastise you. Satan says, “Live it up, you’re under grace.”
Satan always calls God a liar. That’s why the only protection you have against the wiles of the devil is the shield of faith. You either believe God or you believe Satan. As soon as you believe Satan, the shield’s down, you’re done. As long as you believe God and believe He tells the truth, you know to do right. Satan says God’s a liar.
Now go to Job, chapter 1, I’ll show you some more of his lies, just so we know what to expect from him, corrupt being that he is. Job, chapter 1. Boy, he must get tired of hearing preachers all over America say this stuff about him all the time. I know he’ll hear it, or somebody will report to him that we’re saying it.
Job 1, verse 6: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also with them.” Sons of God there, reference apparently to angels. Satan the adversary came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Where’d you come from?’” That’s what it says. Sounds different when it’s not in the King James, right?
“Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it, I’ve been checking everybody out.” The idea here is hurrying. “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? There is none like him in the earth; perfect and an upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.’” “Did you check him out when you were scurrying around? He’s something, isn’t he?”
“Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’” You know what he meant by that? “Believers are materialistic.” That’s another lie of Satan. “The only reason Job serves you is because You give him goodies. He’s sort of like Pavlov’s dogs: he knows you’re there, and he knows that you’re going to drop a little goodie, so he does what he has to do get it.
Believers are materialistic. You think he serves You out of love? Ha! Does he serve You for nothing? He serves You for something. He gets what he can get out of You.”
You know, that’s a lie that I’m sure most of the people in the world who don’t know Christ believe about us. We do this because we get some kind of satisfaction, or it fills some psychological need; or we’re devoted to God because God does certain things for us. And we’re materialistic. That’s one of his lies, very popular one.
He follows it up with another one of his lies, verse 10: “Hast not Thou made a hedge about him, about his house, about all that he has on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of has his hands and his substance has increased in the land.” “Look, God,” – Satan said – “You say he’s a good man? Well, I guess, look at him. He’s so rich it’s ridiculous. You put walls around him, nothing can touch the guy. Who wouldn’t be a responsive man? Look what You’ve done to him. “But” – verse 11 – “Put forth Your hand, touch all that he has and he’ll curse You to Your face.”
What’s his lie? Trouble in the life of a believer will bring defection. “Ah, sure he’s getting along great, look at all the goodies he’s got. If he was in my shoes he wouldn’t be so excited about God.” What he’s saying is that God is a patronizer; that God keeps His followers by a bag of goodies. They don’t really love God. He’s got a lot of lies.
He’s got another lie, verse 1 of chapter 2: “And again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where have you come? Where you been?’ And Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘I’ve been going around again.’ And the Lord said unto Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job?’” And, you know, this is after God took everything away, and Job just said, “That’s fine, Lord.” He said, “I came out naked when I was born; if I’m naked now it’s no big change. The Lord gave, the Lord takes away, blessed be His name.” So Job’s right on.
Verse 22: “He didn’t sin at all, and he didn’t charge God with folly.” So Satan says, “I’ve got to go over this guy again.” He says, God says, “Have you considered Job? There’s none like him in the earth, a perfect upright man, one that fears God and shuns evil, and still he holds fast his integrity.”
How could he do that? You moved against him, you destroyed him. “Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. Put forth Your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he’ll curse You to Your face.’” “Well, You got his circumstances, but the thing that really matters in life is living. You touch his life and he’ll really panic.”
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘All right, he’s in your hand. But save him short of death, save his life.’ Satan went out, smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown, took a potsherd with which to scrape himself.” Scrape off simply means a piece of broken pottery, scrape scabs.
“And his wife came to him and said, ‘Curse God, Job.’” She didn’t even have any boils. “He said unto her, ‘You speak like a foolish woman.’” Verse 10: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Isn’t that beautiful?
Satan’s lie is that Christians are materialistic. Trouble will bring defection. Only this life matters. You start hitting them in the physical and they’ll turn away. You know, the very opposite is true. Very often, when a Christian gets into terrible physical stress, that’s when he turns to God. Satan’s a liar.
I’ll give you some more of his lies. Matthew chapter 4, boy, has he got a lot of people believing this one. Oh, man. I read that book. Oh, it had to do – I can’t think, it escapes me – Like a Mighty Wind, by Mel Tari, about a supposed Indonesian revival. And what was interesting in the book was that he said that one time they – I think this was outside the book, he was giving a testimony, which I heard him give, - and he said that one time they had a wonderful meeting after a church service and they needed refreshment. And someone who was supposed to bring it forgot it, and God created instantly, in the kitchen, pudding for everyone. That’s what he said. God created instant pudding. Really? I don’t know where that fits in your theology, but it doesn’t fit in mine. That is typical of a mentality that says – and this is one of Satan’s lies – God does miracles to satisfy the physical.
Listen to Matthew 4:3, “And when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You be the Son of God, command these stones be made bread.’” “You’re hungry and You’re the Son of God. He fed Israel in the wilderness, and they were only people and sinful at that. You’re the Son of God; take some satisfaction. Do a miracle for physical satisfaction.”
“And He answered and said, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” One of Satan’s big lies is that God does miracles for the physical. There are people running around today, all they want is miracles. They think God is sort of like a cosmic genie; He’s sort of a supernatural magician who does tricks. And they say that that’s the evidence of their great faith, when a constant demand for that isn’t an evidence of faith at all, it’s an evidence of doubt looking for proof.
There was a couple that I met in Iowa, just a very sweet couple, and they came to the motel room one day where my wife and I were waiting and studying, and they knocked on the door and they were very distressed, and came in and said, “We have to talk to you. We just have to talk to you.” And I said, “Well, fine, come on in.”
And we sat there, and the lady began to express the fact that they were new Christians, and they had gotten in with some people who were always looking for miracles and miracles and miracles, you know, and doing miracles. You know next to God, do you know who the best miracle worker is in the whole universe? Satan. He does them all the time for the satisfaction of the physical. And we think, at least some Christians do, that it’s God.
But, anyway, she sat down and told me about the miracles going on in her family. The most wonderful one was that her daughter who was – I think she was seven – was getting revelations from God, wonderful revelations, just pouring out night after night. And they were writing them all – “Oh, yes, yes, yes. Could you give us that one again?” you know, see, writing them all out, revelations from God – day after day. Every night, this little seven‑year‑old girl would go to bed, and in the middle of the night she’d wake up in a cold sweat, she’d see strange apparitions in her room, and pour out these visions. “And we’re writing it all down, and we believe it’s from God. And we want you to know about this.” And I suppose they wanted me to help them interpret it, but I never got to the next question. They said, “What do you think?”
Well, you know, this was exciting, because somebody told them that’s how the Christian life is; you just have a miracle a day, keeps the doctor away, or whatever that thing is. You know, keep the devil away, whatever that book is. But this kind of preoccupation with a miracle.
So I said, “Let me tell you something at the very beginning. Not one single one of those things was ever from God.” “Ah!” They were really shocked, really shocked. And, “Well, you know, we did wonder about it. A lot of them seemed so good, but some of them were strange. And she was always terribly afraid, and she became fearful, and apparently she wanted to sleep with them.”
I said, “None of those are from God. You know why? God already gave His revelation, it’s here. Listen; if He had something to say, why would He say it to a seven-year-old girl in Iowa? Well, you know, they had gone to a Bible study thing somewhere with some people who told them they ought to expect all these miracles.
You see, Satan’s big lie is that God isn’t around unless you see miracles, miracles, miracles, miracles. And then you start looking for those things, and Satan just moves in and starts doing the things that captivate your mind. Another of Satan’s lies. He is a liar.
There are others that we could talk about. He lies about a lot of things. One other thing that he lies about is he tells you that you can really abuse God, exploit God’s promises. Look at Matthew 4:5. It’s interesting, the devil takes Him into the holy city, sets Him on a pinnacle and says, “If You be the Son of God, dive off. Go ahead, just dive off.” It had been tried before unsuccessfully.
Well, why should I do that? “He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee, in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against the stone.” He says God promised to take care of You, presume on His promise, exploit God’s promises. God said He’d do this: shove Him into a corner and make Him do it. That’s another of Satan’s lies. Do the spectacular and God will take over. Misrepresenting what God meant.
And then the other one of his lies is shortcut God. You can get what you want your way, you don’t have to go God’s way. God’s going to give the Messiah the kingdoms of the world. Do it my way. “Bow down to me,” he says in verse 8, 9 and 10, I’ll give You everything. You don’t need to wait for that. You don’t need to go to the cross. You don’t need to pay all the prices. You don’t need to have the pain. I’ll give it to You, do it my way. Another of Satan’s lies; he’s got a lot of them. Satan’s a murderer and he’s a liar.
I’ll tell you something else about him, thirdly, in terms that describe him. He is a sinner. Satan is a sinner. In 1 John 3:8 – and this is an important verse: “He that commits sin is of the devil, for the devil sins from the beginning.” He is a habitual, continual sinner.
You know, when we saw last week his holiness and his beauty, and we see this week his sinfulness, you can see how severe the fall was. As Jesus said, He saw him like lightning falling from heaven. The corruption that took place was fantastic. Anyone poieō continually, present tense, habitually doing sin is ek, ablative of source, out of the devil as a source, because Satan is the basis of sin. And when Christ came into the world, He came into the world not only to destroy sin, but to destroy Satan.
Look at the end of verse 8: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Christ appeared not only to remove sin, but destroy Satan. He is a sinner. He tempts others to sin. He entices others to evil. Christ came to destroy him.
Fourth – we’ll cover just a couple more – he is the oppressor of the saints. Satan is the oppressor of the saints. As I read you earlier in 1 Peter 5:8, “he goes about,” and the present tense of the verb literally means “he constantly stalks, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” He goes around stalking, and when his prey is within range, he roars. He oppresses the saints. He tracks them down, tries to corner them and trap them in sin.
Fifthly, Satan is a perverter. It’s amazing that Satan has gotten a hold of every good thing that God has ever made and perverted it. He perverts everything. God made fruit for us to drink of, and Satan perverted it into alcoholism. God made sex for us to enjoy, he perverts it into something filthy and adulterous. He is in the business of perverting everything that God has made good.
Couldn’t help but be thinking about one thing that’s on my mind even today. This is a little off beat, but think about it. In the area of food – and this is very practical. But Satan has managed to pervert even something good like food.
Now, you can’t get drunk on food, but you can be a glutton. Satan has managed to bring that about. Look for a minute, with me, at 1 Timothy chapter 4, verse 3. Satan comes with a doctrine of demons, and some of those things that those demons teach are, verse 3, forbidding to marry. But he goes on to say, also, one of the things that demons teach is to “abstain from foods which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by them who believe and know the truth.” What he’s doing here is this: Satan has actually taken the whole idea of diet and perverted it in certain systems of religion to mean that spirituality is based on diet. Spirituality is based on what you eat.
I believe that many Jews felt that their spirituality was dependent on what they ate. When the church was established in the New Testament, a lot of the Jewish Christians felt that their spirituality was still based on what they ate, and what they didn’t eat. And that was the problem Paul was writing to in 1 Corinthians chapter 8, meats offered to idols, Romans chapter 14 and 15, where they were hassling about what they ate. And Satan would love people to think that their spirituality is dependent on what they eat. I’m sure there are some people in this world who think that spirituality is dependent on being a vegetarian. And so Satan has even used that perversion, and other extremes.
The next verse says, “For every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused if it’s received with thanksgiving.” Satan’s pushed that out. Every creature of God is good and not to be refused, and some people are eating everything in sight, and saying, “Look at the provision of God. Give it to me, it looks terrific; with whipped cream, please.”
They’re going the other direction. Instead of abstinence being the sign of spirituality, they’re saying that there’s nothing forbidden to me, and Satan pushes you on out. And what do you have? You have gluttony.
First Peter chapter 4, verse 3, says: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excesses of wine, revellings.” Revellings and carousings refer to banqueting, and gluttony is inherent in both of those terms. God is very serious about a balance, about being temperate, about being moderate in this area.
In Proverbs 23:1: “When you sit to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee;” – watch this – “and put a knife to your throat if you be a man given to appetite.” Oh, you know what the best diet is? “Whoosh.” I mean we laugh at something like that, because it’s a very real problem in our society where most of our labor is sitting rather than expending energy in a physical labor. But that’s what the Word of God says.
In verse 20: “Be not among winebibbers, among gluttonous eaters of flesh; for the drunkard and glutton shall come to poverty, and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” One thing: you drink too much, you eat too much, you get lazy; and then you don’t work; then you don’t make money; then you don’t have anything to purchase with, and you clothe yourself in rags.
Gluttony is a serious thing. Now just to show you how God has given us something wonderful such as food to fuel our bodies, and we have perverted it to be a sign of spirituality as to what you eat or don’t eat, and other people have perverted the freedom that God has given them with food to become gluttonous, and instead of eating to live, they live to eat. Satan has absolutely twisted and perverted everything there is, everything. There’s nothing outside the boundary of his perversion in human realm. He’s a perverter.
Lastly, he’s an imitator. He never had an original thought in his mind except sin. After that he became an imitator. He mimics. You know who he mimics? Who? God.
Second Corinthians 11:13: “Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. It’s no great thing of his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness.”
There it is, folks. He is an imitator. And I told you earlier, if you think for a minute that Satan’s man is a gutter bum, a drunk, a criminal, a sex pervert, you got it wrong. I imagine he even gets disgusted with those kind of people. They’re no good advertisement for Him. His masterpiece is a good, upright, honest, respected religious man who teaches false doctrine under the guise of true religion. He is an imitator.
He appears as an angel of light. He’s always been an angel of light. He always appears as an angel of light. He is an imitator. He is a deceiver. He is a preacher who masks himself to be a messenger of God. You know what’s so diabolical about the antichrist to come? It’s not that he’s so much unlike Christ, it’s that he’s so much like Him.
Does the devil exist? Yes. Who is he? The fallen Lucifer. What is he like? All those things we’ve seen tonight. Next week we’re going to see how he operates in his own children and in the children of God. Let’s pray.
Our Father, we know that there is only one way to overcome the adversary, and that’s very clear in Scripture. We think of those precious words of Revelation 12:11, which says, “And they overcame by the blood of the Lamb.” Father, we know that on the cross the precious Lamb of God, without blemish and without spot, conquered Satan; made him powerless. And then He planted within us who believe the Holy Spirit and rendered us powerful; and in that is victory.
We thank You, Father, that for those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ, Satan is an absolutely defeated foe. But at the same time, our Lord, we recognize that for those who have rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and never received Him as Savior, Satan is the spirit that works within them, dictating their life and destiny.
And, Father, we pray tonight that if there are some in our midst – and we believe there must be in a crowd like this – if there’s some in our midst who are under the deceit and the cunning of the murdering, lying, sinning, perverting Satan, that You, by Your Spirit, would break the chains and set them free. We pray that they would by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ know liberty from sin, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Your dear Son. Do that work, Father, tonight, for Your praise and for Your glory, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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