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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary


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A name by which THE DEVIL, the great enemy of God and man, is designated. The name may be said to be the same in Hebrew, Greek, and English, and signifies 'adversary ,' as the word is rendered in several places where other adversaries are alluded to: cf. Numbers 22:22; 1 Kings 11:14,23,25 . It was Satan who at the outset deceived Eve, for it is clear that the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, and Satan all represent the same evil spirit. Revelation 20:2 . Satan was the great adversary of God's people in O.T. times, 1 Chronicles 21:1; the tempter of the Lord Jesus, who treated him as Satan; and is the tempter and adversary of the saints and of all mankind now. He endeavours to neutralise the effect of the gospel; catches away the good seed sown in the heart (Matthew 13 ), and blinds the minds of the unbelieving lest the light of the gospel of Christ's glory should shine to them. His efforts are frustrated by God or none would be saved.

Further, to counteract God's work, Satan has raised up heretics to mingle with the saints and to corrupt them by evil doctrine, as taught in the metaphor of the tares sown among the wheat. He goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but saints are told to resist him, and he will flee from them. The power of death, which Satan had, has been annulled by Christ in His death. Saints are warned against his devices, for he is transformed into an angel of light, a teacher of morality. God has provided complete armour for His saints in order that they may withstand him and all his wiles, and has given them the sword of the Spirit (the word of God), as a weapon of attack. Ephesians 6:11-18 .

The origin of Satan is not definitely stated, but if Ezekiel 28:12-19 refer to him, under the appellation of the king of Tyre (as was very early believed in the church, and may be correct), he is described as the anointed cherub that 'covereth;' all the precious stones and gold were also his covering, resplendent by reflected light; he had a place in Eden, the garden of God, and was upon the holy mountain of God. He was perfect in his ways from the day he was created, until iniquity was found in him. Tyre, in its worldly wisdom and beauty, is looked at morally as the creation of the prince and god of this world. He will eventually be cast out as profane and find his portion in the lake of fire.

In the Epistle of Jude, the act of Michael the archangel in reference to Satan is given as an example of restraint in speaking of dignities: he dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee." This implies that Satan had been set in dignity, which, though he had fallen, was still to be respected — as Saul's life was sacred in David's eyes because he was the anointed of God, though he had then fallen. That Satan had been set in dignity is confirmed by the fact of Christ having on the cross spoiled 'principalities and authorities ' (ἐξουσία), not simply 'powers.' Colossians 2:15 .

The expressions "the prince of this world," "the god of this world," and "the prince of the power of the air," all presumably refer to Satan. When the Lord was tempted in the wilderness, Satan, after showing Him "all the kingdoms of the world," proposed to give to Him all the power and glory of them, if He would worship him, adding "for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it." Luke 4:5,6 .

From the Book of Job we learn that Satan has access to God in the heavens; the Christian wrestles with the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenlies; and a day is coming when Michael and his angels will fight against Satan and his angels, and the latter will be cast out of heaven. This seems to indicate that Satan has a place in heaven originally given to him by God. During the millennium he will be shut up in the abyss, then loosed for a little season, and finally be cast into the lake of fire, a place prepared for him and his angels.

When Jesus was born, Satan attempted to destroy Him. Matthew 2:16; Revelation 12:1-5 . At the close of the Lord's course Satan was the great mover in His being put to death. To accomplish this Satan entered into Judas the traitor, whereas, as far as is revealed, in other cases, possession was by a demon, and not by Satan himself. When the Lord was arrested He said to the Jews, "This is your hour and the power of darkness." But Christ was morally the victor: in His death He annulled him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: He led captivity captive. Still Satan works, and will, when cast down to earth, be the spirit of a trinity of evil. He gives his throne and authority to the beast, that is, to the resuscitated Roman Empire, whose power is wielded by the Antichrist. Revelation 13 . He will also be the leader of the nations in the last battle against the camp of the saints. Revelation 20:7-9 .

It is remarkable that, notwithstanding the malignity of Satan, God uses him in the discipline of His saints, as in the case of Job, but allows the evil one to go only as far as He pleases. Paul used his apostolic power to commit some to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20 . The thorn in the flesh which Paul himself had was a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should be puffed up because of the marvellous revelations made to him in the third heaven. It is well to remember that Satan is morally a vanquished foe, for he is exposed; and that no Christian can be touched by him except as permitted and controlled by his God and Father in discipline for his good.

The epithet 'Devil ' is from 'to strike through,' and hence figuratively to stab with accusation: so Satan is called "the accuser of the brethren." Revelation 12:10 : cf. Zechariah 3:1,2 . Satan and the devil being identical, there is but one devil. In the A.V. of the N.T., where 'devils' are spoken of, the word in the original is always 'demons.'

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Satan'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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