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8 Discerning the Devil

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

Jesus in the New Testament reveals the answer to what is described in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament of the dual personality, the good and the bad of God. Any supernatural event in the Old Testament is ascribed to God, but Jesus reveals what is really happening. 



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Discerning or Recognizing the Devil in the Old Testament

The word “Devil” does not appear in the Hebrew Old Testament. Comes from the Greek “which means accuser or slanderer." diabolos “Satan” appears in 3.5 places in OT

Satan or Devil in the Old Testament Half?

Psalms 109:6 (KJV only) “Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.” Psalms 109:6 (NIV) Appoint and evil man to oppose him; Let an accuser stand at his right hand.

Satan or Devil in the Old Testament

Surrounding nations had gods in conflict with each other! Jewish God was supreme. Emphasis on he created everything (Gen 14:19, 22; Ex 20:8) No supernatural enemy could threaten YHWH or LORD. The vulnerability of love was unknown. (Greek paradox)

Waring deities in surrounding nations 1 Humbaba battles with Gilgamesh in Mesopotamia 2 Mot must be subdued by Baal in Canaan 3 Habayu defiles El with excrement in Canaan 4 Set murders Osiris in Egypt 5 Ahriman is perpetually at war with Ahura Mazda in Persia 6 Hades kidnaps Persephone in Greece (http://www.realdevil.info/1-1.htm) Jews: God has a dark side—sitra ahra. So we have Deuteronomy 32:39 “See now that I myself am He! There is no God beside me, I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” Jews: God has a dark side—sitra ahra. Isaiah 45:7 “I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster, I, the LORD, do all these things.” Jews: God has a dark side—sitra ahra. 1 Samuel 2:25 Eli: “If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” His sons however did not listen to their father’s rebuke, for it was the LORD’s will to put them to death. Jewish people believe “the devil” is a Christian invention to excuse themselves God does everything super natural just as the Old Testament tells the stories. We know about the devil because of Jesus’ revelation about this super natural being. If we read only the Old Testament we would never know about the devil. What about the serpent in Genesis 3? Case1: Job1&2 Satan is revealed as a malicious accuser and destroyer. He will kill and cause suffering to prove his point. He has no morality or ethics. Notice he has to get God’s permission to afflict Job. Jewish story! Not true. “Shattan” is Hebrew for accuser. In legal terms he is the public prosecutor and God is the defence for Job. Summary of Job Blameless Job suffers great tragedy Chapters 1&2 show the cause of his suffering is Satan not God. Satan is never mentioned again in the book Job always believes God is causing his suffering His “friends” believe God is punishing him for his wrong doing and want him to confess Walt Disney ending after Job prays for “friends” Similar to Plato’s Dialogues

Satan in the Old Testament

Case 2: 2 Samuel 24:1 Again the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go and take a census of Israel and Judah.”

1 Chronicles 21:1 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel Demon possession was recognized by the Jews by the time Jesus arrived. Babylonian exile exposed them to evil gods. Greco - Roman culture had evil gods too.

Satan in the Old Testament

Case 3: Zechariah 3:1- 2 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at to accuse him. The LORD his right hand said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?” Satan disguised himself and God was blamed for Satan’s work in many instances. Numbers 21:6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents (venomous snakes) among them . . . 1 Samuel 16:14 The spirit of the Lord had forsaken Saul, and at times an evil spirit from the Lord would seize him suddenly. Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry and you be destroyed in your way . . . for His wrath can flare up in a moment. 1. Abaddon (Hebrew) or Apollyon (Greek) or Destroyer (English) (Rev. 9:11) 2. Accuser of the Brethren. (Rev 12:10) 3. Adversary (Lk 12:58; 18:3; 1 P 5:8; 1 Tim 5:14) 4. Beelzebub or Baalzebub (Mt 10:25, 12:24-27; Mark 3:22; Lk 11:15-19) 5. Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15) 6. The One Deceiving the Whole World (Rev. 12:9; 2 Cor 4:4) 7. Devil (38X from Greek “diabolos” Matt 4:1-4) 8. Dragon (13 times in Revelation=serpent=sea- monster, Rev 12:13-17; 13:1-4) 9. Enemy (Matt 13:25, 28, 39; 25; Luke 10:19) 10. Evil one (Matthew 6:13) 11. Father of Lies (John 8:38, 41, 44) 12. God of this Age (2 Corinthians 4:4, Gal 1:4) 13. Lawless one (2 Thessalonians 2:3) 14. Murderer (John 8:44; 1 Jn 3:15; Gen 4:8; Rev 11:7) 15. The Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:2) 16. The Prince of this World (Jn 12:31; 14:30, 1 Jn 2:15) 17. Roaring Lion (2 Peter 5:8, 9) 18. Satan (35X, Mt 12:26; Lk 10:18; 2Cor 11:14; Rev 20) 19. Serpent (2 Cor 11:3; Rev 12:9, 14, 15; 20:2) 20. Tempter (Matt 4:3; 1 Thess 3:5). 21. The Wicked One (2Thess 2:3 GNT “lawless one”) 22. Thief (John 10:10)

Devil or Satan in the New Testament

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13 NIV Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. Mark 4:15 NIV

Luke 4:2 (NIV)

where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread. 5 The devil led him up to a high place . . . 9 the devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple . . . 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting he left until an opportune time.

Devil or Satan in the New Testament

Luke 22:31 (NIV) Simon, Simon, has asked to sift you as wheat.

John 8:44 (NIV) You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:48 (NIV) The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” 49 “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honour my Father and you dishonour me.” John 10:10 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the resurrection and the life . . . Clearest revelation by Jesus of the issues in the battle for the minds of the universe.

Devil or Satan in the New Testament

Acts 26:18 (NIV) to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. God’s forgiveness is hidden by Satan.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 (NIV) If you forgive anyone, I also for give him. And what I have forgiven - If there was anything to forgive - I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes. (destroy us with guilt)

Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. James 1:15 . . . Sin when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 John 3:8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. Revelation 12:9 (NIV) The great dragon was hurled down -- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 20:10 (NIV) And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The Conclusion

1. We can now read the Old Testament and know that Satan is: The deceiving serpent in Genesis 3. The evil spirit in 1 Samuel 16:14 who is said to “come from the Lord.”

The King of Babylon in Isaiah 14 The king of Tyre referred in Ezekiel 28:12 2. We can understand what we are up against. We are engaged in total warfare (Ephesians 6:12). Our only hope is to be vigilant in prayer. We must pray for ourselves and each other that we are not deceived by Satan or the devil or the evil one.

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