Who is the devil? Why the confusion? The devil makes an early entrance in the Bible, in Genesis chapter three, to be exact. Then he pops his ugly head up all the way through Scripture. So, what’s the problem? Why don’t people just simply believe that the devil exists? Well, that is part of the problem, a huge part of the problem. The devil likes to keep humanity in the dark. Listen to the following, “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. People don’t believe what the Scriptures say about the devil because the devil has blinded them to what the Scriptures say about the devil (and whole lot of other things)! If we believe God’s Word we’ve seen already that the devil is “the god of this age” and that he has “blinded” those who are perishing.
Jesus believes what the Scriptures say about the devil and He even used the Scriptures to defeat the devil in the wilderness. “Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:3-4. Here Jesus referred the devil to Deuteronomy 8:3. The devil didn’t come back at Jesus with, “Well, surely you don’t expect me to believe something from a book written by a bunch of ignorant sheepherders thousands of years ago?” No! As Jesus stood on the top of the Temple with the devil urging Him to jump. But instead of the usual remarks of unbelievers the devil quoted Scripture (albeit selectively), “It is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over You,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear You up, lest You dash Your foot against a stone.’” Matthew 4:6. Failing here too the devil showed and offered to Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would only fall down and worship him. In other words, the devil was offering to Jesus what the Father had promised the Mediator if He would live a perfect life and die on the cross. Notice then that the devil is rightly called “the tempter.” What have learned about the devil? He is the god of this age, he has blinded all mankind, and he tempts us to do things?
The devil is a spirit being. And as such he is invisible. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:1-2. The devil doesn’t walk around dressed in red tights jabbing people with a pitchfork. He operates invisibly. At times he may even us e a prop such as the one he used when he tempted Eve in the Garden. “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:1-5. The devil here was not trying to help Adam and Eve but rather hinder them. Like Adam the devil knew that the penalty for eating the forbidden fruit was death. Therefore, the devil was out to murder Adam and Eve. Jesus said to some of the devil’s offspring”, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44. What do we now know about the devil? The devil is the god of this age, he has blinded all mankind, he tempts us to do things, he is a murderer and he is the father of lies.
The devil has children and they look just like you and me. “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning … In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. ” 1 John 3:8&10-12. Note that there are two types of people on the planet today: children of God and children of the devil. The latter are dead to God and under the influence of the devil while the former are dead to the devil and under the influence of God. Therefore, the children of God, i.e., true Christians ought to expect friction in the world. “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.” 1 John 3:13. Jesus says, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18. We’re learning lots about the devil! He is the god of this age, he has blinded all mankind, he tempts us to do things, he is a murderer, he is the father of lies, he has children and they hate Jesus and His brothers and sisters.
Is the devil as powerful as God? Are the devil and God locked in combat? God alone is almighty, He is the Almighty. God alone is Creator. The devil, like us, is a creature (albeit a powerful creature). Unlike God, but like us, he cannot be everywhere at once. Look at this little exchange between the devil and God: “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6-7. Note that the devil moves “to and fro on the earth.” He walks back and forth. Therefore, unlike God, but like us, he cannot be everywhere at once. And notice too that he is called “Satan.” “The word means “Adversary.” The following speaks of the devil being cast out of heaven: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” Revelation 12:9-10. Let’s build on what we know about the devil thus far. He is the god of this age, he has blinded all mankind, he tempts us to do things, he is a murderer, he is the father of lies, he has children and they hate Jesus and His brothers and sisters, he is our Adversary and he is the accuser of the brethren.
Should Christians show any respect for the devil? Well, Michael the only Archangel mentioned as such in the Bible respected the devil when disputing with him over the dead body of Moses. “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 1:9. Therefore, the devil ought not to be mocked. It ought to be left to the Lord to rebuke him. Even though he is evil the devil has an important role to play in the redemption drama. Like Joshua the priest in the following passage all true Christians are brands plucked from the fire: “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Zechariah 3:1-2. And we see that the Lord used the devil to keep humble the Apostle Paul post conversion: “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:7. Who is the devil? He is the god of this age, he has blinded all mankind, he tempts us to do things, he is a murderer, he is the father of lies, he has children and they hate Jesus and His brothers and sisters, he is our Adversary, the accuser of the brethren, he is an instrument of God in redemption and he is to be respected.
Why did the Word become flesh? “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” What is the devil and his children’s fate? Jesus refers to it where He says, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41. The Apostle John speaks of the same fate in the Book of Revelation: "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:10.
What did we learn about the devil? He is the god of this age, he has blinded all mankind, he tempts us to do things, he is a murderer, he is the father of lies, he has children and they hate Jesus and His brothers and sisters, he is our Adversary, the accuser of the brethren, he is an instrument of God in redemption, he is to be respected, Jesus is destroying his works and he will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone to be tormented day and night foever.