enough, most of what Christendom believes regarding Satan does not even come
from the Bible. For example, the
image of Satan as a forked-tail, horned demon with a goat's body is derived
from the Greek god, Pan, and not from Hebrew Scripture at all. Before we can
accurately understand the actual biblical concepts about hell and the devil,
let us first gain a proper perspective on them - specifically when speaking or
thinking of the devil in comparison to God. Let us begin by acknowledging that Satan or the devil IS NOT
- and never will or can be - the exact opposite of God. Our God has no equal!
must also remember that each person, even within the same local church,
interprets the Bible and its truth differently, especially in regard to hell,
evil or (d)evil. But if we can
first agree that our God has no equal, and is the all-powerful creative force
in the universe, then, we have found common ground that can serve as our
foundation. As believers, let us not allow our focus to be centered on NOT
BELIEVING in Hell, but rather, let us declare that we BELIEVE IN
a God who is all-powerful. For instance, I acknowledge the existence of the
devil or (d)evil. However, I
believe IN God or Ultimate G(o)od - and that is where my focus lies.
Hebrew name Satan actually means "adversary." The Greek word for "devil" (pronounced diabolos) is also translated as "adversary" and
is at times used as a proper name for anything that opposes God. This same word
is used both to describe the angel of the Lord and for any potential human
adversary. At other times, Satan
is seen as an "accuser" who brings a charge against people before God (as in
the story of Job). Yet, we must remember that even in this story, it is God who
sets the boundaries that this accuser must operate within and be respectful of.
often in the Bible, the assigning of the name Satan is not directed at a being
or PERSONA, but rather at an object, an obstacle or an idea (such as
sickness, poverty or anything standing in the way of our advancing on the
journey of realizing more of God's purposes in the earth and in our own
lives.) For instance, Jesus calls
Peter the "Rock" and declares that on his revelation the church will be built
and that the gates of hell would not be able to prevail against it. Yet, not
long after this, Jesus rebukes Peter and calls him "Satan" for standing in the
way of His destiny on the cross of Calvary.
we must be extremely careful when assigning a persona (personage or personality)
to Satan or the (d)evil. Anything
that acts as an adversary to our realizing the abundant life Jesus meant for us
can be perceived as the devil.
However, these adversaries and obstacles, as well as the power they have
in our lives, are never to be compared with the all-powerful, all-knowing God
that we serve!