What’s In A Name: Satan


(This is blog 1 in the series “Names of Satan.”)

Names in the Bible tell a lot about the person.  The names of God describe various attributes of His.  Jesus’ names help us better understand His person and work.  The same is true with the names of Satan.  When one is in a battle, the better they understand their enemy and his plans, the better chance they have of victory.  In our battle with Satan and his forces, the better we realize how he works, the greater our ability to defeat his plans for us.

Satan” is his most commonly known name.  It occurs 53 times in the Bible.  In Job 1:6-7 we read, “One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, ’Where have you come from?’” See also 1 Chronicles 21:1; John 13:27; Acts 5:3; 26:18; Romans 16:20.

The name “Satan” is from the Greek (“Santanas”) and Hebrew (“Satan”).  It can literally be translated “adversary,” “opponent.”  It is used that way in 1 Kings 11:14, 23; 1 Samuel 29:4; Numbers 22:22).  Satan’s hatred is directed at God, Who kicked him out of heaven when he sinned (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28).  Since he cannot attack God directly, he attacks those closest to Him, the children God loves.  That is why he is our adversary.

He attacks God’s people the Jews with anti-Semitism (Revelation 12:13-17; 20:10).  The New York Times says attacks against Jews have increased 12% in the last year and are at the highest level since statistics have been kept.  There has been an alarming rise in anti-Semitism in Europe as well.  The same is true of Satan’s rise in persecution against Christians (Revelation 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:9).  Studies show more than 250 million Christians worldwide suffer high levels of persecution.  Thousands are martyred each year.  Clearly, we are in a battle to the death with Satan and his forces.

A similar name is “Enemy” found in Matthew 13:39: “The enemy who sows them is the devil.”  Likewise, “Adversary” also refers Satan as our opponent.  1 Peter 5:8: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

Satan does all he can to oppose and hinder our service to God (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Zechariah 3:1; Matthew 13:19).  Satan himself can only be one place at a time, so it is not likely he himself attacks us, but he does assign his demons to do his work for him.  His demons work against believers by frustrating and opposing God’s perfect will (Acts 16:16-18), putting obstacles in the path of following God (1 Thessalonians 2:18; Romans 15:22), influencing believers to mislead other believers (Matthew 16:22-23.) and instigating things such as jealousy, pride and disunity (James 3:13-16).  They seek to get believers to turn from God and living for Him (1 Timothy 4:1), they can cause physical torment (2 Corinthians 12:7), and they try to get us to operate by our own strength and ability (2 Timothy 3:5).  All this work will intensify as the return of Jesus gets closer (1 Timothy 4:1).

When we became Christians, we left Satan’s army and joined God’s army (Colossians 1:13).  Since we deserted Satan’s cause he attacks us viciously to defeat and destroy us.  Those who remain under his control don’t face his wrath like those who left him to join his arch enemy, Jesus.  Victory comes when we use God’s provided armor (Ephesians 6:10-18) and resist Satan’s attacks against us (James 4:7).  We’ll talk more about that in the next blog.

Are you aware of way Satan attacks you?  What are some of the subtle tactics he uses to discourage you or get your focus off Jesus?  What can you do to have victory against this?


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