For those wishing to have a very sound grasp of the subject of the Devil and Satan we recommend that you take the time to read through this particular lecture of Brother Roberts. The way he has presented the material in this lecture and expounded the
meaning of quotations that may seem a little difficult on the surface is well worthy of reading. His method of explaining these wrested scriptures can be noted in the margin of your Bible so that you are well equipped should you be challenged on
their true meaning.

Lecture 7

The Overall Objective

 “In the religion of Christendom, the devil figures almost more prominently than God.” If we have found that Christendom’s view of the nature of man is astray from the Bible, we should not be surprised then to find their concept of the devil is also astray.

Our aim is to expose the fallacy of the belief in a supernatural Devil and Satan and show the clear scriptural exposition and definition of the meaning of these two words.

 The Common View

  • The devil is presented for detestation and dread as being the instigator and promoter of evil in juxtaposition with God who is the source and embodiment of all good. This is the polytheism of ancient paganism dressed up in Bible names and forms
  • Good and evil are regarded as separate essences under the control of God and the devil respectively.
  • God and the devil are held to be in contest for the souls of men in an equal encounter
  • The devil occupies the principal position as being the one from whom we must be saved
  • He is assigned something like omniscience in the way he is described as being universally active at all times
  • He is omnipotent and seemingly more powerful than God since “hell” receives more of earth’s inhabitants than those who find their way to the celestial city

Whatever the truth of the devil, it is an imperative doctrine to be understood and believed. How can we appreciate the work that has been accomplished in the Lord Jesus Christ if we do not fully  understand and believe from what peril we have been saved?

Arguments abound against the existence of a personal devil. The following examples and quotations prove that death is the wages of sin (Rom 6:23; 5:12). Disobedience is rewarded with death. Consider the following examples (Jude 6; 2 Pet 2:2,4; Gen 3:19; Deut 32:48–52; 2 Sam 6:6–7; 1 Kings 13:1–25).

 An Immortal Rebel is an Impossibility

 God only has immortality and bestows it on whomsoever He will. God’s principles are consistent and apply to man and “angels”—all sinners will perish. Thus the devil can in no way be an immortal sinner. Some argue that the devil is not immortal but that he will be destroyed finally by the Son of God; that his existence is contemporaneous with the human race. This is a totally inconceivable idea for it is absurd to accept that the devil is a mortal sinner who has jurisdiction over other sinners for the purpose of antagonising Deity. If the devil is a supernatural being, why then did Jesus have to partake of a flesh and blood nature that through death he might destroy the works of such a devil? (Heb 2:14) If the devil were a being of such strength then surely it needed the “nature of angels” to destroy him and not one who partook of the “seed of Abraham”.

Although the words “devil” and “Satan” are personified in the scriptural record there is no confirmation of Christendom’s doctrine attached to such words (Isa 46:9; 40:25–26; Psalm 139:2–7). These passages illuminate our understanding of God’s existence and His character, yet nothing exists in Scripture to give us evidence of the nature or existence of a personal devil.

Another common view is that which is very loosely based on the words of 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 regarding angels which fell from their first estate, following their expulsion from heaven after an altercation with God because of an arch-angel’s pride. The only information we have regarding this supposed creation of the devil is found in these two passages—scant information for such an incredibly important and notable creature. Revelation 12:7 is also used to provide details of the actual “war in heaven” which is alleged to have taken place pre- Adam, but this interpretation overlooks the fact that the Revelation was given to John in AD 96, relating to “things which must be hereafter”. We must not forget also that these things were sent by sign to John on Patmos, and what John saw was symbolic of great and terrible events yet to occur.

It is also noteworthy that the dealings of Deity with His people, the Jews, were always directed to them in an attempt to bring them back to Him, not an appeal to some diabolical agency responsible for their sinful ways. “Devil-influence” must detract from human accountability in the ratio of its potency. No mention of the existence of such a powerful influence is ever made in God’s extensive communing with His chosen nation. This is one of the strongest evidences that it is a fiction.

 The Truth Regarding the Devil and Satan

 Satan: “Satan, Sathan, Sathanas: this is a mere Hebrew word, and signifies an adversary, an enemy, an accuser.” Cruden (a believer in the popular devil) so explains the word “Satan”. It does not in any way refer to the evil which is normally associated with the devil or Satan. Examination of the following passages will show how the word “Satan” has been translated into the English Bible as “an adversary” (Num 22:22,32; 1 Sam 29:4; 2 Sam 19:22; 1 Kings 5:4; 11:14,23,25).

The Satan referred to in the following quotes (Job 1:6–12; 1 Chron 21:1; Psalm 109:6; Zech 3:1–2; Rev 2:13; Matt 16:23) is likewise dealt with in intricate detail so as to leave the reader in no doubt as to the identity of the “Satans” or adversaries mentioned.

In 1 Timothy 1:20 Paul delivers two false brethren to Satan so that they may learn not to blaspheme. Nowhere in popular Christian teaching  is it purported that Satan can be used by Christian teachers to correct believers’ problems, but rather as a final destruction for those unrepentant sinners. 1 Corinthians 5:3–5 supplies the answer to the use of Satan in rectifying the problems of early Christian meetings where an offender was expelled from the community for his recalcitrance (see v13; Titus 3:10; 2 Thess 3:6,14; Rom 16:17; Gal 5:12). The purpose was remedial as explained by 2 Thessalonians 3:14–15, so that the whole gathering was not infected with the cancerous thinking (1 Cor 5:6–7). In the following pages Brother Roberts suitably treats each and every passage of the New Testament where Satan is found with this concluding remark: “All will be found capable of solution by reading Satan as the adversary and having regard to the circumstances under which the word is used … Satan is never the superhuman power of popular belief”. The Devil: “This word comes from the Greek diabolos, which signifies a calumniator or accuser.” So says Cruden, and Parkhurst notes that diabolos is a compound of dia (through) and ballo (to cast), meaning to strike through and figuratively to strike or stab with an accusation or evil report. As such the word “devil” is a general term and not a proper name. It is used where slanderers or false accusers are described. As Jesus applied “Satan” to Peter so he applied “devil” to Judas, inasmuch as Judas proved to be a liar, false accuser and betrayer.

  • Diabolos is used in reference to deacons’ wives who could be “slanderers” (1 Tim 3:11), men and aged women who could be “false accusers” (2 Tim 3:2–3; Titus 2:3).
  • It is also used of authorities who persecuted and imprisoned believers, as those who would strike through the early Christians for their belief in Jesus (Rev 2:10).

Hebrews 2:14 indicates the absurdity of Jesus attempting to destroy the devil of Christendom by partaking of a flesh and blood nature. How could succumbing to death destroy the orthodox Devil? It also shows that if the Devil were destroyed by Jesus’ death he should no more be in existence.

 Deuteronomy 32:39 tells us that God reigns, (“I kill and I make alive”), and not some sulphuric beast. God enforces His own Law and relies not on a hostile arch-angel to dispense retribution.

The following passages are dealt with to underline what Christ accomplished in his death: (Heb 9:26; 1 Cor 15:3; Isa 53:5; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 John 3:5).

Sin has the power of death, not a personal devil, as proved from the following verses: Rom 5:12,21; 6:23; 5:21; 1 Cor 15:21, 56; Jas 1:15. This being the case, where is the need for a Devil?

Scripture tells us that a bias to sin is inherent in all of the human race, and requires no external prompting: Jas 1:14–15; 1 John 2:16; Gal 5:17; Rom 6:12.

Personification is one of the peculiar ways whereby Scripture deals with imagery where the principles are too subtle for ready literal expression. The following is a list of scriptural ideas that are personified: The World, Riches, Sin, the Spirit, Wisdom, the Nation of Israel and the multitudinous people of Christ.

 Demons

 The Greek word for demon, “daimon”, relates to the imaginary beings of Greek mythology who mediated between God and man. They were held responsible for all manner of diseases of the mind (as distinct from physical infirmities), and are therefore referred to copiously throughout Jesus’ ministry of healing. These included epileptics and those who suffered from mental disorders. A similar idea has been carried into our own vernacular, that of lunatics, or someone whose mental stability is thought to have been affected by the moon. Jesus used the idea of the day to describe such illnesses, but in no way endorsed the theory that these illnesses were caused by a supernatural Devil.

“The doctrine of a personal devil, or devils, is a spiritual miasma (toxin); it is itself an evil spirit, of which a man must become dispossessed before he can become mentally clothed, and in his right mind. It obscures the shining features of all divine truth from the gaze of all who are subject to it. It is companion to the immortality of the soul, to which, with other fables of heathen invention, men have universally turned according to Paul’s prediction (2 Tim 4:3,4); and, in accepting which they have necessarily rejected the truth proclaimed by all the servants of God, from Enoch to Paul.”

How thankful we should be that through the grace of Yahweh we have been delivered from such darkness.