Scripture’s “Dark Knight” Is No Hero
Posted July 26, 2012 by Steve Hafler
Satan’s Hunting Blind
Satan has his finger on the trigger of his .375 H&H magnum and waits patiently as he settles the crosshairs directly over our heart. A hunting blind is a cover device often used by African hunters when targeting big cats. This is especially effective with leopard. A “blind” is a small camouflaged encampment designed to reduce the chance of detection. A carefully designed blind is nearly undetectable to the target species. The blind can be built near a watering hole or in open savannah where the hunter waits “locked and loaded” ready to ambush his unsuspecting trophy. Satan is a master hunter who has us “blinded.” He has set up camp right in our backyard and continues to take lethal shots at us while he remains undetected. Not a single news headline identities him! How? He’s got us believing he’s a myth; believing hell is only a hyperbolic metaphor for annihilation; believing a rogue gunman isn’t the product of the culture he has molded; believing sin isn’t a silent killer. He’s got us thinking he doesn’t care about politics, the entertainment industry, mind altering substances, religion, government, or world powers. Satan’s got us feeling quite safe living in our side-walked communities, with life insurance, and with pets who eat better than the majority of the world’s human population. He’s got us comfortable with his names (Satan, the Devil, tempter, etc.). Rather than be shocked at him we have become familiar – so much so that we place his names alongside Narnia,Spiderman, and Shrek. Satan’s got America just where he wants us – amused by vampires, demonic possession, and serial killers. Unsuspecting and spiritually ignorant we scoff and say, “The reality of Satan is just so fake that its borderline ridiculous.” Our ignorance serves as proof that Satan’s hunting safari has been disturbingly successful! His wall of trophy head mounts is most impressive! “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4 ). We are not only blind to him but to the gospel as well.
“Don’t Worry, I’m A Silly Myth” – Yours Untruly, Satan
Jesus believes in Satan, demons, hell, and the lake of fire. Jesus “said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). Jesus was “in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan”(Mark 1:13). Jesus commands demons and casts them out (Mark 1:34). Not only does Jesus believe in them but Satan and his demons believe in Jesus. “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). As the “Evil One” (John 17:15; Ephesians 6:16) Satan energizes the porn, prostitute, drug, and kidnapping industry. At the same time Satan appears as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) to strengthen religion and people’s “morality.” Satan can offer the twisted logic of a lunatic or the refined reason of a scholar. He is a master theologian who can wield the very sword that defeats him (Matthew 4:5-6). Satan is a real person – having life, intelligence, will, and emotion. However, Satan is a spirit-being and does not have a human body (neither tail, horns, nor pitchfork). Satan is created with limitations even though he is very powerful and patient. Satan is neither equal to God nor can he escape the sovereignty of God. Satan’s nature, character, and activities are revealed in the very names God has given him in Scripture. A study of Satan’s more prominent names will greatly help us understand who he is and what he does, “so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Satan’s Names Reveal His Character
1. Satan: a description used more than 50x that means “adversary” or “one who withstands.” His adversarial intent will not always be easy to detect for Scripture warns,“Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
2. The Devil: a description used more than 30x and the name Peter connects with the image of a roaring lion. It means “slanderer” or “defamer.” John 8:44 “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
3. Beelzebul: a description used 7x but one that can have three different spellings, each having a slightly different suffix. Baal means “lord” or “prince.” (1) Beel-zebul = lord of the dung, (2) Beel-zebub = lord of the flies, (3) Beel-zeboul = lord of the dwelling. This would identify Satan as the god of demon possession. Mark 3:22 “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” This name (hurled at Jesus by the religious elites of His day) contrasts with who Jesus really is – the pure and Holy One. Even the demons who are unclean knew the true nature of Jesus – Mark 1:24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? oI know who you are—the Holy One of God.” God’s children must also conduct themselves in Christ’s likeness - 1 Peter 1:15-16 “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
4. Belial: a term meaning “utterly worthless one.” 2 Corinthians 6:15 “What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” This name contrasts with Jesus character as “the worthy one.” It is with Christ whom believers have the joy of fellowshiping with. The context of this name in 2 Corinthians 6 teaches the distinction that must exist between true Christ-followers and unbelievers.
5. The Serpent: a term communicating crookedness and deceitfulness. This title deliberately brings back images of the Garden of Eden and the Fall. 2 Corinthians 11:3 ”But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” We must be on guard against Satanic lies that will corrupt your mind. An excellent book written for women in connection with this is entitled Lies Woman Believe: And the Truth That Sets Them Free.
6. Abaddon or Apollyon: these are the Greek and Hebrew forms of the word meaning “destroyer” or “destruction.” This is a reference to either Satan or one of his angels. In this hierarchy this angel is called a “king over them.” Revelation 9:11 “They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon. These names stress Satan’s work of destruction (war, famine, disease, and desolation). Satan works to destroy families and entire societies. In contrast, Jesus Christ came not to destroy, but to give life abundantly. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
7. The Dragon: this refers to a hideous monster, a dragon, or large serpent. It paints the picture of a man-eating Nile crocodile submerged in an African river waiting to ambush whoever would dare draw water for the village. There he sits, patiently waiting, and hidden by the dark murky water. He will eat tonight because he is an accomplished assassin – the master of ambush. He is the dragon of the African river. His unsuspecting prey will experience the nearly inescapable death-roll only to be drowned and torn apart by his jaws. The title “Dragon” stresses the cruel, vicious, and blood-thirsty character and power of Satan. By contrast, Jesus Christ is both the meek sacrificial Lamb and the conquering Lion from the tribe of Judah. Revelation 5:5 “And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered.’”
8. Liar: Satan has built a network of deception through demonic forces and people. He promotes false doctrines in the name of God and quotes the Scripture word perfect (though out of context) to accomplish his twisted purposes (Matthew 4:5; Luke 4:9-10). Satan has his teachers, his temples, his churches, his mosques, his synagogues, and his cathedrals. He has his Imams, priests, clerks, elders, rabbis, popes, and preachers of all denominatoins. Satan thrives on religion! He is comfortable on the pinnacle of the temple and sitting at the Last Supper. What better place to insert his lies? John 8:44 “…the devil… does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” By contrast our God can not lie. He not only loves truth but is truth. Titus 1:2 “in hope of eternal life, whichGod, who never lies, promised before the ages began.” John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
9. The god of this World; The Prince of this World; The Prince of the Power of the Air: Each of these refers in different ways to Satan’s rule or dominion. Satan is the real leader and power behind the present world system. He is head over the demonic hosts and has rule over this “economy” which is marked by a growing apostasy, wholesale deception, and moral erosion. For example, Denny Burke, Associate Professor at Boyce College shared an example of how this world is intolerant of anything that opposes their agenda. Read Chick-fil-a and the Irony of the Tolerance Police.
- 2 Corinthians 4:4 “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
- Ephesians 2:2 “in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—”
- John 14:30 “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me.”
- Our response as Jesus-followers is clear: Philippians 2:15 “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
10. The Evil One: This title refers to that which is wicked, evil, base, vile, worthless, vicious, and degenerate. This term reveals Satan’s work as vigorous and cruel – even sadistic. He rejoices in murder, rape, child abduction, abuse, and hate. He revels in slander, jealously, and gossip in the church. Satan is not remorseful of evil for it is his passion! By contrast, “Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
We do have a hero but it’s no Dark Knight. Our hero is the Lord of lord and King of kings (Revelation 17:14), the Righteous One (1 John 2:1), the Morning Star (Revelation 22:16), and the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5). “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon’” (Revelation 22:20).
In what ways has Satan blinded you? How have you believed the lies of the Devil? How does a knowledge of his names help you resist the devil firm in your faith (1 Peter 5:9)?
Remember, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 ).