So I was thinking the other day about this idea of personified evil in the figure of “Satan.” I have a difficult time understanding this concept. There is no mention of “Satan” or “the Devil” in the Old Testament as we see him in the New Testament. Each time the Hebrew word for satan is used, it is in reference to the accuser, which was most likely a position in the heavenly court. Read Job again with this understanding, and it makes a little more sense.
This idea of personified evil was not developed until the Babylonian exile when the Jews were exposed to the new religion of Zoroastrianism. The religion is still around today, though it is not widely practiced. The religion is not monotheistic, rather it is dualistic. There are two gods, one good, one evil, and they battle each other over the souls of mankind.
The Jews took this dualistic concept and Judaized it. They remained monotheistic, but they developed the concept of Satan as personified evil. He is not as powerful as God Himself, yet Satan does hold much sway here in the earthly realm.
Then along comes this man named Jesus, whom we know as the Son of God. We read stories of Jesus encountering Satan who takes him around to different places to tempt him. We read in some of the epistles that Christians are to take up the armor of God so that we can stand against the Devil who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. These passages are extremely dangerous, however, when they are coupled with a misunderstanding about Satan.
The point of these passages is not to make us afraid of Satan, but to give us confidence that his power is no match for the power of God. In fact, many Christians are so focused on what Satan is trying to do to us that we lose sight of what God is trying to do through us!
The point of including this Satan figure in the gospels is to show that Jesus has destroyed whatever power Satan might have had! The gospels do not necessarily give proof that Satan is a true entity, but they reassure those who did believe that way that evil no longer has any hold on us if we are in Christ!
Stop using the excuse that “Satan is attacking me.” Instead, dive head-first into the loving grace of the Almighty God and He will protect you from what evil there may be.
Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT saying the devil isn’t real. What I AM saying is that God is infinitely more powerful.