God’s Chief Foe

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2 KJV).

Behold, the four facets of Satan’s mode of operation!

These four titles appear, in the same order, in Revelation 12:9: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

The dragon / great dragon — God’s leading enemy is a monster, “the great red dragon” (Revelation 12:3), a fierce, malevolent creature, not merely “an evil force” but a real being (albeit invisible).

Old serpent — Our word “archaic” comes from the Greek, archaios, here rendered “old.” Satan is primeval, one of the first of God’s creatures, and has been operating for a very long time—before man (Adam and Eve) sinned in the Garden of Eden. “The devil sinneth from the beginning” (1 John 3:8): his policy of evil has been opposing God’s purpose and plan for creation some 6,000 years! The descriptor “serpent” accentuates his cunning ability to deceive (Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9).

The Devil— As God’s primary opponent, Satan is a false accuser, slanderer, a spirit-being endeavoring to divide two parties (Greek, diabolos, “throw through”). John 8:44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Satan — Found mostly in the New Testament, it is the transliteration of the Old Testament Hebrew satan (“adversary, one who stands against”). Not only is he God’s nemesis, he is the antagonist of all Christians! Dear brethren, we should be skilled in our leading competitor’s ways, that we may avoid his traps. “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11,13).