ALIAS: THE DEVIL
September 1, 1986 Issue
by Jerry Dickinson
Surely you don't believe in the devil - not in these modern times! If you do, dear reader, you are in the minority, even among people who claim to believe in the Bible. There is a group here in Houston, the Christadelphians, who claim there is no "personal" devil. In the scriptures, they assert, the word devil is but a symbol for evil. For instance, when Jesus was tempted of the devil in the wilderness these folks say that it was actually a ruler of the Romans (or some other human) that went out and tempted the Lord.
Such absurd assertions notwithstanding, the Bible plainly teaches that there is a wicked spirit known as the devil. In Eph 6:12 Paul avers that our struggle is not merely with flesh and blood, but with wickedness in heavenly places. One translation renders it, "wicked spirits in high places". Peter declares that the devil walks about as an adversary seeking whom he may devour. My friend, there is a wicked spirit in the world. He is called by many names in the Word of God, all of which give us an insight to his character and purposes.
The word alias is defined, "better known as". He is better known as the devil (a name I want to consider last), however he also has other aliases. Consider his following aliases:
Satan -The word means adversary, and the devil is certainly the adversary of God and man. In this connection be it noted that the scriptures infer that he is a fallen angel. It was Satan's opposition to God back in some distant time that caused his fall. In II Cor 11:14 Paul refers to him as an angel of darkness as opposed to an angel of light. In Rev 12:7 a war between Satan and his angels and Michael and his angels is referred to. Satan and his forces are the antithesis to Michael and the forces of Heaven. There are, in other words, good angels and bad angels; Satan is the leader of the latter. In I Tim 3:6 Paul reveals that Satan's fall was precipitated by pride; he lifted himself up against God, but then, like all who exalt themselves, he fell.
Abaddon and Apollyon - He is called such in Rev 9:11. Both terms mean "destroyer". Satan is the destructive force in this world. Through the agency of men he destroys lives, homes, noble causes, and even churches. Let me iterate, just here, that the devil works through the agency of men his ministers, whom Paul describes as transforming themselves into ministers of light. The great destroyer is on the job, and the havoc he is wreaking in this old world is devastating.
Beelzebub - the Jews had reference to him when they used this term in Matt 12:24. The word seems to have been derived from a certain god of the Ekronites (II Kings 1:2). this "fly god" had become associated in the Jewish mind with Satan; hence they used the name as a synonym for the devil. The point is that the devil is a god to his followers. To follow his doctrines and give in to his temptations is to serve him. In II Cor 4:4 Paul affirms that men are blinded by "the god of this world". Evil One - Matt 13:19 teaches that the devil is the source of the evil seed sown in the world. Note, however, that it was while men slept that he did his work.
Besides the above names we could also mention: Father of Lies and Liars, Prince of the Powers of the air, the Tempter, and that great Dragon and Old Serpent. Time and space do not permit me to note those names in detail, but I do wish to note, lastly, his most famous alias, - the devil.
Devil - the word is from the Greek, "diabolos", which means accuser or slanderer. The Greek word, "daimon", is rendered devil in the King James Version, but a proper rendering is demon. There is one devil; many demons, but one devil. Devil (diabolos) is a proper name for the one wicked spirit who is God's enemy and ours.
Beware of the devil, my friend. We are in a mighty war with the forces of evil led by a mighty and powerful evil being. To be victorious we must watch and pray, arm ourselves with the panoply of God, and resist. He is the enemy! He is alive and active! Led by the Captain of our salvation, let us march into the fray and set the enemy to flight.
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