“And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.” (Mark 1:12-13)
As the Holy Spirit is a real Person, so is Satan. In the Hebrew, the word, satan, means, “adversary.” Satan is the adversary of God, which means he is the adversary of every angel, and man, that would follow after God.
Because Satan is a real person, he has a mind, a will, intellect, and emotions. Because Satan is a real person he is mentioned in Mark’s narrative. In the gospel of Matthew Satan is called the devil, which means accuser. So Satan is both an adversary, and he is an accuser. While the Bible has many things to teach about Satan, we will confine our observation to one main point for now, and that is the reality of his existence.
Though the existence of a real Satan may be doubted by the skeptic, denied by liberal theology, and downplayed by the world. His existence is declared by the Bible. Consider the evidence.
Satan is mentioned in seven Old Testament books: Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Job (12 times), Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. He is found in nineteen New Testament Books, and referred to by every New Testament writer.
Matthew refers to Him in association with the temptation of Jesus. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” (Matt. 4:1)
Mark refers to Satan with reference to the healing ministry of Jesus. “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.” (Mark 5:15)
Luke refers to Satan as the one who literally possessed Judas Iscariot. “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.” (Luke 22:3) John refers to Satan in connection with sin. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
Paul refers to Satan in connection with his ultimate defeat. “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Rom. 16:20)
Peter refers to Satan when writing to the Church. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8)
James refers to Satan in a word of exhortation to resist him. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and He will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Jude refers to Satan in association with Moses, and Michael. “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9)
Certainly, Jesus believed in Satan. Our Lord mentioned him fifteen times (Matt. 4:10; 16:23; 25:41; John 8:44; 6:70).
The conclusion is this. To deny the personality of Satan is to deny both the statements of the Scriptures, and the testimony of the Saviour Himself.
Now, why is all of this important? Why is it important to believe in the existence of Satan?
It is important to believe in the reality of Satan in order to understand Christian theology, and beyond that, in order to understand life itself.
There are many people today that would confess they cannot comprehend the origin of war, the manifestation of incredible acts of brutality and violence, or why humans are not capable of being perfected.
At the beginning of the twentieth century there was a slogan that was very popular.
“Each day, and in every way,
man is becoming better and better.”
Then came World War I.
This was followed, within a generation, by World War II. The horrors of these world-wide conflicts destroyed forever the idea that mankind is becoming better and better.
There is no evidence, even today, with all the modern conveniences, and advancements in technology, that mankind is getting better.
There are wars, and rumors of war.
ISIS is on the march.
In Russia, the Great Bear is awakening out of a cold hibernation, and is arming its territories to the teeth with nuclear weapons.
More than a billion Chinese are mobilizing in the Pacific Ocean seeking territorial expansion.
The Middle East is on fire.
Speaking from a divine perspective, let it be said, that any administration, in any country, that is determined to gut its own military, appease tyrants, and dictators, that openly taunt the nation, accrue a debt that cannot possibly be honored, murder its unborn children by the millions, and arm its enemies with weapons of mass destruction, cannot possibly be comprehended, apart from an understanding of Satan.
The Bible says that, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12)
I tell you, this world does not make any sense without a Biblical understanding of Satan, who he is, what he has done, what he is doing, and what his future will be.
The world has seen the danger of not being able for government officials to name their enemy. No one can adequately fight what cannot be recognized, and named.
Spiritually, the same is true.
Only the Church can explain what is wrong.
Only the Church can tell the world how to make things right again.
But the Church herself must have the right message, and part of the right message is to acknowledge that Satan is a real person, with a mind, a will, an intellect, and emotions.
Jesus believed in Satan. He knew Satan was real. Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days and forty nights in the Judean desert two thousand years ago.
The story of the temptation of Jesus is told in the gospels.
It is my prayer that our hearts will be opened to understanding what happened to Jesus when He met Satan, and defeated him. Therein lies the secret to spiritual victory.