Sunday, July 14, 2013

Who is the Devil? Look at His Names

My name is Mr Lucifer

In many cultures, naming a newborn child is not a thing to be taken lightly for they believe that the name shapes the future of the child. Some parents consult their gods before they give their children names. In my village there is this saying "when you get a son, or a daughter, be careful to select a name for your child, for whatever you call him/her, that is what he/she will be in the future". Name is not just a mark of identification; it is a summation of the personality of and expectations from the bearer.

This is in no place as true as it is in the case of the devil. The Bible records a total of twenty-two names for the devil and these names reveal the various faces of this vicious creature. Like a friend once said in answer to a question: - who is this devil? His answer: - "look at his names and you will never ask the question again".

Today I want to present to you, the names of the devil.

1. Satan

The name means Adversary. The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines this as opponent, antagonist, and enemy. This is the most commonly used name. It is used fifty-two times in the Bible. He is the enemy of everything that is good.

2. Devil  

The name means slanderer. In Revelation 12:10 the Bible says “then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven; “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser (slanderer) of the brethren, who accused (slandered) them before our God day and night; has been cast down”This name is used thirty-five times in the Bible. He peddles malicious slander against all children of God.

3. The Prince of the Power of the Air

The name is a reference to the role as the leader of those who reject God’s sovereignty. In Ephesians 2:1-3 we have the description of the devil and his work: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

4. The god of this Age

This is a reference to the godlessness and disobedience that has characterised this age . In reference to his activity, Paul writes: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” (Second Corinthians 4:3-4)

5. The King of death

This is a reference to his activity in causing us to to be separated from God, the source of eternal life. Death, no matter how you look at it is separation. The devil causes us to be separated from God thus causing us to die spiritually. Jesus came into the world to destroy this power of Satan. See Hebrews 2:14-15: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

6. The Prince of this World

In the Scripture, the word “World” is used in three senses. It is used to mean the people living in the globe (universe) (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is used to mean the world as the universe: “He was in the world...” John 1:10. It is also used to describe the system which does not conform to God’s rules – “love not the world” (First John 2:15). The devil is the prince of the world system and this system never obeys the commandments of God. That is why Jesus said: “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31)

7. The Ruler of Darkness

This is a reference to his evil, secret and hidden activities. He directs all activities that shun light and exposure. He is the head of all secret societies and cults. Paul was making a catalogue of his activities when he wrote in Ephesians 6:10-12: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

8. Leviathan

This name means the twisted, coiled one who dwells in the sea of humanity. This name suggests how he hides amongst men to carry out his nefarious activities. The Prophet Isaiah writes: “In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1). The devil is twisted in all his activities.

9. Lucifer

This name means light bearer; shining one. This is a reference to what he was before his fall. Prophet Isaiah writing about his fall said “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations.” Jesus made reference to this when He said: “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven” (Luke 10:18)

10. Dragon

This is a reference to his beastly activities. He will show himself as a beast during the last war that will throw him out of heaven. The Bible  records that thus: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9)

11. The Deceiver

How often people have acknowledged the activity of the devil when they say “the devil deceived me” It is so because they allowed him to do so.  You also hear people say: “I don’t believe the Bible; there are many lies in it.” Yes I believe also; but the trouble of the people is that they believed the first lie.  The Bible records this first lie in Genesis 3:4 “You shall not die.” My honest advice to such people is to believe the truth in Revelation 20:10: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” This will include all who do not believe the Bible.

12. Apollyon  

This Greek word means a destroyer. The Hebrew equivalent is Abaddon. When you call him Apollyon, you are simply describing him because he is a destroyer of all that is good. He was very active in all of it. The Bible described him by this name in Revelation 9:11: “And they (the agents of destruction) had as king over the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.” It was Shakespeare who asked the question: What is in a name? I am not sure if he answered his own question but a name says everything about the person who bears it. If it does not reflect his character, it reflects the origin or the circumstances surrounding the birth of the bearer. For the devil, his names describe him and you can know all that need to be known about him by making a very close study of his names. So far we have looked at the first twelve of the twenty-two names of the devil. I believe that you can say of the Devil: “tell me your name and its meaning and I can very surely tell you who you are!”

13. Beelzebub

This name means the prince of demons. It takes confidence to delegate authority. There is no confidence in the domain of the devil so all leadership is concentrated in one person. That person of course, is the devil himself. He does not trust anybody, because he himself is not trustworthy. The first person to tell you; “you are mad” is a mad person himself. That is why the sin-laden, devil-guided Pharisees accused Jesus Christ and said “this fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons,” when they heard that Jesus healed a demon-possessed, blind and mute man on a Sabbath day. (Matthew 12:24)

14. Belial 

This Hebrew word can be translated to mean corrupt, perverted, worthless, scoundrel, vileness, and ruthlessness. No matter which of the meanings you choose, the devil is all of them. He is ruthless and vile in all his dealings. No good person should have any dealings whatsoever with a scoundrel such as the Devil. That is why the Bible asks: “And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an infidel?(Second Corinthians 4:15)

15. The Wicked One 

Jesus told His disciples the parable of the man who planted wheat farm with choice seeds but later discovered that an enemy has sown some tares amongst the wheat. When the disciples pressed for an explanation, He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.  The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.  The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.  Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:37-43) Because the wicked one has continued to sow his seed of discord and perpetrate  his acts of wickedness, the Bible says: “We know that we are of God , and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (First John 5:19)

16. The Tempter 

Often you hear people talking of temptation and trial as if they are one and the same thing. They are not. God uses the trial of your faith to make you stronger and better. The devil tempts you with a view to make you fall and disobey God. Temptation from the devil never results in making the victim better. When Paul was worried about the state of the Christians in Thessalonica, he wrote: “For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means, the tempter has tempted you, and our labour might be in vain.” (First Thessalonians 3:5)

17. The Accuser of the Brethren 

I was discussing with a group of young people the other day, one of them said: “I know why Jesus came into the world; I know why He had to die; and I am quite certain of the reason for His resurrection, but I do not know why He had to ascend into heaven again!. Well, I told him that there are a number of reasons but one of the main reasons is that He has gone to counter and defeat the accusations of Christians by the devil before God. The devil is constantly accusing the children of God before God. That is why the Bible records in Revelation 12:10-12: “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.”” This is the major occupation of the Devil right now; maligning Christians before God.

18. An Angel of Light

This name is deceitful. He parades Himself as an angel of light to lead the unsuspecting people astray. A number of people have been caught in his web of deceit. That is why the Bible warns in Second Corinthians 11:13-15: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” When next you see something that glitters, beware it may not be gold. Not all who come to you saying; “I come in the name of Jesus”, are indeed sent by Him. They may be agents of the devil

19. Liar 

Why many people fall prey to the devil’s lies is because he sometimes presents half-truths as the whole truth. No truth abides in him. Half-truth presented as the whole truth is a lie. Jesus told us much about the devil when He told the Pharisees: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”  (John 8:44)

20. Murderer 

It was Jesus Christ who called the devil by this name. He told the Pharisees: “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.”  (John 8:44) When next you see one who has died, know who has killed him. Devil led Adam and Eve to disobey God and has since then been doing so for all people. This disobedience led to death.

21. The Enemy 

What greater enemy can you have than he who leads you to death. Again it is Jesus Christ Himself who told us this name of the devil. He told His disciples: “The enemy who sowed the tares amongst the wheat is the devil.” (Matthew 13:39) He is the enemy that is always lurking around to do us harm.

22. A Roaring Lion

I had the opportunity of seeing an angry and hungry lion at close range during a visit to the Kenya Wildlife Reservation. It was not a comfortable spectacle. The devil is angry because he knows what awaits him in the end. He is hungry looking for those he will drag with him to hell. Peter has not forgotten how the devil deceived him and made him deny his Master, so he warns us: “Be sober, be vigilant (watchful); because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (First Peter 5:8). He is always watching for our unguarded moment to attack. He is indeed a dangerous foe.

Who is the devil? He is your worst enemy. Look at his names again and you will agree that He is a dreadful foe. His names tell the full story about him.

Next week we shall begin to look at his activities and how he accomplishes them.

God bless you all.

For more posts on the devil, click on The Devil Series

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