The Missouri Baptist Convention, through its High Street Press imprint, has released a new resource for personal or group study titled What Every Christian Should Know about Satan.
Written by the MBC’s Rob Phillips, the 400-page book explores more than a dozen biblical names and titles that reveal the evil one’s character, tactics, and ultimate destiny in hell. It’s designed for pastors and laypersons who desire a deeper study of Satan’s doomed campaign against God and God’s people.
Curiously, the Hebrew satan means “accuser” and is not a title devoted solely to the evil one. Even the angel of the Lord – the preincarnate Christ – plays the role of satan / accuser on one occasion (Num. 22). However, God’s progressive revelation in Scripture reveals one particular accuser who stands in opposition to his Creator – the diabolos, or devil, of the New Testament.
Numerous biblical names and titles appear, focusing on a single fallen angel who reigns over a host of demonic followers. These names include: dragon, serpent, father of lies, murderer, tempter, deceiver, evil one, Beelzebul, ruler of this world, and destroyer.
Rev. 12:10 – Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come, because the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out: the one who accuses them before God day and night. (HCSB)
A loud voice in heaven
In verse 10 John records, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven.” We are not told whose voice utters this celebratory hymn, just as in previous passages in Revelation we are not always given the identity of those speaking. The emphasis here is not on the messenger but on the message. We may, however, rule out an angelic source to the voice in heaven because of the words “the accuser of our brothers” (v. 10b). Satan accuses sinful and fallen people, not angels, before God. Further, scripture does not refer to the angelic host as “brothers.” So, it’s possible the voice in heaven is that of Jesus on behalf of the redeemed – or, more likely, the combined voices of the martyrs before the throne.
It is fitting that we hear a song, for the people of God often raise their voices in praise when they witness the miraculous deeds of our sovereign God. In the Old Testament, for example, there is the song of Moses at the Red Sea (Ex. 15); the song of Deborah after the Lord delivers Israel from Jabin the king of Canaan (Judges 5); and the song of David, when the Lord delivers him out of the hand of all his enemies (2 Sam. 22). In the New Testament, followers of Jesus compose hymns of praise to honor Him for His finished work on the cross, and singing becomes an integral part of worship (for example, see Acts 16:24-26; 1 Cor. 14:25-27; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
In this passage in Revelation, there is particular cause for joy. “On no occasion could such a song be more appropriate than on the complete routing and discomfiture of Satan and his rebellious hosts” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Rev. 12:10).
Fourth in a series of short answers to questions about the New Testament.
Consider Matt. 4:8-9 – Again, the Devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. And he said to Him, “I will give You all these things if You will fall down and worship me.”
Did Satan really show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world from a mountaintop?
While Satan is the “god of this age” and holds the title deed to earth, no mountain, no matter how towering, gives a vantage point for the whole world. Adam Clark comments: “If the words, all the kingdoms of the world, be taken in a literal sense, then this must have been a visionary representation, as the highest mountain on the face of the globe could not suffice to make evident even one hemisphere of the earth, and the other must of necessity be in darkness. But if we take the world to mean only the land of Judea, and some of the surrounding nations, as it appears sometimes to signify, then the mountain described by the Abbe Mariti (Travels through Cyprus, etc.) could have afforded the prospect in question. Speaking of it, he says, ‘Here we enjoyed the most beautiful prospect imaginable. This part of the mountain overlooks the mountains of Arabia, the country of Gilead, the country of the Amorites, the plains of Moab, the plains of Jericho, the river Jordan, and the whole extent of the Dead Sea…'”