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I. THE ORIGIN OF THE TEMPTER
AND HIS KINGDOM
The tempter is a creature. He was beautiful and full of wisdom, complete and powerful. However, through aspiring to be equal with God, he sinned and fell. "But you, you said in your heart: I..." (Isa. 14:13). He uplifted the "I," and as a result he was delivered to gloomy pits, having been cast down to Tartarus, and is being kept for judgment (2 Pet. 2:4). This tempter sinned and fell as a result of trying to be equal with God; hence, his way of tempting people is to bait them with "ye shall be as gods" (Gen. 3:5). We have to be careful lest through pride we "fall into the judgment suffered by the devil" (1 Tim. 3:6). Here, two parties are together, the devil and us. If we are separated from him, then he will be left to himself and we to ourselves. We Christians should voluntarily take Christ as the "I." In other words, we should exercise our will to join ourselves to Christ. If we still take the old "I" as our self, we will be separated from Christ, becoming two. However, the more we are in Christ, the more we will understand the things concerning the tempter. For this reason, we must study this subject.
A. His Names
Revelation 12:9 records four of his names. The great dragon speaks of his cruelty; the ancient serpent speaks of his deception; the Devil speaks of his temptations; and Satan speaks of his hatred. The god of this age in 2 Corinthians 4:4 speaks of him as the leader of the worldly religion. The ruler of the world in John 14:30 speaks of him as the head of the great world powers. The ruler of the authority of the air (Eph. 2:2) speaks of him as the king of the evil spirits. Revelation 12:10 speaks of him as the accuser of our brothers. Revelation 9:11 speaks of him as the angel of the abyss. To those who are not sober and watchful, he is a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). To the watchful believers, he transfigures himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
B. His Kingdom
"The whole world lies in the evil one" (1 John 5:19). From this we can see that when the devil tempted Jesus and said that all the authority and glory of all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth had been delivered to him (Luke 4:5-6), he was not lying. In reading Luke 11:14-18 and 20-24, we see that even man is in the realm of Satan's kingdom.
C. His Government and Ministers
In reading Revelation 2:13, we find where his dwelling is. In reading Ephesians 6:12, we see who his armies are. In reading Daniel 10:13 and 20, we see who his ministers are. In reading 2 Corinthians 12:7, we see what his messengers are like.
D. His Religion
Satan has his religion also, which is to worship God with a confused spirit. Revelation 2:9 says, "The slander from those who call themselves Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." From this we can see that what was spoken in the synagogue of Satan were words of blasphemy and a confusing of right with wrong. How numerous are the synagogues of Satan today! They are full of criticisms, doubts, mockeries, and blasphemies. This then is the religion of Satan. First Corinthians 10:20-21 mentions the sacrifice to demons and the demons' cup. This shows us that with Satan's religion there are sacrifices and fellowship. First Timothy 4:1-4 mentions "teachings of demons." In reading these four verses carefully, we realize that the present state of apostasy is similar to that spoken of in the Scriptures, and from this we see that our present age is indeed the end time. Those who have taken in the teachings of the demons are not even aware that, in fact, they are teachings of the demons. On the contrary, they publicize them. Is this not a very pitiful situation?