Answer: Yes, the Devil has been mankind’s adversary ever since the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 2, God gave Adam an essential instruction:  “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die'” (vv. 16-17).

The Bible identifies Satan—and he is described as the subtle, clever, lying serpent that deceived or lied to Eve and Adam. We read in Genesis 3: “Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil'” (vv. 4-5)

God said that if you eat it you will die. Satan said you shall not surely die.

Throughout Scripture, Satan is mentioned more than 35 times. The Gospels refer to Satan as “tempter” (Matthew 4:3), “ruler of demons” (Matthew 9:34; 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15), “evil one” (Matthew 13:38), “enemy” (Matthew 13:39), “the father of lies” (John 8:44), “a murderer” (John 8:44), and “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). Paul referred to him as “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “the prince of the powers of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), “the ruler of the darkness of this age” (Ephesians 6:12); and “tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). Paul warned the Corinthians that Satan may appear as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). In the General Epistles he is referred to as “an adversary” (1 Peter 5:8) and “the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Revelation refers to him as “one who deceives” (Revelation 12:9), “an accuser” (Revelation 12:10), “a serpent” (Revelation 12:9), and “a dragon” (Revelation 12:3-17; 13:2, 11).

Satan is the original liar, murder, and great deceiver. He has been in direct opposition with God ever since he rebelled against his Creator.  Although we share in responsible for the actions we take and the sins we may commit, it is Satan who was, and who is, first responsible for the suffering of the world and for the lies that people believe.  His influence is strong and, sadly, more people believe the lies of Satan than believe the truth found in the Bible.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus clearly shows Satan’s influence. “Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved” (Luke 8:12). The Devil is real and is “hell-bent” on destruction. He wants to deceive Christians into letting their guard down, quenching the Holy Spirit within them, and tearing them away from the Word of God.  So, knowing that the Devil Is real should keep us armored active and alert.

Satan also manifests or transforms himself as an angel of light, and in this manner he is also able to influence and even control modern-day preachers. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. They transform themselves into apostles and ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

We should not assume every “spiritual” influence we feel is from God. Scripture warns us: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). If somebody tells you to bow to the Sun in the east to worship God, or tells you that God’s law is done away and it’s now OK to murder or steal or lie, or tells you his church has the authority to change Scripture, test those spirits and reject their influence on you!

We understand that this does not represent a comprehensive answer on this topic. Comments? Suggestions? Discuss with a minister?

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