This subject, the Devil, should be of interest to all. To the average mind, the devil is an immortal angel cast out of heaven. (Revelation 12:7-9). He is sometimes referred to as "Lucifer son of the Morning." (Isaiah 14:12). This being, this superhuman immortal monster is said to preside over hell and keeps the subterranean fires burning and all the while he gloats over the agonies of billions and billions who are to be tormented day and night forever and forever. (Revelation 20:10). This is the sincere belief of millions of people, but Christadelphians deny the existence of any such being. Thinking people have trouble in harmonizing the existence of such a being as the devil of popular theology with the Great Creator of the Universe as a God of infinite love and mercy. Many people who do not have the time to study this perplexing question, accept the traditional view regarding a burning hell and the existence of a personal immortal devil. Has such a devil ever been seen by any one? Has any book ever been written that tells of the creation of such a monster of power and wickedness? Where can we go to get at the real facts about the devil? The Bible is the only book that supplies the answer.
Is The Devil a Fallen Angel?
You will read about Lucifer in Isaiah 14. The key to an understanding of who Lucifer really was is found in verse 4, "That thou shalt take up this proverb against the King of Babylon." The proud, haughty king of Babylon as Lucifer. He declared himself to be like the Most High, "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell (grave) to the sides of the pit" (verse 15). "Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake the kingdoms?" (verse 16). Verses 1-3 show that God was going to have compassion upon the Kingdom of Israel but proud Babylon- Lucifer- a day star at the time was to be destroyed, brought down to hell and be no more. In Isaiah 13:19-20 we read, "Babylon, the glory of Kingdoms, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited." Friends, you'll have to look somewhere else to find the immortal devil of popular theology.
The Devil - Who is He?
Was He Created?
My friends, this may shock some of you. The word "devil" is not found in the Old Testament. If the popular belief that the devil is a superhuman, immortal being having hoofs, horns, and a tail, is it not strange that the Old Testament does not mention such a being? The word "devils," plural, is mentioned in various places in the Old Testament, so you see there must have been a number of them. But what were these devils? Whatever they were, they "came newly up." We read in Deuteronomy 32:17, "They sacrifice unto devils, not to gods that came newly up whom your fathers feared not." Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew nothing of these devils that came "newly up." These devils, which really were idols were never heard of until Israel came in contact with idol worship in Babylon and Egypt. Let me quote two passages of scripture to prove that devils and idols mentioned are not the popular devil of theology. In I Corinthians 8:4 Paul says, "We know that an idol is nothing in the world, and there is none other God but one." In I Corinthians 10:19,20 we read, "What say I then? That the idol is anything, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say that the thing which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that ye have fellowship with devils." "The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands - they see not - they hear not." (Psalms 135:15-17). In Revelation 9:20 we read of "devils, and idols of gold and silver and stone, and of wood; which can neither see, nor hear, nor walk." An idol, or devil, which can neither see nor hear nor walk surely cannot be the immortal devil of popular theology. If we believe in a devil's hell where wicked men and women will be tortured through all eternity, how can we believe that the "wages of sin is death" and that "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23). How can we believe Paul's statement in I Corinthians 15:26 that Christ will destroy the last enemy which is death? How can we believe that Christ through death will "destroy him that hath the power of death, that is the devil?" If the devil of popular theology is true, ask yourself why God created a being more powerful than himself, a being who is in all parts of the world tempting weak mortal man, "made of the dust of the ground?" (Genesis 2:7). Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14 that the broad way leads to destruction, and that, the narrow way, that leads to life, only a "few there be that find it." Now in the face of such testimony is it not blasphemy to believe in a devil who has so much more power than God? Ample testimony can be given to sow that God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. The word devil, like the word hell, has various meanings. The two Greek words translated devil are diamon from which we get the word demon. The other word is diabolos, and means accuser. The first word, diamon or demon was used by the Greeks and applied to supposed departed spirits. If a man had lost his reason, he was said to be possessed was to cure him of his affliction. In Matthew 17:14018 we read of a certain man kneeling before Jesus saying: "Lord have mercy on my son for he is a lunatick, and sore vexed, for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water". Now note verse 18, "and Jesus rebuked the devil (demon) and he departed out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour." In Mark 1:34 we read, "And he (Jesus) healed many that were sick of divers diseases and cast out many devils, and suffered not the devils to speak because they knew him." Note the Aramaic translation of this last sentence, "And he did not allow the insane to speak because some of them were his acquaintances." Read the story in Luke 8:26-36 of the man possessed of many devils. When Jesus healed him the man was "clothed and in his right mind." The medical profession today can point to people afflicted as they were in the days of Jesus. You cannot get a correct view of the mission of Christ unless you understand the meaning of the word devil from diabolis, meaning an accuser. The word is rendered devil about 30 times in the New Testament and may be used in any case where slander, accusation or falsehood is involved. Judas was a false accuser, hence Jesus could say "Have I not chosen twelve, and one of you is a devil?" (John 6:70). Jesus applied the term to Roman officers who persecuted the early Christians. Revelation 2:10 reads, "The devil shall cast some of you into prison." When the whole nation turned against God's servants we read the symbolic language, "The dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world." (Revelation 12:9). Paul in I Timothy 3:11 tells the wives of deacons not to be devils. The words in the King James Version reads, "Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers" (Diabolos). In Titus 2:3 the aged woman, likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers (diabolos). If the translators had been consistent, the word "devils" should have been used instead of slanderers and "false accusers."
To get at the real meaning of the devil and his destruction you must know and understand the nature of Christ. He was the "word made flesh" (John 1:14). "But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His son, made of a woman, made under the law" (Galatians 4:4). Now read Hebrews 2:14-16, "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood he (Christ) also himself likewise took part in the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil- For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Christ a flesh and blood being could die. He could be tempted and "was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15).
If the powerful orthodox devil be admitted as a fact does not it not appear absurd for Christ to take a weak nature similar to all humanity in order to destroy such a being? Christ died more than 1900 years ago, but is the devil of popular theology dead? Christ not only dies to destroy the devil, but also the works of the devil. In I John 3:8 we read, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Christ died to destroy the devil and the works of the devil. Do you believe he will do it? If you do, then away goes your immortal devil and his nefarious work of keeping immortal souls burning forever and forever in hellfire. Christadelphians do not believe in the immortal devil of popular theology, neither do we believe that people have immortal souls. The devil Christ came to destroy is sin. What did Christ accomplish in his death? He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself (Hebrews 9:26). Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures. (I Corinthians 15:3). He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5). He was manifested to take away our sins (I John 3:5).
Christ through death destroyed or took out of the way "the sin of the world" and thereby destroyed the Bible devil. Note carefully Romans 8:3, "God sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh." Sin in the flesh, then, is the Bible devil destroyed by Jesus in His death. This is the devil having power of death, for sin is the thing that causes death.
Will anyone challenge the following testimonies on this subject? By man came death (I Corinthians 15:21), "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin" (Romans 5:12). "The wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23). "Sin hath reigned unto death". (Romans 5:21) "Sin bringeth death." (James1:15) "The sting of death is sin." (I Corinthians 15:55) Do you agree that sin is the cause of death? But who prompts men to sin? Is it the devil of popular belief? Let James answer the question. "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin, ad sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15) "All that is in the world" John defines to be "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," (I John 2:16) Jesus says in Mark 7:21, "For from within, out of the hear of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, murders, deceit, and evil eye, pride, foolishness, etc." Jeremiah 17:9 says "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and who can know it?"
Christadelphians believe sin in the flesh is the devil, and when death the last enemy is destroyed there will be no more devil.