It might be a surprise to discover that the word ‘Devil’ doesn’t appear in the Old Testament! The singular word ‘devil’ is not found from Genesis to Malachi.

Why is it that ‘the Devil,’ which is frequently referred to in the New Testament, escapes mention for the 4000 years of recorded Old Testament history? If the Devil is a conniving, supernatural trouble-maker luring people away from God, why would there not be any warnings given about him until New Testament times?

There are 4 references to ‘devils’ (plural) in the KJV, but this is actually the Hebrew word ‘saiyr’ which means ‘shaggy, a he goat, devil, goat, hairy, kid, rough, satyr.’ This same word ‘saiyr’ is translated ‘goat’ or ‘kid’ 53 other times and left untranslated twice as ‘satyr’. The 4 references where ‘saiyr’ is translated ‘devils’ refers to a type of idol that was worshipped, as in Deuteronomy 32:16-21:

“They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods… They sacrificed unto ‘devils,’ not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not… They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities:”


Perhaps Old Testament believers only knew of this evil being by the name, ‘Satan’?

In the KJV, Satan makes an appearance 13 times in the first few chapters of Job before disappearing from the narrative for the rest of the book. We also read of Satan once in 1 Chronicles 21, once in Psalms 109, and 3 times in Zechariah chapter 3. 

Looking up the Hebrew word ‘satan’ (yes, ‘satan’ is the actual Hebrew word) we find that it means “an opponent; especially (with the article prefixed) Satan, the arch enemy of good:” and Strong’s tells us that the word is translated into English in the KJV as, ‘adversary, Satan, withstand.’

If we look up all the places the Hebrew word – Strong’s H7854 – appears in the KJV, regardless of how it is translated, we find a few more references to add to our list, which give some interesting details on who or what ‘Satan’ is:


Beginning in Numbers 22:22, we find an angel standing in the way as an ‘adversary’ (H7854 ‘satan’) to Balaam, in order to stop Balaam from sinning against God! So, a good angel is a ‘satan’ to a misguided prophet!


 In the next instance, 1 Samuel 29:4, the Philistines were worried that David might become an ‘adversary’ (H7854 ‘satan’) to them in the battle. So, again we have a good individual, David, potentially being a ‘satan’ to the enemies of God. Remember, when reading the original Hebrew text, this word ‘satan’ would be written as ‘satan’ in all these instances. It’s the English translators who made the decision when to translate this Hebrew word as ‘adversary’ and when to leave it untranslated as ‘Satan.’


David worried that his nephews (sons of Zeruiah) were ‘adversaries’ (H7854 ‘satan’) to him because they were trying to talk him into killing Shimei in 2 Samuel 19:22.


King Solomon was very thankful that he didn’t have any ‘adversaries’ (H7854 ‘satan’) at the beginning of his reign (1 Kings 5:4), but because of his sins, God ‘stirred up’ two ‘adversaries’ (H7854 ‘satan’) at the end (1 Kings 11:4, 23,25) – two men named, Hadad and Rezon.


In 1 Chronicles 21: 1, we read, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” However, there is a parallel occurrence in 2 Samuel 24:1 which says, “Again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go, number Israel and Judah.” So was God the adversary (H7854 ‘satan’) in this case, moving against Israel because of their wickedness?

Altogether in the Old Testament, it seems that anyone who opposes someone else, for good or bad, can be a ‘satan’. Your opponent is your satan, even if he/she is trying to help you do right.


The first two chapters in Job, record conversations between God and ‘Satan’ (H7854 – the same word meaning ‘an adversary’). But then we hear nothing more about Satan for the rest of the narrative! All the trouble that came upon Job is always attributed to God from chapter 3 to 42.

“Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9)

“Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him:” (Job 42:11)

So, who was this Satan that walked ‘to and fro’ on the earth and was with the ‘sons of God’ when they presented themselves before Him?


This phrase ‘sons of God’ can be used to refer to Divine angels as in Job 38:7. However, it is also used of godly humans, when they chose to marry the attractive ‘daughters of men’ in Genesis 6:2-4, meaning that believers chose to marry non-believers, as has happened many times in the history of the world. In the New Testament, the phrase ‘sons of God’ refers several times to the believers (John 1:12; Romans 8:14; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2).

It’s important to note that at the end of the book of Job, God rebukes Job’s friends for speaking wrongly about Him, but nothing is said to ‘Satan’. If Satan was the cause of all Job’s trouble, would it not be appropriate for God to address the adversary and set things right? Because of this, some feel that Job’s three friends were the ‘satan’ as they were inwardly jealous of Job and their wrong perception of God’s dealings with humankind and their accusatory words stirred Job up to say things that he later regretted. Their words were more damaging to Job’s faithfulness than the terrible losses he faced. One, or all of them, may have been praying to God against Job at the beginning of the narrative. John Pople has written a helpful book on this subject, “To Speak Well of God”


If you read through Isaiah 45 and 46, you will see that God claims He has no rival. This passage in Isaiah would be an appropriate place to explain that there is a supernatural Devil who thinks he can rival God if there were indeed such a being.


Instead, we find consistently throughout the OT, that it is man’s nature that opposes God and leads us into sin. At the time of the Flood, God saw that ‘the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ (Genesis 6:5) After the Flood, God acknowledges that, ‘the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth,’ (Genesis 8:21). There is no mention in the OT of a Supernatural Being drawing people away from the Creator. God blames the violence and wicked thoughts firmly on humankind. Solomon and Jeremiah likewise see the problem of evil stemming from man’s sinful heart:

“What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;” 1 Kings 8:38

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” Jeremiah 17:9-10


So, why is it then, that the devil features so prominently in the New Testament? Why is it that God waits 4000 years to tell believers about this powerful being – if indeed, the devil is a powerful being? If man’s own heart was capable of bringing about God’s decision to wipe everyone out nearly everyone in a Flood, have our hearts improved? Would a supernatural ‘devil’ add anything that we don’t already struggle with on our own? Why does the language change in the New Testament? We will look at these questions in Part 2 of this blog.

Click on this link for a Discovery worksheet investigating “Who Are Satan and the Devil in the Old Testament.”

All quotes are from the ESV or the KJV unless otherwise noted.

Today’s modern worldviews have led many to believe that humans are more moral than the “God” of the Bible, while some have dismissed the Creator altogether. Changes in our society that were initially put forward as benevolent and inclusive movements for humankind are now leading to an outright rejection of God! While human beings are portrayed as loving, caring, wonderful people, the “God” of the Old Testament is said to be hateful, uncaring, prejudiced and unfair. Really? Are we more moral than God?


Christianity began as a movement based on the strong foundation that the Bible was the true and inspired word from the Creator of heaven and earth.  Over time, such a view has eroded and many who call themselves ‘Christian’ are now hacking away at the very foundation on which they once stood. Yet the Bible makes the following claims,

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

“Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:20-21

And the Bible accurately predicted:

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 3:3-4

So, the Bible doesn’t claim to be just the writings of men, but the actual word of God! Either the Bible’s claims of inspiration are true and authoritative, or the whole book is a fraud based on outrageous lies. If the Bible is a fraud, then Christianity has no basis on which to call itself a viable religion.

On the other hand, if the Bible is divinely inspired and God is really who He says He is, then as the Creator and sustainer of our lives He has full authority upon which to set the standards. What standard has He set?


God’s first command to humans was, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it,” Genesis 1:28. He stated that He longs for the day when,  “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14. God’s purpose with His creation is to have a family that loves and respects Him, trusts that His guidance is right and reflects His values. Most parents would desire the same for their children. Our Father yearns for a relationship with us as a parent for a child… even His wayward children, and knows what is best for those He created, pleading, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:17-18 (NIV)

We are wonderfully designed to do many things which are immensely enjoyable and fulfilling. However, as human beings we have struggled from the very beginning to trust that our Creator has our best interests at heart, and because of this, we are no longer in the ‘very good’ condition in which God first created Adam and Eve. We are living in a ‘fallen state’, which is prone to sin.


There are various lists in the Bible, of behaviors that are against God’s values and purpose for His Creation. Everyone of us will surely relate to one or more of the tendencies listed, and realize that without self-restraint, those ‘fallen’ tendencies could cause us to harm ourselves or others. For instance, if someone has a natural tendency to lie and doesn’t try hard to be an honest person, they will deceive and lead people astray, often hurting themselves and others. Or if someone has a fierce temper and doesn’t learn to restrain their emotions, they will no doubt say or do things that will be harmful and destructive and fill their lives with deep regret. If a hot-headed person, a liar, a thief, or a murderer pleads that everyone should just ‘accept me as I am – I can’t change’, this is unlikely to console those they have wounded, or be accepted in a Court of Law.


God recognizes that we are in this ‘fallen state’ ever since Genesis 3. He knows and expects that we will make mistakes. He does not consider our ‘desires’ to be sinful – but holds us accountable for our wrongful actions. As it says in James 1:12-15, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him… But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Having a natural desire to do something that is against God’s will is not counted against us, and nor should we count it against others. It is sin when we give in to a wrongful desire and act on it. This is a very important distinction to make! Temptation itself isn’t sin; Jesus himself was tempted like we are, and yet was sinless (Hebrews 4:15). Sin is ‘missing the mark’ that God has set.

While God’s Law states, “the wages of sin is death,” Romans 6:23 (KJV), He has also provided the ultimate sacrifice for reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19) – giving His beloved and fully obedient Son over to the brutality of envious men who put Jesus Christ to death. Because Jesus was a sinless man and therefore not deserving of death, he broke the cycle of ‘sin and death’ when God raised him from the dead. This declared God’s righteousness (Romans 3:25-26). When we faithfully associate ourselves with Christ through baptism (Romans 6, Galatians 3), we too have the hope of forgiveness of sins and the promise of a resurrection to life. This is why Romans 6:23 goes on to say, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We can’t earn it, we don’t deserve it – it’s a FREE GIFT – for sinners!


However… and this is the big ‘however’ that often gets overlooked – sin must be acknowledged, confessed and an attempt made to forsake it in order for us to receive forgiveness.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10

Therefore, if we wish to find forgiveness from God, or if we wish to encourage others to find forgiveness and be granted His free gift of eternal life, it is very important that we recognize our Heavenly Father’s divine standard of right from wrong. To tell someone they can keep on sinning in whatever way – drunkenness, adultery, violence, stealing, etc. , and that God will accept them ‘just as they are’, will mislead them, causing them to lose the opportunity NOW to seek for forgiveness and eternal life. Such misleading… perhaps even by very compassionate, caring people, has occurred in the past:

“You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Malachi 2:17

“Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and you have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life…” Ezekiel 13:22-23


The New Testament warns us not to be deceived about moral issues… which indicates that deception on these matters is very likely! Yet, we are provided with the comforting promise that if we do our part to struggle against sin, and seek forgiveness through Christ Jesus when we fail, we will find grace and mercy.

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)

All these sins can be forgiven in Christ when we seek God’s salvation acknowledging His way is right.


Eternal life is at stake for us and for others. If we want to find forgiveness and life beyond the grave, we will try to conquer lustful desires that God has forbidden and do our best to overcome – NOT provide ourselves with ample opportunity for indulgence (Romans 13:14).  There are some desires that humans must fulfill in order to live – like eating food to satisfy hunger. But not all desires have to be satisfied immediately, or at all! There are desires that people have chosen not to pursue for various reasons, and have not only survived, but thrived – IF they have a ‘bigger’ picture in mind. For example, if you’re craving an ice cream sundae, it will be hard to resist unless you are hoping to win the big race the next day, or see lower numbers on your weigh scale. It’s the same with any desire we might want to overcome. Hebrews 11 is full of accounts of those who gave up desires or endured great suffering because they had their eyes on the prize! Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish:” (KJV) If we find it hard to give up something for God, perhaps we don’t fully appreciate the amazing promises God has made for the future. In that case, we may need to do a deeper investigation into what He has offered.

Paul gave up most earthly desires, and faced intense suffering because of his choices, yet he concluded: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him… that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11

Paul also said:

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” Colossians 3:2-5

It was for the ‘joy set before him’ that Jesus endured terrible suffering on the cross (Hebrews 12:1-2). He gave up marriage and children, owning a home, having a career, etc.. even though these things aren’t ‘sinful’. He had a direct connection to God and knew more than any of us about the amazing future promises, and he was fully confident that living forever in the Kingdom of God was far better that fulfilling any temporal desires. Therefore he was willing to have a short life, full of rejection and deprivation. Now he lives forever and sits on the right hand of His Father! Soon he will be coming back to be the King of the world!


Indulging our desires is not a guarantee for happiness, contrary to what the world tells us, and in many circumstances indulgence leads to misery. And if we want to help others to have a part in God’s promises and find forgiveness, we will recognize the need to speak up for God’s morality in an encouraging, empathetic, humble way, regardless of what laws this world may put in place. In the First Century, the Jewish lawmakers tried to command the disciples to stop preaching the good news about Jesus Christ. They were threatened with imprisonment, beatings and death, and yet, Peter boldly stated: “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29


For those who choose to follow Jesus Christ, he encourages us with these words:

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?Matthew 16:24-26

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:21

If you would like to do a more thorough study on God’s definition of morality in the Bible, especially in regards to ‘sexual sins’, click on the following Discovery Lesson “God’s Morality vs. 21st Century Morality”

All passages are from the ESV or KJV unless otherwise noted.

When Mr. Goodman Went Away

One of the questions dividing many churches and communities today, is how to faithfully handle the growing number of alternative lifestyle choices. Are these choices acceptable to God? Are they something new to the 20th century? As a Christian should we be warmly welcoming those who are openly making such choices? What does Jesus advise?

God’s Purpose 

In the beginning, God made a beautiful world. He didn’t make the world because He thought humans deserved such a world. We are told that He made the world for His purpose. God’s stated purpose is that one day the world will be full of people who bring glory to Him (Numbers 14:21; Revelation 22:12-17) Glory is brought to God when we acknowledge that His ways are right and are the best way for us to live.

God made a woman for Adam out of one of Adam’s ribs. God had just finished creating the whole world out of nothing, and could have easily created Eve from nothing – but he chose to create her in this special way, demonstrating the importance of the relationship between a man and woman. One of the intended purposes was procreation, and the first command was to ‘be fruitful and multiply’.  (Genesis 1:28) Sexuality wasn’t created just for our own pleasure, but to sustain God’s beautiful creation. Sexuality has a purpose.

The Fallen State

Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God and brought a curse upon the ‘very good’ creation, all of us in this fallen state, have some weakness/tendencies that are against God’s commands. There are many different weaknesses, whether it be anger, proneness to addictions, kleptomania, selfishness, murderous tendencies, sexual desires outside of marriage, lying, etc. (Romans 5:12-21; Mark 7:21-23) God has given us ‘free will’, but if we want to live FOREVER, he asks us to overcome our weaknesses and seek to follow His way, not our own. God promises His help. His Word – the Bible is there to guide us. Through prayer He will strengthen us, and He sent His Son Jesus to die for us, so that if we confess and ask for forgiveness – He will forgive ANY sin. “He who OVERCOMES shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7)

Our Choices

All throughout history, sexual desires have often provoked the strongest temptations of varied sorts, and for some, homosexuality is one of those temptations. Human tendencies towards homosexuality and alternative lifestyles has been noted from very first book of the Bible – Genesis 19, and is clearly referred to several times throughout the Bible, never in a positive light. Homosexuality is not new. There are very clear Bible passages that show God’s view of homosexuality, listed among other harmful tendencies that can become rampant once society loses sight of God’s Divine wisdom and purpose for His creation. (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:21-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 22:12-16) 

For instance in 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, it says: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” The passage continues on to say that all these sins can be ‘washed away’ or forgiven, but urges us to ‘flee sexual immorality’ and “glorify God in your body.”

Celebrating Sin

Desiring another person’s spouse, engaging in sex before marriage, and several other sexual acts are also clearly stated to be wrong in God’s eyes, just as thieving, greediness, drunkeness and swindling, etc. are also condemned. However, being prone to weakness and temptation doesn’t mean we are rejected from God’s love, or none of us would have hope. But if we were to say, “I’m proud to be a greedy person. I can’t do anything about it – it’s just the way I am. Everyone has to applaud me for being greedy,” then, we are unlikely to confess our selfish actions as sin, and ask for God’s forgiveness. Without confession and repentance, there is no forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9; See also Luke 24:46-47; Psalm 32:1-5; Proverbs 28:13). There is a HUGE DIFFERENCE between struggling with a temptation, or choosing to proudly give oneself over to it.

Celebrating or Confessing?

Should Christians today warmly embrace those living alternative lifestyles? The answer to this depends on the attitude that is displayed. Christians who hold God’s Word as the authority for their lives, understand that we ALL need help, kindness, and HONEST direction from God’s Word and Holy Spirit to EMPOWER change…to OVERCOME.

However, when someone chooses to celebrate a weakness as something to be PROUD OF, and demands that others applaud their choice to openly embrace that tendency as something GOOD, those who love God’s Word, cannot faithfully give their approval. We know that this is God’s creation – not ours. He has a purpose with His creation. When Jesus returns to judge this world and become King of the Earth, we want to be on His side. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-11)

Do We Love Jesus?

Jesus said, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.” (John 14:21; 1 John 2:1-6) Many want to talk about Jesus loving us. However, how often in these discussions do we hear anyone ask whether or not WE LOVE JESUS? To love and keep Jesus and His Father’s commands, is the way we demonstrate our love for them.

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:2-4)