SATAN THE ADVERSARY
If satan, the devil, is not what he has been thought to be, what then, might he be? Some call him an it, depersonalizing the devil, but Jesus and the writers of the scriptures used pronouns when referring to him; therefore, we conclude that it is a proper usage. Nevertheless, it appears that the word SATAN should not be treated as a proper noun. From our research we find that the Hebrew does not regard the word as one’s personal name. Satan is a transliterated Hebrew word, pronounced saw-tawn. (A transliterated word is carried over from one language to another with very little spelling change, if any at all. The letters are given the new language’s alphabet, otherwise, it remains basically the same.) History also shows that satan was not always regarded as an individual but became a part of the Jew’s religion later on (ref. Pub #38, pg 8).
The Hebrew word satan is used two ways, with the definite article, the satan, and without the article. In more modern times, it has been assumed that the definite article was suggesting a personal name; therefore, it has been commonly rendered that way (Satan). However, to use that premise, it would also be necessary to translate the word devil as a personal name when the definite article is used with it, but this is never done. Devil is always used as a descriptive title, while satan is very often translated as the name for the devil.
The word, Satan, simply means “an adversary.” It is anything that is adverse to ones desires, well being, goals or causes, whether they are good, bad, real or imagined. One example of how this word can be used says that the angel of the Lord was a satan. This was the angel who stood in Balaam’s way when he was on his way to curse Israel. It relates, “…And the angel of the Lord stood in the way for and ADVERSARY (SATAN, Heb.) against him.” (Num. 22:22). Satan is translated properly here and we quote GESENIUS’ HEB. CHALDEE LEXICON TO THE OLD TESTAMENT for confirmation: SATAN — “Adversary, as in war, an enemy, I Sam. 29:4, I Kg. 11:23, 25; in a court of justice, Psa. 109:6; and whoever opposes himself to another, II Sam. 19:23….”
Truthfully speaking, and according to the definition of this word, any saint of God could be called a satan, and it would be a compliment. This, of course, is when they are engaged in battle against their enemy, the devil. They would then be an adversary to the devil. They would be in opposition to their foe. Hence, they would be a SATAN to SATAN. In other words, they would be and adversary to their adversary. They would be opposing their opposition. They would be an enemy to their enemy, etc.
Now don’t start spreading rumors that Brother Roach is saying Christians are devils, for this IS NOT what is being said here. (Please read and listen carefully.) You see, the DEVIL is a TRADUCER, a channel of an act, as one language is transferred through a translator into another language. This is the spiritual influence which sets in the carnal minds of all humanity. On the other hand, a SATAN is simply an ADVERSARY, regardless of whether it is on God’s side or the enemy’s. It can be the devil in the mind, for this indeed is an adversary to us, but it can also be something or someone other than this. It can be one of the good guys or one of the bad guys. It can be a bad spirit that wars against the Holy Spirit, or it can be the other way around. A SATAN IS SIMPLY AN ADVERSE OPPONENT TO SOMEONE OR SOMETHING ELSE.
When the definite article “the” is used with the word satan, this is not stating the devil’s name but is saying this adversary is the chief adversary to whomever it is an adversary to. This is no doubt why the government of Iran calls The United States of America “THE GREAT SATAN”; for indeed, we are THE GREATEST ADVERSARY they have. We stand in the way of their desires, their goals and aspirations of tyranny. The United States of America is like the angel of the Lord, with a flaming sword in hand, who is adversely hindering their evil progress. Therefore, they can rightly say we are their great satan, but we are not the satan that is fixed in the average Christian’s minds.
I have no idea what the nations of the middle east true concepts of satan are, but would venture to say, they understand the meaning of the word and use it accordingly. With the mind-set our western, civilized nations have, however, I doubt that the word will ever be able to be used properly. Even with a deliberated study, some people will still have a hard time understanding what either the devil or the satan truly is, for tradition and mind-sets are extremely blinding and almost impossible to overcome. Moreover, most have not given much thought that the Bible very often refers to religion as satan, and most of the world’s religions are certainly adverse to people’s spiritual growth and relationship to God. This is done by slander, lies, spurious teachings, rituals, creeds, and laws which are all very adverse to saints. It is little wonder that Jesus told the Pharisees that they were of their father, the devil.