Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and for in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): I am certain that one of the main causes of the ill state of the Church today is the fact that the devil is being forgotten. All is attributed to us; we have all become so psychological in our attitude and thinking. We are ignorant of this great objective fact—the being, the existence of the devil.
A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Is the Devil a living reality, or is he nothing more than a figment of the imagination? Is the word “Satan” merely a synonym for wickedness, or does it stand for a concrete entity?
In cultured circles it has become the custom to return a negative answer to these questions, and to flatly deny the existence of the Tempter. Among such people it is regarded as a mark of intellectual superiority to repudiate the personality of the Devil. By many, Satan is now looked upon as a product of priestcraft, a relic of superstition, the myth of a bygone age. With others, Satan is simply an abstraction, a mere negation, the opposite of good. “All the Devil there is, is the devil within you,” is the last word of “modern thought.” The words which Goethe puts into the mouth of Mephistopholes—“I am the Spirit of Negation”—is accepted as a good workable definition of the Devil. He is regarded as a mere abstract principle of evil. As someone has quaintly put it, “They spell Devil without a ‘d’, as they spell God with two ‘o’s’. Good and evil is their scheme.”
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Away with the silly thought!―It is he, who is continually going to the ears of intellectual and highly educated people, persuading them that the old Bible is not true, and advising them to be content with Atheism, Agnosticism, Secularism, and a general contempt for the world to come.
A. W. PINK: But the more general conception of Satan is different from the above. The popular idea, the one that prevails among the masses, may be gathered from the pictorial representations of him which appear on the street posters, which are to be met with in our illustrated magazines, and which are displayed upon the stage—where he is pictured as a grotesque monster in human form, having horns, hoofs and forked tail. Such a conception is an insult to intelligent people, and in consequence, the Devil has come to be regarded either as a bogey with which to frighten naughty children, or as a fit subject for jest and joke.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: So at this point we must assert our faith. We shall be regarded as fools. Any man who believes in the devil today is regarded as almost unintelligent, yet if you believe the Bible you must believe in [the existence] of this tremendous person and his awful power.
A. W. PINK: Thirty-five times [in the Bible] he is denominated “The Devil,” which means “The Accuser” or “Slanderer”—accusing the saints before God and traducing the character of God before men. Fifty-two times he is called “Satan,” which means “Enemy” or “Adversary.” He is God’s enemy and man’s adversary. “Satan” refers to his character: the malignant Adversary of all good—in God or His creatures. “Devil” refers to his mode of carrying out his evil designs: by lying slanders, false accusations, evil traducings.
He is termed “The Prince of this world,” John 14:30, which defines his position in relation to our earth. He is named “Beelzebub,” Matthew 12:27, which regards him as the head of the demons. He is spoken of as the “Wicked One,” Matthew 13:19 which refers to him as the prime mover of all wickedness. He is styled “Apollyon,” that is “Destroyer,” Revelation 9:11, which links him with the Bottomless Pit. He is referred to as “The Prince of the power of the air,” Ephesians 2:2, which points to his present home and sphere of operations—cf. Ephesians 6:12. He is termed “Lucifer” which means “Morning Star,” Isaiah 14:12, a title which seems to have belonged to him before his apostasy. He is called “The god of this world,” 2 Corinthians 4:4, because he is the inspirer and director of all spurious religion. He is termed “Liar, and the father of it,” John 8:44, because he is the inveterate opposer of the truth. These and other titles of Satan are meaningless unless he is a personal being.
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I believe Satan to exist for two reasons: first, the Bible says so; and second, I’ve done business with him.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Those of us who have passed through any spiritual conflicts know that Satan is a terribly real personage.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The first act of the ministry of Jesus Christ was a combat with Satan.
A. W. PINK: No unbiased mind can read carefully the fourth chapter of Matthew without coming to the conclusion that we have recorded there a real conflict between two persons—our Lord Jesus Christ and Satan…To say, in reply, We admit that Christ there is a real person but that “the Devil” must be regarded as a personification of evil, is blasphemy, for it impugns the character of our blessed Lord. Unlike every fallen son of Adam who is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, the Lord Jesus Christ was sinless…He declared, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me,” John 14:30. As then there was no evil in our blessed Saviour, the one who tempted Him must have been external and personal. To deny that Matthew 4 presents Satan as a personal entity is either to traduce our Lord’s character, or, it is to reduce the entire narrative to meaningless jargon. Everything that is said of Satan in this chapter indicates and intimates that he is as real and actual a person as the Lord Jesus Himself. The tempter “came to Him.” He spoke, yea, reasoned and argued. He took Christ up into the holy city. He quoted to Him from the Psalms. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. He sought worship from the Saviour. At His word “he departed from Him for a season.” All of which is proof positive—to one that believes in the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures—that Satan is a living person.
J. C. RYLE: Does anyone foolishly suppose that the devil is asleep, or dead, or less mischievous now than in the past? Nothing of the kind! He is still “walking about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” 1 Peter 5:8; He is still “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it,” Job 1:7…It is he, above all, who persuades foolish people that there is no such person as a devil, no future judgment after death, and no hell.