Satan Behind the Mask
TODAY, Satan is receiving worldwide attention. Reams have been written in newspapers, magazines, and religious tracts about him. Radio and television programs have been devoted to the religion that bears his name.
“Satan,” written forward and backward, can be seen on public benches, painted on bridges and walls of abandoned buildings and storefronts, and whitewashed on plate-glass windows. The lure and subsequent entrapment of people, especially youths, into the religion that bears the name Satan has become phenomenal.
In spite of the widespread publicity, however, there are diverse opinions regarding who, or what, Satan really is. To many, including his most devout followers, Satan is cloaked in anonymity. “It runs the gamut,” said a professor of religion, “all the way from people who believe in a literal person who is Satan to the other extreme of those who believe this a symbolic figure of speech and who simply dismiss the idea.”
When another professor of religion at a Baptist theological seminary characterized Satan as ‘God’s servant,’ rather than His archenemy, it touched off a religious furor. Many phone calls and letters to the church’s publishing company protested this interpretation. “If Satan is accepted as a servant of God,” said one conservative Baptist minister, “then that makes God our adversary.” However, another Baptist minister and professor of religion countered with the observation that Baptist board members “have not taken a poll to see what is the official Baptist position” on Satan.
Actually, the members of many churches do not really know what their religion teaches about Satan. One newspaper writer observed: “Few churches have a doctrine stating what their members should believe about Satan, so the subject becomes intensely personal.” Some even teach that the Devil simply represents the evil within us. For example, Presbyterian minister A. D. Ellison claims that Jesus was tempted in the desert, not by some supernatural satanic being, but by his own self-centeredness.
It is no wonder that church members are in doubt as to the identity of Satan, since their religious leaders are in doubt as well.
Who He Is
The Scriptures, however, are very clear and emphatic regarding who Satan is. Almighty God created many spirit creatures who have access to him in the heavens and who are his servants. The Bible reveals that when God “founded the earth,” creating it for future human habitation, “all the sons of God [angelic spirit creatures] began shouting in applause.” (Job 38:4, 7) In time, one of these angels turned against his Creator, becoming a rebel, an opposer.
This original opposer, or Satan (meaning “Resister”), was the one who used a serpent as a mouthpiece when speaking to Eve to induce her to disobey God. (Genesis 3:1-6) That is why he is also called “the original serpent.” (Revelation 12:9) Jesus himself said of Satan: “That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him.” (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8) Jesus thus identified Satan as one who once enjoyed God’s favor but who rebelled against Jehovah God.
Although some say that the Devil refers simply to an abstract principle of evil, the qualities and actions attributed to Satan in the Bible can be attributed only to a person. Indeed, the Bible shows that Satan is a real, invisible spirit person whose avowed purpose is to turn mankind away from serving the Creator, Jehovah God. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus could not have been tempted by a mere quality of evil or ‘his own self-centeredness.’ For evil, or selfishness, could not dwell within Jesus, since the Bible makes it clear that Jesus was “guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners.”—Hebrews 7:26; Luke 4:1-13.
Quest for Power
Satan rebelled against God in a quest for power, out of a desire to rule over others, to be their god, to be worshiped. (2 Corinthians 4:4) To Adam and Eve he offered power and freedom—“to be like God” in making their own decisions as to what is good and bad, right and wrong. (Genesis 3:5) Power and freedom are what Satan still offers his worshipers.
Thus, a teenage Satanist named Sean, who had just murdered his parents and a third victim, wrote: “I am free. I can kill without remorse.” At another time he wrote in his own blood: “I renounce God, I renounce Christ, I will serve only Satan . . . Hail Satan.”
Randy Shores, a teenager and former member of a satanic cult explained: “It was great then, that you had all that power.” Shores emphasized that ‘power was the lure, the power that comes from the group to protect you, from the rituals and spells done to harm someone else, and from the secrecy.’
Yes, there is the belief among many of Satan’s worshipers that he will provide power to those who follow his teachings. And the understanding of some satanic worshipers is that this means power to murder without retribution. The publicized murders by worshipers of Satan reveal that they really believe that by murder they can ingratiate themselves with the Devil. So there is need to take seriously the growing menace of satanic worship.
Do Not Be Deceived
Remember, Satan is real. He is not the figment of someone’s imagination. His greatest delight is to discredit God and His Word, the Bible, and to entrap as many as he can in his web of destruction. But God has already initiated action against Satan, authorizing his removal from the heavens to the confines of the earth. Satan’s confinement to earth has no doubt been a factor in the recent revival of Satanism.—Revelation 12:7-12.
Parents need to be attentive. In many cases when children have embraced Satanism, it was because their parents did not give them the love and attention they needed. The children resented the seeming abandonment and became easy prey for satanic recruiters.
Happily, however, the end of Satan and his influence is near. Soon he and all his followers will suffer defeat and total destruction. The great God, Jehovah, whom Satan and his demons have boastfully defied, will use his Warrior-King, Jesus Christ, to put these wicked persons out of the way. (1 John 3:8; Revelation 20:1-3, 10) In the meantime, may you be among those who resist Satan and find protection in the loving brotherhood of the organized worshipers of the true God, Jehovah.
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Source of True Protection
In a letter to The Times Herald Record of Middletown, New York, a man described how he became involved in seeking occult powers. He had been enticed by the writings of two psychotherapists who had compiled a recipe for acquiring these powers. “I eagerly followed the recipe,” he explained, “but paid for it by six weeks of nightly terror.
“Fortunately,” he continued, “two [of] Jehovah[’s] Witnesses advised me, among other things, to pray to Jehovah and this I did nightly when I started experiencing strange sensations.” What were the results?
“On the last night of terror,” he said, “whatever was possessing me relinquished its grip . . . After that time, I’ve had no more bad experiences.” This person learned, as he wrote the newspaper, that “God condemns participants in occult practices (Deuteronomy 18:10-13).”—February 27, 1988.
The above scripture De 18:10-13 says in part: “There should not be found in you . . . anyone who employs divination, a practicer of magic or anyone who looks for omens or a sorcerer, or one who binds others with a spell or anyone who consults a spirit medium or a professional foreteller of events or anyone who inquires of the dead. For everybody doing these things is something detestable to Jehovah.”
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Parents, Watch for Signs
Because of the appeal of Devil worship to youths, parents should be alert to signs that their children may be involved. An authority on satanic cults, Evon Peterson, advised:
“They (youth) need someone to believe in them. . . . They’re begging for someone to pay attention to them . . . to listen to them. The cults are very good at listening. If the parents aren’t there, the cultists are.”
Angelo Pierri, a counselor in New Jersey, warns: “I know you’re probably saying, ‘it’s just a fad,’ but that’s exactly what the satanists want you to think. They don’t want to be exposed. They don’t want light shed on their activities.”
It is especially vital to observe the music that young people listen to. Much of today’s heavy metal rock music is saturated with satanic messages and symbolism. “It is extremely perverted,” Peterson notes, “with messages to kill and hurt. It fills the kid’s needs to act out violence.”
Last year a 14-year-old New Jersey youth stabbed his mother to death and then killed himself. Posters of heavy metal rock musicians covered the walls of his room. The boy’s father pleaded afterward: “Tell parents to watch what music their children listen to.” He said that the entire week before the killings, his son had sung a rock song “about blood and killing your mother.”
Indeed, Satanism is a deadly, growing menace. The first step in combating it is to be informed. Then confront it. Yes, the Bible is correct when it says that we have a fight “against the wicked spirit forces.” (Ephesians 6:12) Satan and his demons really do exist, and they are behind all these devilish practices.