“We are not ignorant of [Satan’s] schemes.”—2 CORINTHIANS 2:11, footnote.
1. After Adam and Eve sinned, what did Jehovah reveal about our enemy?
ADAM knew that serpents cannot talk. So when he learned that a serpent had spoken to Eve, perhaps Adam realized that it was actually a spirit who spoke. (Genesis 3:1-6) Adam and Eve did not know who this spirit was. However, Adam chose to join this stranger and rebel against his loving heavenly Father. (1 Timothy 2:14) Right away, Jehovah began to reveal more about this wicked enemy and promised that he would eventually be destroyed. But Jehovah warned that in the meantime, the spirit who had spoken through the snake would oppose all those who love God.—Genesis 3:15.
2, 3. What may be the reason why Jehovah revealed little about Satan before the Messiah arrived?
2 Jehovah has never told us the personal name of the angel who rebelled against him.* (See footnote.) It was not until 2,500 years after the rebellion in Eden that Jehovah revealed who the rebel was. (Job 1:6) He is known by the title “Satan,” which means “Resister.” Only three books in the Hebrew Scriptures, 1 Chronicles, Job, and Zechariah, even mention Satan. Why was so little revealed about this enemy before the Messiah arrived?
3 Jehovah did not include in the Hebrew Scriptures many details about Satan and what he does. After all, the purpose of the Hebrew Scriptures was to help people to recognize and follow the Messiah. (Luke 24:44; Galatians 3:24) When the Messiah arrived, Jehovah used him and his disciples to reveal much of what we know about Satan and the angels who joined him.* (See footnote.) This is appropriate, because Jehovah will use Jesus and the anointed to destroy Satan and his followers.—Romans 16:20; Revelation 17:14; 20:10.
With help from Jehovah, Jesus, and the faithful angels, we can resist our enemy
4. Why should we not be terrified of the Devil?
4 The apostle Peter describes Satan the Devil as “a roaring lion,” and John calls him a “serpent” and a “dragon.” (1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9) But we should not be terrified of the Devil. His power is limited. (Read James 4:7.) We have the protection of Jehovah, Jesus, and the faithful angels. With their help, we can resist our enemy. Still, we need to know the answers to three important questions: How much influence does Satan have? How does he try to influence people? And what are the things he cannot do? Let us answer these questions and see what lessons we can learn.
HOW MUCH INFLUENCE DOES SATAN HAVE?
5, 6. Why are human governments not able to bring the changes mankind needs most?
5 Many angels joined Satan in rebelling against God. Before the Flood, Satan tempted at least some of them into having sexual relations with women. The Bible describes this in a symbolic way when it says that the dragon who fell from heaven dragged a third of the stars with him. (Genesis 6:1-4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:3, 4) When those angels abandoned God’s family, they put themselves under Satan’s control. We should not think that these rebel angels are a disorganized group. In the invisible spirit world, Satan has set up his own government in imitation of God’s Kingdom. He has made himself king, and he has organized the demons, given them power, and made them world rulers.—Ephesians 6:12.
6 Satan uses his organization to control all human governments. We can be sure of this, because he showed Jesus “all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth” and said: “I will give you all this authority and their glory, because it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” (Luke 4:5, 6) Still, many governments do good things for their citizens, and some rulers sincerely want to help people. But no human ruler can bring the changes we need most.—Psalm 146:3, 4; Revelation 12:12.
7. In addition to using governments, how does Satan use false religion and the business world? (See opening picture.)
7 Satan and the demons also use false religion and the business world to mislead “the entire inhabited earth,” or all of mankind. (Revelation 12:9) Satan uses false religion to spread lies about Jehovah, and he has even tried to hide God’s name. (Jeremiah 23:26, 27) As a result, some sincere people who think that they are worshipping God are actually worshipping demons. (1 Corinthians 10:20; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15) Satan also uses the business world to spread lies, such as the lie that money and things make people happy. (Proverbs 18:11) Those who believe this lie spend their lives serving “Riches” rather than God. (Matthew 6:24) Even if they once loved God, their love for material things becomes so strong that their love for God disappears.—Matthew 13:22; 1 John 2:15, 16.
We must choose whether to be on Jehovah’s side or on Satan’s side
8, 9. (a) What two lessons can we learn from the actions of Adam, Eve, and the rebellious angels? (b) Why is it good for us to know that Satan controls the world?
8 There are two important lessons we can learn from the actions of Adam, Eve, and the rebellious angels. First, we learn that there are only two sides and that we must choose one. We can either be on Jehovah’s side or on Satan’s side. (Matthew 7:13) Second, we learn that those who join Satan get only limited benefits. Adam and Eve got the opportunity to decide for themselves what was right and what was wrong. And the demons got some power over human governments. (Genesis 3:22) But choosing Satan’s side always has bad results. There are no real benefits!—Job 21:7-17; Galatians 6:7, 8.
9 Why is it good for us to know that Satan controls the world? It helps us to have the correct view of governments and motivates us to preach the good news. We know that Jehovah wants us to respect the governments. (1 Peter 2:17) He expects us to obey their laws as long as those laws do not go against his standards. (Romans 13:1-4) But we also know that we must remain neutral and never support any political party or human leader. (John 17:15, 16; 18:36) Because we realize that Satan is trying to hide Jehovah’s name and damage His reputation, we do all we can to teach people the truth about our God. We are proud to be called by his name and to use it. Love of God is far more precious than love of money or things.—Isaiah 43:10; 1 Timothy 6:6-10.
HOW DOES SATAN TRY TO INFLUENCE OTHERS?
10-12. (a) How may Satan have used bait to tempt some angels? (b) What do we learn from what those angels did?
10 Satan uses effective methods to influence others. To get them to do what he wants, at times he uses bait to tempt them and at other times he tries to bully them.
11 Satan used bait to tempt a large number of angels. He probably watched them for a long time in order to know what would tempt them. Some angels took the bait and had sex with women. Their children were violent giants who were cruel to the people around them. (Genesis 6:1-4) In addition to using immorality to tempt those angels, Satan may also have promised them that they would gain power over all humans. In this way, Satan may have been trying to interfere with the fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecy about the ‘offspring of the woman.’ (Genesis 3:15) But Jehovah did not allow him to succeed. He brought the Flood, which ruined any such plans of Satan and the demons.
12 What do we learn from this? Immorality and pride are very effective types of bait. The angels who joined Satan had spent many years in heaven with God himself! Even so, many of them allowed wrong desires to develop in them, and these desires became very strong. We must always remember that no matter how long we have served Jehovah, bad desires can take root in our heart. (1 Corinthians 10:12) That is why we must constantly check what is in our heart and get rid of any immoral thoughts and selfish pride!—Galatians 5:26; read Colossians 3:5.
13. What is another type of bait that Satan uses, and how can we avoid it?
13 Another type of bait that Satan uses is curiosity about the supernatural. Today, he tries to get people interested in the demons by using false religion as well as entertainment. Movies, electronic games, and other kinds of entertainment can make the supernatural seem exciting. How can we avoid this bait? We should not expect God’s organization to give us a list of good and bad entertainment. We must train our conscience so that we can make good choices based on Jehovah’s principles. (Hebrews 5:14) And if our love for God is “without hypocrisy,” we will choose wisely. (Romans 12:9) A hypocritical person says one thing but does another. So when we choose entertainment, we could ask ourselves: ‘Am I following the same principles that I tell others to follow? What would my Bible students or the people I call on think if they saw the entertainment I choose?’ When we follow the same principles we tell others to follow, it is easier for us to reject Satan’s bait.—1 John 3:18.
14. How could Satan try to bully us, and how can we stand firm?
14 Satan also tries to bully and scare us so that we will become disloyal to Jehovah. For example, he may influence governments to ban our preaching work. He can influence our workmates or schoolmates to mock us for following Bible standards. (1 Peter 4:4) Satan can even influence our unbelieving family members, who may have good intentions but who may try to stop us from going to meetings. (Matthew 10:36) What can we do to stand firm against Satan’s bullying? We should not be surprised by such attacks, because we know that Satan is at war with us. (Revelation 2:10; 12:17) Also, we must remember what the real issue is: Satan claims that we serve Jehovah only when it is easy and that we will reject God if things become difficult. (Job 1:9-11; 2:4, 5) Finally, we must always ask Jehovah to give us strength. Remember that Jehovah will never abandon us.—Hebrews 13:5.
WHAT SATAN CANNOT DO
15. Can Satan force us to do anything that we do not want to do? Explain.
15 Satan cannot force people to do anything that they do not want to do. (James 1:14) Many in the world do not even realize they are on Satan’s side. But when a person learns the truth, he must choose whether he will be on Jehovah’s side or on Satan’s. (Acts 3:17; 17:30) If we are determined to obey God, Satan cannot break our loyalty.—Job 2:3; 27:5.
16, 17. (a) What else are Satan and the demons unable to do? (b) Why should we not be afraid to pray out loud to Jehovah?
16 There are other things that Satan and the demons cannot do. For example, the Bible never says that they can know what is in our mind or heart. Only Jehovah and Jesus can do that. (1 Samuel 16:7; Mark 2:8) So should we be afraid that if we speak or pray out loud, the Devil and the demons will hear what we say and use the information against us? No! Why not? Think of this comparison: We are not afraid to do good things in our service to Jehovah just because the Devil might see us. In a similar way, we should not be afraid to pray out loud just because the Devil might hear us. Also, the Bible tells of many times that God’s servants prayed out loud, and we never read that they were afraid that the Devil would hear them. (1 Kings 8:22, 23; John 11:41, 42; Acts 4:23, 24) If we do our best to speak and act as God wants us to, we can be sure that Jehovah will not allow the Devil to harm us in any lasting way.—Read Psalm 34:7.
17 We need to know our enemy, but we do not need to be terrified by him. Even though we are imperfect, with Jehovah’s support we can conquer Satan! (1 John 2:14) If we oppose him, he will flee from us. (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9) Today, it seems that Satan is especially attacking young people. How can they resist the Devil’s attacks? We will discuss this in the next article.
The Bible reveals the personal names of some angels. (Judges 13:18; Daniel 8:16; Luke 1:19; Revelation 12:7) It also says that Jehovah gave a name to each star. (Psalm 147:4) So it makes sense to think that Jehovah also gave names to all the angels, including the one who later became Satan.
The title “Satan” is found only 18 times in the Hebrew Scriptures but more than 30 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures.