According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the Hebrew word “satan” means “adversary” from the primitive root word satan meaning, “to lie in wait (as an adversary).”
Its first use as a proper name in Scripture is found, appropriately enough, in the sixth verse of the first chapter of the (chronologically) oldest Book in Scripture.
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” Job 1:6
Because of its age, authorship of the Book of Job is probably the least certain of any book in the Bible. Rabbinic tradition says that Job the son of Uz, who was the son of Nahor brother of Abraham, who lived within living memory of the Flood, sometime around 2000 B. C.
“And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.” (Genesis 11:26-28)
The author may be Job himself, or possibly Elihu, a contemporary of Job, but Hebrew rabbinic tradition is as unanimous as Hebrew rabbinic tradition can get in its view that the book of Job predates Moses by centuries.
The longevity and lifestyles, the tone of the book, foreign from traditional ancient Hebrew, and the offering of a sacrifice by the head of the family all place Job at a point in history well before the Exodus during the time of the Patriarchs.
The name of Job’s friend, Bildad was short for Yabil Dadum, a name found in cuneiform sources of the second millennium B.C.
Job is the titular character in a cuneiform composition entitled “Babylonian Job” and the name, “Job” is contained in the Egyptian Execration Texts c.(2000 B.C.)
Additional clues included mention of roving bands of Sabeans and Chaldeans, consistent with the 2nd millennium B.C. and geographic clues suggesting Job was himself a pre-Babylonian Chaldean.
Elihu was a Buzite from northeast Arabia and Eliphaz was from Teman, a city in Edom.
It is safe to conclude that the Book of Job was written by a Chaldean relative of Abram at some point after Abram departed from Ur of the Chaldees at least seven centuries before Moses wrote what are commonly known as the first five books of the Bible.
In previous volumes of the Omega Letter we’ve discussed Dispensationalism, which is the systematic study of Scripture as progressive revelation, and the four classes of created spiritual beings; angels, Gentiles, Jews and Christians.
Job was a Gentile who lived before there were Jews and before God had begun the systematic revelation of His plan for mankind to the Jews in what we know as the Bible.
The Book of Job therefore, stands both outside it and before it.
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty.”( 2nd Peter 1:16)
Why am I going on and on about Job’s dates and location? To demonstrate that Satan is NOT a mythical being who was invented by the Jews over the course of centuries.
Satan was not invented by Moses; Satan was well-known to the ancients. So was the one True God.
Much of what Moses wrote down eight hundred years later was already known in the Gentile world when Abraham packed up his family and left the Land of Ur in what is today Iraq and headed for the Promised Land.
Job’s friends, Eilhu, Eliphaz and Bildad were from regions surrounding Ur from northern Arabia in the east to Edom in the West.
Each of them was well-conversant with the One True God long before Charlton Heston thundered to Yul Brynner, “Let my people go!” and went off to write Genesis.
Job knew about the hydrological cycle, polar ice caps, that wind moves in circular paths, rather than in a straight line, that light was in motion . . . and about Satan.
“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, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8-9)
Remember, this was centuries before Moses wrote about the Garden of Eden. Because that is the point.
C.S. Lewis once wrote that “Satan’s greatest trick was in convincing man that he does not exist.” If Satan can convince you that he doesn’t really exist, then you are unprepared to withstand him when he attacks.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)
We know from the Bible that Satan is the most brilliant of all created beings. He is smarter than the smartest human, more crafty than the craftiest among us, more evil than the most evil among us, but then we have to confront the fact that he can’t figure out the Bible.
The Bible says in no uncertain terms that he loses at the end. Secondarily, there is the question of why. What does Satan have to gain by keeping a lost person in the dark or by preventing you from effectively spreading the Gospel?
So what does he have to gain by keeping you down? And why bother, since he knows he can’t win?
What he has to gain is time. Satan is evidently aware of, and bound by time, just as we are.
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)
Satan has known his time was limited from the beginning. Job knew of his own redemption and Satan’s defeat eight hundred years before Moses first penned the words, “in the beginning.”
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)
Satan doesn’t know when the Lord will return at the Rapture, but he knows numbers. He knows from Romans 8:29 that there is a finite number of people predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son by becoming believers.
“Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)
Satan has no more idea how many believers are so predestinated than we do. He only knows that the Lord won’t start to close down the books on his operation until the very last one comes to Christ.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:9)
One of the last classes our military warriors attend after going through the staging process and before going into battle is a class called, “Know Your Enemy.”
For Satan, it’s a numbers game. He doesn’t care about you, particularly, but he does care about him. If he can keep you down and keep you from sharing the Gospel, that keeps the numbers down.
If he can convince his prospects that he doesn’t exist, that keeps the numbers down.
He knows that he doesn’t have to start racing against the clock until his number comes up. And for all he knows, you are the one holding that spiritual bullet with his name on it.
And he knows that his odds are getting worse with every passing day.
“. . . for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)
By Jack Kinsella