By: William J Jackson –

The Satan of the Torah is not the same as the Satan (Devil) in the New Testament. For example, Satan possesses much more power in the Christian’s Bible (the New Testament). Here are some of the differences found in the Tanakh (OT) about “the Satan” in comparison to what the NT (New Testament) portrays him as.


The Hebrew for Satan is haś·śā·ṭān which is actually “The Satan” like a title.  The root meaning of the word is ‘to oppose’ (1).  Also “The Satan” is another word for adversary. If we look into God’s word, we will see Satan mentioned in Job for the first time.  Here God allows Satan to test Job (Job 1:12).  This implies G-d has dominion over Satan.  Even at the end of Job, G-d addresses Job and Job’s friends on their reaction to the “test” (Job 38); but Satan is out of the picture (he’s been out of the picture since chapter 2).  “Why?”, because it’s not about Satan, it’s about Job’s reaction to the challenge.

The only other book Satan is mentioned in is Zechariah 3.  Here G-d takes Joshua’s side over Satan’s, rebuking Satan.  Thus G-d exercises ultimate authority over Satan


Diabolos is Greek for Devil; which is the NT’s version of Satan.  He is mentioned 90% more times in the NT than in Tanakh (OT). He also possesses greater status and enjoys more obligations in the Christian’s bible (the New Testament).

1. Satan is the god of the world John 21:31, Acts 26:18, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Revelation 12:9

2. Satan is the anti-Christ 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10, 1 John 2:18-22, 4:3, 2 John 1:7,

3. Satan can possess people Matthew 4:10, 12:24-29, 16:23, Mark 3:22-27, 8:33, Luke 11:15-21, 13:16, 22:3, 22:31, John 13:27

4. Satan can overpower man’s will Mark 4:15, Luke 10:17-18,, 1 Thessalonians 2:18

5. Satan can temp Jesus Mark 1:13, Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:2, Hebrews 4:15


In the NT it appears that Satan is the arch rival – kind of like what we see in comic books and other Superhero satires.  The Devil counterbalance Jesus in the NT, and he helps to create a polarized world where people (Christians) are victims.  This is opposite of the Satan which is in the Tanakh (OT) who is there to challenge us.  As stated by Rabbi Tovia Singer “every searching soul must confront evil, as well as good, in order to remain vigilant in one’s personal search for perfect spiritual balance”(2).  G-d has given us free will, he has empowered us.  We are accountable through these challenges.  If we make right decisions, and learn from wrong choices, we will develop and mature into G-d’s will.

My G-d holds me accountable, He is not an enabler




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