By: William Jackson

The Satan of the Torah is not the same as the Satan (Devil) of the New Testament. As we take each book separately we can easily see that these are two different entities. Through transliterations of both Hebrew and Greek we will discern the terminologies. Also, let’s dig out the verses supporting either in the Tanakh (OT) and in the NT (New Testament) to get the correct picture of each.


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 HaShem‘s word we will see Satan mentioned in Job for the first time. Here HaShem allows Satan to test Job (Job 1:12). This implies HaShem has dominion over Satan. Even at the end of The Book of Job HaShem 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 it 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. In chapter 3 HaShem takes Joshua’s side over Satan’s, rebuking Satan. Thus HaShem exercises ultimate authority over Satan here as well.

Now let’s see what the New Testament says.


Diabolos is Greek for Devil which is the NT version of Satan. He is mentioned 70 times, 90% more times in the NT as oppose to the Tanakh (OT). He possesses greater status and enjoys more obligations within Christianity;

1. Satan is the god of the world; John 12:31, Acts 26:18, 1 John 5:19, 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 the Christian Messiah; 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 does counterbalance the Christian Messiah and helps to create a polarized world where people are victims. This is opposite of the Satan which is in the Tanakh (OT), who is there to challenge us. Just remember HaShem gives us free will, he has empowered us, (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, Joshua 24:15, Proverbs 16:1, 9). We are accountable and through these challenges. If we make right decisions and learn from wrong choices we will develop and mature into Adonai’s will. Creating veritables beyond ours and HaShem’s relationship steals or ability to grow.

My Elohim holds me accountable, He is not an enabler.


(1) Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs, Satan, the Adversary, My Jewish Learning