Have you wondered why the model prayer includes the petition, “deliver us from the evil one” (Matt 6:13; Lk 11:4)? We are asking the Father to deliver us, keeping us dependent on Him. Who is this evil one and why do we need to be delivered?
Scriptural Exhortations Regarding The Evil One
Peter echoed this petition, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1Pet 5:8-9) In another book, Paul warns us not to be ignorant of his devices, “…lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2Cor 2:11) Finally, in the great section on the armor of God, we are told to stand, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph 6:11) Although we possess the Lord God inside of us who is greater than the god of this world, and we are more than conquerors, we are no match for the evil one. However, we need the power of God. So if we submit to the Lord, we can resist the devil. Jesus reminds us in the model prayer that we are in a war against a formidable foe.
Descriptions Of The Evil One
The evil one is described in numerous ways in Scripture. In this list of names, we learn how lethal, subtle and relentless the enemy is. A comprehensive list is below. Some of the names of the devil should reinforce why Jesus included the phrase “deliver us from the evil one” in His model prayer.
The Enemy’s Tactics And Methods
Paul warns us about the wiles of the devil. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph 6:11) The word wiles (methodeia=cunning, trickery, deceit, methodical attacks) He is out to steal, to kill, and to destroy. He spiritually blinds. He enslaves. He torments. He attacks. He seeks prey, to devour and swallow. He can physical harm. He keeps non-believers in bondage to the fear of death and power of death. He sows false believers in the Church. He lies about the truth. He tempts and condemns. He transforms into an outward minister of righteousness. He oppresses. He possesses non-Christians. He misleads. This is a very subtle tactic – he distracts people from God, “He rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful (phroneo) of the things of God, but the things of men.” He gets people to focus on man-centered concerns. (Matt 16:23; Mk 8:33) He seeks to gain an advantage over Christians, “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2Cor 2:11) His devices (noema) are well thought-out plans to control Christians and force them to be disobedient to God. Finally, the evil one is relentless. Luke stated that the devil left Jesus and was looking for another opportune time to tempt Him, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” (Lk 4:13)
Ezek 28:12-17; Isa 14:12-15
The Lucifer’s downfall was his pride, “I will be like the Most High.” (Isa 14:14) He was unsuccessful to be like God and was cast out of heaven, falling like lightning (Lk 10:18). He tempted Eve and Adam to disobey God using the promise that they would be like God (Gen 3:5). Adam and Eve failed to become like God as well.
There is a hierarchy in the kingdom of darkness. There are principalities, powers, dominions, and thrones (Rom 8:38; Col 1:16). Satan controls their actions, influence, and attitudes. This kingdom of darkness focuses on rebellion. The demons are rebellious against God and attempt to influence people to rebel against God as well. Once sinners are delivered from darkness and the authority of Satan, they need the constant reinforcement to resist the devices and methods of the devil, who relentlessly tries to enslave them again. Christians should be battling from a position of victory, not fighting for victory.
Jesus commissioned Saul (Paul) to turn sinners from darkness and the authority of Satan to God, “to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God…” (Acts 26:18) Christians are no longer under the authority of the devil.
Paul wrote that we have already been delivered from the power of darkness, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…” (Col 1:13) Christians are no longer under the power of darkness and in the kingdom opposed to God.
God has delivered us from the wrath to come, “…even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” (1Thes 1:10) We will be going to heaven not hell.
God does deliver us from temptation, …”the Lord knows how to deliver (rhyomai) the godly out of temptations…” (1Cor 10:13; 2Pet 2:9)
Jesus has already destroyed the works of the devil. Redemption is how Jesus rescued us from the authority of the devil. (Heb 2:14) But we have an ongoing need to pray for our deliverance from the evil one. Let’s see why…
The Need For Ongoing Deliverance
Satan’s influence is limited by God – he acknowledged that God had a protective hedge around Job (Job 1:10). He is prevented from attacking us due to the hedge God places around His children (Lk 22:31-32). This enemy is more powerful than other angels. He rebelled against God and led 1/3 of the angels to rebel as well. After the rebellion, the devil and his angels become demons. Even Michael the Archangel had to rebuke Satan using the Lord’s authority. This kingdom of darkness works to destroy mankind, who are created in the image of God.
Christians are more than conquerors. We have been given armor to stand against the devil. Greater is God in us than the god of this world. We have been given power to trample over snakes and scorpions, spiritually evil beings, “Behold, I give you the authority (exousia) to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy…” But the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force (Matt 11:12). Due to this spiritual battle, we need God’s power. We need to submit to Him to resist the devil. We were taught to pray, “Your [Our Father’s] kingdom come…” God’s kingdom is spiritual, the battle is spiritual, and the evil one is spiritual (Eph 6:12) In addition, God’s armor and our weapons are spiritual (2Cor 10:4; Eph 6:11), not physical. Therefore, we need to submit to God before engaging in battle.
Prayer And Fasting
The disciples were unable to cast out an unclean deaf and dumb spirit. Jesus taught an important spiritual lesson, “So He said to them, This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mk 9:29) We are dependent on God to gain victory over demons by dependence on God through prayer and fasting. In the context of the armor, Paul included prayer, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…” (Eph 6:18)
The Blood Of Christ
The blood of Christ is powerful as well. It cleanses us from sin. It is precious. The shedding of Jesus’ blood redeemed us. It satisfied the wrath of God, as propitiation. It helps believers overcome the accuser (Rev 12:11).
Our lives are blessed abundantly in Christ, and we are free. But we are also in a spiritual battle with the evil one. We are fighting from a position of victory, because Christ has destroyed the works of the devil, and we have God’s armor and spiritual weapons. Jesus taught us to acknowledge this battle in His model prayer as we depend on God for deliverance. James teaches us to resist the devil, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (Jm 4:7) Peter teaches us to be steadfast in the battle, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1Pet 5:16) Paul teaches us to battle with God’s armor, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Eph 6:11) Paul declares that we have spiritual weapons to use to make us victorious, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…” (2Cor 10:4)
Jesus Has Given Us Authority
Jesus has given us authority over the Satan, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Lk 10:19) We are more than conquerors over the evil one. We are the light of the world and need to shine, so that others may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:16)
Names Of The Evil One…
“deceiver [exapatao=to deceive]” (Gen 3:13; 2Cor 11:3),
“Lucifer [shining one]” (Isa 14:12),
“tempter” (Matt 4:3; Lk 4:13; 1Thes 3:5),
“evil one” (Matt 6:13; Lk 11:4; Jn 17:15; 2Thes 3:3)
“enemy is the devil” (Matt 13:39; Lk 10:19),
“devil” (Matt 4:1; Lk 4:2; Jm 4:7; 1Pet 5:8; Rev 12:9; 20:2)
“liar and father of lies” (Jn 8:44),
“murderer” (Jn 8:44),
“father” (Jn 8:44)
“Beelzebub, ruler [archon] of the demons” (Matt 9:34; 10:25; 12:24,27; Mk 3:22; Lk 11:15,18-19)
“ruler [archon] of this world” (Jn 12:31),
“oppressor” (Acts 10:38),
“god of this age” (2Cor 4:4),
“belial” (2Cor 6:18),
“deceiver [exapatao=to deceive]” (Gen 3:13; 2Cor 11:3),
“angel of light” (2Cor 11:14),
“prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2),
“snarer” (1Tim 3:7; 2Tim 2:26),
“adversary, devil [diabolos=slanderer], lion” (1Pet 5:8),
“swallower [katapino=to swallow]” (1Pet 5:8),
“sinner” (1Jn 3:8),
“abaddon [destroyer], apollyon [destroyer]” (Rev 9:11) > this probably describes a demon released from the pit,
“devourer [katesthio=consume]” (Rev 12:4),
“accuser [kategoreo=to accuse]” (Rev 12:10),
“dragon, serpent of old, devil, satan, deceiver” (Rev 12:9; 20:2-3)