Why is Satan called the Accuser of the Brethren if God is the One on Trial?
February 13, 2009 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

I appreciate the Biblical truth that God is the One on trial, Satan has been accusing Him of being unjust and we (the saved) are among the faithful witnesses declaring that God is a loving God.

My question, though, is if God is the one on trial how does one explain Satan being termed “the accuser of the brethren”?   If man is “the brethren” are we then being accused as well?  Perhaps you can lead me to more Scripture verses to help me put this in perspective.

Thank you, S

Great question and the Bible is clear that sin started when Satan began telling lies about God which, when believed, breaks love and trust. Paul recognized this and wrote:

“Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4 KJV

One of the central purposes of Jesus’ mission was to reveal the truth about God in order to destroy the lies of Satan and win us back to trust.

Jesus said: “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” John 14:9 KJV

“Father, I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do…I have manifested thy name unto the men” John 17:4,6 KJV

It is the truth about God that sets us free – John 8:32

So, to your question, if God is the One on trial then why is Satan called the accuser of the brethren?

Several reasons, but they all are actually surreptitious attacks on God.

  1. God is the designer and creator of humanity. When Satan accuses us as being imperfect and defective he is accusing God of a manufacturer’s defect. He is saying, “God you created humans and look at them. If you would have done a better job they wouldn’t have turned out this way.” This lie was disproved by Jesus who “was tempted in every way just like we are yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NIV). Jesus’ perfect life proves there was nothing wrong with God’s design.
  2. When Satan accuses us he accuses God’s solution to sin of being ineffective. Satan says, “Look, if Your plan of salvation really worked then these people wouldn’t be sinning all the time. Jesus may have proved that the original design was without defect, but Your ability to heal sinners in insufficient.” God proves Satan a liar through the lives of people who are recreated by the power of the Holy Spirit to live lives of love rather than selfishness.
  3. Satan accuses the brethren as a way of hurting God. Imagine a parent whose adult child molests another, or what if they are the parents of a serial killer, etc. how they must agonize. Satan points out our defects as a way of rubbing God’s face in the pain and suffering Satan has caused. “See how many of your so called people actually prefer me. They would much rather live a life of sin than follow you. They don’t love you. Look at how they hurt each other.”
  4. Satan accuses the brethren because Satan is a legalist. He doesn’t understand that God’s law is the law of love, the principle life is designed to operate upon. Instead, Satan promotes the idea that the law is imposed and requires imposed penalties for breaking it. He then alleges that in order for God to be just He must impose the same penalties on all breakers of the law or legally pardon all equally.  Through this distortion of God’s law he attempts to put God in a bind of either having to kill all humans or legally pardoning Satan and his fallen host. Therefore, he accuses us to point out we have no more “legal” right to heaven than he does. Humans, who promote this same concept by stating Jesus died to pay our legal payment to give us a legal right to heaven, play into Satan’s misrepresentations of God. Such a position raises the question, “Why would Jesus not die for Satan and his angels? Is God really that racist preferring to save humans, but unwilling to save angels?” When we understand that the law of God is a natural and not an imposed law, then we realize salvation is not arbitrarily determined by God, but offered to all freely. Those who trust Jesus experience the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who reproduces the law of love, Christ’s character, in us.

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).

We are actually healed, transformed, and brought back into unity and harmony with God and thus will live with Him for eternity.  Those who persist in sin long enough actually destroy their mental faculties and capabilities of recognizing and responding to the Spirit of Truth and Love. This is where Satan and his angels are – beyond responding to truth and love. Satan denies this reality and insists on a legal approach and in so doing confuses millions, obstructing their ultimate healing and restoration.  

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.