WHO IS HE?
He has many aliases . . .
Angel of light
The evil one
Prince of demons
Satan = The adversary
The devil = The slanderer
Belial = The wicked one
Beelzebub = Lord of flies
Apollyon & Abaddon = Destroyer
The great dragon
That ancient serpent
Prince of the power of the air
The father of lies
Prince of darkness
Prince of this world
The god of this age
The angel of the Abyss
The oppressor of the saints
The sower of discord
The enemy of all good
The spirit that works in the children of disobedience
His biography . . .
Satan is an angel (Job 1-2). God made him before the world began (Job 38:4-7). Satan was very powerful (Revelation 12:3: “ten horns”) and very wise (Revelation 12:3: “seven heads”). But he became the first sinner (1 John 3:8). Apparently at one point in the past (or possibly future) he led a rebellion in heaven against God (Revelation 12:7). In Satan’s fall, he drew a vast number of angels with him (Revelation 12:4, 9). Some of the fallen angels are loose and some are bound in a place called the Abyss (Luke 8:31). The loose ones we call “demons”. Of the bound ones, there are two kinds, permanently bound (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6) and temporarily bound (Revelation 9:1-11). Satan and his demons now wage war against God’s kingdom (Revelation 12:17). Some people think that Satan lives in hell, but hell is where Satan and the wicked will be sent at the last judgment. Satan now dwells on earth (Job 1:7). At the Second Coming of Christ, he will be bound for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3). After the thousand years, he will be set free for a short time and will go out to deceive the nations (Revelation 20:7-9). The devil’s final end will be in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10), which was prepared by God for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
His nature . . .
Satan is never explicitly called an angel in the Bible, but these are the things that make us think he is an angel (fallen angel, of course):
- In the first two chapters of Job Satan comes in to God’s throne room with the rest of the “sons of God” (a term often used to describe angels in the Bible).
- The apostle Paul says that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). The emphasis in this phrase is probably on masquerading as a good (i.e., light) angel as opposed to masquerading as an angel when he is really some other creature.
- Satan is called a “spirit” (Ephesians 2:2). The word “spirit” when not referring to the spirit of a human being or the Holy Spirit usually means angels, either good or bad.
- Satan is classed with the “spiritual hosts of wickedness” (Ephesians 6:10-16). This is Paul’s phrase for demons.
- If Satan is not an angel, then what else could he be? There aren’t a lot of other categories to place Satan in: God, man, creatures under man, angels. Satan is certainly not God. He’s not a human being and he’s not a creature under man’s dominion. We’d be going very much beyond Scripture to create a new category of being that the Bible never speaks of.
His limitations . . .
Satan is not self-existent. He is created.
He is not sovereign.
- Satan rules a domain of demons, but he does not rule beyond the bound of that confinement of rule which God has given him.
- Satan never has cast off the government of God, since the rebellion totally failed. He has been exiled to the earth and the domain around it (Ephesians 2:2).
- Satan’s chain stretches just so far and God allows him to go that far and no farther. He operates completely within the sphere of God’s allowance (e.g. Job 1:12; 2:6; Luke 22:31-32).
- God even uses Satan to His own ends (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Satan is not omnipotent (all-powerful). He is powerful, yes, but not all powerful (1 John 4:4; Revelation 12:8; 20:2).
Satan is not omniscient (all-knowing).
- Satan is an angel and angels don’t know everything (1 Peter 1:11-12).
- There is no indication in Scripture that Satan can read our thoughts. But he’s pretty good at predicting our behavior, because he’s an expert on human nature.
Satan is not omnipresent (everywhere at the same time).
- He’s fast, but not omnipresent.
- Being a creature who dwells on earth, Satan cannot be in more than one place at a time. Job 1:7 makes it clear that Satan roams here and there. He was thrown to earth in a war with Michael and other angels and “lost his place in heaven” (Revelation 12:8). If Satan can “lose his place,” then he is not in every place.
- But Satan is the head of a network of subordinate devils who make his influence felt all over the earth (Matthew 12:24).
THE POWER OF SATAN OVER THOSE OUTSIDE OF CHRIST . . .
- Satan has the whole world of unbelievers under his control (Matthew 4:8-10; John 14:30; 1 John 5:19).
- Unbelievers belong to him (1 John 3:8,12) and are his children (1 John 3:10).
- Satan has the power of influence and blinding. He blinds the minds of the unbelieving (2 Corinthians 4:4). He prevents the gospel from entering their hearts (Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:11). Satan speaks through fortunetellers (Acts 16:16), cult leaders (1 Timothy 4:1-2), and false preachers (2 Corinthians 11: 13-15). He seeks to deceive about his existence, his purposes, his activities, and his coming defeat. He is the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:8). His ultimate deception will be in the anti-christ (2 Thessalonians 2:9).
- Satan can control a person’s body. Demons can cause muteness (Luke 11:14), mental disorder (John 10:20), violent action (Luke 8:26-29), and crippling (Luke 13:11,16). In these examples Satan caused people to be handicapped although there was nothing physically wrong with them.
- Satan influences governments and nations. Daniel 10:12-13,20-21 gives us a glimpse into the spiritual realm of angels and demons and how they affect nations. The “prince of the Persian kingdom” (v.13) is apparently a demon exercising influence over the Persian realm in the interests of Satan. The archangel of God named Michael finally overcame his resistance. Likewise the “prince of Greece” in verse 20 is also a demon.
SATAN’S POWER OVER BELIEVERS . . .
Satan’s motivation is to oppose God. The word satan means “adversary, one who opposes.” He is the enemy of God and of all those who belong to God.
Satan’s principle activity is as accuser. The word devil means “slanderer, accuser.” The devil accuses us before God (Job 1-2). Revelation says that he is the “accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). He also slanders us before men. He tries to make sure that any good work done by Christ’s church receives a bad name. The devil and his demons also accuse us to ourselves. He wants to make us feel guilty.
Satan tempts believers to . . .
- disobedience (1 Chronicles 21:1-7).
- lose faith in God (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:16).
- lie (Acts 5:3).
- immorality (1 Corinthians 7:5).
- be preoccupied by the world (1 John 2:15; 2 Timothy 4:10).
- be proud (1 Timothy 3:6).
- discouragement (1 Peter 5:6, 7, 10).
He also tries to create doubt (Genesis 3:1), persecutes the Church (Revelation 2:10), hinders our service (1 Thessalonians 2:18), infiltrates our ranks-and so confuses the world as to what a Christian really is (1 John 4:1-6; 2 Peter 2).
but . . .
- Jesus cast out demons as evidence of His victory over the prince of demons.
- The truth is that “his infernal majesty” is bound and is powerless before the Son of God (Mark 3:27).
- Christ has defeated Satan (John 12:31). He defeated Satan and all spiritual forces of evil at the cross (Colossians 2:14-15). Satan has fallen from the heavens (Luke 10:18). He is cast out of heaven and into the earth and no longer has the ability to accuse us before the Father (Revelation 12:10, 12-17).
Christians do not need to fear Satan, because . . .
- Satan can only do to believers what God permits him to do (Job 1:12; 2:6).
- In Christ we have been delivered from Satan’s power (Colossians 1:13; Acts 26:18).
- We have the promise that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our capacity (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- Christ keeps us safe and Satan cannot lay hold of the believer to harm him (1 John 5:18).
- Demonic powers cannot separate us from God’s love in Christ (Romans 8:37-39).
- Those who are in Christ can overcome Satan (Revelation 12:11; Romans 16:20; 1 John 2:13-14).
- Greater is the One who is in us than Satan who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
- We can resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7).
- The weapons that we have been given can pull down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
- If we use the armor of God, we have God’s promise that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11,13).
- Dennis Rupert, 2/24/07