2. Who is Satan?


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Introduction to Satan


            Who is Satan?  Most people when they think of Satan, they think of hideous, grotesque appearance.  This is not the case; the Bible tells us Satan is all fallen angel of the highest order, created in perfection in all his ways.  Paul writes that Satan transforms himself into “an angel of light”.   Therefore, if we saw Satan, he might well be the most beautiful creature we had ever seen, if God permitted him to reveal himself.  Satan is limited in what he can and cannot do.  His power is limited in scope, however his power is more then we could comprehend in our mortal being.  We know about Satan through the revelation of scripture.

            In World War II, the Allies planned the greatest sea-land invasion in Europe’s history[1] on June 6th , 1944.  The US along with Britain planned a full frontal assault against German occupied France in the battle of Normandy.  The success of this invasion required a large degree of deception.   The Allies deceived Germany, so Germany could not put the full force of their might to repel the attack.   The Allies used several methods, knowing this end battle was the real goal. 

            German agents operating in Britain were given false information; secondly, the Allies used inflatable tanks and airplanes, German spy planes were allowed to take pictures of inflatable tanks at British ports thinking they were real. The photos confirmed German intelligence, or so the Germans thought.  The deception worked, the Normandy invasion was a success, and Germany diverted their resources from the main battle to a perceived false battle.

            The Spiritual war wages all around us, and Satan is a master planner, he constantly feeds the world false information about himself and his plans.  Many people, including Christians dismiss his existence, while others see Satan as the proverbial joke.  Like the battle of Normandy, his deceptions about himself, make his assault even easier, because people do not expect it. They don’t believe he exists!

            The Bible provides the intelligence for the Christian to understand just how Satan operates, so his strategies and tactics will not take us in. We need to understand, we are at war and under attack.  Understanding who are enemy is and how he operates, allows us to prepare for the attack, putting us on the offensive, rather then the defensive.  In this section, we look at various aspects of Satan and his strategy in the spiritual war. 

Click to expand Chart

How Satan came to be

            The Spiritual War begins with the fall of Satan, but before he became “Satan”, he had another responsibility in Heaven.  He was a Cherub[2] angel, which covered the throne of God.  The revelation of Satan identity is gradual.  We first meet the Serpent in Garden of Eden with no explanation of who the Serpent is other then he opposes and questions God’s authority and commands.  We see him as the tempter, who caused the fall of man; however, Genesis informs us that his end will be from the “seed of the woman” that will crush the head of the Serpent, a terminal defeat. 

            We next see the personal being, who is opposed to God in the book of Job, where he is called Satan. Here God uses Job, and the events around Job’s life to unveil the spiritual realm of Satan, how he interacts in the world of humanity.  Still the greatest degree of knowledge about Satan’s nature and character comes from the New Testament, where Jesus rejects his temptations. 

            The story of Satan’s origin comes to us from the book of Ezekiel where Satan is referred to as the King of Tyre.   The book of Isaiah uses the King of Babylon as a type or picture of Satan. 

King of Tyre 

   The Book of Ezekiel was written about 592 B.C., when the nation of Israel’s very survival was at issue.  Ezekiel was a priest and a captive of Babylon, God showed Ezekiel, Israel being restored and becoming a great nation, after their fall. Israel is restored in righteousness with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Ezekiel 37:25-28).   Tyre was of the coast of Lebanon, a city with a fortress out at sea which could resist the Babylonian power, unlike Jerusalem, which fall.  The King of Tyre is used as an illustration for Satan. 

11 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 "By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 
Ezekiel 28:11-7

Here we learn about Satan before the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3, some important points to remember are; 

·         He was the seal of perfection full of wisdom and beauty

·         He was in the Garden of Eden before the fall

·         He was the anointed covering cherub

·         He was perfect

·         His heart was lifted up because of his beauty 

            Satan was not created fallen, but with the ability to choose, “free will” he along with rest of the angels could choose to worship God or not.   We will discuss the rank of Cherub angel in a future study, these angels stand in the presence of God, before the throne of God. He along with the 1/3 rejected God.   What was the cause of Satan’s fall?   It was his pride, he rejoiced in his beauty, forsaking the wisdom he had (Ezekiel 2:17).  

King of Babylon 

            In the book of Isaiah, we see the events surrounding Satan’s judgment, when he is cast into sheol (Hell) and his power is removed.  However, Isaiah also describes the reason he fell, pride.  Satan’s desire was to rival God, to ascend above the One who created Him.    As Ezekiel used the King of Tyre as an illustration for Satan, Isaiah uses the King of Babylon, as a “type” or picture of Satan.  

4 that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: "How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased! 5 The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of the rulers; 12 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
Isaiah 14:4-5,12-15

            In the King James Bible, here in Isaiah 14:12 we find the name Lucifer, which means light-bearer derived from the Hebrew word llyh Heylel, which means shining one, or morning star.  Now the name derives from the Latin translation of “Light” (lux, lucis) and “Bearer” (ferre).  The point here is not the name but what the name means, he was a bearer of light.   His power so great that not even Michael the Archangel would condemn him, he (Michael) left that to the Lord (Jude 1:9). 

Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" Jude 1:9 

            At his fall, he became Satan, which comes from the Hebrew word for adversary, tX Satan.  The covering Cherub’s fall caused him to become an adversary to his Creator the Lord.

Names of Satan



Angel of light







Evil One, 

god of this age

god of this world

he who deceives the whole world

liar, father of lies


Morning Star


prince of demons

Prince of the power of the air

Prince of this world

Ruler of the demons

Ruler of the kingdom of the air

Ruler of this world



son of the dawn


unclean sprit     



The names of Satan 

            The names by which Satan is known in scripture in many ways reveal his nature and character.   He is called father of lies (John 8:44), angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), and the god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4).  These three terms alone allow us to see, his influence all around the world we live.            

Fall of Satan and 1/3 of the angels 

            As we see from Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14, Satan fell because of his pride.  He just could not reconcile the fact he was a created being, he wanted to be above his creator.  He was impressive enough, because 1/3 of the angelic beings followed him and rejected God’s authority. 

            Revelation 12:4 summarizes the cosmic conflict of the ages.  Here Satan tries to prevent the birth of the “Seed of the woman” the Messiah, who will crush his head.   Satan is described as the “Dragon” who drew 1/3 of the stars of heaven.  Angels are referred to as stars metaphorically in several places in scripture.

4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

Revelation 12:4

                After Satan, one-third of the angels fell, God permitted Satan to tempt Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Now this temptation takes place following chapter 2, so we do not know the period between the 2nd and 3rd chapter.  The 3rd chapter records, the fall of man, which was preceded by the fall of angles (1/3 including Satan).  Satan in his fallen state is able to use the animal known as the serpent to enter the physical world to tempt Adam and Eve. Eve at first debated the serpent, then listened to him.  He questioned God’s command to the woman, she then disobeyed what she knew was the command. Adam followed Eve’s lead, both then turned over control of their God given dominion over to Satan.

            When Adam and Eve listened to Satan, they fell.  It is at the fall of man, God pronounces the method by which Satan will be defeated.  The fallen woman, Eve will one day have a “Seed” who will crush the head of the Serpent, Satan. 

The god of this age 

            What happened in the Garden, Adam and Eve could not know the extent of their fall.  Their fall was not theirs alone but the entire earth fell along with them.  All creation suffered from their action.  Paul writes about the fallen state of creation in Romans 8

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
Romans 8:19-22

            Creation also awaits the redemption of humanity; this will happen following the complete defeat of Satan at Armageddon. Its at this point Satan’s power in the earth will be broken.  This is in the future, as recorded in the book of Revelation. The current age is quite different.       Satan is called the god of this age and the ruler of this world.  His power in the current system of the world order is pervasive. 

4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 2 Cor. 4:4 

31 "Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.John 12:31


1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, Ephesians 2:1-2

 14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, Hebrews 2:14 

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8 

9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:9 

            The work and power of Satan cannot be underestimated. Jesus calls him the ruler of this world; Satan offered Jesus the kingdom of the earth, because they were in his possession (Luke 4:6). Anybody who discounts the role Satan plays does it at his/her own loss.  Rejecting Satan’s role in this fallen world blinds us the revelation of his identity we have in scripture. We need to understand the role Satan plays in this fallen world.  The whole earth is under his deception, including governments and educational institutions.  Satan’s battle is not physical but in the mind.   He works through the thinking process deceiving the world. 

How Satan operates 

                Satan has control over large sectors of the world, his strategy is multi-pronged approach, he does not just attack from one angle.  He comes from many diverse parts of society, Satan is at war with God and those who are saved, we can never forget this.  It is to our own peril when put down our guards against him.

            Satan goes after the mind, since the physical world is merely where the tangible events are seen.

Satan attacks the way people think, for this reason he seeks access to the area in our life, where can gain control of our thinking.  This is why we are told about those who are perishing without Christ, how Satan accomplishes his work.  He has “Blinded” their “Minds”, so they will not believe.  This is not just about religion, its about all aspects of thinking.  Satan is a lion on the hunt, looking for prey.  

3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
2 Corinthians 4:4

Satan will use every tool at his disposal to prevent people from seeing the Gospel.  Its no accident that Jesus is mocked in the media, the Bible barred from work and schools.  Christians are ridiculed because Satan’s goal is to blind the lost.  Our job is to rescue the lost, to bring them into the kingdom. This is also why, we as Christians need to equip ourselves to pull down the lies Satan has established in the hearts and minds of those in our circle of influence.  We are at war too, against the works of Satan.

Another strategy Satan uses is religion, Satan to counter the gospel, will offer a counterfeit “truth” complete with another “Jesus”. Islam and Mormonism, have a “Jesus” as part of their faith, they also have their own prophets.  The Muslim Jesus and Mormon Jesus is an another Jesus, now if you asked a Muslim or Mormon, they would tell you, “I believe in Jesus too!”.  The problem is, their Jesus is not the Jesus of the bible, its the creation of their false prophets, Mohammad and Joseph Smith. 

4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted-you may well put up with it!13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works 2 Corinthians 11:4,13-15 

            On the Day of Judgment, those who put faith in false Jesus and a false gospel will be confronted with their error.  Jesus says on that day he will tell them, he “Never” knew them.  There was never a relationship, this is the goal of Satan, he is at war for the souls of humanity. 

15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'  Matthew 7:15,21-23 

                This is Satan’s plan of attack, one method is to prevent people from seeing the Gospel, by attacking religion and faith, the other is to embarrass religion, but present a false “Gospel”.  Satan is at war, the Bible is our sword in this battle for the souls of humanity. We need to learn to use the weapons provided.

            Satan wages war on many scales; here are some his strategies; 

  • He attacks individual’s to prevent them coming to the Gospel
  • He creates large scale deceptions through institutions; government and educational
  • He counterfeits the gospel presenting another Jesus with false teachers. (i.e. Islam, Mormonism, Da Vinci Code)
  • He attacks believers to prevent them from being presenting the Gospel to the lost
  • He creates stronghold using the media and other methods enter the “mind”
  • He destroys families

                                             Satan the accuser


      If you watch the comedy shows, you would think Satan is wearing a red jumper suit, with a plastic pitchfork.  This works to Satan’s advantage, because he is at war, and if the world thinks he is such a joke, they have no concept the joke is on them. 

      In the Islamic faith, Satan plays a major role, part of yearly pilgrimage known, as the Hajj is to throw stones at three pillars, which represent Satan.  Again, Muslim have a Jesus, but he did not die on the cross, nor is he the Son of God, he is merely a man, a great man, but only a man.  Yet the Muslim, who has another gospel and another Jesus, feels he is at war with Satan. Satan has the victory, and is content with Muslim’s throwing stones at pillars.

      Not only is Satan busy deceiving, he is busy accusing.  He accuses God’s people day and night before the throne of God.  We see occurring in both the Old and New Testaments.   This will continue until Satan is cast out of his position of access in Heaven.

      Its often a shock for many people to understand Satan, has access to the throne of God.  He accused Job thousands of years ago, and he accuses us today.  Satan however can only operate under God’s authority.

      In Job, God allows Satan access to Job, but his is limited in exactly what he is able to do, he does not have permission to touch his flesh.  He can only operate within in limits established by God. 

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them 7 And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” 8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” 9 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Job 1:6-12

      Over a thousand years later, Satan is accusing Joshua the High Priest before the Lord (520 B.C.). Satan character and nature continues today.  He accuses the saints (those who know Christ) trying to destroy their lives.

1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel Zechariah 3:1-3 

        Five hundred years after Joshua the High priest, Satan is requesting permission to test Peter,

to “sift” him as wheat.  These principles continue in our own life. Satan wants permission to sift and try us.  Many times we end up giving him the permission ourselves when we are outside of the will of Christ. 

31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Luke 22:31-32

When we wander into Satan’s domain, should we wonder when he attacks us and we feel abandoned by God?   Satan is like a lion hunting for prey, he looks for the weak and vulnerable.

         Satan’s access and role will one day be eliminated, when he loses his position of accuser.  Satan will be cast out from heaven where he will make his final stand along with the Antichrist and False prophet at Armageddon.  All of heaven will rejoice on the day Satan is cast out. 

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:7-11                 

Satan accuses us before the throne of God, he looks for our destruction Jesus Christ is our advocate or “Lawyer” before the throne. The saints who overcame Satan, the accuser did it through the blood of the Lamb.

Satan and the Believer

 Satan’s enemy is God, he opposes Him in every way, that being the case, those who know Christ, have the Spirit of God dwelling in them.  Believers are also Satan’s enemy; his goal is to destroy the lives of God’s servants.  Why do you think he is called the accuser of our brethren?  He is asking for the Lord’s permission, because he does not have any more authority, then that which is given him.


[1] The Invasion Fleet was drawn from 8 different navies, comprising 6,938 vessels: 1,213 warships, 4,125 transport vessels (landing ships and landing craft) and 1,600 support vessels which included a number of merchant vessels.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Normandy#Deception

[2] The Bible has several types or ranks of angels identified, Cherub angels were in the presence of God’s throne. We see them on the Ark of the Covenant, Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4 and 5.  The other ranks of angels are Archangels, only Michael is called one, a third group are called Serephim in Isaiah 6.