Who and What Is Satan?

Scripture reveals everything we need to know to recognize Satan and his schemes and temptations.   We will address where he came from, who he is, what he does, how he does it, and what his effects are and what they look like in the world around us.  We are commanded to test the spirits, and we can’t do that if we don’t know the difference.

 Where did Satan come from? 

He, and all the other angels of heaven were created at some point during creation (I John 3:8).  After he became full of pride and sin, he was caste out of heaven and to earth.  He was not annihilated from existence because, through being sin, he came dead already.  The death that which is separation from God.  He was not sent to hell but was allowed to remain on earth (Revelation 12:9).  Through his continued disobedience and deceptions on earth we see God’s power and righteousness more clear and greater- but by only those who haven’t been blinded by him

In Ezekiel 20:13-17 we read:

You were the signet of perfection,
 full of wisdom and perfect in beauty

Satan was made by God in perfect beauty with extraordinary wisdom.  He was given all the most beautiful wealthiest gifts and status. 

You were an anointed guardian cherub.
    I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
    in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
15 You were blameless in your ways
    from the day you were created,
    till unrighteousness was found in you.

He was anointed by God for a high role in the hierarchy of angels.  When he was created he was extremely powerful and beautiful; he WAS the standard of angels.  BUT, all that splendor and power ultimately corrupted him.  In the process of that corruption, sin was born in him. 

In the abundance of your trade
    you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
    and I destroyed [banished] you, O guardian cherub,
    from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
    you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.
I cast you to the ground;

He became so proud of himself and all his power and beauty that he then thought he could make himself to be like God and above God.  And THIS is the essence of all sin.

I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of the North.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)

He was ordained and placed by God himself a high status, with deep wisdom, wealth, and power.  A kind that no other angels had.  This closeness to God lead to a natural desire with all that he had, to be greater than God.

This pride lead to his rebellion and fall.  But his rebellion with a third of the angels failed, and thus, he enlisted the support from man by tempting them to succumb to the same choice that he made – to love themselves so great they also desired to become autonomous from God, defy Him, and be their own god.

It is important to notice how Satan uses others for his agenda.  Isaiah was also speaking of the King of Babylon, and Ezekiel was also speaking about the King of Tyre.  Satan enlisted angels, Eve, and others throughout history. 

Why would a wise and powerful angel, who was so close to God, think a rebellion would be successful?

It is important to see that his wisdom was not perfect and since he was not God, neither was his power.  Secondly, his pride corrupted him, thus infecting his limited knowledge.  He became so blinded by his own pride, that he really thought he could win.  Therefore, believing he could win, he then tried. 

Did God create an evil angel?

No, scripture is clear that God did NOT create Satan evil, but Satan, in his own self became evil.  Then, after sin was birthed in him, he was caste out of God’s presence.  Same with mankind.  Man was NOT created evil, but good (notice perfect is not stated).  It was then, when temped by Satan, did that same sin and corruption spread into the minds and hearts of mankind.

But Why Create Satan?

If God is all knowing and perfectly loving, why create a being that would ruin creation in the first place and save all the heart ache?  First, consider this:  What is greater than executing a punishment? Mercy.  What is greater than hatred?  Forgiveness.  What is greater than never being able to earn something?  Grace.  What is greater than never knowing what is right?  Truth.  How could you see righteousness without anything less?  How meaningful is a love that costs nothing?  By allowing Satan to do what he did, God’s glory shines brighter.  By allowing creation to be corrupted, he then gets to restore it in a greater, grander, most glorious way.  Its not about the necessity of evil, but it is about illuminating what already exists to a greater extent.  We would not see the vastness of God’s righteousness, glory, and love, if Jesus did not have to suffer on the cross. How would we ever see the greatness of God’s Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Grace; if he never revealed it?  And how could he forgive, if he never needed to?  How could forgiveness exist without something to forgive?  He allowed sin so that He would show the creation that he loves, that he is greater than all.  And at the end of time, when we see all that has taken place, and we will fully know God and his absolute glory, perfect love, mercy, forgiveness, and completely understand his amazing grace.

God is not ignorant or lack knowledge of time.  He is outside of time, created time, and had knowledge of all time at once.  He knew Satan would pull his dirty tricks and infect the world.  Which is why he already knew his Son would be sent to redeem the world.  This is hard for our finite minds to grasp because we see things through the lens of time.  We must see and understand God through his attributes, one of which is his eternal attribute.  He is eternal.  Thus sees all of time.  He is all knowing and good.  Thus he already had the perfect plan to redeem his creation, before it was created.  Which also he uses to reveal himself in a greater way to his creation, through his creations downfall.  Though God is not responsible for sin, he works around it for a greater end- His eternal divine glory revealed to creation on the most grandest scale.

If Satan is so obviously evil, how is he ABLE to deceive? 

Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising,
then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. (2
Corinthians 11:14-15)

Satan masks his agenda and temptations like something good and desiring.  This pseudo-light is actually darkness and corrosive BUT is purposefully not made to seem that way.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.  Gen 3:1

With this pseudo-light and false hope that seems like God’s light and hope, but is actually not, he is crafty in how he presents it to individuals.  The Apostles warned of this false light and pseudo-gospel.

“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8)

It is critical to see HOW Satan deceived Eve.  They were in the very presence of God! Yet, were still able to be deceived.  How?  To see HOW it is possible to be deceived by Satan, we look at HOW he deceived in scripture.

HOW he deceives

Gen 3:1-8 Satan start off distorting what God said and in question form.

he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

Notice that Satan adds in some words that God did not say, but speak as though God did say it.  He rephrases God in a different way.  His confusion and deception leads Eve to consider what he is actually asking.  God never actually said “any tree” yet, Satan says “has God said?” 

Eve then honestly responds with what God told her.

The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but
from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God
has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’””

She was faithful to the Lord in her response.  That is exactly what He said and she needed to have complete faith that what He said was true.  But then Satan, after distorting what God said, follows up with casting doubt on what God specifically said.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

After distorting and proposing doubt, he then manipulates the meaning of what God meant by “you will die”.  God was speaking about his spiritual relationship with man (James 1:15).  THEN Satan proposes the ultimate temptation in all the universe; to be like God.  THE sin that was born in Satan.  She then felt, for the very first time, temptation due to the distortion, doubt, and twisting the meaning of Gods words.

When the woman saw that the
tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that
the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”

She considered the question and meaning that Satan proposed.  This temptation lead her to consider what Satan told her and forget what God made clear.  She saw, was delighted in herself, and desired to be like God [his wisdom].  She then felt justified in her self.  She took for her self and disobeyed God.

Now fast forward to Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11.  Satan goes to the second Adam, the Son of God and God incarnate, and pulls out the big guns to get him to stumble just as he got Adam and Eve to stumble.  Satan sees the Son of God in the form of man, tired and hungry in the body, and goes straight to the point.

the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’””

He was hungry in the body so Satan challenged him to satisfy himself, knowing he was fully capable of doing so.  The point was for Jesus to do a selfish act and satisfy himself.  That the pride of who he was would over shadow his mission of God the Father.  Where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus did not.  He did not forget the Words of God and instead of considering Satan’s idea, he quoted from the Words of God alone. 

Realizing Jesus had a firm knowledge of Gods words, he then attacks that.  He distorts what God said to confuse Jesus and manipulate him to spark a prideful selfish act. 

Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,

He will command His angels concerning You’;
and
On their hands they will bear You up,
So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Satan even quotes Psalm 91:11-12.  BUT again, distorts the meaning and purpose.  Satan attempts to tempt Jesus into thinking about himself.  It is not for Jesus to take selfish advantage of the protections of God but so that God The Father’s will is done, not his.  By proving to Satan this is about him, that would be a prideful and selfish act.  He has nothing to prove to Satan.  He only seeks the approval of his Father in Heaven.  Again, Jesus responds with Deut. 6:16 and uses God’s words alone. 

Then, here comes the biggest temptation yet.

the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.””

Seems like an easy request with massive rewards.  Jesus could have all the kingdoms of the world, given to him; no more struggles with the dark forces in the world.  All he would have to do is bow down and worship Satan; and all the world would belong to him right then and there.  Of course, Satan, the great deceiver, would never really allow that; after all, he is still be the prince of the world  and be worshiped. 

Jesus could avoid the torture, pain, suffering, and try to put an end to it all right there; of course after worshiping Satan.  BUT, that wasn’t why he came.  He knew why he came.  He came TO be tortured, feel the pain of the world AND suffer FOR the world. AND he already knew he was going to retake the whole world and reconcile it back to God at his second coming anyway.  He kept his focus on God’s Will, God’s purpose, and God’s glory, not his own.

Then Jesus *said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’””

Jesus did not even consider his offer.  Instead, he again, quotes God’s word and the ultimate purpose for everything; to worship God and God alone.  Satan had no more tools greater than these, so he left him alone.  Also notice that once Jesus said “Go”; he left.  Even though Satan is opposed to God’s interests, he must still obey God’s commands. 

In each one of Satan’s temptations we see that they are all self-centered for self seeking satisfaction and tickle a desire to satisfy wants, and be like God in control and power.  A side note: notice that Satan’s temptations are very similar to the modern health, wealth, and happiness teachings of modern charismatic preachers.  The most important take away is Jesus’ responses to all the various temptations: God’s Word.

He distorts and twists God’s words by manipulating the meaning or adding in words that were not said.  After this, He then attempts to tickle a self-centered, self seeking, self justifying, prideful, desire to be like God or be our own god, in our own way.

His temptations are appealing and at times seem to satisfy an actual need.  But he doesn’t do it for us, he tempts us to do it ourselves.  He didn’t give Eve the apple, she took it.  He didn’t give Jesus bread, he told him to turn stone into bread.  He leads us to see something in a selfish light and encourages us to take it for ourselves.

Satan’s Authority

After being caste out of heaven and into the world, he still maintained his power (1 John 5:19)John 12:31 states that He is the ruler of this worldEphesians 2:2 states the he is the prince of this world and is at work influencing all those who follow his scheme.  God allows him to have control in the world but only those who God has not called for himself (Colossians 1:13).  Those who do not believe in the true gospel message of scripture have been caught in Satan’s snare and do his will, knowingly or unknowingly whether they believe it or not (2 Timothy 2:26; James 1:13,14).  Satan is the god of this world in the fact that he is worshiped and his ideals are worshiped (2 Corinthians 4:4).  Thus because people of the world knowingly or unknowingly worship Satan and his ideals, they are his (John 8:44) until God redeems them from Satan’s grasp (I John 3:8). 

Satan Hunts

Satan searches the world for opportunities (1 Peter 5:8-9) to plant a selfish desire in our hearts and minds.  He seeks to do this by confusing us about what God clearly means in scripture.  He whispers in the ears of those who are or seem weak (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:2) and tries to infect them with a selfish desire to be like god in their own way.   Satan roams the earth, even embedding himself with believers (Job 1:6-8).   Satan leads man to put mans interests before God’s (Matthew 16:23).  When people reject the person and work of Jesus, Satan swoops right in and influences their hearts and minds (Mark 4:15).


What other characteristics of Satan does the Bible teach us?

Satan influences people to do things contrary to what God desires (1 Chronicles 21:1).  Satan has the ability, when allowed by God, to inflict health issues (Job 2:6-7).  Satan tries to accuse those chosen by God of things worthy of condemnation but God rebukes Satan (Zech 3:1-2).  The best weapons against Satan, is God’s Word (Matthew 4:10).   “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11).   Simple belief in God does not protect you from being deceived, Satan and the Demons believe in God (James 2:19)

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9
Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of
suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the
world.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

 Other Religions 

You can see Satan’s influence in other religions.  Some claim to have been visited by an Angel or given information by an angelic source; yet seem to forget God’s words in Galatians 1:8.  Those religions then have self justifying rites, rituals, or belief systems that its followers must perform regularly or adhere to in order to be saved or maintain their supposed salvation.  These religions distort and twist God’s words by manipulating the meaning or adding
in words that were not said.  They even generate their own writings and justify themselves.  Their teachings tickle a
self seeking, self justifying, prideful, desire to be the originator and maintainer of their own salvation- through that chosen religion.  They seem satisfying as long as the religion is consistently practiced or performed enough, for less devote followers, to feel satisfied and justified in their efforts.  Secularism and Atheism is no different, this too requires a faith in something else besides biblical truth; a religious like devotion.  These religions seem appealing, self justifying, and self satisfying.  See the similarities with what Satan offered Adam and Jesus?

Questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is someone else telling me how I should understand God’s word?
    1. How do I know they are not distorting, twisting, and manipulating the true meaning?
  2. Am I blindly believing what I am told to believe about the bible?
    1. Are they telling me they are most correct, simply because they say they are?
  3. Does what I am taught, lead me to justify myself by what I do?
    1. Am I taught that I make myself right in God’s eyes by my works?
  4. Is my religion based on a revelation from a later angelic source outside of scripture?
    1. How do I explain Galatians 1:8?
      1. If I am told by the religion establishment how to explain Gal 1:8, how do I know what I am told is true?  Simply because they say they are?
  5. Does what I am taught, make me feel righteous based on how devoted I am in my deeds to the faith?
    1. Am I taught that can earn and merit my place with God by how devoted I am to what I am told by the religious establishment?
  6. Does what I am taught lead me to a greater devotion to God or the religion?
  7. Does what I am taught lead me to see a greater need for Jesus and love for others?
    1. Or does it lead me to feel a greater need for the religious establishment- as though it was god?
  8. Do I really know who Jesus is or do I just believe what I am told about him by a religious establishment?
    1. How do I even know the religious establishment is teaching the real Jesus?  Simply because they say they are?
  9. Is my faith in The true God or in the religious establishment?

Satan’s temptations can seem appealing, may seem right, and may even seem like truth BUT the end result is always the same.  Worship of the self.  There is no greater deception than to convince people to worship themselves or a counterfeit god(s) that makes themselves feel justified by their works or what they are taught.

How is Christianity is Not a Scheme of Satan?

  1. Faith is solely based in the person and works of Jesus; not the self or religious establishments.
  2. The Bible is directly influenced by God, it interprets itself
    1. Vague passages are understood in light of explicit passages
    2. What is not explicitly stated is understood through what has been explicitly revealed.  What is not explicitly stated is understood through what is revealed about the Character of God himself in scripture (2 Timothy 2:15). 
    3. Correctly understanding the language and culture the Bible was written in helps in correctly understanding the true meaning of what is written.
    4. The Bible is correctly understood in light of the totality of scripture, not self interpretations of cherry picked verses (2 Peter 1:20).
  3. Everything done in action and deed is for God’s Glory alone (Matthew 22:37,38).
  4. The Gospel message as stated in scripture, does not and has not changed.
    1. It is solely about the purpose, works, and person of Jesus. 
  5. The mindset and focus of the Christian is eternal and heavenly and not material or earthly.  
    1. Good deeds for others is not for personal validation or satisfaction but for salvation of others and God’s Glory.
    2. Christians seek God’s Will and not their own.
  6. Christianity is not faith in the church but faith in Christ, who is the head of the body of believers.
    1. The difference between the visible church and the invisible church are those who claim to be Christian for selfish self seeking worldly means and those who are Christian because of faith in the gospel message which compels them to love, serve, and worship God.
  7. Christians are saved by grace through faith.  This grace is unearned and unmerited. There is no amount of effort, deeds, or works that can earn the free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9).  This free gift from God is only through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; 14:6)

Ability to Reject Satan

Because of Christ, man has been enabled by God to reject Satan; but only through faith in Christ (Mark 16:17).  Faith in Jesus enables us to then resit Satan (James 4:7).  And at the end of it all, the source of sin, Satan, and all his followers will be caste into Hell forever (Matthew 25:41).  

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