Satan

Numbers 22:22; 1 Kings 11:14,23,25; Revelation 20:2; 1 Chronicles 21:1; Matthew 13; Ephesians 6:11‑18; Ezekiel 28:12‑19; Colossians 2:15; Luke 4:5‑6; Matthew 2:16; Revelation 12:1‑5; Revelation 13; Revelation 20:7‑9; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20; Revelation 12:10; Zechariah 3:1‑2  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
A name by which THE DEVIL, the great enemy of God and man, is designated. The name may be said to be the same in Hebrew, Greek, and English, and signifies “adversary,” as the word is rendered in several places where other adversaries are alluded to (compare Num. 22:2222And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. (Numbers 22:22); 1 Kings 11:14,23,2514And the Lord stirred up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom. (1 Kings 11:14)
23And God stirred him up another adversary, Rezon the son of Eliadah, which fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: (1 Kings 11:23)
25And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. (1 Kings 11:25)
). It was Satan who at the outset deceived Eve, for it is clear that the dragon, the old serpent, the devil, and Satan all represent the same evil spirit (Rev. 20:22And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:2)). Satan was the great adversary of God’s people in Old Testament times (1 Chron. 21:11And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1)); the tempter of the Lord Jesus, who treated him as Satan; and is the tempter and adversary of the saints and of all mankind now. He endeavors to neutralize the effect of the gospel; catches away the good seed sown in the heart (Matt. 13), and blinds the minds of the unbelieving lest the light of the gospel of Christ’s glory should shine to them. His efforts are frustrated by God or none would be saved.
Further, to counteract God’s work, Satan has raised up heretics to mingle with the saints and to corrupt them by evil doctrine, as taught in the metaphor of the tares sown among the wheat. He goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, but saints are told to resist him, and he will flee from them. The power of death, which Satan had, has been annulled by Christ in His death. Saints are warned against his devices, for he is transformed into an angel of light, a teacher of morality. God has provided complete armor for His saints in order that they may withstand him and all his wiles, and has given them the sword of the Spirit—the word of God, as a weapon of attack (Eph. 6:11-1811Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:11‑18)).
The origin of Satan is not definitely stated, but if Ezekiel 28:12-1912Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezekiel 28:12‑19) refers to him, under the appellation of the king of Tyre (as was very early believed in the church, and may be correct), he is described as the anointed cherub that “covereth;” all the precious stones and gold were also his covering, resplendent by reflected light; he had a place in Eden, the garden of God, and was upon the holy mountain of God. He was perfect in his ways from the day he was created, until iniquity was found in him. Tyre, in its worldly wisdom and beauty, is looked at morally as the creation of the prince and god of this world. He will eventually be cast out as profane and find his portion in the lake of fire.
In the Epistle of Jude, the act of Michael the archangel in reference to Satan is given as an example of restraint in speaking of dignities: he dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil, but said, “The Lord rebuke thee.” This implies that Satan had been set in dignity, which, though he had fallen, was still to be respected—as Saul’s life was sacred in David’s eyes because he was the anointed of God, though he had then fallen. That Satan had been set in dignity is confirmed by the fact of Christ having on the cross spoiled “principalities and authorities”(ἐξονσιά), not simply “powers” (Col. 2:1515And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:15)).
The expressions “the prince of this world,” “the god of this world,” and “the prince of the power of the air,” all presumably refer to Satan. When the Lord was tempted in the wilderness, Satan, after showing Him “all the kingdoms of the world,” proposed to give to Him all the power and glory of them, if He would worship him, adding “for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:5-65And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. (Luke 4:5‑6)).
From the Book of Job we learn that Satan has access to God in the heavens; the Christian wrestles with the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenlies; and a day is coming when Michael and his angels will fight against Satan and his angels, and the latter will be cast out of heaven. This seems to indicate that Satan has a place in heaven originally given to him by God. During the millennium he will be shut up in the abyss, then loosed for a little season, and finally be cast into the lake of fire, a place prepared for him and his angels.
When Jesus was born, Satan attempted to destroy Him (Matt. 2:1616Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. (Matthew 2:16); Rev. 12:1-51And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:1‑5)). At the close of the Lord’s course Satan was the great mover in His being put to death. To accomplish this Satan entered into Judas the traitor, whereas, as far as is revealed, in other cases, possession was by a demon, and not by Satan himself. When the Lord was arrested He said to the Jews, “This is your hour and the power of darkness.” But Christ was morally the victor: in His death He annulled him that had the power of death, that is, the devil: He led captivity captive. Still Satan works, and will, when cast down to earth, be the spirit of a trinity of evil. He gives his throne and authority to the beast, that is, to the resuscitated Roman Empire, whose power is wielded by the Antichrist (Rev. 13). He will also be the leader of the nations in the last battle against the camp of the saints (Rev. 20:7-97And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7‑9)).
It is remarkable that, notwithstanding the malignity of Satan, God uses him in the discipline of His saints, as in the case of Job, but allows the evil one to go only as far as He pleases. Paul used his apostolic power to commit some to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor. 5:55To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:5); 1 Tim. 1:2020Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Timothy 1:20)). The thorn in the flesh which Paul himself had was a messenger of Satan to buffet him, lest he should be puffed up because of the marvelous revelations made to him in the third heaven. It is well to remember that Satan is morally a vanquished foe, for he is exposed; and that no Christian can be touched by him except as permitted and controlled by his God and Father in discipline for his good.