Who Is Satan?


There was a boxer who was getting beat up pretty badly in the ring one time and when the bell rang after the first round, he said to his trainer, ‘throw in the towel, that guy is just beating me up’. His trainer said, ‘oh no, you’re doing great, he’s not laying a hand on you,’ to which the boxer said, ‘well, will you keep an eye on the referee because someone is beating me up pretty badly in there!’

I always find it amusing that most people who blame God for all the evil in the world or don’t even acknowledge that God exists are always the first to blame God when evil strikes and just like that trainer, they won’t admit the truth. And the truth is this, just as much as God exists, so does Satan.

When it comes to the topic of Satan people have all kinds of weird and wonderful ideas, as to where he came from and how he operates today. Some believe that he still works in the same way he worked during the time of Jesus and the early church, but the Bible orientated Christian knows that evil is in the world and they know where all this evil is coming from.

The name Satan In the original language the word Satan simply means an adversary, but we need to remember that this word isn’t always used to mean the person of Satan. In the Old Testament, for example, we read that King David said that the sons of Zeruiah were behaving as an ‘adversary to him when they advised him to kill Shimei.’ 2 Samuel 19:22

Note that word, ‘adversary’ is the word Satan in the original language. A few years later Solomon proclaimed that God had given him rest on every side and that there was ‘neither adversary nor misfortune’. 1 Kings 5:4

Again, the Hebrew word for ‘adversary’ in this verse is the word Satan. This word also means to ‘accuse’ or ‘resist.’ The psalmist complained that those who rendered him evil for good were acting as ‘adversaries to him.’ Psalm 38:20

Again the word Satan is used in the original language.

In the Old Testament in the King James Version, Isaiah writes, ‘How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!’ Isaiah 14:12

This is the only passage that uses the name Lucifer to refer to Satan. This name doesn’t come from Hebrew but Latin. Perhaps this translation into English was influenced by the Latin Vulgate, which uses this name. In Latin, Lucifer means ‘light-bringer.’

The Hebrew is ‘heylel’ and means ‘light bearer,’ ‘shining one,’ or ‘morning star.’ Many modern translations translate this as the star of the morning or morning star. In this passage, ‘heylel’ refers to the king of Babylon and Satan figuratively.

Some believe that Lucifer was a heavenly or angelic name that was taken from Satan when he rebelled. The Bible doesn’t explicitly state this, though Satan is nowhere else referred to as Lucifer but instead is called other names like the devil, Satan, etc.

In the Old Testament Satan as an individual is always pictured as an adversary against God’s people either by attempting to seduce them to do evil or by accusing them before God for their sins. But in each case Satan’s power is limited and he acts only within God’s permissive will.

Please take a moment to read Job 1 and 2 where we first find his name being mentioned and notice that Satan can’t do anything without God’s permission.

Is Satan Real?

There are some people who simply believe that Satan is just some kind of figure of evil and that he’s not a real and living entity that exists as a literal singular individual. But anyone who knows their Bible knows this is utter fantasy or wishful thinking, Christians are very aware or should be very aware of the account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by the person of Satan, Luke 4:1-4.

Notice in this text a singular individual referred to as the ‘Devil’ speaking to Jesus. In Jesus’ rebuke of Satan’s request for worship on that occasion, Jesus specifically referred to the Devil as Satan, we see this in Matthew’s account of the same event.

‘Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’ Matthew 4:10

You see, Jesus wasn’t visited and tempted by a figure of evil, He was visited and tempted by a singular individual who he referred to as ‘Satan’. And make no mistake about it, the Satan that opposed and tempted Jesus is real, he exists, and he’s a force to be recognised, understood and dealt with.

Now, there are many uses of the word ‘Satan’ in Scripture, but the one I would like to focus on is the Satan who is identified as the Devil or the ‘evil one’.

How did Satan come to exist?

We must remember that God is the only eternal self-existent being represented in the Bible, Isaiah 41:4 / Isaiah 45:6-7.

As we enter the New Testament we find some text which will help us see that Satan is in fact a created being, Colossians 1:16-17.

When we read this text, we can’t exclude the person of Satan from being included in the description of those things which were created by Jesus Christ, so the only obvious conclusion is that Satan is a created being.

Was Satan Created Good Or Evil?

‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ Genesis 1:31

It’s clear that since God created Satan and everything that God created was ‘very good’, then we can specifically say that this included Satan, who was also created ‘very good’.

He was obviously given the choice whether to do good or to do evil, just like mankind was, and he chose to do evil. We need to remember that God didn’t force Satan to deceive Eve in the garden, that was Satan’s decision and he acted upon it.

And so, from this, we learn that all beings created by God were given the freedom to make the choice whether or not to obey God. As the creator of all things, God has the right to expect the obedience of those who He created but Satan chose to reject obedience to his creator and chose evil and because of that, he fell and was cast down.

Indications Of Satan’s Fall

There are Scriptures which lead us to believe that Satan was, in fact, an angel who originally stayed in heaven, but he and other angels decided to rebel against God and as a result, they were thrown out of heaven, 2 Peter 2:4 / Jude 6.

Remember what we looked at earlier, Satan has different names, and in Matthew 12:24, he is referred to as ‘the prince of demons’, and refers to ‘the devil and his angels’, in Matthew 25:41. We can’t read these texts without coming to the conclusion that he is the leader of this rebellious group of angels who were thrown out of heaven and will eventually spend eternity in hell, Jude 6.

We don’t know exactly when, but at some point, in time, these heavenly messengers left their own habitation, which we generally believe to be heaven, and the place they forsook heaven for is generally understood to be right here on Earth.

They left their heavenly home without any authority from God and since we have plenty of Biblical evidence that puts them here on earth, we can come to the conclusion that the earth is where they went that got them into so much trouble.

When speaking to Jews, Jesus spoke of the Devil and notice what He said in John 8. ‘You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!’ John 8:44-45

From these verses, we learn the Devil was the evil force which came to the garden in Eden in the beginning and became the father of lies here in the physical realm. In Revelation 12, we see all three designations for Satan used in the same context, Revelation 12:9.

Everyone knows that the person who deceived Eve in the garden was the Devil, named Satan in the form of a serpent. Notice also that the writer of Revelation made a reference to Satan’s angels, you see, Satan wasn’t just a deceiver of mankind either.

He also deceived some of the heavenly hosts and they unwisely chose to follow him in opposition to the will of God which brings us to Satan’s rebellion in heaven which was the reason he and his angels or followers, were cast out, Revelation 12:7-9.

This is not the only reference in Scripture to the angels that chose to follow Satan, 2 Peter 2:4-5. In the original language, the word for ‘hell’ in this verse is ‘tartaroo’ which is where the word ‘Tartarus’ comes from. This place is defined as being the deepest abyss of Hades which is the abode of the dead where all who are there await the final resurrection and eternal judgment.

Like I mentioned earlier, Satan and his followers at some point rebelled against God and tried to overthrow Him in heaven. Thankfully, it didn’t work out well for them as they were defeated and cast out of heaven, never to return. At this time, these evil forces found themselves powerless to inflict any harm on God in heaven.

The text in Revelation says that Satan and his angels were cast to the earth and we know from Scripture that there were evil spirits on the earth in the days of Christ. You can’t open your Bible, especially the New Testament without reading about evil spirits and demons being cast from various people, so we know that at least for some time they were here on earth.

But this is an important point since Peter said they had been cast down to hell, it stands to reason that their presence on earth was for a ‘limited time!’

Paul gives us an indication of this time and an indication of why these evil spirits were here on earth for a time being in his letter to the Colossians, Colossians 2:15.

Paul is writing here in the context of the Jewish authorities which were in power, however, this letter was written before the destruction of Jerusalem which was the final overthrow of the Jewish state. But don’t miss the point, God showed His omnipotent power over the forces of evil publicly.

Jesus cast them out publicly, the apostles cast them out publicly, and the evil spirits were in subjection to God’s authority and this was made evident to all. In other words, God kicked the rebellious angels out of heaven and they made a stopover on earth where they were kicked around a little as a public demonstration of God’s superiority over them.

The point is simple, God is in charge and nothing Satan can do will ever change that and so, we can be assured that Satan will never be able to overcome God, that has already been tried and he failed miserably.

Defeats Of Satan In The Bible

Satan and his evil followers suffered and continue to suffer defeat at the hands of righteousness. In addition to the war in heaven and the casting out of the demons and their public humiliation, Satan suffered defeat in his trial of Job. He was defeated by Jesus in the wilderness, Matthew 4:1-11, he was defeated when Christ was resurrected from the dead, Colossians 2:14-15 / Hebrews 2:14-16 / 1 John 3:8 / Hebrews 2:14-18.

There’s something we need to understand, God doesn’t give help to the angels that sinned and because of that they have no hope, they have no chance for forgiveness. Jesus died for us, but He didn’t die for them, Satan and his angels know that God is undefeatable and that they are doomed to eternal condemnation, Matthew 25:41.

Why does Satan hate Christians so much?

You see, God loved us enough to die for us but did nothing for Satan and his angels because they rebelled and were cast out of heaven with no hope of reconciliation. They know God refused to help them when they rebelled, and they hate Him for that. They know each and every one of us has the chance to escape the fate that awaits them, and they hate us for that.

They know they can’t defeat God or overcome Him in any way, so they do the only thing they can at this point, they attack and try to destroy the ones God loved enough to die for. Satan wants to hurt us because he knows God loves us and he can’t do anything else to hurt God at this point than to take us with him to eternal destruction.

Is Satan still active on the earth today?

Even though Satan’s followers have been cast into the abyss, the forces of evil are still active, 1 Peter 5:8.

But Satan has restrictions on his activities, Paul writing to the Christians in Corinth said. ‘No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13

According to Paul Satan isn’t permitted to inflict more on us than we are able to withstand. We don’t know how, but we do know that somehow God has placed a restriction on Satan so that he can operate but only within a certain range.

We must remember that Satan has power, but it’s limited, Ephesians 6:11-13. Paul says as Christians we can withstand Satan, but it takes the whole armour of God to do it. Notice also what James writes. ‘Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.’ James 4:7

We’ve all pictured ourselves running away from Satan but here James tells us that we are more powerful than him and when we submit to God and resist the devil, he will run from us.

How Satan Attacks Us Today

It’s incredible, especially within the charismatic movement, how many people believe that Satan still possesses people today and demons enter people’s lives. The truth is, they are giving the devil way more power than he actually has and is limiting the powerful work of Christ on the cross, Colossians 2:15 / 1 John 3:8.

Demons still exist, but they don’t possess people today and today, we need to be concerned about Satan, the Devil, who tempts us to sin. We know that the devil is still working today but he doesn’t have the power he once had and so he can only work through lying and deceit.

Lying and Deceit

Note the following passages which speak about how he operates today, John 8:44 / 2 Corinthians 11:3 / 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 / Ephesians 6:11 / 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 / Revelation 12:9 / Revelation 13:12-14 / Revelation 19:20.

The purpose of the church, especially the duties of elders, preachers, and teachers, is to teach people so that they are not as vulnerable to such deceit. These were all in place ‘to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.’ Ephesians 4:12-14

How does the devil operate today?

‘But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.’ James 1:14

Satan knows that if we sin, the consequences are death if we don’t repent and if he can get sin to be fully grown in us, he will triumph over us in the end. Satan isn’t allowed to force us beyond what we can endure so he resorts to the only avenue he has left, he has to make sin look good.

He has to entice us, he has to disguise sin’s ugliness and make it look more desirable to us than obedience to God’s righteousness. The tools Satan has at his disposal are the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, 1 John 2:16.

Lust of the flesh

The lust of the flesh is obvious, all temptations which have their roots in appetites and desires of the body are included in this. These appetites of the body aren’t in themselves sinful, it’s when we allow lust or our desires to act on and satisfy those appetites that we succumb to the lust of the flesh.

Lust of the eyes

The lust of the eyes is what we see that we want, this would be covetousness, desiring what others have and willing to set those things up ahead of God’s righteousness and obtain these things by unjust means.

Pride of life

Pride of life is the desire of the human ego itself, the utterly selfish instinct in all human life that insists upon achieving the fulfilment of the person itself, the inherent passion of the soul to do its own will, fulfil its own desires, glorify its own ego, and to occupy the inner control centre of life. This is what drives or compels us to sin, this is the self-gratification of both the flesh and the will and our salvation in Christ requires that this be denied.


Satan uses our own desires and our built-in natures to achieve our destruction, he knows he can bring us down in defeat if he can get us to succumb to our desires, our pride, our vanity. Satan was unable to resist his pride and his vanity, and he’s going to pay the price for that. He hates us and wants us to share in that fate, so he does what he can to entice us, to lure us, to deceive us, to tempt us to give in to our desires and join him in his condemnation.

The good news is that Satan has already lost his war against God, but we haven’t. We fight on and try to live faithfully all the days of our lives, sadly there are those who aren’t Christians, those who still rebel against God because they refuse to acknowledge Him and become obedient to Him.

Satan chose to be disobedient, nobody forced him, and like those who aren’t Christians, God won’t force them to love Him, this is their choice and their eternal destiny is their own decision.

The way to avoid the fate of Satan is found in the same context as John’s teaching on the lust of the eyes and pride of life, 1 John 2:16-17.

Satan doesn’t have a choice in his eternal destiny, but we do, Satan can’t go back and change the mistakes he made, but because God loved mankind so much that He gave His only begotten Son to pay the penalty of death, we have a choice. Just like Satan, none of us can go back and change our beginnings, but because of the love of God, we each can start from this point right now and make ourselves a new ending.

The salvation of our souls ought to be in the front of all of our minds. There are things that the Bible tells us that we must do in order to be saved.

We must hear God’s Word

‘Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.’ Romans 10:17

Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God

‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.’ John 3:36

Confess His Name

‘That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.’ Romans 10:9-10

Repent of whatever sin that is in our lives

‘I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish’. Luke 13:3

And be baptized for the remission of our sins

‘Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ Acts 2:38