Mankind lives in a physical, tangible, material world, which is influenced by the invisible, spiritual world around us. The present day spiritual world is just as existent as it was nearly two thousand years ago when Lord Jesus walked the earth. The Old and New Testaments reveal to us from time to time, glimpses of this spiritual world. These Testaments provide us with the most factual information regarding Satan. Unfortunately, many have been misinformed and do not thoroughly comprehend Satan’s origin and what his purpose concerning the spiritual and physical world. There is a great need to set the record straight regarding Satan especially in our hour with its present angel craze, channeling and a belief in spirit guides. I chose Satan as the subject of my paper because I am one who does not thoroughly comprehend who he is and what his purpose in both the spiritual and physical world is.
Satan is a fallen angel that is frequently referred to in the Bible. There are numerous ideas about his evil spirit. Some believe that Satan and his demons are not real, but are rather personifications of the wickedness that abides in the world. Others admit the existence of Satan but presume that he is confined in the fiery pits of an ever-burning Hell. Still others believe that Satan is free and actively promoting sinfulness in our world today. What is the truth? What does the Bible tell us about Satan?
In present day, Satan is more often referred to as the Devil. The word derived, via the ecclesiastical Latin diabolus, from the Greek diabolos, an adjective meaning “slanderous.” This was also used in ancient Greek as a noun to identify a person as a slanderer. The term was utilized in the Greek translation of the Bible, the Septuagint, not to refer to human beings, but rather to translate the Hebrew ha-Satan (“the Satan”). It was an expression originally used as the title of a member of the divine court who functioned as God’s roving spy, gathering intelligence about human beings from his travels on earth (Pagels 10-11). God’s Word clearly teaches the reality of Satan. He is presented as an evil entity that affects humanity by his actions. Details about him are available in the Bible, but the facts are distributed throughout the text in such a way that one must diligently search and study to gain a rudimentary understanding of Satan’s status and goals.
Most of the confusion about Satan comes from an incomplete understanding of what the Bible reveals. Looking at the biblical texts we see what initially appears to be a contradiction. Christ frequently encountered Satan and his evil spirits during his ministry. Many during his day recorded Christ casting out the devil from “mad” people. Yet scriptures in the Bible reveal to us demons trapped in an “everlasting” darkness, bound in prison, waiting for Judgment Day (Page 58-65).
Although Satan is a complex and misinterpreted individual, his origin can easily be understood. God created angels to carry out his words not only on earth, but also in his precious Garden of Eden. Of all the Angels, one was most distinguishable to Lord God. The Angel was intelligent, maintained leading capabilities, and possessed divine beauty. Despite his intelligence, this Angel decided he could or would try to become God or even more powerful than the Lord. God learned of the Angel’s sinful intentions and confronted him:
EZEKIAL 28:12…Thus says 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 as a profane thing out of the mountains of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. 17 Your heart was lifted up because of you beauty, you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor…” (NKJV).
From the preceding Scriptures, we can learn several things about Satan. In the beginning, this “anointed cherub” was created as a wise, beautiful and powerful angel. He apparently was one of the two cherubs who cover the mercy seat (God’s throne) with their wings. However, because of his pride in his beauty, this cherubs wisdom was corrupted (Thielicke 34, 55-62).
Satan is symbolically called the “king of Tyre” (Eze. 28:12). The coastal city-state of Tyre was one of the world’s greatest traders during Israel’s monarch period. Although the Scriptures do not define the trade Satan was engaged in, it clearly tells us that because of the abundance of his trade, he sinned (Nathan 215). Possibly, Satan implemented a system of competition rather than cooperation, which eventually filled him with violence, causing his iniquity.
It is possible that through his “slander” and “gossip,” Satan turned one-third of the angelic host against God. We know that Satan tried this approach in the Garden of Eden, when he unsinter God’s motives to Eden (Gen 3:1-5). The angelic forces loyal to God eventually had to cast this “anointed cherub,” along with his allies, out of heaven. From this point forward he became known in Hebrew, as previously mentioned, as Ha-Satan, or “The Adversary.”
Contrary to popular belief, the Bible reveals that Satan and some of his demons were not confined to Hell after their initial expulsion from heaven. Indeed, the Old Testament shows that, before the first coming of Yeshua the Messiah, Satan and his demons continued to have access to the very throne of God.
JOB 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them (NKJV).
ZECHARIAH 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him (NASB).
The devils primary role, as shown in Zachariah 3:1, was the accuser of God’s people. However, when Christ triumphantly returned to heaven after his crucifixion and resurrection, Satan and his demons were once again cast out, as the ensuing passage from Revelation tells us:
REVELATION 12:7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world–he is thrown down to earth, and his angels thrown down with him(RSV).
Some have incorrectly believed that this passage refers to Satan’s initial expulsion from heaven. Yet, the time sequence established in Revelation 12 clearly indicates that his ejection from heaven is after the first coming of Christ and before his second coming at the end of his age. Christ told his disciples that when he had gone back into heaven after his resurrection, the Lord would send His Holy spirit to teach them all the things and bring them into remembrance of all the things that he had said to them (John 14:26). But in addition, he warned them of the coming of Satan to the earth after his departure.
In present day, we often hear of people committing crimes with society accusing the person as being possessed by Satan. The New Testament clearly records several instances where evil spirits possessed and took up residence within human beings. One of the activities of evil spirits mentioned In the Bible is that of “familiar” or “divining” spirits. Satan appears to have the ability to rouse the dead from their ordained sleep. He also seems to be able to foretell the future, to some extent. As some Scriptures show, Satan is obviously free to propagate evil in the world. However, there are Scriptures which indicate that Satan is currently restrained in a type of spiritual prison.
In conclusion, the Bible gives quite a bit of information about Satan. To understand the truth, all that information has to be assimilated. Satan is currently the “god” of this world, as such, he is the highest ranking evil spirit. Other demons under Satan have authority over the various nations of the earth. Spiritual conflict is unseen but ongoing. With the loyal angles sometimes battling the fallen angles to fulfill Gods will. The demons will be unleashed on the earth during the end of this age, when God’s wrath is vented on a sinning and unrepentant humanity. In the end, however, Christ will return and subjugate all who will not submit to God’s authority, including Satan and the fallen host. Their punishment will be age lasting destruction and refinement within the lake of fire