Who is Satan?, Part 1
Who is Satan? This question has often been asked, garnering a variety of answers, from “God’s most beautiful creation,” to “the leader of the fallen angels,” to simply “a cherub.” The bible, however, gives us no definitive answer. Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 have been set forth as descriptions of the kings of Babylon and Tyre, while thought to simultaneously describe Satan (Lucifer). He is alluded to in Genesis 3:1-5, where the serpent did his bidding in deceiving Eve. He is mentioned, without description, as standing against Israel in I Chronicles 21:1. Moreover, Jesus testified of his existence calling him the “father of lies” (John 8:44), and, indeed, was tempted by him for forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). He is the great deceiver who tempted man into his downfall, and who continues to rail against God and man through the same evil he unleashed in the garden.
Aside from being the original liar Satan is a thief of the truth, as Jesus described in Matthew 13:19, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.” Before a man can even begin to understand the truth of God, Satan will try and steal it away from his heart, when possible. Christ also described the devil as the evil one and enemy of the world, saying, “The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels” (Matthew 13:38-39). Concerning Satan and those who choose too follow him Jesus also charged: “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of My own accord, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear My word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:42-44).
Satan was not created in corruption. He chose to rebel against the Creator out of pride (Isaiah 14:12-15). In the same way he wants to bring man down, in subjection to himself. However, Satan and his plans have been defeated, as Jesus foretold: “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (John 12:31-32; also, John 14:30). When Christ was lifted up on the cross it was the beginning of the end for the devil. The end came when Christ rose from the dead. We are living in the final dispensation before the judgment. Satan and his angels have been bound (Revelation 20:1-3). His influence on the earth, while still great, is limited. He cannot defeat the forces of God. He cannot stop the spread of God’s word. As dark as the world may seem at times Christ was victorious. With that understood it is important for Christians to understand that there is still work to be done. Spiritually speaking the world is still a dangerous place. And, the devil is still a cunning and dangerous adversary.
While we will never come face-to-face with Satan or one of his demons, he is still able to present himself to us in the sense of disguising evil as good. He is able, through his agents (those who love the darkness), to convince many of the beauty of sin. His greatest weapon today may well be his mastery of deception, as Paul wrote, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds” (II Corinthians 11:14-15). Earlier in his letter he penned these words: “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4). Through Satan’s abilities to deceive many will be blinded to the truth, led astray by enticements, exchanging truth for a lie. For the Christian who is engaged in the Lord’s work Paul’s understanding of the many hardships to be faced still resonates today: the door for effective work is wide open, but there are many adversaries (I Corinthians 16:9).
Anyone seeking the truth can expect resistance. It seems like every article of truth set forth in the Bible has its challengers. Those who oppose God seem to come from all directions at times, in a relentless attack on the church and Christian ethics. If they can’t defeat us outright, then they seek some form of compromise. However, when Christians compromise God’s truth they are defeated. God’s truth is not up for negotiation. No quarter can be given. There is no give-and-take. We either stand for the truth or we fall. The apostle Peter had a similar understanding. In his first letter he wrote, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (I Peter 5:8-9). If we give an inch to the world it will devour us. When it comes to spiritual truth compromise is weakness, and when the world senses that weakness it attacks it. Therefore, we must adhere to Peter’s advice. We must band together and resist, bolstering one another's faith, knowing that Satan’s desire is for us.
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.