Satanology: The Doctrine of Satan
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood,
but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Satanology is the study of the person and work of Satan. It’s strange that Satan is not understood very well by believers today. Christian teachers fluctuate between various extremes: either denying Satan or obsessing over him. C.S. Lewis profoundly writes, “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
Lewis, C. S. The Screwtape Letters. New York, NY: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Preface ix.
This is a study on Satan, the “angel of darkness.” The purpose is to make a detailed study of this individual to dispel many of the false views, which are being passed around concerning him. This study will be divided into ten segments.
There are three common false views. The first is that Satan is not a personality or a being, but only an evil principle with whom all must wrestle. A second misconception concerning Satan is that he is the direct cause of every sin in every individual, so that when someone sins, he always blames it on the devil. And the third is that Satan or one of his demons is responsible for every physical and mental disorder.
The Bible clearly teaches that Satan exists. This can be seen in three ways. First of all, Satan is mentioned in seven of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament: Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah. Secondly, of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, Satan is mentioned in nineteen: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 1 John, Jude, and Revelation. While Satan is not mentioned in every New Testament book, he is mentioned by every New Testament writer. Thirdly, and very importantly, the existence of Satan was taught by the Messiah Himself. In the four Gospels, Satan is mentioned a total of twenty-nine times. Of these twenty-nine times, he is mentioned by the Messiah in twenty-five passages. The following verses are examples from each Gospel, where Yeshua (Jesus) taught the existence of Satan: Matthew 4:10; Mark 3:26; Luke 13:16 and John 12:31.
There is no question, then, that the Bible teaches the existence of Satan. He is not merely an imaginary character or emanation; he is more than just an evil principle. He is a real being and the Bible teaches the existence of Satan in both the Old and New Testaments. Not only is Satan mentioned in apocalyptic-type or visionary books that deal with many symbols such as Revelation, he is also mentioned in prophetic and historical books as well. The Bible clearly teaches the existence of Satan.
The main passage that speaks of the origin of Satan is Ezekiel 28:11–15: Moreover the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say unto him, Thus says the Lord Jehovah: You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, the topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was in you; in the day that you were created they were prepared. You were the anointed cherub that covers: and I set you, so that you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.
Concerning the origin of Satan, this passage points out four things. First of all, when Satan was created, “he sealed up the sum in the two areas of wisdom and beauty” (vv. 11–12). The Hebrew expression translated as sealed up the sum means “to fill up a pattern” or “to fill up a blueprint.” The picture that Ezekiel is portraying is that when God began to do His work of creation, He chose to limit Himself to a specific pattern or blueprint and willed not to go beyond this. When animals were created they filled up only so much of this pattern; when man was created he filled up so much more of this pattern; and angels even more. But when God created this particular individual, he sealed up the sum; that is, he filled up the entire pattern in the two areas of wisdom and beauty. This means that of all created beings, Satan is by far the wisest and the most beautiful of them all. All those portraits of Satan that artists have painted over the centuries which portray him as ugly, gaunt, and hideous are simply wrong, for the exact opposite is true. Of all created beings, Satan is deemed the wisest and the most beautiful.
The second thing about the origin of Satan is that he is a created being (v. 13); he did not exist for all eternity past. Satan is not merely “an eternal evil principle” that always existed alongside “the eternal good principle.” He is a real being who was created by God. At the time of his creation, there were two things that were true of him. First, he had a covering of stones, which made him the “shining one.” Secondly, he was in charge of the tabrets and pipes, things involved in worship. When Satan was created, he served as the one who led in heavenly worship of God who sat upon the throne. Satan is pictured as being the priest in Heaven, leading the worship of God.
The third thing about the origin of Satan is that when he was created, he was created a cherub (v. 14). There are three orders of celestial beings. The lowest order is the angels, with Michael being the chief angel or archangel. Above the angels are the seraphs or seraphim, and above the seraphim are the cherubs or cherubim. When Satan was created, he was not an angel of the lowest order, nor a seraph of the middle order, but a cherub; he is of the highest order of beings. Furthermore, verse 14 states that he was the anointed cherub. When he was first created, he was a cherub co-equal with all other cherubs. But at some point in eternity past, God selected this particular cherub and anointed him, or “messiahed” him, which put him in authority over the other cherubs. Just as Michael is the archangel, the one in authority over the angels; with his anointing, Satan became the “arch-cherub”, the one in authority over the other cherubs.
The fourth thing about the origin of Satan is that he was perfect at the time of his creation (v. 15). God created him without a single flaw. He was so perfect that he had a unique ability, an ability called “the power of contrary choice,” the ability to choose contrary to one’s nature. God does not have that ability which is why God cannot sin; He cannot go contrary to His divine nature. Satan had the power of contrary choice. He was holy and perfect, but he had the capacity to make an imperfect and unholy choice.
Summary: What Ezekiel teaches about the origin of Satan can be summarized in five points. First of all, Satan is a created being; therefore, he did not exist eternally. Secondly, he was created perfect, without a single flaw. Thirdly, he was created a cherub, the highest order of celestial beings. Fourthly, by sealing up the sum in wisdom and beauty, he was the wisest and the most beautiful of all created beings. And, fifth, being the anointed cherub meant that he was the highest in power and authority of all created beings.
The fall of Satan is described in four passages of Scripture.
A. The First Sinner: Satan
The first passage to note is 1 John 3:8, where John states that the devil sinned from the beginning. The point is that the first sinner was Satan.
B. The First Sin: Pride
The second passage is 1 Timothy 3:6. In this context, Paul outlined or listed a series of qualifications for anyone who would like to become an elder in a local church. Among these qualifications, Paul states: not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
A new believer must never be placed in a position of authority in the local church because every new believer, by virtue of the fact that he is a new believer, is spiritually immature. If he is placed in a position of leadership before he is spiritually ready for it, he might be filled with pride, which could cause him to fall into the same sin that caused Satan’s fall. The first sin, then, was the sin of pride, and the first sinner was Satan.
The third passage is Ezekiel 28:15-19: You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. By the abundance of your traffic they filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore have I cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I have cast you to the ground; I have laid you before kings, that they may behold you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your traffic, you have profaned your sanctuaries; therefore have I brought forth a fire from the midst of you; it has devoured you, and I have turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you. All they that know you among the peoples shall be astonished at you: you are become a terror, and you shall nevermore have any being.
In this passage, Ezekiel provides some details concerning the fall of Satan. The statement in verse 15 is the closest the Bible ever comes to spelling out the origin of sin: unrighteousness was found [in Satan]. Somehow, a perfect and holy being was found with unrighteousness.
And what this unrighteousness consisted of is given in verse 16: you have sinned. How did he sin? He sinned by the abundance of your traffic.
This Hebrew expression means, “to go about from person to person or from place to place.” The picture is that when unrighteousness was found in Satan, he went from angel to angel trying to secure their allegiance by slandering God. One-third of the innumerable number of angels were convinced by Satan and joined him, but two-thirds did not. The specific sin here was the act of slandering God from angel to angel. This act of sin originated from the sin of pride; then the sin of slandering God led to violence; Satan caused violence in Heaven by leading a revolt.
Because Satan sinned in these two ways, he was cast out of his first two abodes according to verse 16. First, he was cast…out of the mountain
of God; he was no longer the guardian of God’s throne, and he was no longer the high priest in Heaven who led in worship. Secondly, he was
destroyed…from the midst of the stones of fire; he was no longer in control of the original earth, which was covered by these precious stones when it
was first created.
The unrighteousness that was found in Satan had to do with the inner corruption of his nature. First, the perfect and holy nature was corrupted. Secondly, that corruption led to the act of sin, which consisted of two things: going from angel to angel slandering God, and causing violence in Heaven by leading a revolt. The root-cause was pride. It was pride that led to Satan’s unrighteousness, which in turn led to the act of sin. His perfect beauty caused his pride to be lifted up, and the pride in his brightness corrupted his wisdom. When he was no longer able to think straight, he began to meditate in a wrong manner upon his beauty, his wisdom, his power, and his authority. Rather than remaining in humble submission to the God who gave him all these things, instead he was filled with pride. He is still the wisest of all created beings, but that wisdom has been corrupted; and because pride led to corrupted wisdom, unrighteousness was found in him (v. 15). He developed a sinful nature, which then led to his acts of sin.
Ezekiel ends his discussion with the future final judgment of Satan (vv. 18-19).
The fourth passage that deals with the fall of Satan is Isaiah 14:12-14: How are you fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, that did lay low the nations! And you said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.
Verse 12 summarises his fall. The name, Lucifer that appears in some translations will be discussed in section V. Satan is referred to as the day-star, son of the morning, and at some point he fell.
Verses 13-14 give the reason for his fall: his five I will statements. When Satan was filled with pride, this pride led to a declaration of these five I wills. Each I will has a specific significance to it.
First: I will ascend into heaven. Satan was not satisfied with the high position God had already given him as the guardian of God’s throne, with authority over who had access to God’s presence, and his position as the possessor of the earth in its original creation. He wanted a higher position than he already had, and the only higher position was God’s throne, a right that belongs only to the Messiah (Eph. 1:20–21).
With the first I will, he desired to usurp God’s throne and sit on it himself in place of the Messiah.
Secondly: I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. Whenever the word star is used symbolically, it is always a symbol of angels, whether fallen or unfallen (Job 38:7; Jude 13; Rev. 1:20; 9:1; 12:4). It was used of Satan in verse 12. With this I will, he expressed his desire to become the sole authority over each individual angel. This meant that he wished to depose Michael from his position of archangel to become the archangel himself.
Thirdly: I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north. These terms are used elsewhere to describe the Millennial Kingdom (Ps. 48:2; Is. 2:2; 4:5-6). He knew that God’s program was for the Son of God to rule as the Messiah over Israel. With this I will, Satan expressed his desire to become the messianic ruler over Israel himself.
Fourthly: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. Whenever the word cloud is used symbolically, it is always a symbol of the Shechinah Glory
(Ex. 16:10; 40:34-38; I Kg. 8:10-11; Mat. 26:64). This unique glory, a glory that belongs only to God, is something Satan desired for himself.
Fifth: I will make myself like the Most High. Whenever God is referred to as the Most High, it emphasizes God as the possessor of the heavens and the earth (Gen. 14:18-19). With this I will, Satan expressed his desire to become the sole possessor of everything that God created in Genesis 1:1, he wished to be like God in authority, and power, and control.
With these five I wills, he led a revolt in Heaven, brought violence to Heaven, and was judged and cast down.
What was the satanic motive in his fall? The satanic motive was to be like God. Satan’s desire to be like God caused his own fall (Is. 14:14). In another passage dealing with the origin and fall of Satan (Ezek. 28:11-19), it is interesting to note that the prelude to Ezekiel’s discussion on Satan is his condemnation of the prince of Tyre in verses 1-10. The sin of the prince of Tyre was his desire to be like God in verses 2, 6-9. The sin of the prince of Tyre (vv. 1-10) is the background to the sin of the king of Tyre in verses 11-19, who was Satan and who desired to be like God. The desire to be like God was the satanic motive, and it caused the fall of Satan.
The desire to be like God was also the sin, which caused the Fall of man. According to Genesis 3:5, one of the motivations to disobey God that Satan gave to Eve was the desire to be like God. At that point, she had the desire to be like God and reflected the mind of Satan. But the greatest reflection of the satanic mind and the satanic motive is yet to come. The major sin of the Antichrist will be that same desire to be like God: so that he will sit in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God (II Thes. 2:4). Any desire to be like God is to reflect the mind of Satan.
But, the mind of the Messiah is to be like a servant (Phil. 2:5-11). The believer who desires to be a servant and will take a servant’s role is reflecting the mind of the Messiah.
A. Proven by the Attributes of Personality
There are many false teachings that picture Satan merely as an emanation or an evil principle and not as a real person. If it can be proven that Satan has personality, then he is also an individual person.
The fact that Satan is a real person is evident in that he has all three attributes of personality: intellect, emotion, and will.
First, Satan has intellect. For example, in Job 1 and 2, he debates with God over the righteousness of Job, and that shows intellect. In Matthew 4:6, he is able to quote Scripture. In Luke 4:1-12, he is able to carry on a conversation with Yeshua. In II Corinthians 11:3, he is described as being crafty, a function of the intellect. In Ephesians 6:11, Paul writes about the wiles of the devil and that, too, is a function of the intellect. All this shows clearly that Satan has intellect, the first attribute of personality.
Secondly, Satan has emotion. According to I Timothy 3:6, Satan has the capacity to be puffed up; that is, to be filled with pride and this is an emotion. Furthermore, Revelation 12:12 and 17 speaks of the wrath of Satan, which is the emotion of anger. So, Satan has emotion as well as intellect.
Thirdly, Satan also has will. For example, in Isaiah 14:13-14, five different times Satan declared: I will. Luke 4:6-7 states that he has the power to give the kingdoms of the world to whomsoever he wills. II Timothy 2:26 speaks of people being captivated into Satan’s will. In I Peter 5:8, Peter speaks of Satan as one who is seeking whom he may devour. He is going around looking for and choosing his victims and his choice
is made on the basis of his will.
That which characterises personality are the three attributes of intellect, emotion, and will, and Satan has all three attributes.
That is not the only way to prove the personality of Satan. A second way is by the use of personal pronouns. In the Hebrew language, there is no such thing as a neuter, so everything is either masculine or feminine. Even things, which we consider neuter in English; such as, a table or a chair, are given either a masculine or a feminine gender in Hebrew. Thus, the Hebrew is inconclusive on Satan.
However, the Greek has all three: masculine, feminine, and neuter. If Satan were merely “a thing” and not a personality, the neuter would have
been used consistently. But everywhere Satan is mentioned in the Greek New Testament, the word is always the masculine pronoun. He is always referred to as “he,” “him” or “his,” but never as “it.” The use of the Greek personal pronoun, the masculine pronoun, shows the personality of Satan; he cannot be referred to simply as a neuter or as a thing.
C. Proven by the Actions of a Personality
A third way to show the personality of Satan is that he performs all of the actions of a personality. He does not act like a thing, he acts like a person. For example, in I John 3:8, the Apostle John writes: he that does sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning.
The fact that Satan sinned from the beginning shows the action of personality, because things do not sin, personalities sin. In I Chronicles 21:1, Satan is able to move people to do this or that; he stands against this or that. In Zechariah 3:1, he is pictured as an adversary, as a prosecuting attorney. In John 8:44, Satan is able to lust, lie, and murder.
In Hebrews 2:14, Satan is pictured as having power and authority. All of these clearly show that Satan performs the actions of a personality. These are not activities of neuter things; these are actions of personalities. Therefore, Satan is a personality.
D. Proven by His Treatment as a Morally Responsible Individual
The fourth way of showing the personality of Satan is that Satan is treated as a morally responsible individual. For example, Matthew 25:41 states: Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.
Satan is destined for the Lake of Fire. Neuter things are not cast into the Lake of Fire, but personalities are. The fact that Satan is destined for the Lake of Fire shows that he is treated as a morally responsible being, which means that he is a personality.
Also, John 16:11 states: the prince of this world has been judged.
This, too, shows that he is treated as a morally responsible being, as personalities would be.
V. THE DESIGNATIONS OF SATAN
There are many designations of Satan found throughout the Scriptures. They will be categorised into four groups.
A. The Names of Satan
Altogether, the Bible gives four names of Satan. The first name is the most common: Satan. It is used nineteen times in the Hebrew Old Testament. One instance of this usage is Zechariah 3:1. The Greek form of the name is Satanas. It is used thirty-six times in the Greek New Testament. One instance of this usage is Revelation 12:9. The name means “adversary” or “resistor.” This name emphasizes Satan as the leader of the rival kingdom of the Kingdom of God.
A second name is Devil. The Greek word is diabolos, which is used thirty-five times in the Greek New Testament (Rev. 12:9). The word means “accuser,” “slanderer” or “one who trips up.” This name pictures Satan as one who defames both God and the believer.
A third name is Belial, found in II Corinthians 6:15. This name means “worthlessness” and gives God’s view of him now that he has sinned.
A fourth name is Beelzebub. This name originates form the Hebrew Baal Zvuv, which literally means “the Lord of the Flies.” He was the god of Ekron, a god of the Philistines, according to II Kings 1:2, 3, 6, 16. In the New Testament the name, Beelzebub is found in Matthew 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18, 19. The Greek form is Beelzebul and has a slightly different meaning. It means “the Lord of the Royal Palace.” That was the original Philistine name of this god, but the rabbis never accepted Beelzebul as being the Lord of the Royal Palace, so they changed his name to Beelzebub to poke fun at him: “He’s not the Lord of the Royal Palace; he is the Lord of the Flies.”And by New Testament times, it had become a name for Satan.
All together, the Scriptures provide ten specific titles of Satan.
- Day-Star, Son of the Morning
The first title is: day-star, son of the morning (Is. 14:12). It is extremely unfortunate that the King James Version translated it to the name “Lucifer.” Lucifer is the Latin translation of the Hebrew word which means day-star. The correct reading in English should not be Lucifer, for that is never a biblical name for Satan or a biblical title. The correct title is day-star, son of the morning. The Hebrew emphasizes him as being “the shining one.” It emphasizes how he was in his original state: he was the shining one covered by the precious stones, according to Ezekiel 28, and he can still appear as an angel of light according to II Corinthians 11:14.
- The Destroyer
A second title is: the destroyer. This title is found in Revelation 9:11, where both the Hebrew and Greek forms are given. The Hebrew form is Abbadon, and the Greek form is Apollyon. Both the Hebrew and the Greek meaning is “destroyer,” because he is the destroyer of both physical and spiritual life. There is a possibility that Revelation 9:11 is speaking of a chief demon rather than Satan. But if it does refer to Satan rather than a chief demon, then it pictures Satan as a destroyer.
- The Prince of This World
A third title of Satan is: the prince of this world (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). The Greek term translated “world” is kosmos, and the cosmos is Satan’s counterpart to God’s Kingdom and rule. He is the prince of the cosmos, just as the Messiah is the Prince of the Kingdom of God.
This title pictures Satan as carrying out his fifth I will, to be like God. It is a reference to the carrying out of his counterfeit program.
- The Prince of the Powers of the Air
His fourth title is: the prince of the powers of the air (Eph. 2:2), and this title emphasizes two things. First, it emphasizes Satan in his third and present abode, the atmospheric heavens. Secondly, it emphasizes him as being in authority over the other angels that fell with him. He is the prince of the powers, the other powers or the fallen angels.
- The God of This Age
The fifth title of Satan is: the god of this age (II Cor. 4:4). The Greek word used here is not kosmos, but aion, which means “age.” It emphasizes the system of philosophy which is contrary to God; this system of philosophy is the spirit of this age and this cosmos. When Ephesians 2:2 states: the course of this world, the Greek is: the aion of this kosmos. Satan is the prince of this cosmos, and he propagates a philosophy in the cosmos, which is the characteristic of this age. According to Galatians 1:4, believers have been delivered from this present evil age, delivered from the system of philosophy which is the spirit of this age. This title emphasizes the satanic philosophy in the outworking of his control of the cosmos.
- The Evil One
The sixth title that Satan has is: the evil one (Mat. 6:13; Jn. 17:15; II Thes. 3:3; I Jn. 5:18-19). The Greek word is poneiros, which emphasizes his corrupted nature. In his nature, he is the evil one; the one who is the source of evil elsewhere.
- The Anointed Cherub
The seventh title is: the anointed cherub that covers (Ezek. 28:14). This title emphasizes two things. First, it reveals to which order of celestial beings he belongs: he is a cherub. Secondly, it emphasizes his unique position: he was the anointed cherub that covers. Other cherubs are holding the throne of God; they are underneath it, and that is why God is sometimes described as the One who sits above the cherubim. But Satan, at one time, was the covering cherub. He was the one that served as the canopy over the throne of God. All the other cherubs were under it, but Satan, as the anointed cherub, was over the God’s throne.
- The Prince of Demons
His eighth title is: the prince of demons (Mat. 12:24; Lk. 11:15). This title emphasizes his authority over the one-third of the angels who fell with him.
- The King of Tyre
His ninth title is: the king of Tyre (Ezek. 28:11-12). The picture is that he is in control over the earthly kingdoms of this world.
- The King of Babylon
His tenth title is: the king of Babylon (Is. 14:4 with vv. 12 14), which also emphasizes his control over nations.
C. Descriptions of Satan
The third category under the designations of Satan is the descriptions of Satan, and there are a total of five descriptions.
- The Accuser of the Brethren
First, he is called: the accuser of our brethren (Rev. 12:10). Whenever a believer falls into a state of unconfessed sin, sooner or later Satan will appear before the throne of God, accusing that believer of a particular sin. This is why believers still need the ministry of Jesus as our Advocate. Whenever Satan has any grounds for accusing a believer, the Messiah can then say, “Lay that sin upon My account; I already paid for that sin when I died for that person on the cross.” Satan is the accuser of the brethren; he is the accuser of the saints.
Two examples where Satan is the accuser of the brethren are found in the Book of Job. First, in Job 1:9-11, he accused Job of being righteous before God only because God had blessed him; he accused Job of wrong motivations. He did so again in Job 2:4-5, where he declared that a man will do anything to save his life, and that included Job. Satan not only accuses individual saints, but he is also the accuser of Israel as a nation before God. An example of this is found in Zechariah 3:1-2.
- The Angel of Light
The second description is: the angel of light (II Cor. 11:14). This description emphasizes his deceptive character. It, too, is the outworking of the fifth I will: I will make myself like the Most High. Satan has set up a counterfeit program and appears as a counterfeit angel of light. In reality, Satan is the “angel of this darkness,” but he fashions himself to appear as an angel of light, because he wants to deceive. This is the best way Satan deceives.
- The Tempter
The third description is: the tempter (Mat. 4:3; I Thes. 3:5). The Greek word is peirazon. This is a present participial form and pictures him in
his present activity as going around tempting people. This title emphasizes Satan as one who entices to evil and as one who tries men
in moral combat. He tempts people to commit acts of sin, in particular, the sin of immorality.
- The Deceiver
The fourth description of Satan is: the deceiver (Rev. 12:9). The Greek form is planon. This, too, is the Greek present participle, emphasizing what he is continuously doing: he is continually going around deceiving. This is the carrying out of his fifth I will: I will make myself like the Most High.
- The Spirit That Now Works in the Sons of Disobedience
The fifth description is: the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). This particular description emphasizes two things: first, Satan is a spirit being; secondly, as a spirit being, he works among the children of men but, in particular, a certain segment of the children of men: the sons of disobedience; that is, among the nonbelievers. At one time, all were in that category, but now believers have been redeemed from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of the Light of the Son of God. Satan no longer works in us, but he does work against us.
D. The Animal-Like Representations of Satan
The fourth category under the designations of Satan is animal-like representations, of which there are three.
- The Serpent
The first animal-like representation is: the serpent (Gen. 3:1, 2, 4, 13, 14; II Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9, 15; 20:2). This representation emphasizes two things. First, it emphasizes the first reference to Satan ever mentioned in Scripture (Gen. 3), where Satan appeared as a serpent or “indwelled” a serpent in order to deceive Eve. Secondly, this representation emphasizes his craftiness. Just as the serpent was the most subtle of all beings God created (Gen. 3:1), even so, Satan is the most crafty of all personalities in the sinful state.
- The Dragon
The second representation of Satan is: the great red dragon (Rev. 12:3, 4, 7, 9, 13, 17). The Greek form is drakon, which is very similar to the English word “dragon,” except that the Greek has a “k” sound and the English has a “g” sound. When Satan is called the great red dragon, it emphasizes Satan in his power and in his ferocity. Although Bible teachers often state that the common portraits of Satan in a red suit and a tail are not true, there is some truth to it, for in this passage, he is red, and he does have a tail, though there is no pitchfork. Of course, this is not the way he actually looks; it is merely a representation to emphasize his power and ferocity, his fierceness.
- A Roaring Lion
The third representation of Satan is: a roaring lion (I Pet. 5:8). As a roaring lion, he goes around seeking whom he may devour. The emphasis here is on his destructiveness; he is out to destroy.
There are seven things concerning the nature of Satan.
A. Satan is a Creature
First, Satan is a creature. He is not a creator, but he is a created being (Ezek. 28:15; Col. 1:16). This means Satan has not existed for all eternity, but he has an actual beginning.
B. Satan is a Cherub
The second thing about the nature of Satan is that he is a cherub (Ezek.28:14, 16). The Bible speaks of three different orders or ranks of celestial beings: first, are the common angels; above them were the seraphs or seraphim; and above the seraphim are the highest order of celestial beings, the cherubs or the cherubim. Satan is a cherub; he is of the highest order. By his very nature, he is of a higher order than the seraphim and the angels.
C. Satan is of the First Rank of Angels
The third thing about the nature of Satan is that he is of the first rank, and this can be seen in three ways.
First, he was not just a cherub, but he was the anointed cherub (Ezek. 28:14). What this anointing meant is that in authority, he was over those of his own cherubic order. The point is that just as Michael was the archangel, the one in authority over each individual angel, with this anointing Satan became the arch-cherub, the one in authority over all the other cherubs.
Secondly, even Michael had to respect him, according to Jude 8-9. When Michael and Satan were disputing over the body of Moses,
Michael the archangel did not bring a railing judgment against [Satan]. The reason was that Michael recognized Satan, a cherub, to belong to a higher order. He simply turned the matter over to the Lord, who was Satan’s superior. But the fact that even the good archangel respected the fallen cherub shows that Satan is of the first rank.
Thirdly, Satan is the leader over all fallen angels. There is not a single fallen angel who is co-equal with Satan. All fallen angels are under him (Mat. 12:24; Rev. 12:4, 7).