“A 2009 Barna poll stated that 60% of American Christians do not believe Satan is real, but I can assure you, he is real and at work in the world today deceiving many.”
Much of the world views Satan as a myth or a fable. Others see the idea of Satan as a symbol of evil but not a real being. Still others, who believe Satan actually exists, think he rules from his throne in Hell. None of these views are accurate or depicted in scripture.
The earliest source we have for Satan and Hell is the Old Testament. In it, the picture is clear and very different from the contemporary view today. You may have heard people quip that they don’t care if they go to Hell because that is where all their friends will be. This shows the level of success the devil has had deceiving people.
A surprising number of confessing Christians don’t believe, or want to believe Satan is an actual entity, even though the bible references him over 90 times. A 2009 Barna poll stated that 60% of American Christians do not believe Satan is real. You may choose to dismiss him as a metaphor, or a symbol of evil, but I can assure you, he is real and at work in the world today deceiving many.
Philosophers have been arguing for many years what the definition of a person looks like, but there are some characteristics that differentiate a force from a person or being. For example, if someone or something was to possess the following attributes, we could be reasonably certain that they are a being and not a force or a symbol.
- Self awareness
- Intelligence / intellect
- A will
- Communicates ideas intelligibly
- Feelings / emotion
Does the bible say anything about Satan being created, or being aware of his existence? Does he speak to anyone in the bible? Does he try to force his will on others, or demonstrate awareness of what is going on around him? Is he intelligent enough to say, lead an organized rebellion? If the answer is yes, then we have to see him for who he is.
According to scripture Satan was once an archangel of immense beauty and power who became corrupted by pride and arrogance.
The Morning Star-Lucifer [Bright Light] & His Fall
Ezekiel 28:11-17; “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from among the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground;”
Isaiah 14:12-15; “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.”
This does not sound like a symbol of evil. It speaks of his creation, his beauty and excellence. How can anything but a being express itself as Satan did above? Can a force be corrupted? Can a symbol sin against God? Ezekiel tells us about his wisdom and Isaiah shows us Satan is self aware by wanting to exalt his throne above the stars of God and make himself “like the most high”. What other than a being can be filled with pride about ones beauty?
Proverbs 6:16-17; “There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty [exulted, lifted up] eyes, a lying tongue,”
This was Satan’s sin, he wanted to exult himself and make himself like God. It is the same pride that keeps many of us separated from God today. We want to run our own lives and refuse to bow to God’s authority, in effect, we also exult ourselves by ignoring God. We sit in judgment of God’s word deciding what parts we like and will follow, and which parts we don’t like and ignore.
The person of Satan has been one of those parts that people like to reinterpret or ignore which can lead to misunderstanding scripture. Some believe that Satan and God are at odds with each other struggling to win out over the other. Good against evil as it were.
It is important to note that Satan is not God’s adversary. He is a created being as we read in Ezekiel 28:19 above. There is no struggle between God and Satan, the struggle is between us and Satan. he wants to destroy God’s children, those who God loves. Perhaps one of his greatest deceptions has been to convince the world that he doesn’t exist.
Below are some characteristics attributed to Satan in the bible. You have to ask yourself, if the bible speaks about Satan in these terms, can you continue to believe he is not a being?
- Ruler over kingdoms
- accuses people
- exerts his will on others
- blinds and deceives others
- has the power to inflict harm
- Emotion – hatred and liar
- will face judgment
Satan’s Kingdom & Rule
Ephesians 2:1-3; “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.”
Revelation 2:13; “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.” – Jesus
John 14:30; “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler [Satan] of this world approaches. He has no power over me,” – Jesus
Ephesians 6:12; “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Revelation 3:9; “Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie–I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you.”
Matthew 4:3; “The devil came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” [symbols don’t speak to people]
Matthew 4:8-9; “Again, the devil took him [Jesus] to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” [apparently the kingdoms of the world were the devils to give away]
Revelation 12:10; “For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night”
Exerts His Will
1 Thessalonians 2:18; “For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again—but Satan blocked our way.”
Daniel 10:12-13; “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.”
Luke 22:31-32; “Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail.”
1 Peter 5:8; “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
John 10:10; “The thief’s [Satan] purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – Jesus
Deceives and Blinds others
2 Corinthians 11:13-15; “These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.”
Revelation 12:9; “This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.”
2 Corinthians 4:3-4; “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
Acts 10:38; “And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.”
Power To Inflict Harm
Job 2:4-7; “Satan replied to the LORD, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!”
“All right, do with him as you please,” the LORD said to Satan. “But spare his life.” So Satan left the LORD’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.”
2 Corinthians 12:7; “even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.”
Emotion – Hatred and Liar
John 8:44-45; “For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!”
Revelation 20:10; “Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
These are but a few of the 90 plus scriptures describing Satan in the bible. It seems clear from scripture that Satan is not only a created being, but one determined to keep others from knowing the salvation God has provided for human kind. He is someone who was expelled from God’s presence and has continued a campaign of destruction ever since.
He has a will and tries to force it on others, he is full of hate devising ways to rob, kill and destroy any faith that someone may have. The good news is Satan does not have free reign to do what he wants, remember he had to ask permission from God to test Job, and he had to ask to sift [test] Simon Peter. Scripture teaches that evil influences are being held back.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-10; “… Don’t be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun. Don’t believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us. Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.
… And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.
This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.”
Satan is intelligent, organized and aware. He deceives and accuses people before God, he has the power to inflict physical and mental harm. He is a ruler with an hierarchy of subordinates. There is only one conclusion to be made from scripture and that is that Satan is real.
You may not believe that a being called Satan actually exists and is active today, but to do that you have to deny scripture. The portrait scripture paints, cannot be explained away. It is clear, we have an enemy and we are out gunned.
Jesus is our Only Answer
We are helpless in our own strength to overcoming Satan’s influence in our lives. No amount of holy water, prayer cloths or bibles will impress him. It is only the presence and authority of God he respects.
Acts 19:13-16; “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”
There is only power and freedom in in one name; Jesus Christ. It is God’s presence that frees and protects us, not associations or objects. Satan and his unholy angels fear nothing and no one but God himself, who is their creator and their judge. If Jesus lives in you, if he is your Lord, you have his authority and are protected as his child.
Luke 4:18-19; “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” – Jesus
John 8:36; “So if the Son [Jesus] sets you free, you are truly free.” – Jesus
1 John 3:8; “But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.”
2 Corinthians 3:17-18; “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”
1 John 4:4; “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory… because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
Romans 8:31-39; “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”
How can you belong to God: “How Can I Be Saved“