Angelogy, the Study of Angels

by WordExplain

Satan, Evil Angel

"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44)

Satan, the Adversary of God

A.      Satan’s Origin

             1.         Lucifer was initially a covering cherub.

                          a.          Ezekiel was instructed to inscribe a lament against the king of Tyre (Ezek. 28:11–19). The king of Tyre was a human king (Ezek. 28:12), but certain descriptions of him go beyond those of a mere mortal.

                                       1)         Most notably, he was twice called a cherub (Ezek. 28:14, 16).

                                       2)         He was said to have had “the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and beauty” (Ezek. 28:12).

                                       3)         He was said to have been “in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezek. 28:13).

                                       4)         “Every precious stone” was his covering (Ezek. 28:13).

                                       5)         He was “on the holy mountain of God” and “walked in the midst of the stones of fire” (Ezek. 28:14). This holy mountain is the Heavenly Mount Zion.

                                       6)         He was “blameless” in his ways (Ezek. 28:15).

                          b.         Since all these statements could not possibly apply to a mere mortal, we conclude that, though there was a real human king of Tyre, that human serves merely as a backdrop for the discussion of a cherub who was privileged to have access to the inner recesses of the heavenly Mt. Zion, the place where the throne of God Himself was situated.

             2.         Lucifer existed originally as “Star of the Morning, Son of the Dawn” (Isa. 14:12). These descriptions, or names, evidently refer to Satan prior to his fall. “Star of the Morning” (Hebrew, helel) literally can be translated “shining one.” It may refer to the “day star,” the brightest star in the sky as dawn approaches. “Son of the Dawn” evidently refers to the same entity, the brightest star in the sky at dawn. The King James Version translates helel as Lucifer, light-bearer. Lucifer was evidently a glorious angel with an exceptionally radiant appearance.

             3.         Lucifer was an adoring observer at the creation of the Universe.

                          a.          Yahweh described His creation of the Earth (Job 38:1-6, 8-11).

                          b.         He cited the joyful, worshipful awe of the angels who observed His creation of Earth (Job 38:7). These angels are described as

                                       1)         “Morning stars” who “sang together.”

                                       2)         “Sons of God” who “shouted for joy.” The “sons of God” are to be identified as angels (Gen. 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1).

                          c.          Because these clauses are rendered in synonymous parallelism, the “sons of God” in Job 38:7 are synonymous with “morning stars.”

             4.         We deduce that Lucifer (before his fall from grace) was one of the angels who witnessed the creation of the universe, and was filled with joy. He joined the others in praising God for His magnificent creation.

B.      Satan’s Sin

             1.         Pride. Ezekiel 28:12-19

                          a.          It is clear from this passage that this privileged cherub fell from grace.

                                       1)         He was “filled with violence” and “sinned” (Ezek. 28:16).

                                       2)         His heart became filled with pride because of his beauty and splendor (Ezek. 28:17).

                                       3)         He was guilty of multiple iniquities, became unrighteous, and profaned the sanctuaries in which he had served (Ezek. 28:18).

                          b.         Consequently, he was banned from his privileged position and cast out of the mountain of God in heaven (Ezek. 28:16). He was destroyed from the stones of fire and cast down to the earth (Ezek. 28:16-17).

             2.         Self-Will and Rebellion. Isaiah 14:12-19

                          a.          Isaiah is instructed to take up a lament against the King of Babylon (Isa. 14:12). The King of Babylon was a literal, historical ruler. The language used here, however, goes far beyond that of a mere human being.

                          b.         What is the sin of Satan as described in Isaiah 14? Satan affirmed five “I Wills.” His arrogance, gall, self-absorption, and self-deceit are nothing short of astounding! He did not say these things openly, but “in his heart” (Isa. 14:13).

                                       1)         “I will ascend to heaven.” He wished to occupy heaven. (See the note in Ryrie Study Bible.)

                                       2)         “I will raise my throne above the stars of God.” His intention was to elevate himself above all the other angels.

                                       3)         “And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.” His intention was to replace God and sit on His throne!

                                       4)         “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.” Clouds are a symbol of power. He wanted to ascend above all other power (Isa. 14:14)!

                                       5)         “I will make myself like the Most High.” He had designs of taking God’s place and assuming His prerogatives!

                          c.          In punishment for his sin, Satan’s influence was demoted to earth (Isa. 14:12), and ultimately to Sheol, the place of the dead (Isa. 14:9-11, 15).

             3.         It is clear that this privileged cherub who became filled with pride (Ezek. 28:16) and willfully aspired to take the place of God (Isa. 14:12-14) became none other than Satan. Satan (Hebrew, Satan; Greek, Satanas), means adversary. He is the chief Adversary of God, the great Dragon, the Serpent, the Devil, the deceitful, murderous slanderer and overthrower of many angels, men, and the kingdom of God (John 8:44; Rev. 12:9). His doom is certain (John 16:11; Rev. 20:10).

C.      Satan’s Power

             1.         Satan has enormous power. He evidently drew a third of the angels with him in his rebellion against God (Rev. 12:4).

             2.         Satan succeeded in deceiving Eve, and through Adam, defiling the human race, whom God had created to rule the earth (Gen. 1:26-28; Gen. 3:1-7; Rom. 5:12-14).

             3.         Satan, though his activity was limited by God’s permission, nevertheless had sufficient power to ruin completely Job’s life and health (Job 1-2). Satan’s power included motivating brigands to pillage and murder (Job 1:14-15, 17); destruction and death through lightning (Job 1:16); destruction and death through a tornado (Job 1:18-19); and loathsome and painful disease (Job 2:7).

             4.         Satan’s power and authority is such that the Apostle John conceded “that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19).

Satan appeared in the Garden of Eden as a beguiling serpent to Eve (Gen. 3:1-7).  Most of us are repulsed by snakes, but the animal who appeared to Eve was undoubtedly attractive as well as intelligent.  Remember that Satan used the body of a serpent to appeal to Eve.  Many educated people, even many preachers, do not believe that Satan temped Eve by using a real serpent.  That merely proves they themselves have been deluded by the Serpent.  It is not without reason that John calls this sinister being "the great dragon," "the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world" (Rev. 12:9).

This subordinate creature appealed to Eve on the basis of wisdom and pride - the desire to be like God (the pride of life); the beauty of the fruit - it was pleasurable to behold (the strong desire of the eyes); and it appeared to be a good-tasting piece of fruit (the strong desire of the flesh (1 John 2:15-16).

D.      Satan’s Tactics

             1.         Satan’s tactic is to use deceit, his major weapon (Gen. 3:4; John 8:44; 2 Cor. 11:4; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:7-10). He has appeared as a beguiling, attractive serpent who raised questions about God’s accuracy and sincerity. He appears as an angel of light. He will do anything and say anything to deceive people. And he is very good at it!

             2.         Satan is an accuser of the saints (Job 1:11; 2:5; Zech. 3:1; Rev. 12:10). His name, “Devil,” is a translation of the Greek word diabolos, meaning one who overthrows, and, by implication, one who slanders. He overthrows victims by slandering them.

             3.         Satan is a murderer and destroyer. He is out to destroy God’s kingdom of righteousness and human beings and other angels. The more of God’s creatures and God’s program he can destroy and place under his control, the more power he has, and evidently the more perverted pleasure he experiences (John 8:44; 10:10).

             4.         Satan will attempt, again, to overthrow God in heaven along with his angels (Rev. 12:7-9). He and his minions will be thrown out of heaven. He will attempt to overthrow Christ and His entire regime at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-10), but he will be thwarted.

E.      Satan’s Judgments

             1.         After his initial prideful sin, Satan was demoted from his privileged position in the presence of God (Ezek. 28:16-19). He was cast out of heaven to the earth, but he still had periodic access to heaven, appearing there to give an accounting of his whereabouts along with other angels (Job 1:6-7; 2:1-2).

             2.         After the Serpent’s successful perversion of the human race in the Garden of Eden, God pronounced judgment on Satan, the being behind the Serpent. Satan would inflict a painful wound on the ultimate seed of the woman (Jesus), but Jesus would inflict a mortal wound on the Serpent, meaning Satan (Gen. 3:15).

             3.         Jesus’ death on the cross was a judgment against Satan (John 12:31-33; 16:11). Satan undoubtedly believed he had thwarted Jesus’ attempt to reign as King of Israel and the world (John 13:2), but he was mistaken. Jesus’ death released man from obligatory slavery to sin and death, and destroyed Satan’s stranglehold over man (Heb. 2:14).

             4.         As already indicated, Satan will be cast out of heaven after his abortive attempt to overthrow God. Most likely this event will take place about the middle of the Tribulation period (Rev. 12:7-10).

             5.         Since Satan is such a prolific and successful deceiver, God will judge him by barring him from access to the world during Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. He will be chained and cast into the abyss so that he cannot deceive the nations (Rev. 20:1-3).

             6.         Satan will make one last attempt to overthrow Jesus and His Messianic Kingdom. Released from the abyss at the end of the Millennium, he will succeed in deceiving multitudes of people who were born during the Millennium, but never personally embraced King Jesus in faith. Satan will turn them against Jesus. These deluded, unregenerate people will embrace the liberalism of the day and will attempt to revolt against the King, overthrowing Him, by assassinating Him and destroying His regime. They will not succeed. Fire will come down from heaven and destroy them. Satan himself will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where he will remain forever (Rev. 20:7-10).


Satan, God’s Adversary

Prepared by James T. Bartsch

Published originally October, 2008, Updated February 8, 2022

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE , Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

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Updated February 8, 2022