Study 9 Objective:
Who or what is Satan, and why do Christians need to beware of him?
Back to Bible Study 9:
Satan is not divine
The Bible makes it clear that there is only one God (Malachi 2:10; Ephesians 4:6), and He is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (see Study 5).
Satan does not possess the distinguishing characteristics of the Godhead. He is not the Creator, omnipresent, all-knowing, full of grace and compassion, “the only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (2 Timothy 6:15), etc.
Scripture suggests that Satan in his original state was among the created angels. Angels are created ministering spirits (Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:13-14), endowed with free will.
Angels perform God’s commands and are more powerful than humans (Psalm 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11). It is also recorded that they protect believers (Psalm 91:11), and sing praises to God (Luke 2:13-14; Revelation 4, etc).
Satan, whose name means “adversary” and who is also called the devil, led away possibly as many as one third of the angels in a rebellion against the one God (Revelation 12:4). Despite this defection God retains “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22).
Demons are the angels who “did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode” (Jude 6) and joined Satan. “God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). The activity of the demons is limited by these spiritual or metaphorical chains.
The typology of OT passages such as Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 indicate that Satan was a special angelic being, some speculate an archangel, in good standing before the Lord.
Satan was “perfect” from the day he was created until iniquity was found in him. He walked in God’s presence, and was “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28: 12-15).
However, he became “filled with violence within”, his heart was arrogant because of his beauty, and his wisdom was corrupted because of his splendour. He forsook his holiness and his ability to cover in mercy,
and become a “horror”, destined to be destroyed (28:16-19).
Satan changed from being the bringer of light (Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12 means “light bringer”) to the “power of darkness” (Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 1:13) when he decided that his angelic status was insufficient and he wanted to become divine “like the Most High” (Isaiah14:13-14).
Contrast this to the reaction of the angel that John tried to worship: “See that you do not do that!” (Revelation 19:10). Angels are not to be worshipped because they are not God.
Because society has made idols out of the negative values espoused by Satan, scriptures call him the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), and “the prince of the power of the air” whose corrupting influence is pervasive (Ephesians 2:2). However,
Satan is not divine, and is not on the same spiritual level as God.