01. Who is Satan?
A. Satan is a fallen angel—a demon (Luke 11:14-23; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Revelation 12:9; Job 1:6). All that is true of angels in general is true of Satan.
B. Satan is the leader of the demons. Jesus identified Satan with Beelzebub, the prince of demons in Luke 11:14-23. Jesus went on to say that Satan has a kingdom, implying that he rules over demonic activity.
C. Satan is the enemy of God and all believers. Everything we are told about Satan in Scripture shows that he has been opposing God since the beginning and will continue to do so until the return of Jesus Christ.
02. How did Satan become evil?
A. All who take the Bible seriously agree that Satan is evil, but not all agree on whether or not the Bible gives us a record of his fall into wickedness. Two major passages of Scripture are understood by some as describing Satan’s original holy condition and his subsequent fall into sin: Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-19. Although I personally believe that Satan is being described in these passages, you should know that many disagree and so I am not dogmatic on this issue.
B. Ezekiel 28:11-29 describes Satan’s original holiness, beauty and perfection. In fact, Satan’s beauty is singled out as the reason for his pride and fall into evil.
C. Isaiah 14:12-19 describes Satan’s pride and desire to exalt himself above God. (Note that in verse 12, the KJV translates the Hebrew word meaning “star of the morning” as “Lucifer”. This is the reason many people use Lucifer as another name for Satan.)
D. Scripture tells us that Satan was able to convince one-third of the angels to join in his rebellion (Revelation 12:4). God cast Satan and the angels who followed him from heaven (Luke 10:18).
03. What are some common myths about Satan?
A. Myth – Satan doesn’t really exist.
01. The Bible is comprehensive in its teaching about the reality of Satan. His existence is taught from Genesis to Revelation. Seven Old Testament books teach his existence (Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah) and every New Testament writer refers to his reality and activity as a personal being. More importantly, Christ also affirmed the fact of Satan’s existence (Luke 10:18; 11:14-23; etc.).
B. Myth – Satan lives in Hell.
- 01. Popular culture would have us believe that Satan lives in Hell and that he and his demons torture people who go there. Nothing could be further from the truth. Hell is actually a place of fearful torment that God has prepared for Satan and the demons (Matthew 25:41; Jude 1:6-7). Right now, Satan and his demons roam the earth, eagerly trying to lead people away from God (1 Peter 5:8; cf. also Matthew 8:29).
C. Myth – Satan has a tail, two horns and carries a pitchfork.
01. Images of Satan as a mischievous little devil serve only to conceal his true purpose of leading people to their eternal destruction. As we have seen, Satan is a spirit and can manifest himself in many ways. 2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that Satan likes to disguise himself as an angel of light.
D. Myth – Satan is God’s equal.
01. Satan is a created being with finite power. God is an uncreated being with infinite power. There is no comparison between the two. Satan is stronger and smarter than we humans are but he is no match for God.
04. What are some of Satan’s names?
A. Satan’s names are descriptive of his character and opposition to God. Here are some of the many names used in Scripture to refer to Satan:
01. Satan. This is the name most often used for the enemy of God. In Hebrew the word for Satan means “adversary.” It highlights his role as the opponent of God, of believers, and all that is right and good.
02. The Devil. Devil is the second most common name for Satan. The name “devil” comes from the Greek word which means “slanderer, defamer.” This accentuates his goal to malign the character of God.
03. The Serpent. In Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he used a serpent (Genesis 3:1-6). The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that Eve’s downfall resulted from the serpent’s craftiness (2 Corinthians 11:3). The name “serpent” describes his subtlety and beguiling nature.
04. The Tempter. The apostle Paul referred to Satan as “the tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). This name describes his work that began after his own fall and will continue until he is thrown into the lake of fire.
05. The Dragon. John saw Satan as a red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, who with the demons were arrayed against the Lord and His people (Revelation 12:3-4,7,9,13,16-17).
06. The Evil One. In calling Satan “the evil one,” Jesus and John both depicted him as totally corrupt and carrying on an evil work (John 17:15; 1 John 5:18-19).
05. What is Satan doing?
A. Satan is very active in the world today. He is constantly opposing God and working in the lives of both sinners and Christians.
01. His work in the lives of sinners involves:
a. Blinding them to the truth (2 Corinthians 4:4).
b. Influencing the way they live (Ephesians 2:2).
c. Keeping them in his domain of darkness (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13).
d. Holding them captive and enslaved to his will (2 Timothy 2:26; Romans 6:17).
e. Provoking them to sin (1 John 3:8,10,12).
f. Causing his demons to oppress and possess some of them (Mark 9:25-26).
02. His work in the lives of Christians involves:
a. Tempting us to sin (Matthew 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:5).
b. Lying and deceiving us whenever possible (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:3).
c. Placing snares and traps in our way (1 Timothy 3:7; 6:9).
d. Exploiting us (2 Corinthians 2:11).
e. Persecuting us (Revelation 2:10).
f. Accusing us before God (Revelation 12:10; Job 1).
g. Resisting our efforts to serve and obey God (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
B. Satan is a finite being and cannot be everywhere at once like God can. He is assisted in his evil schemes by his demons—fallen angels who followed him in his rebellion against God (Revelation 12:4; Matthew 10:1). While Satan does personally tempt certain individuals (e.g. Christ, Job, Peter, Judas, etc.), it is reasonable to believe that we are most often tempted by his demons.
06. What is Satan’s final destiny?
A. The book of Revelation reveals that one day Satan and his demons will be completely defeated, “thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur,” and “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).
07. Can Satan put thoughts into our minds?
A. Although there is no direct statement in Scripture concerning this question, there are several different passages that suggest the answer is Yes. Consider the following verses:
01. Matthew 16:21-23. “From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him: ‘God forbid, Lord! This must not happen to you!’ But he turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s’” (NET). This implies that Satan was the influence behind Peter’s thoughts.
02. Matthew 13:19. “When anyone hears the word about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches what was sown in his heart; this is the seed sown along the path” (NET). How can Satan snatch something away from a person’s heart unless he is able to perceive their thoughts and put doubts in their mind?
03. John 13:2. “The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus.” This implies that Satan put the thought of betraying Christ into Judas’ mind.
04. Acts 5:3. “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back for yourself part of the proceeds from the sale of the land?’” Here we see that Satan filled Ananias’ heart with greed and successfully tempted him to lie.
05. 2 Corinthians 10:5. “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Why would we be commanded to take every thought captive if we had complete control of what thoughts were in our minds?
B. Many Christians have testified to the fact that Satan is able to put thoughts into their minds. Consider what Martin Luther once wrote: “The Devil throws hideous thoughts into the soul—hatred of God, blasphemy, and despair. When I awake at night, the Devil tarries not to seek me out. He disputes with me and makes me give birth to all kinds of strange thoughts.”
C. Based on the Scriptures above and the personal experience of many people, it is clear that Satan and his demons can indeed introduce thoughts into our minds and perceive what we are thinking.