Names of Satan

            After writing to the Corinthians and Romans, Paul headed back to Jerusalem where he was falsely arrested and kept in prison for several years. Finally he was transferred to Rome for trial.  In prison at Rome Paul wrote four very important letters, his prison epistles.  They are Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon.  Ephesians was written about four years after Romans.

            Much spiritual warfare had taken place when Paul was in Ephesus (see Acts 19 above).  It’s been about seven years since those power encounters, but the warfare is still going strong.  So Paul writes to encourage and help them in their spiritual warfare. 

            Satan’s world system.  Unbelievers are not only misled by demons, but actually energized and used by them to promote Satan’s ungodly world system  (Ephesians 2:20).  Satan is called “the ruler of the kingdom of the air” and “the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:2), two of numerous names for Satan.

LESSON FOR TODAY: Looking at the various names of Satan help us understand his character and work better.

Abaddon, Apollyon (Rev 9:11) Abaddon is the Greek form and Apollyon is the Hebrew equivalent. These words mean ‘destroyer,’ ‘destruction.’ This title stresses his work of destruction; he works to destroy the glory of God and God’s purpose with man. He further works to destroy societies and mankind.

Accuser of the Brethren (Revelation 12:10) The Greek word for “accuser” is kathgor, which refers to one who brings condemning accusations against others. In view of Job 1 and 2, this is also an attempt to malign the character of God and His plan. 2).

Beelzebul (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22) Three possible spellings of this word each have a different meaning: (1) Beelzebul means “lord of the dung,” a name of reproach. (2) Beelzebub means “lord of the flies.” Either one of these are names of reproach and of uncleanness applied to Satan, the prince of the demons and uncleanness. (3) Beelzeboul, means, “the lord of the dwelling.” This would identify Satan as the god of demon possession. This spelling has the best manuscript evidence behind it.

Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15) This name means “worthless” or “hopeless ruin.” The personification of worthlessness, hopeless ruin and the source of all idolatry and religion which is also hopeless or futile.

Devil (Matthew 4:1, 5, 9; Ephesians 4:27; Revelation 12:9; 20:2)”Devil” is the Greek word diabollos which means “slanderer, defamer.” This accentuates his goal and work to impugn the character of God.

Dragon (Revelation 12:7) The Greek word is drakon (as in draconian) and refers to a “hideous monster, a dragon, or large serpent.” This word stresses the cruel, vicious, and blood thirsty character and power of Satan.

Evil One (John 17:15; 1 John 5:9) The Greek poneros means “wicked, evil, bad, base, worthless, vicious, degenerate.” It points to Satan’s character as active and malignant.

False Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11:14) One of his purposes is to make men as much like God as he can, but always without God. So, he will copy as much of God and His plan as he can, but he will always either distort, pervert, substitute or leave out those key ingredients of truth that are vital to the plan of salvation and sanctification through Christ.

Father of Lies (John 8:44) Using his network of deception through demonic forces and duped people, he promotes false doctrines in the name of God.

God of This World or Age (2 Corinthians 4:4) The fact Satan is called the god of this world (Greek, aionos, “age, course”) may emphasize Satan’s rulership over this final period or economy which is so marked by a growing increase in apostasy, deception, and moral decay.

Lucifer (Isa. 14:12) The Hebrew word for Lucifer (KJV translation) is literally “the shining one.” This name draws our attention to his pre-fall condition and to the nature of the cause of his fall – pride.

Prince or Ruler (John 12:31) The Greek literally means, “the ruler of this world system.” This points to Satan as the head and energy behind the arrangements of things as they are in the world today.

Prince of the Power of the Air (Ephesians 2:2a) This points to Satan as the head of the demonic hosts which includes all the fallen angelic beings who operate night and day in our immediate spiritual atmosphere-an atmosphere of demonic influence controlled by Satan.

Satan (Job 1:6-9; Matthew 4:10) The title “Satan” occurs 53 times in 47 verses in the Bible. The primary idea is ‘adversary, one who withstands.’

Serpent (Revelation 12:9) This name for Satan looks back to Genesis 3 and the temptation in the Garden.

Tempter (Matthew 4:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5) This title reveals him in another of his primary activities as seen from the very beginning with Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).


(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at or download it from  My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)

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