The truth about Satan is that he was created as an angel. He was the top ranking of all God’s angels, the highest created being God ever made (Ezekiel 28:12-15). Known as Lucifer, he was the highest angelic creation, the closest to the throne of God. However he didn’t want to serve God but wanted to be worshipped in place of God (II Thessalonians 2:4). His sin was self-centeredness: pride (Isaiah 14:12-15) therefore God threw him out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:15-17; Luke 10:18). He lost all his position and privilege. With that rebellion of his sin entered the universe.
Satan has great power (Ephesians 6:12; 1:21; Revelation 9:3,10; Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Colossians 1:16; 2:10,15). He has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14; Luke 11:21-22) but can only use it as God permits (Job 1 and 2). He uses traps and schemes (Ephesians 6:11-12) and lies and deceives (John 8:44). He devours like a lion (1 Peter 5:8).
His power in inferior to Jesus’ power, though (Colossians 1:16; 2:10,15). He can only be one place at a time (Daniel 9:21; 10:12-14, 20; Luke 8:33). He is not sovereign [total and absolute authority over everything and everyone] (2 Corinthians 12:7), not omnipotent [all powerful] (1 John 4:4), not omniscient [all knowing] (2 Peter 1:11-12) and not omnipresent [everywhere at once] (Daniel 9:21). He cannot act against us without God’s permission and God limits what he can do (Job 1:12).
We must always remember that Satan is a defeat foe. He was cast out of his original position in heaven because of pride (Ezekiel 28:16; Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12). His judgment was pronounced in Eden (Genesis 3:14-15). He was defeated by the cross (John 12:31). He will be cast to the earth in the tribulation (Revelation 9:1; 12:7-12), bound during the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3) and then cast into the lake of burning sulfur forever (Revelation 20:7-10; Isaiah 27:1; 40:23-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:8)
Satan’s purpose or goal is to rule the whole world instead of God. He was given authority over this world system by Adam when he sinned (2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2) and controls our world system (1 John 5:19). He rules over it (Matthew 4:8-9; John 12:31; Luke 4:5-7; John 14:30; 16:11). He is behind its values and world view (James 3:15). Presently he words to deceive the nations (Daniel 10:13,20; Matthew 4:8; Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 20:3,7-8; 16:14; I Kings 22:6-7). He leads mankind into idolatry (Psalm 96:5; 106:36-38; Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17). He especially wants to destroy God’s special people: Israel (Revelation 12:13-17; 20:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:9) and the Church.
He works against the gospel, hardening hearts to God’s truth (Matthew 13:19-22). He blinds their minds (2 Corinthians 4:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-10; Luke 8:12; Colossians 2:18). When they hear the truth Satan tries to snatch it from their minds (Mark 4:15; Matthew 13:19).
He denies the truth (Genesis 3:1; 2 Timothy 4:3-4) and promotes false teaching (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). As is true of any good counterfeiter, he tries to make his deceptions as close to the truth as possible so as to deceive more. The authority of the Scriptures, the person and work of Jesus and salvation by grace are areas he especially tries to obscure so make sure anything you believe has these at its heart and core.
Satan brings oppression on all he can. His does this through sickness such as dumbness (Mark 9:17-29), blindness (Matthew 12:22), deformity (Luke 13:11-17), epilepsy (Luke 9:37-43) and other ways. He also uses the following to oppress: mental illness (Mark 5:1-20; 9:14-29; Luke 9:39), sin (Genesis 3:13-24; Ephesians 2:2), lawlessness (2 Corinthians 6:15) and death (Revelation 18:2; 9:13-18).
A primary objective of Satan is to oppose God’s work and God’s people. He oppresses and leads the persecution against the Jews (Revelation 12:13-17; 20:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). He works especially hard against believers, for we are the light in his darkness, the only threat on this work against his kingdom. Since he can no longer attack Jesus directly he does so indirectly by attacking His children. He accuses us before God (Job 1:6-21; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Revelation 12:9-10; Zechariah 3:1-2) but Jesus is our defense attorney, our Advocate when accused (1 John 2:1).
Satan does all he can to oppose and hinder our service to God (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 112:7; Zechariah 3:1; Matthew 13:19). He tries to infiltrate the church through false teaching (1 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:9), false teachers (1 Timothy 4:1-3; 1 John 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1-2) and false ‘Christians’ (Matthew 13:38-40).
While not all temptation comes from Satan and demons, he certainly does all he can to entice us into sin (2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26) as he did when tempting Jesus. He will use our sin nature (James 1:14-15), the world system (1 John 2:15-16) or attack directly through demons (1 Corinthians 7:5). He can cause and use anger (Ephesians 4:27), pride (1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Chronicles 21:1; 1 Timothy 3:6), immorality (1 Corinthians 7:5), lies (Acts 5:1-3), doubting God’s Word and goodness (Genesis 3:1-5; Luke 4:9-12), ‘miracles’ to deceive (Mark 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3,9-11), hypocrisy (John 8:44; Acts 17:22), self sufficiency (1 Chronicles 212:1-7), worry and fear (1 Peter 5:7-9; Hebrews 2:14; Psalm 23;4), lack of faith (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Peter 5:6-10), physical affliction (Job 1:6-22; 2:1-7; John 8:44; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20) and sin of any kind (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Matthew 4:3; 1 Corinthians 10:19-21, 2 Corinthians 11:3,13-15; 1 John 3:8).
As powerful as he is, we must always remember that God is far greater than Satan (I John 4:4).
What comes to mind when you think of Satan? Do you fear him? There is no reason to, but respecting what he can do is wise. How does it affect you to know he has a plan to bring misery and destruction into your life? What are some of the tricks and lies he uses against you? Which are most successful? Pray and ask God for wisdom to understand Satan’s attacks and for victory over them.
(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 Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)