All angels were created holy and "perfect in their ways," in the beginning. The Doctrine of Satan is not systematically developed in the Scriptures; the early references are limited to fragmentary and incidental passages. However, the statements concerning Satan become more numerous and more clearly defined in the progressive revelation culminating in the New Testament and centering in Christ. In the light of the unfolding panorama of the Divine Purpose, the lurking foe, not fully known in earlier revelation, is now disclosed and finally "made an open shew" (Colossians 2:15). Thus, the scriptural doctrine of Satan tells us all we need to know of the Origin, Nature, History, Kingdom and Works of the mighty, but fallen "prince of demons" who enters into the very first pages of human history opposing God and harassing Man until he (Satan) shall be finally and eternally destroyed.

Satan is indeed a major Bible doctrine, and challenges our sober thinking. This mighty fallen angel appears with Persistent prominence and power, second only to Christ. He is revealed as a personal, sinister force in the affairs of men and angels, with dominating authority in this present cosmos (world system).

As fully and clearly as in any Bible character, every element of personality is attributed to Satan, giving truth and understanding to the words of John the revelator: "Satan ... deceiveth the whole world ..." (Revelation 12:9), and again, "The whole world [system] lieth in the evil one" (I John 5:19). His most effective decePtion is that the world doesn't believe he actually exists, except in the realm of myths. But there is no lack of evidence for the personality of the Devil and his demon kingdom. Although the origin of demons is not clearly revealed, they have been active from the dawn of history, and their malignant doings and final destiny fill the darkest pages of spiritual history.

If we are to be faithful and useful as exponents of spiritual truth, a help and a guide to the souls of men, next to a Personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and a knowledge of the positive truth of saving grace, we must know the truth concerning the adversary who ". . . as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8) -- the awful truth of the presence and power of Satan in the earth. It is also well to remember that the Christian's warfare is within the realm of three realities: the World, the Flesh and the Devil.


"Satan" is a Hebrew word meaning "adversary," as "one to lie in wait"; hence, "the snares of the devil." In the New Testament, Satan is referred to under the name "Devil" (Greek: diabolos), meaning "accuser, slanderer." The word "Devil" is not used in the Old Testament. It is Abaddon in Hebrew, Apollyon in Greek, meaning "destroyer."

"Satan" and "Devil" are the two Principal names used in the Scriptures, but there are a great number of others familiar to all Bible readers, namely: "the accuser of our brethren," "the evil one," "deceiver," "murderer," "father of lies," "Beelzebub," "Belial," "tempter," "great dragon," "serpent," "prince of demons," etc. -- at least forty such titles are attributed to the fallen Lucifer.


When in the Veiled Ages of Eternity the Angelic hosts were created we do not know. The First Recorded Event in spiritual history appears to be the apostasy and fall of a highly exalted one of their number-- "Lucifer," the highest and brightest of the celestial hosts, as his name implies: "O Lucifer [literally, "day star," "light bearer"], son of the morning!" (Isaiah 14:12). "Lucifer" is the Latin equivalent to the Greek phosphorus, from phos, "light."

Ezekiel 28 undoubtedly tells us more about this mighty angel. Of no other created being in all Bible revelation is it written: "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty" (Ezekiel 28:12), and the descriptive verses that follow in Ezekiel 28: 13-15. The whole context suggests a position of highest authority over the original creation, even in immediate attendance before the Throne of God. the teaching is plain: God "created" Lucifer the fairest and wisest of the angelic order. He was not only in the original Eden of God, but was there by Divine appointment: ' I have set thee so" (Ezekiel 28:14). Placed in authority as " the anointed cherub that covereth . . . ," he was " perfect in [his] ways till ," and in this "till' there is every indication that we might find the cause of Earth's first great catastrophe. 

Upon losing his princely appointment, 'the anointed cherub" became Satan the adversary. The grandeur of his high office overwhelmed him with pride -- so reads the Divine indictment: 'Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness" (Ezekiel 28:17).

The prophecies of Ezekiel 28:1-17 and Isaiah 14: 12-15 are, it is true, directed toward two Kings, and after revealing and condemning their presumptuous sins, the accusing voice of God lifts the prophecy from the earthly scene to the heavenly origin of the presumption, and to the Original Sinner, declaring his judgment and doom. Such language and style of treatment is often peculiar to prophecy, as confirmed in the familiar Twenty second Psalm. As we now well know, the language and substance of the Psalm carries far beyond David to Christ. Prophecy is not a description but a revelation. The language here cannot possibly rest in the earthly, human scene. God carries it up and draws back the veil of eternal history and reveals an exalted, presumptuous, rebellious "spirit being" close to His own Throne, whom He designates by the name "Lucifer" ("day star," "shining one").


Pride was the sin that caused Lucifer's downfall, as definitely confirmed in the New Testament warning to Young Christians: " lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil [or share Satan's downfall]" (I Timothy 3:6). The sin of Lucifer is clearly and eternally recorded in Isaiah 14: 13-15.

Although the nature of Lucifer's sin is clearly disclosed, the question arises, "How could the principle of evil find welcome in a perfect and uninfluenced spirit being, endowed with the privilege and responsibility of self-determination -- God's irrevocable gift of "Free Will." The truth is, the creature, whether angel or man, is created to be God centered -- to become Self centered is the contradiction of the very purpose of the creature's existence. The only way this mighty angel could sin (as the Divine indictment reveals) is by centering his wisdom and understanding upon himself. Although high and mighty, Lucifer was capable of wrong Self determination which led to apostasy, judgment and perdition. The Holy Plan and Purpose of God determined the sentence: " I will cast thee ... out ... I will destroy thee ... thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" (Ezekiel 28 :16; Isaiah 14:15).


2 Peter 2:4 refers to angels who sinned being cast down "to Tartarus" (Greek text: "the deepest abyss"), used nowhere else in the New Testament. Jude 6 refers to "angels who kept not their own first state, but left their own dwelling" (Greek text).

All angels were created good. It is plain from the scriptures that they had a first state and a habitation particularly their own, assigned to them by their Creator. I Timothy 3:6 reveals the fact that "pride" was the sin that motivated the Devil. Daring to exalt himself above his Creator he instituted a revolt against the Throne and Monarchy of the Almighty. By his example he influenced and infected a multitude of lesser angels, and by the might of his persuasion drew them into partnership in his unholy ambition.

Seis, in his great work The Apocalypse, interprets the symbolism of Revelation 12:4. Speaking of the "great red dragon" (Satan) -- when Moses was commanded to take up the serpent he was told to "take it by the tail" (Exodus 4:4), and this may be a very proper way to take hold of this dragon, "the old serpent," "Satan." It swings through heaven, coils itself about celestial principalities, and "draweth along the third of the stars." Satan himself was one of these stars of heaven (Job 38:4-7: Revelation 9:1; Isaiah 14:2 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [day star] son of the morning!"). Thus, "angels that sinned" (the article is not found in the Greek text) were cast to "Tartarus" (the deepest abyss). Losing their heavenly habitation they were divested of their celestial light and glory, now in deep darkness to be "kept," as chains bind prisoners, awaiting judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).


Satan is the original source of temptation. He exercises this power in the following ways: 

  1. He will tempt you when you are alone. It is for this reason that God's people should come together regularly. To be alone means to be open to greater temptation.
  2. He uses others to present the temptation. Satan's greatest power is that he can remain hidden. He can use anyone to tempt us, especially those whom we love. 
  3. He questions God's prohibitions. Satan does not contradict God's word. He simply asks " Did God really say ?". This places a small doubt in the mind of the person being tempted. "Is God real ? Will he do what he said he would ?".
  4. He questions God's goodness. Satan says that God is some kind of miser holding back some hidden pleasure from us. You will often hear " God's commandments are too hard." But God's commandments when you look at them closely are really for our own protection, and the protection of those around us.
  5. He will deny the fatal consequences of sin. In Eve's case he said "You will not die". Then he goes on to put the blame on God. The evil in the world is our own fault, not God's.
  6. Satan will screw the values around to awaken desire in us. Satan accuses God of holding something back from us that is good. It is then only a matter of time before we give in. Desire is fine. God put it there. But it was meant to be harnessed to do our will, not for us to do its will. We are meant to be masters of our own bodies, not slaves to it. 
  7. Satan will then intensify the appeal on various levels.  There are many things all around us which subtly try to appeal to us. The whole advertising industry is based on this principle.
  8. Satan adapts the temptation to suit the person. Satan's temptation of Adam was much less subtle than his temptation of Eve. When Eve ate of the fruit she was going to die. Adam was then faced with a choice. He could obey God and live on for ever alone or he could choose to die with Eve. He chose to die with Eve, and in the process, condemned us all to death (Romans 5:12). Satan appealed to Adam's God given ability to show perfect love with disastrous consequences.

Created: 23 - Jan - 1997.
Last modified: 18 - Sept - 1998.
Copyright © 1998, Graham Brodie.

Maintainer: Graham Brodie, Email