Who is Satan? Where did he come from? Why does Paul call him the
"god of this world"? Indeed, Satan is the quintessential liar. But
what are his lies?
Satan’s original name: Lucifer
The Bible specifies
three archangels by name: Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer. Two of
these archangels - Michael and Gabriel - remain devoted to God.
Lucifer, however, is another story. "How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground,
you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I
will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of
God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the
farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the
clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down
to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. Those who see you will
gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the
earth tremble, who shook kingdoms’" (Isaiah 14:12-16).
In Isaiah 14 God condemns the king of Babylon. However, He
inspired Isaiah to include a passage about Satan, or rather,
Lucifer. Isaiah wrote that Lucifer fell from heaven, and Jesus
corroborated this account: "And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘I watched
Satan fall from heaven like lightning’" (Luke 10:18).
Satan’s original name was Lucifer, which means "morning star."
Lucifer’s hubris motivated his attempt to overthrow God (exalting
his "throne above the stars of God"). Furthermore, Isaiah identifies
Satan’s plan to "weaken the nations." Elsewhere, Satan is described
as deceiving the nations (Revelation 12:9).
Ezekiel also describes Lucifer: "Son of man, take up a lamentation
for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘You
were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your
covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your
timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created.
You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you;
you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in
the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the
day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the
abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within,
and you sinned. Therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the
mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the
midst of the fiery stones. Your heart was lifted up because of
your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your
splendor’" (Ezekiel 28:12-17, emphasis mine). Again, in the middle
of a condemnation of a king, this time of Tyre, God inspires Ezekiel
to include a passage about Lucifer. Ezekiel referred to his subject
as being in "Eden, the garden of God." Moreover, this being was the
"anointed cherub who covers." Obviously God is not referring to
Adam, but to Lucifer.
Ezekiel delivers important clues as to why Lucifer turned into
Satan the devil:
God refers to Lucifer as the "anointed cherub who covers."
This poetic description suggests that Lucifer occupied a very
high position in the government of God. Lucifer was on the "holy
mountain of God," which implies he had access to God’s throne.
As Isaiah indicated, Lucifer became very proud. "Pride goes
before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall"
(Proverbs 16:18). Jesus said that Satan fell "from heaven like
lightening" (Luke 10:18). Lucifer was too proud for his own good
("Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty"). As Ezekiel
stated, Satan "corrupted" his "wisdom for the sake of" his
Lucifer attempted to overthrow God. Because of his position and
charisma, and because God entrusted him
with authority over one-third of the angels, Lucifer was able to
convince an innumerable amount of them to conduct a coup against
God. This attempted coup precipitated the first and original star
The universe has never recovered from the wreckage caused by the
war between Lucifer and God. In the initial chapters of Genesis we
see a ruined world in which the continents are buried underneath the
oceans, and the "Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the
Lucifer’s rebellion turned him into Satan the devil. He will
again try to overthrow God (Revelation 12), and when he fails, Satan
will inspire the false prophet to declare himself to be God
incarnate: "Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (the
day of the Lord, His return to earth) will not come unless the
falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the
son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is
called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the
temple of God, showing himself that he is God" (II
Paul calls Satan the "prince of the power of the air, the spirit
who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2), and the
"god of this world" (II Corinthians 4:4). Satan is very angry at the
children of God because they will inherit what he believes is
rightfully his: the Kingdom of God. Therefore, after his failure to
overthrow God (again), Satan will "make war with the rest of her
offspring (the members of God’s family), who keep the commandments
of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17).
One tactic Satan has employed, and will always employ, in his war
against God’s children is deception, the subtle twisting of
scripture to distort God’s holy truth.
Satan as a snake?
The Bible is rich in metaphor and other figures of speech. For
example, Jesus is referred to as a Lamb; the dictator who fights
Christ at His return as a beast; and Satan himself as a dragon and
roaring lion: "your adversary the devil walks about like a
roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). Jesus
was not a literal lamb, and the dictator will not be an actual
beast. Similarly, Herod was not a fox (Luke 13:32). So is it safe to
assume that Satan was not really a "serpent"?
The Bible often uses metaphor to describe an individual’s
character. For example, Herod was as wily as a fox. And Satan is as
enchanting and slippery as a snake. "Now the serpent was more
cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made"
(Genesis 3:1). This implies that Satan is subtle, shrewd and sneaky.
The Lord God said that "you (figuratively, the serpent) shall
bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). We should not take this literally.
This foreshadows the attempt by Satan to destroy Jesus throughout
His life. He attempted to kill Jesus at birth (Revelation 12:4), in
his childhood (Herod’s attempt to destroy the male children under 2
years old), and on the stake, commonly referred to as the "cross."
Satan tempted Jesus continuously (Matthew 4:1-11, Hebrews 4:15).
"Bruising his heel" is therefore tantamount to Satan’s persistent
attempt to bother, tempt, and destroy Jesus.
Understanding this will enable us to comprehend the next figure
of speech - "He shall bruise your head." No, Adam did not step on
the serpent’s head. Nor does it imply that Jesus would literally
squash Satan’s head. However, since the head contains the mind from
which all thought derives, this figure of speech alludes to the
destruction of Satan’s plan. After all, Jesus achieved victory over
Satan on the stake. Time and again, Satan tried to tempt Jesus into
sinning. One sin would disqualify Jesus from becoming our Savior. He
had to be the spotless sacrificial lamb (again, metaphor) depicted
in the Old Testament Passover sacrifice. Yet Jesus was nailed to
that stake as a sinless man. He therefore achieved victory over
"Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle,
and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go,
and you shall eat dust all the days of your life" (Genesis 3:14).
Snakes do not literally eat dust, nor did David (Psalms 72:9). As in
previous and succeeding scriptures, God is employing a figure of
speech to convey the eventual, total defeat of Satan, as depicted in
Satan twists the Scriptures ever so slightly and thus changes
their entire meaning. We see this attempt in Matthew 4, in which
Satan quotes the Bible. "It is written," said Satan, and he proceeds
to distort the meaning of several scriptures. Indeed, Satan has
twisted the Bible to "deceive the whole world" (Revelation 12:9). He
twisted the initial chapters in Genesis to portray himself as a
literal serpent. Rather, he was the "cherub that covers." Ezekiel
describes cherubim as creatures that almost defy description. Their
appearance inspires awe. "And every one had four faces: the first
face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a
man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an
eagle" (Ezekiel 10:14). Lucifer, or Satan, was a cherub. He
resembles the creatures mentioned in Ezekiel. He was no common
From the beginning Satan has disguised himself. He has tricked us
into believing that he took the form of a snake. And he’s been
tricking us ever since.
Satan transformed into an "angel of light"
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming
themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan
himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is
no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers
of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (II
Satan has transformed himself into an angel of light. In other
words, his lies appear as the truth. And his demons are called
ministers of righteousness because their words and actions appear
Satan has transformed himself into an "angel of light," a
deliverer of truth. However, he’s the original and quintessential
liar (John 8:44). He has deceived the entire world (Revelation
12:9). And because he’s the "god of this world" (II Corinthians
4:4), Satan has inspired mankind’s institutions, politics, and yes,
religions. And I’m not referring specifically to Buddhism or Islam.
I’m referring to mainstream Christianity.
What is Satan most concerned about? Does he care primarily about
the governments of the world, or about Muslims or Buddhists? No,
they’re already deceived. Satan has them in his back pocket.
Instead, he’s primarily worried about people who "keep the
commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ"
(Revelation 12:17). True Christians keep the law of God, as found in
the first five books of Moses. They keep the ten commandments and
the holy days of God (Leviticus 23). They also have the testimony of
Jesus; they’ve accepted Him as their Savior. They have God’s Spirit
and thus are His children: "For ye have not received the spirit of
bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption,
whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with
our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then
heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we
suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together " (Romans
As children of God, we are "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with
Christ." We’ll inherit the kingdom of God (Matthew 25:34) and will
become "kings and priests" (Revelation 5:10) with authority over the
nations in the millennium (Revelation 2:26).
Right now Satan is the "god of this world." As such, he has
authority over the nations, customs, institutions, and religions of
this world. He’s angry at us because it’s our destiny to rule with
Christ. He wants what we will inherit: the kingdom of God. This is
why Satan is angry not at the average Muslim, Buddhist or atheist.
Rather, he is incensed at us, the "heirs of God, and joint-heirs
Satan has deceived the whole world except the elect (Matthew
24:24). Throughout history he has been wherever God has been
working. Satan was present in Eden and at the birth, ministry, and
death of Jesus. What is he doing today? Obviously he is trying to
deceive and destroy God’s children, His "offspring" who "keep the
commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus."
The Ultimate Lie
Satan’s biggest lie is to portray himself as "an angel of light,"
a deliverer of truth. He and his demons masquerade as ministers of
righteousness. He has distorted our very image of Jesus.
If asked, most Christians will portray Satan as a sinister,
ethereal being, perhaps clad in a red suit with two horns atop his
pointy head. Conversely, they’ll portray Jesus as a wispy,
effeminate, emaciated man with a neat beard, soft eyes, and wearing
a long, white flowing robe. This is the common image of Jesus. This
image is false. Satan has distorted God’s truth.
Paul and the others warned against false teachers who preach
"another Jesus" and "another gospel." Satan has infected these
people with his lies. For example:
Satan once belonged to a trinity of archangels
(Michael and Gabriel are the other two archangels). The Godhead,
however, consists only of God the Father and Jesus (I
Corinthians 8:6). Satan has tricked people into believing that
the Godhead is a trinity.
Satan is an immortal spirit being whose fate is eternal
torment in the "outer darkness" described by Jude. Yet he has
convinced us that we have immortal souls (a lie) that go to
heaven (a lie) or hell (a fictional place) where they will be
tormented for eternity (another lie which portrays God as harsh
Satan has convinced man that he will ascend into heaven,
however Jesus said that no man has ascended into heaven (John
3:13). It was Satan who tried to ascend into heaven and
overthrow God’s throne.
Time and again Satan has twisted the scriptures to deceive mankind. His greatest
lie is disguising himself as an angel of light who delivers the truth. Most
people won’t recognize him or his lies. In their eyes, Satan’s lies (e.g.
immortality of the soul, going to heaven or hell when we die, the nailing of the
commandments to the stake, etc.) become truth. Satan has distorted the Bible. If
we don’t want to be under Satan’s deceptive and beguiling spell, then we must
pray for God’s truth. We must read the Bible, from beginning to end. We must
realize that the commandments are not ‘nailed to the cross.’ We must realize
that many traditional Christian concepts are false. We must realize that the
holy days specified in Leviticus 23 depict the plan of God. And if we’re to be a
part of that plan, then we must get to know the real Jesus. And we must be aware
of the real Satan, the quintessential liar.
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