A young lady once visited with my pastor. Her reason for the visit was that she was battling with the existence of God. It was apparent from the conversation that she believed in the existence of Satan, but she had doubts about God’s existence. She thought that evil things wouldn’t happen to good people if God existed; worse, if God existed, then Satan should be stronger than him because of how evil has prevailed in the world.
This young woman is far from being alone in her boat. It is by no means to the benefit of a few to consider what the Bible does say about Satan.
Origin of Satan
The Bible depicts Satan as a created being. Scripture declares that everything was created by God and for God (Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16–17). It makes sense then to say that this comprehensive category of “all things” includes Satan. He was the chief of angels; beautiful, full of wisdom, an anointed cherub, perfect from his creation (Ezekiel 28:12-17). But he was lifted up in pride (Ezekiel 28:17), became corrupted his wisdom (Ezekiel 28:17), filled with violence (Ezekiel 28:16), and defiled his sanctuaries (Ezekiel 28:18). Lucifer’s sin began in his heart. He had five ‘I wills…’:
- I will ascend into heaven (Isaiah 14:13).
- I will exalt my throne up above God’s stars (Isaiah 14:13).
- I will sit on the mount of the congregation (Isaiah 14:13).
- I will ascend high above the heights of the clouds (Isaiah 14:14).
- I will be like God the Most High (Isaiah 14:14).
His rebellion lasted a split-second, as he was cast out of heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18). Satan took a third of the angels with him in his rebellion (Revelation 12:4). He became the chief of demons, and he appears in Scripture as the enemy of the Lord and the Lord’s people (Job 1:7–2:7; Matthew 4:1–11; 16:23).
Author of Sin
Sin originated with Satan (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8). Satan sought to tempt Jesus (Matthew 4:1–11), and his forces now seek to draw others away from the way of life by all means possible, including deception and murder (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9). They hope to blind the world to the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4) and to hinder the witness of the church through fear, sickness, temptation, doubt, and many such things (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
Even so, Satan and his demons can act only as God allows them to act; God’s control limits their activity (Job 1:12; 2:6; Jude 6). Additionally, the ability and power they possess is nothing before God’s. They know not the future nor our thoughts (Isaiah 46:9–10). Tempting people to sin and curse God is the devil’s scheme so that he ends up in hell with as many people as possible.
Names of Satan and His Operations
Satan and his demons are described using so many names. These names give us insight into their many personalities, roles, operations, and strategies on the earth. The name Satan means the Accuser, the Enemy, or the Adversary (Job 1:6; Revelation 12:9). As an adversary, he stands against the church and its mission (1 Peter 5:8), and we cannot befriend him as he is our enemy (Matthew 13:39). He is referred to as the ruler of the air, which speaks of his spiritual nature (Ephesians 2:2). His domain of rulership is the world hence why he is called the prince of this world (John 12:31, John 16:11). His kingdom is that of darkness which contrasts with that of God which is of light (Ephesians 6:12).
As Christians, we are called to win people from the kingdom of darkness and bring them into the kingdom of light (Acts 26:16-18). The Bible also refers to Satan as the wicked one; thus, his motives will never be pure (Matthew 13:19; John 8:44). He can steal your joy, peace, health, family, and life, and therefore, he is a thief (John 10:10). Peter describes how he moves and his appetite to devour in 1 Peter 5:8. Satan is an oppressor who only seeks to enslave and crush (Acts 10:38).
Devil Seeks for a Foothold
The devil’s final goal in anyone’s life is slavery. His activities work toward a singular purpose: enslaving and binding human beings. When we give the devil a foothold or open a door for him into our lives, he will move in only to bind us. It contrasts with the presence of the Holy Spirit, who brings us freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). The devil is always looking to gain a foothold in our lives (Ephesians 4:27-29; Job 2:3; 1 Peter 5:5-9). You give him a toehold, he enters the whole foot, and it becomes a stronghold. Satan is the greatest adversary of our entire existence. The Bible teaches that he is ever on the move, looking for an entrance into our lives (1 Peter 5:8).
Binding the Devil
I like the aggression of Christians against the Dark Kingdom. Despite the holy anger and bitterness against Satan, finding a Christian binding and casting Satan into the bottomless pit is not unusual. The Bible has defined our boundaries in dealing with the devil. There is an appointed time for the devil to face his judgment, which will not be our work as Christians but Jesus Christ’s duty (Revelation 20:3). God has given the devil some power to operate and influence the earth. The power that Satan has is limited as God is sovereignly in control over the entire creation. Satan reigns in the hearts of those who are not Christians (Ephesians 2:2). Either one is under the control of God or Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; Acts 26:18). Satan is prowling around looking for victims to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Our call is to resist the devil, not bind him (1 Peter 5:9). We are also to be fully armored against Satan’s schemes and remain vigilant at all times (Ephesians 6:10).
The Devil’s End
Satan is mighty enough to gain a foothold in our lives (Ephesians 4:26-27); as a result, we need to keep away from him. Often, Christians act as if the Devil is someone we throw into hell just by a single word. Only Jesus can make that happen because he is both Sovereign and Almighty (Revelation 19:20, 20:10). God’s power over Satan is, for example, shown to us when Satan has to ask God for permission before he can afflict Job (Job 1:6-2:8) and Peter (Luke 22:31-32). Even demons must ask the Lord for permission before they act (Mark 5:9-13). For reasons we don’t fully understand, God has allowed Satan to do evil deeds on earth until God forever banishes him.
We see the end of the devil talked about in Scripture in a battle that is yet to come called “Armageddon” (Revelation 16:12-16, Revelation 19:11-20). At this battle, Satan will be defeated by Jesus simply speaking (2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 19:21). At this battle, Satan will be bound for 1000 years to keep him from deceiving the nations (Revelation 20:3). At the end of that time, Satan will be released and lead one final rebellion against God and Christians (Revelation 20:7-9). Afterward, he will be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur for the rest of eternity, ending his reign forever (Revelation 20:10).
Since the end of Satan is inevitable, we don’t need to fear him taking away our salvation (Romans 8:37-39) or bringing temptation that is too powerful for us to say no to (Galatians 5:16, 1 Corinthians 10:13). The god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) is no match for Jesus. However, we must not undermine him, lest he lures us away from our hope and calling as he has done with far more remarkable saints before us. Therefore, walk in faith and remember that our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, defeated him and will finally defeat him in the last battle.
The Bible assures that we are seated with Christ above the principalities and powers of this dark world (Ephesians 2:6). Christians should have confidence in their victory against the devil as he was utterly disarmed at Calvary. Christ won us a great victory, and those on his side have already won.