Q: Who Is Satan?

Satan is not mythological. He is a real being who truly exists in the world (Job 1:6) and whose name means “accuser” or “adversary.” He possesses the attributes of personhood: intellect, emotion, and will.

God created Satan full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, and Scripture identifies him as an anointed cherub who headed the order of cherubim that protected God’s throne. He was endowed with the ability to worship God in perfection and led the heavenly host to praise God on the holy mountain (Ezek. 28:12–14).

However, the sin of prideful self-will was found in him. Satan rebelled against God in a desire to dethrone the Almighty and rule over all of heaven and Earth (Isa. 14:12–14).

God instantly stripped Satan of his position and cast him out of heaven to be confined to Earth’s atmosphere (Ezek. 28:17). He is now the ruler of this world (Jn. 12:31), roaming the earth with his demons (fallen angels) and seeking to destroy God’s program for mankind—especially Israel.

He holds human beings under his control (cf. Eph. 2:1–2; 1 Pet. 5:8). Only when someone is born again is he or she delivered “from the power of darkness and conveyed . . . into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13). Jesus described Satan as a liar and murderer from the beginning (Jn. 8:44). The apostle John said, “The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 Jn. 5:19).

Satan appeared before God’s throne when “the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD” (Job 1:6). The phrase sons of God in the Hebrew text always refers to angels, whether holy or fallen. Satan dialogued with God, and Scripture implies he must give an account to God for his activities (v. 7; 2:2).

Although Satan has superhuman and supernatural powers, they are limited. Unlike God, Satan does not possess all power, nor can he be everywhere at the same time or know and see everything before it happens. Satan is always limited by God in what he can and cannot do. As seen with Job, Satan could do nothing without God’s permission (1:12; 2:4–6).

God allows Satan to accuse and attack believers like Job. But He imposes limits and uses everything for His purposes only. God knows all of Satan’s thoughts even before they are expressed in words or deeds. For example, God knew Job would remain faithful before he was even tested, but Satan had no such knowledge.

Satan’s eternal destiny is the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:10).

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