There are many false ideas about Satan. Some deny that he exists and reduce him to superstition or a personification of evil. Others hold a dualistic view and make him equal with God. Many Christians think he is their personal enemy and blame him for the ungodliness and dysfunction in their lives.
None of these ideas correspond to what the Bible says about Satan. All that it says about him expands upon three basic facts:
Fact #1: Satan Exists
The Bible says that Satan exists. Seven books of the Old Testament and every author of the New Testament speak of him, and Jesus teaches about him regularly. But he did not always exist. In the beginning, God created a spiritual realm in addition to the physical universe. This realm is inhabited by heavenly beings called angels. Satan belongs to this realm and is therefore an angel.
Ezekiel prophesies against the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. Some say he looks beyond the king in vv 11-19 to condemn Satan who uses and controls him. If this is true, these verses paint a portrait of Satan before he became corrupt. He was originally beautiful, wise, powerful, and highly privileged, perhaps God’s greatest creation.
Fact #2: Satan is Personal
The Bible says that Satan is personal. It describes him as a real person with the features of a personality. It also calls him several names and uses symbols to portray him. These names and symbols reveal his personality to be entirely hostile, wicked, and worthless.
Isaiah prophesies against the king of Babylon in Isaiah 13 & 14. Some say he looks beyond the king in 14:12-14 to condemn Satan who uses and controls him. If this is true, these verses make plain that Satan’s personality is full of pride and blasphemy.
Fact #3: Satan is Active
The Bible says that Satan is active. He opposes God and seeks to destroy the church, deceive mankind, and hinder the gospel. He accomplishes this through his control over the world. In the New Testament, “world” usually refers to the fallen spiritual system on earth that is comprised of and informs mankind’s sinful thoughts, attitudes, and decisions. Satan fills the world with false teaching, temptation, and hatred for Jesus to draw men away from God and toward sin.
But Satan will not remain active forever; his activities will be brought to an end. Upon His return, Jesus will destroy the world and cast Satan into a place of eternal torment and punishment.
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