The true history of Satan

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The Bible doesn’t talk about everything, but everything it talks about is absolutely true. -unknown

A friend with many years involvement in witchcraft now seeking a better way asked, What’s the real history of Satan? I tried to find it in the Bible but couldn’t find a clear account.

Names of Satan

Satan is called by many names. This should be no surprise, for Satan is the author of confusion. The Bible refers to Satan as:

Name Reference Notes
Abaddon Rev. 9:11 Hebrew: destroyer. Intentionally used as a date or coincidence?
The Accuser Rev 12:10 *the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day
The Adversary 1 Peter 5:8 your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour
The Angel of the bottomless pit Rev 9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit
Apollyon Rev 9:11 Greek: destroyer
Belial 2 Cor 6:15 Hebrew: lawless. Signifies a personification of evil[^3z]
Beelzebub Matt 12:24 Prince of the devils. Possibly Baal-zebub, Lord of the fly
The Devil Matt 4:1  
The God of this World 2 Cor 4:4 *In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believ
A Liar John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He waeginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, 1 for he is a liar, and the father of it.
A Murderer John 8:44  
The Prince of devils Matt 12:24  
The Prince of the power of the air Eph 2:2 *the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the childre
The Prince of this world John 14:30 for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
The Ruler of Darkness Eph 6:12  
The Serpent Genesis 3:4 Hebrew: hissing. *And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely di
The Tempter Matt 4:3 And when the tempter came to him
The Unclean Spirit Matt 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man
The Wicked One Matt 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, the, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.

The character and motivation of Satan

The Old Testament Book of Job is one of the oldest historical books of the Bible. The prophet Ezekiel and the apostle James both refer to Job as a real person (see Ezekiel 14:14, 14:20, and James 5:11). In the first chapter, this curious conversation between God and Satan is recorded:

Job 1:6-12

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

At the time of Job, Satan moved freely throughout the earth (v.7). He was able to speak directly to God (v.7). When God contrasted Satan with the righteous man Job, Satan accused Job of hypocrisy, serving God only because of the good things God had given him. Revelation 12.10 rightly refers to Satan as The accuser of our brethren because of his hatred of mankind in general, and the redeemed in particular.

The History of Satan

Two descriptions of Satan’s history are provided in Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14. These prophetic books are more obscure for us than they might have been for the people of the time in which they were originally delivered. In the first passage, Ezekiel is addressing Ethbaal or Ithobalus, the human King of the region of Tyre at the time it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar1. Close reading shows that God intended these words to be declaration not only against Ethbaal the man, but also against the devil, the angelic being who inspired him.

Ezekiel 28:11-19

11 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

The Lord reveals that Satan was in Eden (v.13), a reference to Genesis chapter 3. He was appointed by God and anointed as a covering cherub (v.14) on God’s holy mountain. He was perfect in every way, until he sinned (v.15). His heart was lifted up in pride. His wisdom was corrupted by the brightness of his light (v.17). Could it be that the “spiritual enlightenment” being touted here, there, and everywhere is actually a corrupting force? The idea that human beings by their own efforts can evolve to perfection is among the first lies Satan used on human beings. It was so wonderfully destructive for men and women that Satan is still using it today.2

Isaiah 14:12-15

12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Some Evangelicals reject the naming of Satan as Lucifer in this passage. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that Satanists themselves refer to their “liberator” as Lucifer. The New Age publishing house Lucis Trust was originally called Lucifer Publishing House to honor the angel Lucifer, the light-bearer3.

More important than the name is the question of whether or not it refers to Satan. Calvin and Luther reject this. Many others before and since believe otherwise

Ron Rhodes4:

It may be that verses 4 through 11 deal with an actual king of Babylon. Then, in verses 12 through 17, we find a dual reference that includes not just the king of Babylon but a typological description of Lucifer as well. If this passage contains a reference to the fall of Lucifer, then the pattern of this passage would seem to fit that of the Ezekiel 28 reference—that is, first a human leader is described, and then dual reference is made to a human leader and Satan. It is significant that the language used to describe this being fits other passages in the Bible that speak about Satan. For example, the five “I wills” in Isaiah 14 indicate an element of pride, which was also evidenced in Ezekiel 28:17 (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6 which makes reference to Satan’s conceit). As a result of this heinous sin against God, Lucifer was banished from living in heaven (Isaiah 14:12). He became corrupt, and his name changed from Lucifer (“morning star”) to Satan (“adversary”). His power became completely perverted (Isaiah 14:12,16,17).

Other passages

2 Peter 2:4

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

The Apostle Peter affirms that there was a rebellion of angels in heaven who are waiting for their final judgment.

Revelation 20:1-3

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

The Apostle John names Satan as the dragon, that old serpent, and the Devil. He is chained and cast into the bottomless pit, and will be set free to deceive the nations just before the final judgment.

Revelation 20:10

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever

The final end of Satan is already determined. He will not rule the souls in hell. Rather he will be tormented there for his rebellion against the one true God.

Conclusion

Jesus believed in a literal devil. Satan is neither all-powerful nor all-knowing. But he is a lot smarter than any of us. He was created to serve God as a perfect being. But his wisdom was corrupted by pride. The being of light became the hater and accuser of mankind.

But the Lord is Good. He is our strength and our protection. Jesus says, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. -John 10:28-29.

It’s not wise to focus too much attention on Satan. Nor is it wise to address him directly. But we must not be ignorant of his plans and ways (Matthew 10:16). This raging lion wants to keep as many people from the knowledge of the truth as possible. For only those written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have a future of hope. And the only way to be found in that book of Jesus Christ is to trust in him completely by faith - not in anything you can do to be “enlightened”.

Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch. -Mark 13:33-37

Watch.

Originally published at: Comfort for Christians
  1. Matthew Henry. An exposition of the Old and New Testaments on Ezekiel 28:12 

  2. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods… Genesis 3:4-5 

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucis_Trust 

  4. “How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?” Christianity.Com, n.d. http://www.christianity.com/theology/theological-faq/how-did-lucifer-fall-and-become-satan-11557519.html. 

Comments

Satanists only use the name “Lucifer” because throughout history Christians were calling him that. To use them as evidence for Lucifer’s name is anachronistic.

Lucifer never was his name, as I explain in my article about the history of the name “Lucifer” and how it became associated with Satan. Isaiah 14 never used to be understood as Satan until the passage was spiritualized by Tertullian and Origen. Just by reading the passage itself, no one would come to that conclusion.

And that’s why us evangelicals who know the history of the name reject it.

Hi Glenn,

What about the Ezekiel 28:11? Do you reject typology in Scripture?

Forcing a solely literal hermeneutic on prophetic writings is a choice some make. But that is not how all Christians (or Jews in the inter-testamental period) have understood prophecy.

Do you agree with the background provided in the bulk of Bible passages referenced in this article? If so, it would have been nice to hear that instead of reiterating your arguments about Lucifer not being Satan, which you and I have gone over before.

In any case, thank you as always for reading and commenting. Let’s take this discussion to email if you’d like to continue.

Alec

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