Satan:  A Biblical Profile
by Kimberly B. Southall

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Satan is mentioned in the Bible many times--sometimes by the name of Satan and other times by many other names. There is good reason for the exposure he receives in the scriptures. If we are to withstand the enemy, we must know about him. The Bible gives us the information we need to get a clear picture of Satan's origins, character, and destiny.

His Many Names

Satan has many disguises, which is why it is no wonder there are so many biblical names for him. In the New International Version of the Bible, there are no less than 33 different names given to Satan.

Two names are the most popular names given him in the scriptures:

He is also known by these "proper" names: In several cases, he is given the names of animals or creatures: At least two names identify him before his unforgivable sin: Some of his descriptive names give insight into his power: Other descriptive names give insight into his character (or lack thereof): But, perhaps there is one name which sums him up the best: His Past

Satan was created (Ezekiel 28:13, 15). And at his creation, Satan was the model of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty (Ezekiel 28:12). He was in the garden of Eden and every precious stone adorned him (Ezekiel 28:13). He was anointed and ordained by God as a guardian cherub (Ezekiel 28:14), and was blameless in his ways (Ezekiel 28:15).

But then something went terribly wrong. His heart became proud on account of his beauty, and he corrupted his wisdom because of his splendor (Ezekiel 28:17). He became filled with violence (Ezekiel 28:16). He led many of the angels in a war against God and his angels (Revelation 12:7-9) and tried to take God's place (Isaiah 14:12-15). To put it mildly, he sinned (Ezekiel 28:16). He is therefore credited with sinning since the beginning (1 John 3:8). Because of his actions, he was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). He abandoned his home in heaven (Jude 6). He was driven in disgrace from the mount of God and expelled (Ezekiel 28:16). He lost his place in heaven (Revelation 12:8), was thrown or hurled from heaven (Ezekiel 28:16; Revelation 12:9-12), fell like lightning from heaven to the earth (Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18), and was made a spectacle before kings (Ezekiel 28:17).

His Present

Satan is kept in darkness and is bound with everlasting chains (Jude 6). He is filled with fury, because he knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). Not only does he have power (Acts 10:38), but he is the power of this dark world and is the spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12). The whole world is under his control (1 John 5:19), and he leads it astray (Revelation 12:9). He roams the earth (Job 1:7; Job 2:2), and prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). Needless to say, he is earthly and unspiritual (James 3:15).

Not only is Satan our enemy (1 Peter 5:8), but he is also an enemy of everything that is right (Acts 13:10). He can present himself before the Lord and make petition against us (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7). Satan asks God for permission to "sift" us (Luke 22:31), and he accuses us day and night before God (Zechariah 3:1; Revelation 12:10). He lies and slanders; in fact, there is no truth in him (John 8:44; Revelation 2:9).

The devil twists the scriptures for his purposes and perverts the right ways of the Lord (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:2-13; Acts 13:10). He is cunning and deceives (2 Corinthians 11:3). He schemes and tries to outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11), and is full of all kinds of deceit and trickery (Acts 13:10). He takes the Word away from hearts (Luke 8:12), and blinds the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). He traps and takes captive (2 Timothy 2:26), binds (Luke 13:16), incites (1 Chronicles 21:1) and, in general, is a stumbling block (Matthew 16:23). He can fill one's heart (Acts 5:3) and lead minds astray from Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Satan masquerades as an angel of light, and his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He is at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:2). He sows "weeds" (Matthew 13:38-39), and can work through anyone (Matthew 16:23; Mark 8:33). He can even display counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

No one is immune to Satan's temptations; he even tempted Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:2-13). But Satan could not prevail; he had no hold on Christ (John 14:30)!

Satan will put some Christians in prison to test them (Revelation 2:10), and he holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). But Christians are not powerless against him. The Bible tells us that faith extinguishes his flaming arrows (Ephesians 6:16), and if resisted, Satan will flee (James 4:7). He has been overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the testimony of Christian martyrs (Revelation 2:11). Christians have overcome him (1 John 2:13)!

His Future

Satan's future is bleak, indeed. In fact, he doesn't really have one. Scriptures tell us he stands condemned (John 16:11). God will crush him (Romans 16:20), and our Lord Jesus will overthrow and destroy him (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Eternal fire was prepared for him and his angels (Matthew 25:41). To sum it up, he has come to a horrible end and will be no more (Ezekiel 28:19; Revelation 20:10).

Copyright © 1999 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.