Christian Churches of God
Who is Satan?
(Edition 2.0 20060114-20070210)
When we think of Satan what or who do we think of? Where did he come from? What are his aims? How does that affect us? Why does he exist? What is his relationship to God?
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 2006, 2007 Dale Nelson and Wade Cox)
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Who is Satan?
A lot of people would describe Satan as many things and he has many names. He is the Devil, Lucifer, the evil one, and the dark one. He represents everything that God is not. He represents pure evil, something to fear, something to hate, something to blame, and something that will be destroyed and suffer for all eternity for its inherent evil. Now some of this is true and some is not so true. Let’s see who he is and how he fits into God’s Plan.
Satan was not always called Satan. He was the "Son of the Morning" (Isa. 14:12) and he, along with the rest of the angelic Host, was created perfect in all of his ways (Ezek. 28:14-19). For a time (we do not know how long), there existed peace and harmony in the heavens. Then something went wrong. The Bible is not clear on what happened, just that iniquity or disobedience was found in him and Lucifer was eventually sent away, banished to roam the Earth. See the paper The Family of God (No. CB4).
There is some speculation or suggestions as to why this happened and one idea is that Satan was jealous when God created Adam, a new physical creation. God already had a spiritual family in the Sons of God (angels), so why did He need a new addition to the family, especially a weaker physical one?
Satan thought he proved this by successfully tempting Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and they had to be banished from God’s presence. Satan too has to be punished for interfering with or trying to hurt God’s new creation.
Isaiah 14:12 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! (KJV used throughout)
Satan weakened the nations as Adam was cast out of the Garden because of Satan’s influence. Imagine how strong the nations would have been if Adam and Eve’s children had been brought up in the safety and sanctity of the Garden of Eden.
It appears Satan did not understand God’s Plan and so thought he could do it better. This was Satan’s greatest sin. By thinking this he is not worshiping God, but he sees God as an equal (Phil. 2:6). See the paper The Ten Commandments (No. CB17).
Isaiah 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Satan then tries to prove to his Father, God, that he is right and that this new physical creation is not the right plan of action. When we read the Book of Job, we see that Satan, and all the sons of God (Job 1:7; 2:1-4) present themselves to God. Satan tries to show that man, when he is not blessed by God, will deny God for the sake of being alive and comfortable. God knew Job’s heart and although he allowed Satan to destroy all that Job had (his family, his home, and his health) it was for the greater cause. This time Satan was proved wrong, and we all know it; the other sons of God and everyone who reads the Bible know it. When it was over, Job was blessed even more than he was before (Job 1 and 2). Not once did he deny God or say awful things about God despite the terrible things that happened to him. See the paper The Story of Job (No. CB54).
From Revelation 12 we see that when Christ, the Lamb, is resurrected war in heaven breaks out. Michael and the angels fight Satan the dragon and a third of the angels who have been deceived by Satan.
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Satan is no longer allowed to go before God and accuse the brethren (God’s people) directly by saying bad things about them as he did with Job.
Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Satan by now realises he has a big job and his time to achieve his goal is getting a little short. He is cast out of God’s throne-room and banished to Earth as Adam and his descendants are also banished to the Earth. We all chose ourselves above God and cannot be with Him as a result. So we have to work through it till we come to our senses. The hard bit is that we don’t understand the spiritual world very well as we are not part of it, and yet it has a huge influence on us. Satan is not helping us. It is his aim to make it harder for us so that he can prove to God that he is right and God is wrong.
How does Satan influence us?
Satan as a spirit being is not something we can see but is something we can sense from our understanding of the Bible. The Bible was given as the word of God; Jesus Christ was given to us as a living example of the word of God. Only from reading the Bible can we understand what is right and wrong, what is a Godly or righteous thought and belief, and what is of Satan. It is not something that we are just born knowing. So many of us make bad choices because we don’t read and follow God’s word. See the papers What is Sin? (No. CB26) and Satan’s Days of Worship (No. CB23).
Satan is spiritual and he influences us spiritually. One way of imagining spiritual is like imagining a thought. It is not written down; it is not something we can see or hear, touch, taste or smell. God is a bit like that and so are all the angels and so is Satan.
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
This Scripture is describing how Satan influences us. He is the prince and power of the air. He tries to affect how we think. He succeeds when we are not obeying God.
God does not want to make us part of His family unless we choose to be part of His family. He wants us to want to be part of his family. He wants us to want to worship Him. If we can do that with Satan influencing us the best he can, then indeed we will be solid, happy, worthy members of God’s family. The people who can do that get baptised and eventually become part of the First Resurrection, or if they are alive at the time of Christ’s return they will be transformed to spirit. If they are not yet baptised at the time of Christ’s return they will go into the Millennium as physical kings and priests. Like Job, we will be blessed and honoured even more when we can come through the other end without being deceived.
Any thought that is not what God would want us to think comes from Satan. That is why Christ called Peter "Satan" in Matthew 16:23.
Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Peter was not really Satan; he was representing Satan or being like Satan when he said things that were not what God would want him to say. Satan’s thoughts are not God’s thoughts. If we think Satan’s thoughts we are like Satan. If we think God’s thoughts we are like God, or another way of saying it is, we are "at one" with God.
Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat:
Satan does not want us to be sure in our faith and obedience, worshiping God and living by His Laws. God’s Laws are there for our benefit and our good. By us keeping them as a group our society can work in harmony. If we acknowledge that and work as a group we can be protected from Satan. If he sifts us like wheat we are scattered alone. By not keeping God’s Laws we are of no influence to the world, or each other, and of no use to God. By making us unsure of each other and of what we are to do and who God is, Satan wins.
Good versus evil?
Good comes from God. When people called Christ "good" he said, "No! Call no man good; only God is good".
Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
What he was saying is that we are not good of and by ourselves. Even Christ himself is not good of and by himself. Everything good about him came from understanding what God wanted of him, i.e. to keep the Commandments. He was good because he kept God’s Laws; he was good because he understood God’s will and shared it with others. His goodness did not come from him; it came from God.
We can follow the example of Christ and honour God by acknowledging that all things come from Him and all glory should go to Him, and by keeping God’s Commandments. It does not mean that we are inherently good, or another way of saying it is that we do not have goodness naturally within us; it is just that we are doing good things. Only God has goodness within Him; we need to do as He says if we want to be good.
Satan wants us to ignore and not listen to God and believe that like him, we can exist without God quite well, thank you very much. We don’t need Him to run a safe and happy society. That is why he says to God, "Give me Job and he will deny you if I take away all the things you have blessed him with".
Job 2:4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
Satan is saying that man can only think of life as being important and not God. It is true that without God we have nothing other than to try and stay alive and do well in our own achievements, even if our life is not a happy one. That is why the story of Job is so important as an encouragement to us that no matter how bad we feel it might be, it is not God’s will that it be so. Never deny God by saying bad things or ignoring Him, as the end result is better than the present if we can hold fast or keep honouring God as our Father. God has our best future as His ultimate goal.
Remember that Satan does not believe in God’s Plan for us, but Christ does. That is why Christ became the sacrifice. Satan would not do it, as he does not think we should be part of the plan at all. Christ, as a spirit being and as a human, was able to tie both the spiritual Host and us humans (the physical host) to God. All of us (spiritual and physical), i.e. those who don’t understand God yet and those who do, are now able to be part of God’s family if we choose to be. That is why Christ’s sacrifice is so important. Christ is supporting God in every way he can and Satan is trying to do the opposite.
Mark 4:15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
If Satan tempted and tried to trick Christ on the mountain (Mk. 1:13), don’t we think he would try to do the same thing to us? He wants to make us think differently from God, and if that happens we will not be close to God. Satan will use many methods to try and make us think thoughts that God would not like us to think.
2Thessalonians 2:9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
He would have us believing in ghosts, witchcraft, evolution and miracles that aren’t of God – anything to confuse us.
2Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
Satan is very deceptive, making good bad. There are many churches and belief systems that seem good because they speak about being good to each other but are they of God? God says that we are to know Him and know that Christ is His Son and that to show we love Him we have to keep His Commandments. That is the church we have to look for: the one that keeps not only the last six Commandments, that tell us how to love our neighbour, but also the first four that tell us to love our God. Satan has confused the world so much that it is hard to find any faith that understands these things.
Do not feel lost or afraid as we have a legion, or an army of angels who are not deceived and are spiritually at our defence when we need them. An angel is a messenger of God, so it is anyone who brings a message from God to us, like a very special postman who brings us a letter from God. Christ was a very special angel, a very special Son of God with a very special message. The honour given to him was greater than any honour given to any angel because unlike Satan he trusted God’s judgement. For that reason he is now on the right hand of God and all of the angelic realm as well as us give him honour. See the paper The Angelic Host (No. CB28).
Revelation 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Plan of God
Christ is going to come back, not just as a priest like last time, but also as a king. He will finally fulfil his role as king. It is then that the whole world will be forced to keep God’s Laws to prove that it is a better way to live (Zech. 14:16-21). This cannot happen until the Earth has been almost destroyed by neglect. That is why we have wars, global warming, terrible diseases, acid rain etc. etc. etc. None of these things would have happened if we had kept the Commandments to love God and our neighbour, which include laws that protect the environment and its people. If God intervenes to fix it up sooner, we would say, "Yeah, but we could have fixed it; we didn’t need you really". It has to be obvious to the whole world we couldn’t have done it without Him.
Then we do it God’s way for one thousand years, a millennium, and it is good! Everyone forgets what it was like before. Everyone is kind and gentle; everyone keeps the Laws of God in love and joy.
Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Satan is bound and cannot influence anyone’s thinking for the thousand years. Then he is let loose again (Rev. 20:7) at the end of the thousand years so the people of the Millennium realise that they too can fail; they are weak without God. There is another big war against God as Satan influences people once again as he does us now. See the paper God’s Holy Days (No. CB22).
However, these people who make poor choices and deny God are not lost forever. God has great mercy and they are taught just as all those in the Second Resurrection are taught. If they fail to choose to worship God, obeying Him, then the punishment is the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8) which is the final cremation, the grave, the second death, i.e. they are dead forever, they will not hear, they will not see, they will not feel. They will never be resurrected to life, either physical or spiritual life. The fact that it is God’s will that all men be saved indicates that perhaps no one ends up dead forever. See the paper What Happens When We Die? (No. CB29).
1Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
God’s Plan is perfect; God is omnipotent and that means He knows all things and can do all things. His Plan is that all men love Him, worship Him and become part of His family.
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Satan is put into the pit (Isa. 14:15-17) and those that see him will be amazed that he was the man that caused such problems and sadness. Suddenly he is not the scary spiritual monster that he would have us believe he is. He is a deceived and punished creation of God who is being taught to acknowledge God for the power that He is.
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.
Even Satan also realises that God was right all along. This word "devil" means the accuser. Satan stops accusing, he is no longer the Devil. He no longer needs to accuse the brethren, as he has been proved wrong. The accusations are finished but they will always be there as a reminder. What a punishment for Satan! His accusations are never forgotten. He will be remembered forever as having dishonoured God, and for deceiving the world. What a torment for him when he realises his mistake. Our forgiveness is important to his rehabilitation and well-being.
Finally, everyone understands and Christ as King and High Priest unites the whole world and presents it to God. It is when this happens that the war of good and evil is over. Satan’s influence is gone. Death is gone. False churches and false prophet and false prophecy are gone. It is finished; all who ever lived understand the Plan of God and are part of His family. They all acknowledge that He knew best, He knows best and will always know best.
To keep free of Satan’s influence
We are in a war (2Cor. 10:1-6) and we need to put on the armour of God (Eph. 6:10-20). We need the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, boots of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. Be prepared by reading the Bible, praying and fasting. See the paper Lesson on Prayer Part A Teacher’s Guide (No. CB31).
Spend time together as the Body of Christ. It is a punishment to be put outside of it (1Tim. 1:20).
Have hope in the future and look to the unseen rather than the seen (2Cor. 4:16-18).
As in the story of the lost son of Luke 15:11-32, Satan is sad that the younger son, Adam, is welcomed to share God, when he and all the angels had been there supporting and loving the Father. Satan is angry with God and is setting out to prove that God was wrong.
Satan is only given a short time to influence the world as he was only given a short time to influence Job. However, we must be always alert as Satan prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. We must resist him and stand firm in the faith (1Pet. 5:8).
In the end, the world (like Job) does not deny God, despite Satan saying we will.
Satan is proved wrong, time and time again.
God is finally all in all and harmony, peace and balance are restored to an extended family of God. The Sons of God (angels) know their limitations without God through the creation of Adamic man, and Adamic man knows its limitations without God through the existence of the angels. Without the experience of the other neither would have understood that their own happiness is dependent on the direction of God. That is the Plan of God and that is why Satan is allowed to run his course. God is in control. He has a Plan. It is perfect. It will be fulfilled. Have no fear.