Bible Truth Examiner


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Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

MANY Christians deny the existence of Satan as a personal being, believing him to be the evil principle; but reason suggests, and the Bible teaches, that righteous acts and the Universe must have been originated by some first cause, which is God. Likewise, sinful acts must have been originated by some first cause, and this first cause of sinful acts must have been sinful; and since sinful acts also imply purpose, their originator must have been a being possessing mind and will, and therefore a person, who the Bible informs us is Satan. Experience also suggests that there are at least a number of invisible evil spirit beings, for in no other way can we explain the sudden injection of unfamiliar and repulsive evil thoughts into the minds of human beings – thoughts not suggested by the circumstances and experiences of those receiving those thoughts.

Satan a Personal Being

Satan’s personality is found in many Bible passages:

  • The dealings between God and Satan in connection with Job (Job 1: 6-12) (Job 2: 1-7).
  • The angel contending against Satan and calling upon God to rebuke him, as Satan resisted the high priest, Joshua (Zechariah 3: 1, 2).
  • Jesus’ statement about Satan’s adopting policies foreign to his normal activities to prop up his diminishing cause (Matthew 12: 24-26).
  • Jesus’ statement that Satan was once in the Truth, but that he later originated falsehoods and murdered the human family when he introduced sin into the world (John 8: 44) (Genesis 3: 1-7). If Satan were the evil principle, how could he have ever been in the Truth?
  • St. Paul delivered the erring Corinthian brother to Satan for corrective stripes (1 Corinthians 5: 5). If Satan were the evil principle and not an evil person who works through evil principles, it would have been contrary to St. Paul’s purpose.
  • How could the Bible speak of his devices, unless he could think and plan, as making devices implies thought and purpose (2 Corinthians 2: 11).
  • Satan’s transforming himself into an angel of light from an angel of darkness implies thought and reason (2 Corinthians 11: 14).
  • Devils believe and tremble, therefore they think and feel, proving that Satan, their leader, thinks and feels (James 2: 19).
  • His walking about as a roaring lion, seeking especially Christians as his prey (1 Peter 5: 8, 9).
  • Michael’s contending with him over Moses’ body, which Satan probably wanted to use as an object of worship in Israel (Jude 9).

Lucifer Created Perfect

Originally Satan (1 Chronicles 21: 1) (Job 1: 6) (John 13: 27) (Acts 5: 3) (Acts 26: 18) (Romans 16: 20) was good. Satan, which name in Hebrew, like its Greek counterpart – diabolos, whence comes our English word devil – means adversary, opponent. But his original name was Lucifer – light-bearer (Isaiah 14: 12), until he sinned and led the race into sin. In nature and rank he was a cherub, one of the highest of all angels (Ezekiel 28: 14, 16). Ezekiel 28: 12-19 addresses him as the king of Tyre. Tyre symbolizes this present evil world, so this shows Satan to be the ruler of this present evil world. These verses give us a fairly detailed description of Lucifer, before and after he sinned, and his final end – annihilation. 

In both literal and symbolic language, verses 12-15 sets forth his physical, mental, moral and religious perfection. The expression, “Thou sealest up the sum,” refers to the fullness of his perfection – intellectually (full of wisdom), physically, morally and religiously. The word beauty refers to his physical, moral and religious qualities. He even maintained his perfection for a while after being made guardian angel to Adam and Eve in Eden (verses 13, 14). His pre-fallen moral and religious qualities are particularly brought to our attention by the figure of his being covered with precious stones (verse 13), for precious stones symbolize the moral and religious perfections of the glorified Church (Revelation 21: 11-21). Verse 14 first describes his work in Eden as guardian of Adam and Eve, and later describes his position and work among the heavenly hosts. Verse 15 shows that he had been perfectly righteous and good from the time of his creation, for probably millions of years, until he fell into sin in Eden. Verses 16-18 describe his corrupting himself, while verse 19 speaks of his final influence and annihilation in the Little Season following the Millennial Age.

Other Descriptive Names

Besides being called Lucifer, Satan, and the covering (protecting) cherub, he is also called by other names. The following refer to him from the standpoint of his qualities and activities after his fall:

  • Beelzebub (lord of the fly), the god of Ekron (destruction – 2 Kings 1: 3-6), symbolic of his plaguesomeness through errors [flies] on militarism, leading to war and destruction (Matthew 12: 24) (Mark 3: 22) (Luke 11: 15).
  • Belial, or Beliar (wickedness, descriptive of his character – 2 Corinthians 6: 15).
  • Devil (adversary, descriptive of his opposing God, the Truth, righteousness, mankind in general and the good in particular – (Matthew 4: 1) (Luke 4: 2, 6) (Revelation 20: 2).
  • Enemy (descriptive of his spiteful course and hating attitude – Matthew 13: 39).
  • Liar, and the father of lies (descriptive of his deceitfulness and originating error – John 8: 44).
  • Murderer (because by sin he murdered the human family – (John 8: 44) (Romans 5: 12).
  • Serpent, and old serpent (because of his cunning and poisonousness – (Genesis 3: 4, 14) (Revelation 20: 2) (2 Corinthians 11: 3).
  • Prince of this world (because he is by usurpation the ruler of this present evil order of affairs – (John 12: 31) (John 14: 30) (John 16: 11).
  • Prince of devils (because he is the ruler over the fallen angels – Matthew 12: 24).
  • Prince of the power of the air (descriptive of his headship over the fallen angels as the invisible spirits organized as a kingdom over humanity – Ephesians 2: 2).
  • Spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience (because he uses the wicked and disobedient as his servants and tools – Ephesians 2: 2).
  • Tempter (because he entices to sin, error, selfishness and worldliness – (Matthew 4: 3) (1 Thessalonians 3: 5).
  • The god of this world (descriptive of him as the ruler of this present evil order of affairs – 2 Corinthians 4: 4).
  • Wicked one (descriptive of his character – Matthew 13: 19, 38).

Lucifer’s Fall from Perfection

God created Lucifer good. He was not made so that he had to sin, for God gave him a disposition favorable to righteousness and averse to sin. So, how could he have sinned if there was no sin in the world and no sinful inclinations in his make-up? The possibility of his sinning is that he was endowed with liberty of choice. As one of the highest of the angels (Isaiah 14: 12), some of the other angels were his subordinates. He received honor and obedience from them because of his position in relation to them. Although it was proper for him to desire and receive such honor and obedience, apparently Lucifer permitted his mind to dwell too much on the desirability of receiving such honor and obedience. He therefore failed to keep such desires in proper subjection to higher sentiments, such as the desire to please God above all, and the desire not to receive honor and obedience from others unless it was in harmony with God’s arrangements. The more he kept the desirability of receiving honor and obedience from others in his heart, the stronger this desire became, and the more it reached out for exercise toward some whom God had not put into his charge.

This craving for more honor and power than God had arranged for him to have gradually grew:

  • By failing to subordinate the desire for honor and obedience to certain higher qualities, and
  • by extending that desire toward persons and things beyond the limits of their Divinely arranged relations to him. As he observed mankind, his growing ambition began to see a possible dominion from which he could gain further honor and obedience. As “the covering [protecting] cherub” he had been given a limited guardianship over the human family in Eden (Ezekiel 28: 13-15), but the limits of this guardianship were too confining for his growing ambition. To gratify his ambition, he led perfect mankind into sin, and thus openly rebelled against God. The Prophet describes his gradual fall into sin: “Thou hast said in thine heart [desires], I will ascend,” etc. (Isaiah 14: 12-14). Unholy ambition was his downfall.

Satan may not have intended to go as far as he has gone, for he is now the implacable enemy of God and man. A certain proverb says that whoever says A must in time say B, or whoever concedes an inch to wrong for advantage will eventually have to concede a mile in wrong to secure his ends. Satan has likely now proceeded to Y, and at the end of the Millennial Age will go to Z, the full limit of evil, at which time he will be destroyed (Hebrews 2: 14). Though he has attained his ambition for rulership over the human family and princeship over the fallen angels, what a terrible cost to himself and to all his subjects! He has degraded his once holy character and fellowship with God and all in harmony with Him; has involved many angels in sin with its evil results; and has brought sin and ruin upon the human family. He stands unique as the most outstanding example of depraved character in the universe – practically the synonym of sin itself. His is the chief example of “vaunting ambition overleaping itself” – may we avoid imitating him at any cost!

How Satan’s Empire is Organized

Various features of Satan’s ambition are described in Isaiah 14: 13, 14. We will quote each part, followed by some bracketed comments:

  • “I will ascend into heaven” [I will make myself an exalted ruler].
  • “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God” [I will become the king over the angels (stars – Job 38: 7)].
  • “I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north” [I will become the spiritual, invisible (“in the sides of the north”) ruler of the human family (“the congregation”)].
  • “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds” [I will put myself out of reach of all trouble].
  • “I will be like the Most High” [I will found an independent empire in which I will be supreme, and as God’s rival, I will be His equal].

Satan has founded an empire having two phases: (1) an invisible phase, consisting of the fallen angels under his leadership, as the controlling phase, and (2) a visible and subordinate phase, consisting of three departments: oppressive governments, predatory aristocracies and false religions, as the visible representatives of the invisible and ruling fallen angels. The earthly phase consists of three classes of representatives corresponding to its three departments respectively: rulers, aristocrats, and clergy, who are the officials in these three departments.

The Foundation Principle of Satan’s Empire

The foundation principle for Satan’s empire is the “Divine Right,” which comes in three forms: The Divine Right of rulers, the Divine Right of aristocrats and the Divine Right of the clergy. The purpose for these three forms of his doctrine was to make the masses blindly subject to the classes, claiming that it had the Divine approval. In this way Satan could keep the masses in subjection to his representatives, and therefore to him. By the Divine Right of kings, Satan caused his mouthpieces, especially the clergy, to teach: (1) The kings are God’s direct appointees and representatives; (2) they do exactly what God wants them to do; (3) God sanctions all their acts (which would mean that He sanctioned all the acts of Hitler and Stalin!); and (4) the people are duty bound to obey without question everything their rulers require!

By the Divine Right of the aristocracy, he caused the following things to be taught, especially through the clergy: (1) It is God’s will that practically the whole earth and its riches be owned and administered by the aristocrats; (2) these act as God’s stewards in dispensing earth’s bounties to the bulk of mankind; (3) God sanctions their administration of things; and (4) the masses should be content with their lot and with what is being dispensed to them.

By the Divine Right of the clergy, Satan caused the following thoughts to be taught, especially by the clergy: (1) God speaks to the people through the clergy; (2) they are His mouthpieces giving forth the Truth; (3) He sanctions their teachings; and (4) the people should believe and practice the clergy’s teachings with blank, unquestioning minds.

The Divine Right as Satan caused it to be taught is false, but since the flood, it has been calculated to keep the race subject to Satan; and he was largely successful in keeping the masses in subjection by the Divine Right doctrine until World War I, when the war debates largely set it aside.

In attempting to keep his empire strong, Satan has always sought to keep some law and order in place, knowing that anarchy would ruin his cause. He arranged civil laws in general to guard the rights of the leaders in state, religion and aristocracy, which we now call capital, thereby preventing anarchy. He has only tolerated the setting aside of civil law when he saw that it would be beneficial to his empire to have certain governments, religions and aristocracies overthrown. He has also introduced some laws for the rights of the common people, though they have always been made to serve the interests of the statesmen, clergy and aristocrats first.

The Supporting Doctrines of Satan’s Empire

Though Satan deceived the people greatly by the Divine Right of rulers, clergy and aristocrats, he knew these alone could not continue his rulership. He therefore found it necessary to advance three other doctrines to support the doctrine of the Doctrine Right:

  • The dead are not dead, but are alive;
  • they have become spirits and as such are conscious; and
  • they are either in bliss or in torment. Satan first brought forth these three falsehoods back in Eden.

They are stated in Genesis 3: 4, 5:

  • “Ye shall not surely die” [You will not really die; you will only seem to die; you will live right on, even though seemingly dead].
  • “Ye shall be as gods” [The dead have become spirits, angels].
  • “Knowing good and evil” [You will experience either bliss or torment].

Satan’s design in using these three errors as the supporting doctrines of his empire was to deceive the race into believing that certain errors were true and certain truths were false, and that certain wrongs were right and certain rights were wrong. With that accomplished, he would promise rewards in the next life to those who would, under his deception, accept his errors and practice his wrongs, and threaten with eternal torment those who refused to do so. He would also threaten torments in the next life to those who would accept God’s truths (misrepresented as errors by Satan) as true, and practice certain of His commands (misrepresented by Satan as wrong) as right; as he would also promise eternal bliss to those who would not do so. Through deception, he would enslave the race to his will and prevent their doing God’s will, and he succeeded with the majority of the human family (2 Corinthians 4: 4) (2 Corinthians 11: 3, 14, 15) (2 Thessalonians 2: 9) (2 Timothy 2: 26).

Satan’s Kingdom of Darkness

Satan’s empire has been an evil one as all history attests, for it has been marked by every evil word and work. The majority of its rulers, aristocrats and clergy have been corrupt. The history of “this present evil world” (Galatians 1: 4) is replete with war, revolution, rapine, murder, destruction, lust, cruelty, conquest, oppression, degradation, unhappiness, misfortune, death and persecution, especially of God’s people. Very little space is given to good, noble and elevating philanthropies.

When we look upon the physical, mental, moral and religious perfection in which God created the human family in Eden, and then by contrast consider the physical, mental, moral and religious wrecks which Satan has made of so many of our race, we have striking evidences of his wicked character as a person and as a ruler. We see the failure of his empire to bless its subjects, and the crying need of displacing him and his empire by The Christ as the Ruler and the Kingdom of God as the empire, in order to rescue the human race from utter ruin and destruction; and to return it to the original perfection and bliss of God’s image and likeness. God first hinted at such an outcome in Genesis 3: 15; He renewed and expanded upon it to Abraham; by the types and shadows of the Law He emphasized it; in the poetry of the Prophets and Psalmists He reiterated it; through Jesus and the Apostles He expounded it; He encourages His faithful people to pray for it; and by the signs of the times He indicates that it is at hand. It is the desire of, and will be the cure for all the nations (Haggai 2: 7).