Satan the Devil
We believe that Satan is a spirit being who is the adversary of God and the children of God; Satan has been given dominion over the world for a specific time; Satan has deceived humanity into rejecting God and His law; Satan has ruled by deception with the aid of a host of demons who are rebellious angels, spirit beings who followed Satan in his rebellion (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 8:12; 2 Timothy 2:26; John 12:31; 16:11; Revelation 12:4, 9; 20:1-3, 7, 10; Leviticus 16:21-22; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:14; Ephesians 2:2).
Satan is the adversary of God, as evidenced even in the meaning of his name in both Hebrew and Greek. He opposes God continually at every opportunity. He despises God's plan, particularly that God is working with human beings to add them to His family. Hence, he also detests human beings. He is the deceiver and accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:9-10). He is a murderer and a liar and the father of lying (John 8:44). He is described as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Satan is not an ordinary opponent. He is an extremely resourceful and cunning adversary whose ultimate goal is to deny salvation to mankind by deceiving them, leading them astray, enticing them to sin and turning them against God (Ephesians 6:11-18; 2 Corinthians 2:11; Luke 8:12).
Satan must act within the limits permitted by God (Job 1:12; 2:6). Job's account also illustrates Satan's accusatory attitude and clearly describes him as a specific personality and literal being. He came to Jesus Christ as a literal being in an effort to tempt Him (Matthew 4:1-11). His reign as the god of this world will come to an end at the seventh and last trumpet when Christ returns (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 11:15), although he will be released for one final, short time at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:3).
Just as Satan's actions are limited by God's will, his time is also limited. He is presently the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31). He will be removed and bound throughout the millennial reign of the Messiah, then released for a short while at the end of the 1,000 years (Revelation 20:1-3, 7-8). Satan will not cease to exist, but will be "rendered powerless" by the Messiah (Hebrews 2:14, New American Standard Bible). The word translated "destroy" in this verse most often means "to render idle" or "inoperative."
Satan was created as an angel of high position and authority (Ezekiel 28:14, 16). In Isaiah 14:12 he is called Lucifer, which other versions translate as "star of the morning," "bright star" or "morning star" (New American Standard Bible, Revised English Bible, New International Version). He was called an "anointed cherub" and is represented as evidently having at least equal rank with Michael, an archangel (Jude 9). He was created perfect and blameless, but eventually chose the way of sin and rebellion (Ezekiel 28:12, 15, 17). A third of the angels followed him in his insurrection, as witnessed by Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:4; Luke 10:18). He and the angels who rebelled with him (demons) attempted to overthrow God and were defeated and cast down (Isaiah 14:12-15; 2 Peter 2:4). The kingdom of Satan is now characterized by darkness, not light (Luke 22:53; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:13).
Under some circumstances, the devil and his demons are able to gain possession and control of human beings and even animals (Matthew 8:28-33; 9:32-34). Satan himself entered and possessed the traitor Judas (Luke 22:3). Christ, whose authority is greater than Satan's, cast out demons during His ministry on earth and has empowered others to do the same (Mark 16:17).
Satan is referred to by different names and descriptions which denote some of his evil roles, characteristics and actions. Some of these are the devil, Apollyon, Abaddon, Belial, Beelzebub, the great dragon and the prince of the power of the air.
(For more details, request Is There Really a Devil?)
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