2. Satan’s CharacteristicsRelated Media
What are some of Satan’s characteristics? We considered his name and titles which reflect some of his characteristics, but what are some others?
Satan Is a Created Being
Ezekiel 28:14-15 (ESV) says this, which seems to refer to Satan:
You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.
Satan was created as a cherub angel. Cherubim seem to have a special role in guarding the presence and holiness of God. For example, God placed a cherub outside of the Garden of Eden to guard the tree of life. Also, statues of cherubim were in the ark of the covenant, apparently representing real cherubim guarding the glory of God.
When was Satan created? Exodus 20:11 says: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth and the sea and all that is in them, and he rested on the seventh day.” Since angels dwell within heaven, it is clear they were created within the first six days of creation. Also, in Job 38:4-7, God said the angels worshiped him when he created the earth’s foundations. He said this to Job:
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you possess understanding! Who set its measurements—if you know— or who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its bases set, or who laid its cornerstone—when the morning stars sang in chorus, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Since God created the heavens and the earth on the first day of creation (Gen 1:1-5), this means that Satan, along with the rest of the angels, were created sometime early on that first day.
Because Satan is a created being, he has creaturely limitations. He is not infinite like God; he is finite. He is not omnipresent and, therefore, cannot be in all places at all times. He is not omniscient; he does not know all things. He is certainly extremely knowledgeable because of how glorious God made him and because he has lived from the beginning of time, but not omniscient. He is not omnipotent; he is not all-powerful, though still a powerful being. Since Satan is a created being, he has creaturely limits.
Satan Is a Personal Being
Satan demonstrates all the aspects of personality including intellect, will, and emotions. This is especially important to consider since many view Satan as simply a force representing evil. In Matthew 4, when he approached Christ in the wilderness, he demonstrated a high understanding of Scripture, as he continually quoted and misinterpreted Scripture in order to tempt Jesus. This demonstrates his intelligence. Also, the fact that he chose to rebel against God in heaven demonstrates his will—he is not a robot without the ability to make choices. In Isaiah 14:14, he proudly proclaimed, “I will make myself like the Most High!” Satan also has emotions. Revelation 12:17 says, “So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus.” When Israel escapes Satan during the Great Tribulation, he becomes angry and persecutes believers—those who keep God’s commands and hold to the testimony of Christ. Satan is a personal being demonstrating the aspects of personality including intellect, will, and emotions.
Satan Is a Spirit Being
Like other angels, Satan is a spirit without a physical form. Hebrews 1:4 says this about angels: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those who will inherit salvation?” Likewise, demonic angels are commonly called “unclean” or “evil” spirits (Lk 4:36, 8:2), and no doubt, Satan is the same. With that said, because Satan is powerful, he can take physical form when he chooses, even as other angels can (cf. Gen 18:2, 16, 19:1).
Satan Is a Powerful Being
As mentioned, Satan is powerful. In fact, after God, Satan is probably the most powerful being in the universe. He commands one-third of the created angels, which are now demons. He is the ruler of this world (John 14:30), who is committed to perverting God’s creation and subverting God’s plans. His great power is demonstrated in the fact that even Michael, the archangel (chief angel), would not even rebuke him. Jude 1:9 says, “But even when Michael the archangel was arguing with the devil and debating with him concerning Moses’ body, he did not dare to bring a slanderous judgment, but said, ‘May the Lord rebuke you!’” This implies that Satan is at least equal in power to the archangel or even greater than him.
Satan’s great power is also seen in his extreme mobility. Consider the verses below:
The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” And Satan answered the Lord, “From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.”
And the Lord said to Satan, “Where do you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roving about on the earth, and from walking back and forth across it.”
Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
In those verses, Satan is described as roving back and forth across the earth—prowling across it like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. This demonstrates extraordinary mobility for a creature.
Satan’s power is also demonstrated in his ability to create all types of false miracles which will deceive the world during the end time. Second Thessalonians 2:9-10 says,
The arrival of the lawless one will be by Satan’s working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing, because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved.
Revelation 13:3-4 describes a possible false resurrection of the Antichrist who is empowered by Satan to deceive the whole world into following him. It says:
One of the beast’s heads appeared to have been killed, but the lethal wound had been healed. And the whole world followed the beast in amazement; they worshiped the dragon because he had given ruling authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast too, saying: “Who is like the beast?” and “Who is able to make war against him?”
Satan is an extremely powerful being, possibly the most powerful after God, who uses his power for evil.
Satan Is an Evil Being
In continuing the previous thought, Satan is an extremely evil being. In John 8:44, Jesus said this about Satan:
You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies.
Jesus said the devil is the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning. In 1 Peter 5:8, he is described as a lion seeking whom he may devour. He is not content with deceiving people and leading them away from God; he ultimately wants to destroy them. With Job, God permitted Satan to attack Job, but would not allow Satan to kill him, which was no doubt his desire. Job 2:6 says, “So the Lord said to Satan, ‘All right, he is in your power; only preserve his life.’” In Revelation 12:9, Satan is described as deceiving “the whole world.” He blasphemes God and persecutes those who worship God. Revelation 13:6-8 describes Satan’s work through the Antichrist who is called the beast:
So the beast opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place, that is, those who dwell in heaven. The beast was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. He was given ruling authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed.
In Ephesians 6:12, Paul describes the kingdom Satan rules which includes a demonic hierarchy called “rulers,” “powers,” “world rulers of this darkness,” and the “spiritual forces of evil in heaven.” The ruling demons Satan oversees are powerful and bent on destroying what is good and fostering pure evil throughout the world. Satan is an extremely evil being, with nothing good or redeemable in his nature.
Satan is a created being and therefore limited. He is not omniscient, omnipresent, nor omnipotent. He is a personal being demonstrating intellect, will, and emotions. He is a spirit being in that he does not have a material nature but can take on physical form if he desires. He is extremely powerful; he can move back and forth throughout the earth with seemingly great ease and uses all his abilities and resources to promote evil throughout the world.
- What stood out most in the reading and why?
- What are some of Satan’s characteristics?
- How and when was Satan created?
- How powerful is Satan and how is his power displayed in Scripture?
- What other questions or applications did you take from the reading?
Copyright © 2021 Gregory Brown
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Related Topics: Satanology