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The Reality and Personality of Satan
Scripture: Genesis 1; Matthew 4:1-3; 4:8-10; 4:25:4...
Track 3 of 7 in the Spiritual Realm series
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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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The Spiritual Realm

The Reality and Personality of Satan

November 20, 2005

When you hear the name Satan, what visions or images of him show up in your mind? Does the thought of him scare you or is Satan just a figure to you that really isn't a concern? How real is he to you and is that reality played out in your life? Among your unbelieving friends, what are their thoughts or beliefs about Satan? Is he a real person to them or just a symbolic figure for evil in the world?

There is a vast amount of scriptural evidence that Satan actually exists and that he is a person, not just a symbol of evil or a figure of speech. He is an angelic being of wide and powerful influence, a major character on the moral stage of God's universe. He is an enemy of man and especially an enemy of believers, one whom we should know, respect, and resist in the faith and in the power of Jesus.

The best place to turn to learn the facts about Satan is in the Scriptures. There are many places in both the Old and New Testaments that confirm the existence of Satan as much as it does the existence of God. The whole of reality in the Bible depends upon the existence of Satan. If Satan doesn't really exist, then the foundation of the Bible will simply crumble.

The very beginning of Genesis right after the creation of man, Satan is quick to enter man's history. The basic facts found in Genesis depends upon the reality of Satan working through the serpent to cause man to fall. All the way through the Bible the main focus is centered on the redemptive plan of God through the God-man who overcomes Satan. From the events of Job to the sins of David, from the idolatry that consumed Israel to the dreams and visions of Ezekiel and Isaiah, the evidences of Satan are all over the Old Testament pages.

19 of the 27 books in the New Testament mentions Satan by one of his names. Even the eight books that do not directly mention Satan, four of the eight imply his existence by mentioning his demons. In the four Gospels, there are 29 direct references to Satan and of these 29 references, 25 references are made by Jesus as Satan actually existing as a person. Jesus even had a person to person encounter with Satan as recorded in Matthew 4.

Matthew 4:1-3 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

His Person

What kind of being is Satan and if he possesses a personality like God and the angels, what is his personality like? How do we know he is just not a figment of our imagination? There are three lines of evidence that proves he is a person, not a myth.

Traits of personality: Personality has three components; intellect, emotion and will and Satan has all three of these. His intellect is obvious in his schemes to deceive us and his communications through speech to other persons.

Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

His emotions and his will are clearly involved in his rebellious desire to oppose God in all he does and to destroy those who believe in God.

Personal Pronouns: When the Scriptures speak about him, personal pronouns are used indicating that Satan is a person, not an it.

Ezekiel 28:14, 16a You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.

Moral Responsibility: Neither impersonal animals nor forces are held morally accountable, but only persons who reflect the moral image of their Creator. Judgment has come and will further come upon Satan and his angels.

Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

What is Satan made of? How powerful is he and can he do things other angels can't? Can he still be in God's presence? There are some basic facts about Satan we need to be aware of plus beware of:

First: Satan was created by God, not in his present corrupt form, but wonderfully constituted and holy. God describes him in this way:

Ezekiel 28:15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.

As a created being, Satan is much less than God, yet through his own deceit, he thought he could become like God. That is his ever driving motive: to get others to see him as God and to follow after him.

Second: Satan is a spirit being, an angelic being. There are many scriptures that associate him with the angels. He is in essence a spirit, finite and limited. This means he is incorporeal (Lacking material form or substance) and invisible. There are times he has manifested his presence in temporary, visible form.

Third: Satan is a cherub angel. Do you remember what the role was of a cherub angel? They were the protectors and proclaimers of God's glory, holiness and righteousness. They never left the presence of God and everywhere God went or designated his abode, the cherubim were always present. Their environment would have been perfectly right, beautiful and absolutely holy. What does this say about Satan's rebellion and sin?

Fourth: Satan was first in rank among all creatures.

Ezekiel 28:14You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

The title "anointed" means Satan was a high-stationed guardian for God. He had a special position, just as anointed kings had a special position. He had tremendous beauty and wisdom.

Ezekiel 28:12-13 You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you:

To this day, Satan still has some of the dignity he had before he fell. He is the leader of the fallen from heaven and he is a very powerful being, so powerful that Michael is careful when disputing with him and he respects the authority Satan has. He is most likely the archangel among the evil angels or demons.

Satan's Names

Satan has many names in the Bible. Many of them describe his position and the kingdom he controls. Other names describe his character and the activities he is involved in. There are as many as forty different names for Satan.

There are those that describe his position: Anointed Cherub who covers; The Prince of this World; the Prince of the {Power of the Air; Prince of this Age; The Prince of Demons. Satan does rule and he does rule over worlds. We as Christians are in his territory and he doesn't like it. We are actually behind enemy lines. One of the names Satan is given is Beelzebul. The title Beelzebul comes from the Hebrew name Baalzebul which means "lord of the flies". This was one of the titles the Jewish leaders flung at Jesus to refute His power to perform miracles.

There are names that reflect his character:

Lucifer comes from Isaiah 14:12.

Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

As I mentioned earlier, the name comes from astrology, it means, light-bearer. Again, here is an example of angelic beings being referred to as stars or connected with the stars in scripture. Lucifer is a Latin translation of the name "morning star". "Day star" is the Hebrew translation of the word Lucifer. Venus rising in the morning is called Lucifer.

Satan - the most commonly used name (Used 52 times in the Bible), it means opposer or adversary.

Devil - Used 35 times, it means slanderer or one who trips up. There are many more like the old serpent, the great dragon, the evil one and destroyer.

Then there are names that indicate his activity such as tempter, accuser, deceiver and the spirit that works in the sons of disobedience.

Ephesians 2:1-2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Many look at Satan and claim that Satan is the evil side of God. Satan is the proof that God is not all holy because if he were, he would not have created Satan. Thus, even evil comes from the ultimate source, God. God is not without excuse. How do you combat or answer that charge?

Satan was not created evil; he was created perfect and holy just like you and I were. We both were perfect thus the reason we were allowed to be in God's direct presence. But angels and man were also created with individual wills and we are creature of choice. Satan fell from his holy state when he tragically rebelled against God, incurring his own condemnation.

What makes Satan's fall different from ours? How come Satan and his angels fall and condemnation permanent and ours isn't? Why can't Satan be saved? I love how man tries to debate issues of God without any actual understanding of the depth and breadth the issues entail. For instance, is it fair that Satan and the angels can't be saved when man can? That is a question I hear often as though Satan really has an ounce of regret for his actions and rebellion. Satan is a supernatural being with hate for God way beyond man's comprehension. He, or his angels don't reason like a man and man can't become so gullible to think Satan wants forgiveness. He only wants to destroy the works of God and to make sure we are destroyed right along with it. He is a hater of man and man's greatest enemy.

The basic sin of Satan seems to be his pride. Isaiah pictures Satan's pride expressed in determined rebellion. What makes Satan's sin so bad is he was in the closest relationship with God and he was always in God's presence. He saw and worshiped God all the time and he was the protector of proclaimer of God's holiness, righteousness and Godhead as is the role of the Cherubim. Instead of worshiping God, his pride overcame him.

Isaiah 14:13-15 You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

Satan's desire and intent hasn't changed over all the years of his exile from heaven. When Jesus was tempted by Satan while in the wilderness for 40 days, Satan tempts Jesus three times. The third temptation revealed what Satan longs for and still longs for to this day. Look what he tells Jesus.

Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

We have to be aware of who it is we are dealing with when dealing with Satan and his demons. They are angelic beings and they are very powerful. Yet they are also limited. We need to note from scripture how Jesus resisted Satan and his temptations.

What method did Jesus use to defeat Satan? He verbally spoke to Satan and commanded him to leave. Satan is not like God and he is not omnipotent. He can't hear you unless you speak verbally to him. When he answered Satan's questions, it was always with scripture, correctly spoken and not paraphrased. At the first temptation, Eve did the same thing but got the message wrong and Satan used her mistake against her.

We must be aware of the activities Satan is involved in relation to Christians. In general, he is actively seeking to defeat believers in their individual and corporate life and service. The wise Christian does not dismiss the spiritual warfare going on as superstition. He is aware of Satan's tactics and he guards himself against them. Unfortunately, many Christians act as though belief in Satan is only superstition rather than a real and present danger both spiritually and physically.

The first century writers warned us about the things Satan is involved in. What we might think is human opposition may indeed be Satan's interference. Guys like Paul and Peter warned the church that Satan wages warfare against the church, he accuses and slanders, plants doubt, tempts us to sin, tries to get us to rely on our own wisdom and strength.

Satan can also use good to do evil things or get us to do things against God. What are some examples? Too often he gets us to inject "I" in our decision making process for God. For example, I would like to do this for God. The correct attitude is what does God want me to do? Too often we want to help God based on our desires, not his.

Satan is also heavily at work inciting persecution, preventing service, infiltrating the church with false teachers and false disciples, and he promotes division within the church. When Satan gets the church to fight against themselves rather than him, Satan accomplishes his plan.

Are you an easy target for Satan? If allowed by God, could Satan sift you life sand like he wanted to do with Peter? What steps do you actively take to protect yourselves from Satan's schemes? Or are you left exposed to the things Satan wants to do to you and against you?