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Satan/Lucifer/The Devil & Demons/Evil Spirits

As well as God's angels, the Bible tells of rebellious angels; that although were at one time some of God's angels, now work against God and all of God's creation.

Satan/Lucifer/The Devil

Satan is referred to by many names including Lucifer and 'the Devil'. I'll refer to him as Satan. Quite often Satan is referred to as the opposite of God. However, that is far from true! God created Satan as an Angel, and as such Satan only has the power of an Angel, no where near the power or authority of God!

The name Satan means 'Adversary' or 'Enemy' and indeed this being is the enemy of God and all mankind. Satan was created by God as an amazing (and good) Angel called Lucifer, which means 'Light Bearer' or 'Morning Star', and he was possibly even one (or the chief) Cherub. So he was one of, if not, the most important Angel(s).

However, this wasn't enough for Satan! He wanted to become God and have total power. God gave free will to the Angels (as well as to people). Sadly, Satan rebelled against God and there was a massive battle in Heaven. Satan lost and, with his followers, was thrown out of Heaven.

Satan's rebellion and the war in Heaven is described in the Bible in the Book of Revelation (words in brackets added by me) 1.

7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon [Satan], and the dragon and his angels fought back.
8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.
9 The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Revelation 12:7-9

His [Satan's] tail swept a third of the stars [angels] out of the sky and flung them to the earth...
Revelation 12:4

So Satan wasn't alone and led a rebellion against God taking as many as a third of all the Angels with him. These are now what are commonly called Demons.

The original pure Angelic state of Satan and how he changed is also described by two Jewish Prophets - Ezekiel and Isaiah 2.

11 The word of the LORD came to me:
12 "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "'You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 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.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.'"
Ezekiel 28:11-19

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!
13 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.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
Isaiah 14:12-15

The 'earth' referred to in the above passages could also mean 'deep, utter darkness', like a 'grave' (and away from God’s light) rather than to 'here' on planet Earth. This also agrees with the passages from Jude and 2 Peter (in Bible ref 13 - see below).

So we can see that God had created Satan as a beautiful and powerful Angel, but through his pride and greed he became totally evil.

In the reference from Ezekiel, Satan is referred to as 'The King of Tyre' (which was a city that was located in what is now Lebanon). This may seem strange but God, through Ezekiel, is saying that Satan was manipulating the human 'Ruler of Tyre' and that Satan was the 'real King' of that city; and the human 'ruler' was just his puppet.

We don't know exactly when the rebellion and war in Heaven took place. It occurred sometime between the creation of the Earth and the tempting of Eve (and Adam) in the Garden of Eden; It was Satan, in the form of a serpent (or snake), who tempted them and caused them to sin 3.

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.
5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:1-24

Because of this, Satan is sometimes called (or referred to as) a snake, serpent or dragon (as in the quotes above from Revelation).

Did you also notice that God put a Cherubim (two or more angelic beings of the same original status as Satan) to protect the Garden of Eden?

So, from the first human, Satan has been trying to stop people following God; and he (and his followers) are still doing it today! In his first temptation, he used pride and greed - the same sins as he was guilty of when he rebelled against God.

Now Satan and his followers try 'every trick in the book' to stop people knowing God and Jesus; because they know that God has the total power and will ultimately have the victory!

Satan is called many other names in the Bible, all of which speak of his evil character now and what he tries to do 4.

9 The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.
Revelation 12:9-10

19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
1 John 5:19

He [Jesus] answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man.
38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,
39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Matthew 13:37-39

[Jesus said] You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
John 8:44

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

30 Jesus said... Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
John 12:31

[Jesus said] I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me,
John 14:30

[Jesus said] and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
John 16:11

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
2 Corinthians 4:4

So Satan is called:

  • a dragon;
  • someone who 'leads the world' astray';
  • the accuser;
  • the 'lord of filth';
  • a liar and the father of lies;
  • a roaring lion looking for someone to eat;
  • the 'prince of this world' and
  • the 'god of this age'.

Those last two might sound a bit strange, and even good; but this is not the case!

The 'prince of this world' means someone trying to rule with his own (bad) rules and ideas, but he's not the King – that's God!

The 'god of this age' (notice the small 'g') doesn't mean that Satan is a deity, just a leader of a group of things. The true God (capital G) is the real ruler of the whole universe!

So whatever he's called, Satan/the Devil sounds exceedingly unpleasant – and he is! He not only hates God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but also you and me and will try anything he can to stop us knowing how much God loves us.

He even tried to tempt Jesus, the Son of God, into following him 5!

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple.
6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
"'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.
9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Matthew 4:1-11

So Satan lost that battle and he (and his evil angelic followers) have also lost the overall battle for the universe. Satan thought he had won, when he (thought he'd) managed to get Jesus killed. But he was very wrong! Jesus came back to live and defeated the power of death (and Satan) forever!

Although Satan knows he's lost, he still tries to stop people knowing about God and Jesus. Satan also knows his final fate and destination – and it's not a pleasant one (for him and his followers at any rate!) 6.

1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
Revelation 20:1-3

(Jesus said) "Then he (God) will say to those on his left (meaning evil people and those who don't follow God), 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
Matthew 25:41

Demons/Evil Spirits

When Satan rebelled against God, the rebellion was not just Satan alone. Perhaps as many as a third of all the Angels (as we've seen above). Like Satan, they had free will and chose to leave God and follow Satan 7.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon (Satan) and his angels fought back.
Revelation 12:7

These rebellious (or 'fallen' angels) are known as demons, evil spirits or unclean spirits.

They now serve Satan and, like him, are evil and hate God and all people. They enjoy and want to cause pain, misery and suffering to people and many time in the Bible they are the cause of physical and mental illnesses 8.

22 Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.
23 All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"
Matthew 12:22-23

14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.
15 "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water.
16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him."
17 "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me."
18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Matthew 17:14-18

News about him [Jesus] spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.
Matthew 4:24

21 At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind.
Luke 7:21

1 When Jesus had called the Twelve (his closest followers) together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
2 and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
Luke 9:1-2

Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.
Acts 5:16

The Bible makes it very clear that not every illness (physical or mental) is caused by demons/evil spirits/unclean spirits.

However, I believe that demons can still 'posses' people today and do want to cause harm and damage in any way they can. I also believe that through the power of God, and in the name of Jesus people, can be healed and that the demons can be driven out. As above, we've seen that Jesus had total power over demons. In the Bible, demons knew who Jesus was. They still do and, as then, they are terrified of Jesus and what he can do to them!

Here are two examples from the Bible which show Jesus' power over evil spirits 9.

23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out,
24 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!"
25 "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!"
26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.
27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching--and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him."
28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.
Mark 1:22-28

1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.
2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him.
3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain.
4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him.
5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!"
8 For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"
9 Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many."
10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside.
12 The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them."
13 He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened.
15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.
16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man--and told about the pigs as well.
Mark 5:1-16

Demons are still very powerful and not to be played or messed around with! Many times in the Bible there are strong and serious warnings about contacting demons and getting involved with the occult.

(The word 'occult' comes from the Latin word 'occultus' which means things that are mysterious, hidden and very secretive. Occult practices include astrology, fortune telling, using ouija boards, spirit channeling, and witchcraft.) 10

10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
Deuteronomy 18:10-11

“Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.”
Leviticus 19:31

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21

[God speaking through one of his prophets] 5 "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.
Malachi 3:5

15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Revelation 22:15

[God speaking 'sarcastically' through one of his prophets]
12 "Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror.
13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you.
14 Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.
15 That is all they can do for you--these you have labored with and trafficked with since childhood. Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.
Isaiah 47:12-15

Remember, demons were once God's Angels and so they can make themselves look attractive and claim to have more knowledge than they really do, but they only want to cause misery and chaos 11.

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
1 John 4:1-3

5 Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
6 Many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and will deceive many.
Mark 13:5-6

9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,
10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:8-10

1 The (Holy) Spirit (of God) clearly says that in later times (now!) some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
1 Timothy 4:1-2

43 "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
44 Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."
Matthew 12:43-45

14 They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
Revelation 16:14

4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.
5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.
Matthew 24:4-5

17 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.
18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.
19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
Romans 16:17-19

So there is a battle going on in the world, and it's far from just being a physical one 12.

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

But like their leader, Satan, the demons will lose and share the same fate as Satan 13.

6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
Jude 6

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
2 Peter 2:4

Nowhere in the Bible is Satan and his demons current physical appearance fully described. In this quote from Ezekiel, which describes what Satan originally looked like, being covered in jewels and gold 14.

12 ...'This is what the Sovereign LORD says:
"'You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 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.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
Ezekiel 28:11-19

Whether this is what he still looks like we don't know. What Satan and his demons now look like is not described in the Bible. But we are told that he (and his demons) can make themselves look very attractive, so they can try to trick and tempt people (remember Satan's original 'Angelic' name Lucifer means 'Light Bearer'). He certainly not described as being big and red with a tail and pitchfork 15!

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15

I not going to talk more about demon possession and/or the names of demons, as that is not what this site is about. The Bible (and Jesus) warns not to get involved with Satan and his demons! For more on the subject, please see the 'further reading' page.

This page might have seemed gloomy and even frightening; but remember God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit are their Angels are far more powerful than Satan and his demons and the love of God just can't be beaten 16!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39