Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: dispensational | Seminary: none

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Who is Satan?

2. What do the terms "devil" and "Satan" mean? Consult a Bible dictionary!

In all cases where the term "devil" is found, it is preceded by the article "the," which indicates that the term is a title rather than a name. "Devil" is translated from the Greek term "diabolos," which means "false accuser" or "slanderer." "Satan" is the personal name of the devil, which, translated from its Hebrew term, means "adversary."

3. What was Satan originally and how did he become the devil? Study Ezekiel 28:1-19.

The origin of Satan is not explicitly explained in the Bible; instead, it is found in the writings of the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel who is declaring God’s judgment to the Gentile nation of Tyre.

In contrast to his prior two prophecies directed at the Phoenician city-state of Tyre, Ezekiel’s third prophecy is directed specifically at the "leader of Tyre," and the prophetic language in verses 1-10 appropriately applies to a human being.

However in verse 11, Ezekiel uses the term "king of Tyre," which is uncharacteristic of Ezekiel’s writings. The title "king" was rarely used, even as a designation for any of Israel’s kings, except on one occasion, King Jehoichin. Thus the use of this term heralded a change in the subject matter. While verses 1-10 confront a human being who claims to be a god, verses 11-19 confront a king who has qualities beyond a human being. In consideration of historical and cultural influences of the time, the best interpretation of this passage was that Ezekiel was addressing Satan who was behind the power of the "ruler of Tyre." And while the ruler of Tyre was motivated by and being judged for his sin of pride, so was the "king of Tyre."

From Ezek 28:11-19, the following aspects of Satan can be seen:

1) God created Satan with perfection: full of wisdom and beauty. (v. 12)

2) Satan enjoyed the privilege of being in the Garden of Eden and was adorned with precious stones. (v. 13)

3) Satan was the "anointed cherub," which is a singular term that infers a position or rank of significance. He covered the glory of God, was in God’s presence, and had free access to God’s abode. (v.14)

4) Satan was created sinless, like all angels, and remained so until he sinned. (v. 15)

5) As the consequence of his sin, Satan lost his position as God’s anointed cherub, cast from God’s abode, and judged. (v. 16)

6) Satan’s sin was pride in his beauty; he was blind to the fact that his being and beauty was a consequence of God’s creation.

4. When was Satan created?

Satan was created on the first day of Creation but fell from heaven sometime before the temptation of Eve.

Satan works to create hostility between man and God. On one side, Satan lies and deceives human beings about the nature and character of God for the purpose of alienating man from God. On the other, Satan tempts human beings and accuses them before God for the purpose of alienating God from man. Satan's primary goal is to prevent any reconciliation between human beings and God.

Return to Systematic Study: Angelology

Who is Satan?

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Topical Index: Angels>Evil (fallen)

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