Satan is a horrible creature. He is repulsive to look at, horns, tail, pitchfork etc. This is the picture of Satan that we are most familiar with. If we actually look into what the Bible says about him, we see that nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact this is a very dangerous misrepresentation. In Ezekiel 28:12-19 we have a true picture of Satan. “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty . . . You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you . . . you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created.”
This sounds nothing like the typical image of Satan that many people have. He was in fact an anointed cherub. He sat in heaven, a being of the highest rank and exalted position. Created by God as the “seal of perfection.”
But Satan turned his eyes away from his Creator and began to admire the creation; himself. “You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor.” (Ezekiel 28:17) He became proud and exalted himself; a desire to rule was born in him. He wished to put himself in God’s place. He whispered lies until he had a third of the hosts of heaven on his side.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’” Isaiah 14:12-15.
The problem began with this “I will”. Satan turned from hearing God’s voice and began to seek his own will. To put another will over God’s is to say that His will is not perfect. When Satan said, “I will”, sin began. God calls Himself by name, saying, “I AM.” (Exodus 3:14) He does not give this name to anyone else. The one who wants to be something in himself is therefore in conflict with God, and is expelled.
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9.
Satan as the ruler of this world
So Satan was cast out of heaven, and now God’s absolute goodness, wisdom, and love must never be brought into question again. It must be proved that God’s will is the only good and perfect way. So Satan received dominion over this world, and his purpose is to set himself as the god of this earth. The world is not under the direct control of God, but of Satan, who received practically a free hand to do as he pleases. Jesus calls Satan, “the ruler of this world.” John 12:31. The Apostle Paul calls him “the god of this age.” 2 Corinthians 4:4. This is God’s plan to provide full proof of the deceitfulness of sin. It must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that Satan’s way will only lead to death and destruction.
Most of the world is not aware of the fact that they are “under the sway of the wicked one.” 1 John 5:19. He uses their inherent pride to occupy them with themselves and their greatness, and this has affected every aspect of humanity. His goal is for mankind to be so sure of their human abilities that it precludes all need for God. He is not interested in making the world evil, only in bringing everyone under his sway. He still whispers his lies into every ear, sowing pride and doubt, just as he did while he was in heaven.
Opponents of Satan
Yet, God keeps stretching out His hand and preventing Satan from carrying out his plans completely. He sent Jesus to open up another way for mankind to follow. Throughout the earth there are those who have given up their own will to follow their Saviour and who believe in God’s perfect will. Together these faithful souls form the Church of God. This group is the thorn in Satan’s side. He works to bring doubt, pride, division, or whatever he can to turn people’s hearts from God.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. He is searching furiously, he wants complete control over this earth, and he will attack wherever he can to bring his plan to fruition. But for all those with a heart for God, it is possible to resist him.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might … Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-17.
Because of this power that is available, there are those throughout the world who stand against Satan’s deceit, overcome sin, and shine as a light in this dark and evil world. These are the ones who are proving by their faithfulness that God’s way is perfect, while the rest of mankind proves that Satan’s way, this proud “I will”, only leads to destruction. When this world has passed away, it will be God’s will that stands for all eternity. Satan, the great deceiver, will finally be thrown into the lake of fire for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)