I want to emphasize that Satan is not some inanimate evil force or power. He is a real person with all the traits of personality — feelings, emotions, will and intelligence.
He appeared to Jesus and tempted Him mightily in the Judean wilderness (Matthew 4:1-10). Jesus carried on a vigorous conversation with Satan. Jesus was not talking to a shadow or to Himself. Satan is never presented anywhere in the Scriptures as anything other than a supernatural spirit being — a person in every sense of the term.
The character of Satan is thoroughly despicable. He is the essence of evil. He is described in the Scriptures as "a murderer" and "the father of lies" (John 8:44). The New International Version puts it colorfully when it says that when Satan lies, "he speaks his native language" (John 8:44).
Satan's basic nature is perhaps best summarized in some of the names that are given him in the Bible:
- Accuser (Zechariah 3:1 and Revelation 12:10)
- Adversary (Job 1:6 and 1 Peter 5:8) This is the Hebrew meaning of Satan.
- Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24, 27) Meaning either "Lord of the flies" or "Lord of dung."
- Belial (2 Corinthians 6:15) Meaning worthless or hopeless ruin.
- Deceiver (Revelation 12:9)
- Destroyer (Revelation 9:11) Apollyon in Greek or Abaddon in Hebrew.
- Devil (1 John 3:8) From the Greek word, diabolos, which means slanderer or defamer.
- Dragon (Revelation 12:3-17)
- Enemy (Matthew 13:39)
- Evil One (John 17:15)
- God of This World (2 Corinthians 4:4)
- Prince of This World (John 12:31)
- Roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8)
- Ruler of Darkness (Ephesians 6:12)
- Serpent (Genesis 3:1 and Revelation 12:9)
- Tempter (Matthew 4:3)
- Thief (John 10:10)
- Wicked One (Ephesians 6:16)
In the next segment of this "Satan's Story" series, we'll look at what the Bible says concerning Satan's domain over the earth.