He has been called by many names: Satan, the Devil, Lucifer, Lord of Darkness, Prince of the Power of the Air, Prince of this World, the Thief, the Serpent, the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition, and etc.
Let’s find out who he is by discussing who he was and who he will become.
What He Was:
Lucifer (hêylêl / hay-lale’)
Light-bearer, shining one, morning star, Lucifer, of the king of Babylon and Satan (figuratively)
Lucifer, before his fall from heaven, was said to be perhaps the most beautiful and powerful creature in all of creation. Ezekiel 28:13-19 tells of an angel, specifically an “anointed cherub,” which is assumed to be Lucifer. This angel has “every precious stone” as his covering including diamond, onyx, jasper, and sapphire; he also was fashioned with gold. He was created with skill for tambourines and pipes which makes many people imagine that he was the director of music and worship in heaven. Verse 15 states that he was perfect in his ways until sinfulness found him.
What Else Might He Have Looked Like?
To gain a bit more of an idea of what Lucifer may have looked like while he was still in heaven we might assume that he looked something like the other cherubs described in the Bible.
Cherubs could be up to eighteen feet tall (1 Kings 6:23-28), have eight foot long wings (Exodus 25:20), they could have six wings or possibly four wings with hands underneath (Ezekiel 10:8 and Revelation 4:6-8), and it’s said that they have eyes all over their body (Ezekiel 10:12).
One of the most interesting features of angels which might be attributed to cherubs is their heads, all four of them. There are two accounts of angels with multiple heads that vary slightly. One states that they have the heads of a Cherub, a Man, a Lion, and an Eagle and the other says that they have the heads of a Lion, an Ox, a Man, and an Eagle (Ezekiel 10:14 and Revelation 4:6-8)
These descriptions are not of the Devil himself, but of what a Cherub might look like, and Satan was only possibly described as a Cherub. Also, no angel was ever seen in this form on earth, but only in visions of heaven. Any time an angel was seen in the Bible the angel took the form of a man.
Something else interesting to think about is the Devil has also appeared as a serpent (Genesis 3:1) and it is said that he can transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). I know it sounds a bit Sci-fi for me to say that the Devil’s a shape-shifter, but Biblical evidence suggests that while on this plane of existence, spiritual beings (such as Satan) may be able to appear as they wish to be seen.
Verses 16 through 19 of Ezekiel 28 tells of Lucifer’s fall to become Satan, or the Devil, and what sin it was which he found himself in. God says of him via Ezekiel, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty” and that his wisdom was corrupted by his brightness. Basically, he let pride get the best of him and thought he was better than God. Due to this corruption and a multitude of iniquities God condemns him to fire and destruction.
The last verse I mentioned in this passage underlines how horrific Satan has become due to his sin. It would be astoundingly tragic to go from being the most beautiful creature in all of creation to being the epitome of evil and a true terror. The Devil has become the undiluted example of evil and sinfulness. He is to embody and endure the punishment of those crimes for all eternity.
“All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.” – Ezekiel 28:19
What He Is:
From the first generation of mankind to today the Devil has pitted himself against humanity and has set himself up as our ultimate enemy.
The Bible names him as the tempter (Matthew 4:3), the thief (John 10:10), the deceiver (2 Corinthians 11:3), and the accuser of the Brethren (Revelations 12:10). He is our adversary as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is also the father of lies (John 8:44).
He no doubt has power, but it is minuscule compared to God’s power. Several times people say that the Devil is God’s opposite, but that could not be true because it suggests that Satan is God’s equal opposite. God is un-created, having always existed, and is omnipotent having all power so being capable of doing all things. The Devil is a created creature and does not have omnipotence. The devil can do some things, but his power is finite where God’s power is infinite.
For an example of this you could read Exodus chapters 7 and 8 where Moses came to Pharaoh after requesting that the people of God be released bringing signs, wonders, and plagues upon Egypt. The magicians of Pharaoh, with the power of the Devil, did replicate some of the supernatural things which Moses did through the power of God. However, they could only do so much before they had to back off and tell Pharaoh that they were in over their heads and were really dealing with God.
“Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: …” – Exodus 8:19
The Devil and his imps are spirits as God the angels are spirits. Although the Devil is a spirit, there is no scripture in the Bible which suggests he is omnipresent, existing everywhere at all times. God is an omnipresent spirit (Jeremiah 23:23 – 24) which means He can be anywhere at anytime, and multiple places at the same time.
The one “Satan” or “Devil” who was once known as “Lucifer,” though he is a spirit, can only be in one place at a time. If someone is really dealing with a demonic force it’s likely not him.
What He Will Be:
“When Satan comes to remind me about my past, I remind him about his future.” – Unknown
I usually dislike quotes which are cited “unknown,” but I like the saying so much that I can’t help it coming to mind when I think of the turmoil caused by the Devil. I did a bit of research to try to find where this saying originated, but the closest I found was a charismatic 90’s song by the Christian Singer Carman (Revival In The Land). His lyrics were somewhat different, and he may have been just quoting a common phrase. I’m unsure.
Many people imagine Satan as the king of Hell. They might imagine him sitting on a throne, overseeing various tortures, and governing his imps. However, this is simply unbiblical. We may speak of Hell as a metaphorical kingdom, but we must understand that the Devil hasn’t been given power over it for it is primarily his prison. It’s commonly assumed that Hell was created for us humans who disobeyed God, but that may not have originally been the case. Hell was originally designed to imprison other occupants.
” … Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” – Matthew 25:41
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” – Revelations 20:10
” … the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” – 1 John 3:8
We have been given many promises in scripture which are to be inspirations to us while we go through trying times of life. There is hope laced throughout scripture of an end which is much more than worth the means required to get us there. The Devil is destined to be a loser as it has been prophesied in the Word of God repeatedly.
Also, if you were to read the back of the Book, an action I wouldn’t suggest with any other title other than the Bible, you would find out that we win.
“The God of peace will quickly crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” – Romans 16:20 (NET)
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” – Isaiah 14:12 – 15