What Does the Bible Teach About Satan And Why Does the Culture Depict Him So Wrongly?

“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” -2 Cor. 11:14

This short verse alone is antithetical to how the culture envisions Satan. The culture dresses that old serpent, the devil, as a scary gargoyle with horns coming out of his forehead. The world caricatures him as this red creature with a pitchfork and infamous smile.

Is this really what Satan looks like? Are these accurate depictions of the Father of lies?

In several verses, Satan is talked about as an angel of light (Gal. 1:8; Eph. 6:2; Jude 1:6). The most notable and descriptive passage discussing Satan, also known as the angel Lucifer, comes from Ezekiel 28.

Keep in mind, while the king of Tyre is mentioned, the context makes it clear Satan is the anti-type. He is the foreshadowing of an even greater evil king. He was the “seal of perfection” living in the “mountains of God,” was present in the garden of Eden, and the guardian cherub for the angelic world.

Let’s see what this passage says in more detail and how it directly contradicts the culture’s view of Satan.

“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. Every kind of precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald. Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold, prepared on the day of your creation. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for I had ordained you. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones. From the day you were created you were blameless in your ways–until wickedness was found in you. By the vastness of your trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mountain of God, and I banished you, O guardian Cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart grew proud of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor; so I cast you to earth; I made you a spectacle before kings.” -Ezek. 28:12-17

First, this passage states that Satan was the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Those attributes are very different from how the culture views Satan. They think of him as ugly, dark, and unremarkable. This is absolutely true on the inside. He is the epitome of evil.

However, the Bible still says Satan is extremely intelligent and perfect in beauty. This is why the devil has deceived so many people in this world today. He knows how to grab our attention and tempt us to oppose the living God.

For there are many on the broad way that leads to destruction because Satan appeals to our carnal desires (Matt. 7:13). There are many tempted to heed to Satan’s advice rather than our Creator because of this very fact.

Scripture even exclaims that if the Lord doesn’t shorten the last days, the elect will be deceived by false miracles and wonders from the crafty serpent (Matt. 24:24).

Think about this. When Satan tempted Eve in the garden, he made it seem like God was trying to hide something good. He told Eve that the moment she eats of that tree, her eyes will be opened and she will be like God, knowing both good and evil.

Eve just spent time talking with God in person. She has a strong relationship with God. Before this encounter, she had no knowledge of sin and no fractured relationship.

Even with this advantage, she is still deceived by the devil and decides to eat. If Eve can be deceived, how much more can we, living in a broken and sinful world?

That’s why it’s absolutely essential to allow the Holy Spirit to guide your every move. Scripture says that no temptation is inescapable (2 Cor. 11:14). When we call on the name of the Lord, He will save us and protect us (Rom. 10:13).

From the passage in Ezekiel, we can understand that Satan is full of wisdom and beauty. Then it says he was anointed as the cherub. What does this mean exactly?

I believe when the devil was Lucifer, he had been given power and authority within the angelic realm. He was anointed by God to lead in this endeavor. He was considered blameless until iniquity was found within him.

In my opinion, I think Satan was jealous of God. He enjoyed being esteemed a little too much. Consequently, he fell from his lofty place and was brought low. God cast him out of heaven as an abominable branch (Isaiah. 14:19) and he currently roams from place to place on this earth, seeking whom to devour (1 Pet. 5:8).

This passage informs us that Satan had great power and then was cast out of heaven. I think most cultures do understand this idea. However, they think the devil is in some fiery dungeon. This is not true. He is roaming around on the Earth and tempting people to disobey the Lord Jesus Christ. He tempts us with greed, lust, false doctrine, and anything else that would oppose the living God.

Moreover, the culture thinks Satan has more power than he actually does. The devil is on a leash, according to Scripture. For instance, in the book of Job, Satan shows up before God. He asks God what he can and can’t do to make Job’s life miserable. God tells Satan the following:

“But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” So the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” -Job 1:11-12

God is still in command. He is the one in ultimate control, and the serpent knows this. In fact, all the fallen angels who rebelled against God know this. Do you remember the time when Jesus traveled to Gadarenes and confronted a demon-possessed man coming from the tombs?

They said to the Lord: “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time (Matt. 8:29)?” This verse suggests God is in control and will ultimately be the vindicator for those angels who disobeyed.

I think it’s important not to overemphasize or underemphasize the power of Satan. Apart from God, He is more powerful than us. Without the Holy Spirit, Satan will ultimately deceive us. When we neglect the fruit of the spirit, the enemy will surely bring us down with him.

Have you heard this adage before? “The Bible will either keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the Bible?” I love this statement because it’s so true. We are wholly dependent on God’s word. The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). When we meditate on His commandments, safety and comfort will be within our midst. If we neglect His word, danger is on the horizon.

God is more powerful than what the culture thinks too. Satan is not some cosmic dualistic force that may or may not win in the end. He is infinitely less than the Sovereign God of this universe. The devil is a finite creature and completely dependent upon God’s volition. He is not the one with power in Hell. The serpent will be cast into the lake of fire just like everybody else who chooses to disobey God’s righteous decrees.

In conclusion, it’s clear that the culture has a mischaracterization of Satan. He is not a gargoyle looking creature but an angel of light. He is not unintelligent but full of wisdom and beauty. However, he does not have as much power as the culture believes. He is limited and God is infinitely greater than Lucifer.

This is why you can be confident and fearless in the Lord. There is no reason to be afraid of Satan. God has already defeated him. On the cross, Jesus bled and died for your sins. When you confess your sins, God is faithful and just to forgive you of all of your sins and cleanse you from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

The enemy of your soul has no power over the Holy Spirit. Trust in the Lord, and the devil will flee. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will surely be saved. Call on Him, and He will protect you from the fiery darts of the devil. Meditate on this lovely verse:

“I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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 (Rom. 8:39).”

Do you believe this truth? I hope so. Let’s pray!

Dear Heavenly Father,

You are in complete control. The devil and fallen angels have no power over you. When we put our trust and faith in you, there is nothing else to fear. Your perfect love casts away all fear. Lord, instill within us this confidence. Remind us daily of your protection and grace. For we need it as we journey through this treacherous land. May we praise you from this day forward and forevermore. Amen.

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