What are the attributes of Satan?
Editor’s Note: The following teachings show that Satan is “an angelic personality with tremendous power”, “god of this world”, the “Master Counterfeiter” that can appear as the “angel of light”. He is “a liar, and the father of it”. He controls “demons and evil spirits”, and “his (Satan’s) ministers are also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness”. (That is, Satan’s ministers can appear as ministers of God). “We know he has the power of the universe at his disposal with only the sovereign power of God to control him!”
Satan, Paul tells us, can transform himself into an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14).
Don’t just delegate Satan to some little monkey in a funny red suit with a tail and horns and a pitchfork! That is not the Biblical picture of Satan. He is an angelic personality with tremendous power. The Apostle Paul tells us that Satan can transform himself into an “Angel of Light.” We know he has the power of the universe at his disposal with only the sovereign power of God to control him! So this Cainitic civilization is going to be driven by the powers of Satan and not by the powers of God.
“And God blessed them, and said unto them (that is Adam and Eve, although Eve hasn’t been created, she is still in Adam. So He is addressing them both.), `Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have (what?) dominion…'”
In other words Adam was to have rule over the whole creation under God. He had total dominion. He was going to be literally God’s second in command. When Adam sinned, what happened to that role as having dominion? He lost it. He dropped the ball. Who picked it up? Satan did. From that time on Scripture makes it so abundantly clear, who is the god of this world tonight? Satan is. Another Scripture says, “The world lieth in the lap of the wicked one.” Satan is the god of this world. Everything that mankind accomplishes, whether it’s good, beautiful, ugly, or bad, who has prompted it? Satan has. God is not in the business of a material world. And so the world is truly in the lap of that wicked one. Satan has total dominion. Let me show you another good example. Go to Matthew Chapter 4 if you doubt me. Here we have the temptation. And Satan is trying every ploy, trying to get Jesus to bow down to him.
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, ‘All these things will give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.’ Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.'”
This was the time of the Roman Empire, an empire that governed everything from the British Isles on the north and west to the Ganges River in India on the East. In essence, Satan says “Everything you can see or think of as far as material possessions are concerned can be yours, Jesus, if you’ll just fall down and worship me. I’ll give them all to you.” Remember, Scripture teaches that Satan is the God of this World, and this passage really confirms it. If these kingdoms had not been his to give, this would not have been a temptation to Jesus for He would have known that. But at that time they did belong to Satan – he just didn’t know that Jesus would possess all of them, not by bowing down to him then, but later, by right of conquest, after completing His work on the Cross and defeating him totally at the resurrection. Satan didn’t know that one day Jesus will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Even though Cain had turned his back on God and was out of the presence of God, he did have a motivating power. When Cain pushed God out of his life, the power of Satan entered in. You can’t create a vacuum. There is no such thing as having absolutely no spiritual influence in one’s life. If God is pushed out, Satan is going to come in! Just because we speak of Satan as being evil, and representative of wickedness, he doesn’t always do awful things. He is very well qualified to promote good, even beautiful things in order to accomplish his purpose. When Paul said that Satan could transform himself into an angel of light, Paul was explaining that Satan is the “Master Counterfeiter!” He is a counterfeit of God at every opportunity. If he can make something look like an original, he’ll do it.
When the U.S. government hires people to work in the Treasury Department, particularly in the area of counterfeit, they don’t show them lots of counterfeit bills. Instead, for six months those people study nothing but legitimate American currency. The idea is that if they know meticulously how the original looks, when they see something that is counterfeit, they’ll recognize it immediately. That’s what we as believers must do with the Scriptures – be so profound in our knowledge of the Scriptures that when the cults come along, or when people come to our doors with something less than the truth, we’ll recognize it immediately as a counterfeit. Because Satan, the “master counterfeiter” is so capable of making his fake look like the original, we must know the genuine article so we can recognize the difference.
“…for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
All the Law can show mankind is their sinfulness, not their salvation. Isn’t it amazing how Satan can totally counterfeit the issue? Now today, Satan has convinced millions, probably billions, that if they do the best they can, if they keep the Law, at least as much as possible, somehow they’ll make it. They’ve got that idea and it’s just stuck in their craw and they refuse to see what the Book says. The Book says they’re never going to make it. Because by the keeping of the Law, is no flesh justified. But we have to experience that price of redemption, which is by having our faith in that shed Blood of Calvary.
“…for he (Satan) is a liar, and the father of it.” Now let’s see what Satan says to the woman. Turn with me to Genesis 3 and verse 4 and following.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5. For God doth know (doesn’t that sound like the false teachers of today using the Scriptures? Oh they give credit to the Holy Spirit, and make it sounds so official, but it’s just as much the power of Satan as this was. So Satan can say) that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, (small “g” of course) knowing good and evil.” Now is that what God had said? Come back to chapter 2 again for a moment, we’ve got to compare Scripture with Scripture. God is speaking.
“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:…”
See that’s exactly what God called that tree. Do you see how meticulous Satan can be when he gets ready to deceive somebody? Oh he didn’t goof it up, but rather Satan said it to Eve just exactly the way God said it. Now coming back to chapter 3 and verse 5
“This persuasion (to come away from Paul’s Gospel of Grace) cometh not of him that calleth you.”
Who called them? The Holy Sprit of God. Well if the Holy Spirit did not lead them away then what spirit did? The evil spirit. Remember we’ve only got two spirits in the world. It’s either of the Holy Spirit or of the satanic evil spirit. Let’s go back to John’s little epistles. I don’t like to say anything unless I can show it from the Book. Go back to I John Chapter 4, and this is what the world is up against tonight just as much as when Paul wrote to the Galatians. The human race hasn’t changed one iota, not one bit.
I John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” And then you come on down to verse 3.
I John 4:3
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of anti-christ, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
So what are we up against? The two spirits. It’s either of the Holy Spirit or of the evil spirit. Now of course Satan has his demons, but nevertheless it’s going to originate in the satanic powers, and this is what the world is up against. I mean it’s up against everything that Satan can throw at them. You know I always remind people, don’t get the idea that all Satan can promote is what we call skid row behavior. Satan will promote the most beautiful things, Satan will promote that which we think is culture and enlightening as long as he can keep people from the truth. He doesn’t care what he uses as long as people fall for it. With Satan the end always justifies the means. Satan will use good things but it will be of the evil spirit rather than the Holy Spirit that is speaking.
“And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: (the Lord is in full control) and Aaron (with the Lord’s instructions) cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: (these are Satan emissaries) now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: (where are they getting their power? From Satan, and his evil spirits. Now here is the comforting part of this whole passage) but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.”
Which of course shows us that God was still supreme. But never fail to understand that the spirits of the Satanic powers are real, and numerous, and it’s up to us to determine which spirit are we dealing with. Now I’m comfortable with the fact that as believers, the satanic spirits cannot have any kind of control over us, because our Spirit power is sufficient to withstand all the powers of the evil one. But we have to understand that they are there, and we have to deal with them. In fact jumping ahead a little bit in Ephesians let’s look for a moment at chapter 6, and maybe this will make my point. This tells us that the satanic powers are out there.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Now the Scripture could just as well have said it the other way around.
“Put on the whole armour of God, so that you can stand for God.” But the Scriptures don’t say that. Instead it tells us to prepare for our adversary. Then go into verse 12, and here’s the reason we’re to put on that armour.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Do you see how plain that is? Now these are all spirit powers that you and I have to discern, “The only one we should be directed by is the One and only Spirit that has anything to do with us, which of course is the Holy Spirit.”
“Neither give place to the devil.”
In general terms how much print does Paul give to Satan? Very little. He’ll just make a statement about Satan here and there, and we’re going to look at a couple of them here in a bit. Turn with me to II Corinthians chapter 4, verse 3. Now these aren’t the only two instances, but this is the way it usually pops up. The reason I want to take time to do this is because we see so much lately of where the so called Christian community is being admonished to war against Satan. We have to fight against Satan, we have to do things against Satan, but Paul doesn’t teach that. Paul recognizes his power, but he doesn’t spend long verses at a time telling us how to fight a war against Satan.
Now we’ll see this a little bit in Ephesians chapter 6, but all he does is let’s us know that he’s there. Paul’s emphasis is not Satan, but rather is the Christ of glory. And when Christ rules our life, and when He’s in control, Satan can’t touch us, and we don’t have to worry all that much about fighting against Satan if we center on Christ and His work of the cross. And I think for this reason Paul doesn’t give a lot of ink to Satan.
II Corinthians 4:3-4
“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4. In whom (the lost of this world) the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Now for goodness sakes who’s the god of this world? Well Satan is. See how subtle Paul puts this in here? He could have just came right out and said, “Satan had done it.” But he doesn’t, but rather he gives him another term, “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” Now still in II Corinthians, turn over to chapter 11.
II Corinthians 11:13-14
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14. And no marvel; (don’t let this surprise you) for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Do you see that? Oh he’s the god of this world back here in the earlier verses, and keeps people blind from the truth, but many times he blinds people with his light. And it’s a counterfeit light, and people are so gullible and will say, “Oh that must be the work of the Spirit.” But you see it isn’t. but rather it’s the work of the evil spirit, it’s the work of Satan the counterfeit, the impostor, the deceitful individual. So keep these things in mind, “for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Now look at verse 15.
II Corinthians 11:15a
“Therefore (since Satan can do this, and we know he does) it is no great thing if his ministers also (human being that he’s using) be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;…”
That’s what they try to tell people that they’re the ministers of righteousness, but Paul tells us they’re emissaries of Satan. So what do we have to know? The truth from the false! And the only way we can do that is just keep our nose in the Book, and when we do that then the Holy Spirit will certainly do His part to be able to keep us discerning truth from error.