Satan means "the adversary" in Hebrew and has come to be used as the proper name of the angelic being who tries to destroy people because of his hatred of God.
The Bible gives few facts about Satan, probably because the Bible's chief topics are God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. In both Isaiah and Ezekiel, passages refer to the fall of the "morning star," translated as Lucifer, but interpretations vary as to whether those passages refer to the king of Babylon or to Satan.
Over the centuries, the assumption has been that Satan is a fallen angel who rebelled against God. The demons mentioned throughout the Bible are evil spirits ruled by Satan (Matthew 12:24-27). Many scholars conclude these beings are also fallen angels, lured away from heaven by the devil. Throughout the gospels, demons not only knew Jesus Christ's true identity, but cowered before his authority as God. Jesus frequently exorcised, or cast demons out of people.
Satan first appears in Genesis 3 as a serpent tempting Eve to sin, although the name Satan is not used. In the book of Job, Satan afflicts the righteous man Job with several calamities, trying to turn him away from God. Another noted act of Satan occurs in the Temptation of Christ, recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13. Satan also tempted the Apostle Peter to deny Christ and entered into Judas Iscariot.
Satan's most powerful tool is deceit. Jesus said of Satan:
"You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44, NIV)
Christ, on the other hand, embodies the Truth and called himself "the way and the truth and the life." (John 14:6, NIV)
Satan's greatest advantage is that many people do not believe he exists. Over the centuries he has been portrayed so often as a caricature with horns, a spiked tail and a pitchfork that millions consider him a myth. However, Jesus took him very seriously. Today, Satan continues to use demons to cause havoc and destruction in the world and sometimes employs human agents. His power is not equal to God's, however. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, Satan's ultimate destruction is assured.
Satan's Accomplishments:Satan's "accomplishments" are all evil deeds. He caused the fall of humanity in the Garden of Eden. In addition, he played a role in Christ's betrayal, yet Jesus was in complete control of events surrounding his death.
Satan's Strengths:Satan is cunning, intelligent, powerful, resourceful, and perseverant.
Satan's Weaknesses:He is evil, wicked, proud, cruel, cowardly, and selfish.
Life Lessons:As the master deceiver, Satan attacks Christians with lies and doubts. Our protection comes from the Holy Spirit, who lives inside each believer, as well as the Bible, the reliable source of truth. The Holy Spirit stands ready to help us fight temptation. Despite Satan's lies, every believer can trust that their future is secure in heaven through God's plan of salvation.
Hometown:Satan was created by God as an angel, fell from heaven and was cast into hell. He roams the earth, warring against God and his people.
Referenced in the Bible:Satan is mentioned by name more than 50 times in the Bible, along with countless references to the devil.
Occupation:Enemy of God and mankind.
Also Known As:Apollyon, Beelzebub, Belial, Dragon, Enemy, Power of darkness, Prince of this world, Serpent, Tempter, god of this world, Wicked One.
Family Tree:Creator - God
Followers - Demons
Key Verses:Matthew 4:10
Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' " (NIV)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (NIV)
The great dragon was hurled down-that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (NIV)
Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.