ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia
Meaning: adversary; accuser
When used as a proper name, the Hebrew word translated as “Satan” has the article “the adversary” (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7). In the New Testament it is used as interchangeable with Diabolos, or the devil, and is so used more than 30 times.
He is also called “the tempter” (Matthew 4:3), “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), “the prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30), “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2), and “the old serpent” (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). The distinct personality of Satan and his activity among men are thus obviously recognized. He is “Beelzebub, the prince of the devils” (12:24). He is “the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom, of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood and all malice, and exciting and seducing to evil in every possible way.”
His power is very great in the world, but its extent is limited by God. For example, Satan has the “power of death,” not as lord, but simply as executioner. Christ redeems his people from “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).
Filled with hate, Satan is like a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Men are said to be “taken captive by him” (2 Tim. 2:26). Christians are warned against his “devices” (schemes) (2 Corinthians 2:11), and called on to “resist” him (James 4:7).
Satan and his demons will be chained during the most of the Millennial period (1,000 year physical kingdom of God on this Earth), and then loosed for a little while (Revelation 20:2-3). God’s Word tells us that, at the proper time (the end of the coming Millennium), Satan and all evil will ultimately be defeated. The Devil and his demons, and all humans that reject God, will ultimately be cast into the “lake of fire,” “the bottomless pit” of Hell, where they will be eternally trapped—eternally separated the unimaginably great blessing of eternal life with God.
His Origin and Fall
The angel that came to be called Satan was created by God, as were all the angels and Adam. Sin apparently began in Heaven with the rebellion of this prominent and proud being, and it spread to many other angelic beings. It is deduced that this happened soon after the Creation of Earth and Adam, and before the conception of Cain and his younger brother Abel. As a result, Satan and his rebels were cast out to Earth. The Son of God watched “Satan fall from heaven like lightning” (Luke 10:18 NASB).
Satan’s temptation and deception of Eve, led to the sin of Adam. This Great Fall from innocence to evil set consequences in motion that man and all creation groan under, to this day (Romans 8:22)—human depravity, God’s curse, death and corruption. Adam immediately died spiritually, and his body began to inevitably die. Because God is omniscient and omnipotent, He could have blocked these events from ever taking place. However, His permitting them in no way makes God the author of sin. It is unknown to us why God allowed these events, however, believers trust (by faith) in His supreme wisdom and love, that this specific course was necessary and serves an eternally good and important purpose that brings great glory to God.