An unsaved person can be possessed by one or many "evil spirits"--as in the case of the man in Mark chapter 5 who had a legion in him. When Jesus cast them out of the man, He allowed them to go into 3,000 swine that ran into the sea and drowned. Satan is only one and can only be in one place at a time, but he has a multitude of "evil spirits" that do his bidding. After all, he took 1/3 of the angels with him when he was cast out of heaven.
A. Seven Old Testament books and every New Testament writer refer to Satan.
B. Jesus referred to Satan (Matt.13:39; Luke 10:18; 11:1
II. The Personality and Names of Satan
A. Personality – He has intellect (2 Cor.11:3), emotions (Rev.12:17) and will (2 Tim.2:26.
B. Names – He is called Satan, the Devil (slanderer), Lucifer (son of the morning), Beelzebub (Lord of the flies – Matt.12:24), and Belial (lawless – 2 Cor.6:15), the evil one (1 John 5:19), the tempter (1 Thess.3:5), the prince of this world (John 12:31), the god of this age (2 Cor.4:4), the prince of the power of the air (Eph.2:2), the accuser of the brethren (Rev.12:10), and angel of light (false light – 2 Cor.11:14), a serpent (Rev.12:9), and a dragon (Rev.12:3).
III. The Nature of Satan
A. He is a created angelic being. He was created as part of the angelic realm (Eph.6:11,12; Ezek.24:1
and was the highest in rank of them all (Ezek.28:12-14).
B. He is an enemy of righteousness. He is a murderer (John 8:44), a liar (John 8:44), and accuser (Rev.12:10) and our adversary (1 Pet.5:
C. He is a limited creature. He is limited by God (Job.1:12). He is not God’s equal (1 John 4:4). He is not omniscient, omnipotent or infinite in any way. Believers with God’s help can resist him (James 4:7).
IV. The Fall of Satan
Key Passages – Ezekiel 28; Isaiah 14
A. Ezekiel 28:11-19 is a prophetic lamentation over the “King of Tyre” who is described in language that fits Satan’s fall and not a mere human king. Satan is distinguished form the human ruler of Tyre in 28:2 (“prince/ruler”) and called a “king” in 28:12 (Not even Israel’s rulers were called “King”). Though Tyre had a human “ruler”, Satan was the real “King” behind that wicked kingdom.
B. His attributes – Moral perfection (v.12) Sinless at his creation until his fall (v.15)
C. His appearance – Perfect in beauty (v.12b,13)
1. His privileges – Free access to the garden of Eden (v.12) and to God’s holy mountain (= God’s presence – v.14)
2. His rank – “Cherub” (vs.14,16)
3. His judgment –
a. Cast out of the mountain of God (v.16, cf. Rev12:4)
b. Cast to the ground (v.17)
c. Consumed by fire (v.18, cf. Rev.20:10)
D. Isaiah 14:12-15 also seems to describe Satan’s fall. Satan is manifest here by the king of Babylon. As in Ezekiel 28, Satan is pictured here as the real “king” behind the wicked human kingdom of Babylon.
1. The imagery of a “star” and “falling from heaven” (v.12) suggests a supernatural fulfillment. “Stars” (v.12,13) are symbolic of the angelic realm elsewhere (Job 38:6,7; Rev.12:4).
2. The five “I will’s” of vss. 13 & 14 are literally true of Satan and only metaphorically true of Babylon’s king. This ultimate form of pride (“I will be like the Most High” – v.14) fits the New Testament description of Satan’s fall 1 Tim.3:6.
V. The Activity of Satan
Satan is seeking to oppose God’s plan by promoting evil in every way possible.
A. Indirect Activity – He works indirectly through the world (in which he has great freedom and power – John 12:31; 1 John 5:19) and the flesh (Gal.5:19-21). The world, the flesh and the devil are not three separate enemies of the Christian. Rather Satan works through the evil world system (1 John 2:13-15) to exploit the fleshly nature that still wars within us (Rom.7:18; Gal.5:19-21).
B. Direct Activity – He works directly by deception, temptation, attack and possession.
1. In Christ’s ministry
a. He tempted Christ (Matt.4:1-11).
b. He attempted to thwart Christ’s work (John 8:44; Matt.16:23; Luke 22:31).
c. He possessed Judas to accomplish the betrayal (John 13:27).
2. In unbelievers
a. He blinds their minds to hinder their understanding of the gospel (2 Cor.4:4).
b. When the gospel is heard or understood, he tries to hinder its effect (Luke 8:12).
c. He uses persecution (Rev.2:10) and false religions (Rev.2:13) to hinder the effect of the gospel.
3. In believers
a. He tempts believers (to pride – 1 Chron.21:1-8; to materialism – John 2:15; James 5:1-7; to immorality – 1 Cor.7:5; to lie – Acts 5:3; to discouragement – 1 Pet.5:6-10; to be unforgiving – 2 Cor.2:10,11 etc.).
b. He hinders the ministries of believers (1 Thess.2:18; Rev.2:10).
c. He promotes false teaching among believers (1 John 4:1-4).
d. He promotes anger, bitterness and division (Eph.4:26,27; 2 Cor.2:5-11). Note: See the supplement – “Satanic Activity and Spiritual Warfare” for more information on how Satan and his demons work and how we must respond.