Is he the guy with an unmatchable beautiful voice coupled with amazing looks or is he the horned person with blood running from his facial crevices as popular culture portrays him? Where does he live? How powerful is he and what is his relationship with the owner of creation? These are some of the questions BRIGHT MHANGO grapples with in this article on Satan.
Satan is the leader of fallen angels and an adversary to God, particularly in Abrahamic religions; that is, religions that trace their origins to Abraham.
These religions are Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
The original Hebrew term, Satan, is a noun from a verb meaning primarily to “obstruct, oppose,” as it is found in Numbers 22:22, 1 Samuel 29:4 and Revelations 12.
He has many names. In Islam, they term him Shaitan, and the word some Malawians use to call Satan, Jabulosi, is actually a misrepresentation of the Greek work Diabolos which has evolved to become what modern English calls Devil.
Other terms identified with Satan include “the prince of this world” in the book of John 12:31, 14:30; “the prince of the power of the air,” also called Meririm, and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” in the book of Ephesians 2:2; and “the god of this world” in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
Satan is portrayed in many forms. Islam referred to him once as a bright angel when he came to incite Adam and Eve to rebel against God. Christianity knows him mainly as a serpent: It is a serpent that made Adam and Eve munch on the forbidden fruit and it was back in the New Testament when it came to tempt Jesus Christ.
For most Christians, he is believed to be an angel who rebelled against Godâ€”and also the one who spoke through the serpent and seduced Eve into disobeying Godâ€™s command. His ultimate goal is to lead people away from the love of Godâ€”to lead them to fallacies which God opposes.
Rich Deem, blogging at godandscience.org, says Satan is not what you are visualising right now.
“No, Satan does not look like the cartoon character in the red suit with a tail and horns and a pitchfork. Contrary to the beliefs of some Christians, Barak Obama is not Satan. Angels, including Satan, donâ€™t have male or female characteristics in their heavenly state (which Jesus told us through His teaching).
“However, when they come to earth, they can take on human form. In the Bible, all angels who take on human form appear as males. All biblical references address Satan by the personal pronoun â€˜he,â€™” writes Deem.
Take Job 1 verse 6 which reads: “One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord: “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
So, actually, Satan meets God and they operate on a talking basis?
Yes, some scholars believe that Satan is a member of the Divine Council, also known as the sons of God. Here, Satan is taken as the prosecutor who is used by God to go and tempt people and report back to God on those that go against Godâ€™s will.
Due to the job that Satan pulled on Job, some scholars say Satan is actually under God and does not act without Godâ€™s permission.
According to the Quran (2:34, 15:28), Satan was among the rank and file of the angels that surround Allah. When God commanded all angels to bow down to him, all did except Satan. This infuriated God who promptly sent him packing.
The Bible says the devil will continue in his rebellion against God until the very end. Near the end, a beast will arise from the sea powered by Satan. It will perform signs and wonders alongside a false prophet whose job will be to deceive people.
World leaders will be convinced by the two and they will wage war against God and his people in what is called the battle of Armageddon. The Devilâ€™s army will promptly lose.
“At this point, Satan will be locked up for 1 000 years, while Jesus Christ rules the earth with His saints. At the end of that period, Satan is released for a short period of time, deceives the leaders of the world again, and convinces them to attack Jesus and His rule on the earthâ€™” writes Deem.
Once again, the war will not go far as fire from heaven will come and consume the rebels. Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire to “be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Following Satanâ€™s demise, the saints of Jesus Christ will judge the angels who joined him in rebellion.
The devil is definitely a confusing character, and as some people follow the author of the Satanic Bible and founder of Satanism Anton Lavey, some wonder why Satan was cast to earth of all places when God knew that his beloved creatures are also there.
Wouldnâ€™t God have thrown him on Mars?
For some people such as BrotherJay, speaking on a forum www.rollitup.org, there is no devil out there.
“God gave us free will and by His Will, we are free to think what we wish. So we have chosen to forsake God in search of our bodily pleasures.
“To believe in some Devil out there in this world is to project your own sense of guilt onto a false fabricated personification, slap horns on it, paint it red, give it a tail and hooves and voila, you have Satan.
“The ego is all the ideas, judgements and concepts we have about ourselves in relation to God and our brothers. We made them up, not God. Yet God waits for us in perfect Peace to welcome us home when we realize our matrix of illusions is nothing,” said BrotherJay.