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  • Cory Trout

Who is Satan?


This is a brief history of Satan, from his beginning to his end according to the Scriptures. His names and their significations are also discussed, as well as his power and desire to destroy God’s people.


Satan’s original name was Lucifer, a word meaning “light-bearing” or “light-bringing”. This name appears in Isaiah 14:12, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”

As seen in the book of Isaiah, the name Lucifer signifies shining or brightness, or to shine and be bright: “Lucifer, son of the morning!” The name Lucifer, signifying brightness, matches his description in Ezekiel 28:17, wherein the Lord GOD says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: …”

The name Lucifer alludes unto the original nature of Satan, as he was created; and likewise to those glorious shapes and appearances by which he deludes the men of the world, and does often attempt to deceive God’s people by transforming himself into an angel of light (e.g., 2 Corinthians 11:14).

The LORD says in Ezekiel chapter 28 that precious stones, tabrets, and wind instruments were prepared in Lucifer in the day that he was created. This shows he was a beauteous creature with musical abilities.

Lucifer is a cherub. The LORD says, “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: … I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.” (Ezekiel 28:14,16)

Lucifer, the anointed cherub that covers; the covering cherub; a beautiful cherub exalted by the anointing, stretched wide out for to cover. Exactly what the LORD had set him over to cover is not explained in the Scriptures.

In Ezekiel chapter 28, the LORD reminds Lucifer of his origin and fall: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”—thou was perfect till iniquity was found in thee. This word till means “to the time of”.

Isaiah and Jesus speak similarly of the devil’s fall from heaven: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer” (Isaiah 14:12); “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:18).


After his fall Lucifer is called Satan, a word meaning adversary, i.e., an enemy, an opponent, an antagonist. Satan is not a weak adversary but a powerful and mighty adversary who makes it his work to hunt after people, especially the saints, to devour them. His malicious rage should provoke the Lord’s redeemed to clear-headedness and prayer unto God.

Satan is called Beelzebub, a word signifying an idol of flies, or the fly-god, or possessor of flies, or master of flies. The word Beelzebub comes from Baalzebub, written four times in the Scriptures (e.g., 2 Kings 1:2). Baalzebub was an idol which the ancient Cyrenians and Ekronites worshiped as a god. By this we may see that Satan for a long time has owned this name, as being worshiped by it, in this idol.

He is also called the dragon, the great dragon, a great red dragon (e.g., Revelation 12:3,7,9). He is called dragon for fierceness and rage.

He is called that old serpent. He has this name from the shape and form in which he beguiled Eve; for the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field, and in that shape he beguiled. Satan, that old serpent, so called because he hid and covered himself in the serpent, in his first stratagem against the first woman. The Devil, that old serpent, so called because of his serpentine disposition, in his poison and malice against Christ and all Christians, and in his winding, by his sly flattery and subtilty. (See: Genesis 3:1,13; Revelation 12:9.)

Satan is called the Devil (see, Revelation 20:2). The word devil denotes a wicked spirit, the Devil himself being the prince of devils and fallen angels. The Devil is a calumniator, delighting exceedingly in accusing and detracting others. This has Satan done from the beginning, accusing God to man, and men to God.

Satan is also called the god of this world (see, 2 Corinthians 4:4), the prince of the power of the air (see, Ephesians 2:2), and the tempter (see, Matthew 4:3).


2 Corinthians 11:14 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Transformed = “changed in form or external appearance; metamorphosed; transmuted”; angel = “a messenger”.

As seen in Ezekiel chapter 28, Satan is a cherub. But as just read, he can transform himself into an angel of light.


Satan has dominion and power over evil angels, for amongst them there is a certain rule or government: some being superior, and some inferior; some commanding, and some commanded; and in order to make war, they are divided into legions, in every one of which there are very many devils, of whom Satan is the prince. (See: Matthew 9:34; 25:41; Mark 3:22; 5:9,15; Revelation 12:7.)


Satan walks throughout the earth causing turmoil, division, confusion; and as a roaring lion he searches for someone to consume with rapidity and violence (see, 1 Peter 5:8). He also seduces people, and then accuses and calumniates them before God (e.g, Job 1:6–11; 2:1–5; Zechariah 3:1,2; Revelation 12:7–9). But he will someday be cast into the Lake of Fire to be tormented day and night forever (see, Revelation 20:10).


Two interesting side notes:

Lucifer is an old name for the planet Venus, so called from its brightness. The 1661 Glossographia says of the word Lucifer, “properly the Star arising before the morning, as messenger of day-light”. Thomas Wilson’s 17th-century dictionary says of Lucifer, “Bringing light. Properly, the Star arising before the morning as messenger of the day, the greatest of the stars, and of such brightness as a shadow is caused by the light of it: ...”

In Graeco-Roman mythology, the planet Venus or dawn is sometimes represented as a young male light bearer, Lucifer (Latin), Phosphorus or Eosphorus (Greek). The word phosphorus comes from phōs (“light”) and phoros (“bringing”). Thus phosphorus means “light-bringing”.



  1. KJV. 1611. Annotation for “Lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12.

  2. “Lucifer.” The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary: Complete Text Reproduced Micrographically, I A-O, Oxford University Press, 1971, p. 1674.

  3. “Lucifer.” Glossographia, by Thomas Blount. 1661.

  4. “Lucifer.” A Complete Christian Dictionary, by Thomas Wilson. 1612.

  5. “Devil.” A Complete Christian Dictionary, by Thomas Wilson. 1612.

  6. Phillips, Edward. “Lucifer.” The New World of English Words, E.P., 1658.

  7. “Belzebub or Beelzebub.” Glossographia, by Thomas Blount. 1661.

  8. Carly, Joseph. “And His Angels He Charged With Folly.” An Exposition With Practical Observations Continued Upon the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Chapters of the Book of Job., 1648, p. 132.

  9. Coverdale Bible. 1535. Isaiah 28:14.

  10. “Adversary, n.s.” A Dictionary of the English Language, by Samuel Johnson. 1755.

  11. Webster, Noah, and Rosalie J. Slater. “Angel, Lucifer, Transformed.” Noah Webster’s First Edition of an American Dictionary of the English Language, Foundation for American Christian Education, 2009.

  12. “Lucifer/Phosphoros.” British Museum,

  13. Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2012, February 10). Hesperus. Encyclopedia Britannica.

  14. Birchensha, John. “Of the Seed of the Serpent, or Enemies of Christ and His Saints.” The History of Divine Verities, 1655, pp. 23–26.

  15. “Till, prep.” A Dictionary of the English Language, by Samuel Johnson. 1755.

  16. Gesenius, Wilhelm, and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles. “הֵילֵל.” Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures, Samuel Bagster & Sons (Limited), 1893, pp. CCXXII-CCXXIII.


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