The Doctrine of Satan

From The Reality of Evil, Satan, and Demons







What He is Not

Satan is not evil principle, an error of the mortal mind, an abstract power, or a being with hoofs, horns, and tail, holding a pitchfork and presiding over a lake of fire and the realm of the dead.

What He Is

1.    Satan is a real person (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Psalm 109:6; Zech. 3:1-2; 1 Peter 5:8-9; Rev. 12:7-12)

2.    Jesus dealt with him as with a person (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13)

3.    Jesus waged war on Satan as on a person (Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38; 1 John 3:8)

4.    Christ taught that Satan was a real person (Luke 10:18; Rev. 12:7-12; Rev. 13:1-4; Rev. 20:1-10)

5.    The apostles fought with Satan as with a real person (Ephes. 6:10-18; 1 Thes. 2:18; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

6.    The apostles warned people against a personal devil (Ephes. 4:27; Ephes. 6:11; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

7.    Personal singular pronouns are used of Satan (Matthew 4:7-11; Matthew 12:26; Luke 11:18)

8.    Personal statements are made to him (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:11-17; Zech. 3:1-2; Matthew 4:1-10; Jude 1:9)

9.    Personal conversation is carried on with him (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Matthew 4:1-10; Jude 1:9)

10.  Personal descriptions are given of him (Job 1:7; John 8:44 ;1 John 3:8)

11.  The personal names and titles that are given to him:

(1)  The Devil and Satan (Rev. 12:9)

(2)  Beelzebub (Matthew 10:25; Matthew 12:24)

(3)  Belial (2 Cor. 6:15)

(4)  The adversary (1 Peter 5:8-9)

(5)  The dragon (Rev. 12:3-12; Rev. 13:1-4; Rev. 20:1-3)

(6)  The serpent (2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9)

(7)  The god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4)

(8)  The prince of this world (John 12:31)

(9)  The prince of the power of the air (Ephes. 2:1-3)

(10)  The accuser of our brethren (Rev. 12:10)

(11)  The enemy (Matthew 13:39)

(12)  The tempter (Matthew 4:3)

(13)  The wicked one (Matthew 13:19,38)

(14)  That wicked one (1 John 5:18)

12.  Personal acts and attributes are ascribed to him (see The Work of Satan, below.)

13.  He is an angel with a body, soul, and spirit like all other angels (Rev. 12:7-12)

14.  He has been seen with a body (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Psalm 109:6; Zech. 3:1-2; Matthew 4:1-11; Rev. 20:1-3)

15.  He will be bound physically with a chain and cast into a prison (Rev. 20:1-3)

16.  He has a heart (Isaiah 14:12-14); pride (Ezekiel 28:17; 1 Tim. 3:6); speech (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11); knowledge (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11; Rev. 12:12); power (Job 1:6-22; Job 2:1-7; Acts 10:38; Acts 26:18; 2 Thes. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:1-4); desires (Luke 22:31); lusts (John 8:44; Ephes. 2:1-3); and many other physical parts, soul passions, and spirit faculties

17.  He goes from place to place in a body like anyone else (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7; Matthew 4:10-11; Mark 4:15)

18.  He has a kingdom (Mark 3:22-26)

19.  He has access to heaven (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-6; Rev. 12:9-12)

20.  He is a great celestial and terrestrial ruler (John 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4; Ephes. 2:2; Ephes. 6:10-18)

21.  He rules the business, social, political, and religious activities of the majority of mankind

22.  His realm is divided into organized principalities and powers in the heavenlies (Daniel 10:12-11:1; Matthew 12:24-30; Ephes. 6:10-12)

23.  His subjects are fallen angels, fallen people, and demons of various kinds (Matthew 25:41; John 8:44; James 2:19; 1 John 3:8-10; Rev. 12:7-12)

24.  He is head of some religions and is a leader in religious affairs (2 Cor. 11:14; 2 Cor. 2:9; 2 Cor. 3:9)

The Origin of Satan

Satan was created by Christ along with other beings, principalities and powers in heaven and earth (Isa. 54:16; John 8:44; Col. 1:15-18; 1 John 3:8; see also this important study that includes exposing the false teaching regarding “Lucifer” and his “rebellion in heaven”).

Satan Ruler of Earth

Satan gained rulership over the earth in Adam's day, usurping man's dominion by causing his fall.  His relationship to man through the ages has been that of a usurper; and as long as people tolerate his dictatorship he will remain subject to Satan.  Each person can now, by the authority and power of the gospel, defeat Satan and rid themselves of all demon relationship.  This is what God demands, and He has provided means whereby it can be attained (Mark 16:17-18; Luke 10:19; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Ephes. 6:10-18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).  Satan's present position as ruler of this sin-cursed world system and as the prince of this world will be ended forever when Christ comes (Rev. 19-20), and man will again inherit the earth and live on it forever.

Introduction to Reversing Satan’s Rule

Be strongly encouraged to review this excellent introduction to reversing Satan’s rule by Pastor Tony Evans.

The Work of Satan

In general, his work is to oppose God whenever possible. For this reason his work varies in some respects with the purposes of God in different ages and dispensations. In Old Testament times Satan's great work was to cause the fall of man, usurp his dominion, and try to prevent the coming of the Messiah into the world in order to avert his own defeat and pending doom. See context of Genesis 6:1-4. Note the following regarding Satan and his activities:

Twenty-six Branches of Satan's Work:

1.    He is the deceiver of all mankind (2 Cor. 11:14; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:1-10).

2.    He exercised the power of death until Christ conquered death, hell, and the grave (Isa. 54:16; Hebrews 2:14; Rev. 1:18).

3.    He is the leader of all sinners and backsliders of the human race (1 John 3:8-10; 1 Tim. 5:15), and all spirit rebels (Matthew 9:34; Ephes. 6:10-18).

4.    He causes sickness, disease, and physical and mental maladies in the human race (Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38).

5.    He takes advantage of all adversities of people to further their rebellion and hold them captive (2 Cor. 2:11; 1 Tim. 1:20; 1 Tim. 5:11-15).

6.    He tempts people (Mark 1:13; 1 Cor. 7:5).

7.    He provokes to sin (1 Chron. 21:1).

8.    He causes offense (Matthew 16:23).

9.    He transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

10.  He resists others (Zech. 3:1-2).

11.  He enters into union with others against God (Luke 22:3; John 13:2).

12.  He sends messengers to defeat saints (2 Cor. 12:7).

13.  He hinders the gospel (Acts 13:10; 1 Thess. 2:18).

14.  He steals the Word of God from people lest they should believe it (Matthew 13:19; Luke 8:12).

15.  He works miracles (2 Thess. 2:9).

16.  He contends with messengers of God, endeavoring to hold them captive (Daniel 10:12-21; Jude 1:9).

17.  He hinders answers to prayer (Daniel 10:12-21).

18.  He sets snares for people to fall into sin (1 Tim. 3:7; 2 Tim. 2:26).

19.  He causes diversion and blinds people to the gospel (2 Cor. 4:4).

20.  He causes double-mindedness (James 1:5-9).

21.  He causes doubt and unbelief (Genesis 3:4-5; Romans 14:23).

22.  He causes darkness and oppression (2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Peter 1:4-9).

23.  He causes deadness and weakness (Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 9:14).

24.  He causes delay and compromise (Acts 24:25; Acts 26:28).

25.  He causes divisions and strife (1 Cor. 3:1-3; 1 Peter 5:8).

26.  He makes war on the believers (Ephes. 6:10-18).

War on the Believers

The greatest and most important work of Satan among people now is to counterfeit the doctrines and experiences of God as revealed in Scripture, in order to deceive saints (2 Cor. 11:14-15; Ephes. 6:10-18; 1 Tim. 4:1-7; Rev. 12:9-12).  People are commanded to prove and test all doctrines and experiences in the supernatural realm to see if they are of God or of Satan (1 Cor. 2:12-16; Phil. 1:9-10; 1 Thess. 5:21-22; 1 John 4:1-6).  It is certain that every religion, doctrine, and experience among people cannot be of God.  We must, therefore, judge them by the written Word of God.  The knowledge of truth is the first essential in warfare against demons and error.  Great is the danger when believers accept anything and everything in the realm of the supernatural as being from the Lord.  The fact that the believer is a child of God does not stop the devil from trying in every conceivable way to imitate God to deceive him or her.  Believers are the ones Satan concentrates on and wars against.

There are definite ways outlined in Scripture whereby one can detect what kind of spirit is seeking to control him or her.  But if one neglects to study the Word s/he may fall prey to one of Satan's demons through ignorance.  It must be realized that ignorance is no guarantee against workings of evil spirits.  In fact, one of the chief means by which Satan and his forces try to control people is through ignorance.  It accounts for their widespread success in getting people to accept their suggestions, doctrines, ideas, leadings, and guidance.  Among the guiding principles useful in detecting good and evil spirits, and their operations and doctrines, the outstanding ones are these:

1.    Any doctrine that denies or causes doubt and unbelief concerning anything taught in Scripture is from Satan and his demons (1 Tim. 4:1-8).  Any religion denying the inspiration of the Bible; the reality of God as a person; the virgin birth and divinity of Christ; His miraculous power and supernatural ministry; the death, burial, physical resurrection, and physical manifestation of Christ after His resurrection; the physical ascension to heaven and coming again of Jesus Christ to set up a kingdom in the world forever; the necessity of the new birth, cleansing from sin and living free from sin; and the numerous other experiences of the Bible-any religion denying these fundamental truths is yielding to "the spirit of error," not "the spirit of truth" (1 John 4:1-6).

2.    Any power, influence, or doctrine that causes one to become passive, inactive, submissive, and unresisting to the workings of supernatural spirits seeking to control his life contrary to the teachings of Scripture, is not of God.  The Bible says, "Resist the devil" (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).  An inclination to approve sin and ignore the necessity of repentance and holy living, and a tendency to remove the penalty for sin or doubt that hell is literal and eternal, is promoted by Satan, not God.  Just as God requires truth in the mind for the true working of the Holy Spirit in a life, so the devil requires the believing of lies in the minds of people to hold them in bondage.  See 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Cor. 10:12-13; 2 Cor. 11:3-15; Galatians 5:19-21; 6:7-8; Ephes. 6:10-18; 1 Tim. 4:1-9; James 1:22; 2:10.

3.    The Holy Spirit can be recognized by the fruit of His Spirit:  love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Six Earmarks of a Manifestation of the Holy Spirit

(1)  A Christ-like spirit of love, patience, and faith in God

(2)  Soberness and keenness of spirit vision

(3)  Deep humility of heart and meekness of spirit, with a lion-like courage against sin, sickness, poverty, disease, discouragement, failure, and everything else causing defeat in the Christian life

(4)  Absolute clearness of the mental faculties and intelligent action in carrying out Biblical instructions concerning known duty and personal life as a Christian

(5)  Freedom from faultfinding, surmising, whispering, and slander; and freedom from all the works of the flesh listed in Mark 7:19-21; Romans 1:24-32; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-21; Col. 3:5-10

(6)  Freedom from any ignorance concerning the divine will. When one is moved upon to act quickly and urgently without knowing whether the act will glorify God or not, it is better to wait and pray until it is clear beyond all doubt that God approves such action. Always remember that 1 John 4:1 commands: "Try the spirits whether they are of God."

The Character of Satan

The names and various descriptions of Satan reveal his true character as follows:

1.    He is the enemy of all good and the accuser of God and people (Matt. 13:28; Rev. 12:9-12).

2.     The father of lies (John 8:44)

3.     A murderer (John 8:44)

4.     A sower of discord (Matt. 13:39)

5.     An adversary (1 Peter 5:8-9)

6.    The first sinner, the first self-gratifier, and the first to wage war against all society (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:7-10)

7.    He is cunning (2 Cor. 2:11; 2 Cor. 11:14; Ephes. 6:11-12).

8.    Wicked (Matt. 13:18,38; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8; 5:18)

9.    Malignant (Luke 8:12; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

10.   Cowardly (James 4:7)

11.   Tempter (Matt. 4:1-11)

12.   Thief (John 10:10)

13.  Without principle in taking advantage of people in their weak moments (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 22:40; 2 Cor. 2:11; 2 Cor. 11:3); in tempting people after great success (John 6:15); in suggesting the use of right things in a wrong way and at a wrong time (Matt. 4:1-11); in slandering God to people and people to God (Gen. 3:1-10; Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7); in appearing as an angel of light to deceive (2 Cor. 11:14); and in deluding his followers as to their eternal end (2 Thess. 2:8-12; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:7-10)

14.  Presumptuous (Job 1:6-12; Job 2:1-7)

15.  Trapping (2 Tim. 2:26)

16.  Deceitful (2 Cor. 11:14; Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:10)

17.  Fierce and cruel (Luke 8:29; Luke 9:39; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

18.   Aggressive (Ephes. 4:27; 6:10-18; 1 Peter 5:8-9)

Satan has never been known to be merciful, good, loving, kind, gentle, pitiful, patient, or to have any of the graces of God since he became the enemy of God and people. In Scripture he is compared to a fowler (Psalm 91:3); fowl (Matt. 13:4,19); a wolf (John 10:12); a destroyer (John 10:10); a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8-9); a serpent (Rev. 12:9; Rev. 20:3); and a dragon (Rev. 12:3-12).

The Methods of Satan

1.    He uses every conceivable means to hold people in subjection to himself and keep them from turning to God. If he fails in this, he tries to kill the believer's testimony and ruin his influence for God.

2.    If one falls he tries to make him stay fallen or commit suicide. He endeavors to cause people to end their lives by insisting it is the best way out; but he hides the true fact that this will be only the beginning of real torment in eternal hell.

3.    Satan tries to get others in a lukewarm condition and, if he succeeds, urges them to stay in that condition so that God will cut them off in the end.

4.    He dares people to do many things which they would not do under ordinary circumstances; and men are foolish enough to think they are not brave if they do not accept his dares.

5.    Makes people think they are missing everything in life if they do not go into all kinds of sins which, in the end, will damn their souls.

6.    He emphasizes sin and sinful pleasures as innocent enjoyment.

7.    He stirs unholy passions in men and women, causing them to throw away all restraint and live a life of partying.

8.    He tries to make people think there is no joy in serving the Lord. This is one of his greatest errors. Serving Christ and winning souls pays the greatest dividends and offers the greatest pleasures known.

9.    He preaches to the diligent in business that he needs to invest all his time in getting rich before serving the Lord. The fact is that if one will truly serve the Lord, he can be abundantly prosperous with God's help.

10.  He urges churches and their leaders to make religion a paying proposition by appealing to the rich and influential through lowering the standards of holy living, making salvation easy for all, and compromising essentials of the faith; and by feeding the sheep messages on current events and book reviews instead of the infallible Word of God.

God's Purpose in Allowing Satan to Continue


The Doom of Satan

1.    Predicted in Genesis 3:15

2.    Accomplished:

(1)  At the first advent (John 19:30; Col. 2:14-17)

(2)  At the second advent (Rev. 20:1-3)

(3)  At the battle of Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:7-10)

The purpose of the thousand-year reign of Christ after the second coming will be to suppress all rebellion (1 Cor. 15:24-28); and the final defeat of Satan and his hosts at the end of the Millennium must be accomplished before the earth is entirely rid of rebels.  They must be confined to the lake of fire forever before rebellion is finally and eternally overcome.  The earth will be purified by fire and made perfect the second time; and the kingdom of God will be universal over all free moral agents, as it was before rebellion was started by Satan and Adam.

Duty of Followers of Jesus Regarding Satan

When one is born again he enters the realm of the supernatural and spiritual; s/he should begin a study of the Bible to see what it teaches regarding how s/he should walk and conduct themselves in spiritual warfare with Satan and demons. Saints are to:

1.    Put on the whole armor of God (Ephes. 6:11-18).

2.    Know Satan's devices (2 Cor. 2:11).

3.    Give him no place (Ephes. 4:27).

4.    Resist him (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).

5.    Be sober and vigilant lest he devour them (1 Peter 5:8-9).

6.    Overcome him by the Word (Matthew 4:1-11; 1 John 2:14).

7.    Overcome him by the blood of Christ and testimony (Rev. 12:11).

8.    Overcome him by Christ and His name (Ephes. 1:19-22; 2:6; 2 Cor. 2:15).

9.    Overcome him by birth of the Spirit and faith (1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:9; 1 John 5:1-4,18).

10.  Overcome him by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-13; Galatians 5:15-26).


There are demon spirits or groups of demon spirits behind the health issues, unholy traits, and doctrinal errors known among humankind, not excluding believers. They must be cast out or resisted in order to get relief from them. 


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John is also now the author of several important books. Enjoy!


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Note that Derek's audio teachings are presented in convenient “bite-size” 10-minute segments. And Derek is also well-known as a pioneer in the important ministry recognized as “deliverance” prayer.




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Thank you Finis Jennings Dake, Dake Publishing, and their book entitled God’s Plan for Man