The devil exists in many religions. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, Lucifer was created by God to be the chief angel, the one leading worship. His name at creation was Lucifer, in Hebrew, “helel”, meaning “brightness”, or “son of the morning”. The name occurs once in the Hebrew Bible: Isaiah chapter 14. The passage includes a description of the fall of Lucifer.
12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.
When Lucifer allowed his pride, arrogance and ambition to lead him to challenge the Most High, he was cast out of heaven, along with a great number of the angels joining in his rebellion. Lucifer was thrown to earth, and his name became Satan, meaning “adversary” in Hebrew.
And we know the story of how Satan visited Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He lied to them, and tempted them to sin, by misrepresenting God’s instructions. He told them they could certainly eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that they should disobey God and eat, that God was lying when he said they would die if they ate. They disobeyed God, ate, became aware of good and evil, and the intimate loving relationship they had with God, died. They ran away, hiding from God, ashamed of their behavior and their nakedness, cast out of the garden because of their sin.
Satan, “The Adversary”, had become the enemy of God, and the enemy of humankind, his hatred for both having no limit. Jesus referenced Satan many times during his three-year teaching ministry, calling him the father of lies.
We learn from these accounts that God hates pride, arrogance, selfish ambition and rebellion, and that he hates all forms of sin, including disobedience, presumption, and spreading falsehood. He is the God of love. He is also the God of justice and judgment. He cast out Lucifer forever and has waged war against him for eons. He cast out Adam and Eve, waging war on their behalf ever since in order to bring them home. That war was won at the Cross.
The Scripture contains many passages warning us of Satan, his power, his overall strategy, and the tactics he uses. His mission on earth is to contradict God at every turn and convince people of several things. Satan works to convince us that he does not exist. He works to persuade us God does not exist. And with those who hold on to belief in God, Satan works to diminish our faith, or leave us wondering if God is really trustworthy. The overall strategy is to destroy God’s effort to bring us back to Eden, to instead lead us to hell.
Satan’s tactics are largely centered on two approaches: deception and temptation. This is why Christ’s teaching on prayer includes the petition: “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Satan is concentrated evil. He tempts us to sin in order to separate us from God. He deceives us in order to soften us up so that temptation can have its way. The Scripture says he can even appear as an angel of light to deceive even those who are born again, those having the Holy Spirit, the One who leads us into all truth.
And Satan has allies. The angels cast to earth with him in the rebellion became demons. Satan also has human allies. The Scripture instructs us how to identify the sons and daughters of light, just as it instructs us to identify those who’ve become Satan’s operatives.
The sons and daughters of light display the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22, 23
Walking in the Spirit, we display the fruit of the Spirit. Walking in the flesh (darkness) leads us to produce other fruit: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Galatians 5:19-21
Powerful people in the world today celebrate and promote sexual immorality. While they may smile brilliantly, speak charmingly, and appear as angels of light, they encourage impurity and debauchery. Some of them want your money. Others want you to join their church. And some want your vote. They worship false gods, claiming to be Christians. They even practice witchcraft insisting they are the sons and daughters of light.
In their deeds, it is easy to see them speak words of hatred, sowing discord, spreading jealousy and fostering rage. They practice divide and conquer, attacking the sons and daughters of light, leveling every false accusation imaginable. Serving selfish ambition they divide people into factions, causing dissensions and conflict through envy. And behind closed doors, at night, in darkness, when evil holds powerful sway, they engage in drunken orgies, then by day, they claim to care about the poor and marginalized.
Do not be deceived by them, or by their leader in the White House.