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Satan | The Accuser | The Fallen Angel

The outcast from Heaven, deceiver of humanity.

Photo by Jon Tyson

Other Names

שָׂטָן :Hebrew

ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ :Arabic

Greek: διάβολος

The Accuser





Across the world, throughout time, humans have envisioned an idea of an evil entity with the goal of deterring humans from the path of righteousness through trials and temptations.

In the Abrahamic religions, Satan is viewed as the Accuser, one of the highest ranking angels, whose apparent job is to test humans. We see in the Book of Job that God allows the Accuser to afflict a righteous man, Job, in order to see if Job will remain faithful. The Accuser is free to afflict Job with whatever he wants, the loss of children, the loss of wealth, the loss of reputation, even afflictions of physical illness. The only rule God has is, "as long as you don't kill him."

At some point, it is said that this Accuser became prideful and defiant of God and was cast out of Heaven for all eternity. Now on earth, Satan continues to test humans with afflictions, discouragement, and temptations to try to get them to defy God with him. Satan is the ultimate liar, manipulator, shapeshifter, portraying good as bad and bad as good to confuse the ignorant into mistakenly following his path. The sad part is that no matter how beautiful the illusion or whatever promises of riches or fame Satan 0ffers, Satan is still a fallen angel, outcast of Heaven, anything gained from this path will always be temporary, and will always lead to destruction. Satan is often said to be the prince of evil and ruler over lower demons, who can "get into people's heads" and negatively affect their thinking and behavior.

The goal, then, for humans is to resist these temptations, to resist discouragement from negative events that happen, by remaining close to God.

Scripture References

Satan Moved David to Number Israel

1 Chronicles 21:1-13

21:1 Satan (שָׂטָ֖ן | Satan} stood up against Israel, and incited David to count the people of Israel.

2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beer-sheba to Dan, and bring me a report, so that I may know their number.”

3 But Joab said, “May the LORD increase the number of his people a hundredfold! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?”

4 But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So Joab departed and went throughout all Israel, and came back to Jerusalem. 5 Joab gave the total count of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred seventy thousand who drew the sword. 6 But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab.

7 But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel.

8 David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, I pray you, take away the guilt of your servant; for I have done very foolishly.”

9 The LORD spoke to Gad, David’s seer, saying, 10 “Go and say to David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Three things I offer you; choose one of them, so that I may do it to you.’”

11 So Gad came to David and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Take your choice: 12 either three years of famine; or three months of devastation by your foes, while the sword of your enemies overtakes you; or three days of the sword of the LORD, pestilence on the land, and the angel of the LORD destroying throughout all the territory of Israel.’ Now decide what answer I shall return to the one who sent me.”

13 Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress; let me fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but let me not fall into human hands.”

Fourth Vision: Joshua and Satan

Zechariah 3:1-6

3:1 Then he showed me the high priest Joshua {יְהוֹשֻׁעַ | Yehoshua}2 standing before the angel of the LORD {יְהוָ֑ה | YHWH}, and Satan {הַשָּׂטָ֛ן | The Satan} standing at his right hand to accuse him.

2 And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?”

3 Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” And to him he said, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel.”

5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with the apparel; and the angel of the LORD was standing by.

6 Then the angel of the LORD assured Joshua , saying 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. 9 For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. 10 On that day, says the LORD of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.”

The Temptation of Jesus

Luke 4:1-12

4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” 4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’”

5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘Worship the Lord your God,

and serve only him.’”

9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,

‘He will command his angels concerning you,

to protect you,’

11 and

‘On their hands they will bear you up,

so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”

12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

Matthew 16:21-23

16:21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”

23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Do not Worship Satan

Surah Maryam 19-42-45

42 ˹Remember˺ when he said to his father, “O dear father! Why do you worship what can neither hear nor see, nor benefit you at all?

43 O dear father! I have certainly received some knowledge which you have not received, so follow me and I will guide you to the Straight Path.

44 O dear father! Do not worship Satan {ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنَ ۖ | the Satan}. Surely Satan is ever rebellious against the Most Compassionate.

45 O dear father! I truly fear that you will be touched by a torment from the Most Compassionate, and become Satan’s companion ˹in Hell˺.”

  1. New Revised Standard Version


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