The Four Facets of Satan

Posted on May 30, 2018


By David Ettinger

A More Complex Being
A few years ago, a study noted that about 3,500 people in Iraq – primarily women and children – were being held as slaves by the Islamic State. In areas where ISIS reigns, “justice” is marked by “executions by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings.”[1]

fourIn addition to such atrocities, ISIS murders child soldiers (likely those who don’t meet performance standards), and has abducted between 800 and 900 children “for military and religious training.”[2] And what of those who are not enslaved, recruited as soldiers, or executed? They “have died from the lack of access to basic food, water or medical care.”[3]

It would be easy to call ISIS “the face” of Satan. After all, the evil and savagery perpetuated by the militant Islamic group is mindboggling. But Satan has far more facets than this. By carrying out his agenda, ISIS provides a perfect smokescreen for Satan’s other activities, none as overt but just as cunningly crafted to undermine the God of the Bible and His will for the human race.

What’s in a Name?
Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation describes Satan’s assault upon God’s people. In chronicling his eviction from Heaven, Satan is attributed with four names. The verse reads: “The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.” The four names are “dragon,” “serpent,” “devil” and “Satan,” and they each reflect a different facet of his personality.

The name “dragon” refers to Satan’s cruelty as displayed in the ISIS account. Whenever we read of atrocities, the “dragon’s” influence and barbarism is readily in view.

The name “serpent” speaks of shrewdness and craftiness. This is the tempter, the one who makes it easy for men and women to surrender to their lusts and desires. The serpent assures people that there is no sin and that they are perfectly within their rights to pursue the longings of their hearts.

The name “devil” speaks of the slanderer. The “devil” is the facet of Satan which blasphemes God, reducing Him to a created myth of backward people. Whenever you hear disparaging remarks about God, the Bible, or those who believe in both, this is the “devil” at work.

devilThe name “Satan” refers to the adversary, the one who goes beyond mere slandering of the things of God, instead seeking their destruction. Whenever you read about the horrible persecution of God’s people throughout the world, this is “Satan,” the adversary of God, doing what comes naturally.

How We Encounter Satan’s Four Facets
In Western culture, the entertainment and media industries are the most conspicuous conduits for Satan’s four-pronged assault upon the souls of men and women. Movies and TV persistently exalt and advocate the unbiblical practices of sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, accumulation of wealth and prosperity, lying and deceiving to get one’s way, revenge, and glamorizing violence. These elements are endorsed in that there are no spiritual consequences tied to them. Because the entertainment industry is at its foundation godless, there is no God to judge human behavior, and therefore no God to offend or be accountable to.

In exerting his authority over the entertainment industry, Satan is in full “serpent” and “devil” modes, shrewdly painting a lovely picture of same-sex marriage, humanistic philosophies, and libertine morals. At the same time, he slanders all things biblical and Christian, depicting believers of God as mindless, humorless, intolerant, and bigoted.

As “Satan” – the adversary of God and His people – most church-related news stories focus on improprieties and scandals; Christians are seen as restrainers of social change; Israel is portrayed as the oppressive bully; and the Bible mocked as a book of fairy tales and legend. And a godless society swallows it hook, line, and sinker.

What Christians Should Do
sunset-cross-2-1478642As Christ’s followers, we need to firm up our beliefs. Number one on our list should be that God is the Creator of heaven and earth and that He has sent to this world Jesus Christ to save men and women from their sins. Number two must be that Jesus Christ is THE ONLY way of salvation for a lost and dying world; there can be no compromise on this. Third, we must believe that Satan is real, multi-faceted, opposes everything that is of God, and wields tremendous clout over the hearts of humanity.

Satan’s influence will increase as the return of Christ draws near, and more and more people will “not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). Christians, however, are to remain faithful to God – even to the point of death – and recognize the four facets of Satan as he seeks to sabotage God’s desire to save humanity through Christ (Romans 10:9; 2 Peter 3:9).

May God give us eyes to recognize the enemy, minds to understand the times in which we live, and the compassion to see lost souls saved in these perilous days.

[1] “UN: ISIS is holding about 3,500 slaves in Iraq.”

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid