Epiphany Truth Examiner


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OUR SUBJECT, Satan—His Nature and Empire, suggests a number of thoughts to our minds. One of these is that there is such a being as Satan. There are some who, repulsed by some nonsensical teachings of the creeds on Satan, have concluded not only to reject those creedal teachings, but with them the Biblical teachings on Satan, as being in their opinion identical with those of the creeds, and who as a result deny altogether that such a being as Satan exists. However, to do this is to fly into the teeth of reason as well as of experience and Scripture; for reason suggests, as the Bible teaches, that sinful acts, like righteous Acts and the Universe, must have been originated by some first cause. And this first cause of sinful acts, in originating them, must have been sinful; and since sinful Acts imply purpose as well as cause, their originator must have been a being endowed with mind and will, hence a person. Thus reason demonstrates the personality of the first cause, or source, of sin, who, the Bible assures us, is Satan. Experience likewise suggests to us that there are at least a number of invisible evil beings—evil spirits; for on no other ground can we explain a frequent happening: the sudden injection of irrelevant, unfamiliar, foreign and repulsive evil thoughts into the minds of human beings—thoughts which are not suggested by the cogitations, activities, circumstances and experiences of those into whose minds they are injected.

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However, coming to the Bible, we find the personality of Satan expressed and implied in many passages and incidents. Certainly the dealings between God and Satan and the latter's connected Acts respecting Job imply Satan's personality (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7). The angel contending against Satan and calling upon God to rebuke him, as Satan resisted the high priest, Joshua, is in line with the thought that Satan is a personal being (Zech. 3:1, 2). Jesus' statement respecting Satan's adopting policies foreign to his usual proceedings to bolster up his waning cause strongly implies Satan's personality (Matt. 12:24-26). No less strongly is this taught by Jesus in His statement that Satan was once in the Truth, that he later originated falsehoods and murdered the human family, when he introduced sin into the world (John 8:44; Gen. 3:1-7). If Satan were the evil principle, as some claim, how could he ever have been in the Truth? If Satan were the evil principle and not an evil person who works through evil principles, how contrary to St. Paul's stated purpose would it have been to deliver the erring Corinthian brother to Satan for corrective stripes (1 Cor. 5:5)! How could the Bible speak of his devices, unless he could think and plan, as making devices implies thought and purpose and thus personality (2 Cor. 2:11)? Certainly in transforming himself into an angel of light from an angel of darkness, he must have thought and reasoned, which of course implies personality (2 Cor. 11:14). The fact that devils believe and tremble—therefore think and feel—proves that Satan, their leader, thinks and feels, and therefore is a personal being (Jas. 2:19). His walking about as a roaring lion, seeking especially Christians, as his prey, proves his personality (1 Pet. 5:8, 9). Michael's contending with him over Moses' body, which Satan seemed to want for use as an object of worship in Israel, is in line with his being a real, personal being, and not the abstract evil principle

Satan—His Nature and Empire. 


(Jude 9). Accordingly, reason, facts and Scripture prove Satan's personality. 


Originally that being was good whom we call Satan (1 Chro. 21:1; Job 1:6; John 13:27; Acts 5:3; 26:18; Rom. 16:20), which name in Hebrew, like its Greek equivalent—diabolos, whence comes our English word devil—means adversary, opponent. But Satan was not his original name. Until he sinned and led the race into sin his name was Lucifer—light-bearer (Is. 14:12). In nature and rank he was a cherub, one of the highest of all angels (Ezek. 28:14, 16). Ezek. 28:12-19, addressing him as the king of Tyre, because Tyre symbolizes the present evil world, whose ruler is Satan, gives us a fairly detailed description of Lucifer both before and after he sinned, and also of his final end—annihilation. In both literal and symbolic language his physical, mental, moral and religious perfection is set forth in vs. 12-15. The expression, thou sealest the sum, refers to the fulness of his perfection, intellectually (full of wisdom) and physically, morally and religiously, since the word beauty refers to his physical, moral and religious qualities. He was such even for a while after he was made guardian angel to Adam and Eve in Eden (vs. 13, 14). More particularly are his pre-fallen moral and religious qualities brought to our attention by the figure of his being covered with precious stones (v. 13); for these and other precious stones are used to symbolize the moral and religious perfections of the glorified Church, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, as New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:11-21), as they are also among the stones that were set in the high priest's breastplate (Ex. 39:10-13). V. 14 first describes his work in Eden as guardian of Adam and Eve and later describes his position and work among the heavenly hosts. V. 15 shows that he had been perfectly righteous and good from the time of his creation for probably millions of years later, even until he in Eden fell into sin. His subsequently 

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corrupting himself is graphically described in vs. 16-18, while his final influence and annihilation in the Little Season following the Millennium are described in v. 19. Thus this Scripture gives us a comprehensive description of this cherub's history. 


Thus so far we see him called Lucifer, Satan and covering (protecting) cherub; but he is also called by other names than these in the Bible. It would be profitable for us to consider these, which refer to him from the standpoint of his qualities and activities subsequent to his fall. Thus he is called: Beelzebub (lord of the fly), the god of Ekron, (destruction; 2 Kings 1:3-6; symbolic of his plague-someness through errors [flies] on militarism, leading to war and destruction; Matt. 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15); Belial, or Beliar (wickedness, descriptive of his character; 2 Cor. 6:15); devil (adversary, descriptive of his opposing God, the Truth, righteousness, mankind in general and the good in particular; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:2, 6; Rev. 20:2); enemy (descriptive of his despiteful course and hating attitude; Matt. 13:39); liar, and father of lies (descriptive of his deceitfulness and originating error; John 8:44); murderer (because by sin he murdered the whole human family; John 8:44; Rom. 5:12); serpent, and old serpent (because of his cunning and poisonousness; Gen. 3:4, 14; Rev. 20:2; 2 Cor. 11:3); prince of this world (because he is by usurpation the ruler of the present evil order of affairs among mankind; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11); prince of devils (because he is the ruler over the fallen angels; Matt. 12:24); prince of the power of the air (descriptive of his headship over the fallen angels as the invisible spirits organized as a kingdom over humanity; Eph. 2:2); spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience (because he uses the wicked and disobedient as his servants and tools; Eph. 2:2); tempter (because he entices to sin, error, selfishness and worldliness; Matt. 4:3; 1 Thes. 3:5); the god of 

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this world (descriptive of him as the ruler of the present evil order of affairs; 2 Cor. 4:4); and wicked one (whose character has been rightly described by the words Milton puts into his mouth: "Evil, be thou my good; Good, be thou my evil"; Matt. 13:19, 38). Thus we see that his Biblically-given names accurately describe his character, works and office. And surely a being correctly characterized by such names must be the supreme of all sinners and evil-doers. 


As Lucifer came from the creative hand of God he was good, and God did not make him so that he had to sin. God on the contrary gave him a disposition favorable to righteousness and averse to sin. This naturally raises the question, How, then, could he have sinned, if there were no sin in the world, and no sinful propensities in his make-up as he came from the creative hand of God? The possibility of his sinning lay in the fact that he was endowed with liberty of choice. As one of the highest of the angels (Is. 14:12), he had as his subordinates some of the other angels, from whom by Divine arrangement he received the honor and obedience due to his station in relation to them. It was proper for him both to desire and to receive such honor and obedience in harmony with God's order. But it seems that Lucifer permitted his mind to dwell overweeningly on the desirability of receiving such honor and obedience, and thus he failed to keep such desires in proper subjection to higher sentiments, like the desire to please God above all things and the desire not to receive honor and obedience from others unless it should be according to God's arrangement. Failing to keep the desire of receiving obedience and honor subject to the two desires just mentioned, the more he kept the desirability of receiving honor and obedience from others in his heart the stronger by exercise this desire became, and the more it reached out for exercise toward some who were not, to the extent that he craved them to be, put by God into his charge. 

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Thus a craving for more honor and power than God arranged for him to have grew gradually in him (1) by a failure properly to subordinate the desire for honor and obedience to certain higher qualities, and (2) by extending such a desire toward persons and things beyond the limits of their Divinely arranged relations to him. As he contemplated the race of mankind and its possibilities, such growing ambition began to see in the human family a possible dominion from which he could gain further honor and obedience than God offered him. We have already mentioned that as "the covering [protecting] cherub" he had been given a limited guardianship over the human family in Eden (Ezek. 28:13-15). The limits of this guardianship were too confined for that degree of exercise of his desire for honor and obedience to which his ambition by this time had grown. Therefore to gain more power over the race than God had commissioned him to exercise, his ambition, by now the controlling quality of his heart, prompted him to lead unfallen mankind into sin, as the only way by which his ambition could be gratified. (For a more detailed description of his fall and his seduction of Adam and Eve into sin, please see Creation, pages 102-106.) Thus externally he rebelled against God through his inordinate ambition grasping for the exercise of Divinely-unsanctioned power and rulership, as the growth of the seed of an improperly controlled desire for honor and obedience from others. This is the way the Prophet describes his gradual fall into sin: "Thou hast said in thine heart [desires], I will ascend," etc. (Isa. 14:12-14). Unholy ambition brought it about. 

We may reasonably assume that at the outstart Lucifer did not intend to go so far as he has gone; for his course gradually turned him into an implacable enemy—Satan, i.e., enemy, opponent—of God and man. There is a proverb to the effect that whoever says A must in time say B, i.e., whoever concedes an inch to wrong for advantage will have to go further in wrong 

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to secure his ends. Satan has gone further than B. He has now proceeded as far as Y, and at the end of the Millennium he will go to Z, the full limit of evil, whereupon his destruction will ensue (Heb. 2:14). The course that he has taken has wrought fearful havoc with his own once holy character and fellowship with God and all in harmony with Him, and as well has involved many angels in sin with its evil results, and has brought sin and ruin upon the human family. His course has made him most cunning instead of wise, most unjust instead of just, most selfish instead of loving, and most obstinate in evil instead of powerful in good. As a result he is the most conspicuous example of depraved character in the universe—almost the synonym of sin itself. It is true that he has attained his ambition for rulership over the human family under the present evil world (Gal. 1:4; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:1, 2), and for princeship over the fallen angels (Matt. 12:24; Eph. 2:2; 6:11, 12), yet at what a terrible cost to himself and to all his underlings! Surely his is the chief example of "vaunting ambition overleaping itself"! Let us avoid imitating him. 


How graphically the Prophet (Is. 14:13, 14) describes the various features of his ambition: "Thou hast said in thine heart, [1] I will ascend into heaven [I will make myself an exalted ruler]; [2] I will exalt my throne above the stars [angels (Job 38:7)] of God [I will become the king over the angels (Matt. 12:24)]; [3] I will sit also upon the mount [Kingdom (Dan. 2:35, 44, 45; Is. 25:6)] of the congregation [people. I will become the ruler of the human family] in the sides of the North [as spiritual, invisible ruler]; [4] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds [I will put myself out of reach of all trouble]; [5] I will be like the Most High [I will found an independent empire in which as God's rival I will be supreme, and will be His equal]"! Yes, he has founded an empire

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having two phases, (1) an invisible phase, consisting of the fallen angels under his leadership, as the higher and controlling phase of his empire, and (2) a visible and subordinate phase, consisting of three departments: oppressive governments, predatory aristocracies and false religions, as the visible representatives of the invisible and ruling fallen angels among men. The earthly phase of his empire has three classes of representatives corresponding respectively to its three departments: rulers, aristocrats and clergy, who are the officials in these three departments. 


Satan has set forth the principle of the "Divine Right" as the foundation principle of his empire, and has given this principle in three forms: the Divine Right of rulers, the Divine Right of aristocrats, and the Divine Right of the clergy—one form of the principle of the Divine Right for each department of his empire. These three forms of the doctrine of the Divine Right were calculated to make the masses blindly subject to the classes as a matter of Divine sanction and obligation. How well the three forms of the Divine Right were calculated to keep the masses, indoctrinated with the error of the Divine Right, in subjection to Satan's representatives, and thus to him, becomes manifest on even a casual consideration of what the three forms of this principle mean. By the doctrine of the Divine Right of kings, Satan caused the following thoughts to be taught by his mouthpieces, especially by the clergy: (1) the kings are God's direct appointees, vicegerents and representatives; (2) they do exactly what God wants them to do; (3) therefore God sanctions all their Acts (which means, e.g., God sanctioned all the Acts of the Czar and the Kaiser!); (4) therefore the people are in duty bound to obey without question everything their rulers require! The principle of the Divine Right of rulers was calculated to keep the people subject to those rulers on whose selfishness Satan could depend to advance those governmental

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policies that he wished advanced, and thus he would control the people governmentally by the Divine Right doctrine. 

By the doctrine of the Divine Right of the aristocrats, he caused the following things to be taught, especially through the clergy: (1) It is the Divine good will and pleasure that practically the whole earth and its riches be owned and administered by the aristocrats; (2) that these act as "the stewards and almoners of the Almighty" in dispensing on their own terms to the bulk of mankind, as their slaves, serfs or employees, of the surplus of earth's bounties; (3) that God sanctions the aristocrats' administration of things; and (4) that the masses should, therefore, be content with their lot and with what is dispensed to them by these "stewards and almoners of the Almighty." The principle of the Divine Right of the aristocrats was calculated to keep the people subject as slaves, serfs or employees to the aristocrats, on whose selfishness Satan could depend to advance those aristocratic policies that he wanted advanced, and thus he would control the people economically and socially by the Divine Right doctrine. 

By the doctrine of the Divine Right of the clergy, Satan caused, especially by the clergy, the following thoughts to be taught: (1) God speaks to the people through the clergy; (2) therefore they are His mouthpieces giving forth the Truth; (3) He sanctions their teachings; and (4) therefore the people should with blank, unquestioning minds believe and practice the clergy's teachings. The principle of the Divine Right of the clergy was calculated to make the people subject to the clergy, on whose selfishness Satan could depend to advance those religious teachings and practices that he wanted advanced, and thus he would control the people religiously by the Divine Right doctrine. 

Of course, the doctrine of the Divine Right as Satan has caused it to be taught is false as a whole and in its three forms, but it has been calculated to 

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keep the race subject to Satan since the flood, until very recent times, when the war debates largely set it aside throughout Christendom. 

For the good of his empire Satan has always seen to it that, compatibly with the successful operation of his empire's three earthly departments, some law and order existed; for he was too shrewd to allow anarchy to reign in his kingdom, well knowing it would result in wreck and ruin for his cause. Hence, there has from the outstart been in his empire civil law, guarding especially the rights of the leaders in state, religion and aristocracy, or, as it is now usually called, capital. This has prevented anarchy from setting in among such rulers. And only then has he tolerated the setting aside of civil law when it interfered with such overturning of governments, religions and aristocracies as he decided should be overturned for his empire's good. Then, also, he has introduced some laws for the regulation of the "rights of the common people." These, however, have always been made first of all to serve the interests of the statesmen, clergy and aristocrats; and subordinately to such interests they have been made to serve those interests of the common people that were calculated to keep them subject first of all to his own interests and thereafter to prosper in a measure their interests, and that, again, subject to his dominion as the executioner of the race (Heb. 2:14). These limitations have always made his governments, religions and aristocracies oppressive and exploitative of the common people, and have allowed more or less of crime and other invasions of the common people's rights, which Satan on general principles encouraged in individual cases, partly because it was in his interests to corrupt the race and partly to arrange for the execution of penalties on exceptional cases, in order to strike fear into the hearts of the people, as a tribute of respect to his laws. Thus he has been an angel of both light and darkness, accordingly as it best served his ends (2 Cor. 11:14, 15). 

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An empire based on such principles and using such means for its perpetuation, naturally must be one of much evil, even as the Scriptures call it the power of darkness—sin and error (Col. 1:13). While he greatly deceived the people by the doctrine of the Divine Right of rulers, clergy and aristocrats, he knew that these of themselves were not sufficient to continue his rulership over the race. He, therefore, found it necessary to advance three other doctrines to support the superstructure which he built upon the foundation of the three forms of the Divine Right. We call the three above-given doctrines the fundamental doctrines of Satan's empire and the following the three supporting doctrines: (1) The dead are not dead, but are alive; (2) they have become spirits and as such are conscious; and (3) they are either in bliss or in torment. Early in the history of the race, yea, in Eden itself, Satan set forth these three falsehoods, for which Jesus called him a liar and the father of lies, and for whose acceptance by Eve, resulting in sin and death coming upon the race, Jesus called him a murderer (John 8:44). Let us note the language in which Satan first clothed these three supporting errors of his empire (Gen. 3:4, 5): (1) "Ye shall not surely [really] die [you will only seem to die; actually, you will live right on, even though seemingly dead, i.e., the dead are alive]; … (2) Ye shall be as [like the] gods [angels (Ps. 97:7, compare Heb. 1:6; 197 times angels are called gods in the Hebrew of the Old Testament), who are spirits (Heb. 1:7), i.e., the dead have become spirits—they exist as angels], (3) knowing [experiencing] good [bliss] and evil [torment]." 

Satan's design in using these three errors as the supporting doctrines of his empire is very apparent. He knew that if he could deceive the race on these three subjects he could deceive them into believing that certain other errors were true and certain truths

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were false, and that certain wrongs were right and certain rights were wrong. This done, he would promise rewards for the next life to those who would, under the deception that his errors were true and his wrongs were right, accept his errors and practice his wrongs, and threaten with eternal torment those who refused so to do. So, too, would he threaten torments for the next life to those who would accept God's truths (misrepresented as erroneous by Satan) as true, and practice certain of His commands (misrepresented as wrong by Satan) as right; as he would also promise eternal bliss to those who would not so do. Thus through deception he would by hope of reward for compliance and by fear of torment for non-compliance, to be realized in the hereafter, enlist the people to believe and practice his errors; and he would, by misrepresentation of the source and character of God's teachings and by hope of reward and by fear of torment in the hereafter, deter the people from believing and practicing God's truths. Thus he would enslave the race to his will and prevent their doing God's will! In this dark plot he succeeded with the bulk of the human family (2 Cor. 4:4; 11:3, 14, 15; 2 Thes. 2:9; 2 Tim. 2:26). Thus by the three errors under consideration he mightily supported his empire and its foundation errors on the Divine Right. 


The above considerations show us that Satan's empire is founded on and supported by errors. And by these he has worked mightily in the hearts of the children of disobedience throughout the duration and territory of his empire (Eph. 2:2). But an empire so founded and so supported must be an evil one, even as all history attests; for the course of Satan's empire is marked by every evil word and work. Corrupt indeed have been the majority of the rulers, aristocrats and clergy of his empire. The history of "the present evil world" (Gal. 1:4) presents a succession of events replete with war, revolution, rapine, murder, destruction, 

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lust, cruelty, conquest, oppression, degradation, unhappiness, misfortune, death, and persecution, especially of God's people! How little space is given in history to good, noble and elevating philanthropies! How much of its space is given to their opposites! So, too, Satan's empire has been one in which are found the greatest inconsistencies. How contradictory have been its religions, its philosophies, its civilizations, its governments, its social arrangements, its laws and its workings! 

From this we infer that Satan adapts the form of government, religion, society, etc., to the varying ideals of the peoples as far as he must. He would, if he could, keep all people in the densest ignorance, deepest oppression, darkest superstition and basest character and environment; but when the people will no longer stand for this, he makes such concessions as he must, compatibly, however, with his retaining control. This will account for the many overthrowals, revolutions and reorganizations that have occurred in the governmental, aristocratic and religious departments of his empire. Whenever governments, aristocracies and religions which he has used cease to serve his purpose of controlling the people, as nearly according to his views as possible, he wrecks those governments, aristocracies or religions, often with extreme ruthlessness, and replaces them by others more in harmony with his aims, and the concessions he must make to his subjects. He certainly makes it uncomfortable for those rulers or religionists who oppose the principles and purposes of his empire. This is manifest in the oppositions and persecutions that he has aroused against every Christian leader and movement that have attacked his errors and preached God's Truth; for he has made them his special targets. 

When we look upon the physical, mental, moral and religious perfection in which God created the human family in Eden, and then by contrast consider the physical, mental, moral and religious wrecks which 

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Satan has made of so many of our race, we have one of the most striking evidences of his wicked character as a person and as a ruler, of the conspicuous failure of his empire as a means of blessing its subjects, and of the crying need of his and its displacement by The Christ as the Ruler and the Kingdom of God as the empire, in order to rescue the human race from utter ruin and destruction, and to return it to the original perfection and bliss of God's image and likeness. Shortly after the fall of mankind into sin God intimated such a consummation (Gen. 3:15); He renewed and amplified this to Abraham; by the types of the Law He repeatedly emphasized it; in the sublime poetry of the Prophets and Psalmists He reiterated it; through Jesus and His Apostles He clearly expounded it; He encourages His faithful people to offer for it the prayer, "Thy Kingdom come"; and by the signs of the times He indicates it as at hand. It is the desire of, as it will prove to be the cure for, all the nations. God speed the day of the overthrow of Satan's empire and of the establishment of His Kingdom under the whole heaven!