Does Satan Exist?
by Dr. Ken Matto
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: - (1 Pet 5:8 KJB)

One of the strangest teachings beginning to crop up in some Christian circles is the denial of the existence of Satan. I have come face to face with people who believe this. Not only is Satan denied but also angels and the devils that rebelled with Satan! I personally deny the way Hollywood portrays Satan in movies such as "The Omen" or even the way angels are portrayed in programs like "Touched by an Angel." I had always read where the denial of Satan was relegated to cults who also denied other tenets of the Scriptures.


What I was told is that Satan is not some angelic being who fell in sin from the presence of God and is now the adversary of all Christians. Rather, that Satan is a synonym for the flesh or our fallen nature. The Bible teaches that the spirit wars against the flesh and even the Lord says the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The flesh has always been a hindrance to the ministry of Christians, either it hinders by way of sin or it hinders by way of faltering through sickness, tiredness, or death. Since the flesh has been a hindrance to Christians does that automatically discount the existence of Satan? The Bible is replete with instances in which there is no possible way that Satan can represent the flesh. We will look at these verses and then see if the "denial of Satan" teaching has validity.


In October of 1998 I requested from a friend of mine their house church’s view on Angels and Demons from their Statement of faith which has since then been removed from their web site.


"Angels & demons - Because of the common practice of Bible translators to transliterate the words "angel" and "Satan," we must be careful not to attribute certain activities and characteristics of fallen men to some race of invisible supernatural beings to whom those attributes may not apply. Man is fully responsible to God for his actions and must not be led to think that he can blame someone else for his sinful desires and actions (Gen 6:5, Jer 17:9, Isa 59:1-15, Psalm 58:3). Likewise, God does not delegate the responsibility of caring for his blood bought children to any other, but takes that task upon Himself, and tends to His own with a love and concern which exceeds all others."


As we can clearly see this statement is a subtle denial of both angels and Satan. No doubt this is how some believers are beginning to chop away at the doctrine of Satan and Angels. As always, if we are to ascertain truth on this subject, we must go to the Scriptures and see what they have to say on this subject. Man’s understanding or misunderstanding of any part of Scripture does not establish truth, God establishes truth. It is also necessary for us to note that there are separate words in the Greek for both "flesh" and "Satan." God chose to use both since they are separate in the text. I have not found anywhere in Scripture where God uses these 2 terms interchangeably. The only time I have ever heard that Satan is the flesh is from deluded Christians and unbelievers. Hey, if they deny Satan’s existence maybe we should combine the terms and just call them unbelievers.


So who is Satan according to the Scriptures? The Bible teaches that Satan is the adversary or foe of every Christian. He is the initiator of sin in the Garden of Eden and he is the Antichrist which everyone fears will be a human being of super magnitude. He is the progenitor of false gospels along with being the progenitor of false teachers. He does not have the authority to do as he pleases as he is still under the authority of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not omnipotent nor omniscient and does not possess the ability to indwell a believer since the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. The Bible also portrays him as a defeated foe which has been judged and will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity on the last day along with unbelievers. One grand scheme Satan has is to deny his own existence which, if successful, will free him up to do his work of deception. Remember during the early years of the FBI when J. Edgar Hoover refused to believe the Mafia existed? His refusal to acknowledge their existence for many years allowed them to become very strong and well entrenched in many areas of society. So this is Satan’s strategy also. If he can convince people he does not exist, he will become strongly entrenched in the world and not only the world, but in the church as well, where many are denying his existence already.


Hollywood portrays Satan as a super powerful being with ability which cannot be stopped. When people watch all these horror movies, they begin to adopt the notion that Satan is a mighty being with limitless powers. If Satan came in the fashion these movies portrayed him, he would lose the battle in a short time. The Bible states that Satan is going to come in the last days as a deceiver, an angel or messenger of light. This way he can easily get into the church and one of his favorite methods of getting his false teachings in the church is the door of over-educated clergy who have traded the truths of Scripture for the endless genealogies of philosophy. Let us begin to look at some Scriptures which really must be disregarded if a person is to believe that Satan does not exist.


I want to put this study in 2 parts: The first one are verses with the specific name of Satan in them; and the second, are some verses with his other appellations.


(Gen 3:14-15 KJV) And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: {15} And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


Who was in the serpent? If Satan was the flesh of man then we have a problem. Adam and Eve were created in a pristine environment and were created pure themselves. Sin was not yet in the world but came in through an outside source. If Adam and Eve had the innate ability to sin, then we can charge God as creating them with sin in them already rather than them being created pure with the ability to sin, when sin was presented to them from an outside source. If Satan does not exist, did Eve hold a conversation with herself in the Garden of Eden? If she did, then what was the purpose of factoring in a serpent in the conversation? If you notice the content of verse 15, it speaks of an impending war, does this mean we are at war with serpents? The contents speaks of the coming war between Christ and Satan which will culminate on the last day when he is thrown into the lake of fire.


(1 Chr 21:1 KJV) And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.


Did mere human flesh or a non-existent being provoke David? The usage of the name "Satan" in this verse and in Job 1 & 2 (12 times), Zechariah 3:1-2 (3 times), and Psalm 109:6 occurs these 17 times in the Old Testament as a Proper Noun. Okay, do you remember proper nouns from English 101? A proper noun is a noun which names or designates a particular or specific being or thing. Since flesh is not in view, and flesh is a thing, it must be a being.


(Job 1:6-7 KJV) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. {7} And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.


Now where does the throne of God exist? In heaven or on earth? He is in heaven which means this episode in Job could not be flesh but has to be a supernatural being. If a mere mortal stands in the presence of God, they would be struck dead. Remember Moses who only got a glimpse of the glory of God? What would happen if a mere man stood in the presence? That would be instant death.


(Mat 4:1-10 KJV) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. {2} And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. {3} And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. {4} But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. {5} Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, {6} And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. {7} Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. {8} Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; {9} And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. {10} Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.


Here is the narrative of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. Notice the personal pronoun "him" used in verses 7, 9, & 10. The word "him" is the word "autw" (auto) which is the same word used 3 times. It is a personal pronoun, singular and in the dative case. The dative case may also be referred to as the case of personal interest. In the three instances above it is used to express to whom or for whom the action of the verb is done. So we see in the 3 verses the words "said" and "saith" which are two verbs denoting action. We can also plainly see that the devil is the recipient of the action of those verbs. If Satan does not exist, then who was Jesus speaking to? His flesh? Impossible because the grammar will not allow it. The words of Jesus were aimed right at Satan and because the dative is used in this case, he was speaking to another being. The three uses of "him" are also singular which means the words of Christ were aimed at a single person.

In verse 3 we have the same scenario with the same word except for one difference. This time the tempter came to Christ, "to him." So here the tempter was speaking to Christ which means, by the dative again, we have a dialogue taking place between two persons, Christ and Satan. Therefore, if someone wants to deny the existence of Satan, they must definitely cut the temptations of Christ out of their Bible.


(Mat 12:26 KJV) And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?


If Satan does not exist, then how come the Bible is very explicit stating that Satan has a kingdom. The word "his" is the same word as we saw in Matthew 4 except this occurrence is not in the dative it is in the genitive case which shows ownership or possession. You see the personal pronoun is used here instead of the antecedent noun "Satan." The word "himself" is also a personal pronoun except this word is in the accusative case which normally shows who is the receiver of the action of the verb. Both "cast out" and "divided" are the verbs in question with "himself" as the receiver of the action. So here we see that if Satan’s kingdom is divided or he casts himself out, his kingdom will fall. This language tells us we are dealing with a bona fide kingdom and not a mythological or medieval invention.


(Mark 4:15 KJV) And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.


As soon as an unbeliever hears the word of God being preached, unless that person is one of God’s elect, Satan has the ability to steal or cause this person to forget what they heard. Since it is impossible for Satan to be everywhere simultaneously where the Word is being preached, his fallen angels will also do this type of work. No one knows how many angels rebelled with Satan but he has many.


(Luke 10:18 KJV) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.


Now if Satan is a synonym for the flesh or doesn’t exist, what person was up in heaven falling? The word "fall" is the Greek word "piptw" (pipto) which may also be translated "fall down, fall in ruins, fail, go astray, perish." This verse definitely speaks of the fall of a being named Satan. This verse could be speaking of Satan’s being expelled from heaven or his fall in the Garden of Eden, but whatever it specifically points to, it reveals an actual personage involved.


(Luke 22:31-32 KJV) And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: {32} But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.


The word "sift" here means to put through a great trial as Satan had desired to test Peter probably on the scale he tested Job. The words "desired to" are very strong in the Greek and signifies that Satan demanded to have Peter. The name "Satan" in this sentence is in the Nominative case which shows the subject of the sentence. Peter is not the subject here but Satan who comes and demands that Christ give Peter up to him for testing. Again, how then can Satan be the flesh or non-existent.


(Rom 16:20 KJV) And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.


In this verse "Satan" is in the Accusative case which means he is the receiver of the action of the verb. The verb in this case is "bruise" which means "smashing, breaking or shatter." These are all figures of what will happen to Satan on the last day.


(2 Cor 2:10-11 KJV) To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; {11} Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.


The words "his devices" reveal to us that Satan’s schemes or plots are real. The Corinthians were to forgive the man who sinned against God in 1 Corinthians 5 lest Satan takes advantage of them with one of his devices or schemes. The word "his" again reveals in personal pronoun form that this is a real person.


(2 Cor 11:14 KJV) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.


Paul is warning the people about Satan’s schemes. One of the major schemes is that Satan will be transforming himself (middle voice verb) into an angel or messenger of light. He will come with all deceptive gospels to lead astray as many as possible. Satan here is in the nominative case which means once again he is the subject of the sentence. Satan exists according to this passage also.


(Rev 12:7-10 KJV) And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, {8} And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. {9} And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. {10} And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.


Here is a straight forward portion of Scripture which gives some detail between the forces of Christ and the forces of Satan. If Satan does not exist, then who is Michael waging war against? Then who is being cast out of heaven? This surely cannot be speaking of some human who is clothed with flesh, since there is no flesh in heaven because it is a spiritual place. Not only was Satan cast out of heaven but also his army of demons.


Serious Warning
If you disbelieve that Satan exists or that he is a mere myth, then you are saying that God has lied to us and placed myths and fables in the Bible. Just because Satan has been portrayed in inaccurate ways down through history or through Hollywood movies, does not negate the truth that Satan exists as we have seen in the verses we looked at up to this point. When we begin to arrogate to ourselves a mindset of I know more than God, which is exactly what people do who deny any cardinal doctrine of Scripture, you can be sure that person is unsaved. If a person calls themselves a Christian and then goes and attacks God’s word, they are no better than the cults who do it which means they are on the same ground as they are, unsaved. Let us proceed to the second part of this study which contain verses with euphemisms for Satan which name his attributes or character. You will notice that I did not hit every verse with the name Satan or will I hit every verse in part 2. This is simply for brevity sake but nothing is stopping you from studying those other verses since you now have a good foundation laid for you.
(1 Pet 5:8 KJV) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Here we see that the devil is our adversary and he comes in the manner of a roaring lion. The roaring lion is a hungry animal seeking prey and Satan sees Christians as prey although he cannot have us, he will do what he can to hinder us.
(Rev 20:2 KJV) And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
If Satan does not exist or is a synonym for the flesh, then who is the angel from heaven binding for a thousand years, which is figurative for the New Testament Period? What human being can live for a couple thousand years?
(Rev 20:7-8 KJV) And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, {8} And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
Here we see the rest of the story which began in Verse 1. When Satan is to be loosed from his prison or his binding, then he will once again be given permission to roam free and deceive the nations in a final deception. This is where we are right now on the prophetic calendar. I am writing this article because Satan has deceived many that he doesn’t exist. He is deceiving the nations as you read this article.
(Rev 20:10 KJV) And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Here is the rest of the rest of the story as Paul Harvey used to say. Satan who deceived them will be cast (thrown) into the lake of fire for eternity. In the same breath, verse 11 speaks of the Great White Throne judgment of all the unbelievers. Then if Satan is the flesh or does not exist, who is getting thrown into the lake of fire before the great judgment of the unbelievers even begins?
(Isa 14:12-17 KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! {13} For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: {14} I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. {15} Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. {16} They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; {17} That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
This passage of Scripture has been so falsely interpreted by the "Satan doesn’t exist" crowd. They have applied this passage to Christ because it speaks of a light bearer. However, look at the rest of the passage and let us ask the following questions: Did Christ weaken the nations? Did Christ have a prideful heart and seeking to exalt himself? Was Christ brought down to hell? He never went to hell, His body went into the tomb and His spirit went to be with the Father until the third day when He was resurrected and His body and Spirit rejoined. Did Christ make the world a wilderness? Did He destroy the cities and have prisoners? These statements only apply to Satan and not to Christ. Wherever Christianity was preached or accepted, there was strength of nation. Even those countries which adopt political Christianity invoke the principles of Scripture. These passages are only applicable to Satan and not Christ, because context will allow no other. Let us look carefully at any and every passage of Scripture these people throw at us.
The passages of Scripture we have looked at definitely prove the existence of Satan. Just because Satan has been portrayed falsely by Hollywood or even down through the ages, does not negate his existence. To deny what we have found true is to say that God loaded up the Bible with myths and fables. When one reads the Bible, can one say that God is in the business of misleading His children. If the doctrines of Satan and angels are myths, then what next will be considered a myth? Heaven? Hell? Deity of Christ? These people who postulate theories like this are unstudied in Scripture and I can guarantee, they have read the book of some theologian or pastor without doing a careful study of Scripture to see if they are wrong. Trouble is, if someone finds a palatable teaching they like, they will neglect to study it further or will accept blindly the teachings of that person. Literally, the blind leading the blind!
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices - (2 Cor. 2:11 KJB)
He who has ears to hear!