And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12)
Satan (the name means “adversary”) appears in many forms in the human imagination. He has been depicted as a grotesque angelic being with a goat’s head and goat’s legs and hooves. The Satanic Temple in Detroit houses an idol by the name of Baphomet that represents their god, Satan. At the other extreme is “Hot Stuff,” a fun-loving comic book character that enjoys playing pranks on people. Either extreme makes Satan an imaginary figure that can easily be dismissed along with any other fairy tale character.
However, Satan is very real. Ask any Satanist. While you are at it, ask the Satanist if Jesus is real. So, why do they worship Satan, rather than Jesus? It is because they have fallen for Satan’s lie that he will overcome the kingdom of Christ. Satan has seduced them with the power he possesses.
Satan does have a lot of power; however, his power is nowhere near the power of God. For example, Satan is not omnipresent like God is. He can only be in one place at one time, which means that we cannot blame the devil for every sin we commit; he is not always around to tempt us. However, he does have millions of demons doing his dirty work for him, but they are limited in their power too. Satan cannot read our minds or our hearts like God can, but he and his demons can observe our actions and listen to what we say. When they see our weaknesses, they know how to attack us.
Satan cannot act on his own initiative. He needs permission from God to carry out his deeds. Reading the first two chapters of the Old Testament Book of Job makes this very clear. It appears that God holds a heavenly council where all His angels, good and bad, come before Him. The psalmist says, “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods” (Psalm 82:1). The Hebrew word translated “might” is ‘êl which means “god, god-like, mighty one.” This verse shows God standing among “the gods” and judging among them. At the opening of Job’s saga, we find that Job lives in the land of Uz. By God’s standards, Job is a righteous man that shuns evil. God blesses Job with wealth and a large family for whom Job intercedes before God just in case his children have fallen into sin.
The scene then shifts to heaven and God’s council, where all of God’s angels come before Him. Scripture points out that Satan was among them. So God asks Satan to report, and Satan says he has been wandering up and down the earth (remember, he is not omnipresent). The Apostle Peter says that Satan wanders the earth like a ravenous wolf seeking whom he may devour. God then asks Satan if he has taken notice of Job, and God brags on Job. (Would it not be great if God could brag about you?) So Satan points out that Job only worships God because God has blessed him with a good life, a large family, and much wealth. Then Satan suggests that God test Job by taking away all of his blessings. God gives Satan permission to remove all of Job’s blessings, but He prohibits Satan from touching Job’s body.
Satan attacks Job by taking away all of Job’s blessings, but Job remains faithful to God. Next, in Chapter Two, at the following council of God, God asks Satan for a report on Job. Satan, knowing that he failed, suggests that Job remains faithful only because he still has his health. So, God gives Satan permission to touch Job’s body, but he is not allowed to take Job’s life.
The point in all of this is that Satan cannot do anything without God’s consent. At the end of the saga, we learn that Job remained faithful to God, and God restored all that Job lost and much more.
Jesus demonstrated His authority over Satan every time He cast out demons. Luke records one of the most dramatic accounts of a man of the Gadarenes that was possessed by a “legion” of demons. In this account, the demons recognized Jesus from a distance and started crying out begging Jesus not to send them to the abyss (the bottomless pit) before their time. They begged Jesus’ permission to go into a herd of hogs instead, and Jesus gave them permission.
On another occasion, Jesus informed Peter that Satan asked permission to sift him as wheat. At the same time, Jesus assured Peter that He had prayed for him that his faith would not fail. Satan cannot do anything unless God gives him permission.
Satan is real. Satan has a lot of power. Satan can cause us a lot of misery. However, Satan is God’s Devil, and God has him on a short leash – but not for long. Soon, God will unleash Satan to terrorize the entire world, but His own He will spare from the Tribulation to come. For now, the only defense we have against Satan is to remain in the shadow of the Almighty. He hears us when we call out to Him. “Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about” (Psalm 17:7-9)
If you are reading this and do not have the assurance of God’s protection on you, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”
 I realize this concept may be foreign to most of my readers, but the Bible, when carefully studied does not deny the existence of other gods, but rather it clearly points out that they are “no gods” at all. In other words, even though they do exist and exercise power over humans, they do not approach the power of Yahweh, the God who created them. For an in-depth study on this topic, I recommend Michael S. Heiser’s book, The Unseen Realm.