Who is Satan?: Archangel Lucifer, the Devil

Fallen Angel Leader Represents Evil to Some, Power to Others

devil Satan Lucifer fallen angel demon
Archangel Lucifer, who is Satan (the devil) in popular culture, represents evil and power. Copyright Josh Sommers, All Rights Reserved/Getty Images

Archangel Lucifer (whose name means 'light bearer') is a controversial angel who some believe is the most evil living being in the universe -- Satan (the devil) -- some believe is a metaphor for evil and deceit, and others believe is simply an angelic being characterized by pride and power.

The most popular view is that Lucifer is a fallen angel (a demon) who leads other demons in hell and works to harm human beings.

Lucifer was once among the most powerful of all archangels, and as his name suggests, he shone brightly in heaven. However, Lucifer let pride and jealousy of God affect him. Lucifer decided to rebel against God because he wanted supreme power for himself. He started a war in heaven that led to his fall, as well as the fall of other angels who sided with him and became demons as a result. As the ultimate liar, Lucifer (whose name changed to Satan after his fall) twists spiritual truth with the goal of leading as many people as possible away from God.

Many people say that the fallen angels’ work has brought only evil and destructive results in the world, so they try to protect themselves from fallen angels by fighting against their influence and casting them out of their lives. Others believe that they can gain valuable spiritual power for themselves by invoking Lucifer and the angelic beings that he leads.

Symbols

In art, Lucifer is often depicted with a grotesque expression on his face to illustrate the destructive effect of his rebellion on him. He may also be portrayed falling from heaven, standing inside fire (which symbolizes hell), or sporting horns and a pitchfork. When Lucifer is shown prior to his fall, he appears as an angel with an extremely bright face.

Energy Color

Black

Role in Religious Texts

Some Jews and Christians believe that Isaiah 14:12-15 of the Torah and the Bible refers to Lucifer as a "bright morning star" whose rebellion against God caused his fall: "How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit."

In Luke 10:18 of the Bible, Jesus Christ uses another name for Lucifer (Satan), when he says: "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'" A later passage from the Bible, Revelation 12:7-9, describes Satan’s fall from heaven: "Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down -- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.

He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."

Muslims, whose name for Lucifer is Iblis, say that he is not an angel, but a jinn. In Islam, angels don’t have free will; they do whatever God commands them to do. Jinns are spiritual beings who do have free will. The Qur’an records Iblis in chapter 2 (Al-Baqarah), verse 35 responding to God with an arrogant attitude: "Call to mind, when we commanded the angels: Submit to Adam, they all submitted, but Iblis did not; he refused and was arrogant, being already one of the disbelievers." Later, in chapter 7 (Al-Araf), verses 12 through 18, the Qur’an gives a longer description of what happened between God and Iblis: "Allah questioned him: 'What prevented thee from submitting when I commanded thee?' He retorted: 'I am better than he. Thou hast created me of fire while him hast thou created of clay.' Allah said: 'In that case, depart hence.

It behooves thee not to be arrogant here. Get out, thou art surely of those abased.' Iblis pleaded: 'Grant me respite till the day when they shall be raised up.' Allah said: 'Thou art given respite.' Iblis said: 'Since thou hast brought about my ruin, I will assuredly lie in wait for them on thy straight path and will approach them fore and aft, and from right and left, and thou wilt not find most of them grateful.' Allah said: 'Get out hence, despised and banished. Whoso of them shall follow thee should know that I will surely fill hell with you all.'"

The Doctrine and Covenants, a scriptural book from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, describes Lucifer’s fall in chapter 76, calling him in verse 25 “an angel of god who was in authority in the presence of God, who rebelled against the Only Begotten Son whom the Father loved” and says in verse 26 that “he was Lucifer, a son of the morning.”

In another scriptural text from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Pearl of Great Price, God describes what happened to Lucifer after his fall: “And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice” (Moses 4:4).

The Bahai Faith views Lucifer or Satan not as a personal spiritual entity like an angel or a jinn, but as a metaphor for the evil that lurks in human nature. Abdul-Baha, a former leader of the Bahai Faith, wrote in his book The Promulgation of Universal Peace: "This lower nature in man is symbolized as Satan -- the evil ego within us, not an evil personality outside."

Those who follow Satanist occult beliefs view Lucifer as an angel who brings enlightenment to people. The Satanic Bible describes Lucifer as “Bringer of Light, the Morning Star, Intellectualism, Enlightenment."

Other Religious Roles

In Wicca, Lucifer is a figure in Tarot card readings. In astrology, Lucifer is associated with the planet Venus and the zodiacal sign Scorpio.

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Hopler, Whitney. "Who is Satan?: Archangel Lucifer, the Devil." ThoughtCo, Aug. 9, 2016, thoughtco.com/who-is-satan-archangel-124081. Hopler, Whitney. (2016, August 9). Who is Satan?: Archangel Lucifer, the Devil. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/who-is-satan-archangel-124081 Hopler, Whitney. "Who is Satan?: Archangel Lucifer, the Devil." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/who-is-satan-archangel-124081 (accessed December 13, 2017).