Satan is a powerful spirit creature, originally created by God as an angel, a spirit son with access to Jehovah’s heavenly court. (Job 1:6) However, Satan exercised his free will in opposition to God; with cunning he led Eve and, through her, Adam into disobedience and death. (2 Corinthians 11:3) Thus, he became Satan, meaning “Adversary”—a rebel, a demon, a manslayer, and a liar. (John 8:44) How appropriate is Paul’s expression that “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light,” when in actual fact he is a ‘world ruler of this darkness’! (2 Corinthians 6:14; 11:14; Ephesians 6:12) By enticing other angels to rebel, he led them out of God’s light into his own darkness. He became “the ruler of the demons.” Jesus also identified him as “the ruler of this world.” Obviously, in order to be a ruler, he has to exist as a created spirit person.—Matthew 9:34; 12:24-28; John 16:11.
While Satan is rarely mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures, he is fully exposed in the Christian Greek Scriptures—so much so that we encounter the name Satan there 36 times and the word Devil, 33 times. (See Comprehensive Concordance of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.) He is also identified under other names and titles. Two of these were used by John at Revelation 12:9: “So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth.”—See also Matthew 12:24-27; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15.
Here in Revelation appears the Greek word di·a′bo·los, translated “Devil.” According to Greek scholar J. H. Thayer, it literally means “a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer.” (Compare 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Timothy 3:3, Kingdom Interlinear.) W. E. Vine describes the Devil as “being the malignant enemy of God and man.”
The great Adversary is not idle. (1 Peter 5:8) Perhaps that is why a proverb says, “The Devil finds work for idle hands to do.” He is out to subvert all genuine Christians. (2 Timothy 3:12) And he can concentrate on Jehovah’s people for one simple reason—he already has the rest of the world in his power! (1 John 5:19) Today’s world is Satan’s world. He is its ruler and god, whether people recognize it or not. (John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4) As a consequence, he will resort to every crafty or subtle act or suggestion in order to subvert Jehovah’s people, either individually or collectively. Let us examine some of the ways he operates.—Mark 4:14, 15;