Satan and Lucifer are one in the same though he is known by many other names, such as Abaddon and Apolyon, the Destroyer or the Angel of the Abyss, Moloch, Mephistopholes, and the Antichrist among others. In Islam, a comparable character is referred to as Shaytan. In Judaism, he is thought of as a metaphor for difficulty or opposition. The name Lucifer means light bringer or star of the morning. In Christian theology, Lucifer was the brightest among the angels. As we see in this verse from the King James Bible:
Isaiah 14:12-14 King James Version (KJV)
12 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.
According to this verse, Lucifer’s rebellion started in his heart with the desire to not only disobey God, but also to overthrow him. Lucifer took a full third of the angels with him in his fall from grace and now they comprise the army of demons that is continually at war with everything that is good in this world. (This verse also has a literal meaning in referencing a King of Babylon that sought to be worshiped as God.)
And the war rages on. Lucifer has not given up in his quest to unseat God.
Lucifer is the antithesis of all that is good, but he is never obvious. Considering that the angels are beautiful, and his name means light or star, he is never the hideous demonic creature we see in film. Satan is more intelligent than we can imagine and sets traps for unwitting victims to fall into ruin.
The mythology says the devil tempts us to do wrong because he wants to punish us. Sadistic much? In religious lore, as an angel his job was to test the faith of the believers, accuse and prosecute them, and then punish them if they were found to be guilty. Medieval interpretations deemed him capable of starting wars, causing famine, spreading disease and causing natural disasters.
In the book of Job, Satan came before God to ask permission to test Job’s faith. He then sets about torturing poor Job by killing all his children, robbing him of his wealth, striking him with a near fatal disease, and then sending his friends to mock him.
In Peter 5:8, he is said to be roaming the earth like a lion looking for someone to devour.
In Revelation, he is described as a red dragon, a beast. Though we see his ultimate destination is the lake of fire, we are also told that he wants nothing more than to see you burn alongside him in eternal fire.
In the book Dante’s Inferno, Satan is trapped in the ninth circle of hell in a frozen lake. He is described as having three faces which continually weep blood froth, each one chewing on traitors while flaying their backs with his claws. He is widely agreed upon as the serpent which tempted Eve to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thus being the instigator of humanity’s fall into wickedness.
What’s truly scary about the devil? He does none of these things. We do these things. We persecute, judge, and accuse one another for any minute difference we may find in one another. Rather than help each other, we watch as war rages, famine wipes out millions, and diseases that are easily cured run rampant through much of the world. We cast each other aside as nothing. Perhaps Lucifer is simply the representation of our darker selves and just what we are capable of when we convince ourselves we are justified in what we do.
That’s the stuff of nightmares.