What does Satan look like?
Question: "What does Satan look like? What do demons look like?"
Answer: The closest the Bible comes to describing what Satan and the demons look like is in 2 Corinthians 11:14, “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” The surrounding verses refer to Satan’s human servants disguising themselves as “apostles of Christ” and “servants of righteousness.” In context, these descriptions are referring to false teachers. But the principle surely applies to demons as well.
One problem—and it’s a big one—with trying to describe what Satan and demons look like is that they are spirits. Spirits are, by definition, non-physical, and it is impossible to assign physical features to a non-physical entity. As spirit beings, demons do not have noses, eyes, hands, feet, tails, or anything else that we might look for in drafting a description. That’s one reason why the Bible never describes Satan’s appearance. Even the “angel of light” description in 2 Corinthians 11:14 is not meant as a sketch of his appearance; rather, it means to emphasize the deceitful nature of Satan. The devil wants us to believe he is truth when in reality he is falsehood.
Now that we’ve established that Satan is an angel, a spirit being, having no physical likeness that can be grasped by our senses, we can do some surmising. Should Satan decide to make a physical appearance—if he manifested himself to us visibly—he would do so in a deceptive manner.
The common, pop culture portrayal of Satan as a scary-looking, goat-like beast with horns is not found in the Bible. Prior to his rebellion against God, Satan was a beautiful, glorious being (see Ezekiel 28:12–15). What Satan “looks like” now is a mystery. Based on 2 Corinthians 11:14, though, we can know one thing for certain: Satan deceives people into thinking he is an angel of light. For Satan to reveal himself as the evil, murderous being that he is would be counterproductive. Most people would not follow the hateful, malicious maniac of conventional portrayals. Just as sin often looks attractive at first—only later revealing that it leads to death—so Satan would seek to deceive us by appearing as something other than evil.
The same is likely true of the demons. What do demons look like? No one in the Bible ever saw one outside of Micaiah’s and John’s divine visions; Micaiah did not provide visual details, and John, using apocalyptic symbolism, wrote of spirits “like frogs” (see 1 Kings 22:21–22 and Revelation 16:13). If demons were to take visible form, they would choose whatever would further their deception. As fallen angels, the demons are intelligent and powerful beings. And they are led by perhaps the most powerful created being (Jude 1:9), Satan, whose example they follow. The demons appearing as the evil beings they really are would hinder their mission of deception and temptation.
What does Satan look like? What do demons look like? There is no way to know for certain. If they did appear, they would put on a masquerade. Deception always wears a mask. Satan and the demons attempt to portray themselves as servants, guides, and “light” for people. But, make no mistake, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).
No matter what Satan would like us to think about himself, we know the truth: “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). And we know his end: “And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” (Revelation 12:9).
Recommended Resource: Angels: Elect & Evil by C. Fred Dickason
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Questions about Angels and Demons
What does Satan look like? What do demons look like?