What Does The Devil Look Like According to The Bible?


When the topic of the devil comes up between people of different races and tribes around the world, it’s usually backed by a culturally influenced description of who or what he is.

Some individuals or groups label the word ‘satan’ as a principle or the quality of evil that exists inside of human beings. Some say that he is possibly a figment of the imagination and simply doesn’t exist. Some have the school of thought that Lucifer in the Bible isn’t demonic or evil, but more like a wrongly accused protagonist in a story.

There’s however an ultimate historical source of knowledge that has the true definitions or descriptions of all things that exist; this is the Bible. There are several mentions of Lucifer in the Bible and these texts would be explored in this article. as well as his personality.

If you read further down, you’ll be getting a full description of the devil’s appearance according to the vivid texts in scripture. And by the end of the article, you should also be equipped as a believer on how to defend yourself against the devil.

Who is The Devil?

The devil in the bible, also called Lucifer which means “shining one”, is a spiritual creature who personifies evil. He was an anointed Cherub, a high ranking angel of worship in heaven. Ezekiel speaks of this being as one who embodied perfection and he existed even before God made man;

“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God […] you were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones..”

(Ezekiel 28:12-14)

But eventually, pride took over Lucifer, and He began to desire to become equal to God.

“Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.” (Ezekiel 28:17)

He eventually rebelled against God, and deceived about ⅓ angels to join in his rebellion (Revelations 12:3-4). He was cast out of heaven (Luke 10:18, Isaiah 14:12), along with the other fallen angels who are now demons that roam the earth seeking who to possess on his command. The devil is now an invisible spirit as opposed to some description in history. So if you ask what does the devil look like, the answer is different to what you would expect, according to Ephesians 6:11-12, he doesn’t actually have a physical appearance. He’s known to propagate and thrive in great deceit.

How Is The Devil Portrayed In Art?

Over the centuries, the devil has been portrayed by various artists as a fanged demon, a blue angel, or even Apollo-like army leader in a uniform, with literature being a major influence on their choice of representation.

From the 1500’s to the 1600’s, most artists portrayed Lucifer as a horrific image of a beast, or an inhuman demon, or even a horned goat. But as time progressed, artists start to personify him.

Examples of such personified art are;

Alexander Cabanel’s “Fallen Angel”

the fallen angel painting
The Fallen Angel, Alexandre Cabanel, 1847

“Fallen Angel” was painted in the year 1847 by a french artist called Alexander Cabanel who was just 24 years old at the time.

The painting depicts Lucifer after his fall from heaven, his face hidden by his arms, his eyes filled with rage, which proceeded through a fuming teardrop. The person depicted in the painting is almost too beautiful, and his physique is painted nude. Though he seems relaxed, his muscles are flexed and posed to fight.

Alexander’s painting of the devil ranks as perhaps one of the most popular works of art to have been painted in history.

“St Michael Vanquishing The Devil” by Bonifazio Veronese

Michael Vanquishing Satan
St Michael Vanquishing The Devil, Bonifazio Veronese, 1530

This painting was made in the year 1530 by Bonifazio Veronese in Italy. Bonifazio depicts a very popular scene from the book of Revelations in the Bible, where Angel Michael tramples on Lucifer at the Armageddon. The painting shows Michael piercing a spear to the back of Lucifer. The latter is depicted as a fire-breathing humanoid with full fledged draconian wings.

Such an image descended from the era where the devil was often depicted as a dragon.

“The Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed In The Sun” by William Blake

The Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed In The Sun
The Red Dragon and The Woman Clothed In The Sun, William Blake, 1803

This painting from the year 1803 depicts the devil in a very disturbing and unique way. Lucifer is shown as a unity of different body parts from man, a dragon and several other beastly creatures.

This is a direct translation of the appearance of the devil in the book of Revelations, as a great red dragon with seven crowned heads and ten horns.

How Does the Bible Describe the Devil?

The Bible in several texts doesn’t depict the actual physical appearance of the devil but rather, his personality and what he exudes.

A biblically accurate devil through numerous verses in scripture, is explained to be epitome of deceit, blinding the eyes of men and twisting actual truth into lies that he can use to destroy human beings (John 8:44, Gen 3:1, Rev 12:19)

He is often described as;

  • A roaring lion: Satan is an enemy of the Church, and the Bible warns Christians of how he comes and what he comes to do in 1 Peter 5:8, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
  • An angel of light: In Corinthians, Paul strictly warns of the devil’s tactics to appear as “an angel of light”, looking good and pure to the human eye, in order to deceive men into thinking his ways are right. He uses this deceptive appearance to manipulate people (2 Corinthians 11:14).
  • Tempter: The Bible in Matthew 4:3 also describes the devil as the tempter. He’s constantly trying to tempt the believer into sinning against God through lies and fake promises. In the Garden of Eden, he also tempted Eve into eating the fruit God particularly warned her against.
  • Serpent: In the Bible this is also translated to mean “deceiver” (Rev 12:9). Satan is the one who paints lies into colourful paths of deceit that can lure unknowing men to spend eternity with him in the lake of fire. His prime goal is to make sure he gets man to rebel against God so he doesn’t suffer alone at judgement.

How Can We Recognize The Devil?

You can recognize the devil and his tactics through his most common strategies;

  1. Deception: John 8:44 describes the devil as the father of lies. Anything that isn’t truthful definitely has the devil in it. He deceives man with empty promises and false hope that is built on nothing substantial. He conceals the truth about your actions and tries to waterdown anything that God places highly.He makes the worst of things look good and not harmful, just to lure you into sin. Do not be deceived, the plans the devil has for you are always evil and will always end in darkness.
  2. Division: The devil seeks to tear apart or divide man because he knows unity is a weapon against his tactics. Jesus in John 17:22 prayed for the church to be one and Satan, the church’s greatest adversary, would naturally want to cause the opposite; Division. He starts to divide the believer from within before it graduates into the body of the church.
  3. Diversion: For every human being, their ultimate primary focus is a relationship with the One who created them. The devil naturally seeks to divert our attention from anything that brings us closer to God our Father by dangling in our front fickle desires or wants that will not matter in the grand scheme of things. His primary goal is to destroy your soul and body in hell (Matt 10:28)
  4. Discouragement: The Bible calls the devil “the accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12:10), meaning he’s constantly trying to dampen and bring down God’s people. The devil hates the very idea of man. God decided to lift mere human beings to rank high in authority as angels do (Psalm 4:8), and made man exclusively in His image.That angers the devil more than anything, and he will stop at nothing to make sure man falls with him. This means he will try to saturate your thoughts with discouragement and self doubt. He will remind you of your sins and continue to tell you lies about God.

How To Protect Yourself Against The Devil

When the devil comes knocking with attacks, how do you respond and fight back? There are 5 major ways a believer can protect himself against the devil;

  • Know your identity: Never forget that Satan has been defeated and that you fight from a place of victory. You are God’s child. You need to understand that the One who lives in you is way greater than he that is in the world ( 1 John 4:4). Stand on that revelation and send the devil back to where he belongs. He only plagues and takes over those who do not understand the authority they have in Christ Jesus.
  • Understand the devil’s tactics: Know how the devil operates. Realise the areas in which you are weak and vulnerable and cease such areas in your life. The devil is well aware of where you’ll likely fall and he will come with his usual strategies. Never give space for him to work in you (Ephesians 4:27)
  • The Blood of Jesus: When Jesus died on the cross, the key for redemption was birthed through his blood, and the devil knew all of his efforts had come to an end. Even the bible said if only he knew, he wouldn’t have crucified Jesus (1 Corinthians 2:8). The Blood is the ultimate weapon of warfare when the devil attacks. It is a spiritual sign that says to Satan to “Stay Away!” (Rev 12:11)
  • Put On The Full Armor of God: The Bible also tells us in Ephesians 6:12-13, to put on our full armour so that we can stand against the wiles of the devil. This armour would help you discern his crafty ways and attack precisely. The armour of God consists of all the spiritual realities a believer must hold up everyday.
  • Talk to God constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17): We overcome the devil by being totally submitted to The Lord, and one ultimate way we remain submitted is through Prayer (Ephesians 6:18). You wrestle not against flesh and blood. When you are submitted under God and His word, in the name of Jesus, you can conquer any device of the devil.

Final Thoughts

Some people might ask, “If the devil is so evil, why is he still on earth destroying human beings? Why does God allow that?”

Just as God is sovereign and created everything that exists in the universe, which includes Lucifer, The Lord gave most of these intelligent beings free will and the ability to choose between Him and evil. Nothing is forced on man from God (Deut 30:19).

As a believer, God desires for you to choose Him and His way. Never forget that as a child of God, you fight from a place of victory, and not defeat. Be alert and discerning of the devil’s tactics, and you’re sure of victory always.