The surrounding passages are speaking of false human teachers. How might we then interpret the expression regarding the Devil?

2 Corinthians 11:13-15: "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds."

Has Satan appeared to someone in the Bible as an "angel of light" or should we read this figuratively?


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That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. [John 1:9 KJV.]

If Jesus is the true light, then there is another form of light that is not true, that is to say it is darkness, not light. But it appears to be light.

And as Jesus is the personification of true light, so Satan is the personification of the light that appears to be light (a disguise) but is, in reality, a darkness.

If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! [Matthew 6:23 KJV.]

None of this is literal in the sense of visible light and visible darkness.

Jesus did not appear as a brilliant shining light, in physical appearance. But he is seen in that kind of way in the transfiguration, revealed only to three apostles, and in the vision of John, described in the Apocalypse showing that these things are spiritual, not physical and literal, whilst he was yet on earth among men.

Nor can we see Jesus in such a way, now, this moment. But he is the true light, now, at this moment. And there is, also, Satan, who - now, this moment - disguises himself as if he purveyed light.

But what he purveys is untruth and darkness.


Yes. Literal. And also reinforced elsewhere ...

1 PETER 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Who is often portrayed as a ‘Lion’? The Jews knew about ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’. And here in Peters letter he says the devil goes around like a lion. That sense that God is ‘angry’ or disappointed with believers. God is never angry with believers.

And we see real time evidence of this in scripture. In the times Jesus was on earth, the Pharisees“disguised themselves as servants of righteousness”. They claimed to represent God. They were the ‘experts’ with Torah. (The Law). But continually used the ‘Law’ to judge, to condemn. And how did Jesus respond?

JOHN 8:44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

So here Jesus reflected the literal understanding of 2 Corinthians 11:14.


Satan appearing as "an angel of light" is both figurative and literal--but the literal application is yet future, reserved to the last great deception of Satan for the world.

Figurative: In the figurative sense, Satan is able to present truth. He may not appear to us as an angel from heaven, as he appeared to Christ in the wilderness during the temptations (Matthew 4), but in the same manner as he did to Christ he can quote even the Scriptures to us in an attempt to deceive. We must be alert against his wiles, and careful to discern the true meaning and spirit of God's Word.

Literal: In the literal sense, Satan will seek the homage of all the world in his last great deception when he will impersonate Christ Himself and perform miracles in the sight of men. Although he will appear as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), he is referred to as a "beast" in each of the following texts.

And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. (Revelation 13:13-14)

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:14)

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20)

Notice that this "beast" will have power to work miracles, including bringing fire down from heaven in our sight. Those who live by the saying that "seeing is believing" will be fooled by their own senses at that time.

We are counseled to be like the Bereans who, when even the acclaimed apostle Paul was speaking to them, went back and searched the scriptures to see whether he taught them the truth or not. In other words, regardless of whom it may be that speaks to us; regardless of that person's reputation, education, status, or charm; our only safety is in following a clear "thus saith the Lord" for every belief or doctrine. Jesus quoted Scripture to Satan in the wilderness, and he is our example. The "angel of light" may appear genuine and may present something from scripture to gain our confidence, but we must be able to answer by Scripture.

When the final deception comes, and Satan appears claiming to be Jesus Christ, those who know the Scriptures will not be deceived, for they know that Jesus will come in the clouds, and that every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7). God will not allow Satan to counterfeit these details.

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