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Satan: Mankind's Greatest Enemy
17 October 2014
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John1:1). All things were created through the Word, Yeshua (Jesus), and for Him — see Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-3; John 1:1-4,10; 1 Corinthians 8:6.
Part of this creation are the mysterious spiritual beings called angels and archangels, cherubs (the plural in Hebrew is cherubim) and seraphs (the plural in Hebrew is seraphim).
I call them mysterious because the Bible does not say much about them directly, but only gives us glimpses and hints here and there. I think this is because mankind is the focus of God’s master plan, and not these others.
Certain of these spiritual beings are referred to by name, like Michael and Gabriel. In addition, there is another important spiritual being who, although not identified by name, nevertheless plays a major role in the Bible and in the history of mankind. Ezekiel 28:11-19. Although the prophet was speaking about the human king of Tyre, it quickly becomes apparent that God, through Ezekiel, was also addressing the spiritual being who empowered the king of Tyre:
You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God. You were adorned with every precious gemstone ... all beautifully crafted and set in the finest gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 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.In the account of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2-3, there were only four beings: God, Adam, Eve and the Serpent. It is evident that the spiritual being who was empowering the king of Tyre was the same spiritual being who was empowering the Serpent that deceived Eve. The passage in Ezekiel also states that this being was set apart as a “guardian cherub.” Tabernacle, he was shown the true Tabernacle in Heaven as the pattern — see Exodus 25:9; Acts 7:44; Hebrews 8:5. In both the Heavenly Tabernacle and the earthly copy, God is described as being enthroned between the cherubim (cherubs). In the earthly Tabernacle there are carved images of cherubs; in Heaven around the throne of God are the actual living cherubs.
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.... So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (verses 12b-15,16b-17)
The prophet Ezekiel is one of the few humans ever recorded to have seen cherubs. You can read his astonishing descriptions of them in Ezekiel chapters 1 and 10. These four cherubs seem so out-of-this-world that some pagans have even speculated that they were actually extraterrestrial aliens in spaceships!
Read these two chapters in Ezekiel to get an idea of the fantastic creature cherubs were created to be. Now add to that the amazing description of this particular cherub in Ezekiel 28: “... the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty ... adorned with every precious gemstone ... beautifully crafted and set in the finest gold ... anointed as a guardian cherub ... blameless ...” Wow! This spiritual being sounds like the pinnacle of God’s creation.
In the apostle John’s visions of God’s throne in Heaven recounted in Revelation 5, he also saw four cherubs — which he called “living creatures,” just like Ezekiel did in his first encounter with them. In both accounts, the four cherubs seem to be closely associated with the throne of God.
John adds that “day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.’” — just like in Isaiah’s encounter with seraphs (seraphim). I think that there are enough similarities in the accounts from these three prophets to believe that cherubs and seraphs could likely be one and the same creatures. “... wickedness was found in you ... Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor.”
God gives us more details of this being’s downfall in Isaiah 14:12-15. As was the case with Ezekiel, Isaiah was talking about a human king — this time, the king of Babylon. And as before, God was also addressing the spiritual being who empowered this earthly king:
How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart,
I will ascend to the heavens;But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.
I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of the congregation, on the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.
This formerly-perfect spiritual being, this cherub with ambitions to be “like God,” goes by a variety of names. From the Hebrew we have our English word Satan (accuser, adversary). From the Greek language was derived the Devil (slanderer, accuser). And from the above passage in Isaiah 14, in Latin, we get Lucifer (morning star). For the rest of this article I will refer to this spiritual being simply as Satan.
Satan is mentioned directly 14 times in the Old Testament, and 11 of those occurrences are in the first two chapters of Job. This passage, along with the passages from Ezekiel and Isaiah quoted above, give us the Old Testament’s clearest views of who Satan is.
In the Old Testament, it seems as if Satan was staying behind the scenes, attempting to corrupt and destroy the people of God, the Jews, by working through the various groups of humans that lived around Israel. Satan himself remained in the shadows. But with the coming of Yeshua, the Son of God, Satan seems to have stepped from the background into a more conspicuous role. 69 times to refer to this great enemy of God and mankind. There are a further 12 references to Satan as the evil one. Here is a summary of what we learn in the New Testament:
But don’t imagine that God and Satan are equal enemies. You need to always remember that God created Satan. There is a bigger gap between God and Satan than there is between Satan and man, or between man and prokaryote. God is the Creator; everything and everyone else is created. There is practically an infinite gap between the two.
God wants loving relationship with the beings He created. He doesn’t want robots that are programmed to “love” Him. He doesn’t want slaves who are forced to “love” Him. He longs for true lovers who willingly and eagerly choose to love Him with all of their hearts.
Therefore God has given His creatures a will — the capability to choose who to love. We can choose to love God; we can also choose to NOT love God by loving SELF instead. We can choose to belong to God and follow His ways, or else we are choosing to belong to Satan and follow his ways. There is no third option of simply living for ourselves without following God or Satan. If you choose SELF instead of God, you are automatically in Satan’s camp, because his way is the way of SELF.
In God’s master plan, He uses Satan and all his evil deeds for His own eternal purposes. In a simplistic summary, God uses Satan to provide an alternative choice to loving God and submitting to Him. This is the same reason God allowed Satan into the Garden of Eden in the first place.
Just like Adam and Eve, every human born since then has had to face the same test, the same choices. They can choose to love and obey God. On the other hand, humans are also free to reject God and follow SELF and Satan instead. I will statements recorded in Isaiah 14 (above), the ambition of Satan’s SELF-love is to actually become like God and take His place on the throne of the universe.
However, Satan was not content to rebel against God all by himself. Revelation 12:4 seems to imply that a third of the angels followed Satan in his revolt. But even that success was not enough.
When Satan was tempting Eve to choose SELF over God, he took his own ambition — “I will make myself like the Most High” — and enticed Eve to make that ambition hers as well: “... you will be like God...” (Genesis 3:5b).
Unfortunately for the human race, Satan succeeded in persuading Adam and Even to put SELF before God. And he has had probably more success than he could have imagined in enticing a large part of the human race to choose SELF instead of God for thousands and thousands of years.
Satan loves himSELF above all others. He hates God, and he hates the human race. This is the cosmic war we are in, where the battleground is the hearts and minds of mankind, and the stakes are eternal. In a future article, we will take a closer look at some of the specific battles which have occurred during this war — see Ancient Battles in the Cosmic War and The Empire Strikes Back.
Before I close, I want to direct you to my article The Deep Things of Satan — which presents the entire 17th chapter of the book The Harlot Church System — in which author Charles Newbold shares profound insights from Isaiah 14, as well as Revelation chapters 2 and 3, regarding Satan’s active role in the midst of the people of God.
This article is 24th a series of articles on this Web site related to Exploring New Testament Realities which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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