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Five Studies on Satan and Demons (Part 1)

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, and author of Biblical Prayer for Today's Believers: Transform Your Prayer Life (available on Amazon).

The Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

Guido Reni, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Guido Reni, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

1. Fall of The Anointed Cherub

Sometime between 593 and 571 B.C., God sent a dreadful message to the King of Tyre through the Prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 28:1-10). Since the King of Tyre thought he was a god because he was extremely wise and wealthy, God would demonstrate to him that he was only a man by letting him die before foreign invaders (the Babylonians).

In the midst of His message to the King of Tyre, God also placed a revelation about an event that took place a very long, long time ago (Ezekiel 28:11-15).

God created a perfectly beautiful and knowledgeable cherub. Then God anointed this cherub and allowed him to be in God's own mountain (Exodus 3:1), among the coals that are before God's throne (Isaiah 6:6, Ezekiel 10:2), and in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8).

For a while, this cherub was blameless before God, but one day God found sin in his heart. It seems that, like the King of Tyre, this cherub became proud and thought himself to be a god. Consequnetly, God brought judgment on him (Ezekiel 28:16-17).

From this prophecy in Ezekiel, we can derive several important points:

  • Pride is wrong
  • God created this cherub (and all other angels) perfect
  • God showed kindness on this cherub (and all other angels)
  • This cherub decided to rebel against God.
  • Even perfect beigns like angels can choose to rebel against God.

Lord God, you are good and generous to all your creation. You show kindness, and we are required to trust in you and your word. You alone are God, and there is no one else like you. Our duty is to recognize your greatness and your goodness, and to submit to you. Anyone who rebels against you, you will justly judge and destroy. Lord God, you alone are God. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.

Questions for Reflection

  • Do you recognize that only God (the God of the Bible) is God?
  • Have you submitted to the authority of this one God?
  • Do you delight in God's greatness and goodness?
  • Do you believe that rebelling against God is truly wrong?

2. The Fall of Lucifer

What Ezekiel prophesied about the cherub who rebelled against God was not completely new. In fact, sometime between 740 and 701 B.C., God had already revealed it through the prophet Isaiah while prophesying against the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:12-15).

In Isaiah 14:12-15, God revealed that a shining one and son of the dawn wanted to be like God and rule over the stars of heaven. What does this mean?

Job 38:7 identifies morning stars as sons of God, or angels. In other words, Lucifer (the shining one and son of the dawn) tried to be equal with God and rule over God's angels.

Moreover, the Apsotle John also wrote about this event (Revelation 12:4) sometime within the first century B.C (between 60 A.D. and 90 A.D.).

Who then is this Lucifer? Is he the ancient king of Babylon? According to John, the dragon who drew one third of the stars of heaven is the same serpent from Genesis 3:1, that is the Devil, or Satan (Revelation 12:4). So then, Isaiah was really prophesying about Satan.

Thus, God revealed through Ezekiel, Isaiah, and John that the Devil (Satan) was at first a beautiful cherub whom God had created and appointed as guardian before God's throne and over Eden. But this cherub rebelled gainst God, and he attempted to rule over God's agels.

Questions and Prayer

  • When God created Lucifer, was Lucifer good or evil?
  • What do you think led Lucifer to rebel against God?
  • How then are angels and spirits similar to humans?
  • When do you think this rebellion took place?

Lord God, you alone are God Most High. To you, oh Lord, do we owe our existence and everything that is good. By embracing Jesus your Son, I have submitted to you; and by your grace, you have forgiven all my sins when I first believed in Jesus. All your enemies will perish, but those who love you and your Son will live forever. Amen.

3. When Did Satan Fall?

Matthew 13:24-30

A few days ago, someone on Facebook asked why God placed mankind (Adam and Eve) in the same planet to which Satan had been cast. I think this question makes an assumption that shouldn't be made: that before He created humanity, God had already cast Satan to Earth.

I realize there are many opinions on the subject. Take as a classic example John Milton's Paradise Lost (1674). There, Milton depicts Satan as having first fallen (but not to Earth), and then making his way to Earth, where he finally infiltrated Paradise and caused humanity's fall.

But it seems to me that is not what the Bible reveals. According to the Bible (Ezekiel 28:13-15), this anointed cherub (Satan) was created perfect and allowed to be in God's holy mountain (Sinai), in the midst of the stones of fire (in front of God's throne), and in the garden of Eden. But all this changed when iniquity was found in him.

As I have mentioned in other posts, angels are at times given specific roles in relationship to the natural universe and the world. Apparently, Satan was initially given some role(s) that allowed him to walk before God's throne, to be on God's mountain, and to be present in Eden.

But then iniquity was found in him. That iniquity consisted on trying to rule over God's angels and to be like God (Isaiah 14:12-15), which is very similar to the way in which Satan tempted Eve (Genesis 3:5).

It seems to me, therefore, that the following scenario is more probable. God created Satan and the angels sometime before He created the universe and the Earth (that's probably how Satan got to spend time before God's throne).

When God created Earth, He commissioned Satan to administrate a region that encompassed Sinai and Eden. Based on Job 1:7 and Luke 4:5-6, Satan may have even been in charge of administrating the whole Earth. Moreover, as a cherub (a sentinel spirit), Satan was probably in charge of taking care of God's new creation.

Nevertheless, after God created humanity, Satan thought he could rule God's angels, earth, and humanity. He probaly thought he could be equal with God. So he conceived a plan to turn humanity agaist God, and by doing so, launch a full scale rebellion against Him.

When Satan tempted Eve, one third of heaven's angels followed him (Revelation 12:4). Nevertheless, things did not go as Satan had planned. God subdued Satan's rebellion, and He even promised to overcome what Satan had done to humanity (Genesis 3:14-15). God also retained two thirds of his angels. Thus, from then on, Satan would serve God's purposes (Job 1:6, 1 Chronicles 21:1, 2 Samuel 24:1).

It seems to me that Satan's fall was a process that culminated when Adam and Eve also fell. God did not create humanity on a planet to which Satan had already been cast out; instead, God created humanity on a planet that was at first entrusted to Satan before Satan decided to rebel against God.

What do you think? Based on what the Bible says regarding the subject of Satan's fall, when do you think this fall took place? What do you think happed?

Lord God, your word is truth, but you have only revealed to us what your infinite wisdom thought was necessary and adequate for us to know. Our understanding of your word is imperfect, so we must patiently wait for you to reveal all things in the end of times.

4. Why Did Satan Sin?

In John 8:44, Jesus tells his disciples that the devil (Satan) is a murderer and a liar from the begining, and that he did not abide in the truth because there is no truth in him.

We should not understand Jesus to mean that, when God created Satan, God created Satan as a murderer and a liar who did not know the truth. Such interpretation would contradict what Jesus himself implies: that Satan used to find himself in the truth before he departed from it.

What the Lord most likely means is that Satan did not abide in the truth because, in his present state of being (a fallen angel), the truth does no longer dwell in Satan.

This agrees with what Ezekiel 28:15 tells us: that from the day God created Satan, Satan was perfect in all his ways until the day when iniquity was found in him. God had created a beautiful and perfect being, but this beautiful and perfect being became a murderous and lying monster when he willingly gave up the truth.

But what is the truth Satan gave up willingly? That truth is God's words and God's ways (John 8:47).

And why did Satan not abide in the truth? In Isaiah 14:13-14, God tells us that Satan said the following things in his heart:

  • I will ascend to heaven,
  • I will set my throne over the stars of God,
  • I will sit over the mount of the congregation,
  • I will ascend higher than the clouds,
  • I will be like the Most High.

By telling us that Satan said the following things in his heart, God is telling us that Satan made a deliberate choice to rebel against God. He knew God, but he chose to rebel against the God he knew. Satan made a deliberate and conscious choice to rebel.

Whereas the Bible clearly teaches that Eve sinned because she was deceived (1 Tiomthy 2:14), that the man sinned because he chose to obey his wife instead of God (Genesis 3:17), and that we all sinned because Adam sinned (Romans 5:12), the Bible does not tell us that Satan was under anyone's influence, or under the influence of sin. What the Bible seems to teach is that Satan made his own choice regardless of his knowledge of God.

Satan was the first existentialist!

God created Satan as a being who could autonomously decide to disobey Him, regardless of God's goodness to him and to the rest of His creation; and even though God foreknew (or at least thought it was possible... though I believe foreknew) that this being would rebel against Him, God still thought it was good for Him to create such a being!

  • Why would God create a being who can choose to obey or disobey him?
  • Why would God choose to create a being He knew would disobey him?
  • How would creating such a being glorify God?
  • How would God creating such a being demonstrate His unlimited power?
  • How is Satan like God? How is Satan different from God?
  • How are humans like Satan? How are humans different from Satan?
  • How are humans like God? How are humans different from God?
  • Why does humanity's attempt to create robots with artificial intelligence sound a lot like God creating beings with volition?

Father in Heaven, God Most High, your ways are higher than my ways, your thoughts are higher than my thoughts, yet in all your ways you are righteous, good, and just. You are sovereign, and being sovereing, you chose to create beings who, though limited, are similar enough to you to relate to you in meaningful ways. Lord, though I am a limited being, because you have been gracious enough to reveal yourself to me and to give me the opportunity to choose, I make the choice to recognize your goodness, to love you, and to submit to you through Jesus Christ. Amen.

5. When Did The Sons of God Rebel?

In the third lesson, I discussed a possible timeline for the rebellion that Satan led against God. Neverhteless, Satan's rebellion in Eden appears to have been only the beginning: according to the book of Revelation, one third of God's angels followed Satan (Revelation 12: 4, 7, 9).

In fact, in light of Genesis 6:1-14, I would like to suggest on this post that a second rebellion took place in the times of Noah and the flood.

According to Genesis 6:1-14, the sons of God took wives for themselves from the daughters of men because they though they were beautiful. Although the identity of the sons of God has been debated over and over again because of theological assumptions, the book of Job clearly designates this title to angelic beings (Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7).

When God created life on Earth, He created different kinds with the intention that they would multiply according to their kind (Genesis 1:11, 21, 22, 24, 25). In other words, God established a natural order, and breaking this order was sinful before Him (Leviticus 19:19, Deuteronomy 22:9-11). In fact, God had even established that men would procreate with women (Genesis 1:27-28).

Therefore, when the sons of God took wives for themselves, they did a wicked thing before God: they violated the order God had established, and all flesh became corrupt (Genesis 6:12). The corruption of all flesh indicates that not only had humans become corrupt, but animals too (thus, this may even imply bestiality).

For this reason, because life on Earth became violent and corrupt, God decided to send a flood to wipe out all flesh from the Earth, but He decided to save Noah, his family, and a male and female of each kind of animal to restore order on the Earth (Genesis 6:20).

But what about the sons of God? What did God do regarding the sons of God? Genesis does not tell us about this; but in 2 Peter 2:4-5, we are told that these angels were chained in hell and await judgment.

It appears, however, that in the days of Lot and Abraham, this wickedness surfaced once again in the city of Sodom. Therefore, when the wicked men desired to sexually "know" the angels, they were smitten with blindness, and the Lord rained fire on them, to prevent this great sin from overtaking the world again (Genesis 19:5).

Satan's rebellion against God began in Eden, and a second rebellion by the sons of God took place in the days of Noah. Nevertheless, God put an end to this second rebellion right away by binding these angels in Hell; Satan, on the other hand, was not bound; but he will be bound before the millenium (Revelation 20:2).

Reflection

  • Why do you think God cares so much about the natural order He established for life on Earth?
  • Why do you think God chained in hell the angels that took wives for themselves, but decided to let Satan remain unchained until the millenium (which will take place in the future)?
  • According to this interpreatation of the events in Genesis 6, the sons of God are fallen angels (demons). What support is given and what support is needed to defend this view?

Who Were The Nephilim

© 2020 Marcelo Carcach

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