By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the Contemporary English Version)
Quotation For Consideration
“The devil and his demons wrestle with God’s people on earth to discourage and to defeat spiritual advance in the individual and in the church.”. (C. Fred Dickerson, Angels: Elect And Evil, 379 (Kindle Edition); Chicago; Moody Press)
Questions For Contemplation
Is the devil a real person?
What does the devil have to do with evil, pain, and suffering in our universe?
How did Satan become “the god of this world?”
Satan In The Book Of Job
In our last lesson, we learned that angels (as well as human beings) have been given freewill by God.
While this freewill is a blessing in and of itself, its’ abuse led to sin and to terrible consequences for God’s Creation.
In this lesson, we will more carefully consider what the Book of Job and the rest of the Bible teaches us about Satan.
By coming to a better understanding of these matters, we will have a fuller knowledge of what the Bible teaches us regarding the existence of evil, pain, and suffering in our universe.
In Job chapters one and two, Satan is mentioned as being involved in a conversation with the Almighty God.
Job 1:6-One day, when the angels had gathered around the LORD, and Satan was there with them,
Job 2:1-When the angels gathered around the LORD again, Satan was there with them,
Several important things stand out to us from these passages.
First, Satan is a very real person. He is not a euphemism for impersonal evil, as many in the world teach. The Bible emphasizes that Satan is a very real person (cf. Genesis 3:1-6; 1 Chronicles 21:1; Zechariah 3:1-6; Luke 4:1-13; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8).
Second, we see here that Satan is referenced as being with the “sons of God,” which was a Hebrew designation for the angels.
Third, the name “Satan” itself has a primary meaning of one who is an accuser; yet his name has a still deeper meaning. One second century Christian tells us about the original meaning of the name Satan:
Irenaeus-“The Hebrew word Satan means an apostate.” (c. 180, E/W 1.549)
The devil is an apostate: that is, he is one who has departed from a state of grace.
There are two passages in the Old Testament which many believe describe for us who the devil is, and his departure from God’s favor.
The “Lucifer” Passage
In the Book of Isaiah, the Prophet describes the downfall of the “king of Babylon.”
Isaiah 14:4 (NKJV)-that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased!
Notice that word “proverb.” In the Hebrew, it has a very interesting meaning:
“In Isaiah 14:4 , God tells the prophet to take up a “taunt” (Hebrew: mashal ) against the king of Babylon. A mashal is better described as a comparative parable. The question to keep in mind as we proceed is, to whom is the king of Babylon being compared?”. (Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural Worldview Of The Bible,1466 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)
So here the king of Babylon is being compared with another great ruler that was well-known to the ancient world, one whose apostasy from grace paralleled in some ways the downfall of the king of Babylon.
Notice specifically what is said:
Isaiah 14:12-16-12 You, the bright morning star, have fallen from the sky! You brought down other nations; now you are brought down.
13 You said to yourself, “I’ll climb to heaven and place my throne above the highest stars. I’ll sit there with the gods far away in the north.
14 I’ll be above the clouds, just like God Most High.”
15 But now you are deep in the world of the dead.
16 Those who see you will stare and wonder, “Is this the man who made the world tremble and shook up kingdoms?
Many of the ancient Jews and Christians understood that the king of Babylon was here being compared with the downfall of Satan himself.
If so, several things stand out about the passage.
First, look at the phrase “bright star” or “Lucifer.” The word used here was not a proper name for Satan, but denoted that this personage was in some way a bringer of light:
“Why did the KJV use the term “Lucifer” and modern versions the term “morning star”? The term Lucifer came to us by way of Jerome’s Latin Bible, the Vulgate, which the KJV translators sometimes used for their own translation. The Latin word for “morning star” is “Lucifer.” This word was used to refer to Venus, the morning star, and was applied figuratively to the pride and fall of the king of Babylon. Now, to associate the morning star with someone other than the king of Babylon is an interpretation which must be brought to this verse from somewhere else. So how did Lucifer (Latin for “morning star”) become equated with the evil personage of Satan, the devil? This is something that the medieval Church authorities imported into this text, without direct scriptural warrant.48 In other words, to associate the Latin word “the morning star”—lucifer—with the concept of the devil or Satan can only be suggested in a secondary sense.”. (Dr. John Ankerberg & Dr. John Weldon, The Facts On The King James only Debate, 317-324 (Kindle Edition); Eugene, Oregon; Harvest House)
Second, we see that the desire of this being was to be like God. Indeed, he wanted to have the same glory and respect as God Himself.
Third, this being would not achieve his goal but would instead be “cast down” to Sheol, the deepest levels of the pit.
The “King Of Tyre” Passage
Like with the passage in Isaiah, Ezekiel compares the downfall of the king of Tyre with another well-known personage. He writes:
Ezekiel 28:11-19-11 The LORD said:
12 Ezekiel, son of man, sing a funeral song for the king of Tyre and tell him I am saying: At one time, you were perfect, intelligent, and good-looking.
13 You lived in the garden of Eden and wore jewelry made of brightly colored gems and precious stones. They were all set in gold and were ready for you on the day you were born.
14 I appointed a winged creature to guard your home on my holy mountain, where you walked among gems that dazzled like fire.
15 You were truly good from the time of your birth, but later you started doing wicked things.
16 You traded with other nations and became more and more cruel and evil. So I forced you to leave my mountain, and the creature that had been your protector now chased you away from the gems.
17 It was your good looks that made you arrogant, and you were so famous that you started acting like a fool. That’s why I threw you to the ground and let other kings sneer at you.
18 You have cheated so many other merchants that your places of worship are corrupt. So I set your city on fire and burned it down. Now everyone sees only ashes where your city once stood,
19 and the people of other nations are shocked. Your punishment was horrible, and you are gone forever.
Here, there are several reasons to believe that the king of Tyre is being compared with the downfall of Satan.
Edward Myers writes:
“Two passages of Scripture often referred to regarding Satan’s early history are Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14:12-14. A closer look at these passages will assist us in drawing some conclusions regarding Satan’s origin. From the Ezekiel passage it is clear that the prophecy is addressed to the king of Tyre. However, the language seems to indicate that the application must go beyond the earthly ruler to a supernatural being of some kind. Ezekiel speaks concerning contemporary events, but seems to go beyond them from the king of Tyre to Satan, using them as a type. Rex Turner writes, Ezekiel, when delivering a burden against Tyre and the king of Tyre, also represented the king of Tyre as being a personification of Satan. Ezekiel’s personification of Satan is seen in his charge: “Because thy heart is lifted up” (Ezek. 28:2, KJV). “Thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas” (vs. 2); “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (vs. 12); “Thou wast in Eden, the garden of God” (vs. 13); “Thou wast the anointed cherub that covereth” (vs. 14); “Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God” (vs. 14); “Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire” (vs. 14); “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created till wickedness was found in you” (vs. 15); “Thy heart was lifted up because of thy beauty” (vs. 17); “Thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (vs. 17). Now all these statements could not have been true of the king of Tyre. He, therefore, apparently personified the spirit of Satan.1…Although in their original settings these passages have reference to the kings of Tyre and Babylon, there are many who believe that too much is said to have reference only to these kings. These passages, then, are taken as a personification of Satan himself. In these passages we have an account of Satan’s past career as Lucifer in his pre-fall splendor. For example, Victor Knowles writes, It is hard to understand how some can rule out any reference to Satan at all in this passage, Ezekiel 28:12-19. The passage fairly reeks with Satanic overtones. True, not everything that is said about the wicked king of Tyre can be paralleled with Satan. But enough is said to lead us to believe that the many accusations God made against the king of Tyre are also made against Satan. This man was so evil in his deeds that Scripture uses him as a personification of evil, or, more properly, the evil one—Satan. The wicked king of Tyre helps us to understand how evil this once-holy angel, Satan, really is.2. And again, writing of the passage in Isaiah, “This portion of Scripture, like the Ezekiel passage, was directed against a human king who was so evil that God compared him to the devil himself. Both kings exhibited attitudes, ambitions, and actions that are characteristic of Satan. Hence we are able to learn more about the evil nature of the once-holy angel, Satan.”3”. (Edward P. Myers, A Study of Angels, 54-56 (Kindle Edition); New York, NY: Howard Books)
Notice several things in detail with me.
First, the king of Tyre is said to have been in Eden, in the very garden of God.
Second, we are told that this being was also in the mountain of God and walked amid the fiery stones.
This seems to be a reference to Heaven itself, and is alluding to the book of Enoch. This apocryphal book is not inspired of God, but contains some powerful lessons for us. Ken Johnson has well written:
“Since we can see that editing was done, such as replacing the ancient names of cites and rivers ( e .g. Dan and Mt. Hermon ) , then we know the current version of the Book of Enoch is a translation of the original. This means it may have errors in it; it may be wholly corrupted in some sections, but it may also contain real history and real prophecy relevant to our generation. Fragments of the Book of Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in both the Hebrew and Greek languages . Later, in AD 1956, a Dead Sea Scroll was found to contain the whole Book of Enoch written in Aramaic. When this Aramaic version is published, it will prove the parables section was indeed pre- Christian and that the prophecies about the coming of the “ Son of Man,” or Messiah, were written before the Christian church began….The Book of Enoch teaches that the righteous are to live their lives by a series of books that will be given to them. Further, they will be judged by these books, not the Book of Enoch ( 104 ) . Now we know this to be true; Christians are judged by the sixty- six books of the Bible. Because of the way Enoch states this, it is obvious that the Book of Enoch was not supposed to be placed into the canon of Scripture but kept as a special message to those who lived in the generation just prior to the Tribulation period.”. (Ken Johnson, Th. D, Ancient Book Of Enoch, 9-10 (Kindle Edition)).
In the book of Enoch, Heaven is described as a great mountain of God adorned with fiery stones (Book Of Enoch 18:1-9; 24-25).
Interestingly enough, these stones are identified in Enoch, and are also referenced in the description of Heaven found in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 21).
This is one of the most powerful indicators that this king of Tyre was being compared with Satan.
Third, we are told that this being is a “cherub,” which is another word used in the Old Testament for the highest class of angels.
What is particularly interesting is that this being is identified as the cherub “who covers.” The ark of the covenant (which represented the dwelling place of God on Earth-see 1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:1; 99:1) had two statues of cherubim who stretched out their wings and “covered” the throne of God (Exodus 25:20-22).
Since all of the tabernacle system mirrored realities which existed in the spiritual realm (Hebrews 8:1-5; 9:9, 23-24; 10:1), many believe that this suggests Satan was at one time one of the angels charged with being in the very Presence of God Himself.
Fourth, we are told that the reason why this being rebelled was because he basically “fell in love” with himself. He became enamored with his’ own beauty. The devil sinned because he stopped worshipping God and started worshiping himself.
Finally, notice that this being was cast to the “earth.” The word used here is very interesting:
“The “ground” to which this haughty divine being is cast and where he is disgraced is also of interest. The Hebrew word translated “ground” is ’erets . It is a common term for the earth under our feet. But it is also a word that is used to refer to the underworld, the realm of the dead (e.g., Jonah 2:6 ), where ancient warrior- kings await their comrades in death ( Ezek 32:21 , 24–30 , 32 ; Isa 14:9 ). Adam, of course, was already on earth, so he couldn’t be sentenced there. And he didn’t wind up in the underworld. Yet this is the sort of language we would expect if the point was the expulsion of a heavenly being from the divine council.”. (Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering The Supernatural Worldview Of The Bible,1424-1433 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)
This tells us that this “being” who sinned will wind up being in the deepest pits of Hell (Revelation 20:11-14).
The “Strong Delusion” Of Satan
How did Satan become so deluded as to actually believe he could overthrow God?
One possible answer lies in an ancient teaching known as the “doctrine of emanations.”
Ken Johnson explains:
“One might understand if Lucifer was angry with God, he might convince one third of the angels of heaven to leave heaven to be alone, away from God. But look at the verses given about Lucifer’s fall. He wanted to be worshiped as God and actually tried to take God’s throne. How could any rational being think for one second that he might have power enough to force the only creator God out of His throne? No rational being would. Nor would Lucifer ; unless , he believed his own lie. What was Lucifer’s lie? Lucifer’s lie was this: God is not separate from His creation. When God puts His spirit into a newly created being, He looses part of Himself. In the Jewish Kabala this concept is called the Doctrine Of Emanations. In other words , if God created 100 billion people and put His spirit into each one of them, at that point the Bible would say God is still 100% God and Man is 0% God. Lucifer , on the other hand , would say at that point God might be, say, 47% God and all humans collectively would equate to 53% God. Lucifer might have actually believed that if there were enough angels they could overcome God and absorb the rest of what God once was. That, in effect, would kill off God. He probably believed this was the way it had been done for generations of gods /angels and universes. The Doctrine of Emanations would become the basis of all future pagan religions on earth, and the primary cause of the earth’s destruction by a world wide flood.”. (Ken Johnson, Th. D., Ancient Paganism: The Sorcery Of The Fallen Angels, 19-20 (Kindle Edition))
Other ancient texts suggest that Satan was also motivated to sin against God because of his strong hatred of mankind. For example, the Quran has this:
“Then verily We [Allah] shall narrate unto them [the event] with knowledge, for verily We were not absent [when it came to pass]. . . . And We created you [mankind], then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis [Satan], who was not of those who make prostration. He [Allah] said: What hindered thee that thou didst not fall prostrate when I bade thee? [Iblis] said: I am better than him. Thou createdst me of fire while him Thou didst create of mud. He [Allah] said: Then go down hence! It is not for thee to show pride here, so go forth! Lo, thou are of these degraded” (Surah VII, 7-13).
Whatever the “reason” behind Satan’s rebellion, his attempt to overthrow the throne of God failed.
The Surrender Of Creation By Humankind To The Devil…And Why We Suffer
It is in understanding this rebellion of Satan against God that we come to see one of the Bible’s main teachings regarding the existence of evil, pain, and suffering in the universe.
When God created mankind, He entrusted with him the stewardship of the entire Creation (Genesis 1:26-28).
As a result, when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God by submitting to the lies of the devil, the Creation was delivered to Satan.
In essence, mankind made the devil the lord of the material universe, the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
“The answer to why prayer is necessary lies in God’s original plan when He created Adam. The word “Adam” means “man; human being.”‘ In other words, God made man and called him “Man.” He made a human and called him “Human.” He made an adam and named him “Adam.” In fact, often when the Bible uses the term “man,” the actual Hebrew word is adam, spelled just like our English word. I share this simply to say that Adam represents sents all of us. What God intended for Adam, He intended for the entire human race. What was God’s intention? Initially, He gave Adam and Eve and their descendants dominion over the entire earth and over all creation, as we see in Genesis 1:26-28…In Psalm 8:6, the original Hebrew word used for “rule” is mashal. It indicates that Adam was God’s manager here, God’s steward or governor. Adam was God’s mediator, go-between or representative. Psalm 115:16 confirms this: “The heaven … the Eternal holds himself, the earth He has assigned to men” (Moffatt, emphasis added). God didn’t give away ownership of the earth, but He did assign the responsibility of governing it to humanity…Psalm 8:5 actually says human beings were made just “a little tle lower than God” and that we were crowned with God’s very own glory. The definition of the Hebrew word kabowd that’s translated “glory” literally means “heavy or weighty” !6 It’s linked to the concept of authority. We still use the picture today when we refer to someone who “carries a lot of weight.” Adam carried God’s weight on the earth. I don’t know what Adam weighed but he was heavy. He represented God with full authority! He was large and in charge! The Greek word for glory, doxa, is just as loaded. It involves the concept of recognition. More specifically, it’s what causes someone (or something) to be recognized for who he or she (or it) really is.7 When we read in Scripture that humankind is the glory of God (see 1 Cor. 11:7), it’s telling us that God was recognized in humans. Why? So humans could accurately represent Him. When creation looked at Adam, they were supposed to see God. And they did! That is, until Adam sinned and couldn’t carry the weight of God’s glory anymore….Let’s recap based on what we’ve learned so far: Adam was comparable to or similar to God-so much like God that it was illusionary. God was recognized in Adam, which meant that Adam “carried the weight” here on Earth. Adam represented resented God, presenting again His will on the earth. Adam was God’s governor or manager here. The earth was Adam’s assignment; ment; it was under Adam’s charge or care. How things went on planet Earth, for better or worse, depended on Adam and his offspring. Think about that. If the earth remained a paradise, it would be because of humankind. If things became messed up, it would be because of humankind. If the serpent ever gained control, it would be because of humankind. Humanity really was in charge! Why would God do it this way? Why would He take such a risk? From what I know about God in the Scriptures and from my personal walk with Him, it comes down to one thing: God wanted a family-sons and daughters who could personally relate to Him, and vice versa. So He made our original parents similar to Himself. He put His very life and Spirit into them, gave them a sweet crib by the beach with lots of exotic pets, sat down and said, “This is good.” Every day He would hang out with them, walk with them, teach them about Himself and their home. He said, “Give me some grandsons and granddaughters.” God was now a dad, and He was thrilled!…What’s the point of all this? Check this out: God assigned so much authority over the earth to Adam that he, not just God, had the ability to give it away! In fact, when Adam did exactly that-giving it away to Satan and making him “the ruler of this world” (see John 12:3 1; 14:30; 16:11)-it cost God big time. Jesus had to become a part of the human race to fix the mess Adam made. The Father had to give up His only Son. If that doesn’t prove God’s love and determination to use us through thick or thin, then I don’t know what does. Without question, God made us to always be His link to authority and activity on the earth.”. (Dutch Sheets, Getting In God’s Faith: How Prayer Really Works, 15-20 (Kindle Edition); Venture, CA; Regal Books)
When Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, the Presence of God was immediately removed.
The Bible tells us that Adam and Eve (when they sinned) noticed that they were “naked” (Genesis 3:7). For so long, I wondered why they noticed their nakedness when they sinned.
The answer lies in the teaching that Adam and Eve were originally clothed in the light of God, before the Fall in the Garden of Eden.
The First Book Of Adam And Eve 8:1-2-THEN Adam wept and said, “O God, when we dwelt in the garden, and our hearts were lifted up, we saw the angels that sang praises in heaven, but now we do not see as we were used to do; nay, when we entered the cave, all creation became hidden from us.” 2 Then God the Lord said unto Adam, “When thou wast under subjection to Me, thou hadst a bright nature within thee, and for that reason couldst thou see things afar off. But after thy transgression thy bright nature was withdrawn from thee; and it was not left to thee to see things afar off, but only near at hand; after the ability of the flesh; for it is brutish.”
This harmonizes powerfully with a text of Scripture from the Book of Exodus. We are told that when Moses would go and spend time in the Presence of God, he came back and “shined.”
Exodus 34:29-35-29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai, carrying the Ten Commandments. His face was shining brightly because the LORD had been speaking to him. But Moses did not know at first that his face was shining.
30 When Aaron and the others looked at Moses, they saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him.
31 Moses called out for Aaron and the leaders to come to him, and he spoke with them.
32 Then the rest of the people of Israel gathered around Moses, and he gave them the laws that the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai.
33 The face of Moses kept shining, and after he had spoken with the people, he covered his face with a veil.
34 Moses would always remove the veil when he went into the sacred tent to speak with the LORD. And when he came out, he would tell the people everything the LORD had told him to say.
35 They could see that his face was still shining. So after he had spoken with them, he would put the veil back on and leave it on until the next time he went to speak with the LORD.
The result of sin was that the Presence of God was removed from the Earth.
What We Have Learned
The Bible teaches that Satan was an angel who was created by God and entrusted with great responsibility and privilege.
However, he chose to rebel against God because he fell in love with himself and began to worship and serve himself instead of his Creator.
He may have believed that he could overthrow God due to the false Doctrine of Emanations.
God had entrusted the material universe to the oversight of Adam and Eve.
Due to the lies of Satan, our human parents chose to rebel against the Lord and in so doing gave control of the universe to the devil and the fallen angels.
The devil, pretending to be a friend to mankind, actually hates and despises humanity.
The devil and his angels have sought to make this world their own, enslaving humanity and increasing various false religions and doctrines. They desire to hurt and to kill mankind.
As a result, we see that one of the reasons for the existence of evil, pain, and suffering in our world is due to the fact that the forces of darkness want to hurt mankind in any way and coerce his worship.
Thankfully, God did not leave mankind in this predicament. He had a plan by which He would save mankind and bring incredible good out of the suffering in the world (as we will also see portrayed in the Book of Job).
As a result, the devil knows that he has a short time; and therefore inflicts as much suffering as he can upon humanity (Revelation 12:7-12).
In our next lesson, we will carefully examine the details of this plan of God and how the Book of Job looks forward to the Lord’s intervention. It is in the hidden plan of God to redeem mankind that we begin to see more clearly why God allows suffering in this world to continue for the present time.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.