This past Sunday, I preached about Satan, his motivations, and why he relentlessly pursues to drag mankind down in my sermon – Not Falling for the Devil’s Tricks. There was so much trimming that I had to do in that sermon to keep the message focused on the wiles of the devil and how we go about combating the devil and his tricks that I felt moved to do a series of studies on the devil. There is a lot of unpacking and studying that I feel we need to do of our great adversary and that is what I intend to do over the next few weeks. So, I hope that you have your bibles nearby and are ready to dive into scripture as we study about the devil, his fall, his motivation, his sealed defeat, and how we go about combating him.
I believe it is very important for every genuine believer to take time to get to know about the devil. The reason I say this is because there are so many drastic misconceptions and misunderstandings about Satan. So much so that people have built him up to be the boogeyman that is on the same level as the Lord. There are people that genuinely believe that Satan can compete on the same level as God and that he is actually winning the war against God. So, the very first thing I feel we must do is take away this ignorant misconception of the devil.
Who is the Devil
So, where did the devil come from? What is his origin story?
The devil’s origin is scattered throughout the bible and so we have to hunt the scriptures to find out his origin. The first thing we must understand is that unlike the Lord, the devil is a created being of God just like we are created beings of God. We, mankind, are created beings of the Lord in this physical universe that God created when He created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). The Lord breathed the breath of life into mankind’s nostrils after creating a physical body that could operate in this space (Gen. 2:7).
Now, something I feel I must point out is that before Genesis there was much that occurred that, again, is scattered throughout scripture. One thing that we must understand about the Bible is that it is essentially a recording of the time of mankind. Yet, the Bible is filled with hints of things that occurred before the time of man and things that will occur after this present time passes away.
God is not part of our physical universe because He created it. What this means to us is that God is outside of our universe or beyond our universe. So, for an example, when an artist paints a picture, he or she is outside of that painted picture. So, the Lord does not occupy the same space and time though He can have and certainly does have an effect on this space. As a painter tinkers with a painting, we can imagine that God is constantly at work.
Created by God
So, with all of that said, heaven – the Lord’s kingdom – is beyond our physical universe. In this heavenly kingdom resides heavenly beings that God also made. In the book of Job, we see that these heavenly beings were present prior to the creation of our world (Job 38:4-7). In that scripture, we will read that the “morning stars” sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy at the laying of the foundations of our world. The morning stars and the sons of God were angels – the heavenly beings. The heavenly beings that we often read about in scripture include angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim. All of these heavenly beings were made by the Lord.
I share this because I want you to understand that there is nothing in this universe or in heaven that God did not create. God is sovereign over all things in our universe and in heaven as well. God is sovereign over all beings – whether they are heavenly beings, other spiritual beings, and all other life forms in our world.
Now, the devil happens to be one of those heavenly beings that was made by the Lord. In Ezekiel 28:14-15, we can read where the Lord speaks directly to Satan. Let us take note of what God said to the devil in this scripture. The Lord said to Satan, “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”
So, to be clear, Satan was established (created/made) by the Lord. God even reiterates this point in scripture when we see Him speak of how the devil was perfect in his ways from the day that he was created.
Roles of the heavenly beings
We will see in scripture that these heavenly beings were given roles to serve in by the Lord. In the book of Genesis, the cherubim stood guard to prevent access to the tree of life after Adam and Eve were removed from the garden (Gen. 3:24). The cherub is a high order of angels that we could think of as guards.
Seraphim are mentioned in the book of Isaiah. We are told, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory (Is. 6:1-3)!” Seraphim stand over the throne of God and sing His praise.
Archangels are very interesting because scripture actually only mentions the word archangel a couple of times and only name is ever tied to the term – Michael. Jude 9 says, “Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’”.
The only other time we see the word archangel mentioned in scripture is when Paul writes about the return of Christ at His second coming and how He will shout with the voice of an archangel (1 Thess. 4:16). So whether there is just one or multiple archangels is not necessarily clear to us because scripture only references Michael as one.
In his role as an archangel, we often find Michael leading other angels in combating and contending with the devil and the devil’s forces. In Daniel 10:10-21, we see where Michael, called the chief prince (angel), was combating with the prince (angel) of the kingdom of Persia which was Satan. This passage of scripture from the book of Daniel is very fascinating because there was an ongoing spiritual battle taking place that was reverberating through our world. This passage of scripture shows the spiritual warfare that Paul wrote of in his letter to the Ephesians (Eph. 6:12).
Michael is again mentioned in the book of Daniel where he is seen during the days of the Great Tribulation standing watch as a protector of the people (Dan. 12:1). On another occasion in scripture, we see the archangel Michael contending with the devil and his forces when war breaks out in heaven and Satan is thrown out (Rev. 12:7-9). We actually never see Satan have a victory over Michael in scripture which I believe is also very fascinating. So, as an archangel, Michael clearly was mighty and he served in a role as protector and a great leader as well.
Ordinary angels were also servants of the Lord as they served in a role ministering to mankind. The writer of Hebrews asked of the angels, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14)?” Gabriel is well known for being a messenger of the Lord. Gabriel, as we will all remember, ministered to Zacharias about the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-19), and then ministered to Mary about the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).
The devil’s authority
So, to make things clear, angels were made by the Lord and they were given roles to serve Him. The devil, let us understand again, was made by God. I continue to repeat this point because there are many that ignorantly believe that the devil is God’s equal but they always seem to exclude the fact that the devil was made by God. I repeat this because I am reminded of what the Lord stated by asking a question in the book of Isaiah when He asked, “For shall the thing made say of him who made it, “He did not make me”? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding (Is. 29:16)”?
What the Lord was stating here was that the thing that was formed and made will not be greater than the one that made it. In the book of Jeremiah, the Lord used the potter and the clay to illustrate this point to Judah. God said to the people through Jeremiah, “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel (Jer. 18:6)!” The point being here that we who were made by the Lord will not be greater than Him.
This same truth also holds true for the devil. The devil is not God’s equal in power nor is he equal to God in authority. As recorded in Job 1, when the sons of God (the angels) would go to present themselves before Him to give a report, Satan would also show up to give a report to the Lord (Job 1:6). In fact, when the devil sought to test Job, he had to ask God’s permission to do so because he could not penetrate God’s protective shield around Job (Job 1:8-12). If Satan was the Lord’s equal, he would not have to ever report to the Lord or seek God’s permission to do anything.
The devil’s original role
Some may ask, “did God create the devil to be evil?” Let’s answer that question to close out our study for this week and to lead into next week’s study.
Now, to assume that God created Satan to be evil would be to suggest that the Lord has wickedness and evil in Him. This cannot be the case because God is righteous and faithful (Deut. 7:9); there is no wickedness in Him – God is love (1 John 4:7-10). So, let us remember this, when the Lord finished this creation that we occupy, the Lord looked and saw that it was good (pleasing to Him) (Gen 1:31). As we saw in Ezekiel 28:15, the Lord said that when the devil was created, he was perfect in his way – meaning that there was no fault in him. So, the devil was not created to be wicked by the Lord.
Isaiah 14:12, we see Satan called Lucifer – this is actually the only time the name Lucifer appears in scripture. Now we will also see in that verse that the devil was considered the “son of the morning”. The devil was once an angel of light – a morning star – and Paul actually spoke to how the devil will transform himself into an angel of light to deceive people in the world (2 Cor. 11:14). So, again, the Lord did not create the devil to be wicked.
I will refer to Ezekiel 28:14 again where we see God say that Satan was the anointed cherub that covered. Let us remember that I referenced scripture earlier from Genesis where a cherub was placed in Eden to guard the tree of life. Now, we know that cherub was not the devil because by that point in time, the devil was in the garden scheming against mankind.
As the anointed cherub, Satan held the highest position among the heavenly beings as he stood guard of the throne of God and tended directly to the Lord. I imagine that some will ask why would God need for someone to guard the throne – did God need protecting? Absolutely not. Again, there is nothing and nobody that can contend with the Lord. So, I believe the devil’s primary role was to tend to the Lord directly.
So, again, God did not create Satan to be wicked. Satan was created to be the highest of the heavenly angels with the highest honor of tending the throne. So, the question that we will be answering in next week’s study is how did Satan become the being that we know today. We will be taking a deep dive into how the devil became mankind’s great adversary?
I certainly hope that you enjoyed this week’s study and that you will come back for next week’s study as we continue our deep dive into studying about the devil. Again, I feel it is very important that we know our enemy! The reason I feel this way is because so many of us are frightened by the devil because we have made him out to be the big bad monster under the bed or in the closet. I was raised to not be afraid to look in the closet or check under the bed for the monster.
Now, I am not saying that we ought to go looking for Satan! What I am saying is that we cannot let our fear of him make him bigger than what he is. When we can tear down that wall of fear, the devil will no longer have any power over you. So, we are going to continue our look into the devil in next week’s study and I look forward to seeing you there!