Don't think of Satan as a harmless cartoon caracter with a red suit and a pitchfork. He is very clever and powerful, and his unchanging purpose is to defeat God's plans at every turn - including His plans for your life. - Billy Graham, The Journey
The Bible is clear as to who Satan is now, what he does, and where he is headed. Essentially his goal is to manifest hell on earth while God desires to manifest heaven on earth. However, there is some debate as to Satan's origin. Most Christians believe Satan was originally created as an angel in heaven. He became proud and decided one day that he wanted to be like God, and he fell with a third of the angels, who became demons. I don't believe this is entirely true. Let me address what we know and what we speculate, based on the Word of God.
Genesis is the first book of the Bible and it talks about the very beginning. We know that Satan was created (e.g. Jeremiah 10:16, Colossians 1:16, John 1:3 and Hebrews 2:10) and we believe he was an angel (e.g. 2 Corinthians 11:14) or more specifically, a cherub (Ezekiel 28:14) which we will get to. In Colossians 1:16, the words "principalities or powers" refer to essentially angels. We also know by reading Genesis 1:1–5 that God created the heavens and the earth on the first day of the creation week. Job 38:4-7 makes it clear, albeit poetically, that "the morning stars" and "sons of God" (terms for essentially angels) were singing and shouting when God "laid the foundations of the earth." God's ministering angels are also called "a flame of fire" (Psalm 104:4 and Hebrews 1:7). So we know that Satan was created before the "foundations of the earth" and therefore probably created on the first day. It is not clear from Scripture but I believe Satan, who is referred to as an "angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14), as well as "morning star" and "son of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12), was created on the first day when God said "Let there be light!"
We are not sure when Satan fell but it was clearly before the fall of mankind (Genesis 3). We know from 1 Timothy 3:6 that Satan fell from pride. We also know Satan took other angels with himself. It appears that they are in hell. 2 Peter 2:4 says, "...God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment." Jude 6 says, "And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day." We don't know how many but Revelation 12:4 says, "His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born." Therefore, it is often believed to be one third of all the angels. As far as where demons came from, go to my article on demonology.
A lot more information on Satan is possibly derrived from two passages which I believe probably have a dual purpose. Isaiah 14:11-17 in particular is part of a proverb against the king of Babylon but is believed by some to also be a reference to Satan in verses 11-15. Another possible reference to Satan is Ezekiel 28. In Ezekiel 26 and 27, Ezekiel prophecies against Tyre, but in Ezekiel 28, he prophecies against the "prince of Tyre." Later in the same chapter, Ezekiel is instructed by God to take up a lamentation or funeral dirge for the "king of Tyre." It is clear that these two passages are relating to real kings but they are interpreted by many as having dual meanings. From these two passages we can glean a lot if it is also referring to Satan. Isaiah 14:11-15 reveals in verse 11 that Satan's "pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the sound of your stringed instruments." Verse 12 says Satan fell from heaven and is the only place in the Bible where the Latin word "Lucifer" in the KJV and NKJV (Hebrew הֵילֵל) is found. It's typically translated as "morning star," "day star" and "son of the morning." Verse 13 reveals the pride (1 Timothy 3:6) that caused Satan to fall and states in verse 15 that he will be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.
In Ezekiel 28, we glean a lot more. The verses thought to also apply to Satan are Ezekiel 28:12-15 which states:"Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God:
'You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
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.'"
From this passage, we are told that Satan was the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. He was in Eden (which appears to be a clear reference to the serpent in Genesis 3:1) and every precious stone covered him (it names nine). He has "timbrels and pipes" prepared for him on the day he is created. The Hebrew word for timbrels here (tabrets in the KJV) is תֻּפֶּ֤יךָ, the plural form (also found in Jeremiah 31:4) of the noun נֶקֶב (toph, Strongs #8596) which is contracted from the verb תָּפַף (taphaph, Strongs #8608) to drum, as on a tamberine. Interestingly, "The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments" says that these are indeed frame drums, without jingles, and adds that, because frame drums were commonly used in the surrounding areas that it is likely the ancient Israelites used them as well. The Oxford 'Companion of Musical Instruments' says of "historical tambourines", that they are ancient frame drums, as far as can be seen, without jingles. "Percussion Instruments and their History" by James Blades also refers to instruments of Mesopotamia and Egypt circa 1100 BC. These include frame drums, small kettledrums (baz) and vase shaped drums made of clay. Blades comments, "In biblical references the words tinkling and metal are used in connection with bells and cymbals, but not with tabret or timbrel, (commonly translated as tambourine)." The word for pipes is נֶקֶב (neqeb, Strongs #5345) which typically means a bezel or socket for a gem but it could also be translated as "holes" in musical pipes or flutes so perhaps this verse is referring to the workmanship of Satan's drums and wind instruments. So perhaps Satan led worship with stringed instruments (Isaiah 14:11), drums (Ezekiel 28:13) and stringed instruments (Ezekiel 28:13) but this is speculation.
We then read in Ezekiel 28:14 that Satan was the "anointed cherub that covers." Cherubs are also found in Ezekiel 1, 10 and 41. In Ezekiel 1 and 10, they are described in great detail. Because of this, some speculate that Satan has four faces (Ezekiel 1:6, 10; Ezekiel 10:14, 21-22). In Revelation 4, John has a vision of the Throne Room of Heaven, and he sees similar creatures with eyes all around (Revelation 4:6, 8), like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:18; Ezekiel 10:12) but instead of each having four faces (Ezekiel 1:10 - one of a man, a lion on the right, an ox on the left, and an eagle on the other; Ezekiel 10:14 - One of a cherub, a man, a lion, and an eagle), each creature appears like each of the faces (A lion, calf, man and eagle) and have six wings instead of Ezekiel's four. Isaiah 6:2 describes them as having six wings as well. These are traditionally called "seraphim" while the other creatures in Ezekiel 1 and 10 are called "cherubim." It is interesting that seraphim comes from the noun שָׂרָף (saraph, Strongs #8314) which means fiery serpent, which is from the verb שָׂרַף (saraph "to burn," Strongs #8313). Other than Isaiah 6,this word is also found in Isaiah 14:29, 30:6; Numbers 21:6–8; and Deuteronomy 8:15, all of which refer to fiery serpents. Satan is referred to as being a serpent (e.g. Genesis 3:1,14-15; Revelation 12:9; 20:2) and Ezekiel 28:13 even mentions that Satan was "in Eden, the garden of God."
We then read later in Exekiel 28:14 that Satan was on the holy mountain of God and "walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones." We don't know what these "fiery stones" are. He was also covered in stones (verse 13) and nine stones are mentioned. The high priest in the Old Testament has 12 stones on their breastplate to represent the 12 tribes, so perhaps satan had access to walk among the 12 tribes, and essentially all of humanity. This would make sense also because that is exactly what Satan was doing in Job 1:7 and 2:2. 1 Peter 5:8 says "...the devil walks about like a roaring lion..."
Lastly, in Ezekiel 28:15 we read "You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you." He was created and because he was created on a day, it couldn't be before the first day of creation. He was perfect and then iniquity was found in him.
Personally I believe these two passages have a duality, which is not uncommon in the Bible. If they don't apply to Satan, it's not a big deal as they don't add anything significant to our understanding.
In Genesis 3, we see Satan in the form of a talking serpent. This is backed up by 2 Corinthians 11:3 and we just mentioned the reference in Ezekiel 28:13. Satan is clearly spiritual so either Satan is able to take the form of a spiritual serpent and Adam and Eve can see in the spirit, or Satan posesses a serpent which is more likely We also have another case in the Bible where an animal spoke (Numbers 22:22-40) but in this case it wasn't possessed. God just enabled it to speak.
Satan is identified as a "great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads." in Revelation 12:3. Later in verse 9 it says, "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." In verse 10 we read, "the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down." So we know that Satan is before God accusing us day and night.
In Revelation 13:1, John sees "a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name." However, the next verse says "The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority" so we know this beast is not Satan. In verse 4 we read, "So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
Here are a few other possible references to Satan:
In Job 26:13, it says of God, "His hand pierced the fleeing serpent."
Job 41:8-10a - "Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle—
Never do it again!
Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false;
Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him?
10 No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up."
Isaiah 27:1 - In that day the Lord with His severe sword, great and strong,
Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
Leviathan that twisted serpent;
And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
Psalm 74:13-14 - You divided the sea by Your strength;
You broke the heads of the sea serpents in the waters.
14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces,
And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
Psalm 104:26 - There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathan
Which You have made to play there.
Isaiah 51:9 says, "Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart,
And wounded the serpent?
Psalm 89:10 - You have broken Rahab in pieces, as one who is slain;
You have scattered Your enemies with Your mighty arm.
Tannin (Isaiah 27:1) and Rahab (Psalm 87:4; Psalm 89:8-10; Isaiah 51:9) are also applied to Egypt after the Exodus of Israel from Egypt.
I do not have time to go through the other details of Satan but you can easily get more information by searching the Internet. Also check my other articles.
© Todd Tyszka
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