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Satan (Hebrew for "adversary"), once known as Lucifer (Latin meaning, "morning star"), was a guardian cherub of God and is now in rebellion. He had became entranced by his own beauty, power, and wisdom, and had convinced himself that he was greater than God. Satan tried to overthrow God by amassing an army of spiritual beings against their Creator, but God knew his evil plans from the very beginning and cast him out of his holy mountain.
Jesus Christ referred to Satan as the prince of this world, and Paul said he is the prince of the power of the air as well as the "god" of this world. The best description of Satan might be in the names attributed to him in the Book of Revelation; which calls him the dragon, and that old serpent from the Garden of Eden, also called the Devil, even Satan.
The name Satan (From Hebrew שטן translit. Satan) is the Hebrew word for "opponent" or "Adversary." This was the preferred name by the Pharisees in the first century. However, the word Satan does not always refer to the Devil. For example, when Balaam was going to King Balak, the King of the Moabites, in defiance to God's orders, God sent an Angel to l'satan (to oppose) Balaam. So, all throughout the narrative, the Angel of the LORD was a "satan" to Balaam . Once in the Old Testament, Satan is called "Helel" (Latin: Lucifer, meaning "light bearer", originally a title for the pagan, Romanized version of the Greek godess Aphrodite) which literally means "Shining One (Helel was also a title of the pagan god of the "Morning Star", Attar) This name is interpreted "Son of [the] Dawn" or "Son of the Morning" in many translations.
In modern times he is most often called "the Devil," which is a translation of the Greek term "Diabolos," meaning "One who Pierces"
Satan was made as one of God's cherubim presumably before the earth was made. He was known as Lucifer, and he was one of the most powerful, beautiful, and wise Cherubim. However, he became very vain and thought himself to be the most beautiful of all things, and his power and wisdom to be greater than even God's. This led to his rebellion against God, and he convinced many spiritual beings to follow him in rebellion. However, God knew this from the beginning, and He ordered His angels to cast Lucifer and all of "his angels" out of Heaven.
Characterized as a "liar from the beginning" the Devil is best known for his temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden (however, Genesis only says that a serpent tempted Eve, it is likely that it was Satan). In telling half-truths to the mother of all mankind, he was able to convince her that God had mislead her. This led to her disobedience, followed by Adam. In punishing the serpent (the form Satan had taken if it was him), God effectively "cast Satan" to the ground as well.
Throughout Biblical history, "the Adversary" can be seen standing against the people of God. The list of those opposed are among the godliest believers: Job, David, Joshua the High Priest, and the Apostle Peter. And of course, Jesus Himself at the very beginning of his ministry.
For much of the Old Testament, the origin of Satan was a mystery. Then in the days of the prophet Isaiah, the prophet is given a glimpse of how the enemy of God came to be. In an oracle against the king of Babylon—at the time just rising among its neighbors—Isaiah records LORD words as declared to one called "Lucifer" (Latin for "Light Bearer," but "Heylel" in Hebrew for "Bright One"): "How have you fallen from heaven, Oh Helel, son of the morning, how are you cut to the ground...!" One who had once walked in heaven was now lower than mankind on the earth. From heaven to "hell" (Sheol: the place of the dead) because of arrogance.
In another oracle against a lesser king, the "prince" of Tyre, Ezekiel would switch to a heavenly scene to the "King of Tyre." As the heavenly power behind a regional powerhouse known for its trade, the "King" is most definitely a spiritual being. He is the anointed cherub, the one who covered the treasure of heaven itself, dressed in jewels. He roamed the heavens and the pristine earth, with access to Eden itself. It was for this that he was created. It is to be noted that the word "created" (Heb: Bara) is used rarely and only of God's special work: the heavens and the earth, great sea creatures, man, and this cherub. It is assumed then that all cherubim were created at the same time.
Since he was in heaven, and then in Eden, the spiritual being were probably created somewhere between the creation of the "heavens" on the second day and the planting of Eden on the sixth day. The fall, which we learn from the Revelation included a third of the Heavenly Host who rebelled, may have been a single event. What is known is that the rebellion occurred before the flood, and probably were the "sons of God/gods" that went into the "daughters of men." Whatever the case, the appearance of "that old serpent" in the garden was "subtle" and a liar, and thus a fallen creature infected with sin.
Acting against God
Perhaps created with the heavens on the second day, his career there could have covered untold millennia, for 'time' was based on the "earth" rather than the expanding universe and the abode of God above that. But after man was created, very little time passed on earth before the once anointed covering cherub had fallen.
For over four thousand years there was a mystery around the "serpent" that talked. Over time, it was assumed that it was a demon, and even the "prince of demons," but the Bible remained silent. Even Paul called the tempter "the serpent." It was not until John saw visions from Jesus that the serpent was definitively identified! So, the subtle reptile was an incarnation of Satan himself. His first order of business on earth was to harbor in the mind of the woman visions of grandeur much like his own: to be like God! When exposed by the woman, Satan was made to literally "eat dirt" as a snake does today.
Satan would next be involved in the contemporary to Abraham, Job of Uz. When God actually "bragged" on Job for his righteousness and faithfulness, Satan accused Job of living a life of ease and then claims the man would curse God if he was destitute God allowed Satan to be the agent of disaster and death. Job learned humility, but never cursed God.
Perhaps because Abraham and his family, though chosen by God, were not very righteous (sinning enough on their own!), there is no mention of Satan bothering with them until God uses Satan to test David (see below). However, Satan did make an appearance shortly before the Israelites crossed over into Canaan. Moses had died, and God himself was burying him in the wilderness. Then, according to Jude (a 'servant of Jesus'), Satan disputed over the body! The archangel Michael won that dispute by calling on the authority of the LORD.
God would later use Satan as an agent to tempt King David. This time, David failed the test, and had to choose his own punishment. In the parallel account, the temptation appears to be directly from God, giving witness to how Satan is limited by the hand of God. David may have been remembering this when he prayed that the wicked should have to face Satan.
In a scene foreshadowing the ministry of Jesus, Joshua the High Priest in the days of the reconstruction of Jerusalem faced 'the Angel of the LORD" on one side and Satan (the Adversary) on the other. Significantly, the name of Jesus is the Greek form of the name Joshua.
Satan's machinations are also mentioned in the Book of Daniel. The archangel Gabriel is sent to Daniel to deliver an important message, but is blocked by demonic powers under control of the princes of Persia and Greece. These were apparently fallen angels that serve under Satan. When Archangel Michael defeated them, Gabriel who was able to get the message through to Daniel.
Centuries later, Jesus himself would face Satan (aka "the Devil") in a temptation like none other ever faced by a man. Weakened from hunger and exhaustion, Jesus drew upon his relationship with His Father, and the "'very words that proceed from His mouth" to successfully resist his adversary.
Not accepting the warped plans of Satan, Jesus would die for the sins of humanity, and actually descend to Hell, and ends up as the Bible describes spoiling powers and authorities in Hell, and strips Satan of all of his authority he had taken, and even takes the keys to death, hell, and the grave giving power, and authority to all believers of God who are washed clean by the blood of Jesus.
Satan would continue to seek a chance to get Jesus down, using two of his disciples—Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot—to derail the Master's plans. Peter was saved only through Jesus' prayers, but Judas failed. Judas would become the only person on record to have been "possessed" by Satan himself.
Finally in the Book of Revelation it is revealed that in the Tribulation Satan will have great power over the earth establishing a false prophet known as The Beast, and a ruler known as The Antichrist, but they will be defeated in the Battle of Armageddon when Jesus returns. However Satan will be bound in a great pit for 1,000 years until he will be released for a final time, until finally being thrown into the Lake of Fire with all of his followers which will be his final judgment.
Satan is a created being, chosen from among all others to be the "covering cherub." With this honor came an unimaginable beauty. However, he knew nothing of humility and sought attention due only to God Himself. In his beauty, he wanted special attention, but was rejected by the one true God.
Though fallen from heaven, Satan is very powerful. He is called the "prince" of this world, of the 'power of the air' and of the demons. He is even called "the god of this world. He is not a god, but his spiritual power is at work in all those who disobey God.
A macabre imitator of the "Lion of Judah," he is a "roaring lion" who seeks those he can capture and kill. Maintaining a bit his former glory, he is able to appear as an "angel of light" in an attempt to seduce God's people. But his so-called light is a deception, for he has been a liar from the very beginning.
- ↑ Isaiah 14, Revelation 12 (Link)
- ↑ John 12:31 (Link)
- ↑ Numbers 22:21-41 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 14:12 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 14:12 (Link)
- ↑ Isaiah 14:13-14 (Link)
- ↑ Ezekiel 28:13-19 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 6:1-5; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 3:1-5 (Link)
- ↑ Genesis 3:14-15 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:1, 8 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:11, 2:3 (Link)
- ↑ Job 1:12, 2:6 (Link)
- ↑ Job 2:8-10 (Link)
- ↑ Job 40:3-4 (Link)
- ↑ Jude 1:9 (Link)
- ↑ Jude 1:1 (Link)
- ↑ Jude 1:9 (Link)
- ↑ 1 Chronicles 21:1 (Link)
- ↑ 1 Chronicles 21:13 (Link)
- ↑ 2 Samuel 24:1 (Link)
- ↑ Psalm 109:6 (Link)
- ↑ Zechariah 3:1-2 (Link)
- ↑ Daniel 10:13 (Link)
- ↑ Matthew 4:1-11 (Link)
- ↑ Ezekiel 28:13-17 (Link)
- ↑ John 12:31, 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; Matthew 12:4 (Link)
- ↑ 2 Corinthians 4:4 (Link)
- ↑ Ephesians 2:2 (Link)
- ↑ Revelation 5:5 (Link)
- ↑ 1 Peter 5:8 (Link)
- ↑ 2 Timothy 2:26 (Link)
- ↑ Hebrews 2:14 (Link)
- ↑ 2 Corinthians 11:14 (Link)
- ↑ John 8:44 (Link)