We have a couple of weeks before summer is ended and we get into our fall schedule, and everybody comes back. And I was hesitant to get right into the second and third John series on Sunday nights, and so I decided to just do a little short series on Sunday mornings in the subject of “God: Is He? Who Is He? And What Is He Like?” And at night, “Satan: Is He? Who Is He? And What Is He Like?” And so tonight, and for the next couple of weeks anyway, we’re going to be looking at the character of Satan. I think it’s very important that we have an understanding of Satan.
I can remember when I was in college that one of the things that we did in football – and we did a lot of crazy things in preparation for football games. But one of the things that we always did was to take the third or fourth string – and this is generally how a lot of people spend their whole football career, if they play a lot of third string or fourth string football – take that unit, and make that unit look, and act, and play like the team we were going to play on Saturday. And then we would practice against our own guys, doing what our opponent was going to do, in order that we might better know the enemy. Being able to predict what your opponent is going to do is very important.
In pro football, and even in college now, the sophistications of the systems are boiled down to computer science, and they can predict exactly what an opponent is going to do almost always by the computer. They know how many times a certain team runs a certain play at a certain point in the game on a certain yard line at a certain down. Their computer tells them what that’s going to do, and so they’ve got it premeditated. The only thing that really enters in anymore is the human error. This is just wise in athletics. A boxer is going to fight a fight; he learns where his opponent’s vulnerability is, and attacks at that point. This is true in anything we do in terms of competition or combating a foe.
Well, it’s no less true in the area of the spiritual. If we’re going to understand how best to win the victory, we ought to know what our enemy is all about. The better we understand our enemy, the better we understand his inabilities. And that’s what we want to do is look at Satan; certainly not to glorify him, but to unmask him, in order that we might see him for the corrupted and defeated character that he is.
Now we are all aware of the account of creation in Genesis 1 and 2: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God brooded over the waters, and then the creation began.” We’re all aware of that.
There were already beings alive in the universe. You say, “Who were they?” Turn in your Bible to Job 38 and let’s find out who was around when God made the world. Job 38, verse 4. Now here we find the Lord making some interesting statements to Job.
In verse 4 of Job 38, He says, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me if you have understanding.” And the implication, of course, is that Job was nowhere. Job hasn’t got any answers, because Job wasn’t around to see. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth, Job? You weren’t anywhere. Who hath laid the measures of it, if thou knowest; or who has stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are its foundations fastened; or who laid its cornerstone? Tell Me, Job. Tell Me the process of creation. Were you there?” No, he was not, obviously.
But, verse 7, “Where were you when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Now here – watch this – God identifies the morning stars singing together, and all the sons of God shouting for joy with the time of creation. Do you see it?
“Where were you when I created? Where were you when the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy?” Then the morning stars can’t be real stars. What are they? They’re the same as the sons of God. What are they? None other than angels. Angels were already made when God made the world. That’s the implication of this text. Angels are called bene ha elohim in Job 1:6 – that means sons of God – Job 2:1, and here in Job 38, verse 7. And as we saw this morning, the term “sons of God” is reserved for those who were created by a direct act of God.
Now we do not know when angels were created, but I think it’s safe to say they were around when the world was made. We don’t know just how long they’d been around, because there is no revelation on that. But the important thing is they were around.
Now in Colossians 1, it says, “By Him were all things created that are in heaven, that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him.” Now notice, thrones, dominions, principalities and powers are all titles for angels. Those are all ranks of angelic beings. And it says there in Colossians 1:16 that God created angels, and it is an aorist verb meaning at one point in past history, God made the angels. And, incidentally, it seems clear to me from the Word of God that all the angels were created at the very same time, all of them created by a direct act of God. In fact, it was His Word that did it. His Word is what created everything, and angels are no different.
It says in Psalm 148, verse 2, “praise ye Him all His angels. Praise ye Him all His hosts. Praise ye Him sun and moon. Praise Him all ye stars of light. Praise Him ye heavens of heavens, ye waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created.” Everything, including angels, is to praise God, because they were created by His command. And as instantly as God created everything in Genesis, so instantly did He create all the angels.
You say, “Well, how do you know He didn’t create a couple of angels and they began to reproduce?” Because angels can’t do that. Angels do not procreate. You say, “Where does that come from?” It comes from Matthew 22, verse 28. And we won’t go into the whole text here. It says, “In the resurrection whose wife shall she be?” You know, they give the deal about a guy dies and his brother’s supposed to take up his wife. If his brother isn’t married, you know, he’s supposed to take up his wife and continue the family. The husband dies, and the guy does it; and then he dies, and the next guy does it; and she goes through seven brothers. And the question comes to the Lord, “In the resurrection, whose wife, of the seven, shall she be?”
And, of course, that’s really a bizarre situation anyway. By the time you got to the third or fourth brother, they’d become a little suspicious, if all of them kept dropping off like that. But if you did happen to make it to the seventh guy, and the question that they’re asking Jesus – the Sadducees trying to trip Him up because they didn’t believe in the resurrection – was, “Whose wife is she when they get into the resurrection?”
“Jesus answered and said unto them,” – verse 29 – ‘You do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels of God.’” Angels do not marry, and they do not procreate. They were all created instantly at one spoken word in the past, an act of God in creation, evidently before the creation of the world, so that they could sing together. And they must have been having a terrific choir number when the world was being created.
They were created for the purpose of serving and glorifying God. That is the purpose for which all angels were made. Just two things to remember: To serve and glorify God. To praise Him and obey Him. And if you read Revelation, you find out in chapter 4, that’s exactly what they do; they praise Him. If you read Hebrews, in chapter 1 you’ll find out that’s exactly what they do; they serve Him. Angels are called in Hebrews 1 “ministering spirits.” The word means “serving.” They serve the purposes of God, carrying out His bidding, and they honor and praise and glorify Him.
Now it’s interesting to speculate about how many angels there are. And I’m not trying to get back into the old theological question, “How many angels can God put on the head of a pin,” which, of course, is irrelevant; that isn’t what we’re saying. But it is interesting to imagine, from the viewpoint of numbers, how many angels there really are.
Jesus, at the point of His crucifixion, said that if He wanted to, He could call 12 legions of angels. And a Roman legion was 6,000 men. Now one angel would have been ample; no question. One angel before slew 185,000 men in the Old Testament, so you really wouldn’t need a whole lot of them.
You say, “Is that how many there are?” No, there’s more than that. In fact, the Bible tells us; I’m just kind of working up to it. In Revelation, chapter 5 – can’t tell you everything at first – says in verse 11: “And I beheld and heard the voice of many angels” – how many? – “around the throne, the living creatures and elders, and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” And what he’s trying to do here is not be exact, but be inexact, and just show that really they’re beyond the ability to count.
In fact, in Hebrews 12:22 it says, “You are come onto Mount Zion to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” – listen – “to an innumerable company of angels.” You know how many angels there are? There are too many to count.
You say, “Do you believe there are billions of them?” Some believe they are equal to the stars of heaven. Because they are called stars, some say that that is an inference that probably there are as many angels as there are stars. “How many stars are there?” Don’t ask me that, there are billions of them.
Other people have assumed that because our Lord alludes to “His angel” in seemingly in reference to every individual, that there’s an angel for every individual who has ever lived. I’m not too sure that’s correct, because an angel would only have 60 years or so of something to do, and then he’d be hanging around for the rest of time. So they may trade off now and then, I don’t know. When somebody goes, they may pick up on somebody that was just born.
But the point is there are angels, folks, and there are plenty of angels. There are too many angels to be counted. So when God created angels He did something. That was a mighty act.
You know, we think of creation as a simplistic thing: God made man; He just took a little dirt and kind of pounded it together. Well, if you want to think about creation in its vastness, just imagine God speaking one word and multi‑billions of beings coming instantly into existence. All of them beautiful, all of them wise, all of them powerful, all of them glorifying and serving Him; and He called them into existence with one spoken thought in His mind – one unspoken thought in His mind.
Now you say, “Well, somewhere along the line before Genesis 3, something happened to mess those angels up, because one of them really is a mess by the time you get to Genesis 3. He’s sneaking around in the garden like a snake.” You’re right. You know what happened? The angels fell. A tragedy happened: a large group of angels in heaven rebelled.
One of the most difficult questions in all of theology is what we call the problem of theodicy: “Where did sin come from?” Well, we say angels; they sinned first, they fell. Where did it come from? The best answer is we do not know. But, believe me, it came; that we do know. That’s immediately evident.
And you know, I ask myself the question, “How could angels possibly rebel?” I mean, what were they rebelling against: an absolutely holy God, an absolutely blissful situation? They had intelligence. They looked at the situation that they existed in. They must have seen that it was an absolutely glorious situation. They had the ability to communicate. They had the ability to respond to God, and God to respond to them. They had emotions. They spent their time praising God. They were creatures who were responsible, they weren’t robots. They were intelligent, emotional. They had will, as evidenced by their choice. But they rebelled.
I don’t know why. I don’t know how. I don’t know how the temptation could have ever generated itself in the mind of Lucifer; but I know that it did, because I’m a product of the results. The leader of the rebellion is Satan, and in Matthew 25:41, our Lord speaks of Satan’s hosts as his angels: “Satan and his angels.”
Now listen to me. How many angels fell? According to Revelation chapter 12, we have a clear answer. I would draw your attention to that and show you. Revelation chapter 12 tells us in verse 3 and 4 about Satan, and he’s called the dragon. In verse 3 called the great red dragon. And verse 4 tells about his fall. Listen: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven.” How many of the angels were in the rebellion? One-third of them. They’re outnumbered two to one by holy angels. But that’s how many were in the rebellion.
Now one-third of the angels rebelled with Satan. You say, “Are all those angels loose, running around the earth as Satan’s angels, which we call demons?” No, not all of them are running around. Some of them are locked up. Did you know that? Did you know that some of those demons are locked up? Some of them are locked up for a little while, and some of them are locked up forever.
Let me give you a little diagram, just like we were diagramming a sentence. Let’s have a line and say angels. Split it into two parts: holy or elect angels. On the bottom line we have fallen angels. Of the fallen angels, there are two kinds: the loose and the bound. The loose ones we call demons. The bound ones, there are two kind: permanently bound, temporarily bound.
The permanently bound ones are given to us in Jude and in Peter, where they are reserved in everlasting chains; and we believe those are the ones that sinned in Genesis 6, cohabitating with women, producing giants in the earth, which were destroyed in the flood. The ones that are temporarily bound may be the ones that have been cast into the pit. And in Revelation 9, they’re seen coming out of the pit during the tribulation. But there are a lot of them loose now. So there are billions of demons: some bound temporarily, some bound permanently, and many, many of them loose. They are Satan’s angels. Now that’s a brief introduction to the concept of a real, living, personal being called the devil. He is the leader of that rebellion of angels.
Now is it true? And that’s a fair question. Is there really a devil? Some people think that the only thing that’s very real about the devil is the fact that he’s a Halloween costume and nothing more, that the caricature of Satan is simply something that somebody dreamed up to scare little children into doing what their daddy tells them. Is there any evidence to believe there is a devil, a personal active being opposed to the plan of God? Well, certainly if you look carefully at reason, at philosophy, at just thinking it through, there has to be an adversary.
Take it philosophically. There is a God; He makes a world. He is powerful enough to make a world the way He wants to make a world. In the midst of that world which He has made, absolute harmony does not exist. There is a puzzling dichotomy of happiness and sorrow, of wisdom and stupidity, of fulfillment and failure, of kindness and cruelty, of life and death. There seem to be two things running side by side that confuse us. And whenever we say to somebody who is ungodly, “God is a good and loving God,” they’re apt to come back and say, “Oh really? Well, tell me about it. What about this, and this, and this, and this tragedy?”
The very fact that all of this opposition to God exists is evidence enough of some other personal being actively engaged in trying to stifle the plan of God. Can the same being create His good thing and then create its opposite, and fight against Himself and then stand there frustrated in the fight? No. That’s like the old question, “Could God make a rock so big He can’t lift it?” It doesn’t make sense.
Dr. Vaughn Gertile [?] says, quote: “On the one hand it shows too much intelligence,” – he’s speaking of the universe – “too much wisdom and happiness to justify a denial of God. On the other hand, it shows too much lack of intelligence, evil and unhappiness to make belief in God probable,” end quote.
Erich Sauer says very helpfully in his book Man, The King of the Earth, “The existence of sorrow and evil throughout the world proves the existence of a transcendental, real, dynamic, hostile power not willed by God.” For God would never – and I’m saying this now – God would never create and then stand there and turn out opposition to that which He purposed. That would be as if a man were building a gate and walling it up at the same time. You can’t do that.
Sauer says, quote: “The fact is that the devil is a spiritual being whose existence cannot in any way be assailed by philosophy or natural science since it is just in our world and in our universe immediately surrounding us that we observe disharmony, death, destruction. Even a purely speculative contemplation of nature focuses on the conclusion that this world, and presumably the solar system connected with it, are the domain of this world ruler and potentate.” end quote. It’s obvious that there’s a being existing to fight the purposes of God.
Now in addition to the philosophical necessity, there is plenty of biblical evidence that the devil exists; and I think the most strong evidence, at least in my mind, is the evidence of our Lord Jesus Christ. He believed in a personal devil. He believed the devil exists.
Look with me at Matthew chapter 4: “Then when Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tested by the devil, He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards became hungry. When the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.’ He answered and said, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone.’” And you know the whole conversation. The Lord spent ten verses recorded there, at least, talking to the devil.
There’s no question about the fact that our Lord was convinced of the reality of Satan. All throughout His ministry He spoke regarding Satan. He went around casting demons out. He went around undoing the deeds that Satan was attempting to do.
In John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” Our Lord is saying, “I am in conflict with Satan; I’m going to the cross to win the victory.” Our Lord knew what He was doing. He knew that He was in conflict with a real person. Why? Because He had known this being in eternity from the time that He created him, and He knew him all the way through until he fell; and from then on, He knew him. He knew exactly who He was dealing with. And there’s one person that the devil will never fool, and that’s the God that made him.
Jesus said in John 14:30, “I’m not going to talk to you much anymore, for the prince of this world comes and has nothing in Me. The prince of this world comes.” Jesus believed in a conscious activity of Satan in the earth. In John 16, He says, “The prince of this world is judged.” There’s no question about the fact that our Lord was in conflict with Satan.
In John 8:44, Jesus says, “You are of your father, the devil.” But in Ephesians 2:2, Paul says, “The spirit now working in the children of disobedience.” Paul believed in the devil. John believed in the devil.
In 1 John, chapter 3 – we’ve been studying this recently in our study of I John, “He that commit a sin is of the devil, for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Listen to me: to say you believe in Christ, like some do, and not to believe in the devil makes a mockery out of what Christ was doing. You have to believe in both, or you don’t even understand the New Testament. In fact, it tells us in I John 5:19, “The whole world lies in the lap of the wicked one.”
James believed in the devil. “Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you,” he said, chapter 4, verse 7. Peter believed in the devil. Chapter 5, verse 8, of 1 Peter, he says, “He goes around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” The whole New Testament is full of it; they believed. They knew what the purpose of God was: to send Christ to deal with the devil.
If you study the Bible at all, you have to believe the devil exists. Just listen. He tempted Eve in Genesis 3. He tempted Christ in Matthew 4. He perverted the Word in Matthew 4. He opposed God’s work in Zechariah 3. He hindered God’s servants in 1 Thessalonians 2. He hinders the gospel, Matthew 13 and 2 Corinthians 4. He ensnares the wicked, 2 Timothy 2. He deceives the nations, 1 Kings 22 and Revelation 16 and 20. He is an angel of light, 2 Corinthians 11. He accomplishes the entrance of sin and the fall of the race, Genesis 3. He appears before God, Job 1. He walks about as a roaring lion, 1 Peter 5. He is the accuser of the brethren, Revelation 12. He has the power of death, Hebrews 2. And the whole world lies in his lap, 1 John 5. Pretty obvious in the Bible that he exists. In fact, he’s very busy. If you would deny the devil, you would as well deny Christ, for they are equally presented as existing persons in the Bible.
Not only philosophical speculation and Biblical revelation indicates the devil is, but so does human experience. Anybody who lives today in our world in the 20th century and denies the existence of a personal devil just isn’t really reading what’s going on. The devil has manifested himself greatly today. There are people who are so obviously assured that he exists that they overtly and openly worship him. And there are deeds of healing and wonders that he is already doing in our midst in the world that give evidence of his existence. Is he? Yes, he is.
Now the second thing we want to consider about him is, “Who is he?” just as we did about God this morning. He is, yes. But who is he? Well, we’ve already seen that he is an angel. He is a corrupted one; he is a fallen one. But he is an angel.
And listen to me, people, listen to this: angels have personality. We think of angels, I think, as a rather ethereal thing: something that’s white, and flaps its wings, and doesn’t have a personality. Angels have personalities.
You know, do you realize that the angels have names? That’s right, proper names. God knows all the angels’ names. When He calls an angel, He doesn’t say, “Angel number one million four hundred and” – no. He’ll say, “John,” or “Bill,” or whatever the angel’s name is. God knows their names. God knows that they have personal character. Angels are persons. They have all the properties of personhood. They feel, for they rejoice, and they praise God; and they defend God, and they fight the demons.
We look at Satan, and we know he’s a person for many reasons. Just like God is a person, so is the devil. Number one: He has the traits of personality. You know, one of the very commonest traits of personality? The ability to plan. Did you ever know a dog that laid a plan? Ever see a dog in the corner, mapping out his strategy? One of the characteristics of personhood is the ability to make a plan, or to scheme a scheme. Animals don’t do that. Animals don’t make plans, persons do.
You read 2 Corinthians and you’re going to find out. And not only that, you read the whole New Testament and you’re going to find out Satan is busy making plans. One of the reasons I believe he is a person is because of the things that he’s doing. In 2 Corinthians 11:3, “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his craftiness, so your mind should be corrupted.” Listen, he is busy devising ways to get at people; and it is a characteristic of personhood to devise schemes.
Not only that, but another trait of personality is the ability to communicate. Persons communicate; and Satan does that well. He had a conversation with Jesus, didn’t he, in Matthew 4. He had a conversation with Eve in the garden. He’s had conversations with a lot of people, and carries them on all the time.
Not only that, but he wills things. And the ability to will something, to choose, is a trait of personality. And Satan chooses things; he wills certain things. He desires certain things, and directs his will in the area which he believes will fulfill that desire.
He took Jesus to the mountain, he said, “Now there’s the kingdoms of the world. You do what I tell You and I’ll give them to You.” He chose to tempt Christ in that way, conversed with Him, and set His mind toward a certain purpose in which to entrap Christ. He had all the characteristics of personhood.
In addition to his traits of personality, I believe he’s a person, because personal pronouns are used to speak of him. The word “you” is used in Ezekiel 28; and all throughout the New Testament “he” and “himself” are used in reference to Satan. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 11, both of those terms are used.
Another reason beyond personality traits and personal pronouns is proper names. He has a lot of proper names, and those are only given to persons. We’ll see those in a minute.
One other thought I think is important is that he is given by God personal accountability; and that only belongs to persons. Animals are not accountable. They’re not accountable, not morally. There is no biblical standard for the behavior of an animal.
And God says, “I’m going to judge Satan.” When God said He was going to judge Satan, that implied that Satan had violated God’s standards, and Satan was personally accountable for that violation. That is a characteristic of personhood.
Now what about this area of personal titles? Not only personal responsibility and all these other things, but Satan has to be a person because of his personal titles. Now these are most fascinating. Let me tell you what he’s called.
He is called, for example, in Ezekiel 28:14 – and we’ll look at that later – but he is called there “the anointed cherub that covers, the anointed cherub that covers.” What that means is a high‑ranking angel. And this very title itself speaks of personhood.
He is also called the prince of this world, again speaking of his rank, as the one who rules a world system of evil, including angels and men. He is a ruler. He is called also the prince of the power of the air: the ruler of the empire of the atmosphere. He is called the god of this age, and the word “age” there is aiōn: a god of this era; the god who propagates his system of philosophy, humanism, materialism and sex. He’s also called, in Luke 11:15, the prince of demons. Second Corinthians 4:4, he’s called the god of this age. But he’s called in Luke 11:15, the prince of demons, Beelzebub.
You ever hear of that term, Beelzebub? That’s an interesting term. And just quickly, what it means is lord of the flies. And you may have heard of a movie, I think, or a book one time that had that name, Lord of the Flies. It is the title of a Philistine god; and it was given as not only the designation of that god, but of the Satan who was behind that god.
Now, you see, all of those personal titles – the anointed cherub that covers, the prince of this world, the prince of the power of the air, the god of this age, and the prince of demons – speak of rank. They speak of ruling, they speak of authority, they speak of power, they speak of direction. They speak of planning, purposing, carrying things out; and he is a person capable of doing that.
Now, Satan; who is he? Not only is he a person, but he is a spirit. Satan is a spirit. And as we said this morning, a spirit is an immaterial being. Satan can be here right now – I don’t know if he is, he’s probably doing something else. But if he happens to be here right now, we wouldn’t know it. Why? Because he is a spirit. But that does not mean that he isn’t here.
You know, we live in this little world where all we know are the three dimensions that exist, and maybe we conceive of another dimension; but we don’t realize that right now this room is probably just loaded with a whole bunch of angels – some holy and elect, and some fallen – and there’s no telling what’s going on in here. I mean, you know, I would really like to know, myself, just what is going on; but I’ll never be able to know that. But this universe is operating under the power of Satan, and there is a demonic host actively involved in desiring to halt the work of God. One of the reasons I know we have authority over him is because the work of God goes on anyway.
But angels are spirits, they are immaterial. Demons in Luke 8:2 are called evil spirits. In Luke 11:24 they’re called unclean spirits. But they’re called spirits. Angels are immaterial spirit beings – now mark this – but they aren’t like God. God is spirit, but God is everywhere. Angels have limits spatially. They are spirits, but they are spirits with a line around them. They’ve got to move. They can’t be everywhere. They’re fast; they’re really fast. And you want to know something interesting? Some of them are faster than others. Now figure that out.
You say, “You mean they could have an angelic track meet or something, and some of them would come up faster than the others?” Well, some of them are notified in the Bible by their speed as being the super-fast ones. Some are rather sluggish. But we do know that they have spatial limitations.
According to Daniel 9 and Daniel 10, there is evidence in both of those passages clearly that they are somewhere located trying to get somewhere else. That’s why when our Lord would send demons into a pig, that’s exactly where they went. They have spatial qualification. They aren’t everywhere, and they can’t just sort of separate and float; they are just where they are.
Now Satan – don’t ever forget it – is like that. And every time somebody says to me, “Well, you know, the devil made me do it.” You don’t know if that was the devil. Sure, he’s fast. But is he that fast to get around and zap everybody and just keep going around the world all the time? I don’t know how fast he is; but he doesn’t need to do that, he has spatial limitations.
Now, let me tell you something, folks. You can get a whole lot of them in a small space. I don’t know how confined or how big that spirit is. Apparently that immaterial spirit can kind of just flow together in some sense; I don’t know how. But isn’t it interesting to think about the holy angels fighting the unholy ones? I mean, what would you do? I mean, you know, right? I don’t know; but they do. Now that just shows you we’re at one level and we don’t understand the other, right?
Now you say, “Well, I thought sometimes angels had bodies.” Now listen to me. Sometimes those immaterial beings can materialize. They can materialize. Now I don’t know how they materialize, but they can; and they can take upon them a body. It isn’t a body like our body, because sometimes it has wings, doesn’t it, like in Isaiah 6.
And it’s very beautiful. In Sodom, when the people saw them, when they materialized in bodies, all of the people in town just never saw anything like it. And, of course, Sodom was famous for its homosexuality. And when the homosexual population of Sodom saw those angels materialize, they just flipped out. They said, “Oh, oh, we’ve never seen anything like that.” And they went chasing down there to Lot’s house and about tore the place down trying to get at them; and that’s why God destroyed the city. And that’s why we use the word “sodomy” to refer to homosexuality. They were so beautiful, and so beautiful that these people who were so perverted in their lusts were attracted to them sexually.
Another thing about angels that’s interesting is they are immortal and they never die. Angels never die. They will live forever; from the moment of their creation on, they will live. But unless you’re uninitiated in terms of understanding this, that’s true also of men, isn’t it? So it wouldn’t be any problem. We will live forever as well, either with God or without Him.
The highest kind of angel that could be created is a cherubim, cherubim, cherubs. These were angelic beings of the highest rank, and they had absolutely indescribable beauty and power. The character and appearance of those angels is so far beyond our imagination, and so absolutely incomprehensible to us, that we could never even begin to realize what they are like. Their beauty is beyond anything that humanly is within the conception of man’s mind.
You say, “What are the cherubim for?” Well, they were the highest ranking, apparently, and it seems as though they were the protectors of the holiness of God. They always appear surrounding God’s presence. They protect His holiness, and they are sometimes seen proclaiming His grace. They are incredibly magnificent beings.
Now of the cherubim we have several of them named to us. In fact, I think we probably meet the three chief cherubim in the Bible. Number one: Gabriel. Gabriel seems to have a very specific task, and that is to reveal and interpret God’s purpose and program for His kingdom.
There’s another angel that all of us have heard of; his name is Michael. Michael is what I like to call super angel. Michael is the general of the angelic army.
But there was even a greater angel than Gabriel and Michael, the most glorious creature God ever made. I’ll introduce you to him if you turn to Isaiah 14. Isaiah 14:12. “How art thou fallen from heaven, O” – what? – “Lucifer, son of the morning!” You know, you could hardly even fathom a more beautiful name than Lucifer; and yet when you say the name, it sounds almost like a curse.
You know what Lucifer means? Son of the dawn, shining one, helel in Hebrew, star of the morning. He was the supreme one: star of the morning, son of the dawn, the shining one. What an angel he was. You want to meet him in his glory? Look at Ezekiel 28. We’ll get back to Isaiah 14 in a minute. Ezekiel 28. Now you’re going to get a little bit of an idea of what an angel’s like; and this is enough to just send your head swimming.
Now I’ve got to explain where we are here. Ezekiel is a prophet, and Ezekiel is speaking messages of judgment. One of those whom God had designed to judge for his wickedness was the king of Tyre. Tyre is a very famous area, a very famous place in biblical history.
The king of Tyre was an evil man, extremely evil man. He was ruthless, cruel, and godless; and the Lord was going to bring judgment upon him. And in verses 1 to 10 of Ezekiel 28, Ezekiel lays out a word against the king – or the prince as he is called in verse 2 – of Tyre, and he just kind of flattens him out. Verse 10: “Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hands of foreigners, for I have spoken it,” saith the Lord God. Verse 9 even says that he said, “I am a god.” And He says, “You’ll be a man and not god in the hand of him that slays you. Some god you are. You won’t be any god to your slayer.”
So here was this person who was assuming to be God. What is that? That’s the ultimate sin of – what? – pride. And so Ezekiel is talking to the king of Tyre, but he goes behind the king of Tyre to the source of that evil, Satan, and beginning in verse 11, he begins to refer to the Satan behind the king of Tyre.
Now this is not an uncommon pattern in Scripture. Very often Messianic psalms on a positive basis are David speaking about David, but really behind David, speaking about the Messiah. There is an occasion in Matthew where our Lord says to Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan.” He’s talking to Peter; but really He’s talking to the source behind Peter’s evil act. And here he goes behind the king of Tyre, and he nails who it is that’s causing the king of Tyre to behave as he does.
Verse 12: “Son of man, take up a lamentation on the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus saith the Lord God: Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God.’”
Now it’s obvious the king of Tyre had never been there. He’s long behind the king, and he is now talking about Satan. He says, “You seal up the sum.” You know what that means? “You are sealed with the mark of perfection, the sum of all of God’s creation you are, and God sealed you as the stamp of His perfection. You were the supreme thing that God ever made, full of wisdom and” – what? – “perfect in beauty.”
If you wanted to know what God thinks is beautiful, you would have had to behold, in the spiritual essence of this particular angel, the beauty that God put there, and you would know what God feels is beautiful. He made him absolutely perfect in beauty, full of wisdom, the sum of perfection and stamped him as such. Isn’t it amazing when we think about Satan today we always think about him as ugly.
Verse 13: “You have been in Eden the garden of God.” Then it describes him; it’s an almost psychedelic description. Here’s how he was covered. “Your covering was sardius, topaz, diamond, beryl, the onyx, the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, the carbuncle,” – that’s a stone, not a blister – “gold.” Now listen: here he portrays this angel in almost a psychedelic, flashing, plethora of gems and glittering jewels; and I don’t know how to fathom this.
It also says something else about him. Now listen to this: “The workmanship of your timbrels and flutes was prepared in thee in the day that you were created.” Did you know that he was the supreme musician of heaven? Did you know that Satan was probably the heavenly choir director? He was the supreme being of God’s creation, and he was the beauty of all of heaven. He sealed it up; he was the sum of all of God’s perfection, and his music was beyond comprehension. That will give you a little idea about how God feels about good music. God loves it. When God made the supreme creation that He ever made, He made him a musician.
Verse 14: “You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set thee so. I made you. I made you the supreme angel, the anointed cherub that covers.” Now just exactly what it means that covers, I don’t know; maybe the one that hovers over God, in some sense. “I have made you so. You were on the holy mountain of God. You walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”
Now just exactly what that is, I don’t know either, but there’s something up there in heaven, some kind of mountain, some kind of fantastic stones – it’s interesting to conceive of what it might be – some kind of blazing, glittering, glorious, shekinah beauty beyond imagination, and this angel and God moved together in that domain. This is this particular angel.
Verse 15: “You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, perfect,” – and here it comes – “until iniquity was found in thee.” It would have been bad enough if he had done it on his own. But you know what he did? He didn’t keep his iniquity to himself; he merchandised it.
Verse 16: “By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned; therefore I’ll cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God; and destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.” Whatever the mountain of God is and whatever the stones of fire has reference to, that’s right there where God is, that’s the center of His heavens. “I’ll throw you out, not only because you sinned, but you merchandised your sin.”
Verse 18, he says, “You defiled the sanctuary by the multitude of your iniquities, and by the iniquity of your merchandise,” – or your trafficking – “you propagated it.” You know what Satan did when he went? He didn’t go alone. How many went with him? One-third. “I’ll bring a fire from the midst of thee, it will destroy thee and I’ll bring you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all them that behold you.” God says, “You’ll pay, Satan. You’ll pay a high price.”
Now what was the iniquity that caused this unbelievable creature to descend to the corruption that he descended to? Go to Isaiah chapter 14, and let’s see what it was. Verse 12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer!” Man, can you just imagine the fall that that angelic being took from what he was in Ezekiel 28 to the absolute corrupted, vile, despicable, hated being that he is now? How did it happen? When you’re angry with Satan, and when you’re despising Satan, you have to somehow down in your heart feel almost sorry for him, that he could have ever gone the way he went.
“Lucifer, son of the morning, how are you cut down to the ground, who did weaken the nations!” Here’s your sin: “For you said in your heart” – now here is the sin, my friend, and it’s the sin of pride, it’s the sin of pride: five “I wills”.
Number one: “I will ascend into heaven.” Now what is he saying? He already had access to the very presence of God; he was the leading cherub. He’s not saying, “I think I’ll go visit God.” He is saying, “I will go and I will remain. I will occupy the throne of God. I will ascend.” Now from where he was, to ascend was to only go – there was only one person left. To ascend from being the chief angel was to go to God’s place: “I will take over for God.”
Second: “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will usurp God’s authority over the angels. I will take over as ruler of heaven.”
Third I will: “I will sit also on the mount of the congregation,” – or the assembly; verse 14 – “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.” And most commentators would say that the clouds here are not speaking of fluffy white clouds, but clouds referring to the glory of God, as stars refer to angels: “I will get above the glory of God.”
Then he sums it up in the last I will: “I will be like the Most High.” Do you know the Most High is a title? That is God’s title as possessor of heaven and earth. What he’s saying is, “I will become possessor of heaven and earth.”
You see the unbelievable egoism and pride of his sin? And he fell, and Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning falling from heaven.” When he went, he went fast, and dramatically; and his beauty was immediately corrupted; and every angelic being who thought those thoughts with him was doomed to hell forever. And did you know that hell was created for the devil and his angels? An inconceivable sin, an inconceivable fall, but it happened.
What were the results? Verse 15 of Isaiah 14: “Yet thou shalt be brought down to sheol, to the sides of the pit.” He was banished from heaven. He was corrupted. “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee and consider thee, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth to tremble, who did shake kingdoms; who made the world like a wilderness, destroyed its cities, and opened not the house of his prisoners?’” Not only is he damned to the pit, but he becomes despised and despicable; and the display of his weakness is obvious to all who behold him.
Now the statement of verse 15, “He will be brought to the pit,” will be fulfilled, according to Revelation 20; and Satan is taken and cast into the lake of fire forever and ever. Satan came crashing down.
Now once he fell, the world wasn’t yet in sin; even if it was yet created, we don’t know. We don’t know when the fall happened, either before Genesis 1 or after. But God had two choices. Once Satan fell and all those demons, He could have just spoken the word and they all would have immediately gone out of existence. He could have destroyed Lucifer with a word. He could have halted the rebellion and that was it. And then He maybe could have waited until it happened again.
But God didn’t choose to do that. God chose to give the rebel his full opportunity to exploit every avenue of his power, to follow every possible angle. He gave him all of time, from Genesis 3 until the kingdom; all of that time He gave him to run his rebellion to its limits. Why? Why did God do it? Why did He allow it?
Well, it doesn’t say in the Bible. But one good reason I believe God allowed this was to let rebellion run right out to the end, until it ran out of gas, and showed all beings and all creatures for all time that all avenues put together could never dethrone God. And when it is done, my friend, it will be done, and no one will ever doubt again that God’s authority could ever be usurped.
You see, the claims and “I wills” of Satan have their complete trial throughout time, and the entire universe is going to see once and for all that it is impossible to dethrone God. And when you get to Revelation, the angels are singing en masse that God is to be glorified, that Christ is to reign. They know there is no other way. And along the time the rebellion is going on, God has to, because He’s a holy God, show His hatred to sin; and because He’s a loving God, redeem those people who don’t want to be a part of the rebellion.
Beloved, the conflict is on. Believe me, it’s on at every level. Did you know that? At every level in this universe the war is on. Rebellion is running its limits at the very throne of God.
According to Job chapter 1, Satan has access to the throne of God, and they’re in conflict. According to Daniel 10, at the angelic level, there is conflict. God dispatched an angel – remember in Daniel’s time? – and that angel was held up by a demon, and God said, “Michael, go get him.” And super-angel went out of there, blasted that other evil demon, and on went the angel to finish his task.
There’s a war at the angelic level, and people, if you haven’t awakened to it, you ought to by now; there’s a war at the human level. Jesus said, “You are of your father, the devil,” in John 8:44. And He said we are the children of God. The children of God, the children of Satan fight against each other. This whole universe is a battleground and, you know, I wonder sometimes when Christians just kind of sit around and just namby‑pamby it through life whether they realize what really is happening. Satan is contending for the souls of men, and so is God; and we are to be on God’s team, contending with Him.
Is there a devil? You better believe it. Who is he? He’s a person, he’s a spirit, he’s a fallen angel, and he’s active and aggressive in the war against God and God’s purposes in the world today.
I close with this: Every person sitting in this auditorium and every person on the face of the globe is either a child of God or a child of Satan. You’re on one side or the other. Is that right? Jesus said, “He that is not with Me is against Me.”
Now if you want to align yourself up with this fallen creature who is doomed and damned, and all who have party with him equally so, that’s your choice. Jesus even said, surely with a broken heart, “You will not come unto Me that you might have life.” You can be on God’s side by coming to Christ.
And, Christian, if you’re knowing now what Satan is, and what he is doing, and how tragic his fall was, and what this kingdom is really all about, I trust it gives you new impetus to fight the battle, to resist the devil, to not let him have a foothold in your life, to not let him gain an advantage over you. Don’t give him an inch. God deserves all your glory, all your praise, all your life. Satan already has been defeated at the cross; but, boy, for a dead enemy, he sure kicks and struggles; and he’ll continue to do that until the end. And we must identify with God and struggle and wrestle, realizing who our enemy is, for His glory and in His power.
Father, thank You for our time tonight, for a time to study Your Word. We pray that as we’ve just begun to look at this person who does exist, and who may even be hearing what we say, we thank You, God, that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. We thank You that he is a defeated enemy.
O God, keep us from ever giving him any token, from ever leaning his direction, from ever buying any of his philosophies, his humanism, materialism, his orientation toward lust and sex, and all these other things that he so obviously and often propagates. And may we set ourselves totally toward the One who has redeemed us, who loved us, the God who deserves our praise and our honor and our lives.
Thank You, Father, for helping us to know our enemy better. Now that we know him, help us to fight him, to war against him, to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We pray in Christ’s blessed name, who is the victor. Amen.
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