Origin stories are big in blockbuster movies these days. We want to know where the super heroes (and villains) came from – what makes them tick.
One of the best in recent memory has to be the way director Peter Jackson portrayed the transformation of Smeagol into Gollum in The Return of the King.
I must admit, I’m a little tired of the origins of Batman. Too overdone. Too much angst. But that’s just me.
Satan has an origin, and we want to take a brief look at it. After all, no series on spiritual warfare could be considered complete without it.
Satan is an angel. We know that from the Book of Job, where he comes to present himself before God with other angels.
To talk about the origin of Satan we need to mention the origin of angels.
Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things, including angels. The eternal Son of God was the cause of every creature: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created by Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
Each angel is a direct creation from God, for they do not procreate as do humans (Matthew 22:28–30). Perhaps this is why they are sometimes called “the sons of God” (Job 1:6; 2:1).
In Psalm 148:2 angels are commanded to praise God, and they are included with other creations in verse five: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded and they were created.”
The angels were all created at or near the same time. The exact time of their creation is not certain, but we know that “all the sons of God shouted for joy” at the creation of the earth, and that Satan, an angelic creature, appears in Genesis three. From this we conclude that God created all angels before He created the earth.
All angels were created in a holy state, but we know that Satan fell from that state, enticing one-third of the angels to fall with him.
In Matthew 25:41 Jesus speaks of Hell as being a place prepared “for the devil and his angels.”
Revelation 12:4 depicts Satan’s fall, saying he drew a third more with him.
They are according to their nature termed “holy” (Mark 8:38) or “elect” (1 Timothy 5:21 KJV), and “evil” or “unclean spirits” (Luke 8:2; 11:24, 26). According to their allegiance they are called “the angels of God” (John 1:51), or grouped with “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41) and the “dragon and his angels” (Revelation 12:7).
Let me pause for a moment to say something about the name, Satan. When Satan first appears in the Bible, he is not named. In Genesis, he is the serpent who tempted Eve to disobey God in the Garden of Eden.
He next appears in Job and is described as satan – but not as a proper name. It was the common word for accuser. Thus, in Job, he is literally, the satan. Over time he began to be called Satan as a proper name.
Satan is not mentioned all that much in the Old Testament. He’s in the Garden; he comes against Job. Then he is mentioned directly in Zechariah 3:1-2, and in Second Chronicles 21:1.
These few mentions aren’t meant to minimize him as an adversary. Quite to the contrary – the Bible is a war story as Satan seeks to undermine and overthrow God’s gracious plan to create, then redeem, then glorify, a race of people who freely love Him. Satan is always behind the scenes, robbing, killing, lying, destroying, devouring.
So – where’d he go wrong? While modern scholarship tries to minimize it, most, solid evangelical scholarship looks to a passage in Ezekiel to draw back the curtain.
It’s Ezekiel 28:1-19. Here is how the chapter breaks down:
In verses one through ten God announces His judgment upon the human ruler of Tyre.
In verses eleven through nineteen God seems to be talking to Satan even though Heʼs still addressing the ruler of Tyre.
God was addressing a man, the ruler of Tyre, the whole time. But in the later verses He was revealing the motivation behind the man. It was Satan.
Remember in the Book of Daniel we learned that there can be satanic powers behind the rulers of the nations of the earth. We read there about a demon who was “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” who withstood Gabriel until Michael the Archangel came to fight with him.
Ezekiel 28:1 The word of the Lord came to me again, saying,
Ezekiel 28:2 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,’ Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god
The “prince,” or ruler, of Tyre at this time in history was a guy named Ithobul II. Did he really think he was “a god?” Probably.
Eze 28:3 (Behold, you are wiser than Daniel! There is no secret that can be hidden from you!
This is sanctified sarcasm.
Eze 28:4 With your wisdom and your understanding You have gained riches for yourself, And gathered gold and silver into your treasuries;
Eze 28:5 By your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, And your heart is lifted up because of your riches),”
Eze 28:6 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Because you have set your heart as the heart of a god,
Eze 28:7 Behold, therefore, I will bring strangers against you, The most terrible of the nations; And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor.
Eze 28:8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.
Eze 28:9 “Will you still say before him who slays you, ‘I am a god’? But you shall be a man, and not a god, In the hand of him who slays you.
Eze 28:10 You shall die the death of the uncircumcised By the hand of aliens; For I have spoken,” says the Lord GOD.’ ”
I absolutely love the scene in The Avengers when Loki says he’s a god, and the Hulk tosses him like a rag doll and says, “puny god.”
The King of Tyre would die unconverted, die in his sins, die eternally separated from God. Heʼd wait in the “pit,” in Hades, where heʼs still waiting, for the resurrection of the damned, the second death, to be thrown alive into the Lake of Fire.
Something else was going on, behind the scenes. God began to address Ithobul as if he were a fallen angel:
Eze 28:11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
Eze 28:12 “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.
Eze 28:13 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.
Eze 28:14 “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.
The person being addressed is a “cherub.” Thatʼs a class of angelic beings. In fact, it is the highest, most beautiful, most privileged and powerful class.
This particular cherub was “in Eden.” Who is the only other individual, besides Adam and Eve, we read about in Eden? It’s the serpent, Satan.
Wait; how do we make the leap from the serpent to Satan?
Rev 20:2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan…
Ezekiel fills-in some gaps about Satan:
He was, and still is, “full of… beauty.” I donʼt think he looks like the guy on the fireworks stands.
As we said, he was “created.” He is in no way an equal with God, with the Creator. Itʼs not like the Force, or the yin & yang, good versus evil.
“Timbrels and pipes” describe some sort of musical ability. Satan is thus said by many to have been a worship leader, maybe THE worship leader.
He was in the very presence of God. He held a high rank.
Itʼs possible to identify the “fiery stones” with a fiery wall around the Throne of God in Heaven. If thatʼs the case, Satan was an inner-circle angel.
Eze 28:15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
Eze 28:16 “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.
Eze 28:17 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you.
Without explaining how it happened, God says, “Iniquity was found in [him].” The only clue (here) as to what occurred in Satan’s mind is found in verse 17: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.”
The “trading” of verse sixteen might allude to Satan’s convincing other angels to join him.
His sin is a proud heart and self-occupation. Reflecting upon his God-endowed beauty, he became enthralled with himself and was lifted up with pride
Eze 28:18 “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw you.
Eze 28:19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror, And shall be no more forever.” ‘ ”
Ezekiel was describing both Ithabul and Satan. The purpose of the lament was to speak of Tyreʼs destruction. So he began to blend the characteristics of the satanic king with the human ruler.
Satan would be cast to the earth and the king of Tyre would also be cast down before other kings, his enemies.
Satanʼs ultimate destiny will be the Lake of Fire and the defeat and death of the human ruler of Tyre was pictured as being consumed by fire.
Both Satanʼs and Tyreʼs defeats would shock those nations who had followed them.
There’s another important origins passage. It’s Isaiah fourteen. It’s where we get another name for Satan – Lucifer. Next time!
We talk about the fall of Satan but it is more accurate to describe him as falling. Though Ezekiel presented the fall of Satan as a single act, it actually occurred, and is still occurring, in stages:
Satanʼs initial judgment was his expulsion from the position of Godʼs anointed cherub before His throne. God expelled him from the “mount of God” (meaning Heaven). As I already said, he is still allowed access to God, but he is described in the New Testament as “the prince of the power of the air,” somewhere between Heaven and earth.
In the Tribulation Satan will be finally cast from Heaven and from earth’s atmosphere and be restricted to the earth.
At the Second Coming Satan will be confined in the Millennium to the bottomless pit.
After his brief release at the end of the Millennium he will be cast into the lake of fire forever.
God went on a Tyre-rant against a tyrant, and along the way we learn about our accuser, the devil, that serpent of old, Lucifer.