Satan (the Devil) — Liar, Slanderer, Thief, Murderer

Published August 29th, 2017 by Dirk Waren

satan ugly

Satan is the leader of the fallen angels. His name is a Hebrew word (originally pronounced saw-TAWN) that simply means “adversary” or “enemy.” As such, when you hear believers talk about “the enemy” it’s a reference to Satan and, by extension, his kingdom. This is the perfect name for the ultimate loser seeing as how he’s the willful enemy of the Creator and all that is good or life-giving.

Scripture shows that he is a created being who’s in opposition to the LORD, but he’s not equal to the Almighty and is actually no threat to God’s supreme reign (Isaiah 45:5-7). Note, for instance, how easily God defeats Satan’s final rebellion in Revelation 20:7-10.

Interestingly, the word ‘satan’ in the Hebrew is made up of the three letters of the Hebraic alphabet—shin/tet/nun:

  • Shin is a picture of two front teeth meaning “sharp or destructive.”
  • Tet is a picture of a basket meaning “surrounding, enclosing or containing.”
  • Nun is a picture of a seed meaning “life or the continuation of life.”

What’s the point? The letters of Satan’s very name define his prime directive—the destruction of anything that contains life and any continuation of it. Is it any wonder that Christ described the Enemy as a “thief” who “comes to steal and kill and destroy”? This is the express opposite of the LORD’s purpose, which is to give life and give it to the full (John 10:10). You see, God is the Fountain of Life (Psalm 36:9): Just as a mighty geyser gushes forth water, so the LORD gushes life into the lives of all who come near to Him (James 4:8). The Enemy, by contrast, works to steal or destroy life. Yahweh is the Creator while Satan is the de-creator. God only justly destroys as a last resort based on the incorrigible will of the individual (Ezekiel 18:30-32). Satan destroys indiscriminately because that’s his mission; he thrives on it.

Slanderer, Liar, Murderer

Satan is also known as the devil, which is translated from the Greek diabolos (dee-AB-ol-os), meaning “slanderer.” The term comes from the verb diaballó (dee-ab-AL-loh), meaning “to slander, accuse, defame, complain.” Moreover, Christ called the devil a “murderer from the beginning” and “the father of lies” (John 8:44).

These are the bad fruits of the devil and the satanic nature, which is the flesh — slandering, defaming, complaining, lying and murdering. Needless to say, if you know people, groups or organizations that regularly operate in such tactics it tells you everything you need to know—they’re “of the devil.” The libertine party of choice in the USA, the Demoncraps, is Exhibit A.*

* Speaking as someone who’s politically independent. No doubt more conservative parties are also guilty of such transgressions on occasion, but the Demoncraps—and hedonism in general—are out of hand in the US today.

How did Satan—the Enemy—come to be this way? Let’s look at…

Lucifer: Before he became “the Enemy”

Many details about the Enemy are relayed in prophecies that have two applications. Theologians refer to this as the law of double reference, which is the tendency of biblical prophets to prophesy two things simultaneously—one relevant to the general time of the prophecy and the other relating to the distant past or far-flung future. A good example can be observed in the first two chapters of Isaiah where the prophet jumps from the restoration of Jerusalem to the future Millennium and the new Earth. From a warning to the people of Jerusalem of looming judgment to a notice of God’s Day of Judgment of all unredeemed souls throughout history (see 2:12-22). What was about to take place in Jerusalem was just a prefiguring of what will happen to the entire Earth. Just as Jerusalem was restored, so the Earth will be restored after God’s reckoning.*

* Why did the LORD hide prophecies concerning the distant future or past in ones that had a more immediate application? In other words, why is there a “Law of Double Reference” at all? Perhaps because the prophecies of Old Testament prophets had to be 100% accurate. If their words were proven to be false, they were to no longer be regarded as prophets and, in fact, were to be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). As such, their prophecies had to have a more immediate application.

With the law of double reference in mind, let’s consider a prophecy from Ezekiel 28 that concerns the king of Tyre, Ithobaal II. Tyre was (and still is) a city just north of Israel along the coast of the Mediterranean. The great wealth that Ithobaal II had amassed resulted in pride to the point that he perceived himself as god (verse 2). Such pomposity drew righteous judgment as the LORD said he would send foreign nations to humble the king by drawing “their swords against his beauty and wisdom,” bringing him “down to the pit” through a “violent death” (verses 7-8). God’s judgment ends with this humbling pronouncement:

9 Will you then say, “I am a god,”      

in the presence of those who kill you?  

You will be but a mortal, not a god,      

in the hands of those who slay you.

10 You will die the death of the uncircumcised      

at the hands of foreigners.

Ezekiel 28:9-10

The LORD’s judgment on Ithobaal II was to die prematurely, which is in line with the biblical axiom “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

The next nine verses are another prophecy against the same king, but this time it is paralleled with the fall of Satan and his banishment from Heaven to the Underworld:

This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

    “ ‘You were the seal of perfection,        

full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

13 You were in Eden,      

the garden of God;   

every precious stone adorned you:       

carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,       

topaz, onyx and jasper,       

lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.   

Your settings and mountings were made of gold;       

on the day you were created they were prepared.

14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub,       

for so I ordained you.   

You were on the holy mount of God;       

you walked among the fiery stones.

15 You were blameless in your ways       

from the day you were created       

till wickedness was found in you.

16 Through your widespread trade       

you were filled with violence,       

and you sinned.

So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God,       

and I expelled you, guardian cherub,       

from among the fiery stones.

17 Your heart became proud       

on account of your beauty,   

and you corrupted your wisdom       

because of your splendor.   

So I threw you to the earth;       

I made a spectacle of you before kings.

18 By your many sins and dishonest trade       

you have desecrated your sanctuaries.   

So I made a fire come out from you,       

and it consumed you,   

and I reduced you to ashes on the ground       

in the sight of all who were watching.

19 All the nations who knew you       

are appalled at you;   

you have come to a horrible end       

and will be no more.’ ”

Ezekiel 28:12-19

Why would God parallel Lucifer’s fall with the king of Tyre’s doom. Because the devil was the evil spiritual authority who pulled the strings of this pagan king. With this understanding, Ezekiel 28:12-19 is speaking of either Satan or the king of Tyre, and sometimes both, depending on the verse. It’s our responsibility to “rightly divide” God’s Word to discern which.

Verses 12-17 refer to Lucifer and could only be applied to the king of Tyre in a figurative sense. After all, the person addressed is described as “the seal of perfection… and perfect in beauty” (verse 12) who dwelled in “Eden, the garden of God” (verse 13). On top of this he’s called a “guardian cherub”—an angel (verses 14 & 16). Needless to say, none of these descriptions are literally applicable to a flawed human monarch.

Take another look at the final part of verse 13:

Your settings and mountings were made of gold;     

on the day you were created they were prepared.

Ezekiel 28:13

Notice that it says “on the day you were created” and not “on the day you were born.” This indicates that it’s talking about Lucifer and not the king of Tyre. Secondly, it says that Lucifer’s gold “settings” and “mountings” were prepared on the day he was created. What’s this talking about? A couple of other translations shed insight:

the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

Ezekiel 28:13 (KJV)

Gold work of tambourines and of pipes was in you. In the day that you were created they were prepared.

Ezekiel 28:13 (WEB)

Not only was Lucifer created “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” and a “guardian cherub,” it also appears that he was created with built-in instrumentation—tambourines and musical pipes—the very day he was created. This is where theologians get the idea that Lucifer was in charge of worship in Heaven.

If you compare various translations you’ll see that there is some speculation concerning the Hebrew word translated as “pipes,” which is used in Scripture this sole time. The NIV translates it as “mountings” and another version as “engravings.” However, the word translated as “tabret” or “tambourine” literally refers to a timbrel or tambourine. It appears 16 other times in the Hebrew Scriptures where the King James Version and the New American Standard Bible unanimously cite it as a musical instrument, whether “tambourine,” “timbrel” or “tabret” (i.e. a tabor). Seeing as how the first word definitely refers to a musical instrument—a tambourine or tabor—it stands to reason that the second word refers to an instrument as well. And, since a tabor is a small drum used to accompany a pipe or drum, it’s reasonable that the word refers to pipes or fifes of some sort.

This intrinsic musical anointing that Lucifer had explains how the devil uses music to mislead people, particularly the youth. Like the Pied Piper, Satan will utilize music to lead astray whole generations. And I’m not talking about a specific style of music, but rather the content of it, regardless of style. Consider, for example, the Beatles hit song from late 1963 “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” which debuted at the beginning of so-called Beatlemania. It’s a catchy ditty about innocent youthful romance and had no ill effect on the teen and tween-ager masses. Yet less than 14 years later the band Queen released the sexually explicit “Get Down, Make Love” aimed at the same audience. It was a bait-and-switch tactic using the power of music to mislead a generation and its descendants into sexual hedonism.

In any case, Lucifer was more likely to have such wealth, beauty, wisdom, perfection and musical instruments at his creation than some ancient earthly king at his birth.

“Anointed Guardian Cherub”

As noted, verses 14 and 16 show that Lucifer was “anointed” a “guardian cherub.”

‘Anoint’ means “to dedicate to the service of God” and indicates the LORD’s favor. This explains why Jesus is called Christ (from the Greek christos) or Messiah (from the Hebrew mashach), both of which mean “anointed one.” So Lucifer was handpicked by God for the privilege of guarding—i.e. covering—the LORD’s throne, similar to the cherubim who were assigned to guard the Garden of Eden after Adam & Eve were banished (Genesis 3:24).

This is evidence that Lucifer had regular access to the glorious presence of the Almighty.

“You were Perfect in Your Ways”

Let’s read verse 15 from a different translation:

You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.

Ezekiel 28:15 (WEB)

Lucifer was perfect in angelic beauty before his fall and thus was praised as “the seal of perfection… and perfect in beauty” (verse 12). This obviously wasn’t wholly true of Ithobaal II, but it was true of Satan when he was Lucifer, before iniquity was found in him.

The first part of the passage shows how proud God was of Lucifer: This magnificent cherub was God’s pattern of perfection and beauty. Yet the second half resonates with disappointment, even mourning.

Lucifer’s Fall

What was it that led to Lucifer’s rebellion and fall from Heaven? Verse 17 shows that Lucifer’s root transgression was pride:

Your heart became proud     

on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom     

because of your splendor.

So I threw you to the earth;     

I made a spectacle of you before kings.

Ezekiel 28:17

This is a great warning against allowing our blessings to go to our heads. Lucifer became arrogant because of his great beauty, wisdom and splendor. His inherent blessings puffed up his ego to the point that he thought he was all that and a bag of chips, so to speak. The New Testament corroborates this (1 Timothy 3:6). The root of sin is always traced to what’s going on in one’s heart.

Understandably, the LORD throws this archangel out of Heaven to the Earth in disgrace. We know this isn’t referring to Ithobaal II because he never left the Earth in the first place.

Verses 18-19, however, more clearly apply to the earthly king of Tyre because they show his body being “reduced to ashes” in the sight of spectators as he comes to “a horrible end” and is “no more.” Since we know from other passages that Lucifer wasn’t reduced to ashes when he fell to the Earth and didn’t become “no more,” these statements obviously refer to Ithobaal II and not Satan. The latter’s alive and not-well on planet Earth to this day.

The main point about Lucifer rings loud and clear: This blessed archangel was corrupted by pride due to his incredible beauty and other endowments, which resulted in his foolish rebellion and ousting from glory.

Thus the LORD threw Lucifer to the Earth or, more specifically, the Underworld, which is the spiritual dimension that underpins the Earth and Universe. Isaiah paralleled Satan’s fall with the king of Babylon’s doom:

12 How you have fallen from heaven,      

morning star [Lucifer], son of the dawn!   

You have been cast down to the earth,      

you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart,      

I will ascend to the heavens;  

I will raise my throne       

above the stars of God;   

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,       

on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;       

I will make myself like the Most High.”

15 But you are brought down to the realm of the dead [Sheol],       

to the depths of the pit.

16 Those who see you stare at you,       

they ponder your fate:  

“Is this the man who shook the earth       

and made kingdoms tremble,

17 the man who made the world a wilderness,    

who overthrew its cities       

and would not let his captives go home?”

Isaiah 14:12-17

This is another example of the law of double reference where two things are simultaneously prophesied—one relevant to the general time of the prophecy and the other relating to the distant past or far-off future. In this case, Isaiah prophesies Sennacherib’s doom* and parallels it with the much earlier fall of Lucifer, who became Satan.

* FYI: Assyrian king Sennacherib (suh-NAK-uh-rib) conquered Babylon and hence dubbed himself the King of Babylon.

Verse 12, for instance, is an obvious reference to Lucifer and could only be applied to the king of Babylon in a figurative sense. After all, did Sennacherib literally fall from Heaven down to the Earth, like the devil? Was he nicknamed “morning star,” aka “Lucifer” (which is how the King James and New King James translate the Hebrew word for “morning star”)? Furthermore, Jesus partially cites verse 12 as a reference to the devil:

“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Luke 10:18

This is reinforced by Revelation 12:7-10 (covered in this article).

Why would the LORD draw a parallel between the king of Babylon and Satan? The same reason Jesus rebuked Peter as “Satan” in Matthew 16:23 for being a mouthpiece for the devil’s ungodly agenda. Just as Satan was the spiritual force behind Peter’s rash words, so he was the diabolic authority behind Sennacherib’s oppressive reign.

Whereas verses 12-14 obviously refer to the devil and only figuratively to Sennacherib, verses 15-17 solely relate to the earthly king (although verses 16-17 may refer to the devil by extension). Verse 15 shows Sennacherib’s soul being housed in “the pit” after his death, which is Sheol, the “realm of the dead” located in the heart of the Earth.* The point is that death awaits those who arrogantly presume to be God.

* See my book SHEOL KNOW for details or, for something shorter and free, this article.

Lucifer’s Pride wouldn’t allow Him to Serve God or People

We observed last chapter that angels already existed when the Earth and Universe were created, as shown in God’s humbling response to the venting Job:

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?      

Tell me, if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!      

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,      

or who laid its cornerstone—

while the morning stars sang together     

and all the angels shouted for joy?”        

Job 38:4-7

The angels “sang together” and “shouted for joy” when the Almighty created the Earth. Satan’s rebellion occurred sometime after this because there had to be an Earth and the corresponding Underworld for him to fall to and inhabit. As explained in this article, the “underworld” is simply the spiritual dimension that undergirds the Earth. Not being physical beings, the devil and his fallen angels operate from this spiritual realm to negatively influence the physical world.

Notice that verse 7 says “all the angels shouted for joy” when the Earth was created. The word ‘all’ is kol (kohl) in the Hebrew, meaning “the whole.” As noted last chapter, the Hebrew for ‘angels’ in this verse literally means “the sons of God,” the same words used to describe angels elsewhere in Scripture, including the devil & his filthy angels (e.g. Genesis 6:2,4 & Job 1:6, 2:1). My point is that all the angels rejoiced when God created the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 1:1), which would include Lucifer and his subordinates before their rebellion and ouster from Heaven.

Yet in Genesis 3:1-15 we observe Satan, after his fall, possessing a serpent-with-legs in order to tempt the first woman. This shows that Lucifer and his cohorts rebelled and were cast from Heaven sometime after the creation of the Earth & Universe, but before the devil’s duping of Eve, which means sometime between Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 3:1.* We don’t know the exact expanse of time between the two, but it could’ve been years. In any case, this shows that Satan’s rebellion occurred shortly after the creation of human beings.

* This is the young Earth perspective, which I believe is the most biblically faithful position on the age of the Earth/Universe. Gap theorists, who embrace the old Earth model, place the fall of Lucifer & his fallen spirits sometime between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. For details, see How Old is the Earth? (The Gap Theory vs. Young Earth Creationism).

We know from the previous section that Lucifer’s insurgency was due to pride:

13 You said in your heart,     

I will ascend to the heavens;   

I will raise my throne       

above the stars of God;   

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,       

on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;       

I will make myself like the Most High.”

Isaiah 14:13-14

These five “I will” statements reveal Satan’s arrogance—he wanted to be God rather than be God’s servant. This was the first sin ever committed. And notice, again, that sin is traced to what’s going on in one’s heart, which is corroborated by Christ in the New Testament (Mark 7:20-23). No wonder Jesus emphasized this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28).

We saw earlier in Ezekiel 28 that Lucifer was an exceptionally beautiful angel, God’s guardian cherub with an intrinsic musical anointing who dwelt in the presence of the Almighty. But he was not satisfied with his extraordinary blessings and privileges. Instead, Lucifer wanted to be God and so, after his defeat, he naturally tempted Adam & Eve with the same basic sin that led to his downfall (Genesis 3:1-5).

Now here’s an important point: Lucifer was no doubt having problems with the concept of serving before God created Adam & Eve, but once they were created and he caught wind of the fact that angels were commissioned to serve people (Hebrews 1:14) his pride couldn’t handle it, particularly when he found out human beings were created in the likeness of God. And, worse, that they were expressly created to be co-heirs with Christ, seated with Him at the right hand of the Father, a privilege and position not granted to angels (Romans 8:17, Hebrews 1:13 & Ephesians 2:6). Lucifer’s envy went into overdrive and thus he orchestrated his doomed revolt.

Humankind’s Slavery to Satan

Incredibly, the Bible teaches that unredeemed humanity is in slavery to Satan. The rest of this chapter we’re going to look at what this means, how it happened, and what are its ramifications. In the next two chapters we’ll focus on the good news—the awesome news—that God has ingeniously provided a way of escape for anyone who wants it.

What is the evidence that humanity is in slavery to Satan? Let’s start with John 8 where we observe Christ having a discussion with the Pharisees and likeminded Jews. The Pharisees were the staunchly legalistic religious leaders of Israel at the time. While they were respected conservatives, Jesus frankly told them that they were slaves to sin, which they adamantly denied on the grounds of their Hebrew stock (Abraham being their forefather). The Messiah responded that, if they were truly Abraham’s offspring, they would walk righteously as Abraham did. And if they were God’s children they would love him—Jesus—since he came from God. Instead, they were trying to murder him. Christ went on to candidly tell them that the reason they wanted to kill him was because they were acting in accordance with their father’s desire. He was talking about the devil, who was a murderer from the beginning (verses 33-44). So Jesus was saying that the devil was their spiritual father.

Of course, no one likes to be called a child of Satan—especially respected religious folk—and so they proceeded to call Jesus names and even attempted to stone him to death. But the Mighty Christ miraculously slipped from their clutches, no doubt assisted by angels (verses 48-59).

The reason I bring this particular occasion up is because Christ was talking to conservative religious people whom he said were slaves to sin and children of the devil. These were people who knew the Scriptures like the backs of their hands. This shows that conservativism and religion cannot set us free from sin and make us children of God.

Notice what the Bible point blank says about humanity’s slavery to the devil:

We know that we [believers] are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

1 John 5:19

 

…the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.

Revelation 12:9

The devil is able to mislead humanity because he’s the legal ruler of this world; the Bible even calls him the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Some translations render this as “the god of this age,” which shows that Satan’s dictatorship is limited to “this present evil age” and is not forever (Galatians 1:4).

Christ testified to humanity’s slavery to Satan when he commissioned Paul “to open [people’s] eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).

But when and how did Satan become humanity’s slave master? Let’s look at…

The Fall of Humanity

As noted earlier, after Satan’s plunge from Heaven he possessed a serpent-with-legs for the purpose of tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden and, through Eve, seduced Adam into outright rebellion against the Almighty. Here’s the account:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Genesis 3:1-8

Let’s start our analysis of this pivotal passage by grasping these four points:

  1. While Satan could have manifested himself in the physical realm like the “sons of God” later did (Genesis 6:1-4) (see this article for details) he obviously wanted to present his temptation to Eve as a harmless creature in order to be successful. This corresponds to something the New Testament says about him—“Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). So he possessed a serpent, but this reptile was hardly the slithering serpentine creatures with which we’re familiar. This reptile had legs and it did not have the negative connotation that snakes have had ever since (Genesis 3:14). Remember, after God created the Universe and all living things the entire creation was called “very good” and this would include the serpent (Genesis 1:31). So this was a striking, shining animal. It was as threatening to Eve as the GEICO gecko would be to us.
  2. Someone mocked this event to me on the grounds that Eve was tempted by “a talking snake.” But A. it wasn’t a snake as we know it, as explained above; and B. Adam & Eve were clearly used to communicating with animals in the Garden of Eden before their fall because Eve wasn’t shocked when the serpent spoke to her. She reacted as if conversing with such an animal was a normal thing. If this sounds strange to you, keep in mind that most of us communicate with animals every day. For instance, my cats let me know when they want something to eat, when they want affection, when they want outdoors and when they want in the house; they even give thanks! They may not speak English, but they certainly talk verbally and bodily; and I understand them. Now imagine how heightened such communion would be before the fall of creation when the world was perfect. Then add the fact that the serpent was said to be the smartest of the animals God made (Genesis 3:1). This is where the serpent is called “crafty” or “clever,” which is translated from the Hebrew word arum (aw-ROOM), which means prudent, shrewd or sensible.
  3. Eve appears to have been alone with the serpent when she was tempted, but this seems to be contradicted by Genesis 3:6 where it says she gave some of the forbidden fruit to Adam “who was with her,” which he ate. This explains the traditional Judaic position that Adam was present with Eve the whole time and he heard the entire conversation of the temptation. However, saying Adam “was with her” could simply mean that he was with her when she offered him the fruit. According to this scenario, Eve had the discussion with the serpent, believed his lies, partook of the fruit, and then went to Adam—who was likely nearby—and offered him some of it once he “was with her.” This interpretation helps make sense of the New Testament’s point that Eve was deceived by the devil while Adam was not; and death came to humankind through Adam’s sin rather than Eve’s (1 Timothy 2:13-14 & Romans 5:14-21). Satan obviously knew that Adam would be more open to embracing his deception if it came via the fairer sex. In other words, he knew that women were men’s weakness.
  4. Eve’s actions could perhaps be excused on the grounds that she was deceived by the serpent. Not to mention she was clearly confused in light of her embellishing of God’s prohibition against eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil wherein she added “and you must not touch it” (verse 3). God never said this and it reveals Eve’s muddled mental state. For Adam, however, there was no such excuse: He willfully opted to go with Eve, his “hot babe,” rather than continue with God. It was a clear-minded decision. Simply put, he rejected the LORD and chose the way of the “ancient serpent” (Revelation 12:9 & 20:2).

Now let’s consider the bigger picture from Satan’s perspective: After his humiliating expulsion from Heaven he & his minions were utterly defeated and devastated, living meaningless lives separate from God in the “dark heavenlies.” So the purpose of the devil’s diabolic enticement of Adam & Eve was threefold:

  1. To get back at God somehow.
  2. To ruin the only beings created in God’s image and destined to be co-heirs with Christ, of whom he was furiously envious. This ruin would, of course, extend to their descendants and therefore all humanity.
  3. To usurp the authority and power that Adam & Eve had over the Earth and Universe. As such, Satan would attain lawful control of God’s physical creation. We’ll entertain a fourth possible reason next chapter.

What power did Adam & Eve possess that Satan craved? God originally blessed the primordial couple — and, by extension, all humankind — to “be fruitful and multiply,” to “subdue” and “have dominion” over all the Earth:

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 1:28 (NKJV)

This blessing was equally a directive, showing that the LORD put humanity in charge of the Earth and its animal inhabitants. No stipulations were given on how to govern except that they were not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-17). In short, Adam & Eve had power-of-attorney to manage physical creation in God’s place. The Creator obviously trusted them because they were created in His likeness and they didn’t have a sin nature (Genesis 1:27).

Power mad, Satan craved this authority and so masqueraded as a harmless creature in order to, first, deceive Eve and, second, convince Adam through her to make a ruinous decision for them and all humanity, which was in their loins.

Satan’s “Power of Suggestion”

Did you notice, by the way, that Satan’s strategy in duping Eve was simply the “power of suggestion”? He didn’t approach her with a blatant denial of God’s Word, which would’ve shocked her and sent her running. Instead, he worked with her natural curiosity. He knew Eve was already curious about the forbidden fruit and so he waited until she “just happened” to be in the area of the tree before conveying his suggestion: “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The question was designed to get her focused on the sole thing restricted to her & Adam and thus to doubt God’s goodness. The Enemy insinuated doubt concerning God’s will — His Word — to mislead her to the supposed true interpretation, which was a lie. And she believed it because of the innocuous way Satan approached her, masquerading as a harmless, beautiful creature, which she received as a credible messenger due to the devil’s cunning.

Beware: The kingdom of darkness will use these same tactics today to mislead you away from God and His will. In order for the Enemy to not outwit you, you must be aware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11).

The Consequences of Sin

The consequence of eating the forbidden fruit was death. God warned Adam “when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). The original text contains the Hebrew word for ‘death’ twice and so it should be rendered “in dying you will die.” * In other words, Adam & Eve would die spiritually when they transgressed, which would eventually lead to physically death and, ultimately, eternal death, unless they were redeemed at some point. As such, they lost their eternal life.

* See Young’s Literal Translation.

The condition of spiritual death, by the way, does not mean that the human spirit is dead, but rather that it’s dead to God because it lacks the eternal life necessary to function properly. In short, spiritual death kills the human capacity to know the Creator. This can be observed in the fact that Adam & Eve hid from the LORD immediately after suffering spiritual death. It robbed humanity of guilt-free access into the presence of God and the precious communion thereof.

Something else devastating happened: Since Adam & Eve willingly believed and obeyed the word of Satan over the Word of God they became slaves to a new master through the acquisition of a sinful nature, which is the satanic nature.

Moreover, they gave their God-given power-of-attorney over to their new spiritual master. In essence, Satan acquired the legal right to govern the Earth & Universe, including the legal control of all people born from Adam’s seed, meaning humanity was now in bondage to the Enemy.

Somehow a lawful transfer of power from Adam to Satan occurred. But why wouldn’t the Sovereign LORD simply take this control back from the devil? Because God is perfectly just and it would be unjust to take away authority that Satan legally obtained. A lawful means of reversing this legal transference would have to be implemented and this is what the gospel of Christ is all about, which is why it’s the “good news.”

All of this explains why the Bible says “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” who “leads the whole world astray” (1 John 5:19 & Revelation 12:9). It’s because Satan possesses legal authority over physical creation. How else would he be able to tempt Christ with the offer of “all the kingdoms of the world” if they weren’t legally his to give? See Matthew 4:8-9.

The English Standard Version translates 1 John 5:19 as “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” The word ‘world’ in the Greek refers to the Earth and Universe but, more literally, “an ordered system, like the universe and creation.” In short, the devil is legally in control of physical creation and therefore calls the shots, which is why God’s Word refers to him as “the god of this world” who is able to blind the minds of those who don’t believe (2 Corinthians 4:4). See Chapter 17 and 18 of my ANGELS book for enlightening details on how exactly the kingdom of darkness blinds people’s minds.

The Ramifications of Satan’s Rule

The fact that Satan is the god of this world can be observed every day all over the planet—war, crime, disease, suffering, immorality, corruption, injustice, abuse, perversion, slander, lies, etc.

One of the favorite arguments of atheists against the idea of an Almighty Creator is that, if there was an all-righteous God, why does He allow all these horrible things to happen? Why doesn’t He stop it? God’s Word tells us precisely why: An evil spiritual being usurped authority from our primeval parents and he’s been running the show ever since, with the assistance of his filthy underlings.

Thankfully, the LORD in his ingeniousness devised a legal way to take control back from Satan. This transfer of power is already in motion and will culminate with “a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). When this takes place, God’s dwelling will be with the redeemed “and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4).

So, for anyone who’s upset about the world being so messed up, the LORD’s on top of it. His awesome plan of redemption for humanity, and all creation, is in motion. In fact, he foreknew we were going to fall and already had a plan of action (Ephesians 1:4-5).

What is this plan and how can people make sure they’re on board? See this article.


Related Topics:

ANGELS — What Are They? What’s Their Purpose?

Evil Spirits (Demons) — What Are They? What’s Their Purpose?


Angels amazon pic

This article was edited from Chapter 11 of Dirk’s book ANGELS, which is available here for only just over $12 (345 pages); or you can get the eBook version here for only $2.99. Both links allow you to “Look inside” the book.


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