Friday, November 15, 2013

Where Did Satan Come From?

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, November 13, 2013:  Ezekiel 27:1-28:26

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.  15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.  Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NKJV)

Who is Satan and where did he come from?  This is an important biblical question.  There are two key places in the Old Testament that can give us answers: Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.  Most places in the Bible describe the devil simply by his activities (see Job 1).  But these two chapters take us further.

While prophesying to earthly kings (Babyon and Tyre), these two chapters take a different slant.  It is obvious they are addressing someone more than these earthly rulers.

Ezekiel addresses the king of Tyre, but then goes to a higher level.  He says, "You were the anointed cherub that covers" (28:14).  This is obviously NOT the king of Tyre.  This individual was "the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty" (28:12).  Uniformly, biblical scholars agree that Ezekiel is speaking of an angelic being originally called Lucifer (Is. 14:12).  Ezekiel says of him, "You were in Eden, the garden of God" and goes on to describe an array of precious gems that adorned him.  In both Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, musical instruments are associated with him (Is. 14:11 -- "your stringed instruments"; Ez. 28:13 -- "your timbrels and pipes").  Since worship surrounds the throne of God and this angelic being was "the anointed cherub that covers", some have speculated that Lucifer was originally some sort of heavenly worship leader.

In both passages, something goes wrong.  Evil is invented.  Lucifer was not tempted, he created temptation.  He was not seduced into sin, he created sin.  No doubt, this points to one of the most profound theological and philosophical questions of the universe.  How could a good, sovereign God allow such evil to exist?

We will not here fully answer this profound question, but I can make a few observations.

1.  FREE WILL.  This is a historically debated topic, but it is clear that Almighty God allowed Lucifer the ability to think on his own.  As such, this archangel concocted rebellion.  God chose not to dominate and suppress this free choice, but rather to allow it along with its appropriate consequences.

2.  VULNERABILITY.  If Lucifer could be so close to the throne and yet still fall, we ought to realize that each of us is also vulnerable.  Lucifer fell prey to his own pride.  That can happen to us, too.

3.  FOCUS.  The center of the universe is our great God.  Paul writes, "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Whom be glory forever" (Rom. 11:36).  Lucifer took his eyes off God and became centered on himself.  Isaiah is most descriptive of this.  Five times, Lucifer says, "I WILL" (Is. 14:13-15).  The essence of sin is not just breaking the law, but of centering on self.  Today, someone may keep virtually all the laws and yet still ultimately have "self" on the throne.

Who is Satan?  He is a fallen angel who leads a cosmic rebellion against Almighty God.  There is absolutely no question as to Satan's future.  He actually has already lost the war.  He simply goes about seeking further destruction prior to his final demise.

Someone once said that if we realized how sigificant free will is, we would immediately give it totally to God.  Satan fell because of self-centered rebellion.  We can stand and be strong by whole-hearted faith and surrender.  May God strengthen each of us to be always GOD-CENTERED.  "To Him be the glory!"

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