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The Crafty Serpent – Genesis 3:1 – Part 2
So, having used good hermeneutics last week to see where we get the idea that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was Satan, let’s talk a little bit about WHO Satan is.
As was said earlier, the first use of the name Satan is found in 1 Chronicles 21:1 and throughout Job 1 and 2. Satan literally means “Adversary” in Hebrew. Another name appears in the O.T. in the KJV in Isaiah 14:12, where he is called “Lucifer.” This is the only passage that uses the name Lucifer to refer to Satan, and the name doesn’t come from Hebrew, but Latin, and means: “Light bringer.” The Hebrew is “heylel” and means: “light bearer,” “shining one,” or “morning star.”
Some believe that Lucifer was a heavenly or angelic name that was taken from Satan when he rebelled, though the bible doesn’t explicitly state this. In the NT, other names reveal more about Satan’s current nature. Devil (diablos), means “false accuser,” Satan = slanderer in Greek and is the word from which the English word “diabolical” is formed. Satan is called a dragon in Revelation, as well as the “evil one” in several places. Revelation calls him “that ancient serpent,” or “serpent of old,” and Matthew 4:3 calls him the “Tempter.” Other names for Satan include: Abaddon (destruction), Apollyon (destroyer), Beelzebub and Belial. Satan is also referred to as the god of this world, prince of the world and father of lies.
So, was Satan originally a fallen angel as many of us believe? Satan is mentioned in conjunction with angels in Matt.25:41 & Rev, 12:9, and the “sons of God” in Job 1:6 & 2:1, which many believe to be angels. There is not one bible verse that actually states that he was originally an angel. He is called a Cherub in Ezek.28:16. The meaning of the word cherubim is uncertain, though it is usually thought of as an angelic or heavenly being.
In 2 Cor. 11:14, we find that Satan masquerades as an angel of light - another allusion to his angel-like status. “And no wonder! For Satan transforms himself into an angel of light.”
While it's possible that Satan was an angel, it might be better to say that he was originally a “heavenly host” (which would include angels), since we know he came from heaven, but don’t know with certainty that he was an actual angel.
Another question we might have is: when did Satan fall? Again, the bible doesn’t give the exact answer to this, but by using good hermeneutics we can take scripture against scripture to get some deductions.
Satan sinned when pride took hold of him and he fell from perfection (Ezek. 28:15-17). When he sinned, he was cast from heaven Isa. 14:12 - “How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!”
This must have been after day 6 of creation week because God pronounced everything good in Gen. 1:31. Otherwise God would have pronounced Satan’s rebellion very good. God sanctified the 7th day. It seems unlikely that God would have sanctified a day in which a great rebellion occurred. The fall of Satan would likely have been soon after day 7, but this cannot be proven.
Another question we might have concerning Satan is: How could Satan, who was created good, become evil? This question goes deeply into the “sovereignty of God vs. man’s responsibility” debate in which the church has battled over for ages. From what we see in the bible, Satan was the first to sin. He sinned before Adam and Eve sinned. Some claim that we sin because Satan enters us and causes us to sin, but the bible doesn’t teach this. We sin whether Satan enters us or not.
Satan was influencing the serpent when the woman sinned, they sinned of their own accord and were not able to say: Satan MADE me do it.”
But what causes this initial sin, and why did Satan sin in the first place? Read James 1:13-15. Death is the punishment for sin. Sin originates in desire - one’s OWN desire. It was from Satan’s own desire that his pride in his own beauty and abilities overtook him.
In the “Very good” original creation, it seems likely that Satan and mankind had the power of contrite choice. In the garden of Eden, the woman was convinced by her own DESIRE (the tree was desirable to make one wise). Satan had not entered her; she was enticed by her own desire. God is not the author of sin; our desires are! God did not trick or deceive Satan into becoming full of pride. God hates pride (Prov. 8:13), and it would not be in His character to cause one to be prideful. Since Satan’s own desires caused his pride, the blame for evil’s entrance into creation cannot be God’s.
To clarify, this doesn’t mean God was unaware this would happen, but God permitted it to happen. God is sovereign and acted justly by casting Satan out of heaven after he rebelled against the Creator! Therefore, when God incarnate came to destroy evil and the work of the devil (1 John 3:8), it was truly an act of love, not a gimmick to correct what He messed up! He was glorified in his plan for redemption!!
Lastly, let’s look at what will become of Satan!! Satan’s days are numbered!!!!! Let’s look at a couple passages in Revelations! Rev. 12:12 – “Therefore REJOICE, you heavens, and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.”
Rev. 20:3 - “He threw him into the abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.”
We should have no fear of Satan or his minions, since God has power over him and has already decreed what his outcome will be - a second death - an eternal punishment called hell.
Matt. 25:41 - “Then he will say to those on His left, ‘depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Rev. 20:10 - “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Rev. 20:14 - “The death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.”
I remember back in the old days saying: “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.” And you might have heard others saying they’d rather rule with Satan in hell than be a slave in heaven. Sadly,
these people fail to recognize that Satan has NO power in hell, nor will THEY! Satan is NOT the “Ruler” in hell, but a captive, just you will be if you don’t receive the free gift of eternal life by repenting of your sins and believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.