Satan: From Beginning to End

When the Bible uses the phrase, “in the beginning,” it is speaking of the origination point of the subject in question. For example, “In the beginning God created the universe and the earth.” Before their creation, there were no heavens and earth. Their creation had a starting point in time—in the beginning.  The Bible declares “The reverential, worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1: 7) That means wisdom begins when we develop the reverential fear of the Lord. Jeremiah 28: 1 says ” . . . in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah . . .” That doesn’t mean during or at the end of King Zedekiah’s reign; it means when his reign began.

When it Started

 I don’t mean to insult your intelligence by stressing this self-evident point. It seems to make such common sense that everyone would understand what “in the beginning” means. It means just what it says. A related point is this: if something has existed in a certain condition from the beginning, that means from the time it began, it was in that condition. Certainly there is no difficulty in following that line of reasoning.

Yet, on this very point I have a head-on collision with traditional and orthodox Christian teaching, for despite the fact that “from the beginning” obviously means at the creation of something, people have taught a doctrine for years that contradicts this simple statement of fact. I am referring to traditional teaching about Satan’s origin or beginning.

Who’re Ya Gonna Believe?

Traditionalists have long taught that from the beginning Satan was the “anointed cherub that covers . . . “ (Ezekiel 28: 14). They have taught that he held a high position among the angels of God until he led a rebellion against God in an attempt to usurp God’s throne. At that time, we are told, Satan–a supposedly good angel–was cast out of heaven and morphed into the evil devil he is today.

It is amazing that such a doctrine has received such widespread acceptance in the light of Jesus’ teachings on this subject. Traditionalists say that in the beginning Satan was a holy and good angel (possibly an archangel), but rebelled against God and was thrown out of heaven. In direct contradiction, Jesus says that Satan was a murderer “from the beginning.” (John 8: 44) Who do you choose to believe—Jesus or tradition?  Not only do we have Jesus’ clear statement, but the apostle John, writing under the inspiration of Holy Spirit, wrote these words about Satan’s origin: “The devil has sinned from the beginning.” (1 John 3: 8). Again, who do you choose to believe?

If we are to believe what the Bible clearly states, we must believe that from his very beginning Satan has sinned and is evil.  Usually, when people are first confronted with these plain biblical references, their immediate response is: “How could Satan be evil from his very beginning? Wouldn’t that mean God created him that way?” Yes, God created him that way. I don’t see that conflicting with the nature of God, as some might feel. I have heard the argument that God would never have created something that was evil.

My reply to that is another question: If God creates a being he knows is going to become evil anyhow, isn’t that the same as creating something that was evil in the first place? It’s no less thinkable that God would create one who would become evil than just to create an evil being to begin with. However, we offer God’s own words in Isaiah 54: 16 where he declares, “I have created the destroyer to destroy.” I understand from this reference in Isaiah 54 that Satan is a created being with a definite purpose for which he was created. I believe that purpose is stated in the opening words of Isaiah 54: 16: “I have created the blacksmith (the devil?) who blows on the fire of coals and who produces a weapon for its purpose; . . . “

An Ancient Man

An example of this purpose being fulfilled is seen in the life of Job who lived in the Middle East thousands of years ago. Job was a righteous person according to the light of spiritual comprehension he had in that ancient time. He was perfect in his generation. That is, his perfection was a comparative perfection. In comparison to those who were living around him, Job was a perfect man.

Relative to the amount of revealed truth in that day, Job was a perfect man. But in Job’s inner person, God saw something that did not measure up to the standard of godliness, for the spirit of God is one of humility, and Job was not a humble man. He was proud of his righteousness. Here’s what the Bible says about Job: “So [Job’s three friends] ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own thinking.” (Job 32: 1)  It was because God desired to burn out the pride in Job (who even had the testimony of God that he was a righteous man) that God brought forth the [black]smith to blow the coals upon the fire. Please note it was not Satan’s idea to persecute Job! Oh, no! It was God himself who brought up the subject! There Satan was, presenting himself before God, and God asked him, “Where have you been?” To this question, Satan replied, “From walking up and down all over the earth.” (No mention at all of Job.)

“Satan,” God asked. “Have you considered my servant Job? Have you noticed that he hates evil and fears God? Have you noticed that, Satan?”  Indeed, Satan had noticed Job, but he wasn’t doing anything to him. One of the most glorious testimonies of God’s preservation and protection of his followers is given here in this passage by Satan himself: “Does Job fear you for no reason, God? Haven’t you built a hedge around him, around his family, and around everything he has?”  Praise God! God has built a protective hedge around his people, and that hedge is Jesus himself. The psalmist recognized this when he wrote: “The angel of the Lord [Jesus] encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.” (Psalm 34: 7)

“You’ve put a hedge around Job,” Satan said to God, “and I can’t touch him!” Then he went on to say to God: “You must put forth your hand and touch all he has, and then he will curse you to your face.” But God knows the hearts of all humans; he knows the ones who can be trusted with affliction. He therefore replied to Satan, “Behold, all that Job has is in your power [I delegate that power to you], only don’t touch Job’s person.”  Any power Satan has is limited power delegated to him by God. His power was not unlimited and he could not touch anyone unless God expressly permitted him to do so. Don’t believe for a moment that anything in the universe is out of God’s control . . . or under the control of Satan. It never has been, is not now, and never will be. God is in full control of everything—and Satan himself is under the restricted and permissive jurisdiction of God.  

Satan has no power at all except that which God allows him to have. Do you really believe Satan could cause any trouble in the world unless God permitted it? If you believe that Satan is a thorn in the side of Almighty God, then your God is entirely too small. Satan poses no problem for God. It is God who set his boundaries and limited his power. God created Satan for one purpose and one purpose only: as merely one instrument among many to work out God’s eternal purposes for all humanity.  

When that purpose was accomplished on the cross, Satan completed his usefulness as an instrument in the hands of God who has everything under control . . . and then Satan’s end came when Jesus defeated him on the cross. (Colossians 2: 15) Satan always knew there was a time limit on his presence and activity here. You’ve read the words of Revelation 12: 12 which say: “Woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in fierce anger, because he knows he only has a short time left.”

A Building Made From Living Building Materials

God is constructing an eternal temple (the church) made of living stones, through which to make Himself known throughout the remaining ages of time and in the eternal state, and Satan was created from the beginning as a chisel and hammer to be used in the early stages of the construction of this building. The first living stones of this temple were chosen, says God, in the “furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48: 10) God, however, is mercy; God is love; God is compassion. He is a healer, not a destroyer. It was, nonetheless, necessary that an oven be heated in which to purify the gold—a furnace in which the wood, hay, and stubble of God’s followers were to be tried and tested by burning. (1 Corinthians 3: 10-15)

But God—whose very nature is love—could not directly perform the necessary affliction. For that reason he created an instrument that was capable of performing this essential action in the lives of God’s people, for in Satan God literally created a chastening rod, an afflicter, a destroyer, an oven.  If we have now received the testimony of Jesus and the Apostle John concerning the origin of Satan, that he was a “murderer from the beginning,” we must now deal with another point of traditional theology and teaching. If Satan was not the “anointed cherub that covered,” who was?

Two chapters in the Old Testament are where traditional teachers glean most of their information about Satan’s supposed origin: Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Those two chapters are primarily where most traditionalists get their information about what they feel to be Satan’s origins. The traditional view holds that the 28th chapter of Ezekiel teaches about Satan in his state of perfection before he rebelled and was cast out of heaven. As already pointed, out the 14th verse uses the term “the anointed cherub that covers,” and God says, “I set you so.” This is the primary biblical reference for the traditional view teaching Satan was the anointed cherub.

I must raise a question here, however, about the essence of Satan. Is he spirit or is he human? There can be only one reply to that question, of course: he is a spirit being. Should you disagree about that point, I point out that Satan, on the night of Jesus’ arrest, “entered into Judas.” (John 13: 27) We know that a human cannot enter another human. However, a spirit being can enter humans. Satan, as spirit, entered Judas that night and motivated him to perform his evil deeds.

Look at verse 2 of Ezekiel 28, where God is addressing the “anointed cherub”. God says, “Because your heart is lifted up and you say you are a god . . . you are only a man.” Satan is not a man; he is an unbodied (non-corporeal) spirit being. But the being addressed in this chapter is a man. Notice verse 9 where God asks this man: “Will you still maintain you are a god . . . ? But you are only a man . . .” The personality whom God addressed in this passage was unquestionably a man, not a spirit, and the verses that follow (12-15) are a description of that man.  Verse 12: “You are full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.” It is important to understand what “wisdom” is if we are to understand the nature of the man in this passage. By comparing various references throughout the Bible, we learn that “wisdom” is personified in Jesus, for Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1: 24 and 31 that Jesus is the “wisdom of God.”

The man spoken of here, then, is filled with Jesus. To be filled with Jesus is to be filled with “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” for we read in Colossians 2: 9 that Jesus is the fulness of the Godhead. Just think—whoever this man is in Ezekiel 28, he is filled with Jesus. Can we go just one step further and say that if one is filled with Jesus, that person is filled with the image of God?

 This man was also “perfect in beauty.” Again, we compare Bible reference with Bible reference and learn that “beauty” is holiness. The psalmist wrote, “Worship God in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 29: 2) The singers of the Lord in 2 Chronicles 20: 21 were commissioned to praise the “beauty of holiness.” Thus, when David said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek . . . to behold the beauty of the Lord . . . .” (Psalm 27: 4), he was saying, “I will seek the holiness (or righteousness) of the Lord.” These are the words Jesus spoke in the sermon on the mount: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (holiness).” Matthew 6: 33.

Out-Rayings Of God’s Light

To fully grasp the meaning of “perfect in beauty” and being “full of wisdom” we must understand the meaning of Hebrews 1: 1 which proclaims: “Jesus is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God . . . “  Noted Greek language authority, Kenneth Wuest, gives us the meaning of the original Greek for this word “brightness” as “out-raying”. The sense of the Greek here, he writes, is that there are “rays of light coming out from the original body and forming a similar light-body themselves.” What it means, literally, is that “the Son is the out-raying of the divine glory, exhibiting in himself the glory and the majesty of the divine Being, ” according to Wuest and other biblical language scholars.

When the writer of Hebrews states the Son is the “brightness of the Father’s glory” he means that the Son is so fully indwelled by the Father that the glory of the Father’s nature shines forth from within him, thus clothing the Son with himself to the extent that the Son is the exact image of His person. The evidence of this “forthshining” was manifested once on the mount of transfiguration, where Jesus was transformed before His disciples. He was, at that point, “putting on” the light-body, which was literally the Father shining forth from within him.

 Note this was a marvelous manifestation of the sacrificial love of the Lord Jesus. His faithfulness to God had brought him to the place of glorification but he refused it, choosing, rather, to remain in the flesh that he might suffer the death of the cross and bring that same glory to his followers. Who can comprehend the height and depth and breadth of such love? Jesus was “perfect in beauty” and had attained the end of holiness: glorification. But he was willing to temporarily lay down that awesome glory in order to share it with all God’s followers.

To be “perfect in beauty”, then, is to be clothed in the “light-body” that is produced by the out-raying of the indwelling Spirit of God. Spiritual Zion, whose physical manifestation is the body of Jesus’ followers, the church, is to be clothed in such a manner, for it was prophesied “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined.” (Psalm 50: 2) Child of God, can you hear the call of the Spirit within your own soul crying, “Awake, awake: put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments.” (Isaiah 2: 1)

Yes, put on the Lord Jesus! (Galatians 3: 27) How our hearts praise God for the time when this beautiful prophecy began to find its fulfillment in the hearts of all those who are known as Zion: “Out of Zion, God has shined.” Our hearts praise God for the day when he began the process of making us perfect in beauty and began the process of re-creating us in the image of God, clothed in His righteousness.

Do you not see, however, that the man in Ezekiel 28 had already partaken of this perfection? He was already perfect in beauty, he was already in the image of God. There is only one man, besides Jesus himself who was ever created in the full image of God, and he is that man of whom it is written in Gen. 1: 27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” That man was Adam! Adam alone, of all the race of humans, ever bore the full image of God. Only of Adam can it be said, “You have been in Eden, the Garden of God.” (Ezekiel 28: 13)

Only of Adam can it be said, “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28: 15) Adam, not Satan, was the “anointed cherub that covers,” and it was Adam whose heart was lifted up “because of his beauty, who corrupted his wisdom by reason of his brightness.” (Ezekiel 28: 17) You see, his “brightness” was the “light-body” which he possessed by virtue of the indwelling God. But Adam made the mistake of thinking that it was his own brightness and he thought in his heart: “I am a god; I sit in the seat of God.” (verse 2)

That is why it was not difficult for the serpent to tempt Adam (and Eve) in the Garden of Eden. The Satanic temptation appealed to the thought that was already in Adam’s heart, for the serpent whispered, “You shall be as gods.” Adam and his wife received the serpent’s testimony because deep inside them they already believed what he was saying was true.  Because of their sin, therefore, God drove them from the Garden (Genesis 3: 24), or as Ezekiel records this event, “I will cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out.” (verse 16) The Garden of Eden and the Mountain of God are the same thing. This mountain is called in Psalm 48: 1—2 that “city of our God,” the “mountain of holiness.” This city is seen again in Revelation 21: 2 and 12 and is called “the New Jerusalem.” Paul, wrote of this city saying, “Jerusalem . . . is above.” (Galatians. 4: 26)

The point I wish to make here is that the mountain of God is Zion, or the New Jerusalem, and that it is above. (This is a spiritual city with a physical counterpart on earth.) Jesus identified “above” in the words recorded in John 8: 23. The “beneath” is identified as “this world,” and the only other world to which “above” could apply is the spiritual world, i.e., the heavenly realm. The mountain of God, therefore, is the heavenly realm. When “the anointed cherub” was cast out of the mountain of God, he was cast out of the heavenlies.

We have another view of this truth in Song of Solomon 4: 12 where God speaks, saying, “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse (bride).” The New Jerusalem, which is above, is also the Garden of God. When God said to Adam, “I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God,” He was saying, “I will cast you out of the heavenlies, out of the spiritual realm.” And that is exactly what happened.

Driven From The Garden

Driven from the Garden, no more could Adam hear the voice of God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. He no longer possessed spiritual ears. He who had never known anything but the “rest of God” now had to labor and toil in the field. Communion with God was broken, the heavens were closed, and Adam found himself naked, stripped of the light-body that had been his, and was left with only his own human flesh to cover him. What a loss! What an unspeakable loss! Oh, I think that the heart’s cry of the apostle Paul must have originated within the soul of Adam himself: “Oh, wretched man that I am. Who shall deliver me from the body of this death.” (Romans 7: 14)

“How you are fallen from Heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning.” (Isaiah 14: 12) (How are you fallen from the heavenly realm, Adam.) “How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations.” (How you are fallen into the realm of the flesh, you who sold all humanity into the bondage of sin and death.)  The above reference provides us with another tragic picture of the fall of Adam from his exalted position in God. I am keenly aware that Lucifer is generally believed to be Satan in this passage (verses 12-17), but the evidence of the Bible does not support such a view.

Lucifer means “day star” or “light-bringer.” This should read, “How you are fallen from the heavenlies, O light bringer and day star.” We are encouraged by God to compare spiritual things with spiritual things, which is the only way that we can arrive at the true identity of Lucifer. If, then, we are to understand the nature of this person called “Lucifer” we must determine how “day star” or “light bringer” is used in other biblical references.

Peter writes of this “day star” in his second letter to the church. He had been discussing the glorious experience that he, along with James and John, had with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Speaking of the voice that spoke to them there on the mountain, Peter wrote, “And we have the prophetic word made firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day breaks through the gloom of night and the day star [morning star] (Lucifer) rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1: 19)

Peter indicates that he was awaiting the dawning of a new day. That new day began to dawn with Jesus’ birth. Full dawn will break when Jesus returns and fully consummates his Kingdom on earth. With the dawning of this new day (as with any new day) came the rising of the sun, which is the day star. Malachi prophesied of the rising of this day star when he said, “The Sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings.” (Malachi 4: 2)

 Jesus said, furthermore, He will give to those who are his body, the church “the morning (day) star.” (Revelation 2: 28) Whether we call it “day star,” “morning star,” “sun,” or “Lucifer,” they all mean the same—Jesus. The “rising of the day star” occurs in our individual lives and is the out-raying of Jesus within, for you see, Jesus is the day-star. (Revelation 22: 16)  If the one called “Day Star” is Satan, we could well ask ourselves why Peter showed such enthusiasm for its rising in the hearts of he and his readers.

No, the Day Star cannot be Satan at all but is, rather, the “hidden man of the heart” (I Peter 3: 4)—the indwelling Jesus—the perfect man—(Ephesians 4:1 3)—and that which we experience daily in our ongoing relationship with God through Jesus. It is what Adam had in the beginning with him. Remember, Adam was so in-dwelt with the presence of God that he was covered on the outside with a light-body exactly like the one on the inside. As long as he was a partaker of God’s LIFE within him, he was himself a “day star” for he was a member of the Perfect Man, which is Jesus.

For more information about what pre-Fall Adam and Eve were like, see my companion teaching on this web site, “Let There Be Light.”  Lucifer means “shining one.” Daniel said, “They that be wise shall shine with the brightness of the firmament.” (Daniel 12: 3) This is no mere figure of speech. You see, God is light, and when that God-light works its way out to our outer-Man and clothes us with that light-body that will never die, we shall, in truth, shine with the brightness of the firmament. The Day-Star is the out-raying of the Father, i.e., the forthshining of the Son. It is the “putting on of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13: 14)

The day has come when the Son has begun to shine forth from within us, the Day Star has arisen in our hearts, and we have put him on as a garment. This mortal has begun to put on immortality, and we are being clothed upon with our house from heaven, Jesus himself.  “In this present body,” Paul wrote, “we sigh and groan inwardly because we yearn to put on our celestial body like a garment—to be fitted with our heavenly dwelling so that by putting it on we may not be found without a body [as Adam found himself without his light-body]. For while we are still in this body, we groan under the burden and sigh deeply, not necessarily that we want to be rid of the body we now have, but that we be additionally clothed so that our mortal body may be swallowed up by resurrection life.” (2 Corinthians 5: 2-4)

No, Lucifer is not Satan. Lucifer is the perfect Man, and we experience with awe that he has arisen in our hearts. He shines out of us, enveloping us in himself. How great the tragedy, then, when we read the words: “How you are fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer [Adam], son of the morning.” Adam, walking in perfection, reflecting the glory of God, the express image of the Father, fell from that place in the heavenlies and because of the sin of pride, the Day Star no longer shone from within. Adam could no longer be called the “shining one” for the light-body had departed from him, and he knew “that he was naked.” (Genesis 3: 7)

We know it was the sin of pride that caused the fall of Adam (who, because of the fall, could no longer be called Lucifer, the Shining One from the heavenlies, but, rather Adam, from the earth), and we see this evidenced in the words that are attributed to him in Isaiah 14: 13—14: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . I will ascend above the height of the clouds; I will be like the most high.”  This was his response to the serpent’s temptation: “You shall be gods.” You see, Adam was not content to have God manifested through him. He desired to be a god in his own right. He was not content to be the out-shining of the Father. He wanted to be the Father. He was not content to allow the authority of God to rule and operate through him. He wanted to take dominion for himself.

The temptation that the serpent offered was merely the verbalization of the hidden thoughts of Adam’s prideful heart: And the punishment mentioned in Isaiah 14:15 is just another way of saying, “In the day you eat of it, you shall surely die.” Hear it! “You shall be brought down to the region of the dead, to the recesses of the grave.”  Further proof it is not Satan who is being discussed in this passage lies in verses 16 and 17 which read: “People will gaze at you saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a wilderness, and overthrew its cities . . . ?” I think we readily agree Satan is not human; he is a spirit. But this is a man that shook kingdoms and made the world a wilderness. It is Adam who made the world a wilderness, for it was to him that these words were spoken: “The earth is cursed because of what you have done.” Genesis 3: 17.

The full implication of the curse is set forth in Old Testament typology in the “wilderness wanderings” of the people of Israel. Remember, all the things that happened to Israel are a symbolic picture and example of spiritual truth. It is, therefore, very significant that the wilderness into which they wandered is called in Exodus 16: 1, “the wilderness of Sin.”  When God created humans, He placed them in a Garden—a kingdom of peace and righteousness—but when Adam sinned, he and all his descendants were cast out into a wilderness of sin, death, and suffering. That Is why Paul wrote in Romans 5: 12, “By one person (Adam), sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death (a type of wilderness) came to all people.”

Paul was lamenting this “making of the world a wilderness” when he said, “I am sold under sin.” (Romans 7: 14) Humanity was sold into the bondage of sin and death by Adam’s transgression. That is why it is written of him that he “opened not the house of his prisoners.” (Isaiah 14: 17) Indeed, he could not open the doors of the prison houses, for he himself had become a slave to the flesh. And we who have inherited his nature, are all too aware of the power of sin. We know the meaning of bondage and slavery, and our hearts cry out with Paul, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” With hearts weary of sin, we echo Paul’s victorious reply: “I thank God. Through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

A Highway Out Of The Wilderness

The world is a wilderness of sin, a desert of death, but hear, 0 child of God, what the Lord has spoken of this wilderness in which we now roam: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing . . . They shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come . . . and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall lame people leap like deer, and the tongue of the mute shall sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. And the burning sand and the mirage shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; . . . And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the Holy Way . . . And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and the joy of the ages shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35: 1-9)

Praise God! That prophetic reference began to be fulfilled during Jesus’ life and ministry, and during his resurrection and ascension. The ransomed of the Lord have begun to return and we follow in a long train of refugees from the parched wilderness of sin coming with singing back to Zion. The wilderness has begun to bring forth fruit, and from within us living waters are bubbling up and flowing out to thirsty and parched people. The “morning stars” (Job 38: 7) once again sing and shout for joy because the Day Star has arisen in our hearts and clothed us with Himself!

Bill Boylan
Revised and Updated March 2023

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