Let me start out this writing with a very important disclaimer. I do believe in the existence of “the devil” and “Satan”. What I am placing under question is – WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE DEFINE THE DEVIL AND SATAN AS?
I was not brought up in a Christian home yet I remember at an early age learning about “the devil” from my Aunt. She told me that “the devil” used to be a beautiful angelic being in the presence of God and that he tried to become more important and more powerful than God and was then cast out of heaven, 1/3 of the angels went with him. Did you learn something somewhat similar? Where do these teachings come from?
As we do a “mishmash” of Bible verses (which sadly many pastors and churches do) we can arrive at this view in some respects. Reading through ISAIAH 14 AND EZEKIEL 28 we can arrive as thoughts of of angel who was cast out of heaven, who was there in the garden of Eden, who sought to make himself like God. We can then read through the apocalyptic writings of the book of Revelation and further these views.
The question I ask…is this what the ancients who were writing these writings believed? What did they understand and thus intend for these texts to convey? Sadly, I don’t believe many are asking that question. But how dare we ask, right? I know many are content sticking to the traditional teachings and not asking any questions- a direct violation of 1 Thessalonians 5:21. So what I will endeavor to do through this writing is share my current thoughts (which with further Biblical proof IN CONTEXT can and may change).
First I ask you to read ISAIAH 14:1-23
Take up this TAUNT against whom? Read verse 4. The King of Babylon, right? What is a taunt? A simple defintion would be ” to provoke or challenge (someone) with insulting remarks”. So as we continue through this passage keep in mind that is what is being done. When we get to verses 12-15 and read “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to earth, You who have weakened nations! You have said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north…” and so on…
Ahem, did the audience all of a sudden change? Did this writing change from “take up this taunt against the King of Babylon” to all of a sudden talking to some angelic being? NO!! Instead “hyperbole” is being utilized, as is done with taunts (i.e., John the Baptist refers to the religious leaders as “brood of vipers”, was he talking to snakes?) and this text is speaking about how the King of Babylon tried to raise his throne to be more important than God and was being cast down- not from heaven, but from the high place he was in.
Am I changing the Bible? I think not. Instead I am simply showing you the clarity and context of the text.
Would you believe this is a “proof text” used to prove that Satan was an angel in heaven who was cast down? Seems a bit ridiculous now doesn’t it? Let’s go to Ezekiel chapter 28. Read Ezekiel 28:1-19. Starting at verse 1-2, who is Ezekiel to address this prophecy at? Yes, “the leader of Tyre”! Again it seems as thought this “king” has tried to make himself more important than his lot in life, he has said in in heart “I am god”. Notice what will happen to him, “Therefore I will bring strangers upon you, the most ruthless of the nations. And they will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor (28:7)”.
I must say this sounds like a king coming under judgment, not really getting the whole angel falling out heaven this just yet. Let’s continue…In verse 11, Ezekiel is to take up this LAMENTATION against who? THE KING OF TYRE!!
What is a lamentation? Quick definition, “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping”. We see Jeremiah doing this is the book of Lamentations as he uses METAPHOR and HYPERBOLE to describe the coming destruction of Jerusalem that occured in 586 B.C.
So yes, Ezekiel take up this passionate cry against the King of Tyre. Ezekiel then uses HYPERBOLE to describe God’s judgment against him. He says that he was in the garden of Eden. Uh oh, what does this mean? Was the King of Tyre there with Adam and Eve? Was he the snake? NO! Instead, just as Adam and Eve were in the presence of God, in covenant agreement with God (which is what is being told in the Adam and Eve story; it’s all about covenant agreement and relationship with God), this king had a relationship with God that is now being cut off. “But uh, Pastor Mike, it says in verse 14 that the King of Tyre was the anoined cherub who guards”. Come on! Clearly this is methaphoric language about how the king had been doing good, being blameless and now has committed sin in regards to the covenant he had with God. “I have turned you to ashes on the earth” – who reads that as literal? No, instead it’s judgment language regarding the king and how he has sought to set his throne above God.
To read these texts and arrive at some angelic being is ridiculous and completely out of the bounds of context and history (besides common sense) of the Scriptures. Now that we have dealt with these texts. In my next part of this short series of writings I will detail “the devil” and what was spoken about him in regards to the teachings of Jesus.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Michael Miano
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