Clarifying some misconceptions about Satan
by Robert Randle
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The devil is a fallen angel or evil demi-god who is represented in the imaginations of nearly every cultural group on planet Earth. It seems universally consistent that he is a being represented with a misshapen human-like shape, pointy ears [like a Vulcan in the “Star Trek” series Sci-Fi genre], and possessing a long tail (in some cases); which is the image depicted mostly in the art of Renaissance Europe and in Dante’s portrait “Inferno” as well as in Milton’s book, “Paradise Lost.” The thing is, though, Satan may not look that way at all. One of the greatest misconceptions about the devil is that he is in Hell, so let’s see what the Bible has to say about Satan or the Devil.
Job 1: 6; 2: 1
Now there was a day when the sons of God [Heb. bnei HaElohim] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan [Heb. HaSatan] came also among them.
NOTE: Why was ‘Satan’ among the “sons of God [Cp. Genesis 6: 2a]”? These supernatural beings are differentiated from ‘angels’ [Heb. malachim].
There are people who think that Satan is the ruler of fiery, sulphur and brimstone subterranean netherworld, seated upon a massive throne of rock where he or some demon torment the souls of the damned in a lake of fire, but is that true?
Job 1: 7
And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.
Luke 4: 5-6
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and there glory, for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
1 Peter 5: 8
Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about [on the earth] like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Revelation 2: 1, 13a
And to the angel of the Church in Pergamos write, “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. . .”
Revelations 12: 12
Therefore rejoice. O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you [vs. 7-9], having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.
What about the appearance of Satan as a hideous, ugly and grotesque-looking being that would be repulsive to any who would look upon him; but is this also true?
2 Corinthians 11: 14
And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Genesis 3: 1a
Now the serpent [Heb. nachash] was more cunning than any beast of the earth that the LORD God had made.
Isaiah 14: 12a
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (“Day Star”), son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground.
Luke 10: 18
And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
Ezekiel 28: 13a, 14-15
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering. The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. 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 [Cp. Job 1: 7b]. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
NOTE: This Satan was one of the most beautiful of created beings and even the word for ‘serpent’ in the Hebrew (“nachash”) has a metaphysical meaning, namely, “shining one.” It is doubtful that mother Eve would have been drawn to, enticed and deceived by a creature of darkness but rather a being glowing in brilliant celestial light speaking with silver tongued eloquence.
Revelation 20: 1-3a
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having a key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old [Cp. Genesis 1: 3a], who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him [down] into the bottomless pit and shut him up, and set a seal [mark] on him. . .
Revelation 9: 1-2a, 3a 11
Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And they [the locusts] had a king [ruler] over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon (“Destruction”), but in Greek he has the name Apollyon (“Destroyer’).
NOTE: Satan is not the all-powerful enemy of God but rather is himself subject to the divine decrees of the LORD. There is an angelic and heavenly jailer who will find Satan, wherever he is on the earth and imprison him in the pit [abyss] for a certain period of time. Also, it doesn’t appear that Satan is sovereign down there but that some other supernatural entity is, and who also has authority over locust-like demonic creatures.
Revelation 20: 7, 10, 14-15
Now when the thousand years have expired, Stan will be released from his prison [the bottomless pit]. The devil who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are [will be]. And they [Satan, the beast and the false prophet] will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then Death and Hades [Hell] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone [whose name was] not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
COMENTARY: So there you have it, a completely different picture of Satan than most of us have been taught; even so far as the notion that he is tormenting wicked souls consigned to perdition in some fiery liquid substance perhaps burning hotter than naphtha or white phosphorus in a place called ‘Hell,’ but in point-of-fact, Hell itself along with Death will be cast into the Lake of Fire. As a side note, there are those who cannot conceive of such a fate for sinners, not only because of the infinite mercy of God by quoting Hebrews 2: 9, which says: “But we see Jesus [Yeshua], who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death [Cp. Romans 6: 23a], crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
They rationalize that since Jesus [Yeshua] paid the penalty for our sins then He must have experienced three days of “torment” in Hell, since this is the fate of the wicked. Their reasoning might have some merit, except for the fact, namely, that this ultimate and final punishment is called “The Second Death.” Jesus paid the penalty for our rebellions and transgressions against God to redeem us from the bondage of the death, again described in Hebrews 2: 14-15: Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself shared in the same, that through ‘death’ He might destroy [render powerless] him who had the power [authority] of death, that is, the devil [Satan], and release those [of us] who through fear of death, were all their [our] lifetime subject to bondage [imprisonment]. Lastly, “death” is not just a physical one [Genesis 2: 17; 5: 5; 1 Corinthians 15: 21-22].
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November 11, 2011
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