By Neil Earle
Hal Lindsay’s 1970’s book “Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth” repackaged a narrative that has been popular in Christian circles for 400 years, that Satan was once a great wise Archangel who rebelled against God. This teaching was at the heart of one of English literature’s most powerful poems, “Paradise Lost.” It was supported by quick forays into such Biblical passages as Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28 and parts of Revelation 12 and Jude 4.
Ralph Woodrow, a tireless Bible researcher, has rechecked some of these alleged Satan scriptures and now rejects what he once believed. Let’s see why:
- The notion of the Devil as being a once shining cherub called Lucifer is contradicted by Jesus in 1 John 3:8 – “the Devil sinned from the beginning.”
- The word “Lucifer” is found in one place in the Bible – Isaiah 14:12. The word is rendered “Day Star” in most new translations. (ESV, RSV). Jesus is called the bright Morning Star in Revelation 22:16 so something is seriously wrong here for this Lucifer theory.
- The context is the King of Babylon being addressed in Isaiah 12 – called a MAN in verse 16. This man dies and goes down to the Pit (v.19).
- A similar passage of a human king with God-like pretensions is in Ezekiel 28. Even there this character is called a MAN in verse 2. “You will die the death of the slain” it says in verse 8.
- The intensification beginning in Ezekiel 28:13 says “you were in Eden.” Yes, Eden was a geographic region Tyre traded with on the Euphrates called BIT-ADEN (27:23).
- “Perfect” in Ezekiel 28:15 means “without blemish” as were the sacrificial animals.
- The jewels of verse 13 were found even on the High Priest’s breastplate, not adornment for a Spirit but a royal piece of BLING.
- “Covering cherub” refers possibly to leading his people in worship in their holy processions. Note the reference to trade and commerce in verse 16.
- Jude 6, the angels who sinned, can mean the elders who rebelled against Moses – men of renown – Numbers 16:2. The word is called “messengers” in 1 Samuel 23:27.
- Revelation 12:4 the dragon who draws one third of the stars after him is symbolizing an event apparently yet ahead for John’s churches – a battle with Satan’s human forces (12:9-11) – not something that happened before creation.
The Devil is indeed insidious and dangerous, stirring up and preying on our worst attitudes and motives (Acts 5:3). Let’s not give him more than his due.