SATAN’S REBELLION AND CORRUPTION
We come to the matter of Satan’s rebellion and corruption. That we should now study this subject may come as a surprise. We have been considering God’s creation and suddenly we turn to Satan’s rebellion. What does this mean? We must approach this matter with a sober mind in order that we may be crystal clear.
Many good Christians think that Genesis 1:1 is the subject of the first two chapters of Genesis. They were taught that these two chapters are a record of God’s creation, and that chapter 1, verse 1 is the subject. But if verse 1 is the subject, how can verse 2 start with “and”? “And” means that something is going on already, and then something else happens to follow it. “And” is a conjunction which combines two things: the first thing goes and the second thing comes. Even the grammar shows that verse 1 is not the subject, but part of the description. It describes the first event in a series.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and….” This means that after God created, something happened. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth became waste and empty.” The Concordant Version of Genesis translates the verse this way: “Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant.” The Concordant Version does not say “and”; it says “yet.” “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Yet the earth became a chaos and vacant.” A chaos is a mess. The earth became a chaos—waste and vacant. If you build some apartments and no one dwells in them, they are vacant. We may render this phrase as either “a chaos and vacant” or “waste and empty.” Something happened between verse 1 and verse 2 which caused the earth to become waste and empty.
The Origin of Satan
Satan was an angel created by God before He created the earth. The book of Job (38:4-7) tells us that when God laid the measure of the foundation of the earth, the sons of God (the angels) shouted for joy. This proves that God created the angels before He created the earth. From Ezekiel 28 we see that Satan was not only one of the angels, but the highest archangel, the head of all the angels.
Ezekiel 28 describes Satan’s position in the universe before his rebellion and corruption. This whole chapter seems to speak about the king of Tyre. But verse 13 says, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God.” If we read the context, we can see that this was not the Eden in which Adam was put. This Eden was not on the earth, but in the heavens, on the holy mountain of God.
“Every precious stone was thy covering.” He was covered with precious stones. G. H. Pember says that this indicates his dwelling place. His dwelling was of precious stones.
“The service of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared with thee in the day thou wast created” (Heb.). In the ancient times, musical instruments such as tambourines and pipes were for kings (Dan. 3:5; 6:18). This indicates that Satan was a king, holding the highest position in that universe. This was why even the Lord Jesus called him “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31). The Apostle also calls him “the ruler of the authority of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Luke 4:5-6 also confirms this. “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth in a moment of time. And the Devil said to Him, To You I will give all this authority and their glory, because to me it has been delivered, and to whomever I want I give it.” Was this a lie? If it was a lie the Lord Jesus surely would have rebuked Satan. Since the Lord did not rebuke him, it must be a fact. Satan, the Devil, told the Lord that all the kingdoms of the world and all their glory had been delivered to him. Satan also said, “to whomever I want I give it.” When did God deliver all of this to Satan? This was definitely something pre-Adamic, before the world of Adam. By reading the full revelation of the Bible, we can realize that God did appoint Satan the head of that universe, and that God had delivered all created things in the heaven and on the earth into his hand. So he became “the ruler of this world.” His position and rank were so high that even “Michael the archangel…did not dare to bring a reviling judgment against him” (Jude 9). Michael is one of the archangels (Dan. 10:13). His daring not to rebuke Satan proves that Satan’s rank must be even higher than his. Thus, we can infer that Satan must be the highest archangel.
Verse 14: “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth.” Satan was “the anointed cherub that covereth.” This probably means that he covered (cf. Exo. 25:20) the ark of God in the heavens (Rev. 11:19). “And I have set thee so.” God did this. God anointed and appointed the archangel to cover His ark. Ezekiel tells us that the cherubim bear God’s glory (9:3; 10:18) and that they are very close to God’s throne (10:1; 1:26). This shows that Satan, before his rebellion, when he was the anointed cherub covering God’s ark, must have been very close to God, bearing God’s glory. Ezekiel also tells us that the cherubim are the four living creatures which are of special use to God (10:20). Also the four living creatures in Ezekiel are similar to the four in Revelation (Ezek. 1:10, cf. Rev. 4:7) which took the lead among the creatures in worshipping God. This reveals that today’s Satan, God’s adversary, originally the anointed cherub, must have been specially appointed by God to be the head among His creatures, bearing His glory and leading them to worship Him. This may indicate that the anointed archangel also had the priesthood. He might have been the high priest in the universal worship of God.
“Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God.” This certainly must be in the heavens. “Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.” In Exodus 24:10, 17, Moses, Aaron, and many others saw under God’s throne some precious stones with the glory of God like burning fire. That must be the stones of fire. From this we may infer that the anointed cherub was also specially privileged to move in the realm where God’s glory was.
Beside Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14:12 also helps us to see Satan’s origin. It tells us that Satan was the “Daystar [for Lucifer according to Hebrew], son of the morning.” Just as the daystar is the leading one among the stars, so Satan must be the head of all the angels. The title “son of the morning” shows that he was there early, in the morning of the universe. Thus, Satan, from the earliest days of the universe, was the head of the angels, bright as the daystar.
Satan’s origin was wonderful. He was God’s anointed cherub, the one closest to God, holding the highest position in God’s creation. He had not only the kingship, but also the priesthood, the very position that we, God’s redeemed people, have forever (Rev. 5:9-10; 20:4-6). But he was deprived of his position and offices when he rebelled against God. Now God has chosen us to be His priests and kings, to take over Satan’s position and offices, to put him to shame, and to glorify God (Life-Study of Genesis, Message 2).