Does the Devil really exist or, is he a figure of myth and superstition? You need to know what God says about the existence of evil! The Bible does address this issue. It reveals much about an unseen power that works behind the scenes, shaping our world to its will and agenda. Are you being taken in?
Find out the answers to the following questions:
I want to begin my message by asking a fundamental question: Why is there so much evil in the world?
Every day we are assailed by the news media with reports of people suffering, people being killed, people starving, people on drugs, people getting drunk, and driving while under the influence with precious lives ending up in the morgue, or battling for life in hospital. There is anger, hostility, hatred, rage, muggings, rapes, murders, thievery, gang warfare, and suicide bombers who are willing to blow themselves to pieces and take many innocent lives with them.
Then there is the unending chronicle of people suffering from disease. Very few families have not been touched by cancer, or a related disease. Our doctors and medical clinics are seemingly overwhelmed by the need of people who are grappling with one kind of illness or another. The waiting rooms at the doctor's surgery and medical clinics are always busy. And around the world, tens of millions die annually from starvation, malnutrition, and disease.
Then there is the moral dilemma. There is corruption in high places. We are faced with reports of bribery, lies and scandals which reach right into the fabric of government and the business world.
Our news headlines leave us almost breathless because on the day after day reporting of bad news upon bad news upon bad news.
The apostle Paul gives us a starting point as we search for an answer to this question.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (emphasis mine)
Notice these words carefully. There are "rulers of darkness." There are "spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places." There is a spirit world and it has a dark side which is fundamentally evil in the way it operates and thinks.
Who are these rulers of the darkness of this age? Who are these spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places?
The only source where we can gain an insight into these rulers of darkness, these spiritual hosts of wickedness is in the Bible - the Word of God - provided to us by divine revelation.
These rulers of darkness of this age, these spiritual hosts of wickedness are beyond the scope and research of scientists and the best minds we have on this planet. We are speaking here of the spirit world of darkness which is outside the physical realm and therefore beyond our human made instruments to detect or measure.
Only the Bible can help us understand - only the divine revelation of God can provide us with the answers we are seeking.
Why IS there so much evil in the world?
Let's begin in ISAIAH 14:12
Isaiah 14:12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
Here is a statement that a being called Lucifer weakened the nations.
Notice it says "weakened the nations" - not strengthened the nations. This being has an ability to bring nations - not just one nation - but nations - into a weakened state. Clearly his intent is to harm, to disrupt, to incur suffering, to destroy - this is how you would weaken a nation. The people of the nations in the hands of this being called Lucifer, lose their strength, they lose their vibrancy, they become like sick people who are in need of healing and restoration.
If you search the internet about Lucifer you will find a number of websites which actually promote different ideas about Lucifer. One website I visited said that Lucifer is actually Jesus Christ, several others said Lucifer refers solely to a human king or prince of past empires, and a few other websites had explanations which did not really provide a clear scriptural explanation at all, and just left you wondering.
I believe it is important for us to make sure that we are grounded in our understanding on this subject.
Who is this Lucifer who weakened the nations?
The name Lucifer is found only once in the entire Bible. That's in Isaiah 14:12 which we just read.
Lucifer is translated from the Hebrew word Heylel. Heylel means: brightness, or shining one
Lucifer is actually a Latin word meaning "morning star", "light-bearer" or "light bringer"
The Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament translates the Hebrew "Heylel" as Eosphorus meaning "dawn bearer" or "light bearer"
In Isaiah 14:12 we have reference to a being whose name:
In the Hebrew language is Heylel
In the Greek he is Eosphorus
And in Latin he is called Lucifer
And all agree that he is a being of brightness, he has brilliance, he is a shining one. He brings light, he is a light bearer.
Now whatever name we may wish to call this being, the Bible gives us the essential information we need to understand his origin, what he did, and what he is doing today.
So let's back up to verse 1 of ISAIAH 14:
Isaiah 14:1-16 1 For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob. 2 Then people will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them for servants and maids in the land of the LORD; they will take them captive whose captives they were, and rule over their oppressors. 3 It shall come to pass in the day the LORD gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve, 4 that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased! 5 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, The scepter of the rulers; 6 He who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, He who ruled the nations in anger, Is persecuted and no one hinders. 7 The whole earth is at rest and quiet; They break forth into singing. 8 Indeed the cypress trees rejoice over you, And the cedars of Lebanon, Saying, 'Since you were cut down, No woodsman has come up against us.' 9 Hell from beneath is excited about you, To meet you at your coming; It stirs up the dead for you, All the chief ones of the earth; It has raised up from their thrones All the kings of the nations. 10 They all shall speak and say to you: 'Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us? 11Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, And the sound of your stringed instruments; The maggot is spread under you, And worms cover you.' 12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. 16 Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms (emphasis mine throughout).
This declaration from God through the prophet Isaiah begins by referring to the human king of Babylon. God calls him an "oppressor" and brings judgment upon him so that the earth is now at rest following the removal of this human oppressor.
But notice verse 12 : Here the scene, or description, lifts to inform us about a greater being than the human king of Babylon. It lifts to a being who is the real power behind the human "oppressor".
Here is a being who is able to ascend into heaven and make an attempt to exalt his throne above the stars or angels of God. Clearly this being, called Lucifer, is not a human being as no human being is able to travel into very the presence of the God of the universe.
This is an angelic being of great power, so powerful that he believed he could challenge God for the rulership of all that had been created.
Now notice these points:
In Luke 10:18 it is recorded that Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."
Now Jesus did not say where Satan fell to but we must understand that the Bible is a book primarily instructing us about our Creator, His plan for human beings, and planet earth. The Bible is written from the perspective of the earth, man's home in the universe. The heavens (that is, the stars of the universe) are not the focus of the Scriptures except to declare the glory of God.
What man has discovered about the universe is awe inspiring. King David wrote, "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1)
Our earth and its Solar System is part of a galaxy - a huge cluster of stars - and named The Milky Way. It rotates like a giant flat wheel. If we were to travel at the speed of light from one side of our galaxy to the other, across its width, it is estimated it would take 100,000 light years. (When we travel at the speed of light for one year, it is called one light year. In one light year we would travel some 6 million million miles or 10 million million kilometers). The distances in the universe are mind boggling.
Our galaxy alone is difficult to comprehend but astronomers tell us that there are at least one thousand million galaxies.
And with the aid of the giant telescopes astronomers have been able to reach out into space - two thousand million light years. And they have been able to calculate that the total number of stars in the visible universe - that is, what they can see with the giant telescopes - they estimate that in the visible universe there is one thousand million million millon stars.
Our earth is like one very tiny speck of sand on a vast sea shore.
But , it is on the earth that human beings, made of the dust of the ground, will blossom into glorious sons and daughters of God. The children of God are not being nurtured out in space, or in some other part of our galaxy, nor out in one of the millions of other galaxies. Through the pages of the Bible, we see God's focus and attention is on this earth where He is working out His great plan and purpose for the human race.
Jesus said He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven -- to where, the earth. And we will come to other Scriptures which show this to be true.
And when we examine the whole Bible, we find the Scriptures provide information about only one being who "fell from heaven" -- and he is called in one place -- Lucifer. But Jesus refers to this being by another name. He calls him Satan.
Because of his rebellion against God, his name was changed from one meaning "brightness or shining one" to a name which described his changed character and direction in life. His name was changed to Satan.
Satan is from the Hebrew word Satan meaning "adversary" or 'opponent'; and from the Greek word Satanas meaning "accuser." Lucifer became the adversary of God and man, and the accuser of the brethren.
But notice it says that Lucifer has a throne . He said he would exalt his throne above the angels of God. To have a throne means one has position, power and authority (to one degree or another). We can ask some legitimate questions here.
Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
It is clear that Lucifer was given a position of power and authority (a throne) by God.
But over what or whom did Lucifer have power and authority (a throne is of little value if you have only yourself to rule over)?
Please turn with me to REVELATION 12 where I want to extract some additional information about Satan. Revelation 12 is a prophecy for the future but we gain some additional insights regarding Satan in this prophecy.
Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him .
This verse states that this being, formerly caller Lucifer, now called Satan, the Devil, has angels - it says, " his angels." We can conclude that Lucifer had a throne - and he was given authority -- over a contingent of angels.
Now back to REVELATION 12:3
Revelation 12:3 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon ....
This great fiery red dragon is clearly identified in verse 9 as the one called the Devil and Satan - which we read before.
Revelation 12:9 the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan,
Back to verse 3:
Revelation 12:3-4 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon (Satan the Devil) having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his head. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth
Now obviously the "stars of heaven" in this verse cannot be referring to the stars in the universe. There are multiple multiple multiple billions and billions of stars in the physical universe and it would have been physically impossible for Satan to throw a third of the stars of the universe to the earth.
Clearly the stars of heaven in this verse is a symbol for something else.
God is speaking with Job
Job 38:4 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
God asked Job where was he when He (God, the Creator) laid the foundations of the earth, at which time the "morning stars " sang together, and "all the sons of God" shouted for joy.
It is clear from this Scripture, beings called "morning stars" and "the sons of God" were in existence prior to the creation of the earth.
The term "morning stars" cannot be referring to celestial bodies in the heavens as they are inanimate and cannot sing. Logic and reason tells us that the "morning stars" were part of the angelic host that God created prior to the earth being created - part of the angelic host who sang when they saw God bringing the earth into existence.
Here "morning stars" are symbols for angelic beings, or angels.
Also you may recall the description that the apostle John gave of the glorified Christ in Revelation chapter 1. John said that Jesus had in His right hand seven stars and then He explained to John that the "seven stars are the angels of the seven churches."
Stars in these contexts are symbols for angels, or angelic beings.
Revelation1:16-20 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
And Lucifer, part of the angelic host, was so powerful that Revelation 12:3-4 explains that he was able to persuade one third of the stars of heaven - one third of the angelic host -- to follow him.
It says in Revelation 12:4 His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven
This is saying in symbolic language that one third of the angels were drawn into following him. They came under his influence and power.
When Satan attacked God in heaven, one third of the angels were with him and under his leadership. They followed him in this rebellion.
God said that rebellion is as the SIN of witchcraft.
I Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And to where were they cast after being thrown out of heaven - where God's throne is - Scripture says they were cast to the earth.
So where was, or is, Lucifer's throne located?
As the Scriptures says that Lucifer "ascended above the heights of the clouds" as he made his attempt to take control of everything and he and his angels were cast down to the earth, we can conclude that Lucifer's throne is on this earth.
Now turn with me to II PETER 2: 4
II Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned (and that would include Lucifer as one ofthe angelic host) but cast them down to hell (Greek, Tartaros: a condition of darkness and place of restraint) and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment
We know from this verse that the angels who sinned are in chains of darkness - they lost the brilliance they had before they sinned, and they are in a place of restraint and it is in darkness. They cannot move about the universe as they would like. They are confined in a particular place.
If you will recall that we read in Ephesians where the apostle Paul makes reference to the rulers of darkness of this age. There is a clear connection in his wording to the angels who sinned and God's judgment upon them.
Jude 6 gives us additional information about these angels who sinned. They were given a responsibility and an assignment by God but failed because of sin.
Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day (NKJV).
Jude 6 And angels—those who did not keep the position originally assigned to them, but deserted their own proper abode—He reserves in everlasting bonds, in darkness, in preparation for the judgement of the great day (Weymouth Translation).
The fallen angels (the demons) did not fulfill the position originally assigned to them and left their abode, their habitation, the position originally assigned to them, and, in the process, sinned.
It is clear to me that God placed Lucifer and a contingent of angels on this earth. Lucifer had a throne over them. They were deceived by Lucifer into thinking they could take control over all that had been created. But they chose to leave the earth and attempted to take over the throne of God in heaven. They were not content with their god given responsibilities.
Subsequently Satan and the demons were cast out of heaven, were restrained and delivered into chains of darkness and are still there waiting a final judgment.
And they are restrained on this earth - not off somewhere else in the universe. They are restrained right here on this planet. They do not come and go throughout the universe at God's bidding like the faithful angels of God. They are awaiting final judgment.
When Lucifer was cast out of heaven by the supreme power of God, as Jesus said, he fell like lightning - to where -- to the place from which he came. He was cast back to the earth. As Isaiah said, He was cut down to the ground.
ISAIAH 14:12 again:
Isaiah 14:12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations!
Notice now an additional point of understanding regarding Lucifer who became Satan having a throne on this earth. The apostle Paul wrote that this fallen angelic being is the "god of this age."
II Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
The age over which he is god is on this earth -- not in some other place in the universe.
And it is for an age - for a limited time - it is an age which has an end.
Again I refer to the words of the apostle Paul -- the rulers of the darkness of this age
But by whose authority is Satan the "god of this age?" He certainly could not take this power and authority to himself. It is God, the Creator, who originally gave him a throne, a position of authority, and Satan misused, or abused, that authority and was able to convince a large group of angels to follow him in a rebellion against their Creator.
Christ's temptation in the wilderness by Satan also shows the devil having authority over nations on this earth.
As Isaiah said, "You who weakened the nations."
Matthew 4:8-9Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.
If Satan did not have these kingdoms of the world under his authority to give to Christ, then Jesus would have legitimately been able to confront him and say you don't have these to give. By Jesus not challenging Satan on this point, we have the additional evidence that he is the "god of this age." But an age is for a time only. There is coming a time when he will no longer be the "god of this age."
Now we gain more information about Lucifer who became Satan the Devil from three other key passages:
For sake of time, I will read a section from Ezekiel 28 and make reference only to the other two.
Ezekiel chapter 28 is written like Isaiah chapter 14. God begins by discussing a human ruler, then lifts the dialogue to the spiritual power behind the earthly ruler.
In Ezekiel 28:2 God begins by addressing the Prince of Tyre.
2 Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas,' Yet you are a man, and not a god, Though you set your heart as the heart of a god.
Tyre was a port city on the coast of ancient Israel on the Mediterranean sea. It was famous as a trading center. Its rulers had grown haughty and proud because of their wealth and influence. In verses 6-10 God tells this ruler - the Prince of Tyre - that because of his arrogance, his might and wealth will fail and he would be overthrown.
But notice in verse 12 God begins to address "the king of Tyre" rather than the Prince. This being is the true ruler, the real power behind the prince.
Ezekiel 28:11-16 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 son of man, take up a lamentation of the king of Tyre, and to hom, 'This says the Lord GOD: You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, then garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquiose, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. 14 You were the anointed cherub who covers; I establish you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity wasfound in you. 16 By the abundance of you trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God
Notice these words: This being was cast out of the mountain of God - he was cast out of heaven. And who was cast out of heaven? Lucifer, whose name was changed to Satan.
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones
The being Lucifer was not destroyed himself, but destroyed from, or powerfully removed from the throne room of God.
Ezekiel chapter 28 tells us that Lucifer was once an anointed cherub, a powerful angelic being.
Hebrews chapter 12 and Exodus chapter 25 gives us a little more insight into what a cherub looked like and what he does.
The apostle Paul explains in the Book of Hebrews how that the earthly tabernacle, or sanctuary, prepared by Moses of old time was a copy or shadow of the heavenly sanctuary where God the Father and Jesus Christ dwell.
The tabernacle of Moses time was rectangular in shape. The first part was called the Holy Place, then there was a curtain across the room, and the area behind this curtain was called the Holy of Holies.
In the Holy of Holies Moses was instructed to build the Mercy Seat - representing God's throne -- and at each end of the Mercy Seat was to be a cherub.
Exodus 25:20 And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat.
The apostle Paul refers to them in Hebrews as "the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat."
Lucifer was an "anointed cherub who covers."
He was a glorious created angelic being who has wings - wings which were to cover the very throne of God. He was the brilliant shining one as his name in Hebrew, Heylel, reveals.
But along the way something happened to him which changed the course of his life forever.
Ezekiel 28:14-16 You were the anointed cherubwho covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within , And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.
This great being sinned, and he became filled with violence. He is an angry, demented powerful being -- yet to be fully restrained. He is now as an angel of darkness and death.
Because of his rebellion he lost that powerful glory and he became Satan - no longer an angel of light - but an angel of darkness. He became the adversary of both God and man.
Let me summarise for you these points about Lucifer
This powerful angelic being became corrupted and he no longer was the "shining one, the light bringer" but is now the adversary of both God and man. He is the accuser of the brethren, and violent. He is Satan the Devil.
I think we can now more readily see why there is so much evil in this world.
As the Apostle Paul said :
We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
In my follow-up sermon, I want to go on to explain that God holds Satan responsible for his evil deeds and how God's judgment will be administered.