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The Bible refers to Satan and the other rebellious angels as evil, unclean spirits or demons. They are fallen angels full of hatred and bitterness toward God and His purpose for humanity.
Satan’s arrogance and vanity ultimately led to outright rebellion when this powerful spirit being challenged God for control of the universe: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [Hebrew Heylel, the Daystar], son of the morning! . . . For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; . . . I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High’” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Ezekiel 28 gives us more information. The chapter begins by addressing the “prince of Tyre,” which was a major trading center on the Mediterranean Sea. Its rulers had grown haughty because of their power, and in Ezekiel 28:6-10 God decrees they would be overthrown.
A change occurs in Ezekiel 28:12 when “the king of Tyre” is addressed rather than the prince. God’s description makes it clear He is no longer speaking to a physical human being: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God . . .” (Ezekiel 28:12-13). No mortal man could accurately be described as having been “in Eden, the garden of God” and as “... the anointed cherub who covers…. on the holy mountain of God . . .” (Verse 14). This description of Satan or Lucifer as the “cherub who covers” reveals he had once been one of the great angels depicted at God’s throne.
In Exodus 25:17-20 God instructed the Israelites to make a physical model of His throne in heaven for the tabernacle in the wilderness. This was the Ark of the Covenant covered by the “mercy seat.” Atop each side of the mercy seat, representing God’s throne, was a golden cherub with wings extended to cover the seat. These two cherubim represented real angelic beings, who were given the awesome distinction of serving at and covering the very throne of God in heaven. Many other scriptures say God “dwells between the cherubim” (1 Samuel 4:4; 2 Samuel 6:2; 2 Kings 19:15; 1 Chronicles 13:6; Psalms 80:1; Isaiah 37:16).
God tells this covering cherub who rebelled: “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you... You were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones” (Ezekiel 28:15-16). The rebellious angel became Satan, meaning “adversary”— the enemy of God and humanity!
Scripture indicates a third of the angels joined Satan in his rebellion as symbolically described in Revelation 12:3-4: “And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon... His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.” Verse 9 identifies this dragon as Satan, and the Bible uses stars as a symbol for angels (Revelation 1:20).
The influence of Satan and his demons on humanity will be lifted when Jesus Christ returns in power and glory. Satan's world, built on a foundation of lies and deception, will come crashing down, replaced by the Kingdom of God. One prophecy describing the difference between the world tomorrow and today’s world is found in Isaiah 11:9: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."
Bible Study Guide - Angels: God's Messengers and Spirit Army