Angels Lesson 4 - The Fallen Cherub
When we think of cherubs, we think of the fat little angel babies that have been popularized in famous works of art. But did you realize that Satan is a cherub? In this message Stephen clears up our misconceptions about these mysterious creatures and warns us not to take the angelic world lightly.
“The Fallen Cherub”
Forty years ago, C. S. Lewis wrote these provocative words: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall with regard to devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. The demons are equally pleased by both errors, and welcome a materialist or magician with the same delight.”
Quoted in How To Meet The Enemy, John MacArthur, Victor Publishing, 1992; p. 7
I personally believe he is right.
On the one hand is the materialist – Lewis called him. That is the person who either denies the reality of Satan and his power or simply lives with such spiritual lethargy and complacency that he never engages in the discipline of spiritual warfare. He doesn’t invest his time and energy and prayer and resources in advancing the church of Jesus Christ.
This is the liberal who denies the reality of hell and demons and Satan. They like to talk of hell as a concept and Satan as a mythical power or evil force, not a literal person.
Vance Havner once preached, “If the Devil comes to town in a body, you won’t likely find him in a nightclub or a gambling dive. The world and the flesh will look after these places. You’ll more likely find the devil in some pulpit, with an education, drawing a salary for denying his own existence.”
Quoted in, What the Bible Says About Angels, David Jeremiah; Walk Through The Bible Publishers, 1995; p. 58
One such minister was preaching that the word “in” doesn’t necessarily mean “in”. In other words, when the Bible says that Jonah went down in the whale, the word “in” simply means close to, round about, or nearby. After the service a man came up to him and complimented him on the finest sermon he said, he’d ever heard. He went on to say how much it encouraged him and cleared up so many other mysteries he had encountered in the Bible. “For instance,” he said, “the story about the three young Hebrew boys who were thrown in the fiery furnace, but were not burned. Now I see that they were not really in the fire, just close to, round about or nearby. And the story about Daniel getting thrown into the lion’s den. Now I see that he wasn’t really thrown in the lion’s den, but close to it. But,” he said, “the most encouraging thing is that even though I am a wicked man, I am gratified to know that I won’t actually be in Hell, just close to, round about, or nearby.”
You can understand, can’t you why the materialist view which denies the personality of Satan and the reality of hell would be so popular?!
Yet, on the other hand is the magician, Lewis called him, or the mystic who believes in the demonic world but sees a demon behind every bush and Satan behind every event. He becomes so fascinated with demon world that his world revolves around conflict with them.
It is not uncommon to hear mystical leaders speak of breaking territorial strongholds and binding demons and rebuking Satan. They have created a world of demon encounters that is defined, not by the Bible, but by encounters with demons; forgetting that the Bible says the demons deceive and distort the truth.
A large part of what many Christians believe was fashioned by Frank Peritti’s fiction, “This Present Darkness” where he wrote about “the religious fight against territorial spirits mobilized to dominate a small town.”
Many believers, led primarily by the writings and influence of Fuller Seminary Professor Peter Wagner, who have accepted faction as fact have abandoned classic evangelism and disciplined living and are simply claiming to regain neighborhoods and cities and even countries with prayer walks and deliverance incantations.
Wagner has led “summit” meetings for “cosmic level spiritual warfare.
Certainly the believer is involved in a struggle against the powers of darkness, Ephesians 6 tells us. However, many of the practices of today’s spiritual warfare movement are unfounded and speculative instead of grounded in Biblical theology.
Are we to learn techniques for casting out demons? Do we deliver incantations against Satan? Can we bind Satan and his fallen angels? If so, for how long are they bound? And if I bind Satan, does that mean He cannot come against you, or is he bound only in my life? Are we to break strongholds of territorial demons and regain cities and countries?
Let’s go back to the Bible over these next few weeks and build our understanding of the fallen angels around what the scriptures actually say.
Let’s begin by asking and answering the question, “Is the materialist wrong? Or to put it another way . . .
Does Satan Really Exist?
The answer is yes!
The Old Testament Evidence alone is conclusive:
Texts such as Genesis 3:1 which tells us that the serpent came to deceive Eve – and Ezekiel 28:13 which informs us that Satan was in the garden of Eden along with 2 Corinthians 11:3 where Paul writes, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”
In Job 1:6. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7. The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.”
Furthermore, in I Chronicles 21:1, the Bible says, “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.”
Again, in Zechariah 3:1 we read, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lordwho has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!
If Satan is a mere force of evil, then you would have to say that the Lord is a mere force of good and that Joshua really wasn’t a person and Jerusalem is a make believe city.
The evidence mounts dramatically in the New Testament: 19 New testament Books mention Satan by at least one of his many names and Jesus Christ referred to Satan as literally existing 25 different times.
Well, just who is Satan?
Ezekiel chapter 28 provides Four Insights about the origin and nature of Satan
1) Satan was created along with the other angels
The Lord led Ezekiel to address the king as the one to be judged, but clearly the power behind him was Satan and the speech clearly reveals attributes and characteristics of Satan himself.
Notice verse 12. Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13. “You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: the ruby, the topaz and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared.
This verse clearly teaches the origin of Satan – he was created along with all the other angelic hosts sometime before creation, who then fell sometime before the fall of man.
Insight #2) Satan was created a Cherub (the singular form of cherubim)
We think of Cherubs as fat little baby angels – a cherub is one from among the class of angel known as the Cherubim.
- “You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy
mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15. “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created until unrighteousness was found in you.
Satan was evidently created a member of the class of heavenly beings knows as cherubim.
These were the angels, so to speak, that stood closest to God’s throne.
In fact, when the ark of the covenant was built, it was constructed with two cherubim on either side of the lid or the Mercy Seat – it was between these two cherubim that the glory of God hovered.
Cherubim were the ones chosen to guard the Garden of Eden as Adam and Eve were sent out – each cherub holding a flaming sword.
When Solomon built his temple, the workers carved the design of cherubim into walls and doors and built huge figures of them.
These were the beings who were created with four wings and four faces forming a square, one appearance facing each direction – north south east and west. They are able to fly in any direction without every having to turn around. There four faces, according to Ezekiel were of man, one of a lion, one of an ox and one of an eagle.
Now we know from other passages that angel beings had the ability to change their appearance. Some saw them as simply men, such as in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Other’s saw flaming white creatures that seemed to sparkle like lightening in Matthew 28.
There are many things about angels, and cherubim and seraphim that we are not told, and much of what we are told we cannot comprehend.
The Bible says that Satan is a fallen cherub – able, evidently to change his appearance, yet created with four faces and 4 wings. A brilliant creature of beauty yet brilliantly capable of masquerading with incredible deception.
3) Satan wasn’t just any Cherub, he was the highest ranking Cherub in heaven.
- “By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; therefore
I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,
from the midst of the stones of fire.
The words “anointed” from verse 14 and this description in verse 16 of the “covering cherub” indicate that before Lucifer fell, he was the highest stationed guardian for God – back in verses 12 and 13 we’re told that he had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty."
In the New Testament, Satan is considered the highest ranking leader among the fallen angels – in fact in Matthew 25:41 the demons are actually called “his angels.
4) Satan lost his position by sinning against God through pride and envy
People say, why would God create Satan if He knew Satan would become the evil enemy. For that matter, why allow Judas to be born, knowing Satan will inhabit him and betray the Savior?
God creates them for the same reason he allows everybody else to be born into the world who reject Him and hate Him.
He gives mankind, as He gave the angels, and Satan, self-determination. That is, the ability, from our perspective and will, to choose.
God did not create robots – that would have been unloving. He created angels and humans with the ability to exercise obedience toward Him and submission to Him.
Verse 17 informs us of this truth: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you.”
Satan is a living, person with the three ingredients of personality:
1) He was created with intellect
Ezekiel informs us that he had incredible wisdom.
2 Corinthians 11:3 reminds us that Satan as able to intellectually deceive “Eve by his craftiness” and Paul warns the believers not to have their minds led astray by Satan from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2) Satan was also created with emotion
I Peter 5:8. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Matthew 16:18 “. . .I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
The anger and hatred and bitterness of Satan against Christ and his church is profound.
3) Satan was created with a will.
Isaiah 14:12. “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have
been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! 13. “But you said in your heart, ‘I
will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of
assembly in the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself
like the Most High.’ 15. “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.
What Are The Names of Satan – there are at least 21?
First, there are Names Depicting Satan’s Position:
- Anointed cherub (Ezekiel 28:14)
- Prince of this world (John 12:31; 16:11)
By the way, the word, “world” is the Greek word cosmos – it can be translated “ordered system” or “kingdom”. Satan attempts to be like God and thus he orders and arranges his followers and rules over all who, like him, rebel against God.
He is the prince over the fallen cosmos.
- Prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2)
You could render it, “the ruler of the empire of the atmosphere”. It’s simply a phrase that conveys his leadership over, not only fallen men but the fallen angels as well.
- god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4)
The word for world in his passage is not cosmos, but aion. The emphasis of this word is on a system of thinking or philosophy which is self centered. It refers to the religions of this world which are counterfeit and deceptive.
The world may think they worship Buddha or Allah or the Jesus of Mormonism or the Krishna of the Baghavad Gita – but they, in fact have been deceived. The god they think they follow is the god of this world – Satan himself.
- The ruler of demons (Luke 11:15)
- Baalzebul (Matthew 12:27)
This term means “Lord of the Flies” – a term that refers to corruption and decay. The word finds it’s origin in Canaanite idolatry – Baal being the chief god.
You can only imagine the blasphemy of the Jewish leaders who on one occasion said that Jesus worked through the power of Baalzebul – or the power of Baal.
These are the names that speak of Satan’s position of power.
There are Names Describing Satan’s Disposition:
- Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12)
This was his original name and it refers to his aura of splendid light.
- Of course, the name Satan which simply means adversary or opposer.
- The name Devil is commonly used by Christ and it means slanderer or accuser.
The Devil accuses the believer before God, and accuses God before the believer.
- Another lesser known title is The Red Dragon in Revelation 12:3,4. It’s a term that describes his disposition for blood shed and violence; his penchant for war and his lust for killing.
- He’s know as The Evil One in I John 2:13.
- Another name is Apollyon (Greek) or Abaddon (Hebrew). It is a reference to Satan’s relationship with the dead.
These are the names that describe Satan’s disposition.
Then thirdly, there are names describing Satan’s imposition:
Webster defines one who imposes on another as one who deceives or takes advantage.
There are many names of Satan which describe his imposition – his deceiving methods and destructive ways:
- He’s called the Tempter in I Thessalonians 3:5.
Lest everyone blame temptation on the Devil, may I remind you that he is not omnipresent. The Bible tells us that Satan went in and out of the presence of God in Job 1. And, for that matter, even if Satan is actually tempting you, the Bible says that to draw near to God is enough to cause the devil to flee from you!
Because Satan is not omnipresent, he can’t be tempting one person in California and another believer at the same time in North Carolina.
But, then again, don’t forget the way we refer to someone doing something that they actually represent. We talk of Hitler bombing Great Britain – although Hitler never manned an airplane and dropped any bombs on London. But he was behind it and we refer to it as if Hitler himself did it.
In that sense the Devil, as the leader of the demon world, is said to be behind demonic temptation.
- He is specifically called the Accuser in Revelation 12:10.
- He’s called the Deceiver in Revelation 12:9.
- Another name for Satan is The Enemy Matthew 13:39.
- In John 8:44 he’s called the father of lies and in that same verse he’s called a murderer.
It’s a powerful combination of titles. He lies to people and they are deceived and then die.
Someone sent me this parable which highlights the deception of Satan. While this parable could never take place, and is theologically distorted, not to be interpreted literally or even figuratively it illustrates point of deception in a rather interesting way.
With that encouraging introduction, let me read it.
There was once a sales representative for a marketing agency who was hit by a bus and died. His soul arrived in heaven where he went through a series of interviews and finally arrived at the Pearly Gates and Peter was (of course – in all these stories, Peter never gets to enjoy heaven – he’s always standing at the Gate). Peter said, “Listen, before you get settled in it seems we have a problem. You see, we’ve never once had anyone in advertising make it this far. We’re not sure you really know what you’re doing here. So we have higher orders to have you make a choice. We’re going require that you spend some time in hell and some time in heaven and then you can decide where you’d rather be. The Ad. Salesman said, “That won’t be necessary, I’d much prefer heaven.” “Sorry,” Peter said, “that’s the way it is for you.”
With that Peter put the man in an elevator and it went down straight to hell. The doors opened and the man found himself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of him were all his old friends from the firm. They were all dressed in tuxedos, beautiful women on their arms, and they were cheering for him, welcoming him to hell. (by the way, I have actually had several people tell me they would rather be in hell with their friends, than in heaven.) They ran up and slapped him on his back and talked about old times. They played a round of gold and went to country club where they enjoyed a dinner of steak and lobster. A demon even came over and offered him a Cuban cigar. Before he knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook his hand and waved goodbye and said, “Please come back and stay.” The elevator went up-up-up and there was Peter waiting for him. He said, “Okay, now it’s time for a day in heaven.” And the man said, “Listen, never mind, I’ve already decided. I’d like to live in hell.” Peter said, “Are you absolutely sure?” “Yes sir”, the man said. So, back on the elevator went the advertising salesman and down he went. When the doors of the elevator opened he found himself standing in a desolate wasteland – the heat was unbearable – moaning and crying could be heard all around him. The Devil came up to him and said, “So you’ve decided.” “Yes, but I don’t understand . . . a few hours ago I was here and there was a gold course and a country club and lobster . . . now this is torment, it’s miserable . . . why is it so different?” The Devil looked at him and smiled and said, “A few hours ago you were a prospect . . . now you’re a client.”
Isn’t it so true – the prospect of sin is so alluring – it promises so much – but it is a deception – it is a mirage.
- Satan is called the Adversary I Peter 5:8 where he is pictured as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. This is a warning to the believer by the way. The word, “devour” means to discredit – to ruin – to destroy.
- He’s called in Revelation 12:9 that Old Serpent
I find it interesting that in the 1st Book of the Bible (Genesis) we are introduced to Satan as the Serpent – and in the last Book of the Bible (Revelation) he is referred to as the old Serpent
- Finally, Satan is called the Angel of light in 2 Corinthians 11:13.
Next Lord’s day I want to talk about several ways he destroys believers as well as answer the question, can a Christian be demon possessed.
Let me close our session with Five Things To Remember:
- The power of Satan is delegated.
- The influence of Satan is limited.
- The success of Satan is permitted.
- The judgment of Satan is determined.
- The destruction of Satan’s s certain.
Make no mistake – while Satan’s power and influence and success are avoidable and can be eluded by the obedient believer; while Satan’s judgment and destruction is already determined and guaranteed, he is at this moment influencing the world. And so often, the world grasps the attention of the believer.
While Satan cannot destroy the believer, he can distract the believer. So be alert and aware as you walk with Christ this coming week.
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