We are going to begin in Ephesians 6:12:
Ephesians 6:12 (New English Translation) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.
While the world is at odds, and leaders busy themselves with strategies to fight physical wars, it should come as no surprise to God's people that we are engaged in a great spiritual battle. In I Peter 5:8, Peter alerts us to be sober, to be alert, because your enemy, that is the adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl, looking for someone to devour.
Wise military leaders never go into battle without carefully studying their opponents, if at all possible. They want to know how they operate, their character, their strengths and weaknesses, their methods and schemes, and so on. To be effective against the enemy, you must know your enemy so that you can be prepared to effectively counter his attacks.
But Satan, the deceiver, never likes to be revealed for who and what he is and how he operates. Yet we need to be informed because we are behind the enemy lines.
The Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 2:11 that we are not ignorant of his schemes. But then he goes on to say later in that book, in II Corinthians 11:3, "But I am afraid, lest as the serpent, Satan, deceived Eve by his craftiness, your mind should be led astray."
We know that God names things for what they are. God reveals to us the Hebrew names of three great and powerful angels. They are Michael, Gabriel, and Helel. My main focus today is going to be on Helel. He was the anointed cherub that rebelled against God and which is now the enemy, and is so named "Satan."
But before we get into the meaning of the names that describe his character now, let's look at who he was originally. Turn with me over to Ezekiel 28, and we will begin this in verse 12:
Ezekiel 28:12-15 Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.
We see from this that he was one of the two cherubim whose wings covered the throne of God. We know that there were two because of the pattern that God gave to Moses for the Ark of the Covenant back in Exodus 25.
I want to look for just a minute at what a cherub actually looks like:
Ezekiel 1:5-10 Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle.
So we see that these are pretty odd-looking creatures to us, but they are beautiful to God.
Ezekiel 10:14-15 Each one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, the second face the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. And the cherubim were lifted up. This was the living creature I saw by the River Chebar.
These were the cherubim that he saw in chapter 1. We know they are cherubs. The interesting thing here is that he leaves out the face of an ox, but he actually calls it the face of a cherub. It just made me wonder why. Maybe that's their dominant face. I do not know. But have you ever realized that when Israel came out of Egyptt, remember Aaron built the golden calf—a young bullock—to worship? For 400 years while Israel was in Egypt, the chief god of Egypt was Apis, a bull. Satan is pretty crafty, isn't he?
One more thing about the cherubim. Their four faces actually represent the physical creation. You have the man, who is dominant over all. You have the ox, which was dominant over the domestic animals. You have a lion, which is the king of the jungle, and an eagle, which is the king of the sky. I thought that was pretty interesting.
Please turn to Isaiah 14. We're going to see the cause of his fall:
Isaiah 14:12-14 “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! 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; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’
Some translations, as we have heard before, say he may have meant he would be the Most High.
I want to bring something out here that I think is pretty interesting. In verse 12, he's referred to as "Lucifer." But the Hebrew word is helel. In the English version of the Bible, the name Lucifer appears only one time, and it's right here. But is that correct? Is that a correct translation? I always assumed that Lucifer was the Greek equivalent to helel. But guess what? "Lucifer" is not a Greek word. It's a Latin word, and it has exactly the same meaning as the Greek word phosphoros. They both mean "light-bearer" or "light-bringer." But this is not what the Hebrew word helel means, as we will see in just a minute. But I want to show you something very important.
II Peter 1:19 (New English Translation) Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
I think we all agree this is a reference to Jesus Christ. Well, the Greek word here for "morning star" is phosphoros, which means the same thing as Lucifer does in the Latin: light-bringer or light-bearer. The Latin Vulgate translates this as "Lucifer." Jesus is the Light-bearer or Light-bringer, not Helel!
It was in 405 AD that Jerome—who was a scholar, supposedly; also, he was baptized into the Catholic church—who was commissioned by the Pope to translate the Hebrew Bible into the Latin. That's when he gave this angel Helel the name "Lucifer," meaning "light-bearer" or "light-bringer."
Let's take a look at the Hebrew word helel. Some commentators say that it means "son of dawn" or "son of the morning." This is the only place that it actually appears in the Bible—here in Isaiah. It says there, "How are you fallen from heaven, O Helel, son of the morning?" As you know, angels are sometimes referred to as "sons of God." We see here that he was the son of, or the product of, his Creator, who was the true Light-bearer and Light-bringer. Not Helel.
Helel is derived from the primitive root word halal. You just change the e to an a. This word is used 165 times in the Old Testament, and is mostly translated as "praise," "glory," and "boast." This reveals actually a little more about him, because he was to praise and glorify God, as all His creatures are to do, but instead he became boastful and sought the praise and glory for himself, as we see right here in Isaiah 14. When the sin was found in him, God cast him back to Earth, where he had placed him on a throne, and He renamed him for what and who he truly is.
Now let's look at what he's now referred to. The first time "Lucifer" was mentioned in this spot here, that was 300 years after the last apostle had died. They never knew him as Lucifer, by the way. Here's what they knew him as. The title "Satan" occurs 53 times in 47 verses in the Bible. "Satan" is the Greek satanas, and it's derived directly from the Hebrew word satan, which means "adversary." That points to Satan as the opponent of God, of believers, and of all that is right and good. Satan may appear as an angel of light, as the apostle Paul told us in II Corinthians 11:14, where it says that he transforms himself into an angel of light. That word "transforms" means "disguises" himself, but it's only a sham of deception to further aid him in his work as the arch adversary and opponent of God.
In I Peter 5:8 (that I mentioned earlier), Satan is called, "your adversary, the "devil." Here the word "adversary" is not satanas, but antidikos. (I may not be pronouncing these words correctly; you can look them up and see if you can get them right.) This might be similar in meaning—and it is similar in meaning—but antidikos is more explicit. It actually specifically refers to an opponent in a lawsuit. God has indicted Satan for his sins, found him guilty, and sentenced him to the Lake of Fire.
The word "devil" is the Greek word diabolos, which means, "slanderer; defamer."
In Revelation 12:3, he is referred to as "the great red dragon." "Great" points of the magnitude of Satan's power and his activity in the world. "Red" emphasizes his murderous and bloodthirsty character, and his behavior throughout history. "Dragon" pictures his ferocious and intensely cruel nature. This name is especially related to his end-time character, when God removes all restraints and allows him to go his natural way to become what he naturally is.
I think the Great Tribulation is going to be a time when people are going to see him for what he really is. God is going to expose him. Then he's going to put him away for a while.
Have you ever wondered why God's going to release him after 1000 years? Why doesn't He just put him away for good? Well, I think the reason might be—I don't know if it's the only reason—that in the end, those people going into the Millennium are going to be able to see him for what he is, the great deceiver whom they have worshipped. And then they are going to know who the Lord is. But what happens after the 1000 years? There is a physical resurrection of people who will not have known this yet. So they, too, perhaps need to know who and what he is. God's going to show them. Then He's going to put him away for good in the Lake of Fire.
He's also referred to as "the serpent of old," and this clearly identifies him as Satan and draws our attention to his crafty character and his constant activity of temptation and deception.
He's called "the evil one." in I John 5:19. Here the word "evil" is the Greek word poneros, and it's an active noun that points to an active and a malignant kind of evil. He is like a cancer to the human race.
In Galatians 1:4, Paul calls this present age "evil." The point is that Satan is the reason this age will never improve—because it gets its character from Satan, the evil one. It is an evil age that grows worse because of his presence and his activity.
In Ephesians 2:2, he is called "the prince of the power of the air." This title is of particular importance because it points to Satan as the head of the demonic host, those fallen angels who operate continuously, day and night, in our immediate atmosphere to fill it with Satanic deception, Satanic viewpoints, and doubts and temptations. The word power here is singular, and it refers to the demonic forces as a corporate body that operates as one, under the authority and power of Satan, their prince.
Continuing in Ephesians 2:2, he also says it is the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience. The word "working" here is the Greek word energeo, and it means, "to energize, to be active, to be at work." It is in the present, continuous tense. Satan is constantly at work to promote and produce his viewpoint in order to create disobedience in man. Satan energizes the human spirit within people that are disobedient to God. He does this in their attitudes and in their moods and in their impulses. We see it getting worse in the world, at least I do, I'm around it all the time. People's attitudes are going crazy.
There are many more names that describe his true nature and character that I do not have time to cover. I would encourage you all to look into this because you need to know this enemy. It is amazing all the names that apply to him.
But the one thing I think that describes him best—it's like every one of his names fits into this—and that is that he is a deceiver. In Revelation 12:9, he's spoken of as the one who deceives the whole world. The Greek text here strongly stresses that this is a continuous aspect of Satan's character and activity. He causes people to miss the truth of God by his many methods of deception: lying against the truth, denying the truth, counterfeiting or imitating the truth, and perverting or distorting the truth. Satan has many traps and tricks that he uses to deceive.
But brethren, we have two great promises about this. One is that we are already victors through the victory of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the true Light-bringer and the Light-bearer. But we are still behind enemy lines. So our need, then, is to put on the full armor of God and to resist the devil by always drawing near to our true Light-bearer, Jesus Christ.
The second great promise is that Satan is a defeated foe, whose days of freedom to create misery and pain and deception are numbered.
I will leave you here in Romans 16:20, because Paul tells us why his days are numbered. He says, "For the God of peace will soon crush Satan, that great deceiver, under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."