This study, taught by pastor Barry Forder at our Sunday morning service on Sunday 24th April 2016 is the 14th in our verse-by-verse study through the book of Revelation.
What do the names dragon, serpent, beast, accuser & deceiver all have in common? They are all names given to mankind’s greatest enemy – Satan.
Satan, often simply called ‘the Devil’ used to be known as Lucifer, which means ‘light bearer’ (Isaiah 14:12). According to Ezekiel 28, he was once a stunningly beautiful super-angel, possibly even the highest ranking angel of all. He had the privilege of being in charge of the worship in Heaven, and literally had musical instruments built into his body (Ezek 28:13). He had unrestricted access before the throne of God. So how (you might be thinking) could this ‘anointed cherubim’ end up becoming the embodiment of evil and the most deadly enemy man has ever faced?
The answer is simple. Pride (1 Tim 3:6).
We read in the book of Job that when God made the heavens and the earth all the angels sang for joy (Job 38:7). If all means all, Lucifer must have been among them, and in all probability was actually the one leading the praise to God! As the angels looked on, the Earth and Universe God was creating must has seemed truly breathtaking! As God caused the Light to shine on Day 1, separated the land and the sea on Day 2, and then caused trees, plants, vegetation and fruit to appear all over the earth on Day 3, the excitement must have been building among the angels, wondering what God was going to do next, and what was it all for? As God flung galaxies out into space on Day 4, and then caused living creatures to appear in the oceans and birds to fly in the sky on Day 5.
Then on Day 6 God created lions, elephants, dinosaurs, squirrels, sloths, bears, penguins and so much more! God’s new creation was indeed very good! You can almost hear the angels whispering among themselves, “This is amazing! I wonder who it is for? Who will be given the job of ruling over all of this wonderful creation?” No doubt some eyes had started to look toward Lucifer; after all, he was already God’s right-hand-angel! Lucifer himself had also started to wonder! “To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?” (Esther 6:6).
But then, with what was probably the biggest metaphorical bombshell in all eternity, God creates Man! But the real wonder was not man was fearfully and wonderfully made, but that God created him in His own image! There was not a creature in the heavens or the earth that could compare! But (if you are following…) this led to one inescapable conclusion… Lucifer was no longer the pinnacle of God’s creation, and it quickly became clear that this stunning new world that God had just spent the last 5 days creating, was to be given to Man!!
At that moment, something happened that seemed utterly impossible; it was something so catastrophic that it would later require an unimaginable price to be paid to remedy the situation, and even then would leave a tragic scar on the whole of eternity. Lucifer – the light bearer – rebelled against God!
Isaiah 14:12-15 records that Lucifer, already overflowing with envy and hatred for the Man who had been created in God’s image, said in his heart “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the [angels] of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Lucifer had not been created ‘like the Most High’, but Adam had. So if he had not been given it, he would tak it by force! He would take the wonderful earth he thought he rightfully deserved, destroying this Man in the process! Then he would be exulted and the other angels would worship him! Lucifer’s nature now changed in an instant, his name effectively changing to Satan, which means ‘opponent’, for now he had become – not God’s opponent – but Man’s.
However, just as with the account of Mordecai and Haman in the book of Esther (which is a dramatic re telling of this very situation), the very blow that Satan would strike against man would ultimately prove to be his own undoing.
“And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him” (Esther 6:13).
As we will see in this study of Revelation ch 12, Satan took one third of the angels with him when he rebelled against God, and for the last 6000 years of human history he has been hell-bent on one thing: the destruction of man by whatever means possible. But the man he was most intent on destroying was not the first Adam, but the Second Adam – Jesus Christ. For from Genesis 3:15, where God pronounces his judgment falling the Fall, Satan knew he had begun to fall, and that he shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him. In essence, the whole account of the Old Testament is the story of how God engineered and ensured the safe arrival of the Second Adam – the Seed of the Woman, and how Satan – the Dragon – desperately tried to prevent it!
May this study encourage you and deepen your love for God and His Word!
To aid your personal study, the Powerpoint slides used in this teaching are available for download here, and a verse-by-verse text commentary of Revelation Chapter 10 is also available in the Pastor’s Blog section of this web site entitled: “Man’s Greatest Opponent”