Satan: God's Angel

Organized religion was set up to terrify and enslave mankind
and monopolize power and profit.
-Thomas Paine

There are some critical flaws to the Christian logic of Satan's reputation as God's enemy.

The most serious flaw is in the chronology. Supposedly, just after creation, some angels lead by Satan rebelled against God. Satan came to Eve in the Garden of Eden as a serpent and tempted her and Adam to sin.

However, throughout the rest of the Old Testament, whenever Satan appears by name, he acts as an adversary for God, not against God. There could not be any adversary involvement in Eden. It doesn't make sense that Satan and God patched up their differences.

The chronology extends to the NT. Luke tells us that Satan entered into Judas. If God sent Jesus to die for men's sins, as Christians maintain, then he was acting on behalf of God. This takes us to the end of the Gospels with Satan and God working in a cooperative relationship.

3Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot. (Luke 22:3)

In between, there are two occasions in which God and Satan conspired to test their subject. The first was when they conspired to test the limit of Job's faith. The second was when God brought Jesus to Satan to be tempted.

To Jews, the serpent symbolized evil-that is all there was to it. There were no fallen angels; this idea came about as a result of a bad interpretation of Isaiah. On other occasions in Genesis in which Satan is blamed, there is no evidence of satanic influence. In sum, Satan was not God's enemy.

The word "Satan" originates in the Hebrew language, meaning to act as an opponent or adversary. More than any other religion, Christian propaganda gave a lot of weight to scaring believers into their fold. To absolve God of evil, Satan's Accusers took the OT angel of God, and elevated him to the full status of a rival god by reversing the OT context of "adversary."

To understand where Christianity is coming from, we have to look at it allegorically. In Light Verses Dark it was shown how light symbolized good and darkness symbolized evil-ancients had a fear of darkness. God represents light and Satan represents darkness. Christians see them as opposing forces, while Jews see only one God responsible for everything.

Allegorically, the half of a day when the sun is rising, God is rising to glory against Satan. When the sun is falling on the other half, darkness is increasing in power against the sun. Thus, Satan becomes perceived as a fallen angel. Satan is an adversary in the sense that darkness is an adversary to light. See Bible Astrology.

The religious mind has a tendency to look at matters in isolation. When the evidence is examined in entirety, it comes out that it was his accusers who bear false testimony. By decreeing the world full of sinners, Christian theology elevated Satan to status of a god with more influence on human consciousness than Jesus. But in reality, this whole sordid affair began as a personification of light verses dark.

Satan is a god

In God's Pantheon it was stressed that none of the biblical monotheistic religions are truly monotheistic. Just because angels are not worshipped and all but a few have names, they still fit the definition of "god," with a small "g". According to Webster's dictionary:

Any of various beings conceived of as supernatural, immortal, and having special powers over the lives and affairs of people and the course of nature; deity, esp. a male deity: typically considered objects of worship

In mythological accounts, all of the various gods had supernatural powers. Some of them were described as part human part god. But in every way, they fit the definition of god as angels do. For example in English, we call a legged object with a flat surface a table. We could describe the same object in French, German, Russian, or Spanish, but it is still the same form we know as a table.

A word is not the thing it represents. A word does not change the form. By any name, anything described as a being with supernatural powers is a god.

As a point of difference between the OT and the NT, Jews don't subscribe to the idea of two competing gods. Yahweh takes credit for all weal and woe. That would have to include his power over Satan with a small "s."

5I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I gird you, though you do not know me,
6that men may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness, I make weal and create woe, I am the Lord, who do all these things. (Isa. 45:5-7)

There is no other God besides Yahweh.

35To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord [Yahweh] is God; there is no other besides him. (Deut. 4:35)

God's angel

In the Old Testament, Satan does not appear as a leader of an army of hostile spirits who make war on God and humankind. Instead, he appears as one of God's angels whose assignment is to appear in an adversarial role. Sometimes he is known formally as Satan; on other occasions he is simply called "adversary" or "accuser". He never acts without God's consent.

This list compiles every case where Satan appears. In Hebrew, "Satan" means adversary; so the English translators used both words interchangeably.

1. God's messenger stood in front of Balaam's ass. This is where Satan makes his first appearance.

21So Balaam rose in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
22But God's anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as his adversary
[satan]. Now he was riding on the ass, and his two servants were with him. (Num. 22:21-22)

2. In Samuel, God tells David to take a census.

1Again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, 'Go, number Israel and Judah." (2 Sam. 24:1)

Chronicles credits Satan. Was he impersonating God? Or are they one in the same?

1Satan stood up against Israel, and incited David to number Israel. (1 Chron. 21:1)

3. The Philistines feared David would become their adversary. In this case, "Satan" is used descriptively and does not refer to the angel.

4But the commanders of the Philistines were angry with him; and the commanders of the Philistines said to him, "Send the man [David] back, that he may return to the place to which you have assigned him; he shall not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he become an adversary [Satan] to us. For how could this fellow reconcile himself to his lord? Would it not be with the heads of the men here? (1 Sam. 29:4)

4. God sent Satan against Solomon in the form of Hadad the Edomite.

14And the Lord raised up an adversary [Satan] against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was of the royal house in Edom. (1 Kings 11:14)

5. God put a lying spirit in King Ahab's prophets. Satan is not mentioned by name, but the nature of the conversation with God suggests Satan had permission to make the prophets lie.

21Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, 'I will entice him."
22And the Lord said to him,
'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go forth, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go forth and do so.'
23
Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has spoken evil concerning you. (1 Kings 21-23; 2 Chron. 18:21-22)

6. God sent Satan to Rezon, thus turning him into an adversary of Israel. Satan is used descriptively.

23God also raised up as an adversary [Satan]to him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah.
24And he gathered men about him and became leader of a marauding band, after the slaughter by David; and they went to Damascus, and dwelt there, and made him king in Damascus.
25He was an adversary [Satan] of Israel all the days of Solomon, doing mischief as Hadad did; and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. (1 Kings 11:23-25)

7. Satan and God conspired to test Job. Though he challenges God, he is still subject to God's power and acts with his permission.

6Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
7The Lord said to Satan, "Whence have you come?" Satan answered the Lord, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it."
8And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?" (Job 1:6-8)

It was a friendly bet for bragging rights at Job's expense. So God gave him the power to inflict Job.

1Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord.
2And the Lord said to Satan, "Whence have you come?" Satan answered the Lord, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it."
3And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause."
4Then Satan answered the Lord, "Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life.
5But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face."
6And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life."
7
So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord, and afflicted Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 2:1-7)

8. The psalmist appeals to God to let a satan bring a wicked man to trial.

1Be not silent, O God of my praise!
2For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues.
3They beset me with words of hate, and attack me without cause.
4In return for my love they accuse me, even as I make prayer for them.
5So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
6Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser [Satan] bring him to trial. (Psalms 109:1-6)

9. The historical context of Zechariah's vision takes place after the Jerusalem community returns from the exile. Satan was standing at the right hand of an angel of the Lord. As a member of the divine council, Satan was opposed to Joshua becoming the high priest. His role was that of a court prosecutor, not as a false accuser.

1Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
2And the Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?"
(Zech. 3:1-2)

False accusations

The stories in Genesis precede all the occasions in the OT when Satan is mention by name. For this reason, more than any other, the Jews have a better argument about God being responsible for good and evil

For what follows, it is well to remember that the NT was written over 500 years after the OT. To put this in a more intuitive perspective, that is about the time from when Christopher Columbus discovered America to the beginning of the twenty first century.

If we follow this nonsense about the Bible being the world of God, it means that God waited 500 years to pass this new information onto the Christian writers, and didn't tell the Jews.

1. Adam and Eve. The first sin was supposed to be when Satan, as a serpent, tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, thus defeating God's intent to create an innocent mankind.

The sources come from Paul in 1 Corinthians and twice from Revelation. That God could be thwarted so easily and quickly makes him seem weak and stupid.

3But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (1 Cor. 11:3)

Revelation twice associates Satan with the serpent in Eden.

9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Rev. 12:9)

1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while. (Rev. 20:1-3)

To Jews, the serpent was regarded as a symbol of evil, and nothing else more. Christianity attached the Satan label onto the serpent, and viola, Satan becomes the tempter who made the first man commit the first sin.

1Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" (Gen. 3:1)

2. Noah's flood. Peter blames fallen angels on Noah's flood, which, of course, gave God an excuse to flood the world and kill almost the entire human population.

4For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;
5if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:4-5)

It doesn't appear as if the semi-divine sons of God and the giant Nephilim are being blamed for sin. Their names were used to suggest a period of time when they inhabited earth. Verse 5 blames human wickedness without saying what caused it.

1When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them,
2the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose.
3Then the Lord said, "My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years."
4The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.
5The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. (Gen. 6:1-6)

3. Sodom and Gomorrah. Peter blames fallen angels on Sodom and Gomorrah.

4For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;
6if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and. made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; (2 Peter 2:4, 6)

The only angels involved here, where the two sent by God to destroy the cities.

12Then the men said to Lot, "Have you any one else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or any one you have in the city, bring them out of the place;
13for we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it." (Gen. 19:12-13)

4. Fallen angel. According to the "Catechism of the Catholic Church," paragraph 391:

The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: "The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing".

According to Peter there are fallen angels. 

4For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; (2 Peter 2:4)

According to Jude there are fallen angels.

6And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; (Jude 1:6)

The idea of fallen angels led by Satan was extracted from Isaiah. Isaiah says nothing of the sort. He was writing for his own time, not about events that happened thousands of years before in Genesis.

Isaiah was gloating about an event that happened in his time. The "Day Star, son of Dawn" was cut down to the ground to Sheol for attempting to rise above the stars of God.

12"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
13You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north;
14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.'
15But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.
(Isa. 14:12-15)

When Isaiah wrote this, he had the king of Babylon in mind. Basically, he was hoping the king of Babylon would go to hell. He was referring to Nebuchadnezzar, the proud but ruined king of Babylon.

4you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: "How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!  (Isa. 14:4)

"Day Star" refers to the planet Venus, because at certain times of the year, it outshines real stars in the early morning when the sun rises.

5. Destroyer. Satan could be confused with the destroyer, another one of God's angels. Satan's role was that of an adversary, not a destroyer. A few passages should clear up the confusion.

The destroyer was an angel of God who killed the firstborn during Passover.

23For the Lord will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you. (Ex. 12:23)

Job sees the destroyer as one of God's angels

20The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless.
21Terrifying sounds are in his ears; in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him. (Job 15:20-21)

The destroyer shall come as God has spoken.

8The destroyer shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape; the valley shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord has spoken. (Jer. 48:8)

According to Paul, whoever puts God to the test may be destroyed.

9We must not put the Lord to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents;
10nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
(1 Cor. 10:9-10)

6. Christ's Temptation. If God and the devil were enemies, then surely he would not have taken Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted. God might have said to the devil, "Take Jesus out into the wilderness and see if you can tempt him".

1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt. 4:1)

7. Judas Iscariot. To be a Christian means to believe that God sent Jesus to die for man's sins. Despite Judas's bad reputation, he must have been carrying out the role assigned to him.

According to Peter, it was all planned by God.

23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
24But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
(Acts 2:23-24)

Luke says Satan entered into Judas when he bargained for money with the chief priests. Who else but God, arranged for Satan to enter into Judas.

3Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve;
4he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them.
5And they were glad, and engaged to give him money.
(Luke 22:3-5)

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