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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, September 09 2021

The origin of Satan and his demons

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.

The origin of Satan and his demons
The being we know as Satan the devil was originally one of two cherubim covering the throne of God in heaven—as represented by the Ark of the Covenant.

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."

With time, he also came to understand the days observed by most of Christianity are not commanded in the Bible, and Scripture backed up his realisation that associating the name of Jesus with these days did not make them more acceptable: "... in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:9).

While in high school, he also discovered that in the King James Version of the Bible the word translated as "Easter" in Acts 12:4 was an erroneous translation of the Greek word ‘pascha’, a word clearly meaning the Passover (described in Leviticus 23:5). It was not until the second century, long after the New Testament was written, that people began to replace the Passover observance with Easter.

Jesus and His family observed the Holy Days of the Bible, travelling to Jerusalem, when He was twelve years old, to observe the Passover (Luke 2:41, 42). John 7 also shows Christ keeping the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day (described in Leviticus 23:33-36) in spite of the threat of bodily harm. Jesus kept all of the annual festivals, not only because He was a devout Jew, but because God commanded them and He was setting an example for Christians today (Matthew 28:20).

These Holy Days were also observed following Christ's ascension. The disciples were gathered together to observe the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent (Acts 2:1), because Pentecost was still a "holy convocation," a commanded assembly (Leviticus 23: 15- 16, 21).

Gentile Christians also observed the biblical Holy Days. More than 20 years after Christ’s crucifixion, about the year A.D. 55, the Apostle Paul gave important instruction to the Church in the gentile city of Corinth, where most church members were gentile. A man was involved in an immoral relationship, and Paul instructed them to expel him from the church:"...Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump...For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with ...the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

The Corinthians had put out leaven to observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but had not applied the spiritual lesson. Paul’s intent, by instructing them to "keep the feast," was not to spiritualize away the Days of Unleavened Bread, but to magnify them. The New Testament builds on the foundation of the Old by emphasizing the spiritual intent of the Holy Days.

Colossians 2:16, 17 is perhaps the most oft-quoted New Testament Scripture used to discredit the Holy Days: "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."

Paul was not saying not to keep the Holy Days, he was addressing their proper observance. The Colossians had been introducing ascetic practices on the Holy Days, as they were being influenced to follow the commandments and doctrines of men (verses 18-23). If anything, these verses corroborate the practice of God's true Church in the first century was to observe these days,

Another misunderstood text is Galatians 4:8-10. Verses 8 and 9 refer to the practices of the Galatians before they knew the true God, and after learning the truth, they were beginning to return to these ‘weak and beggarly elements’. To say God's laws are weak and beggarly is blasphemous. These "days and months and seasons [times] and years" were pagan practices, possibly similar to astrology today.

When a person looks into the commands and examples in the Bible to determine which religious festivals to observe, there is only one choice to be found: the annual festivals and Holy Days of God. If we are to build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets and follow the example of Jesus Christ, we will faithfully observe these days, and come to learn more about God's plan of salvation for humanity.