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by Norman Manzon
"The Nature and Positions of Satan and His Demons" is one study of a compendium of extensive and detailed biblical expositions of the doctrinal statement of The Association of Messianic Congregations. The full compendium may be accessed at: A Key Doctrinal Overview and Exegesis.
The third point of the AMC's doctrinal statement declares beliefs concerning Satan and demons, and the fourth, on the holy angels. Inasmuch as the Bible informs us that all angels were once holy, including those we now refer to as Satan and demons, we addressed our beliefs concerning the holy angels in our last study, and will now address our beliefs concerning Satan and demons.
This study will demonstrate biblical support for the existence of Satan and his demonic host, describe their nature, and support the claims in the statement.
The word demon or demons is found about seventy-five times in the New Testament, and other designations are employed for them, as well. In no case are they presented as imaginary or fictitious, not even by the Son of God, Himself. In Mark 7:29, Jesus used the term quite literally:And He said to her, For this saying go, the demon has gone out of your daughter.
Satan, too, is a demon, and he is mentioned numerous times in both testaments, as will be seen below.
Angels were created by God before He created the heavens and the earth; but one-third of them became demons when they rebelled against God. Their rebellion will be addressed below.
Demons are not the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race as at least one writer tried to prove. The Bible speaks of Adam as thefirst man (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47), and its explanation as to the origin of demons contradicts, and therefore nullifies, that writer's claim. What, then, are demons?
Demons are angels; and everything that the Scriptures teach about the nature of angels - except for holiness - is true of demons. Demons are angels, but unholy ones; ones that have chosen to rebel against God and have retained their defiled, sinful nature since that time.
A simple definition of demon is: A demon is an unholy, rebellious, thoroughly depraved angel bent on destroying the plans, the works, and the people of God; indeed, all people.
The holy angels are referred to as aninnumerable company (Hebrews 12:22), and they are but two-thirds of the original number of holy angels. One-third (Revelation 12:3-4) of the original number joined Satan in his rebellion against God. Surely their huge number is made up of all three classes of angels: cherubim, seraphim, and the lowest rank of angels called, simply, angels.
Are the demons organized in ranks?
As a foundational consideration, it is instructive to remember that there are rankings among the holy angels: the cherubim are the highest order, the seraphim are next, and the rank and file angels are next; and each functions in its own realms of service. It is also helpful to remember that the Anointed Cherub had preeminence over all the other angels before his fall, and that Michael is the military commander over the rank and file angels (Revelation 12:7).
There are scriptures that refer to demon powers in various ways as over against powers offlesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12). They are: Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21, 3:10, 6:12; and Colossians 1:16 and 2:15. Combining their designations from these scriptures, they are: principalities, powers in the heavenlies, world rulers of the darkness of this age, spiritual wickedness in high places, thrones, dominions, authorities. This author has been unable to determine whether each of these designations can apply to all demons, or whether each refers to demons with particular assignments or levels of authority. Nevertheless, other passages do indicate that there are demons of greater and lesser authority.
1. Demon King and Subjects
Daniel speaks of the Prince of Persia (Daniel 10:13) and the Prince of Greece (Daniel 10:20), demon warriors who battled the archangel Michael.
Parenthetically, this causes one to wonder whether there might be a demon prince over all the world's governments. Would that include Israel? On the one hand, the same passage that speaks of the demon princes of Persia and Greece also names the holy angel Michael as the Prince of Israel. On the other hand, both in ancient times and in modern, Israel has had its share of demonic activity. In this regard it differs from no other nation. Note that Revelation 11:15 does not differentiate between Israel and the other kingdoms of this world:The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ. And He will reign forever and ever.
In the future, the kingdoms of this world will come under the direct dominion of Christ; but for now, they are all under the dominion of Satan and his host. It just may be that Satan has assigned his own prince over Israel just as God has assigned His.
Thus far, we can conclude that there are at least three rankings of angels: Satan the king or prince, rulers over nation (designated in other ways, as well), and rank and file demons. It seems likely that, since there are demonic rulers over nations, there are rulers of lesser authority over cities and other municipalities, as well; but, to my recollection, scripture does not spell this out.
To sum up, there are three clear ranks of demons, and there may be more. In descending order of authority, they are: king or prince, rulers over nations, and all other demons. It is also possible that the original levels of authority granted to cherubim, seraphim, and rank and file angels are retained in the demonic realm. Satan certainly has retained his. Scripture does not appear to make demonic rankings any clearer than this.
Most of the attention in this study is given to Satan, not to his underling demons, because he is representative of all demons in his nature and goals. It must be understood, however, that the vast majority of all demonic activity is carried out by Satan's underlings, not by Satan himself. In common conversation, when it is said that Satan did a particular work, it almost always means that he was in charge of the work, not that he actually carried it out himself. It is like saying that Hitler killed six million Jews. It is understood that he, personally, did not do the killing, but that he gave the order for it, and that the hands-on work of killing was actually carried out by others under him in rank. Unless Scripture specifically identifies Satan personally as the one carrying out a specific activity, it should be assumed that that activity is carried out by one or more of his underling demons.B. SATAN'S NATURE AND POSITIONS
AS REVEALED BY HIS DESIGNATIONS
In the Scriptures, Satan is identified by various designations, including names, titles, descriptions and animal-like representations, which, in themselves, tell quite a lot about him. I felt it most instructive to sort these out under headings having to do with his original nature, his original positions, his present nature, and his present positions.
In reference to the one we commonly call Satan and the Devil, Scripture assigns him no negative designation in his original, sinless state, only positive ones. They are:
The Anointed Cherub.Ezekiel 28:14 begins, You were the anointed cherub.... As to the nature of his spirit body, Satan was a cherub, and always will be.
Day-Star,and Son of the Morning. These two designations appear in Isaiah 14:12: How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning!
The King James translates the original Hebrew word forday-star into the Latin Lucifer which, like other designations of Satan, including Satan itself, hides its meaning. What's more, the designation Lucifer has a most negative connotation, whereas the original Hebrew for Day-Star and Son of the Morning have very positive ones. The only biblical designations that properly apply to Satan before his rebellion are Anointed Cherub, Day-Star and Son of the Morning. Day-Star has also been variously translated as Morning-Star and Shining-Star. According to Dr. Fruchtenbaum, "The correct title is day-star, son of the morning. The Hebrew emphasizes him as being the shining one. It emphasizes how he was in his original state:" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Radio Manuscript # 077, Satanology: The Doctrine of Satan. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press. P. 14.)
In addition to his special anointing, which we'll consider shortly, Ezekiel 28:12 reveals how he wasthe shining one: Son of man, lift up a lament over the king of Tyre, and say to him, So says the Lord Jehovah: You seal the measure, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
He wasthe shining one by virtue of his special anointing and by the fact that he was filled to angelic capacity with wisdom and perfection in angelic beauty.
2. The Original Positions of Satan
Ezekiel 28:13b reveals yet another facet of his position as The Anointed Cherub that Covers: The workmanship of your tambourines and of your flutes was prepared in you in the day that you were created.
These musical instruments werein him as he hovered above God, above the seraphim (Isaiah 6:2) and above the other cherubim (Ezekiel 10:1). It is the picture of a worship leader who led the entire company of angels in the worship of God.
To sum up, three positions are included in the titleThe Anointed Cherub that Covers:
1. He hovered above the throne of God.
2. He had preeminence over the entire angelic host.
3. He led the entire company of angels in the heavenly worship of God.
3. The Present Nature of Satan
Satan is not a red-skinned humanlike creature with a checkered jacket, horns, forked tail and pitchfork stoking up the flames of hell and tormenting its inhabitants. This is myth except for the fact that he'll be there.
b. His Goals
This, too, portray Satan as a destroyer of people. In context, it specifically portrays him as a destroyer of the faith and walk of believers.. This designation is found in Revelation 12:9, in which Satan is called, the deceiver of the whole world, showing him as the one who, by deception, deceives the great mass of humanity into rejecting God and His ways. As often as he is able he even deceives believers into rejecting God's good counsel, which is why Ephesians 6:11 exhorts us to stand against the wiles of the devil.. Found in 2 Corinthians 11:14, this designation shows that Satan carries out the work of deception by offering appealing counterfeits of true moral and spiritual understanding, of which this kosmos abounds in its legion of false religions, philosophies, beliefs and opinions.
1) The Prince of Demons. This title is found in Matthew 12:24 and Luke 11:15, and obviously shows his authority over all other demons.. This title is found in 2 Corinthians 4:4, and emphasizes Satan's control of this age, whose world view is so contrary to that of Christ's.
3) The King of Babylon. This title is found in Isaiah 14:4 and, viewed in the context of verses 4-17, metaphorically portrays Satan as in control of all worldly kingdoms.
5. Views Concerning Satan
1) Belial. Belial is found in 2 Corinthians 6:15, and means worthlessness. It describes Satan's net value in God's eyes in terms of his ability to be or do anything good. Nevertheless, Scripture reveals that he, as well as the other demons, are worthy of respect, even as criminals about to be executed are normally handled with dignity in countries having a biblical heritage. Note Jude 1:8-9: 8. Yet in like manner these dreamers [false and immoral teachers] also defile the flesh, despise authority, and bring a railing accusation against [angelic] dignities. 9. But Michael the archangel, when disputing with the devil over the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a railing accusation against him, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. Similarly, 2 Peter 2:10b: They are presumptuous, self-willed, not trembling when they speak evil of angelic glories.
In reference to the Jude passage, Adam Clarke notes, "It was a Jewish maxim, as may be seen in Synopsis Sohar, page 92, note 6: 'It is not lawful for man to prefer ignominious reproaches, even against wicked spirits.' (See Schoettgen)"
This is a principle which the author has seen flagrantly violated by people who ought to have known better.
For Part 2 of this study, please go to Spiritual Warfare; but first . . .
If you are not a Christian, I respectfully ask you to consider my appeal.
The Bible says that if you have not invited Jesus into your life to be your Savior, you are in the grip of the Devil, though you may not realize it. Satan does not always come as a roaring lion. Sometimes he comes as an angel of light. He is the Arch Deceiver. You may think that he does not exist, or that you have power over him, or can control your dabbling in the occult if that is the case with you. Yet, Scripture - even Jesus Himself - affirms that he does exist and that you have no power over the him if you are not one of Christ's; and that when you die, you will die with your sins unforgiven, and will be cast out of God's holy presence and into Hell. This is grievous, but eternal, truth.
Believing in Jesus is winning the ultimate and eternal victory. God sent Jesus from Heaven to die as a sacrifice for your sins upon the cross. He then raised Him from the dead to live with Him in Heaven once again so that He might fill you with Christ's resurrection victory and eternal life. Here on earth you will know His presence, His guidance, and victory over the Devil's temptations and grip; and when you die, you will be with Him in Heaven.
What is required of you? No penance and no amount of righteous living can wash away your sin. Simply admit to God that you are a sinner, and believe:
Ask God to show you if this is true. If your heart is quieted and you will listen to His Word within your spirit, you will hear. Then simply welcome Jesus into your life to be your Savior. God will forgive you for your sins and you will be filled with the Holy Spirit, Who will make your spirit eternally alive in Christ, and you will be His forever.
With all the love of One who went to the cross for you, Jesus said,
~ Mark 1:15, BBE ~
Please read my personal story.
The Nature and Positions of Satan and His Demons - a messianic Bible study.
Norman Manzon is a Bible teacher in Hawaii