Lesson 2

From Exalted to Cast Down

(Genesis 3, Revelation 12, Ezekiel 28)
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Introduction: If righteousness is like a robe, what does evil wear? This week we examine what the Bible has to say about the origin of Satan and of evil. Our study is complicated by the fact that some of the writing seems to be symbolic. What is real and what is symbolic? How do we get to the bottom of the facts? Let's plunge into this adventure in our study of the Bible!

  1. The Tempter


    1. Read Genesis 3:1-4. We have a remarkable thing: an animal who not only speaks, it contradicts God! Is this a symbol, an animal or something else?


    2. Read Revelation 12:7-9. What do we learn about a serpent who "leads the whole world astray?" (The serpent is Satan, the Devil. He is apparently able to take the form of a snake or dragon! He had been in heaven and he fought against God and lost. He was hurled down to earth where he has since then been engaged in his work of deceiving humans.)


      1. Is Satan alone? (No. He has angels who fought (unsuccessfully) for him. They were also cast down to earth with him.)


  2. Tempter's Garment


    1. We still have many unanswered questions about Satan. Let's read Ezekiel 28:11-13. Who is being described here? (The King of Tyre.)


      1. Which fact does not fit the king of a country? (It says that he was in the Garden of Eden.)


        1. Let's recount in our mind the cast of characters in the Garden of Eden. Any kings (other than God)? (No.)


        2. If the snake of Eden was not really a snake, can the King of Tyre be something other than a human king? (No commentary I have seen agrees with me, but if the facts we have seen(and will see) are all taken as true, then the snake of Eden and the King of Tyre have a common characteristic - they were both in Eden. The logical deduction is that Satan took the form of a snake and a king. Satan possessed the snake and the king, or somehow assumed their identities. Perhaps these are the earliest examples of identity theft!)


    2. Read Ezekiel 28:14. Could this be the King of Tyre? (We now have a third location, "the holy mount of God" and a third description "cherub" that cannot possibly describe an earthly king. However, they are completely consistent with what we have learned about Satan so far. The evidence is overwhelming that Satan is being described here, and not a mere human.)


    3. Now that we know Ezekiel is describing Satan, let's go back and re-read Ezekiel 28:13. What is Satan wearing? (A gold and jewel covered robe. Many of these same stones were in the breast-plate of the high priest( Exodus 28:15-21)and many are in the foundations of the New Jerusalem ( Revelation 21:19-20).)


      1. What does this robe suggest about Satan when he was in heaven? (That he was an exalted figure.)


      2. How did Satan come into existence? (He was a created person - like humans and angels.)


      3. We started out asking "if righteousness is like a robe, what does evil wear?" Is the answer "gold and jewels?"


        1. If that is true, how do we explain the breast-plate of the high priest and stones in the New Jerusalem? (We need a better answer.)


    4. Look again at Ezekiel 28:14. What was Satan's job in heaven? (He was an ordained and anointed by God Himself as a "guardian cherub" on the holy mount of God.)


    5. Read Ezekiel 28:15. How did sin enter heaven? (This text says Satan was created blameless. Ezekiel 28:12 says he was "the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty." One day "wickedness was found" in Satan.)


      1. Is this a satisfactory answer?


    6. Read Ezekiel 28:16-17. This gives us a fuller explanation about how sin arose in heaven. What problems in Satan's life plunged heaven and earth into the current battle against sin? (Pride is the first problem. The second seems to be unjust business practices or arrogance arising from great possessions.)


      1. Think of the things that your local church views as sufficient to throw you out of membership. Is pride on that list?


        1. How about unjust business practices or arrogance based on success in life?


        2. Or, are these qualities more likely to get you elected to church leadership?


      2. What got Satan tossed out of heaven? (Pride.)


        1. So, what does evil wear? (Notice that Ezekiel 28:17 links Satan's pride to his beauty. This suggests that Satan's robe of gold and jewels was part of his pride problem. Our answer should be, "evil wears pride.")


      3. Let's look at another phrase in Ezekiel 28:17: "you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor." We normally think of beauty and wisdom as great blessings. Are we wrong?


        1. Who made Satan beautiful? (God! Beauty and wisdom are a blessing. But, they can easily be corrupted. They both breed pride. Pride is the corruption against which we need God's power.)


  3. Avoiding the Tempter's Garment


    1. Read Deuteronomy 8:2-5. What is God's goal for us? (Humility?)


      1. I realize that evil wears pride, but I hate to be humiliated. Is that what God has in mind for us?


        1. If not, what is God suggesting that He wants to do for us on the "humble" front?


      2. I'm currently reading a book entitled Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, by Eric Hagerman. This book finds a common element between exercise and mental health. Very simply put, exercise stresses the body which helps the mind to handle stress. Is this the principle that we find in Deuteronomy 8? (Yes. The desert was a stressful place to live. When the people were hungry, they were stressed. But, God saved them from their stress. This helped them to grow in faith by showing them that the way out of stress was to trust God.)


      3. How are these verses in Deuteronomy 8 the opposite of wearing the robe of pride? (Pride causes you to think you can do it yourself. You are superior. Trusting God and seeing Him work out those things that stress you increases your trust in Him.)


    2. How important is God's discipline in your life? (If you want to grow (muscles, emotional health, faith, etc.) you need to be stressed. You know this is true with exercise. If we viewed discipline like exercise, we would appreciate it all the more.)


      1. How is stressing our faith different, if at all? (The stress of faith (as we studied last week) shows that we cannot do it. However, the growth of faith comes in knowing that God can. He gives us the manna and the clothes that do not wear out. This makes our robe of righteousness grow and our robe of pride shrink.)


  4. The Tempter's Target


    1. Read Revelation 12:17. What is Satan's attitude towards us? (He is angry. He is waging war against us.)


      1. What weapon would Satan use against us? (Pride!)


      2. What defense does verse 17 suggest? (Last week we learned that the law testifies to righteousness by faith. Not only is obedience to the law a shield against evil, but the law reminds us of our sinfulness and punctures our pride. The testimony of Jesus is that He lived and died for our sins. Holding tightly onto our faith in Jesus is our best defense against the aggression of the angry and proud Satan.)


    2. Friend, how seriously do you take the pride problem in your life? Will you determine today to remove your robe of pride and replace it with God's robe of righteousness? If it takes a little discipline to help you see the difference, then praise God!


  5. Next week: A Garment of Innocence.

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